Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Are You the Parent of a Teen? Check Out This Free Teleseminar!

You know I always like to let you know about FREE stuff that comes my's a free teleseminar to help you help your teen:

If you’re like most parents of teens, you want to do everything you can to help your teenager be successful in high school. But do you sometimes feel frustrated because you aren’t sure how you can help? You want to help with homework, but don’t remember algebra?

Linda Hinkle, a veteran high school teacher, is hosting a free teleseminar in which she will discuss various strategies parents can use to help keep abreast of their teen’s academic progress. You will also receive her free report “The High School Journey: What to Expect From Freshman to Senior” as soon as you sign up for the teleseminar. You can sign up and see all the details at

Check it out and let me know how it goes...

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Confidence and Self Esteem Go Hand In Hand

Confidence is a crucial part of our lives - both as children and as adults. Without it, we are left with: low self-esteem; feelings of unworthiness; and we are vulnerable to the pitfalls life sometimes doles out. Confident moms = confident children and this, above all else, is the very foundation which will determine the future success or failure of your children. Here are some tips on how you can increase your child’s confidence:

Be a role model for your child. If your self-esteem is high, your child will pick up on that part of you and absorb it. Keep a positive attitude in everything you do. Think back to the happiest memories from your childhood, and use it as a catalyst in your own life. If you become worried or frustrated, avoid outwardly expressing it. Negativity in the home is unhealthy, especially for children.

Counteract their exposure to the unpleasant things in life by having frequent talks invoking the positive aspects. Help build your children’s self-esteem by giving them certain responsibilities around the home, and rewarding them for a job well done. Give them the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them. Encourage them in anything they wish to achieve, utilizing a positive tone.

Be open to their thoughts and feelings. If they have been confronted with a particular situation, listen and be attentive and comforting. However, try not to tell them what to do but allow them to work it through in their own mind. This will give them the tools they need to learn how to interact with others. It is a crucial step in their development. Allowing them to solve their own problems will boost their confidence immeasurably and give them the independence that they need as they grow toward adulthood.

Be sensitive to their needs; don’t brush aside what may seem trivial to you. Remember when you were going through the same phase; be always mindful of it.

Children mirror what they see in their home lives and day to day activities. If you exude confidence, they will pick up on it and begin to display the same confidence in their own lives!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Mother/Daughter Relationships

Do you have a good relationship with your daughter? Do you wish it could be better? Here's a great resource for you to take advantage of...whether you don't know where to start or are trying to mend a broken relationship, this is the book for you.

A good colleague and friend, Sandy Heinz of Good 2ba Girl, put out this ebook - 4 Blocks to Building a Lifelong Relationship with Your Daughter - in 2006 and it is available to you for free!

In the book, Sandy describes in detail 4 essential blocks that help build the relationship you've been wanting between you and your daughter:

  1. Trust
  2. Communication
  3. Effective Listening
  4. Letting Go

Click here to get your free copy.

This book is among many "freebies" that Mom's Niche has to offer. We have newsletters and ecourses, ebooks and reports...all for free. Check out the other FREEBIES available at!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Crock Pot Beef and Broccoli

This is great for a cold winter's day!

1 1/2 pounds boneless round steak (cubed )
1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
1 small onion (diced)
1/2 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
2 cups broccoli florets
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

Combine beef, mushrooms, onion, broth and teriyaki sauce in crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Approximately 45 minutes before serving dissolve cornstarch in 2 tablespoons cold water. Add water/cornstarch mixture and broccoli to crock pot. Cover and cook a further 45 minutes.

Serve over rice and you've got a great meal!!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Ways to Improve Your Memory

As we get older, we tend to forget things more and more. Sure, you don’t really need to remember the name of your third grade teacher, but it would be nice to know where you left your keys when you got home last night. If you feel like your memory is slipping away from you, here are a few tips to help you remember.

Prevention is the best cure. If you’re starting to forget things, you can take simple steps to improve your brain power. This can not only help you remember things, but also keep your from losing more information.

  • Give your brain a workout. Your brain is just like your body; to work properly, it needs regular exercise. Take a short time every day to do a cross-word puzzle, play a quick game of sudoku, or learn a new skill. It only takes a few minutes, but it will make a world of difference.
  • Stay in shape. Your brain is an organ just like any other. If you keep yourself in good physical condition, it will help improve brain function. You don’t need tons of exercise, a daily walk is enough.
  • Reduce your stress. Stress causes our bodies to produce more cortisol which has been shown to impair your ability to remember. Relax by taking baths or trying yoga. You should also get plenty of rest; sleep deprivation also increases cortisol levels.
  • Get emotional. Hiding or obscuring your emotions takes constant mental energy. If you express what you’re feeling, you have more brain power available to devote to memory.
  • Believe in yourself. If you doubt the fact you’ll remember something, you’re more likely to forget it. Instead of immediately thinking that you’re going to forget something, have confidence that you’ll remember it.

