Mothers Day: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

iStock_000015524780XSmall.jpgGuest contributor and author Libby Gill shares the Gifts she Cherishes Most from her Children
With Mother’s Day upon us, I can’t help but reflect on the handprint paintings and paper towel roses I’ve received over the years. Though I’m a diehard de-clutterer, I’ve still got every single one.
My “babies” (now 16 and 20) can barely believe how different the world it is than when I was a kid. We played outside until the streetlights came on, which was also the signal for dinnertime. We rode bikes without wearing helmets. We broke a bone or two and nobody thought it was a big deal unless we missed a swimming party.
Our parents more or less left us alone to deal with life as it came. But we can’t do that with our kids (assuming we’d want to), precisely because it’s a different world. Besides being born with an uncanny ability to operate technology, our children have grown up with terrorism, predators and an emphasis on sexuality far more disturbing than anything we faced.
Add to that our instant media culture, and dangers loom larger. In spite of those dangers, or because of them, our primary role as parents is to guide our children to become self-sufficient adults, just as it was in our parents’ day. Given the nature of our world, how do parents let go and let children grow up?
For some parents, the answer is: They don’t. Family size has diminished and parental involvement has grown. The 76,957,164 boomer parents born between 1946 and 1964 are widely considered the wealthiest and best-educated in history. Although many belong to two-career families, they still believe that kids are the center of their universe. The result? A generation of micromanagers whose endless hovering has earned them the title “helicopter parents.”
And age doesn’t seem to make it easier for parents to back off. According to a UCLA survey, 26 percent of college freshmen speak to their parents every day. A Middlebury College study found that parents phone, e-mail or text their freshmen 10 times per week. So how do we make our hovering helpful instead of harmful?
Understand why it’s hard to let go. The dangers are real, and wanting to protect your kids is a natural parental instinct.
Resist the urge to rescue. Instead, encourage discussion; let your kids know they’re heard and respected. Give advice, but let them handle problems on their own.
If you’re always hovering, you send children the message that they’re fragile and unequipped to deal with the world.
Recognize that kids often are as unsure of their abilities as you are. Find safe, supervised places like summer camp, team sports and after-school programs where kids can build skills and self-confidence without your help. As you see them become more competent, you’ll feel better about giving them more challenging opportunities.
The question is: Are you ready for the challenge?
Gill Headshot.jpegLibby Gill is a business coach, brand strategist and bestselling author of You Unstuck: Mastering the New Rules of Risk-taking in Work and life. Learn more at

Fave Five TV Commercials

Call me crazy, but I love everything about TV shows…including the commercials!! I mean, sometimes the commercials are better than the television shows themselves. Get ready to burst out laughing with these clever ad campaigns…
1. New Oreo Fudge Cookies…”Shut the Front Door!”

2. Toyota Highlander…”Help me!”

3. Geico – Whee, Whee, Whee…All the Way Home!

4. Allstate Mayhem and GPS…Recalculating!

5. M&M Pretzels…Alright, let’s get this over with!

Have any favorite commercials we’re missing? Feel free to share!

Drive Safely Into Summer: May 11 Event for Teens & Parents

Color flyer May 11 program (1).jpg
Join us for our next Allstate Readiness event at the White Plains Library, Wednesday, May 11 from 7-9 pm when we welcome an incredible panel of experts to tackle the topic “Drive Safely Into Summer” – a session dedicated to protecting teen drivers and parents. Our panelists include:
101_1343.JPGJacy Good and her fiance Steve Johnson became safe driving advocates after Jacy was seriously injured and her parents were killed in a traffic accident caused by a teen. The accident, which took place on the same day as Jacy’s graduation, irrevocably changed her life and her future. As she recovered, Jacy and her fiance have dedicated their lives to educating teens and adults about the dangers of distracted driving.
Rik Paul Photo, '10.JPGRik Paul has been the automotive at Consumer Reports since 2000 and recently participated in a national conference on texting and driving spearheaded by Consumers Union and the Department of Transportation.
stevephoto.JPGSteve Mochel is co-owner of Fresh Green Light, a driving school in Rye, NY which has been recognized nationally for its innovative driving simulators. Ford Hybrid cars with in car cameras and classroom and online learning. He’s also the father/step-father of four children.
Susan Murphy is a licensed clinical social worker and a Student Assistance Counselor, serving in this role at White Plains High School for 11 years. She is also the advisor to the high school’s students against drunk driving chapter.
The White Plains Library is located at 100 Martine Avenue. The event is funded by a grant through the Allstate Foundation.

