Guest Post Corner
Written by Role Mommy contributor, Christine J. Williamson.
I overheard my son talking to a friend the other day about our family game nights. The other kid asked, "What's that?" I told my son later I had overheard the conversation, and I really liked his patient response to his friend who really didn't understand the concept of a family getting together to enjoy each other's time.
Sadly, I've heard similar things from other parents that they don't have time, are too tired, or the kids wouldn't be interested anyway. I don't like saying anyone is outright wrong when it comes to anything to do with parenting, but they are so wrong. Studies show that families
who participate in a regular family night are closer, kids do better in school, and many games teach life and educational skills. With that in mind, I'd like to share our top 10 family night activities.
10. Super Dessert Night
Let your family make their own desserts. After dinner one night, set out small bowls with a
scoop of ice cream in each one. Also have chocolate syrup or whatever flavors your family
enjoys. Candy pieces, sprinkles and other yummies to put on their ice cream will let each
member of the family design the ice cream sundae they think is best. If you want, take a
photo of each family member with their sundae before they dig in and save it for a scrapbook night.
9. Zoo Night
Check with your local zoo to see about their family night activities. Many zoos offer special
discounts for families and night activities that range from movie nights at the zoo to specially arranged night hikes where hikers get to meet and learn about an animal.
8. Museum Night
The museum doesn't have to be a boring experience. Make it fun with a scavenger hunt.
Make a list of random things to look for in exhibits throughout the museum. Our local museum is online, and yours probably is too, and just make a list like "mummy sarcophagus" or "beard on a statue" and see who wins.
7. Family Blog
You can use a service like Blogger.com or Wordpress.com and set up a free blog. Let your
kids choose the colors, lettering, template, and add some photos from your other family
activity nights. Both of these blog places have the option to keep your blog from being
indexed so it won't show up on search engines. If you want to keep your blog private, so only the family can see it, you can do that too in the privacy settings and choose who can see your family blog. Both sets of grandparents enjoy seeing our posts, especially the posts they are in like when my parents came over for family night and played Jenga with us.
6. Camping at Home
This is a fun activity that we've done numerous times. The first time we came up with this idea was when the kids were very small, and it was winter. So we camped out in the living room. Now that they are older, we set up the tent in the backyard, and you have to plan to bring everything you need out with you. No one goes back into the house. We cook over our grill, make S'mores, tell scary stories, and we have a large traditional breakfast of pancakes the next morning.
5. Home Video Night
This is a fun night of memories. Take your old videos of your kids and show them. Talk about the little things you remember about your kids. When my daughter was 3 years old, she used to have elaborate tea parties that often included our very patient cat who would sit in a chair along with her stuffies and dolls. Sharing those memories again is great for bringing your family unit closer.
4. Talent Show
Think American Idol or X-Factor without Simon Cowell in it. Let each of the kids come up with a talent, parents or anyone other family members need to participate too, and have fun! Videos for family video night or photos for the family blog or scrapbook should be taken on this night.
3. Movie Night
We love movie night. We usually let each family member name a movie and then choose
from there. Eventually, we pick everyone's movie. We stream movies from Netflix, Amazon
Prime, and HuluPlus so there is never a shortage of great movies to watch.
2. Family Scrapbook Night
One year my daughter got a scrapbooking kit for a birthday gift. The other kids were intrigued, and everyone wanted to do a page in her scrapbook. That's how our family scrapbook night was born. We do this at least once a month, we have long since scrapbooked baby photos, family vacations, and birthdays. We now do our current family photos, and sometimes we all design one page together or each child will get to do their own pages. It's something everyone looks forward to doing. Often the kids get out the scrapbook and are just looking at it, seeing memories.
1. Game Night
Yes, we have video games in our house. We tried incorporating the Kinect Games (the ones where you get up and move with the game) into our game night, but it just turned into kids playing games and parents being bored watching. It wasn't a true family event. So when we say "Game Night" we mean board games, card games, and other games. No video games. Take age recommendations with a grain of salt. You know your kids best as to what they can and can't do. I buy board games yard sales and store clearances. We now have a closet full of games for the family to choose from with not a lot of money invested.
Playing games with your kids teaches life skills such as cooperation and patience.
Responsibility is practiced when they play by the rules. Honesty is learned by playing fair.
