Learn How to Get Back to Basics with RETRO BABY

Written by Role Mommy contributor, Danielle Feigenbaum.

Retro_Baby_cover_v5_smallEST.jpg Cut back on all the gear and boost your baby’s development with more than 100 time-tested activities.

The new book, Retro Baby written by Anne H. Zachry, PHD, OTR/L, is released by the American Academy of Pediatrics. This book is intended to help parents and caregivers understand the importance of one-on-one play with children during the early stages of life. With over 20 years experience, Zachry understands that each family and baby have different needs and in her book, she offers many flexible strategies and suggestions for playtime that provide lots of opportunities to spend valuable time with baby, creating that special bond that will last a lifetime.
Packed with more than 100 wonderful activities based on modern day research, Retro Baby is a comprehensive guide that will help parents and caregivers:
-Learn how crucial connections are formed between a child’s brain and muscles during the first year of life.
-Discover how the over use of some products can hinder infant exploration.
-Observe how good old-fashioned play affects your baby’s development in a positive way.
-Try a variety of ideas that enhance baby’s ability to learn.
-See how to make traditional, handmade toys using common household items.
Retro Baby also includes chapters on keeping your sleeping baby safe, practicing tummy time and preventing positional skull deformities.
It’s only been six years since my little one was a baby and there are so many new “things” out there claiming to be good for child’s development. I love the idea that you don’t need all the bells and whistles, that just playing with and using things around your house are great for their development. The book even has words to some nursery rhymes you can sing to your baby, so sweet! I was just watching old videos of my kids and they were so smiley when I sang “If you’re happy and you know it” or “Open shut them” etc. There are also chapters on enhancing development with retro activities split up into 2-3 month intervals.
This book will make a fabulous baby shower gift, everyone with a baby should have one! Retro Baby is available now through Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and bookstores nationwide.

Peer Pressure Impacts Parents Too

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.
Article is from Your Teen Magazine. Marye Audet is a freelance writer and author of two books. Read more of her work at www.maryeaudet.com.

I’m Addicted to Blowouts

iStock_000004503718Small.jpgYes – you heard it right. Lately, I haven’t been in the mood to blow dry my hair each day and so recently, when a friend said she was going to her salon for a blowout, I decided to tag along and get one myself. The very next day, I had to head out of town and I have to say, that $40 blowout was the best investment I could have made. Didn’t have to wash my hair while I was gone and it was silky smooth with just the right curl at the ends.
Fast forward a few days later and I had to head out of town yet again. This time, I was Florida bound. Whenever I visit Florida one of two things happen. First – my hair gets incredibly dry and frizzy and second, when I wash it and attempt to straighten it, whatever I do only makes it worse. So imagine my delight when I passed by a salon offering a blowout special and they were even using some of the hair products I absolutely love (Living Proof has become a new addiction for me too). And so, I decided to make an impromptu appointment and then managed to have silky smooth hair for the next five days. Yes five days! I just washed my hair today and have to say, it was so liberating to not have to whip out the blow dryer for 20 minutes of hair drying torture.
The place I went to even gave me a card so if I get five blowouts, I get the sixth one free! Sure, five blowouts is $240 but it’s so worth it if you look and feel like a million bucks.
If you’ve never had a blowout, then you don’t know what you’re missing. Look into it the next time you’re at your salon and trust me when I tell you, once you start getting those blowouts, you’ll become an addict just like me. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a beauty addiction.
Next stop…lipo!

