Build it And They Will Come

DSCN2659.JPGFrom the time I was a kid I have always loved being on stage. And so, when I got the chance to take the mic at Comic Strip Live a few days ago with some of my favorite mom authors, writers and bloggers, that little skip in my step that I usually get when I’m on to something exciting, completely took hold of me.
OpenMomNight.jpgYou see, I’m actually in the midst of putting together a humor anthology called C://Mom Run: Side-Splitting Essays from the World’s Most Harried Blogging Moms and when City Dusk asked me what I kind of event I’d like to host for moms this Mother’s Day, readings from my new book popped into my head. And so, within minutes, I fired off emails to my talented team of contributors and within seconds, they all said they wanted to be a part of the night.
In the weeks leading up to the event, I asked everyone to send their essays to me so that I could see how each would flow into the next. Then my good friend, Audrey Pass, who heads up PR for Fox 5 NY suggested that the station’s technology reporter and former stand-up comic Brett Larson would make a great emcee. While I would have normally gone with a mom host for the night – Brett turned out to be the perfect choice.
DSCN2662.JPGMeanwhile, as I pored over essays about diaper explosions, restaurant nightmares, unorthodox Rosh Hashana memories, naked kids and more, I started to envision how these honest and hilarious stories would play out on stage. Plus, some of the essays that I had been editing came in from some incredibly gifted writers from Chicago and Los Angeles and I decided I wanted to use their stories in the show as well. And so, I did what any connected mom would do – I reached out to Wendy Stetson, a blogger friend and actress and she agreed to read one of the stories. She then brought in another colleague, Katie Firth, an actress and mom and we then combined the two stories and worked to perfect the act on stage.
The night of the event, we asked all our performers to arrive early so they could participate in a video shoot with our title sponsor, Luvs. From there, they asked each of us our personal mantra on motherhood and my response was simple. When you’re a mom, you have to accept that you are going to make mistakes – and that’s okay. The key to being a good mom is not to lose yourself in the process. Pursue your passion while raising a family and that will not only make you happier, but turn you into a great mom in the process.
From there, we were also interviewed by Traveling Mom founder, Kim Orlando who was on hand with Sony to showcase their new web cams and ask all of us how much we rely on technology when we’re traveling. Case in point…I’m writing this article while I’m flying on Virgin America and if the internet were working, I’d be blogging about it right about now.
Traveling Mom also supplied us with a fabulous make-up artist from Beauty Strokes who gave us the star treatment and touched us up in time for the show. And then the doors opened and the crowd starting filing in.
I have to say, the biggest part about events that always gets me nervous is whether or not anyone will show up. I’m always pretty confident that I can deliver the goods – great content, a fun evening, socializing and good food. The question is, will moms take time out of their busy schedules to come out for an evening of entertainment. I’m happy to report, they did! The place was packed and what made me even more excited by the turnout was that we were donating a portion of the ticket sales to the Gal to Gal Foundation, which assists patients and families battling stage IV breast cancer.
Before we knew it, it was time to start the show. I hopped up on stage and started to launch into the story behind the evening. I kind of feel like over the past few years, I’ve taken the Kevin Costner approach to building my own field of dreams. Build it and they will come. And my dream of bringing writers together for an evening of laughs and inspiration was about to begin.
I introduced Brett Larson and the instant he took to the stage, he had the audience in stitches. You could tell he was having a great time and he was so comfortable with us. Funny, that our anchor for the night was a man but what I’ve come to realize is that as much as we get caught up in the whole mom humor moment, it’s nice to breathe a little testosterone into the air to mix things up a bit.
The performers for the evening included Jen Singer, author of the new book Stop Second Guessing Yourself, blogger and freelance writer Melissa Chapman, Tracy Beckerman, syndicated humor colunist and author of Rebel Without a Minivan, mom blogger Vanessa Druckman; blogger and former TV promotion producer Nancy Friedman; CNN Executive producer and blogger Eden Pontz; actress and blogger Wendy Stetson and actress Katie Firth; blogger and freelance magazine writer Jeanne Muchnick; blogger and author Liz Gumbinner and Abby Peccoriello, author of Crafty Mama and editor in chief of Nickelodeon’s Parents Connect.
The evening literally went by in a flash and was peppered with lots of laughter from our audience of moms, dads, husbands, friends and fellow mom bloggers. And the best part about our night in the spotlight was that when it was all over, people came up to me asking when we’d be performing again. With our debut a huge success, it looks like there will be many more Open Mom Nights coming soon. We look forward to working with CityDusk again on creating these laugh out loud events for today’s busy parents.

