Denise Jonas Chats with Role Mommy

NYC Single Mom Linda Grant and her daughter get to meet pop superstar Nick Jonas and his amazing mom Denise…
115611805LM020_The_Quaker_C (1).JPGEver wonder what it’s like to be the mom of one the most famous groups in the world? Well, I got the chance to find out when I interviewed Denise Jonas, the mom of Nick, Joe and Kevin Jonas, aka the Jonas Brothers and let’s not forget the youngest Jonas brother Frankie.
From the moment she walked into the room, I could tell she was like every other mom I know but just happened to have talented and famous children, supportive, involved and happy that the fans love her sons as much as she and her husband do. As I was interviewing her, I envisioned that her house was always filled with friends and family, the house everyone wants to be invited to and hang out.
Denise was attending an event with her son Nick, who is teaming up with Quaker Chewy Granola Bars to launch a new singing competition for kids. The contest, known as the Quaker Chewy Superstar Search, was created to give parents of kids ages 8 – 14, a platform to showcase their kid’s vocal talents. The Grand Prize winner will get to record a song produced by Nick Jonas, an online music video, a contract with Jonas Group Management and $5,000 in cash. For more information on the Quaker Chewy Superstar Search. Visit for exact locations, dates and times.
Thanks to Beth, good friend and blogging mentor, I was invited along with fellow bloggers Amy Oztan from and Katja Presnal from to see Nick Jonas perform and interview Denise. And for the record, my eight-year-old daughter asked if she could read two of the questions and Denise graciously said, yes. Sweet, right! A thoroughly memorable experience for both mother and daughter.
Our Q & A with Denise Jonas:
Question: How have you managed to keep your sons grounded despite their
meteoric rise to fame?
Denise: I don’t know that I am responsible. I think that I have done the best I could as far as being a parent with my husband and I collectively trying to parent them. Keeping them focused on not necessarily on fame or what they are doing but focused on being a good person. That’s we have always stressed and I think that’s what’s helped them to always think about others not themselves.
Question: What is your advice to parents who have kids who dream of pursuing
a career in music?
Denise: I would say, that it’s really important to listen to your kids, and pay attention to what their ideas are, never discourage them from their goals, even if you might think are unattainable. Nick said I was singer but he was really being kind because I am not really a good singer. His dad is really the musical one. I try to encourage all of them in their gifts. My youngest son, Frankie has different gifts, so I am trying to encourage him in new ways.
Question: Now that your sons are getting older, are you finding more time?
for yourself to do the things you’ve always loved to do?
Denise: I like this question because it’s a natural question for women especially those who are stay at home but as I said, before about embracing life and living in the moment. This has been a pretty fast experience and I think that I have tried to live and experience every moment. I always felt that this is what I loved to do. I am still missing cooking for them which is satisfying. Just as Nick likes fans to sing with him, I like when they are eating my food. I am having a little more time for myself which is kind of hard, I don’t know what to do with it. But I have always just felt like that life was not about me and I think you have more reward when you take the focus of yourself especially as a mom. I think it’s rewarding when my kids are blessed.
Question: What would you cook for you them?
Denise: My family is of Italian background. My grandmother was of French descent but they love everything Italian that I cook. They love my chicken enchiladas that my mom passed down. We were always about eating healthy. We were always very careful about eating together.
Question: Did you go on the road when they were younger?
Denise: As Nick mentioned, he was auditioning a lot in New York but he did not go on the road until he was twelve. I would travel when he was in the tri-state area as much as I could. My husband was also working another job so he could not travel. My brother, who had just graduated it was the perfect fit, went with them on the road. There were not gone for extensive periods of time. After the first year, I was able to go with them.
Question: What is your favorite place since you have been all over the place?
Denise: I love Europe and New York and miss being on the East coast a lot. That’s the best part, is that we have travelled and seen the world together. I love that Frankie can say that at ten years old, his favorite city is Rome. Who can say that? It’s been a blessing.
My interview with Denise Jonas had to be one of the most relaxing, and laid-back interviews I have ever had and it’s thanks to her, engaging and warm personality. With an incredibly positive outlook on life, Denise is a true Role Mommy who encouraged her children to accomplish their dreams and as a result, they’re all living happily ever after.