Role Mommy Talks to the Stars of THE BOOK THIEF

Written by Role Mommy Contributor, Kristin Flannery

Based on the beloved bestselling book, THE BOOK THIEF tells the inspirational story of a spirited and courageous young girl (Sophie Nelisse) who transforms the lives of everyone around her when she is sent to live with a new family (Geoffrey Rush & Emily Waston) in World War II Germany. Rolemommy sat down to discuss the film.
Though audiences might not know SOPHIE NÉLISSE (Liesel) right away, at the young age of 13, she has already won a Genie Award for her performance in Monsieur Lazhar which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year in 2012.
Since Sophie is so young but very talented, we wondered how she felt working with a seasoned professional such as Geoffrey Rush. Sophie told us, “Well, it was fun, but at the same time it was kind of hard because you know the scene when Max vomits the soup. I say, “Is he going to be all right?” And then, he would go, “Of course… not.” And that was just so funny. I would do the scene, and you can hear him, he’d go, “Of course.” I would start laughing, and I had to be serious. It was just so fun to work with him and to see how he gets every detail of the scene. I’d be looking at the scene and go, “Okay, so that’s it.” And then, he’s going to go, “No, no, no, why is my character doing this?” Every little detail, like maybe I should throw the spoon or maybe I should do this there or change my legs there, and it’s just how every scene is so detailed. I remember going in rehearsals with him and he had the book with all these little posters saying, “this there,” just underlying all this writing. I’m quite organized myself. I did have a lot of post its saying like, “this scene and this scene,” but I didn’t have any links from the book because I actually didn’t read the book. But he just details everything and it’s really interesting. It’s amazing to just see him work really.”
Sophie even memorized the whole script. She revealed that she would often help Geoffrey remember his lines, “He would stop the scene and go, “I can’t remember what I’m saying.” And so, I’d have to tell him his line but that’s fine.
We were wondering if Sophie has ever stolen anything. Sophie told us a story of when they were filming in Berlin, “I stole some books because it was the birthday of someone on set and I had nothing to buy. There was this shop right in front of the hotel, and I just said, “I’m going to steal some books.” So, I took three random books and left. Eventually, I figured out like a week after that my mom paid for the books. It was kind of a bummer because it like sort of ruined my fun. But at the same time I was happy that she paid for them because I don’t steal.”
Geoffrey let us know that he was in on it, “I said, “I’ll encourage Soph to do it and everything,” but I knew that she’d warned the shop staff. She wanted to do that just to feel the adrenaline.”
A huge part of the theme of the movie is about friendships. We wanted to know what Sophie learned about friendships during the filming of the Book Thief. Turns out, she proved to once again be wise beyond her age, “Oh, that friends are really important and that you don’t have to have many good friends. People just going around saying like, “Oh, I have 500 friends on Facebook,” but no. You only have the good friends you can only count on your hands, you know? And I would say that I have three, three good friends that I know that’ll never change.”
Don’t miss Sophie Nelisse and Geoffrey Rush in their beautiful performances as they bring to life the characters of The Book Thief, an adaptation of Markus Zusak’s 2006 novel of the same title in theaters in limited release November 8th. There is already Oscar buzz surrounding these performances, see for yourself in the latest trailer –

Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Breakfast Pumpkin with Granola and Fruit

Lana's pumpkin breakfast photo.jpg
I always wonder why we eat eggs for breakfast when so much of the rest of the world eats eggs for lunch and dinner? Similarly, why do we eat squash for lunch and dinner but not breakfast? Well, my friend Lana created a delicious breakfast pumpkin recipe that is perfect for Fall. Let’s think outside the box! Pumpkin is delicious and nutritious and a great way to start the day. You can even throw a fried egg on top!
Alma’s Breakfast Pumpkin with Granola and fruit
One pumpkin, size of your choice
Optional:Whipped cream, maple syrup, raisins, dried currants or any other dried or fresh fruit
Split open the pumpkin, save the seeds for later roasting and place flesh side up on a cookie sheet covered in tin foil or parchment paper
Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the pumpkin and remove from oven when the pumpkin is tender (test with a fork)
Remove the pumpkin flesh and mash desired amount for breakfast and let the rest cool enough so you can store it in a tupperware in the fridge
Add whipped cream, maple syrup, raisins, dried currants or any other dried or fresh fruit and or seeds/nuts
Alma Schneider
Take Back the Kitchen, LLC

Win Skylanders Swap Force!

