I recently had the chance to interview tennis legend Chris Evert for our Role Mommy on the Run show on Blog Talk Radio. Evert is the spokesperson for Simply Smart Milk and
I had the great fortune of meeting her in person this summer when she was in New York City for an event hosted by the brand. What struck me about her – aside from the fact that she looks absolutely amazing, is that at the heart of it, she’s a mom who has managed to balance an incredibly successful professional career with motherhood.
During our radio chat, Evert offers advice on how to keep our kids healthy while they’re playing sports and offers her two cents on whether or not it makes sense for parents to enroll their kids in more than one sport at a time.
Listen in and enjoy!
Tired of packing the same lunch for your kid every day? Role Mommy contributor Danielle offers a new alternative with the help of Welch’s!
Now that we are officially back at school and in the swing of things, the novelty of packing my kid’s lunches has definitely worn off. With a picky 6 year old and 3 year old it’s so hard for me to come up with exciting lunch options each day, especially healthy ones. I need help! That’s where the Welch’s Pack Assorted Colors for Kids Program (P.A.C.K) comes in. This is a national healthy-eating program that not only encourages children to eat more colorful fruits and vegetables, but gives them (and you!) the tools to help make it all a little easier. I think it’s great to have my kids involved in the process and the site helps spark great ideas.
Each day of P.A.C.K is assigned a color (Monday is purple/blue, Tuesday is white/tan/brown, etc). Ask your kids to choose corresponding fruits and vegetables to “pack” in their lunch or snack on that specific day. The Welch’s Pack website has everything you need to get your whole family involved.
This interactive site offers parents and kids tons of downloadable information, printable posters and signs to hang at home, word games, coloring sheets and more.
We all know that familiar tune, sing it with me… “The best part of waking up, is Folgers in your cup!” There are wonderful memories that come to mind when I think about the smell and the sound of that can opening… mostly of growing up, my family, my childhood home. The sounds and aromas of the Holiday season also stir up these nostalgic feelings in many people.
This year, Folgers® is once again helping five lucky families go home as part of the second annual “Home for the Holidays” contest. To enter, America can visit www.folgers.com from October 1, 2010 through November 30, 2010, and submit a 200-word essay answering “What is the best part of wakin’ up at home during the holidays with Folgers coffee?”
Five winners will receive a seven day, six night trip in December 2010 for themselves and up to three other guests to travel to their hometown destination within the 48 contiguous United States. Each trip includes round trip airfare, hotel accommodations, a rental car, $1,000 spending money and a Folgers gift basket. Travel origination and destination must be within the 48 contiguous states. Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and D.C. 18 years old or older. Void where prohibited. See www.folgers.com for Official Rules, entry information and complete details.
I can still remember the first time I saw the original Karate Kid. I was 14 years old and after seeing Ralph Macchio as Daniel-Son, I had the biggest crush on him. We saw Karate Kid at a drive in movie theater in Pennsylvania – near my parent’s summer home in the Poconos that they sadly wound up selling a few years later. Perhaps it was the fact that we saw the film in a special place (gotta say, I love drive in movies) or that Ralph was incredibly easy on my teen eyes, but either way, I was hooked on “The Karate Kid” from day one.
Fast forward more than 25 years (gulp) and it’s the summer of 2010. I’m sitting next to my eight year old son and my husband at a movie theater in Westchester and I am giddy with excitement to see “The Karate Kid” remake. This time around, while I did fall in love with the characters (especially the incredibly talented Jaden Smith) and wanted to knock out those bullies, the movie had an incredible impact on my son. In fact, immediately after seeing the film, he decided he wanted to take karate lessons. And so, two days a week after work, my husband zips home from New Jersey (we live in Westchester) so that he can get Dylan to his karate class on the other side of town. So far, Dylan’s learned a few impressive moves, can count to 10 in Japanese, and looks quite adorable in his little white outfit (okay – he probably wouldn’t appreciate that comment since he’s a serious karate student now.)