These actions can help improve your overall memory capabilities, but what about remembering things your need to know now? Here are a few techniques you can use to keep yourself from forgetting specific things.
  1. Pay attention. Most memory problems are caused by not paying attention in the first place. Make a conscious effort to get information into your head. Instead of just throwing your keys down, tell yourself “I put my keys on the kitchen counter” as you do it.
  2. Make up a song. When I was a little girl in Sunday School, the teachers taught us a song to remember all of the books of the bible. Try putting things you need to remember, like phone numbers, to a tune you already know (867-5309). And who can forget the great SchoolHouse Rock songs? "Conjunction Junction" and "I'm Just a Bill" run through my head on occasion and also help me to help my kids learn about history and grammar... You’ll find these songs you make up will tend to stick in your mind longer make things a lot easier to remember.
  3. Connect what you don’t know to stuff you do. For example, use your body to remember lists. Associate the first item to your feet (I’m kicking my way through laundry detergent), then the next item to your knee (cantaloupe is shaped like my knee) and work your way up the body. Another method of this is by using the first letters of things you need to remember to make a word or sentence. For example: The name ROY G. BIV helps us remember the colors of the rainbow in order (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Indigo and Violet).
  4. Write a story. Find a way to connect things you need to remember in your head. You can come up with a funny story, or just make a picture in your head involving what you need to remember.

These simple tips can help our aging brains get back in shape and hopefully stay there!

Friday, January 26, 2007

15 Steps to a Great Pedicure at Home

Sometimes, it’s the simple pleasures in life that make us happy. Pampering, even for just an hour, can make all the difference. If you’ve never had a pedicure, or it’s been ages since the last one; you’ll agree it is the most soothing and relaxing hour you’ll probably ever spend in a salon. However, you can also derive the same pleasure at home. Wait until the kids have gone to bed; and proceed to your bathroom. Then, follow these home pedicure tips for moms.

  1. Light an aromatherapy candle, and place it on the countertop in your bathroom.
  2. Fill your tub with warm water. Add either Epsom salt or your favorite bath salt.
  3. Using cotton balls, remove old polish from your toenails with nail polish remover.
  4. Soak your feet for ten to fifteen minutes.
  5. Using a pumice stone to rub the heels and balls of your feet to remove dead skin. If you have a soft brush, you can use that as well.
  6. Dry your feet thoroughly.
  7. Cut your toenails.
  8. Using your favorite moisturizer, massage your cuticles and both feet.
  9. Gently push back your cuticles with an orange stick, and remove the excess cuticles.
  10. Massage your legs with the moisturizer as well.
  11. One foot at a time, apply clear nail hardener.
  12. Apply your favorite color nail polish.
  13. Apply a second coat of nail hardener.
  14. Add cotton balls in between toes until nails are dry.
  15. Use flip-flops if you need to walk around, or simply relax in your scented bathroom until nails are dry.

Wasn’t that a wonderful experience? Do you feel relaxed? Home pedicures can be just as soothing as going to a spa or salon; the only difference is it doesn’t cost anything except the price of a small bottle of nail polish.

Want to learn some more easy beauty secrets? We've got 1001 Beauty Tips for you right here! Great beauty treatments give your mind, body and soul a complete makeover!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thumbs Up Thursday - Little Fun; Little Learning

It's Thursday...time for another Thumbs Up! This week's prize goes to Revka at Little Fun; Little Learning. Appropriately named because it is focused on the "littles" in the family - age 0-5. There are activities and other terrific resources for that age group.

I'm particularly intrigued because of my almost-3-yr-old. She keeps us hopping and this blog has some great resources!

I particularly liked Revka's entry on Board Games - check it out here. She makes some great suggestions for the "littles" age group. Our family loves to play board games and now little Livvie is getting her feet wet with a new set of games she got for Christmas made by Leap Frog. The games include: memory mate (the pictures match, one card has the word in English, the other in Spanish); dominoes (see picture); and two card games - Alphabet Go Fish and Math Rummy.
This dominoes game is a very cool learning tool! Her set came with about 6 different sets of domino games including colors, animals and even regular colored dots like real dominoes. There's one set that includes pictures of objects with rhyming words underneath. We played not only matching up the pics, but also rhyming "cat" with "hat" and "bug" with "rug." She caught on quickly and will surprise her older brother and sister today after school with her new skills!

Play some games with your kids - it can be a lot of fun and YOU might even learn a thing or two :)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Is Your Preschooler Ready?

If you're like me, you want to do what you can to get your kids prepared for kindergarten. My youngest turns 3 next month and this is definitely on my mind on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, there just aren't a lot of fun and easy learning materials out there. You have to sort through a bunch in order to find some really great stuff.

Until now.

There's a new program called

Each week you will receive coloring sheets and worksheets in your email along with craft and activity suggestions and even a snack list that incorporates the letter of the week.
This is the perfect solution for stay-at-home moms, daycare providers, homeschoolers, or any mom who just wants to give her child a boost in language development.
Here is a sample page for you to check out. Enjoy the letter "A" free -- Kids Activity Calendar Sample Page

I hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Winter Vegetable Soup

Nothing is better than soup this time of year!

Note: This is a chunky vegetable soup and you can omit or add vegetables to suit your taste. You can replace the potatoes for sweet potatoes for a sweeter tasting soup. Leeks and winter cabbage also work well.

