Friday, March 22, 2013

Connor and Caden Ballard Beat the Odds Two to Nothing

Every parent's nightmare is to receive news that their child has been diagnosed with cancer. This nightmare became a reality for Chris and Lisa Ballard when not one, but two of their young children were given the same cancer diagnosis, lymphoblastic leukemia. 

In 2003, the Ballard's oldest child, Connor, who was five at the time, fell ill. After persistent complaints of what seemed like normal childhood symptoms, Chris and Lisa were hit with the devastating news of a cancer diagnosis. Connor's chemotherapy treatments, though very difficult on him, proved to be successful. It looked like cancer was finally behind the Ballard family, until later that year when their two-year-old son, Caden, began to show the same symptoms that Connor had exhibited before his diagnosis. 

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Though extremely rare, Caden was diagnosed with the same type of cancer as Connor and the Ballard's nightmare was once again a reality. But it was in the darkest times for this family that Connor pulled through and taught his little brother how to be a fighter. When Caden's hair began to fall out, Connor told him that it was cool. He showed two-year-old Caden how to swallow the six pills he had to take each day for his chemotherapy and would constantly remind him that he could do it. 

Has your family received a NookKindle or iPad this year?  Find Fujimini Adventure Series award-winning books here.  Great family-friendly gifts.

Fast forward to today, and you would never even guess what these two brothers have been through together. You'll find Connor out on the basketball court and Caden on the football field, joining in activities just like all the other kids. They have both finished their treatments and now only have to go to the doctor for regular check-ups. 

Even though no parent would ever wish this diagnosis on one of their children, never mind two, Conor and Caden made the most of their grim reality by supporting each other through the entire process and going through such terrifying times together. These two brothers are an inspiring demonstration of the power and strength that a family can have, even at such a young age. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Why Mom's Really On Facebook

With the popularity and significance of social networking and social media sites reaching an all time high, more and more parents are tuning in to see what all the buzz is about. The results from several studies showed that around 90 percent of parents reported creating a Facebook account in order to monitor their children's online activity. These parent's indicated that being able to have access to their child's Facebook page was their initial reason for creating a page themselves- but since social media has become increasingly popular for people other than teenagers, are adults beginning to have other reasons to stay online? 

As hard as our kids may find it to believe, we aren't becoming part of the social media world solely to ruin their social life and drive them crazy. Joining Facebook provides parents the opportunity to reconnect with old friends, possibly track down an old flame, maybe even check out what became of that jerk on your track team in high school- ah with modern technology the possibilities are endless! 

Has your family received a NookKindle or iPad this year?  Find Fujimini Adventure Series award-winning books here.  Great family-friendly gifts.

Facebook makes it easy for adults to keep in touch with far away relatives and friends, sharing pictures and comments with each other with the click of a button. 

Facebook is even creeping its way into the workforce. Countless companies are creating and maintaining Facebook accounts, blog accounts, Twitter accounts, and so on- so nowadays it wouldn't be terribly unusual for you to have to make a Facebook page for your job. 

Since 2010, the amount of mothers in America who are on Facebook has made the jump from 50 percent to over 72 percent- and is most likely only going to go up from there. 

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Comment below and tell us your reasons for being online!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Everybody's Irish on Saint Patrick's Day!

Today, most likely no matter where you are in the world you'll be seeing an awful lot of green! Traditionally an Irish celebration, the popularity of St. Patrick's day continues to spread, weaving it's customs through countless cultures. So whether you're watching the parade through New York City or partying in the crowded streets of Tokyo- you'll probably be surrounded by people dressed head to toe in green, green and gold beads, and a beer in their hand. 

Since the very first Saint Patrick's Festival held in Ireland in 1996, holiday celebrations have spread to almost a five day event. Aside from Dublin, one of the biggest holiday celebrations includes the location of where Saint Patrick is rumored to have been buried- Downpatrick, County Down.

Montreal takes the prize for one of the longest-running Saint Patrick's Day parades throughout North America, being home to various holiday parades since 1824. 

Even people in Asia are starting to catch the Irish fever. Japan is now home to nine parades across the country- its first parade being put together by the Irish Network Japan in the early nineties. Seoul has been getting in the spirit of things since 1976, when the Irish Association of Korea organized their first parade.  

Has your family received a NookKindle or iPad this year?  Find Fujimini Adventure Series award-winning books here.  Great family-friendly gifts.