The Organized Mom: Graduation Memories

j0422590.jpgThis month, I wanted to blog about my family and share some personal growth experiences. 2011 brings a celebration of 23 years of marriage and the graduation of our oldest son from high school. These milestones come with some reflection on my part as a wife and mother and an opportunity for parent performance ratings from our children. During a recent dinnertime conversation with our three teenage boys we were voted “cool” parents 90% of the time. This was an honor to hear, especially from one of our sons, because my husband and I are not pushovers. We require a high level of work and character in our boys; more than the average teenager by far.
I have discovered that even the best parenting does not stop your child from making some less than wise decisions as they move into their independence. One of the most challenging times for both parents and children is the transition from high school to making decisions about the future. Parents may want to continue to make choices for their children, but there comes a point a parent has to allow their young adult to make their own choices, even if it is the wrong one.
With graduation just over, our oldest son has had to make some big decisions. He decided to attend a local community college and explore options for his future career. But until that time, he had to finish high school.
Like most high school seniors he was ready to be done and to move on to the next phase of his life. He made plans of his own to move into an apartment with a high school friend this summer and we are extremely proud of him. He was showing the signs of being independent, but not yet having the self-discipline to make the right choices to reach his goal successfully. Let me clarify that this behavior is not a character issue, but one of being able to prioritize.
Young adults at this time of transition rarely have the wisdom they think they have. Somehow the one-time “smart” parents have suddenly become clueless and advice given out of love is not well received. Even though as parents you see a train wreak coming, you dare not say, “watch out for that train.”
At some point during our son’s senior year, my husband and I decided not to give up on parenting, but to allow him to make more of his own choices, even if that meant failing or a lost opportunity. It was tough. With instant notifications from his school coming straight to our email, we knew about missed papers, low test scores, tardies, and absences. When we saw a “0” on a paper or a missed class, we chose to say nothing. Standing by watching this happen was difficult for me as I wanted to just ground him for life for not caring about his studies.
The school policies that were in place and the counselors at my son’s school were my only hope for sound reasoning. They were of course saying the same thing I was, but it was coming from someone other than mom, and many times that can make all the difference. I let them take over handling my son’s academic behavior, while my husband and I continued to hold on to our relationship with our son.
I tell my story so others will know that it is okay to allow your child to make decisions and possibly fail. As parents you want to protect them from negative consequences, but you have to be willing to allow them those life experiences. It won’t be easy. In fact my husband had to hold me back a time or two from saying anything to my son. The two phrases my husband would use to remind me of our choice: “We can’t do it for him” and “He’s gotta want it.”
Sometimes as a parent you have to let go of trying to save your child so you can continue to nurture your child/parent relationship. Remember that your goal as a parent is to work yourself out of a job. Do not act as an enabler nor reward bad behavior. Be confident that the wisdom you provided throughout your child’s life will carry them through difficult times. You may not see the results at that very moment, but definitely at some time in his future. As a parent, I am always reminded of this verse: Proverbs 22:6; “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Lorraine Brock is a professional organizer, family coach, speaker, and president and founder of “Get Organized!” “Get Organized!” is a professional organizing company in the Dallas, Texas area. “Get Organized!” specializes in organizing and de-cluttering homes for moms as well as implementing systems in the home for better family management.
Description: Description: LB-EmailBW.jpegA 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,,, and Daily Candy Kids. Additionally, Lorraine has shared the stage with stars from HGTV and DYI Network at the Great Big Texas Home Show at the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium. To obtain more information about Lorraine, visit
Graduation Gifts from Bradford Exchange