1 medium cabbage cut into quarters
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 carrots, peeled and finely sliced
2 celery stalks, finely sliced
2 parsnips, peeled and diced
7 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 zucchinis, diced
2 cups of cauliflower florets
2 fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
Salt and black pepper
Fresh chopped parsley to garnish

Slice the cabbage quarters into thin strips. Heat the oil in a large soup pan and add the cabbage, carrots, celery and parsnips cook over low heat for approximately 10 minutes, stir often so vegetables don’t stick to pan. (you may need to add a tablespoon of stock).

Stir in the stock and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes, zucchinis, cauliflower and tomatoes with a little chopped fresh parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Bring back to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for approximately 15 to 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Serve into warm soup bowls and garnish with a little chopped fresh parsley.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Beauty of the 2-Hour Delay

What does a 2-hour delay from school mean to you? Get a little more sleep, right? Apparently, not in my house.

My oldest gets up very early to catch her bus at 7:00am. So...I instructed her last night on which web site to pull up to check the school closings. I figure if I arm her with the right tools, she can do it herself and I won't have to get up - right? She comes in my room at 5:45 - she's having trouble finding the website...

I get up, trod downstairs to help her out - is delayed for 2 hours - COOL, let's go back to bed! I decide to set up camp on the couch downstairs.


Exactly 10 minutes later, the youngest starts crying - bad dream.

After I settle down the little one and leave her room, the oldest one's light is on..."What are you doing? You have the chance...go back to bed."...she says, "I can't go back to sleep." I tell her to take advantage of this time and try to go back to sleep. She shuffles back in her room.

Back to the couch...aaahhhhh.

The phone rings - apparently, I'm on an automated call list to let me know that there is a 2 hour delay...THANKS



Now I'm hearing heavy footsteps upstairs...trip to the bathroom, back to the bedroom, a little more ruckus and then TROMP, TROMP, TROMP down the stairs. My son. He does nothing quietly. I inform him that they have a 2 hour delay..."go back to bed." TROMP, TROMP, TROMP back up the stairs.

"BEEP, BEEP"...what is that infernal beeping?

The phone rings again - apparently, they feel the need to call us twice on the automated list.

TROMP, TROMP, TROMP..."I can't sleep."


Now all hopes of any more sleep for the morning are completely down the drain.


Ah, we find the culprit...the littlest angel was playing with the walkie talkies and left one on last night.

So how's your morning?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Chamomile - What is It?

We've all had the opportunity at one time or another to drink a cup of chamomile tea. It tastes good and is soothing, but do you really know what chamomile is? File this under "I learned something new today."

This herb has been effective in treating insomnia, and also soothes and calms at the same time.

Chamomilla, the plant that spawns the chamomile flower is found throughout North America and Europe. The oil that gives chamomile its medicinal qualities is called chamazulene alpha-bisabol. The strain of chamomile with the highest concentration of this oil is the German chamomole, called matricaria recuitita. Chamomile tea is specifically made from this oil.

Chamomile is used primarily to treat stomach cramping and pains, including menstrual cramping and diarrhea. Aside from the treatment of aches and pains, doctors and researchers have found that chamomile can be used effectively to treat skin and eye problems, mood disorders, and the flu.

For stomach pains, take one ounce of chamomile, two-thirds ounce of peppermint, one ounce caraway seeds, and two-thirds ounce of angelica. Mix together, and add one teaspoon of mixture to one cup of hot water. Steep this for ten minutes; then strain and drink. This mixture soothes the gastrointestinal tract.

For skin conditions, take one ounce chamomile, one ounce dandelion, and two-thirds ounce of fennel. Mix together; add one teaspoon to one cup hot water. Steep this for five to ten minutes then strain and drink. This stimulates the metabolic activity in healing skin conditions.

Chamomile is mild enough for everyday use, and almost everyone can enjoy it. The only people who shouldn’t use it are those who suffer from ragweed allergies.

Now, sit back and enjoy...

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Clear Off Your Desk Day!

Today is Clear Off Your Desk Day! I suppose it's on a Saturday because they didn't want to disturb you on a regular work day AND you have absolutely nothing else to do with you day :)

At my house, today is Clear Out All Of the Rooms Day. We're doing a top to bottom cleaning...clearing out the rest of the Christmas decoration remnants, re-organizing toys and making sure all of the rooms are clean.

So, just take a moment today to honor "Desk Day" and clear off something!!!

Have fun!

Friday, January 19, 2007

5 Tips for Dealing with Unsolicited Parenting Advice

It happens to all of us. It comes from grandparents, neighbors, friends, siblings, and even strangers...the unsolicited advice we get regarding our parenting skills. We dread it...we hate it...but yet, it still comes in droves.

How can you deal with it?

Here are some tips to help you out!

Tip #1: Smile
Some parents thrive on creating competitions between their child and yours. “My little Billy took his first steps at six-months. You should try to make your baby walk. What’s wrong with him?” In situations like these, it’s best to simply smile and walk away.

Tip #2: Avoid contact
Overbearing people tend to offer their parenting advice every time they see you. This often leads to frustration on your part. Avoid contact with these people as much as you possibly can. If family is among the worst to give you their unwanted advice, limit your visits with them to thirty minutes.