On Saint Patrick's Day everyone is Irish, so join the other billions of people around the world by cracking open a Guinness and putting on something green! 

To learn more about Modern Moms and The Mom Code, please visit ONCEKids Publishing websiteFacebook and Twitter 

Monday, March 11, 2013

The History of International Women's Day (Part Two of Two)

In the United States, March is the month dedicated to celebrating the powerful women throughout history and what it means to be a woman today. The month kicked off with International Women's Day but that left me wondering- when did International Women's day begin? And what were the events leading up to its  creation? 

The first time Women's Day was recognized was in 1909. This was a time of oppression and inequality among women. Events leading up to this included the march across New York City by 15,000 women in 1908 demanding voting rights and better pay. Originally the holiday was celebrated on February 28th, it wasn't until 1913 that it was changed to March. 

It was Clara Zetkin who was the original advocate for an International Women's Day. In 1910 a conference of over 100 women from 17 countries gathered to create the day dedicated to women that has been recognized ever since. 

The next year over one million men and women gathered to advocate women's right to vote, hold public office and putting an end to discrimination. When the tragic Triangle Fire in New York City occurred less than a week later, it increased the amount of attention to the issue of women's rights. 

Since then International Women's Day has only continued to grow in both popularity and significance. Since 1975, March 8th has been the day to women worldwide. Large conferences, parades, and rallies have been held on this day ever since to honor the achievements of women and encourage them to continue to push towards complete equality

Since the new millennium International Women's Day has been recognized in countless countries including Afghanistan, Cambodia, China, Cuba, Russia, Vietnam, Ukraine and more. In certain countries the holiday is even as big as Mother's Day, where the women are given flowers and small presents by their husbands and children. 

Women fought so hard to have the rights we have today and each March 8th we honor those accomplishments by celebrating International Women's Day, and the United States continue these celebrations throughout the entire month of March by naming it Women's History Month. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

International Women's Day Celebrates Women Everywhere (Part One of Two)

Everyone is buzzing with excitement because of the rapidly approaching weekend, but today isn't just another ordinary friday- it is also International Women's Day. 

Today is a day dedicated to remembering the influential women in our history and how their bravery and motivation has gotten us women where we are today. In addition to honoring these women we are encouraged to follow their example when forging ahead and creating our own milestones in gender equality

Has your family received a NookKindle or iPad this year?  Find Fujimini Adventure Series award-winning books here.  Great family-friendly gifts.

The message of this day deeply resonates with our own messages and beliefs at ONCEkids. We at ONCEkids celebrate the accomplishments women make everyday in their home and at work. Women everywhere are stepping out of the shadows to rise above as powerful employees and employers, challenging historical ideas and shifting societal norms. 

Excelling in both their careers and in their roles as mothers, modern women have achieved and are continuing to achieve what was once thought to be impossible- what we were once told was impossible. It is because of the women in history that were not phased by stereotypes and did not take no for an answer that we are where we are today.

 International Women's Day is a day dedicated to not only remembering the accomplishments of those women, but also reminding ourselves of our own accomplishments. And it is a day to not just remind ourselves of this, but also remind young girls that being a women is something to be celebrated and that their future is bright and their possibilities infinite. The United States has even designated the entire month of March as Women's History Month!

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Where Did the Practice of Spring Cleaning Begin?

With Spring knocking on our door, with it comes the arrival of the loved and dreaded (but mostly dreaded) spring cleaning. Spring cleaning, a term most of us are quite familiar with, refers to the heavy duty clean sweep we give our house after the long winter days are coming to a close. But since we all know what spring cleaning is, where did it actually come from?The practice of spring cleaning is actually more widespread and historic then we initially imagined. Several different possibilities for the origin of such practices are suggested. 

One theory is that the concept of cleaning and preparing one's house for the coming of spring dates back to the Persian new year, Iranian Norouz. Every part of the house is carefully cleaned and put together nicely in anticipation of the new year, which falls on the first day of spring. This cleaning is referred to as khooneh takouni, which translates to "shaking the house". 

Has your family received a NookKindle or iPad this year?  Find Fujimini Adventure Series award-winning books here.  Great family-friendly gifts.