Family Fun for Father’s Day

Family Fun for Father’s Day
By Frances Nankin
Executive Producer and Editorial Director, Cyberchase

image002-8.jpgThis Father’s Day, weave math into your family fun with these quick and easy, skill-building activities from Cyberchase, the animated hit series that airs daily on PBS KIDS GO!. And don’t miss the all-new Cyberchase special episode, Father’s Day, premiering June 19 on PBS KIDS GO! (check local listings).
Make Banana Pancakes! (Math skills: Measurement, Fractions)
In Father’s Day, Creech’s dad Max gets the Cyber Dad of the Year award, in part because of his fabulous banana pancakes. Does your Dad of the Year like pancakes? Together, you and your child can prepare Max’s recipe for that special Father’s Day breakfast. Need more pancakes? Work with your child to double, or even triple the recipe!
Max’s Banana Pancakes
(Makes 8-10 pancakes)
1 egg
1/2 C. sour cream
2/3 C. whole wheat flour
2 TBL sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1/3 C. orange juice
1 C. mashed banana
In a medium-size bowl, mix together the egg and sour cream. Set aside. Sift together the flour, sugar, soda and salt. Stir flour mix into egg mix with the orange juice until moistened. Stir in the mashed banana.
Heat griddle with 2 TBL oil until oil is hot. Ladle mix onto griddle to make pancakes. Cook on one side until bubbly, then flip to cook other side.
Serve with butter and your favorite syrup, or eat as is!
Play Frisbee Golf (Math skills: Measurement, Using Numbers)
Here’s a fun way for the whole family to play golf on Father’s Day – Frisbee Golf! Dust off your favorite Frisbee, grab some paper and pens to keep score, and work together to set a “course” of landing targets for the Frisbee (a table, a picnic blanket, a hula hoop, etc.). Invite your child to help you measure the distance between the targets so they are at least 10 feet apart. Choose spots so the targets are not all in a straight line. The object of the game is to toss the Frisbee from one end of the course to the other using the least number of tosses, hitting each target as you go.
To play, take turns tossing the Frisbee toward a target – where it lands becomes the spot from which you take your next shot until you hit your target. Keep track of your score from target to target. (If you take three throws to hit a target, your score is three.) When all players have completed the course, lowest score wins – just like in golf!
Eating Out? (Math skills: Mental Math, Estimation)
Eating out for Father’s Day? Estimation is a powerful tool in mathematics. Before calculating a sum or a product, for example, using number sense to estimate the answer can help you know if your final calculation is reasonable. Here’s one way to give your child some quick and easy practice using estimation. At the restaurant, work together to estimate the total bill. To do this, decide on a way to make the prices of the menu items easy to work with (round up to the nearest dollar, for example). Then, use mental math to estimate the total.
Fight Boredom with the Dr. Marbles Gotcha Game! (Math skills: Logic, Problem Solving)
No one likes to be kept waiting at a restaurant, especially when you’re hungry. But you can make the time pass quickly when you play this fun math game. To set up, you need 15 sugar packets, 1 of them a different color. Arrange 14 of the packets in a circle. Put the 15th different-color packet in the center. The object of the game is to force your opponent to take the packet in the center Take turns removing one, two, or three sugar packets from the circle. T

The Find’s Fave of the Day

TOMS Shoes – Giving Back One Pair of Shoes at a Time

How can a single pair of TOM’s shoes change the world? Well, according to TOMS shoes founder Blake Mycoskie, it can save lives – one shoe at a time. While traveling in Argentina in 2006 Blake found that many children had no shoes to protect their feet. In response Blake founded TOMS and returned later that year to give 10,000 pairs of shoes to deserving children all thanks to the purchases made by TOMS customers. So a single pair of shoes can change a life and perhaps the world.

We took the time to chat with a member of the TOMS team to learn more about this innovative and socially conscious company.

1. What is the inspiration behind the new Wrap Boot?
The TOMS Wrap Boot is inspired by the colorful leg wraps worn by Argentine Polo horses. Blake authored a short story that tells the tale of a newly-wed young woman who, to win back the attention of her Polo champion husband, wrapped her legs with the brilliant elastic creating a sassy, flirtatious look. Read the full story and see the looks here!

2. Tell us what happens on a typical “Shoe Drop Tour”.
An Argentina Shoe Drop Tour is a group experience where volunteers hand-place matched pairs of TOMS Shoes on children’s feet and explore some of the country’s most intriguing neighborhoods and activities.

3. How can our readers get involved in the TOMS movement?
– Buy TOMS and wear them daily – share the One for One movement with everyone you meet!
– Stay connected through our emails, Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter
– Share the documentary:
– Be part of the TOMS family by applying for an internship on your campus, at TOMS HQ, or on the road as a TOMS Vagabond
Apply to go on a TOMS Shoe Drop Tour

4. What are the various ways an individual can make a difference?
Know that as a consumer you can choose products that offer sustainability, giving, and positivity at their core. TOMS guarantees that for every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of shoes to a child in need. One for One. In the end, “the more you give, the more you live!”

5. What can our readers look forward to in the upcoming collections for TOMS shoes?
TOMS remains true to the classic lines of the Argentine alpargata shoe, but you can look forward to fresh new variations this summer and laces this fall!

Coupon Code: TOMSbday valid for 5% off at and expires 5/15.