Tip #3: “This works best for us.”
Sometimes you will receive odd looks or negative comments on your parenting style. When you encounter someone who thinks they know a better way for you to parent your child, look them directly in the eye and say, “I’m glad that method works for you. This works best for us.”

Tip #4: Let it roll
Another way to avoid conflict with well-meaning people is to recognize that their intentions are well-meant. Family members are often among the worst to offer unwarranted parenting advice. Remind yourself that this person means well, even though their advice is unasked for and let it flow in one ear and out the other, like water off a duck’s back.

Tip #5: Be kind, but direct
You will no doubt grow irritated at some point. Remember to breathe, count to ten and smile. Be kind in your response, but be firm and direct. Reply in a way that will let the person know that you appreciate their concern, but that you are more than able to care for your child.

Now it's your turn - let's add to these tips...any good ideas?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Thumbs Up Thursday - Keeping the Castle

This week's Thumbs Up Thursday recipient is Maricar at Keeping the Castle.

Keeping the Castle is a blog about...what else?...housekeeping and homemaking. This blog is great for organizational and housecleaning tips. This info isn't just for the full time housekeeper. It's also a great resource for all of us who struggle to keep a good balance in our work and home lives.

Maricar recently posted about this really cool cutting board with different color inserts - check it out here. I think she does a great job of honing in on ways to help make our lives a little bit easier.

Here's to you Maricar!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Homemade Hummus and Roasted Vegetable Wrap

Try this one tonight!

Homemade Hummus and Roasted Vegetable Wrap

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons Greek natural yogurt
Juice of one lemon
Pinch of paprika
Salt and pepper to taste (optional)

Place the chickpeas, garlic, yogurt, lemon juice and paprika in the blender or food processor and mix on high until smooth. Transfer mixture to a bowl and season with salt and pepper if desired.

Roasted Vegetables:
1 Eggplant, sliced
2 zucchinis, cut into matchstick strips
1 red pepper, cored, deseeded and sliced
1 red onion, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil

Flour tortillas

To serve:
Place all the vegetables in a non stick roasting tray and drizzle with the olive oil. Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for approximately 45 minutes or until tender and roasted.

Warm the tortilla wraps according to package instructions, then spread with hummus and fill with roasted vegetables, wrap and serve.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

National Nothing Day

Today, January 16th is National Nothing Day. I thought I would commemorate this wonderful holiday with a special blog post.

...Happy Nothing Day :)

Living Within Your Means - Sometimes Tougher Than It Seems

In today's society, many families find themselves struggling to live within their means, either because they have too much debt, or because their spending habits/patterns are uncontrolled and they simply don't know how to change. Here are some quick tips on reigning in that spending, and keeping yourself debt-free:

1. Don't use credit cards. If you have credit card debt and are carrying large payments at high interest that are crippling your budget, talk to a community credit debt counselor. There are many groups that offer this service for free. They'll help you to understand how the debt can be cut down faster, and whether a consolidation loan is a good idea. Credit cards are a temptation to spend money you don't have. If you must have one card, leave it in the care of the person most responsible for your family's financial health, and never use it except for emergencies that can be paid off within a short time.

2. Budget your money and expenses. Even a simple budget in a notebook will work, or you can go to a spreadsheet on the computer. Gather all your bills, and calculate your monthly expenses, remembering to include a 1/12 portion of any annual expenses. Then take your gross income and figure out how much has to be set aside per week for absolute essentials. Whatever remains, is what you have for optional spending like savings, education or retirement funds, and entertainment.

3. Before you buy, ask yourself if you really need it. That could be anything from a new stereo system, to a new car. Ask yourself if it's worth going into debt for, or just how far it will stretch the family budget. Remember that you need room in your family finances for emergencies, and stretching your discretionary dollars to the limit, is never a good idea.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Need Some Good Recipes to Feed Your Kids?

With dance practice, soccer, basketball...and don't forget homework, who has time to prepare an appetizing meal for the kids after school? You do! I know, I know - NOBODY has the time...but you really can with these 4 easy ideas.

Quick and Easy Spaghetti Casserole
1 – lb. ground beef
1 - 16 oz jar spaghetti sauce
1 - cup water
1 1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1 - cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Crumble beef in a three-qrt glass baking dish and microwave for 4-5 minutes, or until beef is no longer pink. Mix & rotate part way through cooking time. Drain Beef. Stir in sauce, water and macaroni. Microwave another 12 minutes, stirring part way through. Sprinkle cheese on top and allow to stand covered approximately 5 minutes before serving. Serves a couple hungry kids.

**Note: There are many meals you can cook with hamburger. Any recipe that asks for hamburger will work just fine replaced with ground turkey, chicken or venison instead.

French Fry Casserole
2 pounds ground meat
1 can condensed cheddar cheese soup
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
Crinkle Cut French Fries

Brown ground beef and drain the grease. Add both soups to strained ground beef and spoon into a 9x13 greased baking dish. Top off with cut French fries and bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until French fries are light brown.