Another theory suggests that spring cleaning came about from the ancient Jewish practice of purifying and cleansing the home before the arrival of Passover. There are guidelines that surround the holiday forbidding the consumption of any food or drinks that may have been fermented with yeast. Strict observers of this rule with thoroughly clean their home to rid of such foods and drinks

It could also be said that the Chinese are responsible for the creation of spring cleaning traditions. The Chinese carefully dust, sweep, and organize their homes to prepare for the Chinese New Year, with the belief that they are cleansing their home of last year's bad luck and inviting good luck in for the next year. 

Although, theories of the origins of spring cleaning vary, it is a practice that is still quite common throughout cultures. Greece even has a designated week for such cleaning, known as Clean Week. Falling during or right before the first week of Great Lent, Clean Week is a time for the people to clean and organize their houses from top to bottom! The Scottish tradition of New Year's cleaning has spread to other countries such as Ireland, North America, and New Zealand. 

Happy spring cleaning everyone!

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Have Fun This Spring Break Without Breaking the Bank

Can you believe it's spring already? This means spring break for the kids is just around the corner!

Sipping margaritas and reading a book on the beaches of Turks and Caicos may not be in your budget this spring (don't we all wish!), but there are still lots of creative activities you can plan for spring break this year that are fun for the kids- and free for you!  

1. Set up a lemonade stand
-Set up a table and some chairs, paint a sign, and mix together some lemonade and you've got yourself a fully functioning lemonade stand! Priced at 10 or 25 cents per cup, selling lemonade is not only a great money-saving activity, the kids can even make a little pocket change. It's a fun way to keep the kids entertained and also helps you interact and socialize with the neighbors

2. Create your own outdoor water park
-Instead of spending all that money to make a day trip with the whole family to a water park (which can sound more like a nightmare than a vacation to those of us who have ever been parents to younger children), set one up in your own backyard! If the weather is nice enough, break out the slip and slide, beach chairs, sprinkler, umbrella, and snacks to create your family's own personal "water park". To make it extra fun, thrown in some water balloons and have a water balloon fight- or just watch while the kids have one! 

Has your family received a NookKindle or iPad this year?  Find Fujimini Adventure Series award-winning books here.  Great family-friendly gifts.

3. Turn the water park into a campsite 
-Once the water park day has been concluded, and hopefully the grass has dried, turn the water park into a campsite! Gather some sleeping bags, pitch a tent, and set up a camp fire to make it feel like real camping- even if it's just in your backyard. Don't forget the sticks and marshmallows to roast some s'mores! 

4. Visit Your Town's Hot Spots 
-Plan a less stressful but equally eventful day out by staying local. Scout out your town's local hot spots and pay them a visit. Spring break is the perfect time for the family to eat at that restaurant you've always been meaning to go to, spend the day at a local park, or explore a museum nearby that would be interesting for the whole family. 

There are plenty of activities that the whole family can enjoy without breaking the bank, so don't be too stressed or disappointed about not planning a tropical vacation- alas, maybe next year! 

To learn more about Modern Moms and The Mom Code, please visit ONCEKids Publishing websiteFacebook and Twitter 

Keep a look out for the next part in our "Here Comes Spring!" series featuring spring cleaning!

Monday, March 4, 2013

ONCEKids Publishing features family-friendly Tablums in Worldwide contest

On February 12, 2013, we at ONCEKids Publishing were set to hold our next Twitter party, organized for thousands of Moms to celebrate Chinese New Year with the launch of our newest book Rainbow Panda and the Firecracker Fiasco.  However our biggest challenge was finding the right Grand Prize.  We knew it had to be family-friendly, hi-tech, and something we felt truly could make a Mom's life better. After several weeks and nearly hundreds of suggestions we arrived on Tablums.

Tablums is a great choice for us because it's a modern keepsake.  It's something special without being so extravagant that it becomes too luxurious.  It's perfect for Weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvah's, Sweet 16's, Graduations, Proms, or even to remember a Family Vacation.

What we at ONCEKids love most about the product is its versatility.  It comes in different sizes and shapes; and works with different devices. You can use the iPad 2, iPad Mini or Blackberry Playbook version.

But that doesn't even begin to talk about the company. One of the reasons we like Tablums is owner Ed Sikorski.  Ed bubbles with energy and information.  Continuing to run a printing and graphics company Rista Print for decades, he understands digital printing and is willing to walk you through each step of his process.  He wants the Tablum to be cherished in your family and realizes the better put-together it is, the more you'll enjoy it.

