Nancy Drew: 85 Years and Still Sleuthing and Inspiring Generations

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There’s just something about Nancy Drew. Nancy Drew boldly leaped onto the scene in 1930 and has dazzled generations of fans ever since – from books to TV and movies to video games. As pure unadulterated entertainment for the 8 to 12 set, many adults have fond memories of late nights under their bedcovers with a flashlight in hand following Nancy on spooky adventures, tangling with dastardly villains, and saving the world one baffling case at a time–all while Nancy sported the latest frocks and fabulous heels. 

So what is it about Nancy Drew that has kept her readers so enthralled for 85 years? Nancy is smart and sophisticated, independent, fashionable–truly fearless. Nancy Drew is an embodiment of all of these qualities that many of us – particularly girls and young women — aspire to possess. She has trailblazed through the ages, and now celebrates her 85th anniversary on April 28. It was on this day in 1930 that the first three Nancy Drew books – The Secret of the Old Clock, The Hidden Staircase, and The Bungalow Mystery were published, introducing a character that was fated to become mystery’s “IT Girl.”

Her fate, however, was no mystery considering who helped characterize and give life to Nancy Drew – her original ghostwriter, Mildred A. Wirt Benson, writing under the pseudonym of Carolyn Keene. Edward Stratemeyer who ran the Stratemeyer Syndicate, a book packager who hired ghosts to write books based on his plots and outlines, created the series and character. A 24-year-old Benson was the perfect fit to realize Stratemeyer’s vision of Nancy Drew. Benson grew up much like Nancy Drew in her native Iowa with lots of freedom to explore and forge her own adventures. Benson wrote 23 of the first 30 Nancy Drew books and gave Nancy Drew a healthy dose of pluck and vigor. 

Supreme Court Justices, lawyers, detectives, librarians and teachers, authors–you name it–have been inspired by and pay homage to Nancy Drew. No matter how difficult the mystery was or how many thrilling cliffhangers found Nancy in peril, Nancy relied on her wits and intuition as she raced off on adventures in her snappy blue roadster. She’s a  mixture of grace and gumption–a timeless character whose appeal continues to enthrall as she has expanded from books to award-winning interactive games. 

Her Interactive brought Nancy to digital life with their mystery game series. She’s a perfect fit for the interactive medium as now players can control Nancy in order to solve the mysteries. This May, their latest Nancy Drew game, Nancy Drew: Sea of Darkness, will launch. Set in Iceland, Nancy is caught up in a brand new mystery as the captain of a celebrated ship goes missing in the night.  

Nancy has been featured in more than 500 books, published in 27 languages around the world and she shows no signs of slowing down. Her largest fan organization, the Nancy Drew Sleuths, will gather in Iowa City this week to celebrate the 85th anniversary of Nancy Drew and the110th anniversary of Benson’s birth. And we can’t wait to see what she has in store for the next 85 years.

For more information about the Nancy Drew Sleuths and the Iowa convention, visit www.ndsleuths.com. For more information about the latest Nancy Drew games or to pre-order the new Nancy Drew: Sea of Darkness, visit www.herinteractive.com

School Lunch Hero Day!

Written by Role Mommy Wing Mom, Danielle Feigenbaum

school_lunch_hero_day_high_res (1).jpg This Friday, May 1st is School Lunch Hero Day! The unsung heroes of our kid’s cafeteria are the men and women who work so hard to ensure our children are well-fed during the school day. We all need to take a moment to say thank you and realize that the school lunch staff interact with our sons and daughters on a daily basis. All across the country the lunchroom workers are helping educate our children on healthy eating habits as well preparing healthy food to serve.
It is so important for our kids to keep their energy up during the day, and lunch helps give them the nutrition they need to focus and excel. I know there are many thankless jobs out there – but let’s all take some time on Friday to say “thank you” to the lunch staff! There are many ways to get involved. You can host a celebration like many schools will, or you can have your kids and their class make cards! Here is a link to some fun activities and cards you can print out. As you can see below my kids had fun doing the maze and making their own comic about the adventures of School Lunch Hero. Tell your friends and tell your kids and this Friday make the day of a special lunch hero in your school!
You can also check out Tray Talk’s Facebook page, where they have lots of great stories from schools all over the country! www.facebook.com/TrayTalk
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www.schoollunchheroday.com
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Take Back the Kitchen with Alma Schneider: Green Pea Guacamole

IMG_0236.JPGSummer is coming which means dips galore at BBQs! This is a recipe for a simple and healthy green pea guacamole that a friend gave me years ago. I just rediscovered it and thought I would share with all of you. Enjoy!
Green Pea Guacamole:
1 handful of fresh mint leaves, washed and dried
Juice from 2 limes
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup frozen and then defrosted peas
1 garlic clove
1/2 t curry powder
1/2 t cumin
salt and pepper to taste
Steps:
Just put it all into the food processor and blend until smooth.
For more great recipes please visit: takebackthekitchen.com

Blog in Your Voice and Be Your Brand

Blogging Goals and Storytelling

This post is one-stop in the month-long Blogger Babes blog tour which began here. To read this post in-context, we recommend starting at the beginning–then hop along with us for the full journey.