Cold Cut Lettuce Wraps
A head of lettuce (not bagged lettuce)
Ham or Roast Beef slices
Cheese slices

Step 1: Peel off a medium lettuce leaf.
Step 2: Assemble meat, cheese, and condiments.
Step 3: Roll up and stick a toothpick in the middle.
Step 4: Gobble Up.
Step 5: Wipe your face, there is a trace of mayo. on your cheek.

Sweet Macaroni and Cheese
1 (16 ounce) box macaroni (elbow, seashell, bowtie – doesn't matter, just not spaghetti)
1 c. cottage cheese
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon

1. Cook macaroni according to package instructions.
2. Stir in cottage cheese, sugar, and cinnamon with drained macaroni.
3. Taste and add sugar or cinnamon, if required.
4. Serve right away. Delicious!

Incorporate a bit of creativite twist on a tried and true recipe. Even with the chaotic after school activities, you will find time to cook a nourishing meal for your kids.
Want Some More Quick & Easy Kid Approved Meals? Click Here!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Book Review - New Clothes for New Year's Day

Check out the latest book review by our contributing humorist and reviewer, Lisa Barker of

Book Review Key

*** Outstanding Titles
** Highly Recommended Titles
* Recommended Titles

New Clothes for New Year's Day (Ages 4-8) ***

Author: Hyun-Joo Bae
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Kane/Miller Book Publishers (March 2007)
ISBN: 1933605294
Reviewed by: Lisa Barker of

Review: I loved this book! From the exquisite illustrations to the captivating story of a young Korean girl as she prepares for the celebration of the Lunar New Year, this book is excellent all the way around. It reminds me a lot of The Snowy Day and other books by Ezra Jack Keats because Hyun-Joo Bae does such a fine job of writing from and illustrating a young child's point of view. Every page is colorfully detailed, sharing traditional Korean dress for a young girl on such a special day. It's so easy to forget yourself and get lost in the story. I heartily recommend it and I will be looking for more books by this author to add to my collection of favorite children's stories.

Cool Breakfast Recipe

Thought we were due for another recipe - hadn't posted one in a while.

Try this one on the weekend and let me know how they like it!

Bagels and Egg Easy Casserole Recipe

3 plain bagels (thinly sliced)
12 eggs (beaten)
1/2 pound cooked ham (diced)
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter

Place butter in heavy skillet. Add ham and onion. Sauté over low heat until tender (approximately 2 minutes). Set aside. Slice each bagel into 4 thin slices. Arrange 6 bagel slices at bottom of lightly greased baking dish. Top bagels with ham and onion mixture. Then top with cheddar cheese. Finally top with remaining bagel slices. In a separate bowl whisk together eggs, milk, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour the egg mixture over the bagel layers. Bake at 375F for approximately 30 minutes or until eggs are firm and cooked through.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Resolutions - Sticking With It?

I found this great article and wanted to share it with you...hopefully it will encourage you to stick with your New Year's Resolution to lose weight :)

Make Your Resolution To Lose Weight Actually Work This Year

You know the drill; you make a resolution to lose weight on New Year’s Eve. You go grocery shopping for all kinds of health food on January 2nd, and while you are at it, you join a new gym. Everything goes well for a few days and you start to see the pounds drop off. Then things slow down, and you start to lose interest. Cravings for your favorite foods set in and you’re getting tired of these diet meals. By the end of January, most of us have given up on our weight loss resolution. Don’t let this happen to you.

Make this year different; make your resolution to lose weight actually work. It’s really not that hard, but you have to do it right. The best way to make sure you will stick to your weight loss resolution is to find little ways to hold yourself accountable. Announce your resolution to family and friends. Find a weight loss buddy that has the same goals. The two of you can check on each other and motivate each other to stick with the plan. If you can’t find a weight loss buddy, make your spouse or close friend your accountability partner. You report your weight loss to them weekly, and they will do their best to keep you motivated to keep going.

An alternative to using people to hold you accountable is a weight loss journal. By simply putting what you eat, how much you worked out and how much you weigh into a journal, you will feel more responsible about what you are doing and are less likely to skip that workout or sneak in an extra snack. A weight loss journal can also be a great motivator when you glance back though the pages and see how much you have accomplished over the past weeks and months.

One last piece of advice – don’t be too strict on your diet. The main reason people give up on their weight loss plan is that they aren’t allowed any of their favorite foods. You should aim more for lifestyle changes you can stick with for the rest of your life than a traditional diet. This means that the piece of chocolate or that cheeseburger are ok – in moderation. Limit yourself to one small piece of chocolate a day, and only indulge in that cheeseburger or slice of pizza once a week. If you eat healthy foods the rest of the time, you will be able to indulge every once in awhile and still see those pounds melt off.

Are you struggling with keeping your weight loss resolution? Healthy Menu Planning is the solution – it helps you stay on track. Sign up for a free 7-day sneak peak today.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Thumbs Up Thursday - Nature Moms

This week's "thumbs up" goes over to Tiffany at Nature Moms Blog. I have never been a "natural" sort of person. I'm the first to grab for the Advil or Migraine medicine when having aches and pains...BUT I'm always open to other points of view and ALWAYS open to learning something new!

She has some very interesting posts regarding natural cures for insomnia, stress relief and interesting uses for Coconut oil. Please check them out for yourself and try them...I will!