On the day of the party, hundreds of mothers cheered out as the Tablum grand prize was announced and the ladies begin to google and research the luxury gift.  Over the next few days, the overwhelming response that ONCEKids Publishing received is that it's cool, modern, and not just family-friendly but event friendly.  Mothers suggested schools, photographers and event planners who should be recommended to it.

At the end of the party, a young Texas mother won the prize and has since begun compiling the photos and videos for her Tablum. As a mother to several children, she has a lot of pictures.  Luckily she now has a stylish and safe place to hold them all.  

For more information on Tablums, please visit their website here.  Also like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.  Call Ed Sikorski at 516-307-9494 to see how easy it is to become a re-seller of this amazing product Tablums or to purchase one for yourself.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

March 3 Brings Japanese Girls' Day of Happiness, Health through Hina

Each year on March 3 is Japanese Girls' Day celebrated in Asian communities around the world.  Families celebrate their girls by displaying Hina dolls and props throughout the house, in a tradition that wishes girls healthy growth and happiness.  Home festivities begin during the last week of February, when girls invite their friends over for special celebration, Hina Matsuri, however must be taken down by March 3, otherwise bad luck for the girls who as the legend goes will not find suitable husbands in the future.

Thought of as a proud family heritage, these dolls are often inherited from generation to generation.   However, at times proud parents and grandparents will purchase a new set of the gorgeous Hina dolls to celebrate the birth of their newborn daughter.

Has your family received a NookKindle or iPad this year?  Find Fujimini Adventure Series award-winning books here.  Great family-friendly gifts.

The Hina dolls are beautifully-detailed, dressed in ancient Japanese costumes, with brocaded silk kimonos, fans, and musical instruments. Each are displayed prominently, along with appropriate flower blossoms and rice cakes, on red carpet-covered shelving in the family's house. The setup portrays the Japanese Royal Court in seven tiers, with the Emperor and Empress sitting at the top surrounded by guardians, musicians and servants.  

Celebration Hina Matsuri evolved from ancient Shinto purification ceremonies. Originally by using origami dolls, it was believed that girls could rid themselves of impurities by breathing upon the paper dolls, rubbing the dolls against them, then casting away the dolls, and thus their sins, into a river.

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Hina Matsuri is also called Momo No Sekku, which means a festival of peach blossoms. Peach blossoms, accompanied with shiro-zake (white rice wine) and hishi-mochi (diamond shaped rice cakes) are placed on the Hina doll stand along with Japanese Royal Court set. Hishi-mochi are colored in pink (implies peach flowers), white (implies snow), and green (implies new growth).

ONCEKids Publishing congratulates the girls and their families  during this proud celebration.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Korean Women Delay Mommyhood for Corporate 'Hood

ONCEKids Publishing is a mom-friendly zone.  We're led by Mompreneur Eileen Wacker and work with several Moms throughout the world.  We feel comfortable knowing that being mothers only makes us better at each job and task we take on; and offers us fuller lifestyles that we choose to live.  It's humbling to hear about other cultures and societies that view life so differently.  But as a multi-cultural company we love to shine light on different values and appreciate them all.  In modern-day Korea, after several years of the government setting mandatory lowering of pregnancy rates, their ruling now has the opposite problem.  Women are choosing to not have children

To learn more about Modern Moms and The Mom Code, please visit ONCEKids Publishing websiteFacebook and Twitter

The first major progression is that Korean women are now choosing to delay from their 20s to their 30s to even consider parenthood.  Many become career women and their ambitions lead them to longer hours at work and more responsibilities.  Their feedback is, frankly, they love it and aren't ready to change.

In addition is the financial burden of children.  Most young couples have lifestyles, college debts, as well as helping to take financial care of their retired parents. Even well-heeled couples find the extra expenses more than they can handle, or more than they want to handle.  Child schooling, hospitals and daytime care are all bills that add up.  Each make a fiducially-responsible couple take pause.

In most cases the husbands agree, but in some cases it becomes a point of contention.  A young husband relayed his envy when attending a friend's son's birthday party.  But in today's Asia, women speak for themselves and they speak loudly.

Has your family received a NookKindle or iPad this year?  Find Fujimini Adventure Series award-winning books here.  Great family-friendly gifts.

As part of The Moms Code we support these women and hope you do too.  At some point in the future they can decide to change their mind.  At that point motherhood can be a strong option and these women can exercise another of the their great opportunities to bring even more definition to their lives. Ya'know, just like men.  

Do you agree?  Disagree?  We'd love to hear your thoughts!