Take Back the Kitchen with Alma Schneider

Who says dinner can’t be made in 10 minutes? This is a real winner if you have the ingredients in the freezer and pantry. No oven needed or Chinese take-out menu!
Asiany Shrimp with Spinach:
P1070327.jpg1/2 tsp grated ginger or prepared ginger
1 clove of garlic or 1/2 tsp prepared garlic
tsp peanut or canola oil
1 cup cooked leftover rice
1/2 cup frozen, peeled shrimp,
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach
a few shakes soy sauce
optional: a few shakes furikake rice seasoning (literally pronounced “furry Kaki”, no joke, found in Asian food stores)
one TBS sunflower seeds or chopped nuts
In a frying pan, place the peanut oil.
Add the garlic and ginger and stir.
Add the cooked rice and stir a bit.
Put in the frozen spinach and the frozen shrimp.
Cover with the lid for about 3-5 minutes so the frozen food is steamed. Lift lid, stir a bit until the water is evaporated and add the soy sauce. STir, remove from heat and add on chopped nuts and furikake if you are using it.
alma072V4WEB-1 (1)-thumb-188x220-2703.jpgAlma Schneider, LCSW, is founder of Take Back the Kitchen. Like TBK, this blog is dedicated to helping people recognize and overcome the common and unique obstacles to being everything they hope to be in the kitchen. She writes for Womens Day on line magazine, she is a featured Kitchen Coach Expert on and healthy food sponsor for

Ask Single Mom Walking

Dear Single Mom Walking:
Father’s Day is this weekend. Should I buy my boyfriend a gift or do I just leave it up to his ex wife to do it?
Whose Job Is It Anyway?
Dear Whose Job Is It Anyway?:
Leave it to the ex wife. Are you kidding? I’ll guarantee you she’s been all over that from the moment she received his gift of air on Mother’s Day.
What to do on Mother’s Day and Father’s day is awkward when it comes to divorced couples to be sure. In the early years, post divorce, my ex would give me whatever Mother’s day “gift” my kid had made in pre school. I, in turn, would give him the time of day, which I thought was a pretty fair exchange considering he had left me for another woman. Granted it was his mother, although in some ways it was worse, because for starters, I am a way better dresser although when it comes to needle pointing designs like kittens in a basket, I don’t hold a candle to her.
However, times have changed and I no longer have to decide if it’s worth doing 25-life just to avoid having to see him even one more time. We get along quite well now and this Mother’s day he sent me flowers.
My seven year old daughter informed me at the time that I would be receiving them on a Saturday because, “Daddy didn’t think it was worth the extra money to have them send them to you on Sunday.” Although I was caught a bit off guard, I wasn’t surprised. In the end, the flowers were very nice and I even got a small box of chocolates included in the deal.
When I showed them to my daughter she told me that “Daddy didn’t buy those for you. The man asked him and daddy told him “no, the flowers were already too much money.” She then went on to suggest that perhaps the man at the flower store felt sorry for me and that is why he put the chocolate in there anyway.
I asked my kid what the man looked like, thinking if he sounded hot, we could go over to his flower shop and thank him in person for giving me the candy. Unfortunately, she told me he, “looks just like daddy only he had a long beard and he was wearing these funny bright green sandals.”
Well, maybe next year.
This year, I will, of course, return the gesture and purchase something for my ex husband, albeit, I have no clue what that will be as it was hard enough when I actually cared about the guy.
At the end of the day, it’s your choice. Perhaps you can talk to his ex wife about it and you two can get him something together and then you can go and catch rainbows in a jar and spend the afternoon petting unicorns as well as other realistic pursuits.
Anyway, good luck!