Take Back the Kitchen with Homemade Chicken Fingers

P1060745.jpgLet’s face it, kids love chicken fingers and many of us have it as our go-to easy dinner. These homemade ones are just as kid friendly, MUCH more healthy and freeze really well. This means that we can whip these babies up if we are running out the door or need the sitter to make the kids dinner. Trust me, you’ll be shocked at how your kids will devour them….
Homemade chicken fingers:
Take 2 lbs chicken breast cutlets, sliced about 1″ thick X 4″long
2 cups whole wheat bread crumbs
olive oil spray or PAM
salt and pepper
optional grated Parmesan cheese, about 1/4 cup
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Place bread crumbs in a shallow bowl, lay raw chicken on a cutting board next to it..
Beside the cutting board, have a foil lined baking sheet with a stainless steel rack on top (the rack is so the chicken stays crispy).
Spray the rack with oil spray.
Take raw chicken “fingers” and press them in the bread crumbs mixed with Parmesan if you are using it. Lay the chicken piece on the oiled rack. Continue with this process until all the chicken is on the rack. You may need 2 racks or 2 shifts in the oven.
Now spray the tops of the chicken with the oil spray, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, flip chicken with tongs and spray with oil spray on the other side.
Cook another 15 minutes and remove from oven. Enjoy!
P.S. You can brush agave syrup or honey on the chicken before you coat with breadcrumbs to give it a sweet taste. Yum…….
P.P.S. Serve with a honey mustard sauce, BBQ sauce, ketchup or a mayo based dipping sauce.
For more great recipes from Alma Schneider, visit her at Take Back the Kitchen.

American Idol Re-Cap

If you missed last night’s Idol, Shari Von Holten and Cathy Day at HaveuHeard Shares the Latest News
americanidol.jpg The 10th season of American Idol is winding down. With outstanding performances by the contestants it was hard to tell who would be going home. Ryan Seacrest informed the audience we would be surprised with the results this week.
The group kept the theme by singing a medley of Carole King songs including “It Might As Well Rain Until September,” “One Fine Day,” “Go Away, Little Girl” (sung by Scotty McCreery, surrounded by adoring female fans), and “It’s Too Late.”
Ryan Seacrest began the elimination process with Haley Reinhart, who he quickly declared as safe. Next it was Scotty McCreery’s turn. Instead of giving him his results he sent him back to the couch. He did the same thing to Lauren Alaina and Casey Abrams. This week’s eliminations are very dragged out.
Next up was James Durbin, who was safe. With four contestants left to learn their fate, Jacob Lusk joined Lauren, Scotty and Casey on stage.
To break up the elimination process American Idol Season 9 contestant, Crystal Bowersox performed ‘Ridin on the Radio’ and Bruno Mars performed, ‘The Lazy Song’.
Finally we learn Casey Abrams was eliminated. Casey was saved by the judges in the beginning of the season. Are you surprised by his elimination?
Check out Casey’s performance from the night before.

