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Summer, Summer, Summertime!!

June 3, 2010

So it’s June already!!  The kids have been out of school for one week now and they are having a blast!!  The twins are staying home with their aunt who is staying with us this summer while she’s on a break from college.  Now as you might have guessed from my previous post on Limiting Screen Time I absolutely refuse to let them sit around and watch TV or play video games all summer.  So I went toTarget and picked up the essential summer play items – blow up pool, Slip N Slide and a wiggly sprinkler thing so they can play outside to their hearts content.  The kids still have the opportunity to use their coupons for screen time but they have to earn it through their responsibility chart.

Now, being a former teacher I want to make sure they get some “classsroom” time this summer as well.  That is why last week I made a trip to United Art and Education to stock up on some great educational stuff.  I got a “Summer Express” workbook for each of them which is specifically designed for the transition from kindergarten to first grade.  They are supposed to do 2 pages each day for 10 weeks and they are pretty quick activities so they won’t feel like they are still in school.  They even provide a sticker chart to complete each week which is pretty fun for the kids.  In addition to that I picked up a couple of journals for the kids to write in each day with some journal prompts that are designed to be silly and fun called “Write Abouts”.  The first week I have asked them to write just one sentence in their journal and will gradually build up the number of sentences each week.  Lastly, I had them each set a daily independant reading goal (I made them do a minimum of 10 minutes).  I picked up some books at the Half Price Book Store and they have a great program for kids–if they read for 15 minutes for 5 days during the week they can get a $3 card to buy a book.

Now, all of these things take less than 30 minutes per day and the rest can be spent playing outside, in their playroom or even using their media coupons to watch TV or play video games.  We are literally 4 days into this program and already I am getting negative feedback from the kids.  Really, 30 minutes–is that too much to ask?  I don’t think so, am I right?  I’m not sure how their kindergarten teachers managed to keep them engaged for 7 hours during the day because I’m getting grief over 30 minutes.  Anyway, we will keep plugging away and I’ll let you know if things get any better.

National Moms Nite Out 2010

May 5, 2010
I am thrilled that Moms Nite Out at Clay Terrace is just about 24 hours away now!!  What a fantastic opportunity for moms all over Indy (and the nation for that matter) to come together for a night of celebration.  The event at Clay Terracetomorrow night is shaping up to be a wonderful night of FOOD, FUN & FREEBIES!!  Working Moms Network is one of the sponsors of this great event so come see us while you’re out.
Our booth will be between New York and Co. and Sur La Table at Clay Terrace! We will have multiple giveaways including

several pieces of beautiful sterling silver jewlrey handmade by a very dear friend of mine (thank Tina) as well as some very cute handpainted flower pots provided by TwoLipsNDaisies that are great for indoor planting or to use as a gift basket for someone special.  Plus, for anyone who signs up for my newsletter prior to 6pm tomorrow night you will be entered to win a gift certificate for a FREE highlight and cut compliments of Roberta at Hollywood Hair in Greenwood (absolutely worth the drive).  Come by and take a look at what you could win!!

Now take a look at how the retailers have really come together to make this event special for all you hard working moms out there:Prizes from:
Francesca’s Collections
Carmel Community Playhouse
Vera Bradley
Revolution Eyes
St. Vincent’s Women’s Health
Mitchell’s Fish Market
Pampered Chef
Cha Cha
Yankee Candle
White house Black Market
Classic Cleaners

Special Discounts from:
House of Martial Arts
Finish Line
Old Navy
Celebrity Kids
Bath & Body Works
White House Black Market
The Loft
Trade Secret
Baker Furniture

Demonstrations and Activities from:
Simon Youth Foundation
St. Vincent’s Women’s Health
Jos. A. Bank
David and Mary’s Spa
Eyes by India
Bath & Body Works
Drapery Street
Baker Furniture
Yankee Candle
Finish Line

Food from:
Paradise Bakery
and Kona Grill
as well as a Wine Tasting!

Come join us at Clay Terrace tomorrow night from 6pm til 9pm for a wonderful evening.  If you can’t join us in person then you can always participate online via the social networks.  Just go to to get more details about how to participate.  Hope to see you there!!