Good sportsmanship is learned by both learning to win and lose gracefully. Other family night activities will stimulate your the creative thinking in your kids, develops longer attention spans, and it's fun. As you can see there is no downside to scheduling a regular night of fun with your family. As a parent, you want to build lifelong family bonds that are strong, spending quality time with the family as a whole unit is a great way to keep those bonds strong.
Christine J. Williamson is the co-founder and writer for Super Mommy blog. She is blessed with two amazing boys and a great husband, and 100% loves blogging at I'm Super Mommy. Connect with her on Twitter! Cheers!
Written by Michelle Johnson.
The holidays can be the most stressful time of the year, and unfortunately a time that no one will admit to being this way because they're also supposed to be the best time of the year for most. Not many people will admit they're struggling at this time of year but if you are spending your first Christmas holidays as a singleton it can be hard to know how to work things out.
Do you spend the time alone? With your family? Are you spending it with your kids or maybe you've been thinking of inviting over the ex? Every family situation is different, and we're hoping to be able to work out some of the hardest stuff for you!
If you're spending it alone
If this is your fist time spending Christmas time alone then getting some family
support by spending it with family is probably the best remedy. But even sitting
around the table can be difficult during the holidays, if you're surrounded by your
relatives and their children all having a great time it can be hard to handle. Immerse
yourself in family games or help with the cooking to take your mid of things, failing
that, perhaps spending time doing something good like helping out at a charity
during the holidays might help to make you feel better.
If you're spending it alone with your kids
This is the perfect opportunity to really take time out with just you and the kids. Get
them to help with the cooking or present wrapping, take a walk after dinner and
watch some trashy TV that you normally wouldn't entertain the thought of, this is
the perfect time to relax and enjoy each other's company without any restraints.
If you're inviting over the ex
Perhaps your relationship with your ex isn't terrible and you think that the kids would
appreciate spending time with both parents then having your ex over for Christmas
lunch might be the solution. Perhaps to ensure old feelings aren't dredged up you
could eat out together, but if this isn't an option then plans certainly need to be put
in place to make sure the day runs smoothly.
If you're having the whole messy package
If you're seeing someone, or perhaps you've started to live in cohabitation with that
person then Christmas may be looking rosy to you. But what if as well as your new
partner there are the kids, and your ex to contend with at Christmas? Some people
have great relationships with their ex and so this might not sound so strange, but
even if you do have a good relationship it's always a good idea to talk through the
holiday plans with your ex, so they know what time to arrive, what to bring and
how to act with your new partner. Nothing should be left to chance in this situation,
because Christmas is not a time for arguments.
Whatever your situation when it comes to the Christmas holidays plans are always
good. Whether you are celebrating solo, with kids or with your new partner, family
issues need to be resolved and planned properly to avoid messiness at the dinner
table. Lets make this Christmas as stress-less as possible and make sure everyone is
happy this holiday season!
Michelle Johnson is a freelance writer. She loves to help couples and families with their relationship problems and helps them to openly communicate with each other. For this article she received expert advice from OnePlusOne, a charity that helps families and couples to tackle relationship issues on a daily basis.
Written by Marye Audet, Your Teen Magazine.
We all warn our kids about peer pressure. Sadly, we parents don't always take our own advice to heart. Somewhere inside every parent is a 16-year-old who wants her friends to think she has it all together. If you have a teen that pulls good grades, excels in sports and goes on mission trips to third world countries during spring break, you have done well. If you have a teen that gets a lip piercing, sings for a grunge band and spends as little time as possible at school, you have, well, obviously created a flawed human being.
We are all about how things look.
I began homeschooling in the late 1980s, when my oldest daughter was having learning difficulties in a classroom situation. I wanted to provide a unique education for her and my other kids, while creating an environment through which they could assuredly skate through their adolescence, bypassing the typical difficulties and frustrations. Like all parents, I wanted what was best for my children.
Not knowing where to begin, I got involved with other homeschooling families. Yet, homeschooling comes with adult peer pressure. A successful home school mom has a child with good grades, musical abilities, clear skin and modest dress. For those of us sensitive to peer pressure, this ideal can totally negate our intentions of raising children who think for themselves and revel in their uniqueness.