Tiffany recently posted about using Organic Mattresses for Babies with regards to preventing SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

I have a special emotional tie to this particular syndrome. A good friend of mine had a baby about 6 weeks before I had my middle child (now almost 10). That precious little baby died of SIDS the beginning of that summer. It especially hit home because of the age of my new little one at the time. Here, 10 years later, there's still no known cause, but lots of research being done. With people like Tiffany plugging away at trying to make a difference, there are sure to be some answers on the horizon!

I think of Conner often...Debbie's little angel.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Do You Have a Home Business?

I am a proud prize sponsor for a cool contest just for entrepreneurs that I want to tell you about. Check out the cool gift bag on the right ---------->
You can see that and all of the other cool prizes here.

Doing Business in Your Bathrobe Day is coming on February 12th, 2007 - a day to celebrate the freedom of owning your own home business! This holiday was established to recognize the hard work and dedication it takes to be an entrepreneur. It's an internationally national holiday to call attention to the millions of home business owners who have waved goodbye to the corporate rat race and settled into a better quality of life. We felt it was high time to recognize the efforts and dreams of entrepreneurs.

And already one mom has gotten a TV story for her business from it. Tracy Ebert, from Virginia, already sent out the local press release and got calls from one TV station, a print publication, one online resource! Way to go Tracy! (Wait a minute...that's me!) You heard it here first...stay tuned for more details...

So don't miss this chance to get free publicity for your business:

Go to the website here and check out all of the great publicity opportunities for your home business!

Finally, don't forget to send a picture of you working in your bathrobe and it'll get posted it on Webmomz! I've got mine up :) Send that to and put "Bathrobe picture" in the subject.

This contest is sponsored by and International Bathrobes.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The 30-Day Challenge

I belong to a great networking group over at Mom Masterminds. One of my colleagues, Carrie Lauth, issued a challenge to all who would accept. This actually fits right in with my blogging resolution for 2007!

30 posts in 30 days.

I've been doing well since the New Year began, but I felt that the added support of these great ladies would help give me that little boost that I need.

Listed here are the ladies who will be participating in the challenge:

Kristie T - Webmomz
Jen - One Moms World
Aurelia - Real Life Coaching
Angela - Star VA
Kristine - Financial Tips for WAHMs
Marie - Mommy Community
Kim - Scrapbooks Alive
Crystal - Happy Mommy News
Sarah - Solutions for Busy Moms

I'll be checking in with them frequently and we'll be keeping updated on how one another is doing. I'll also be updating this list and highlighting their efforts in the days to come!

Thanks for the support ladies!

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Apprentice - L.A.

Those of you who know me know that I am a diehard Apprentice fan.

I got hooked on the first season when I was pregnant with little Livvie. I had to go to the hospital on a Thursday late afternoon with contractions. They admitted me and hooked me up to all of the wires and monitors,etc... We sat there through Oprah and the evening news. Entertainment Tonight came on and I knew this baby wasn't coming - this was my third...I knew. I started getting antsy because The Apprentice would be coming on soon...I began to ask the nurses when I could go home - this baby wasn't coming, but the show that I was glued to every Thursday was! Finally, they released me and all was well in the world - I made it home with about 15 minutes to spare :) Livvie arrived that Sunday - great timing little girl!

So, fast forward 3 years. I'm still a diehard fan - I don't miss a season. There have been some seasons that didn't have the best of candidates, in my opinion. Like the "Book Smarts vs. Street Smarts" season...not great. I even watched the Martha Stewart version - I usually like her, didn't like that season. She was trying too much to follow "The Donald's" cue...she should've just remained herself. I do like Donald Trump, though. He is one, big pompous ass, but he is also a great business man and a master in drumming up PR.

Last night was the premier of The Apprentice-L.A. I appreciate how they're trying to mix things up a bit by moving to Los Angeles and provide some new twists - can't imagine having to live in that tent after losing a task. I wasn't excited about the candidates - usually I can pick out a couple who will be standouts throughout the season. As always, I'll watch next week and see if it holds my interest. I'll more than likely watch the entire season because I'm HOOKED. I love watching the assigned tasks and seeing how these people (strangers) interact with each other. I'll go out on a limb right now and predict a winner...Heidi seems to be a clear standout - great leader, very smart and they're due for a woman to win.

Thoughts? Predictions?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Kids and Exercise

You've made a resolution to exercise on a more consistent basis...get your kids involved too! Exercise and being fit is just as important for the young ones as it is for us. Even more so to develop good, steady habits that will last them a lifetime!

Here are some reasons why your child benefits from a regular exercise routine:

  1. Exercise reduces the risk of obesity. If your child participates in a regular exercise program, her chances of becoming obese are dramatically reduced. An active child means a healthier child.
  2. Exercise lessens the risk of diseases. Diabetes and high blood pressure are combated by exercise. If you have a family history of such diseases, you should especially encourage your child to exercise.
  3. Exercise strengthens your child’s body. As your child exercises on a regular routine, his muscles and bones will be strengthened.
  4. Exercise induces feelings of well-being. Have you noticed your child struggling with peer pressure or becoming uncomfortable with her body? Encourage an exercise routine. Exercising helps release frustrations and can help boost your child’s self-confidence.