Lemonade Day – Teaching Entrepreneurial Spirit

April 28, 2010

I am really excited about having my kids participate in the Indianapolis Lemonade Dayon Sunday May 2nd.  Lemonade Day is a nation-wide event that teaches kids the skills they need to be successful in the future.  High-tech innovator Scott Jones, the co-founder of mobile search engine tool ChaCha, is attempting to teach local kids a lesson in entrepreneurship.

Jones is trying to organize 5,000 student lemonade stands here for the national “Lemonade Day” event May 2.

Launched in Houston three years ago, Lemonade Day aims to educate children from pre-kindergarten through high school how to start, own and operate their own small businesses.  The kids receive bright yellow backpacks containing workbooks for both kids and parents with great lessons in how to set goals, develop a business plan, establish a budget, seek investors, provide customer service, and give back to the community. Lemonade day is the perfect opportunity for a community to show kids they care and train the next generation of entrepreneurs through a FREE, fun, engaging, experiential activity.

Dominic & Brianna’s Stand will be at the Greenwood Park Mall – Entrance #1 (Near Applebees).  They are going to be open from 1pm – 4pm and have decided to donate 50% of their profits to the Hearts for Haiti program atOur Lady of the Greenwood.  I would encourage anybody who is local to Indianapolis to come check out their stand and help teach a valuable lesson and contribute to a worthy cause at the same time.

Digital Photo Storybooks

April 20, 2010

I admit it–I am NO Martha Stewart–I did not inherit the artistic or crafty gene in my family. I think my sister got my share–she is a very talented graphic designer. So attending a scrapbooking event with my daughter for Daisy scouts was certainly not my idea of a great time but I knew she would love it and SHE is artistic so I signed up.

Now, I like to take quite a few pictures of my kids (what mom doesn’t right?)–but most of them stay in my camera for months at a time and occassionally get downloaded onto the computer and posted to facebook or picassa. But I hardly ever get prints made and even if I were to get them made the likelihood of them being put into albums is pretty slim.

The great news about this event is that it forced me to download what was on my camera and for a good couple of hours on Saturday I uploaded photos to Picasa Web Albums–which I absolutely love!! Then, I sat down with Brianna and let her pick out any picture she wanted to use for the event. I uploaded them to the Wal-Mart 1 hour photo and by the afternoon we had about 60 pictures ready to go.

So on Sunday–the morning of the event I remembered that my mom had bought a bunch of scrapbooking supplies when the twins were born. They were just sitting in a closet upstairs in the kids’ room so I dug them out and found there were all kinds of things–fancy scissors, all types of adhesives, papers of all colors and patterns, stickers and even some calligraphy markers. Who knows how much all that stuff is worth? And to think it’s been sitting in a closet for 6 1/2 years–at least now they would get some use.

So Brianna and I went to the event and I gotta tell you I could not believe all the scrapbook experts in attendance. There were moms there with rolling bags of supplies and papers and all kinds of embellishments. What had I gotten myself into? Honestly, we had a great time. I really let Brianna have at it–she is more of an artist than me and really this was her event. While I was there I learned about something called “digital scrapbooking”. Now I’m not artisitic but I can definately find my way around a computer–I figured this digital scrapbooking might be just up my alley.

There is quite a market for digital scrapbooking–and what a concept–No supplies, less expensive because there are no supplies and its gotta be easier and faster when the templates are already done for you. Plus you cannot mess it up–you can’t fix a photo that you cut incorrectly but I’ve never met a program that doesn’t have an “undo” button. There are a ton of choices to create digital scrapbooks and even the end result can vary from hardbound storybooks to soft cover flip books to online versions with voiceover options.

From what I learned so far the first thing you need is some digital scrapbooking software like My Memories Suite or Memory Mixer. Then you need some kind of photo editing tools–like I said before I like Picasa Web Albums because it’s pretty easy and does pretty much anything that I need it to do. But if you want to get more sophisticated you can use PhotoShop but if you’re a beginner I have been warned that it can be overwhelming. And of course you need template designs or kits which can be found on any number of websites both as free downloads and as paid items. There are also companies like Heritage Makers where you pay a membership to access a library of templates.