Nevertheless, there’s something about movies that have the power to touch your life in a positive and lasting way. And that’s what the Karate Kid has done for us. Sure my first experience was centered on my teenage crush and the fact that a few years later, the song from one of the sequels defined my relationship with my first love (my ex even wrote about “Glory of Love” in my high school yearbook). For my son, the latest film tackles important issues that he has already faced in his young life. While we haven’t uprooted him and moved to China, Dylan has come face to face with bullies and has managed to hold his own. While he’s typically a reserved kid, his karate lessons have made him more confident, more disciplined and he’s even convinced his dad, who also used to take karate lessons as a kid, to join him in class.
While they haven’t been able to convince me to slip on a karate suit we still have the film to bring us all together. And that’s why, I’m so psyched that The Karate Kid is being released on DVD next Tuesday! Once my men return from karate class, I can’t wait to curl up on the couch together and catch the film again (it’s one of those movies you can watch with your kids over and over again).
Marcie Pickelsimer, founder of Grown in My Heart and a member of the Villa Group travel affiliate network, got the chance to visit Nuevo Vallarta and shares priceless vacation memories and tips.
I’m beginning to think that living in Mexico might not be so bad as long as I can live at the Del Palmar Flamingos and had my food delivered to me poolside everyday. I don’t think Jenny Craig would go for it though and with all the money I’ve been paying her lately it would be such a waste, wouldn’t it? Oh, but I could dream.
The entire family returned home last Saturday from Mexico, sun drenched and beer logged (at least the adults, that is). After literally living in paradise for seven days the leaves on the ground were not a welcome sight.
But I digress…Since this is a review I’ll make it easy and outline a few things.
While the resort only sports two restaurants and two bars (open at different times), the food is fabulous. The Bellavista Restaurant offers a causal breakfast buffet or menu dining, à la carte lunches, and buffet or à la carte dinners with themes such as lobster, Mexican, Argentinian grilled meats, and pasta. The open air Cafe is both pool and beachside and serves pizza, burgers, sandwiches, Mexican items, and tropical drinks (and beer and liquor) from late morning to early evening. The Cafe turns into an Italian restaurant, La Trattoria, at 6 pm for beachfront dining. They serve fabulous pizza, onion rings, quesadillas, and fruit plates. They also have the most incredible gelato.
During the day, servers cater to quests every whim: one only has to raise an empty glass or lift an eyebrow to signal their attention. Servers are hospitable, kind, gracious, and very child friendly. Although the all-inclusive information states no tipping the servers do expect tips and because the minimum wage in Mexico is so low we actually didn’t mind. It is the way they make their living.
The all-inclusive package:
My family chose the all-inclusive package because we took two young children and knew they would want to snack during the day. This was actually a great deal for us and in my opinion the only way to go if you eat more than one meal and drink more than two drinks at the resort per day. The daily cost for the all inclusive is $70 for an adult and $35 for a child under 12. When you add up food prices and drink prices it makes complete sense. Additionally, the all-inclusive package includes all of your non-motorized water sports, kids club, and the fitness center.
I have two boys that LOVE the water but they can only get so much of the beach and the pool. SO, it was a great option for us that the Flamingos had a Kid-Certified Staff. Everyday there were age-specific activities for our seven year old (two was too young). He could make bracelets, paint ceramic animals, play bubbles, join movie time, or even join in some good Pirate fun. During Prime Vacation season they also have Kids Nights that include dinner, arcades, discos and movies. My boys were exhausted by 5 pm because ALL they wanted to do was surf the waves or play in the pool waterfalls.
The resort also offers babysitting services which we used once. The service is $15 an hour and if you use it after 10 pm you will also need to pay $15 for a taxi. Pretty reasonable. The babysitter we used was the concierge from the hotel next door (also part of the Villas) who had a child the same age as our oldest.
The BEST activity of the week was the Sea Lions. Every Tuesday the resort brings in a Sea Lion named Maggie for all of the hotel guests (and neighboring hotel guests) to see. (It’s part of a tour promotion) Maggie was absolutely gorgeous and super sweet. She smiled, gave kisses to Gus, and was a blast to see.
My husband loved the adult activities, as he was able to play some vigorous beach volleyball, pool volleyball, and water polo.
The resort also has theme dinners on Sunday nights. It’s a little over the top but they have interesting Mexican entertainment, good food, great drinks, and entertainment for the kids.
Because my family was at the resort to review the property the General Manager offered us some fabulous extras so that we could see all the resort had to offer. I would not generally pay for these activities because, well, we can’t really afford these extravagances on just my husband’s salary. However, I do HIGHLY recommend that if you get the chance to try one or two of these please, do. They were absolutely fabulous.