Skylanders is “mixing it up” with the newest game in the award-winning, top-selling franchise. Skylanders SWAP Force builds upon the success of the franchise’s signature gameplay and collectible toy experience, adding an all-new dimension to the “toys to life” innovation. The game introduces a compelling play pattern — dynamic swapability — that lets gamers transform 16 SWAP Force inter-action figures into more than 250 unique characters by swapping the top and bottom halves of the toys. Now, Portal Masters can mix and match characters’ powers and moves and experience an unprecedented level of choice never before seen in a SkylandersTM game. Fans also can play Skylanders SWAP Force with their entire collection of 100+ characters from Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure® and Skylanders GiantsTM.
This is the only family-friendly game for the next generation consoles coming out (PS4, Xbox One)… And it comes out on just about everything – 3DS, iOS (iPad), Wii, Wii U, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and more!
Skylanders SWAP Force - Magna Charge.jpg
Skylanders SWAP Force features new abilities – such as flying, climbing, digging, bouncing, or teleporting – which can be used in previously unexplored areas of Skylands centered on these play mechanics. Additionally, the game features 16 new core characters, eight new LightCore™ characters and 16 new versions of fan favorite Skylanders from previous games. Now kids will have more than 100 characters from which to choose. The game’s high-resolution graphics brings detailed characters and richer environments to life, immersing players in the game like never before.
Dynamic Swapability – Skylanders SWAP Force features 16 new SWAP Force inter-action figures with new powers and a fresh play pattern – dynamic swapability – that lets kids create more than 250 unique character combinations, giving them more choice than ever before over how they fight and move in the game. With each new addition to their Skylanders SWAP Force collection, Portal Masters unlock an exciting world of possibilities. ll-New Characters – More than 50 collectible characters including 32 never-before-seen Skylanders heroes each with unique powers and personalities.
Skylanders SWAP Force - Rattle Charge (Rattle Shake_Magna Charge).jpg
Assortment of Gameplay Modes – Players will be able to experience various Survival and Battle Modes, all featuring vibrant, action-packed arenas and environments where Portal Masters can test the true strength of their Skylanders.
Don’t just take our word for it, see what USA Today, AP and Common Sense has to say!
Skylanders SWAP Force - Rattle Shift (Rattle Shake_Night Shift).jpg Exclusively for our Role Mommy readers, enter for a chance to win a Skylanders Swap Force Starter Pack for the XBOX 360!! Simply enter a comment below with your email address for your chance to win. Just in time for the Holidays, you can make someone very happy. We will pick the lucky winner on Monday November 25th. Good Luck!

Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Yucca latkes/fritters

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Hi everyone!
With the holidays approaching, there may be the stress of what to make to make different this year. How about a new fangled, simple and festive twist on Chanukah latkes/tasty appetizers/side dish?
What will your signature dish be this year?
Yucca Fritters/Latkes:
2 cups grated yucca root, about one 6 inch, peeled yucca root, grated on the large holes of a cheese grater or in the attachment of a food processor
1 tsp fennel seed (anise)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp sugar
3 TBS almond flour or whole wheat or white flour (experiment if you choose to with other flours)
1 egg
olive oil for frying
chopped cilantro for topping/ garnish
Combine all ingredients (up until the egg) until combined
Squeeze out excess liquid and mold pancakes into 3″ circles and set aside on a plate
In a medium to large sized non-stick pan over medium to high heat, heat up enough oil to fully coat the pan-one-two TBS
Throw a piece of grated yucca on the pan and if it sizzles, it’s ready
With a spatula, slide pancakes into oil leaving at least an inch or two between pancakes
Fry for a few minutes until golden and then flip over
When both sides are golden, remove with a spatula
Set aside on a paper towel lined plate loosely covered with foil so they stay crispy
Add more oil to pan if necessary and repeat until all the fritters are done
Serve with sour cream or any other sauce you like and chopped cilantro
For more great recipes visit takebackthekitchen.com

Reviews & Interviews: Pippin on Broadway

You know what never gets old with me? Getting the chance to see a Broadway show – especially with my family. You see, my lifelong dream was to appear on Broadway and while I never did make it to the Great White Way, I did get the chance to stand on a Broadway stage recently when I got to see Pippin with my husband and kids and then we got the chance to interview the cast after the show.
If you haven’t seen Pippin yet, then what are you waiting for? The performances are top notch, the acrobatics are truly magical and Tovah Feldshuh, who plays Pippin’s grandmother, has one of the most memorable performances in the show – not to mention the most buff arms I’ve ever seen! Patina Miller is stellar in her role as the leading player; Terrence Mann is masterful in his role as King Charlemagne and wife Charlotte D’Amboise joins him as incredibly conniving and sexy wife Fastrada. Meanwhile, the moment Rachel Bay Jones appears, audiences instantly fall in love with her flighty character, Katherine. Pippin was played by understudy Billy Tighe, who rose to the occasion and tackled the challenging role and hit it out of the park.

Following the show, we got the chance to meet actresses and moms Charlotte D’Amboise and Rachel Bay Jones who shared details about their grueling production schedule and how often their kids have come to the show. We then had the thrill of a lifetime when we were invited on stage where we got the chance to meet legendary actress Tovah Feldshuh. In order to stay in top shape for the show, Feldshuh says she does pilates, yoga and swims. She added that she’s currently playing the role of a lifetime and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
Before we knew it, it was time to leave, but my daughter and I walked out of the theater with the biggest smile on our faces. As the holiday season approaches, if you’re planning to hit the Big Apple, then make sure you make a date with Pippin. Trust me when I tell you, you’ll be glad you did.
Disclosure: I was provided with two free tickets to see Pippin the Musical. However, all opinions are my own.