So I did a little research on which software to use and decided to download the software from My Memories Suite and a few free templates to try it out. So right now I’ve invested less than $40 to see if I can make a go of it and I’m kind of excited about the possibility of getting my photos out of the computer!! I have posted my first photo storybook pages so be sure to check them out.

Help with Homework

April 18, 2010

It is mid April and there there are only 6 weeks left until summer break. One of the decisions that my husband and I made for kindergarten this year was to separate our twins into different classrooms due to their personalities. I honestly think that this was probably one of the best decisions that we could have made for this year and I have absolutely no regrets. One of the challenges of separate classrooms is the issue of homework–different teacher expectations, different assignments, different due dates, etc. Of course it would be the same story for any parent with children in two different grades–but with a bit of a twist.

For the most part our twins are learning the same core curriculum which primarily involves letter formation, sight word memorization, basic addition and subtraction, etc. But having different teachers creates some unique homework scenarios. The two of them are on different levels of understanding on most of their work. While my son picks up on new information very quickly–he has no patience and flies through his assignments so they tend to be sloppy. He also hates to be wrong, so rather than spelling based on sound (which is what his teachers want him to do) he insists on knowing the proper spelling and will continue to ask us for validation while doing his work. My daughter, on the other hand is a perfectionist and can spend an inordinate amount of time just coloring a few pictures. She is much more independant in her efforts and will occassionally do her assignments in extended care before I pick her up.

But the common factor for both of them is that they absolutely fight doing homework anytime we try to get them to do it. Now don’t get me wrong–our kids don’t get a ton of homework–I mean they are just kindergarteners! They have a weekly assignment which is based on an assigned letter of the alphabet that is due each Monday (with a few exceptions for review weeks). Then during the week they are to complete a basic worksheet over the same letter which is due on Friday. In addition to that, they have sight words to study plus 5 spelling words each week.

So we have just 6 more weeks to go and then on to First Grade.  I’m not sure how much homework first graders get but I figure it’s probably more than in kindergarten, so I am trying my best to start the routine now.  And the question still in my mind is whether or not to keep them separate or put them together.  I’m not sure what I will do yet–I guess we’ll figure it out soon enough.

Both of them are good at school (I suppose most moms say that though). They do good work for their teachers but when it comes to doing their work from home it’s another story. It feels like I am pulling teeth to get them to sit down and do their assignments or study their words. And it’s really challenging now since the weather is nice again. As soon as we get home they just want to go out and play–and frankly I don’t blame them–I want to play outside too. So how do you motivate young kids to do their work when they’ve been sitting in class all day and now they just want to have some fun.

I’m not overly concerned right now, but I really wonder what it will be like in future years when the assignments become harder and more frequent. I have read quite a bit about this topic and it seems that one of the most important things is to have a routine. Whether it is before dinner, after dinner or early in the morning doesn’t really matter–but to have a set pattern that kids can know what expect.

As a working mom, I know how difficult it can be to keep kids engaged in their homework when there are so many things to tend to when you get home. Most evenings my husband and I get home around 6pm just to enter into the race of preparing dinner, homework, sitting down to eat, and then getting everyone bathed and to bed by 8pm. Then throw in a gymnastics lesson or baseball game (or both) and…..well I’m just tired writing about it.

Resurrection Eggs – The Easter Story

April 2, 2010

It is the holidays that always make me remember what wonderful blessings I have–my health, my wonderfully devoted husband, my 3 beautiful children, my job.  But, yesterday I was almost to the point of tears when my 6 year old son was showing me his resurrection eggs that they had made at school (my twins go to a private Catholic school) and he was explaining each and every egg and the treasure inside.

