Sunday, September 29, 2013

Building Your Mom-tourage: Why Every Mom Needs Mommy Friends (Part One)

Over the course of your life you obtain all kinds of different types of friends- you have your work friends, your high school friends, roommates from college, your husband's friends, and so on. It's always a positive thing to have a wide variety of people in your circle, it makes life more interesting. But as you start to have a family, there is one group of people in your life that are going to become more and more important- your mommy friends. 

1. They get it
These women understand the joys and the challenges that come from being a mother better than anyone else can, they have been there for the ups and the downs, the good days and the difficult ones. They are the people you can have deep and way too detailed conversations with about balancing work and parenting, breast feeding, the terrible twos, and everything in between. They aren't going to judge you for your messy car or thrown together ponytail, they are right there with ya!
2. They are the perfect people to vent to
Anything from issues at work to the kids or husband (or both!) that are driving you crazy, other moms are the best listeners because they most likely deal with the exact same issues that drive them totally insane as well. So they will let you vent and then vent right back to you, so not only have you gotten things off your chest, but it leaves you with that good feeling of knowing you're not the only one

3. They have your back
On those mornings where the baby is crying and the kids are late for school but Suzie can't find her homework and breakfast is burning and you can't find your keys- your mommy friends are the ones who will come over right away, pajamas still on and all, to finish packing the lunches and locating keys and homework while you calm the baby down and get organized. When you and your husband are in desperate need of a date night but can't find a sitter, these are the women who will more than willingly watch the kids for a few hours (good luck hunting down your non-parent friends for this task!). When other moms make you feel bad at school for not raising enough money during the fundraiser or bringing in store-bought cookies for the bake sale, your mom friends will be there to help you brush it off and make you laugh about it.

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

4. Your kids can play together
While you guys have play dates, your kids can hang out too! Not to mention being able to carpool or have a place your kid is actually excited about going to after school for a few hours when you need to finish some things up at work. And if they have kids a little bit older than yours- hooray for hand me downs! 

Being a parent can be really hard and isolating sometimes, so it is crucial to surround yourself with other parents who are going through what you are going through and can offer you advice and be a source of constant support. And what may start out as just a mother of your child's friend can turn into a lasting friendship, so don't be afraid to put yourself out there!

Learn the tips for cultivating mommy-friendships in the upcoming part two of Building Your Mom-tourage!

Monday, September 23, 2013

SuperMom Money: Heroic Moms Blast From the Past

Over the course of the last year or so we have researched and written about dozens of SuperMoms who are consistently inspiring us through their displays of courage and selflessness when it comes the wellbeing of their children, or even other people's kids. But these acts of heroism are not limited to modern times, mothers have been sacrificing everything for their children since the beginning of our existence. So i've gathered a list of four admirable women who risked it all for their children long before technology and social media could recognize their heroic deeds. 

When her house was under attack by Native Americans and her husband was badly injured, left unable to defend his family, instead of panicking or giving up Mrs. Merrill took matters into her own hands. She fought bravely, preventing any of the attackers from entering her home with sustaining significant injury. The attackers were so stunned by her actions and courage that the eventually retreated from the home, leaving the children unharmed. 

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

A report in the Hereford Times from 1862 acknowledges the bravery and devotion of a Montenegrin woman who refused to let her four sons stand alone on the battlefield in the midst of combat. She stood beside her sons and protected them with all she had, and even after none were left standing she is remembered for standing before the enemy declaring she would "never give up until the nations flag could be placed in the hands of her
grandsons." Now that is one tough mom!

Our third mother's act of courage did not deal with life or death, but rather providing the education and future for her children that she felt they deserved- at all costs. The mother, Mrs. Giblin (whose first name was unfortunately not recorded), spent all her nights working in the bitter cold digging and washing gold in order to make enough of a living to send her two sons to college and medical school in hopes to give them their dream of becoming doctors.