I’ve known Beth for many years now, and some of my fondest memories blogging are because of her and/or her role as the owner of Role Mommy. And yet she’s another virtual friend who I have yet to meet in person.

While I attended many exclusive live events and gained from online opportunities, Beth and I connected more deeply because we both have PR (public relations) background and we’re writers (authors) at heart. Beth was actually instrumental in my getting featured on Fox News during the first months transitioning out of business blogging and into mom blogging.

Anyway, it’s these kinds of relationships that I built through blogging that has made me who I am and solidifies who Beth is to me. Beth and I knew each other while I was a woman entrepreneur and self-help blogger, then a mom blogger, and now a “blogging” business blogger.

We’ve maintained our relationship through the years and continue to help each other out whenever the opportunity comes up. The thing about Beth is that she’s always been a “role mommy” to me, raising her family and work by going “beyond” the typical acts of PR. So her company names–Role Mommy and Beyond PR— have always stuck with me. Now, that’s branding!

Blogging is All About Storytelling

It’s funny. In searching her archives for her last “blogging” post, I found her Blog Resolutions in 2013 and smirked at her modesty. To think that her #1 resolution was to “Be committed to Storytelling”! To me, Beth has always told stories. But this kind of resolution shows to her readers (and me) the importance she places on wanting to improve herself and her craft in blogging.

This art of storytelling is exactly what Heidi and I teach in our debut Blogger Monthly Tutorials. We delve deeply in finding Your Voice, Your Blog, Your Brand…and achieving this by telling stories. We offer brainstorming worksheets to explore what it is you really want or should be blogging about.

So while Beth has put a stake in her voice and brands, it’s possible to do it my way, too. Whether you’re sticking with you one blog for a lifetime (like Beth), or change niches every 4-6 years (like me) the key is about telling YOUR story. This blog tour is me
just telling one continuous story across various blogs.

Need some help learning how to tell stories while blogging?

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I spent the last six months writing what I believe to be the first and only female bloggers learning library for female bloggers from female bloggers. My partner Heidi and I poured ourselves in the development of our monthly tutorials and we’re committed to doing it for the long-haul.

So let’s start telling your story by investing in our comprehensive blogging ekits–there’s a new release every single month for only $5 per month. Invest in yourself and your blog today!

Click here to sign up for the Early Bird special release of $5 per month!

Win Two-Hours of Blog Coaching with Heidi and Ponn ($298 value)

We’re crowdsourcing the name of our Monthly Training tutorials. Creating the eKits is one-thing, and publicizing it through a 25-blog blog-tour is another… and trying to tackle a creative training title is something my poor brain cannot handle alone.

So, we need your help!

Grand Prize: Two-Hours of Blog Coaching by Blogger Babes Co-Founders (Value $298)

  • Two one-hour blog coaching sessions, one with Heidi and one with Ponn. Coaching will be conducted separately on the phone (domestic), Skype, or our recorded webinar room (international).

How to Enter:

  1. Make one comment below for each monthly subscription title you create. Make sure you use your primary email, so it’s easy for us to reach you if you win!

Rules:

  1. Any age, any country. Minors with guardian’s permission.

  2. Unlimited number of entries across any/all guest blog posts from now until Monday, April 20, 2015.

  3. Deadline date: Monday, April 20, 2015 11:59 pm Pacific Time. [After all, we need time to design the covers. 😉 ]

  4. Winner selection: Heidi and I will select one winner and announce it Tuesday, April 21, 2015.

You can even champion your title by letting us know on Twitter @TheBloggerBabes or Facebook @TheBloggerBabes.

[Note: these actions do not serve as contest entries. Official entries must be made on this blogpost…but, we’d love to connect with you nonetheless.]

Next Steps:

  • Check out our draft sales page now, take some time, and share your proposed title below in the comments area on or before April 20th 11:59 pm Pacific time. While you’re there, sign up for our Early Bird release special!