Egg #1:     Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. The people waved palm branches.
Passage — Matthew 21:1-11
Item — Plastic palm leaf.
Egg #2:    Mary poured expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet.
Passage — John 12:2-8
Item — Small piece of cotton with cologne on itEgg #3:    Jesus shared the Last Supper with His disciples.
Passage — Matthew 26:17-19
Item – a piece of Chex cereal; or take clay and make a small bread-like shape

Egg #4:    Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.
Passage — Matthew 27:3
Item — 3 dimes or plastic “silver” money

Egg #5:    Jesus carried His own cross.
Passage — John 19:17
Item – a small wooden cross

Egg #6:    Soldiers placed a crown of thorns on Jesus’ head.
Passage — John 19:2
Item — half of a toothpick (thorn)
Egg #7:    Soldiers parted Jesus’ garments and cast lots for His coat.
Passage — John 19:23
Item — A piece of clothEgg #8:    Jesus was nailed to a cross and pierced in His side.
Passage — John 19:18,37 & John 20:25-29
Item — A nail

Egg #9:    They gave Jesus vinegar mixed with gall on a sponge to drink.
Passage — Matthew 27:34
Item — A small sponge

Egg #10:    Spices to prepare Jesus for burial.
Passage — John 19:40
Item — Cloves, or other whole spices

Egg #11:    The stone covering Jesus’ tomb was rolled away.
Passage — John 20:1
Item — A small rock

Egg #12:    The napkin around Jesus’ head was lying separately from His linen clothers. He was not there. He has risen!
Passage — John 20:6-7
Item — A scrap of linen-type fabric

It was so beautiful that he could walk through that entire story of Easterand know it with such detail.  At one point he said “and then Jesus said, forgive them Father, for they do not know what they are doing”.  I was so filled with emotion that my children at the age of 6 have a better understanding of the story of Easter than most adults.
If you are Christian, please share this activity with your children–it will most likely be the best lesson they ever learn.

Have a beautiful Easter and God Bless you and your family.

Bye Bye Pacifier

March 24, 2010

So just after my son turned one we switched day care providers and she would not allow the pacifier-which I was somewhat hesitant to do but she assurred me that everything would be fine so I decided to give it a shot.  The only problem was that we couldn’t keep him from crying for it at night.  He never used it except for bedtime, but we could not seem to break him of it completely.  He tooks naps during the day without it but at home he would cry for it anytime he was in his bead.  Then just after he turned two

he started waking at night because he had lost his binky and would not go back to sleep until we found it for him.  This would happen usually 2-3 times each night and was really wearing on both my husband and I.  We just never got a full nights rest but if I took the binky away completely I may never sleep again–at least that’s how it seemed.

I did a lot of research as to the best way to wean him from it.  Alot of people said to take it away cold turkey–that just seemed a bit dramatic.  Then there was the binky fairy, where you put all the binkies under the pillow and the binky fairy brings your kid an age appropriate gift in replacement.  Some suggested having your child “donate” the binkies to a younger siblinig or to a charity but I wasn’t sure that my 2 1/2 year old would comprehend what that really meant.  Finally, I landed on a website that suggested a week long approach to eliminating the binky.  I had heard of his method before-cutting off the tip of the pacifier.  Unfortunately, the first time I tried it (when he had just turned 2) I went a little overboard cutting off about half of it and he absolutely refused it.

What he suggests is that you gradually manipulate the pacifier over the course of a week.  First you just poke holes in the binky using a needle to allow the pacifier to collapse when your child tries to suck on it.  Then next step is to snip off the very tip of the binky and then each day thereafter to but just a bit more until it is about half cut.  Finally to slit the binky perpendicular to the end.  Basically what this does is slowly transitions the binky from something that causes pleasure to something that is less pleasureable and eventually something that causes displeasure.  By doing this the child will readily give up the pacifier since it no longer provides comfort.

So how did it work out?  Well, lets just say that I have been sleeping a lot better lately.  It took about 4 days total and he actually threw it in the trash.  He asked about it for a few days after he threw it out but we reminded him that he threw it out because it was “broken”.  Now, 2 weeks later he doesn’t even ask for it anymore.  I am almost in disbelief–but I am so glad that we are rid of the dreaded pacifier now.  If we can just master potty training now we’ll be golden.

Do you work for a Great Company?