Our last historic hero, Elizabeth Smith (yay finally a first name was used!), was featured in a newspaper in 1933 after courageously jumping into an icy river when her daughter fell in. The eight foot fall into raging rapids did not phase this inspiring mom when it came down to her daughter's safety. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Six Ways for Moms to Stay Trendy This Fall

If you're like me, you're probably feeling a little down in the dumps with the ending of the summer weather and the coming of fall- but that doesn't mean your wardrobe has to be down in the dumps too! 

Just because the summer is over doesn't mean that trend setting and wearing bright and fashionable clothes is over along with it. I'll be honest, it definitely feels harder to dress up when it isn't warm outside, as soon as I see leaves changing color all I want to do is run inside and throw my sweats on. But it's actually not as hard as you would think to stay trendy even with the changing seasons, it's just all about how you layer it. 

So even if you're a busy mom who hates the cold, fight the urge to slip into your sweats and Mom-jeans (you know exactly what type of jeans I'm referring to!) and stay trending this fall
with these six must-haves. 

1. The Scarf
Scarves are no longer just those thick itchy wool things you wrap around your neck in a blizzard, but in recent years have actually become a very fashion-forward accessory. The addition of a scarf gives life to your outfit whether it's a simple long sleeve top or a fashionable coat. It is something that people of all ages are trying out, so this fall I dare you to give it a try yourself! While being fashionable, scarves are also versatile and can make a very casual outfit just a little dressier. 

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

2. Equestrian-style boots
These boots are not just for your teenage daughter anymore. They just keep getting trendier as the years go on and serve as the perfect addition to any autumn outfit. Ranging from skinny jeans to leggings paired with a tunic sweater, these boots are the perfect way to complete the look in a way that says "I'm still hip but I'm not trying to look twenty". 

3. Metallic, metallic, and more metallic
Just because it's fall doesn't mean you have to resort back to dull and neutral colors. Metallic hues are being seen everywhere on runways and in fashion magazines as a fall must have. So whether it is through accessories or a metallic skirt, add some shine to your look this season!

4. Studs
Rocker chick meets glamour chic with fashion's newfound love of everything studded and studded everything. This look may seem a bit out of your comfort zone, but incorporate it in a small way like through a purse or shoes, and you may be pleasantly surprised at how much you can rock this new trend. 

5. Bold Prints
Bold prints was a big summer trend that can still be carried into the colder weather. One of the most popular and chic looks that everyone can pull off is the bold printed top paired with a jacket and skinny jeans, and moms are no exceptions! Just make sure if you are going to go bold, do it with only one item of clothing while making the others more simple and plain, this way you're not going into print overload.

6. Leather 
No, I'm not trying to convince you to squeeze yourself into some leather pants that the lead singer of your favorite band in the 80s wore, but leather in the form of a nice fall coat is hugely stylish right now. It doesn't have to be real, no one can tell the difference, but leather jackets are the perfect way to class up any outfit while staying warm. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

SuperMom Monday: The Power of a Mother's Intuition

At six months pregnant, Analia Bouter had experienced what she called a relatively normal, healthy pregnancy, until on April 3rd when she suddenly went into labor. She was immediately rushed to the hospital in her home town of Resistencia, Argentina, where she gave birth shortly afterwards. It was then that she received the heart breaking news that every mother fears the most, her tiny baby girl was pronounced a stillborn. Each member of the medical staff that examined her agreed she showed no vital signs of life and said it was most likely due to how small she was and how early she was born. 

Bouter and her husband reeled over the loss of their daughter, who was to be named Luciana Abigail, as a death certificate was written and the tiny infant was put into the morgue. 

12 hours had passed, but Bouter could not shake this feeling and urge to see her daughter again. After insisting with the doctors for quite some time, Bouter and her husband were led to the morgue where their daughter was being kept. 

When the doctor opened the refrigerated drawer where the baby was held, what can only be called a miracle, took place. As the grieving parents examined their daughter, she let out a small cry and moved slightly. 