Need some exercise ideas to encourage your child? Why not incorporate an exercise routine into your schedule with your children? Try these simple ideas:
  • WALKING – Walking is the simplest, and yet the best form of exercise for anyone. Walking is a good way to get conversation flowing as well.
  • SPORTS – Is your child interested in any type of sports? Why not grab the basketball and head to the court with him? Make a date every Saturday to spend a couple of hours playing basketball with your son.
  • SWIMMING – Just about every kid loves to swim. If you don’t have a personal swimming pool, invest in a monthly membership to a local gym.
  • BIKE RIDING – Next to walking, riding bikes is another easy way to get fun exercise.
  • HIKING – If your family loves the outdoors, get everyone a pair of hiking shoes and gear and get moving. Plan special outings once a month, in addition to your regular exercise. Kids usually love hiking because they get to explore and discover new things.

Now that you've got some tools...get out there and get active with your kids. It's great family time and they will thank you for it later!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Stainless Steel - Low Maintenance?

I think not!

We purchased some new appliances in 2006. The stove was about 6 months ago and then the refrigerator, dishwasher and microwave followed shortly thereafter. I love them! They work great, they fit in with the decor we're trying to accomplish in the kitchen...and they're stainless steel.

Stainless steel is beautiful...when it's clean. However, little sticky hands all over the refrigerator make it really tough to KEEP clean! There is help, though. I ran across this information and thought I would share it with those of you who find yourselves in the same predicament that I'm in :)

Today, most all large and small appliances, cookware, utensils and sinks are stainless steel. Along with the easy to clean convenience, however, they can become stained and dull looking. To ensure they are kept clean and shiny, here are a few tips on how to make stainless steel sparkle!

Using olive oil on a cloth, clean your sink and dry with a clean cloth. Be sure to also wipe away any water spots which may appear. To removes stains from your cookware, use club soda, and apply vinegar to remove spots and stains from your utensils and cutlery. Be sure to rinse off acid or salty foods if the flatware is not immediately washed. Well that was easy, right?

Now there are other problems you may encounter with stainless steel items that need more attention. For example, if you have just purchased a stainless steel mixer; and the label(s) won’t come off, soak the item in warm water; rub it with a soapy cloth. Voila!Label on; label off.

Grease! Not the musical! To remove grease from your cookware or appliances, use a mixture of ammonia and warm water. Another problem you may encounter is rust stains. For this removal, you will need to use a household cleaner; and often.

Here are some tips to avoid damage to your stainless steel items. Don’t use steel wool to clean them; and never leave stainless steel cookware on extremely high heat for a long period of time as this will only lead to discoloration.

While there are many stainless steel cleaning products available on the market today, try the old method first. If you have large surfaces, such as refrigerators or counter tops; try using glass cleaner or ammonia. Avoiding the use of any toxic chemicals or abrasives will ensure all of your stainless steel appliances, cookware and peripherals continue to sparkle.

Try these methods first. If you want to try some of the new products on the market, I would suggest: Orange Glo Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish; Stainless Steel Magic and the simplehuman stainless steel sponge mitt.

Now I'm off to make that stainless steel shine...let me know how it works for you!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Cool Site Alert! - Custom Chore Charts

This is a COOL site! FREE STUFF!!

Check out this site. You can create custom chore charts for your kids, print them out and hang them on your fridge for them to use. Lots of character themes are available - Dora, Dragon Tales, Sponge Bob - really anything you can imagine. There was an excellent suggestion on the site to print out the chart, have your child color it and then laminate it for use over and over again.

There are also calendars, craft ideas, projects to do with your kids...check it out!!

Thumbs Up Thursday - Babylune

Now that I'm back in stride from the holiday, I need to get back into my "Thumbs Up Thursday" salutes.

This week's nod goes to Kate at Babylune. Kate's says, "The blog isn't usually about baby care. It's about mother care. I've covered topics from weight loss to hemorroids, from breast feeding to feelings of isolation. It is my goal to inspire every new mother to do one thing for her own health and well being every day."

One particular topic that Kate just covered is HPV and cervical cancer. We've all heard about it on the popular commercials. Most of us have probably discussed it with our doctors...and as mothers of daughters, some of us have even been introduced to the vaccination for HPV. It's very prevalent in today's about Kate's take HERE.

Way to go, Kate - thanks for another reason to give a "thumbs up" this Thursday!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Breakfast - the Most Important Meal of the Day

Christmas has come and gone and now the kids are back in school - I don't know about you, but I'm doing the happy dance :)

You probably slacked a little bit over the holidays...slept in late, made some HUGE breakfasts...probably didn't even have breakfast on some days. That's okay - that's what holiday/vacation time is for. Now that the kids are back on their regular schedule, I thought I'd give you some quick and easy (and nutritious) breakfast ideas to make sure they make it through til lunchtime.

Important info to keep in mind: Studies have shown that children who eat a balanced breakfast are more alert in school, perform better and in many cases are less prone to bad behavior than children who skip breakfast.

Give them Eggs – Eggs are versatile and nutritious, plus most kids like them. Start their day with simple scrambled eggs, you can add a little chopped ham, cheese, chopped tomatoes or mushrooms. Boiled eggs with slices of toast will go down well too.