So, with plenty of help from my more experienced peers, I began building the perfect child, one rule at a time, determined that my child would reflect well on me within the homeschooling community. I didn't notice that I was doing it, that I was teaching my children to compete, fit in and re-create themselves into an ever more polished version of the group vision of successful. Some kids are naturally good at doing that and some are not.
In my case, eight out of eight children didn't conform.
And, everything they went through was on display for the entire world to see and comment on. I felt like a total failure when one of my children cheated on a math test or couldn't read by age six. I was mortified if they dropped a swear word in their teens, despite the fact that when I was their age, I could make the grizzliest sailor blush with my colorful vocabulary.
So, while the perfect children of my peers were heading to mission trips in third-world countries, my children were intent on being real and dragging me along with them. We dealt with issues that I thought no other homeschoolers ever did, things like talking back, sneaking out, experimenting with cigarettes, underage drinking and on and on. As each thing came up, we dealt with it. We talked, prayed, cried, screamed and generally handled it badly. My mantra became, "It's not how you start, it's how you finish."
Along the way, I learned to look at my children as individuals. I learned that their gifts, abilities and talents were their own and would develop in their own way. At some point, I remembered a lesson from my birthing class days: Don't fight the pain; Go with it.
I had a light bulb moment. I was worried about how my peers would judge me. My disappointment in my teenagers was about me, not about my children. Talk about feeling like a terrible parent!
That epiphany changed my parenting. I stopped saying, "You know better than that! How could you? You're grounded!" and started asking, "What happened?" Listening without interrupting (certainly not something that comes naturally to me) became a discipline for me. Once my child explained their view, I took a deep breath and went from there.
Were my expectations reasonable? Could they grow out of this without discipline? Were there natural consequences?
I learned so many things. I couldn't protect my kids from growing pains; I could listen to them and respect their individuality. I didn't get involved in every problem, and I didn't need to come up with a solution. I focused on being supportive, creating healthy boundaries and disciplining when necessary.
Our relationship changed dramatically. They began talking to me before making decisions. They asked my opinion, although they didn't always do what I suggested. Most of all, they began to be honest with me, and I became their biggest fan, their most energetic cheerleader.
Peer pressure can lead to hasty decisions and bad choices--even in adults. Parenting your children should be an individual journey for your family because your family is unique. Relax, enjoy and make your family a place where everyone can be real.
Hello everyone, Role Mommy intern here! My time at Role Mommy is sadly coming to an end, as I enter the real world on Monday and start my first full-time job at Macy's (oh my god!). I'm slightly terrified but also really excited to start this new chapter in my life.
Upon my departure, here's my final post for Role Mommy: 10 Things Every Girl in Her 20s Should Own. I know most of you reading this probably feel this doesn't apply to you, but I promise that you can pass this information down to your daughters one day or use it as a gift buying guide for any 20-something you may know this holiday season!
10) External Hard Drive
This one really applies to almost everyone, but especially as a 21 year old, I would be screwed if my computer crashed. I've been lucky not to have this happen yet (my Mac Book Pro is going 5 years strong), but just in case, I've invested in an external hard drive. I back it up maybe once a month, but it's reassuring to know that I won't lose my entire music collection, my resume, and every picture I took in college if my computer decides to give up on life one day.
9) A Nice Black Suit
It's always better to be overdressed for a job or grad school interview than to be underdressed. I know suits can be expensive, so I suggest shopping at an outlet store to find a great deal! Also, you don't have to buy the pieces together. I purchased a black blazer from the Ann Taylor outlet and a pair of nice black dress pants from Banana Republic, which definitely helped with the cost. Not only will these pieces come in handy for an interview, they're also great staple pieces to mix and match with other tops and bottoms once you finally land the job!
8) Dry Shampoo
I went to the University of Miami, so to deal with the humidity, I started getting keratin treatments on my hair to avoid becoming a frizzy mess. The treatment was great, but the downside was my hair started to get greasy. We all been told not to wash our hair everyday, but I didn't know what to do in between washes. When I came home one year for winter break, my stylist finally suggested using dry shampoo and it has been a life saver!! I use Suave's product, which costs less than $3 and smells great. Not only does it take the grease away but it gives my hair an extra lift on days where I'm feeling a little bit lazy and don't want to spend the time styling it.