My husband and I were offered the Honeymoon spa treatment at the Tatewari Spa that would include a European Seaweed Facial, Therapeutic Hot Towel Massage, Tropical Exfoliation, a bottle of champagne and Hors d’oeuvres. It is valued at $225. However, my husband is not really into spas. So, I offered to take my mother who was along for the trip with us. We were able to choose whatever treatment we wanted and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The spa is absolutely beautiful, a little pricey (but they are always offering deals), and the treatments are incredible. We both chose the mud massage and a facial and I honestly LOVED it, as I had never had either.
Dinner at La Casona;
Um, Heaven? We hired a babysitter for this evening because we wanted to be able to have at least one dinner without a child on our lap or food flung at us. It was well worth it. Chef Eugenio knows his way around organic foods, raw foods, gourmet delights, and even fabulous desserts. The menu includes specials like Kobe beef and his own specialty, Creme Brulee. Dining at La Casona is not included in the all-inclusive.
En Villa Dining with Chef Eugenio
The Villa La Estancia directly next door to Flamingos is an ownership community that is absolutely divine. We were invited to tour THE Penthouse and enjoy dinner created by Chef Eugenio and his staff. I can’t explain how special this was to my family. We were able to enjoy the sunset from the top of the resort, sip a cocktail, and dine with one of Mexico’s premier chef’s.
Cooking Lessons with Chef Eugenio
The last day of our trip Eric and I had the unique opportunity to have an afternoon cooking lesson with chef Eugenio. Yes, me…the one who does not cook. I actually learned to cut vegetables the correct way, learned a fabulous secret to REALLY good guacamole, and I now have an incredible recipe for Tortilla Soup (that I can’t wait to try!).
The afternoon included a Personalized Chef Jacket, lunch and wine, a recipe book, diplomas, and the lesson. The afternoon is valued at $200 per couple.
You can take a tour of the entire facility online at the Villa Del Palmar Flamingos.
*As a member of the Villa Group Travel Affiliate Network, The Villa Group Resorts gave my family the spa treatment, several dinners, the cooking class, and a portion of our stay in return for this review.
Visit Marcie online at Grown in My Heart, an adoption community where everyone can grow together.
The author of Does This Make My Assets Look Fat shares her tips on how to manage your finances and invest like a pro!
Financial expert Susan Hirshman, author of the brand new book “Does This Make My Assets Look Fat” answers our readers’ burning money questions and breaks down the concept of investing and budgeting and puts it into terms any woman can understand.
As Susan sees it, the rules of successful dieting are the same rules that apply to successful money management. In her new book, Susan offers women a 3-phase personalized plan that follows common dieting programs to help them understand their finances.
Susan’s program completely removes the intimidation factor that often accompanies the words ‘personal finance’ and ‘investing’ and provides women with all the information they need to take control of their financial situations once and for all.
Question: How do you ‘get on a budget’? What are the first steps? ((We have a decent income-but we don’t have much to show for it!! We don’t waste $$ on material things-but we barely have anything saved.)
Susan: Believe it or not this question can be answered by discussing dieting and hidden calories. You know what I am talking about – those extra calories you ingest without really counting and paying attention to. The handful of M&M’s from your colleagues candy bowl, the second glass of wine, eating out of the refrigerator, and on and on. Dieting experts state that the first thing you have to do to is to find all these “hidden calories” that are sabotaging your success by writing down everything you eat.
Have you ever done this? If you have, then you are familiar with the first step in developing a budget – writing everything down and finding our “hidden expenses.” Hidden expenses just like hidden calories are things that are not memorable but when you add them together they become significant and tend to impair your financial success. ‘
Budgeting (I prefer using the term spending plan – doesn’t it sound much more palatable?) is all about awareness and measurement of your cash inflows (net salary, dividends etc) less your fixed expenses (those that are must have’s, i.e. mortgage, utilities etc) and your variable expenses (those that are discretionary, i.e. entertainment, clothes etc.)
Bottom line – if you don’t measure you can’t manage.