Jim Carrey Chats with Role Mommy

Role Mommy contributor Kristin Flannery met the star of “Mr. Poppers Penguins” and she found out that in real life, Jim Carrey is not zany as he seems…
MPP_poster.jpgI expected to meet a crazy, off the wall Jim Carrey, but was pleasantly surprised to discover a deep, thoughtful man when we met for the press junket of “Mr. Popper’s Penguins,” out this Friday, June 17th in theaters nationwide. From “Ace Ventura” to “Truman,” we all know Jim Carrey’s acting range is vast, but seeing him in TV interviews when he hams it up for the camera is the way I thought he would arrive at the roundtable. I had a prime seat next to him and when he entered the room, I have to admit that I was a little nervous but he was so nice and made eye contact with everyone in such a way that you thought you were the only person in the room.
While the interviewers complimented Jim on his performance in “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” he was very humble, “I’m not the guy who really wants to go out of his way to do something soft, like without kind of a rock and roll edge to it. But, I really kind of felt touched by it. It was really nice.”
He plays a highly successful real estate developer in Manhattan, too busy to spend quality time with his family and Jim admits that his character is not that far from his own past, “That’s what really drew me to the movie other than the fact that I love penguins, and I’ve said it, so many times before I ever did this project. But, the theme of somebody who is an adventurer but doesn’t explore his relationship with his own son, is an amazing theme for me. Certainly there have been times in my life when I was so crazed with Hollywood and everything that was going on that I missed time with my daughter. So, I understand that and how important that is. And so, that’s a theme that I’m ready to play. We’ve certainly mended anything that was going on between us. We’re closer than ever.”
Like many busy parents dealing with the pressures of having it all, Jim can relate, “I mean, it’s definitely a recognizable theme and certainly something that’s really prevalent for everybody nowadays. Everybody has to work and everybody’s got that kind of guilt feeling, “Am I spending enough time,” and, “Do they have my full focus?”
The most important thing in the world is to make your kids feel like they’re the most important thing to you.”
Now that he has a close relationship with his daughter, he makes sure that his grandson is also a top priority in his life, “I just hung out with him yesterday. He is starting to mimic and stuff like that. It’s so funny. But, he’s about a year and two months. So, he’s just kind of “gah blah,” or whatever. But, he does definitely mimic. And the great thing about him, you can see with kids, before they get squashed by anybody in school or anything like that, is there is this confidence of knowing that they are it.”
Jim is amazed by the self confidence that kids have, “He walks into the room and he says, “Hi!” He’s got this mischief on his face and stuff that you can just tell that he knows he’s going to be completely accepted in every way, you know? There’s no rejection in there at all. It’s just full on, I am it. I know you want to see me. I know whenever I say hi, everybody’s going to laugh, everybody’s going to do their thing.”
When discussing child actors, Jim has an enlightening look on the topic and on parenting in general, “I know a few, and Ron Howard is this wonderful guy. He made it through because he had parents who made him the most important thing. They will, if you love them. But, it’s not their obligation. It’s up to us to love them and let them go and do their thing and not go, “You’re not making me feel good.”
A movie with penguins is sure to have ice skating and Jim took full advantage of the rink. “Behind the scenes, in the apartment when they put that floor down that you could skate on, they lose me when that happens because I’m Canadian. And the rink in Central Park, “Hello.” I was drenched with sweat. Before every take, they’d have to completely re-do my makeup and blow-dry my hair. They’d say, “Come on inside,” and then they’d blow-dry my hair and give me new clothes and everything, because I took my hockey stick and my puck out there and fantasized that I was a Stanley Cup champion.”
Jim holds teachers in high respect, especially one who saw through his antics and helped him focus his talents, “I did until I had one teacher that was so smart in the sixth grade, Lucy Dervadis. She knew because I would always finish my work first. I was really smart in school. And I would finish and then I would disturb everybody by being funny and doing disruptive things in class. And so, she had the brilliant idea of saying, “Jim, if you just sit there and be peaceful, be calm, don’t bother anybody after you finish your work, I’ll give you 15 minutes at the end of class to do whatever you want in front of the class.” But, she came up with an idea. It’s like such a clue into kids. Instead of giving them drugs for ADD, find an outlet. Find something to do with that, because it’s just that they’re special.”
Don’t miss Jim Carrey in “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” this Friday, June 17th. Follow the film on Facebook and Twitter and make sure you use the hashtag #popperspenguins. More fun interviews to come, including a chat with Carla Gugino and legendary actress Angela Lansbury! In the meantime, check out this fun trailer!