7) Store Credit Card
I recently tried to apply for a credit card from my bank so I could start building credit now and be in a good place in a few years when I want to buy a house or an apartment. The bank rejected me because I had no credit which brought me to a conundrum...how do I build credit if no one will give me a credit card because I have no credit? So I decided to sign up for a Macy's credit card (I swear I'm not plugging my new employer- I actually got the credit card way before I scored my interview!). I buy a small purchase every month and pay it off in full. Now I know it's really easy to get carried away, but if you're fiscally responsible a store credit card to your favorite department store is a great place to start! Plus they'll send you awesome discounts and coupons.
6) A Go-To Neutral Lip Gloss
I used to hate lip gloss. I always thought it was sticky and heavy and too shiny. Then one day, I found the best neutral lip gloss from Mac called "Deelight" and I am now obsessed! Not only does it feel great on my lips, it literally goes with anything! No matter what outfit I'm wearing or how I decided to do the rest of my makeup, "Deelight" always looks good. Obviously, my color may not be your color, but a good neutral lip gloss is the perfect way to add a little glam into every occasion without stressing over your makeup routine.
5) A White T-Shirt
This is pretty obvious, but a white t-shirt is an essential staple to any woman's wardrobe. Pair it with your favorite cardigan for a comfier look or a pair of colorful skinny jeans or heels for when you're going out. I bought my favorite white tee while I was in Europe this summer at a store called Vero Moda (I thought I was buying from a cool European brand but apparently they have stores in Europe and Asia too...whomp whomp). The fabric is such a soft jersey material and the fit is loose enough to be comfortable but tight enough to still feel feminine. The best part, it only cost 8 Euro (about $11)!
4) Statement Necklace
Statement necklaces are totally on trend right now, and are a great way to jazz up your outfit and stand out! For some reason, I'm always wearing black, so I love wearing big necklaces to bring in a pop of color (they're also great to wear with your white t-shirt!) There's also no need to spend a lot of money on statement necklaces...I've gotten a ton of great pieces from Forever 21 and H&M!
Whether it's a Kindle, an iPad, or a Nook, an E-reader is an essential for any 20-something! They're lightweight, easy to carry, and great for airplanes, commuting to work, and just reading on your own time. Even if you're not big on books, most apps can be downloaded onto an E-reader, so you can also you to read magazines, watch movies, and play games on them. I love my Kindle Fire...it was the perfect college graduation present!
2) Perfume Rollerball
Rollerballs are a must have! You can easily throw them in your purse or travel with them in a carry-on when you travel. Plus, they're cheaper than the full bottle alternative, so instead of investing in one perfume, you can switch your daily scent and buy a few different rollerballs. I bought a rollerball of Flowerbomb by Viktor and Rolf for $29, instead of $80 for the smallest bottle, and I love using it to switch things up from my normal Marc Jacobs routine.
1) At Least One DVD Collection of Your Favorite TV Show
Lastly, it is essential for every girl in her 20s to own a season of a good television show. There's nothing better than spending a day relaxing on your couch watching a TV marathon. Although I haven't watched the newer episodes, popping in the DVDs for the first three seasons of Grey's Anatomy will automatically make for a good day. I also can't tell you how many times I've rewatched the third season of How I Met Your Mother, or borrowed a disc from my roommate's Sex and The City box collection. We all need a break once in a while, and owning a TV DVD collection is the key to the perfect lazy day!
You've heard it over and over. If you're like me, you've probably even found yourself saying it from time to time. It's a refrain that just about any children living today have heard from their parents: "Make good choices!" It's usually accompanied by a smile or assertive nod as the children rush out the door to catch the school bus or participate in any activity that will not involve the parents' supervision.
And, just about every time, it's useless advice.
Why? Because most parents, while recognizing that it is critically important that their children make good choices, have failed to actually teach their children how to make good choices.
Think about it this way--if you tell your children to make good choices without having shaped their thinking in a way that allows them to differentiate good choices from bad choices, it's really no different than telling them to flip a coin and get heads every time!
Now, the question becomes...how do we teach our children to make good choices?
And the answer? By teaching them how to think--not what to think.
Teaching kids what to think is what I like to call "Because I Said So" parenting. Instead of taking five minutes to explain the thought process behind what we're telling our children, we so often deliver that classic line we all heard yelled from the front seat during road trips as children.