There are many tools available on the web to help you keep track of your spending plan. In addition your bank and/or credit card companies may offer tools as well. Get on it…☺
Susan L. Hirshman is a former managing director at JP Morgan. She holds an M.B.A. from Baruch College and is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Financial Planner, a Chartered Life Underwriter, and a Chartered Financial Analyst. She currently lives in Manhattan.
If you have a money question for Susan, email us at email@example.com.
Too busy to catch up on the news, entertainment and life in general? No worries, check out our Fave Five of the week and share some of your picks if we’re missing any!
1. You Again – Took my kids and husband to see this movie starring Kristen Bell, Sigourney Weaver, Jamie Lee Curtis and Betty White and LOVED it. If you were bullied in high school and lived to tell about it, or were the popular girl who regrets having tortured a few nerds who are now bazillionaires, then this is the film for you. You know it’s a hit when you leave the theater and your kids say – “Mom, I would totally buy this movie on DVD.”
2. Disney Resorts Announcement – We’ll have a more in depth post soon, but last week, I got to attend an event hosted by Tom Bergeron which featured a surprise appearance by Michael J. Fox (OMG). The event was produced by Disney Resorts to unveil its new campaign to turn the spotlight on vacationers and share the details on some of their latest offerings – including the launch of the Disney Dream – a new cruise ship with a 150 foot water slide that sends adventurers racing out over the ocean (in an enclosed tube of course). If you’ve been to Disney and have a favorite memory you’d like to share, your photos and video could potentially wind up in a commercial! Just head over to their Disney Resorts Facebook page and take a look…
3. Sandwich 101 with the Deen Bros. Paul Deen’s sons know how to make a mean sandwich and recently, I got the chance to meet them when they hosted a sandwich making event on behalf of the Grain Foods Foundation. The brothers shared with us how they launched their successful sandwich business – their mom sent them knocking on doors selling her tasty creations when they were kids and it paid off big time. Plus, they gave us some lessons in sandwich making and shared the recipe for the ultimate PB&J panini sandwich. Yummy! Visit the Go with the Grain Facebook page and enter to win the chance to spend a weekend with the Deen brothers.
4. The New Fall Collection at Ann Taylor Loft – had a mini shopping spree yesterday and since I am a sweater fanatic, I was over the moon to find that Loft has long comfy sweaters in all shapes, sizes and colors – but charcoal gray is definitely the color they’re showing most. Also picked up a pair of my favorite pants (I’m a Marisa – a curvy fit that sits below the waist) and a frilly gray t-shirt with flowers and a little bling. Plus, snagged a denim jacket that was on sale for $39.99 – happiness is…Sales!
5. Tasti D-Lite. I don’t know about you – but I used to love hitting Tasti D-Lite with my friends when I was still living in Manhattan and then, when we moved, I simply forgot about it because all we had in the burbs was Carvel, Ben & Jerry’s and the supermarket. Well, not anymore! Tasti D-Lite has ventured out of the city and into Westchester and I got the chance to enjoy a small Dutch chocolate cup with blueberries that was less than 100 calories and my daughter went for a scrumptious parfait filled with berries, chocolate ice cream and granola. Nothing makes me happier than ice cream that tastes great and is low in calories. Like a beer commercial for desserts. And if you are a die-hard Tasti D-lite fan like me, you can get one of their cards at the store and Tweet or Facebook about your love of Tasti-D and earn points for more treats. Soooo smart.
So what’s on your fave five this week? Share your picks now!
I hope you enjoyed my last “Organized Mom” blog, encouraging you to get your kids and family on board with household responsibilities. I have to share with you an example of how beneficial it is to delegate household responsibilities to your kids.
After a day spent mostly in the car running errands and attending meetings, I came home to a messy kitchen, un-mowed lawn, a pile of unfolded laundry on the floor, dirty base boards and dinner not made yet. I pondered, just for a moment, how I was going to get it all done and recharge my batteries for the evening. Like I said, it was just a minute of pondering… and then things again became clear, my kids.
I quickly called a meeting to order and delegated immediate tasks to each child. One son took the lawn, another took the dishes and the youngest took wiping down the baseboards. I got stuck with the laundry.
What would have taken me all night was done in a few hours. Not only did my entire family have free time to do whatever, my boys (who may one day be future husbands) learned that their help is required and needed to run and manage a home. This is something for which I am sure my future daughter-in-law will be thankful.