Can’t wait to read your replies!

Ponn Sabra is a best-selling author and homeschool mom of three tween and teen daughters, also bestselling authors and probloggers [http://PonnSabra.com]. The Managing Partner of Blogger Babes, Ponn loves her daily yoga routines to wind down, what’s your #1 relaxation ritual?

Take Control of Your Child’s Ear Infections with Cellscope

Arlo-dad copy.jpgWhen my kids were little, I used to hate when they’d get sick. Sure I could handle a minor cold or even a tummy ache, but it always got scary when their fever would spike and they’d be crying uncontrollably and I had no idea what was wrong.
Inevitably, when the pain for them was unbearable, we’d rush them to our pediatrician or urgent care and find that they were suffering from an ear infection. My daughter had so many in one year that we were afraid it would affect her hearing – thankfully it didn’t. My 20 year old cousin was not so lucky. During her infant and toddler years, she had so many ear infections that she developed hearing loss and had to undergo surgery this year to help correct the damage that had been done when she was just a little girl.
Enter Cellscope.
Thumbnail image for CS_Comp_pers_6Fs.pngAbout a week ago, I received an innovative new product to review called Cellscope that can record the inside of your child’s ear and enables you to share the footage with a doctor who can instantly diagnose the problem and prescribe medication to treat it if there is an infection. The device is pretty easy to use. CellScope may be used on an iPhone. You simply download the Cellscope app from their website, attach a special case for your phone. You then slide the Otoscope – a device that sits in front of the iPhone camera and attach an ear piece that can then be placed inside the ear for your examination. Once you activate the app, you are ready to hit record and explore the eardrum.
Once you have recorded footage of your child’s achy ear canal (you can use Cellscope on adults too), you can use Cellscope’s Oto CONNECT service to share your video with an on-call pediatrician who’s part of their program. That doctor can then diagnose whether your child is in fact suffering from an ear infection, and send a prescription to your local pharmacy – cutting the time your child is in pain by hours — especially if they start crying in the middle of the night! All it takes is three easy steps below and you can finally get ahead of your child’s ear infections!
3 Easy Steps to Faster Relief for Your Child:
Check your child’s ears with the Cellscope simple ear exam kit.
Send the exam to one of Cellscope’s trusted doctors, day or night.
Within 2 hours, receive a diagnosis and prescription by phone, if needed.
You can also check out Cellscope’s website for instructional videos on how to properly use the device
Cellscope currently retails for $79 and your first on call doctor evaluation is free! (a $49 value).
Save 30% off your Cellscope purchase by entering the coupon code: ROLEMOMMY. This offer is valid until May 4, 2015.
Rather than have your little one sob uncontrollably for hours until you bring them to the doctor, Cellscope gives you the opportunity to see what’s happening inside their ears before it gets really serious. And that means, as a parent you could be playing an important role in protecting your child from experiencing several ear infections which could lead to serious damage later in life.
Honestly, if you’re a parent of an infant or toddler, Cellscope should go hand in hand with your child’s thermometer. It’s a no brainer — stay ahead of their ear infections and you and your little one will be happier and healthier from the start!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Cellscope. However, all opinions are 100% my own.

Now that it’s Spring it’s Time to Think Sunscreen!