And while it's true that kids should not question their parents' authority, it's also true that if the thinking behind that authority is never explained to them, they will adopt new ways of thinking as soon as that authority is lifted.
Andy Andrews is a New York Times best-selling author and speaker. His latest book, The Noticer Returns, is designed to teach parents how to raise children that will influence the next three generations. Read a free chapter of the book at TheNoticerReturns.com.
Written by Role Mommy Guest Contributor, Brett Callan.
In an increasingly technological world, children spend more time glued to computers, video games and social media. There's a growing disconnect between children and the natural world, and it continues to increase. Fond memories of building forts in the woods, swimming in lakes, and star gazing on the grass have been replaced by florescent-lit classrooms and glaring screens of computers. It's important that we teach children to appreciate and interact with nature and the outdoors, especially while they are still young. Free-play outdoors will benefit their health and will peak their creativity and curiosity about the natural world they live in, an interest that could grow into an attitude of life-long learning that will benefit them for many years. Playing outdoors is also a great way to teach children how to relieve stress and stay active. Here are some ideas on how to teach your children to love the outdoors:
1. Go Wildlife Spotting Together
It's hard to teach children to love the environment without actually knowing what the natural world is like. Children must obtain knowledge about something before they can learn to love and respect it. Spend some time together researching local animals or plant life together, then go on a trip to a nearby park or forest and see if you can spot any of the plants or animals on your list.
2. Go on a Picnic
It's important to help your children associate positive feelings with the environment to want to spend time there. Doing something relaxing and pleasant in a beautiful, natural setting can help them foster a positive affinity with the outdoors. Bring a delicious lunch, some good games or a book, and find a nice spot outdoors to enjoy with the kids.
3. Take Swimming Lessons
Taking swimming lessons will give your child the opportunity to participate in fun aquatic sports. Kayaking, swimming, canoeing, sailing, snorkeling and scuba diving are also excellent ways to observe and enjoy the outdoors. Knowing that your child is a capable swimmer will make you feel more at ease when they're on the water.
4. Guided Tours and Educational Activities
Check your local National Park or Nature Center website for any guided tours. Often parks and Nature Centers offer tours with educational activities for children. Your kids can learn about the different types of plants and berries that are edible in the area or perhaps make molds from animal tracks. There's a variety of activities offered throughout the year. Guides are often very knowledgeable and enthusiastic, which can really help to increase your child's interest in nature.
5. Plan a Camping Trip
Take the whole family on a camping trip. It can be a great way to bond with each other and spend time outdoors. Put away any electronics or distractions and tell some stories by the fire. Go for a hike. Demonstrate to your kids how much you're enjoying yourself so they also can learn to love being outside as well. Don't do anything too strenuous or far out of their comfort zone in the beginning. The more fun and relaxed the activities are, the more likely your children will participate in them in the future.
Brett Callan is an instructor at murraycallanswimschools.com, where their Encinitas swim lessons offer customized support for children throughout San Diego. He loves to enjoy the San Diego weather whenever he can, whether from the beach or at a pool.
Here's a banana bread with a sweet and salty twist, perfect for cold wintery days ahead!
Banana Bread with Salted Caramel Topping :
1 cup White Flour
1/2 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (if you don't have , just use 1/2 cup white flour)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Mix together in a large bowl
3 very ripened bananas, mashed
1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt or sour cream
1/2 cup safflower oil or canola oil
3 beaten eggs
Mix together in a large bowl
Combine wet and dry ingredients until fully combined
Pour mixture into buttered loaf pan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake bread for 50 minutes to an hour on the middle rack of the oven or until a knife comes out clean in the center
Let cool and then spread caramel topping all over the top and sprinkle with sea salt or Kosher salt
1/4 stick butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream or half and half
pinch of salt
Combine ingredients and stir over a low flame until thickened
For more great recipes from Alma Schneider, visit her at Take Back the Kitchen.
Parents want nothing less than the best for their kids. They do not want their kids to make the same mistakes that they did when they were younger. Parents get monstrous when another kid in school hits their baby. They curse the first boy that broke their little girl's heart. The list goes on, and that list includes having healthy, if not perfect set of teeth. Hence, parents resort to different tactics for how to make their five-year-olds brush their teeth before bedtime, to avoid eating candies, and to find trips to the dentist enjoyable-- the last one being the hardest among kids of all ages or people of all generations. This article will identify five foods kids should avoid eating to have healthy set of teeth. It also aims to suggest some alternative foods to satiate the kids' cravings for such while not compromising their pearly whites.