One of the best ways to organize chores for the kids is to decide what days your child will do them. If they are busy throughout the weekdays with sports or other activities, then maybe the weekend would be better. However, your child may have plenty of time during the weekdays. In our household, my kids wanted the weekends off, just like I did. Hmmm… somehow that does not actually happen for me. ☺
During my boys’ elementary school years, we decided to have one chore per child per day with the weekends off. To make it clear, we did not consider making their beds, brushing their teeth or picking up their rooms a chore. Those tasks were just cleaning up after themselves.
On Mondays, our oldest son would clean up after our dog in the backyard. Tuesdays, he would match clean socks from the laundry. On Wednesdays he would dust. Thursdays were clean the bathroom day; and Fridays, he would gather the trash and set it out. It’s wonderful to me when I see my boys helping out around the home. This allows me to have more time to get other more important projects completed and organized.
Once you decide when and what chores your child will do, post a chore schedule. Keep the same schedule anywhere from 3-6 months, so that your child will learn to master that chore and it becomes habitual as to what they have to do each day. If you have multiple children, rotate chores out every 3-6 months, so eventually everyone will learn how to do everything.
For a no cost way to create a chore chart, try these websites: Cards and Chart Jungle.
Now Go and Delegate!
Lorraine Brock is a professional organizer, family coach, speaker, and founder and owner of “ Get Organized!” “Get Organized!” is a professional organizing company in the Dallas, Texas area. “Get Organized!” specializes in organizing and de-cluttering homes as well as implementing systems in the home for better family management.
A popular media guest, Lorraine has appeared on Dallas’ two top morning television shows: Good Morning Texas and Good Day Fox, and has been featured on various radio outlets. She has been hallmarked in many local, regional, and national print and online magazines, such as the Dallas Morning News, The North Texas Kids Magazine, SheKnows.com, and Daily Candy Kids. To get more helpful advice from Lorraine, visit her blog Get Organized!
Pediatricians, moms and authors, Laura A. Jana, MD, FAAP and Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP offer a wealth of “parent-tested, pediatrician-approved” advice in Heading Home With Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality, Second Edition (American Academy of Pediatrics, September 2010). Available on the American Academy of Pediatrics official Web site for parents, HealthyChildren.org. Also available in bookstores nationwide.
The following is an excerpt to help you navigate those first crucial weeks of parenthood and caring for a newborn:
The Many Colors of Poop
Long after adjusting to parenthood and your role as principal poop watcher and wiper, you may still find yourself fretting over changes in the color of your baby’s poop. In reality, once your baby has pooped enough to get rid of the tarry meconium, all the varying shades of yellow, brown, and even green are considered perfectly acceptable. Mustardy yellow is the color of choice for most breastfed babies, and yellow-tan with hints of green for those who are formula-fed. Being presented with a changing palette of colors is not uncommon, however, particularly later on down the road when your baby is introduced to such things as solid foods and snotty nose colds, both of which can add new shades and substance to the mix.
Black, White, and Shades of Red
There are a few colors of baby poop that, should you see them, always warrant discussion with your baby’s doctor.
Red. Seeing red can mean blood, especially in the newborn period when your baby isn’t eating or drinking anything red-colored that could be mistaken for blood when it comes out the other end. Blood should not signal you to panic immediately, but you should bring it to the attention of your pediatrician, who will be able to help you sort out the cause. It is possible for babies to swallow some blood during delivery that presents itself shortly thereafter–either in the baby’s spit-up or poop–but, nevertheless, any amount of bloody poop should be evaluated because it can also be a sign of a problem.
Black. Black-colored poop sometimes represents old blood because blood is known to turn from red to black over time in the intestinal tract. Remember that this black color alert does not apply to your baby’s first few meconium bowel movements, which you can fully expect to be black and tarry looking.
White. White poop is quite rare, but needs to be brought to the attention of a doctor ASAP because it can be caused by an underlying liver problem. The earlier it is addressed, the better–either for peace of mind or medical management.
*Book excerpt from Heading Home with Your Newborn (Second Edition/Copyright 2010/ American Academy of Pediatrics).
The Heading Home with Your Newborn excerpts are sponsored by the Role Mommy Writer’s Network.