IMG_0499.jpgIt’s sad to say, but I used to worship the sun growing up. Now I fear it. One too many sunburns as a kid while playing ball or going to the beach with friends made me a prime candidate for a dermatological intervention later in life. It only took three or four skin biopsies for me to finally realize how much damage I had done to myself as a teen and that there were better ways of getting vitamin D than soaking in rays. Now I’m one of those guys you see at the pool or beach wearing a shirt in the water. It’s not because I’m embarrassed about my midsection which truthfully could use some firming up, but it’s from wanting to make sure that my back, which used to get the worst burns, doesn’t see the light of day again. But unless I plan on wrapping myself in cloth from head to toe during the spring and summer months, I need to make sure that I religiously use sunscreen on the rest of my body to avoid the doctor’s scalpel.
Although I have never been loyal to a particular sunscreen brand, I always used one with a minimum SPF of 30 and tried to avoid using spray bottles whenever possible. I really still don’t understand how those help when less than half of the spray gets to your skin. But that’s another story. As I became more educated about the risks associated with UV rays, I learned the importance of being more selective in choosing a sunscreen besides just relying just on the SPF number. Unfortunately, the SPF number only measures how effective the sunscreen is for UVB protection, but not against UVA rays. In order to adequately protect yourself from both, you need sunscreen that is labeled as broad or full spectrum sunscreen. These sunscreens can only use this label if it offers broad UV coverage to the satisfaction of the FDA. You would be surprised at how much the list of choices for sunscreen whittles down once you make broad spectrum as part of your criteria. However, I recently discovered a great name in the sunscreen world that not only satisfies that criteria, but does a whole lot more. It is called Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen Don’t let the name fool you. It is manufactured here in the U.S., but still complies with the more rigorous standards for sunscreen protection mandated by Australia relative to the U.S.
Admittedly, I do love reptiles so the name of the sunscreen itself was appealing. It certainly doesn’t hurt that my son has a 2 year old bearded dragon in his room named Guapo that I think shares a striking resemblance to the blue lizard logo on each of the company’s bottles. But the more practical reason I like the sunscreen and in particular, the bottles they come in, is that the cap turns color when it is exposed to UV light. I’m usually good about putting the sunscreen on when I first arrive somewhere, but I easily forget when I’m engaged in activity. So the color change on the cap or the bottle itself for all Blue Lizard products is a great reminder for someone like that me that it is time to reapply lotion.
The company has 5 different sunscreens to choose from including Baby, Sensitive, Face, Sport and Regular. Most of the bottles come in 3 oz, 5 oz and 8.75 oz sizes, ranging in price from $14.99 to $28.99. While this is definitely on the more expensive side of available sunscreen products, it’s worth it for someone like me that truly needs protection from the sun. The money I will save in dermatologist visits is enough justification for me for the few extra dollars I will spend each year on my Blue Lizard sunscreen. And the coolest part is that Blue Lizard’s patented PBA-free Smart Bottle™ changes color from white to blue (or pink for Baby formula) when it is exposed to harmful UV rays reminding you to put on sunscreen.
It’s very difficult for me to even think about the use of sunscreen right now given how brutal the winter has been here in New York. But the warmer days seem to be sneaking up on us and before I know it, I will be back on the field with my son for the spring baseball season. While I have great memories of playing baseball as a kid, it was also the time when I had some really bad sunburns because I ran out of the house and didn’t think about applying anything to my skin. But these days, sunscreen is a necessity for kids who spend their days on the ball field or even outdoors in the playground.
So why not use a sunscreen that actually lets you know when it’s time to apply some more. Check out Blue Lizard today and if you’d like to enter to win a one month supply of Blue Lizard sunscreen for your family, enter the rafflecopter sweepstakes below!
The prize giveaway contains a 5oz Face bottle, 5oz Sensitive bottle, 5oz Sport bottle and two Baby sachets with a color-change bracelet.
Plus, save 20% off orders over $35 by visiting the Blue Lizard website and entering the promo code: P20ROLMY
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Blue Lizard Sunscreen

Smoothly plan your last minute travel itineraries

IMG_0504.JPGThere’s something to be said about sitting at home one day, then going on an impromptu vacation the next. The thrill of spontaneity and the “I can’t believe we’re doing this” factor are two sweet combinations. That being said, it can be a bit nerve wracking as vacations are usually planned out months in advance, and not only a week or two. In light of that, here’s how to smoothly plan an instant holiday.
Get in the right mindset
This is the most important part, to let go of control over every single detail and just enjoy the ride. Last minute holidays are best enjoyed by letting the fun come to you and your family, by not knowing what the day brings and flying by the seat of your pants. A last minute holiday is an adventure, and you should take that mindset into the holiday itself.
Choose where you’re going
Seems pretty obvious, that you would need to pick a place to go before going on a spontaneous trip. While you may have some destinations in mind, the key is to not be picky. You never know what place will have the cheapest airfare, it may be a place you’ve never thought about before. You don’t even need to fly, sometimes just driving a few hours for a change of scene will be enough.
Have everything ready
As soon as you have booked everything, make sure that you have got everything you need and keep them in a safe place. This includes: passport, printed off flight tickets, hotel reservations and another form of ID. Look over all the times and details with an intricate eye then don’t forget to check in. There will be an exchange point at the airport where you can change currency, so don’t worry about rushing to find one near you.
Act like a local
Chances are you’re not going to want to do “touristy” things the whole time you’re on holiday, they’ll be times when you just want to veg out and relax. That’s when you can start acting like a local, and do what locals do. You’ll find out more about the city and what truly makes that city special, away from the tourist traps.
A spontaneous trip is great when you’re feeling stressed or just need to get a way for a bit. With these tips in mind, hopefully you’ll have a great, inexpensive trip filled with lots of memories.
Disclosure: The post was published in collaboration with Thomson.