1. Hard candies and sweets
Kids love sweets. They would exchange anything between the moon and candies, maybe even you. Hard candies mean sugar, and sugar means bacteria. And as long as the candy stays in the child's mouth, the happier these bacteria are. Not to mention that when kids get tired of sucking the candy, they would start biting and chopping the hard thing, which can cause some teeth problems.
2. Jelly and some sticky foods
Everybody has his own story getting embarrassed in front of a bunch of kids in school or colleagues at work. You talk and talk as the others hide their giggles and wicked smiles because you got something stuck between your teeth. And you remember that piece of caramel candy you had as a finale to your sumptuous lunch. Then you swore you would never eat caramel bars again. But you still do.
Jellies are to be avoided not only to prevent these awkward things from happening but also to avoid trapping bacteria that goes with these sticky foods. Give them alternative snacks like apples but make it a point not to go overboard in citrusy fruits as they demineralize the teeth enamel.
3. Rice, Pasta, and other foods high in carbohydrates
While you need pasta, bread and rice for energy, keep these food intake limited since they also contain starch that sticks to your teeth, hence, bacteria again. This can lead to further damage like tooth decay and gum problems. Although kids are too young to care for carb diet, you may want to opt for whole grain crackers and brown rice as these are safer options. This may be a double whammy if your kid is suffering from obesity.
4. Soda and carbonated drinks
In the modern age like this where children normally feast on junk foods and fast foods on a regular basis, they too find soda the best partner for steamy hot fries and burger. Carbonated drinks are very acidic that it speeds up the erosion of a tooth's enamel. Keep these drinks on a minimum and let them drink water instead.
5. Sweet juices and energy drinks
Children love sweets even in beverages as aforementioned. Juices contain a high amount of sugar through artificial sweeteners and food coloring that is also not good for the body. Make fresh juices for them when you can and if it is the healthiest drink available in school, make them drink through a straw so that it will not damage the enamel of their teeth.
Let them practice the habit of regularly brushing their teeth so that no bacteria will linger too long in their mouth. You can also try giving them alternative foods and drinks that are safer for their mouth and body such as water, whole grain crackers, fresh juices and wheat bread. The most important of all is to reach out to them and explain the importance of taking care of their teeth. Anyway, we know that you cannot watch them 24/7.
Jessica is a freelance writer, she's an aerobic Instructor and a frequent runner. She loves ice creams and cereals. She's also into almost all types of music genre and knows how to play the guitar. Follow her adventures on her Twitter.
Connect with Your Teens writer Jennifer Wagner went on assignment for Role Mommy at Ford Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, where she got the inside scoop on all the amazing innovations headed our way from Ford...
Recently, I attended a two-day event, hosted by Ford, in which bloggers, journalists and other trend-spotters were brought together with Ford's designers, scientists and product specialists to discuss trends and issues facing consumers. It was fascinating and enlightening and I walked away with more knowledge of automobiles than I ever thought I would have.
Forward with Ford 2011 was held in Dearborn, Michigan, the home of Ford's World Headquarters. We had the chance to actually tour several areas, preview designs in the making and test drive cars. However, as fun as all of that was, the most important parts of the conference were the sessions in which we learned what Ford is doing about issues such as safety, the environment, aging, and emerging technologies.
Safety Some of the efforts Ford is initiating in the safety area:
Industry first technologies available in the Ford Explorer 2011 (will be added to others soon)
Rear inflatable seat belts (combines seat belt and air bag) - additional protection for rear seat passengers who are often children and older passengers who can be more vulnerable to injury
Curve Control - designed to help drivers maintain control when they take on a curve too quickly
MyKey for Teens - Parents can program the car with top speed and music volume limits. The car can also be programmed not to drive if the seat belts aren't buckled.
Car Seat Safety - Ford has made major efforts to teach parents to properly install car seats.
Ford has recently introduced a new warning system to help drivers avoid rear-end accidents. The technology uses radar to detect moving vehicles ahead and warns the driver of danger with an alarm and warning light. The system also automatically pre-charges brakes and engages an electronic brake assist system to help drivers stop more quickly.