March 16, 2010

I gotta tell you.  I think that I work for a fantastic company-Yellowbook.  The fact is that I love what I do and I think I’m pretty good at it.  What I love most about Yellowbook is that our executive management team is innovative and proactive.  We are constantly evolving the way we do business to adapt to the changing environment.  We have moved from a print phone book company to a multi-media outsourced marketing agency for our clients.  We don’t sell products anymore…we sell leads through a variety of mediums.  I have the ability now to take care of a clients marketing needs whether through the phone book, online yellow pages, website design, SEO, SEM and direct mail (although I haven’t been trained on that one yet).  What an amazing company to work for!

Working Moms Magazine does a list each year of their top companies for working moms and I wanted to point out their Hall of Fame list.  Finding a company that gives you the flexibility you need as a working mom, offers fabulous benefits and provides ample opportunities to grow your career is sometimes hard to find and these companies have obviously done it because they have been listed at least 15 times among the top 100.  Check out the full article at  Maybe you’ll find your company, or your soon to be company on the list.  As for me, I’ve got my perfect place–even if its not on the Hall of Fame list–Yellowbook is perfect for me.

One Moms Reflection on Having Twins

March 10, 2010

You know how the winter goes by and you don’t see your neighbors much.  Then spring comes and the kids are out and you start chatting with folks you haven’t seen for a few months.  Well, spring sprung this week and so did the news!!  One of the women on my street is pregnant–with identical twin girls!!  Now twins happens more and more frequently with the advent of fertility drugs and I think the most recent stats say 1 in 100 births will be twins but something is happening on our street.

My twins were born 6 years ago and we were already the 3rd set of twins on the street.  In fact every white house on our block had a set of twins inside!!  Now we don’t live on a long street–I mean there are only about 20 houses at best.  And now 4 sets of twins!!  Anyways, it got me to thinking of what she is going to be experiencing in a few months when her baby girls are born.

I remember how tiny my babies were and how it felt when I had to go home and they were still in the NICU.  I remember how absolutely wonderful the nurses and doctors at St. Francis were and how they answered every little question I had no matter how trivial it may have seemed.  I remember looking over the logs to see how much they were getting fed (through feeding tubes initially) and how each day they added a few more mL.  I remember pumping all the time so I could give them that much needed “liquid gold”.  I remember when they told me that Dominic was ready to come home but Brianna needed to stay and wondering if separating them was the best thing for them and thinking “How would I go see Brianna if Dominic was at home?”  I remember car seat tests and apnea monitors and mixing special formula into their bottles of breastmilk to give them extra calories.  I remember documenting every feeding, and diaper change and bath so I wouldn’t forget who had pooped and who hadn’t–which sometimes became a blur at 2am.  I remember sitting on the nursery floor with that special breastfeeding pillow and picking them up one in each arm to feed them in the middle of the night.  I remember calling Andrew one day in absolute exhaustion telling him that he had to come home RIGHT NOW before I went crazy and knowing that if he could get their any faster he would.

And now they are 6 years old and in kindergarten and I can’t believe that the time has passed so quickly.  I know that soon they will be teenagers and wanting to drive and go to parties.  Then they’ll graduate and be off to college and probably only call when they need money and I will gladly give them what I can because I will remember how much we went through just to bring them into this world and home with us.  And as I write this, it makes me happy and sad all at the same time and I wish my neighbor all of these experiences–both good and bad because that is what makes life worth living.

Boost your Business with Social Media

March 4, 2010

So in starting this website and promoting the 2nd Annual Moms Nite Out I have been researching a lot on Social Media and linking through all different networks, blogs, communities, etc.  It can be somewhat intimidating for the average person let alone a business owner or employee that may not have the same experience with online media that I do.

So why is social media important for business?  Well, check this out–Facebook surpassed Yahoo to beome the 2nd most popular site on the web according to  Of course, the beauty of social networking is that its all about connections.  If someone I know finds an article/story/link interesting enough to post it to their wall or tweet about it–I’m probably going to pay attention–depending on the headline and preview.  Now being in the advertising area for 5 years now – I know that good content is critical in getting repeat visits.  If you don’t have something of value to offer–guess what–can you say bounce?  People will bounce right back out and on to the next thing.

While I certainly don’t have all the answers yet–I hope to in the very near future.  I am continuing to research extensively and I am attending a webinar hosted by called Social Media 101 For Small Businesson March 16 to learn more.  I will continue to update on this topic as I learn more.