Shari Von Holten and Cathy Day

Ask Single Mom Walking

Dear Single Mom Walking:
I’ve had this happen twice since I started dating my boyfriend. We stop by his house and I use the bathroom and THERE’S NO TOILET PAPER! What’s the proper etiquette here? We’ve only been dating a few weeks!
Tired of no TP
Dear Tired of no TP:
Oh, I’ve had that happen to me on many occasions. I remember once resisting the urge to use a page from one of the magazines the guy had sitting “toilet” side. It was hard because it was a picture from the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, Cindy Crawford I believe.
My dilemma was that I was afraid he’d find out and think that I was bitter and petty, wait, make that KNOW I was bitter and petty and he was so hot and as of yet had not realized that I was not so I wanted to keep things moving forward.
What I ended up doing in that situation was, first, while still sitting on the toilet I tried to open every cabinet door and drawer hoping, of course, to find a spare roll. Sadly, I have found over the years that if a person runs out of toilet paper and doesn’t replace the roll right away, chances are that person is a male who lives alone and is straight, which leaves about a 2% chance that when you open that cabinet door you’re not going to find what it is you are looking for. However, there is a 99% chance you will encounter at least one roach motel and a bottle of cleaning fluid that has gone unused for so long, the color of the liquid bears little to no resemblance to what it was on the day it was originally purchased.
I must confess, that have long given up attempting this particular stretching maneuver because inevitably I would either end up falling off the toilet with my pants still at my ankles, pulling a hamstring, usually the left one, don’t ask me why or start feeling sorry for myself that the only kind of guy who wants to date me has nothing in his bathroom cabinet but roach motels and old cleaning supplies.
What I do end up doing now is letting myself air dry for a bit and then just sucking it up and hoping that by midway through our evening together I don’t end up smelling like the inside of a airport bathroom.
It’s funny though because even though I’m now in my 40’s, I still don’t sit there for too long, lest this man in my life think that I might be doing anything other than peeing. I guess I can’t get past the notion that I might be the only one who actually finds herself timing somebody when they go to the bathroom and then feeling embarrassed for them if they stay too long you know, because they’re like human.
Finally, what you could do, which is what most mentally healthy women do do is just yell from the bathroom, “Can you toss me a some toilet paper please?!” and then right as he flings it over to you, yell out, “This is going to cost you and I’m not talkin dollars here!”
jessica bern 724 (1).JPGJessica Bern is a single mother to a 7yr old girl, a money sucking dog named Teddy and the ex wife of a man who left her for his mother. She writes at, where you she blogs all about it and where you can watch the Bernthis web series she created about a neurotic woman’s journey through her weekly visits to her therapist’s office. She also spends some of her time giving out sex/dating advice over at and has worked her vlogging magic with, Kodak and Seventh Generation.
For more from Jessica Bern, visit her blog, Bern This.

Every Mother Counts: Supporting Moms on Mothers Day

SANY0205.JPGI recently got the chance to attend a screening of a new documentary produced by former supermodel and mom, Christy Turlington Burns. After gracing countless magazine covers, Turlington Burns has now become a staunch advocate for pregnant mothers worldwide as the founder of Every Mother Counts, an advocacy and mobilization campaign to increase education and support for maternal and child health. After experiencing a complicated birth first hand, Turlington set out to research the state of maternal health worldwide and the results she uncovered was staggering.
I bet you may not know this, but 1000 women die every day due to pregnancy related causes. Even more surprising is that the United States ranks 40th worldwide in mortality rates among new mothers. For me, the concept of becoming a new mom was exciting and overwhelming at the same time. Throughout my pregnancy, I never once considered that I was putting myself or my unborn child in danger while experiencing labor for three days straight or working so hard that I delivered three weeks earlier than we had planned. With our first child, I chalked up my slow delivery to being a first time mom and simply not being tough enough to handle those labor pains. When I finally gave birth nearly three days later, my daughter was born with meconium in her system (she had passed a stool during childbirth which could have caused severe brain damage if inhaled). Fortunately, she turned out to be a perfectly healthy little girl.
On the flip side, three years later, my son nearly flew out of my body – but not before his umbilical cord became wrapped around his neck. My husband watched on the monitor as his heartbeat quickly dropped and our OB/GYN instructed me to push hard while she loosened the umbilical cord and my son emerged breathing, crying, and again, perfect.
Sadly, there are women throughout our country and the world who do not have access to adequate health care to help protect themselves as well as the health of their unborn child. Take a look at a film clip from “No Woman, No Cry,” a documentary which premieres May 7th on the OWN Network that was directed by Christy Turlington Burns.

photo.jpegI am honored to be a part of Mom4Moms, an online advocacy group created by marketing guru Holly Pavlika. Holly reached out to some of the most influential bloggers and social media experts to help raise awareness for and to encourage individuals to donate their old cell phones to Hope Phones so that they can get them into the hands of health care workers who can assist pregnant mothers in the Congo. The goal is to recycle 10,000 phones. Incidentally, in the US alone, over 500,000 phones are discarded annually!
Picnik-collage1.jpegThere are many more ways to participate in this amazing effort – from making a donation, to sharing your personal story or spreading the word about Every Mother Counts via Facebook, Twitter and blog posts. I’d also like to strongly recommend you watch the premiere of “No Woman, No Cry” on the OWN Network Saturday, May 7 from 9:30-11:00 PM, ET/PT. (Photo credit:
Visit the Mom4Moms page on Facebook as well as Holly Pavlika’s site HaveMomentum for more details about the effort to spread the word about this important cause and here’s hoping this Mother’s Day, you and your family help make a difference in the lives of a mom who truly needs your help.