Ed Begley Jr., actor and green advocate, was brought in to discuss eco-friendly lifestyles. Ford has made great strides is this area. The environmentally friendly Ford Focus Electric is green in ways beyond zero-emissions. All the materials that go into the car are eco-friendly as well. New Technologies Americans want access to their smartphones all the time. Ford is constantly working on ways to give provide consumers with access to a wireless world, but in a smarter safer way. With SYNC you can control your music, phone calls, texts, GPS and more through voice commands. You do not have to take your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road. SYNC AppLink allows you to control your favorite smartphone apps with voice commands. In fact, Pandora, my favorite Internet radio, will work by voice commands through SYNC AppLink, even though it can't be controlled by voice anywhere else. Tim Westergren, founder of Pandora, and speaker at Forward with Ford 2011, was amazed at this concept.
Ford has been working on many technologies to help seniors and aging baby boomers including multi-contour seats and bolder fonts on the dashboard. A big help to engineers designing improvements is the third-age suit. This suit allows younger engineers wearing it to feel like an elderly person. (There is also an empathy belly for working on designs for pregnant women). Ford is also working on various Health and Wellness apps that can be added to SYNC and remind drivers to take their medicine and more. Some will have medical devices connected via Bluetooth and can actually monitor your health.
I would be remiss if I didn't also mention the genius of the amazing keynote speaker, Malcolm Gladwell, the great time at the Fillmore Detroit with a concert by a new band from Seattle, The Head and the Heart and the friendliness and generosity from everyone at Ford. Thank you Ford, I was very impressed by what you are doing with safety and technology and with you.
Disclosure: Ford Motor Company covered all travel expenses (airfare and hotel accommodations) in conjunction with the conference.
Guest contributor and Bonding over Beauty Author Erika Katz shares tips all moms should know to prepare their tween daughters for summer...
With the summer months approaching us, it is time to clean the closets and pull out those great summer dresses, shorts, and swimsuits. But, with all those cute outfits come new beauty issues for you and your tween to tackle. This could be her first year with unwanted hair around the bikini line, on the legs, and the underarms. If she has just recently gotten her period, she might not know then to use pads and when to use tampons. Perspiration is now an issue. And the list goes on. So how do you get her ready for summer so she feels self confident and secure? Here are a few suggestions:
If your daughter is showing signs of puberty, you might have to talk to her about being bathing suit ready. Her legs and underarms should be smooth, if she has any hair sticking out from her underwear, now is the time to address it, and if her forearms are excessively hairy it is no longer taboo to remove it. Her options are shave, depilatory, or wax. Laser is an option but only after the onset of menstruation. So here is a good summer guide to hair removal.
The night before a trip to the beach, spread a thick layer of shaving cream on the underarms, legs, forearms and any hair that falls outside of her underwear. Carefully shave the area for her or show her how to do it using a razor with a pivoting head such as the Gillette Venus. Be sure to rinse the blade after each stroke.
Depilatory is a great option if your daughter's skin is not too sensitive. Find a depilatory specifically designed for the area she is depilating. Spread the cream on the unwanted hair and leave it on for 8 minutes or as directed. Then remove with a wet washcloth.
I suggest taking her to a good salon to wax unwanted hair. If you want to do it at home, I like the Completely Bare line of products available at www.completelybare.com. It is the identical wax used in the salon so you are not getting a watered down version of anything.
If your daughter has started menstruation, you can consider laser if she is light skinned with dark hair. It is costly but the results are great. However, laser needs to be done at least 2 weeks before she goes in the sun. When she arrives, the technician shaves the hair she would like removed. Then, she will go over the shaved area with cooling gel and then the laser. The hair will fall out in 2 weeks.
Tampon or Pads?
It is so important to teach your daughter to use both pads and tampons. Girls tend to have a heavy flow on the second and third day even if they are using tampons. I suggest she use a pantyliner like Kotex Tween to catch any leaks. It might take her a few periods to figure out what absorbency to use when. I also like Kotex Overnight with Wings for the night especially if she tends to sleep more than 8 hours. For daytime, especially during the summer months, I encourage you to teach your daughter to use a tampon if you have not already done so. This way she can participate in all summer sports every day. All girls can use a tampon as soon as they get their first period.
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