Bake Ahead Muffins – Muffins aren’t always the most nutritious meal, but if you bake your own muffins you can use mashed banana and a little honey for a naturally sweet breakfast muffin. You can also replace half of the amount of white flour for healthier whole wheat flour. And don’t just stick to sweet muffins, try a savory bacon and chive muffin or cheese and ham. Bake them the night before for a quick and healthy breakfast.

Don’t forget the Fruit – Try a fresh fruit salad with a yogurt and cheerio dip. Using a rolling pin mash a handful of two of whole grain Cheerios in a plastic bag and transfer to a bowl. Fill another bowl with yogurt and let your kids dip the fruit pieces in yogurt then in the cheerio mixture. Whole grain Cheerios have a lower sugar content then many of the cereals on the supermarket shelves.

Pancakes in a flash – Prepare a basic pancake batter the night before, cover and refrigerate. In the morning, all you need to do is heat the grill and your whole family can enjoy delicious homemade pancakes. Serve with a little maple syrup or jam and some fresh fruit on the side.

Try Pizza for Breakfast - Split a couple of bagels in half, top with a little pizza sauce, grated cheese and some chopped ham. Place under the grill for a few minutes and you have a nutritious breakfast pizza. You can also use English muffins or pita bread.

Breakfast Burrito – Wraps are a great alternative to toast and cereal. You can make a scrambled egg breakfast wrap with a little bit of ham or cheese added to it or you can add a little cream cheese and turkey or even make a breakfast pizza burrito.

Remember, breakfast doesn’t have to always consist of the traditional toast, cereal and eggs. You can experiment a little to keep things interesting. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to always make the perfect family breakfast. If your kids really aren’t hungry at breakfast time, a simple banana and a glass of orange juice will give them an instant boost.

The most important thing is that your child starts the day with one or two nutritious foods.

Need some more healthy ideas for your meals? Healthy Menu Mailer provides weekly menus and easy-to-use shopping lists to get just what you need and feed your family in a healthy way! Click here for a free sample menu.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Organizing the Kids Rooms

What's one of the biggest tasks in the house to initiate and maintain? The kid's rooms! Nothing is more difficult than getting the kids to clean up their rooms and keep them clean.

Here are some tips to help you get organized and give them the tools to KEEP organized:

When selecting the storage for your child’s room, be sure that it’s something that the child can use. There are tons of options, from plastic storage bins, the fold up cardboard under-bed boxes and drawers and build-it-yourself furniture, and don’t forget garage sales. Take your child with you when getting new storage, to make sure it will be user friendly.

Younger children have trouble opening heavy dresser drawers, so consider using cardboard box storage, or open stacking baskets. Use the dressers for out of season clothes until they are older. Put stickers on the drawers to show what goes in each one, so they can start learning to put away their own clothes. You can find a wide variety of stickers in scrap booking supplies.
Clear plastic bins are great for toys. The lids are usually easy to work and the children can see what’s in the box. It’s also fun to label the storage with bright pictures of what goes in each box. ****COOL IDEA**** Stuffed animals can multiply like rabbits, but storing them on a Velcro covered pole is fun and helps decorate the room. **** A large decorative laundry basket can make good storage for the stuffed animals as well.

By sorting the toys into groups, and storing some in either the basement or garage, you can limit the amount of toys in their rooms at one time. Rotate which toys they have once a month or so, helping limit boredom with the toys. This is also a good time to sort out the things the kids no longer play with or have gotten too old for, and either pass things on or have a garage sale or sell to a consignment shop.

Monday, January 01, 2007


Happy 2007! It's time to start fresh and begin another new chapter in your life. You probably have made all of the same resolutions again this year (we all have)...lose weight, get in shape, organize your house, organize your life!

Sounds easy...right - the reality've got your work cut out for you.

My resolution for this year is to get back on a regular schedule of blogging (after a much needed break) and try to help you achieve your goals for the year by giving helpful tips and tidbits of information on all of the subjects listed above.

Today I'll begin with your family. If you're going to make a change in YOUR eating habits, your entire family will be affected as well. Here are some ways to work together as a family and achieve some healthier eating habits for everyone!

The easiest change a family can start with is in food consumption. Obviously you'll need to incorporate exercise into the habits; however starting with food is a small step with measurable results. Simply do not bring junk food into the house. If you have chips, sodas and ice cream available, would you really be able to just have some grapes? More than anything you will need a change of mindset.

Sit down at the table as a family and get input from everyone. Talk about the health risks, talk about wanting to be around for the children for years to come. Make an agreement that there will be no closet eating. Agree to look for creative recipes so that it doesn't seem like you're eating rabbit food.

Forcing or demanding healthier habits is formula for failure. If you can make other family members feel that they are part of the decision and truly understand the importance of it, positive results will be easier to achieve.

Hold each other accountable. Give son permission to question mom why she's eating a donut. Agree to support, not ridicule. Accept digressions as temporary set backs, not failures. Agree that failure is not an option.

Make sure everyone understands the ground rules up front and, above all, support one another!

Stay tuned for more...