Bouter describes how her heart stopped when she saw the signs of life from her daughter, she exclaims how initially she thought she must be hallucinating. But as she discovered this sight was real, she fell to her knees in both  joy and surprise. 

Doctors remain without any explanation of how this could have possibly happened, but Bouter has no doubt that it was a miracle and act from God. 

The parents have changed the baby's name from Luciana to Luz Milagros, which translates to "Miracle Light"

This story is an incredible example of the true power instincts, gut feelings, and intuition can have and it reminds us to always pay close attention to those feelings. If it wasn't for this dedicated mother's insistence to follow her instincts and see her daughter one last time, it would have never been discovered that she was not in fact a stillborn, but very much alive. 

Luz Milagros spent several months in intensive care and has experienced some challenges, but still remains very much alive and well today. Her mother proudly reports that she is growing and getting stronger everyday! 

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

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Reign of J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World Continues With Harry Potter Spin-Off

For all the Harry Potter fans who thought that their 15-year-long love affair with the magical world was over- J.K. Rowling has recently released a statement saying that a series of spin-off films is currently in the works. 

While using the same magical world and ideas from her original novels, this series will take place in New York, rather than England, and instead of Harry being the main character, this series will feature a zoologist by the name of Newt Scamander. For anyone who thinks this name sounds familiar- it is! 

The basis of the character and story comes from a textbook used by Harry and his classmates, which is also where Rowling came up with the title of the first film- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The main character, Newt, is the author of this textbook, so the film will follow his life and experiences in the wizarding world. 

In her statement about the new series, Rowling said "I always said that I would only revisit the wizarding world if I had an idea I was really excited about and this is it." 

She also comments on how this is not a prequel of sequel of the beloved Harry Potter series, but rather a continuation or extension based off the same magical world and ideas. The story also begins 70 years before Harry's time in the United States. 

Within minutes of Rowling's statement about the new series, her Facebook page was blowing up with die-hard Potter fans expressing their joy and excitement regarding the news. I have to say, I have read the books and watched the movies and I can't help but be pretty excited about the world of wizards and magic wands not yet being at it's end! 

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

Monday, September 9, 2013

SuperMom Monday: The Heroism of Antoinette Tuff

The other day I was listening to the radio and heard a portion of a 911 call from an incident a few days prior. My jaw dropped as I listened to the chilling conversation that took place between Georgia elementary school clerk, Antoinette Tuff, and Michael Brandon Hill, a 20-year-old boy with a history of mental illness. Earlier that day, the unstable and suicidal boy entered the school armed with an AK-47, fired a shot at the ground and proceeded to barge into the school office. It was then that he came across Tuff. In this moment, many of us wonder how we may have reacted if we ever found ourselves in this position, hide under the desk? Say something to set him off? Beg for our life? But Tuff did none of these.
Instead, in an effort to connect with the boy and calm him down, she engaged him in a lengthy conversation- sharing with him her own personal struggles. For 22 agonizing minutes, she opened up to him- describing her challenges and moments of despair, including a difficult divorce, the hardships of raising a disabled child, even her own contemplation of suicide. She reminded him that it does get better, that today doesn't have to be the end, and that he is loved. 

In an incredible display of courage and bravery, Tuff was able to eventually talk Hill into surrendering to the police. Although a few shots were fired, each child and staff member was able to evacuate from the school without any fatalities or injuries. 

Tuff's actions are truly inspiring and the definition of heroism. In order to honor her bravery, President Obama called her to personally thank her and shared with CNN his plans to invite her to the White House, telling them that she "probably saved a lot of lives, including the life of the potential perpetrator". 

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

News of Tuff's action have spread across the country like wildfire, but her acts of heroism have extended past those terrifying minutes with Hill. Since the incident, Tuff has started an online fundraising campaign, using the money to provide children with more travel opportunities. Within just a few days, 2,114 people had contributed $103, 806- leaving heart-warming messages thanking Tuff for her courage. 

To visit Tuff's fundraising website go to and stayed tuned for next SuperMom Monday to hear about our next heroic mom!

Click below to listen to the heart wrenching 911 call from Antoinette Tuff:

Friday, September 6, 2013

10 Tips for Surviving the Transition from Stay-at-Home-Mom to Working Mom

Whether it has been six months or ten years, going back to work after having children is a big transition for both you and the kids. Getting back into the workforce after taking time off can be challenging and nerve wracking but there are many strategies one can take to make this as easy as possible for everyone involved. 

1. First, plan for the unexpected
One of the biggest changes when going back to work, especially for the kids, is that you won't necessarily be around or available as much as they are used to. So have a plan in place for any surprises, like have someone you can call to pick up your sick child from school if you and your husband cannot leave work. Mom's days are filled with curveballs and when you are working they are harder to handle sometimes. 

2. Work out a routine 
Before starting a new job and beginning this new stage in your life as a mother, it is important to develop a structured routine that will work for everyone in the family. So take one night to sit down and have a discussion with the kids and your husband. Figure out how you can all contribute and work together to make the running of the household as smooth and stress-free as possible. 

3. Pay for services
Once you make the jump from stay-at-home mom to working mom, you are going to need to begin outsourcingChildcare back-up, after school programs, and a weekly or bi-weekly house cleaner just became necessities. Grocery delivery, landscaping services, and a mother's helper are luxuries you may want to seriously consider. 

4. Get your kids involved in after school activities
With your schedule being more busy, adding some activities on to your child's schedule might help to balance it out. If your child is involved in before or after school actives for a few hours, such as a sport or club, it will give you some extra time to finish things up at work or get much-needed some errands done. Plus busy kids tend to be more organized- but don't go crazy and over schedule them. Then they are just exhausted and cranky. 

5. Asses your goals ahead of time
Before making the leap, know what your goals are for this career. When you're applying for jobs, know what matters most to you- income, flexibility, and so on- because that will play a huge role in what career you ultimately choose. Work for a family friendly company. Do things like read email and other materials at home, so much can be done on a laptop now. 

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

6. Have confidence
Many mothers are afraid of jumping back into the workforce after spending time away from it, especially mothers who haven't been working for a long time. Just know that even if you've been away from a desk for years, it doesn't make you any less valuable or useful in your chosen career. But it is important to go into this new chapter with confidence, if you can survive motherhood- you can survive anything! 

7. Educate yourself about new technology
There have been so many changes in technology within the past few years that if its been a while since you've been in a work environment, it might make your head spin. You can minimize some of this shock by having one of your tech savvy friends (or even your kids!) give you a lesson on how to master the technology you're going to have to be using. And if your child has a phone, activate the GPS. This way, even though you may not be around as much you can still see where you're child is and what they might be doing. 

8. Seek professional help
If it has been a while, certain things like the interview process or building your resume can feel overwhelming, so hire a professional- such as a career coach- or consult a friend in the field to help you out. This can make the process much easier and less stressful. 

9. Leave time for the girlfriends- and the gym
Entering the world of a working mom is going to open a few doors to some new stresses, so it is crucial to squeeze time in for your girlfriends whenever possible. They are great sounding boards  and can help you to know that you aren't alone with the issues and challenges you face. Another great way to blow off some steam and get rid of some stress is through exercise- so try to stick to your work out routine as much as possible! This will also help to keep you balanced and feeling good about yourself.

10. Get ready for the guilt!
Realize that your baking capacity just went to zero. Sending in store bought cookies or brownies is not a crime, so don't feel judged as a working mom. Surround yourself with other working moms, so you have people you can talk to that understand and are in the same situation.

Don't try to be perfect, raising perfect kids. You're kids aren't naughty because you are working. They're naughty because they're kids!

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