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Dana from Mastering Mommy Brain recalls the first Christmas as a Mom of Two
December 12th, 2012 | 3:45 PM
Christmas changed once I had children. Life quickly went from worrying about what clothes to wear for holiday parties and wondering what my hubby would gift me, to doing everything I could to make my child’s face light up on Christmas morning. Now I focus on how to make my family’s holiday memorable.
Our first two Christmases as parents were magical. We had perfectly executed plans – visits to Santa, gifts for our child (and everyone else!), time with family and friends, and delicious holiday treats. Our son was elated by the sheer magnitude of the holidays, and we became confident we would rock every Christmas from there on out.
Planning Christmas number three was similar, but with one significant difference – I was planning as a Mom of two kids.
It was obvious from the start that another seamless Christmas execution wouldn’t happen a third time around from the start. We pulled up to our house after Christmas Eve Mass and heard our house alarm sirens blaring as our relatives stood wide-eyed and flustered in the foyer.
Turning to my husband, I asked, “Who set the alarm?”
It was obvious I had a serious case of Mommy Brain that wasn’t taking a breather for the holidays.
After calls to both the alarm company and impending patrol cars, we settled in to appetizers and holiday portraits. Just as everyone was gathering around for a photo, SLAM. The unsteady walker in our house, my daughter, had tripped. Blood proceeded to gush from her nose, followed by inconsolable tears and cries.
With family pictures tossed aside, it was clear everyone needed a bit of cheering up. We went outside to sprinkle reindeer dust (our own concoction of oatmeal and glitter) on the roof – at the insistence of my son. My cousin propped himself up on the ladder but thanks to a gust of wind was covered in this magical potion.
A great sight for those non-believers, but it only led to more tears as my son kept repeating, “Santa is going to land on Adam, not on our roof! Adam is going to get my cars instead of me!”
Dinner and presents followed without a hitch, until the stomach bug hit my daughter with a vengeance. Oh yes, the stomach bug. I can assure you it was the one item not on Mom’s Christmas list.
Needless to say, our company cleared out pretty quick. Our sleepless night didn’t come from dreams of sugarplums, but consisted of containing “the bug” and assembling and wrapping the last of the gifts (note: never leave to the last minute!). When Christmas morning finally arrived, my daughter’s holiday dress was shoved aside for a more comfortable, yet less photogenic, set of red sweatpants.
We had survived our first Christmas as parents of two. Looking back, it was a day full of Mommy Brain moments and some comical hiccups. It may not have been a perfect Christmas, but it was absolutely one to remember.
It's time to vote
November 6th, 2012 | 10:01 AM
Have you voted today?
It’s Election Day 2012 and no matter whose side you’re on, it’s important to vote!
Find your polling station here: http://www.vote411.org
In honor the London 2012 Olympics, here's some tasty (and healthy) snacks to nosh on while you watch world-class athletes compete over the next two weeks.
July 30th, 2012 | 5:05 PM
As the Olympics open we are all prompted to reflect on our own athletic pasts; however embarrassing or glorified. Like many kids, my professional athletic career started with soccer at the age of five. I took to the field ready to obliterate my opponents, or at least remember not to pick the ball up. Soccer is a wonderful sport, and in my time I think I was successful at missing every finer point of the sport. But I was always focused on the chief aspect of the game – half-time snacks.
Whether your little one is swimming lengths or hitting the links; they need fuel. And no self-respecting mom wants to have “the bad snack” when it’s their turn to feed the Olympic hopefuls. Here are some new spins on those tried and true snacks, along with simple switches to make your version truly tournament-worthy.
Having a hard time convincing the kiddos that fruit is fun? They’ll be coming back for seconds when you make snacks interactive. Cut up strawberries, kiwis, apple slices, pineapple, watermelon, and grapes — then throw in some marshmallows all into different bowls. Then have everyone pick out their favorites and make color patterns. Put them on a wooden kabob stick and – voila! – fruit is suddenly a little more tasty. To discourage browning on the apples, apply lemon or lime juice to the slices. The acid dispels the browning enzyme and you can dilute it 3 parts water to 1 part juice to avoid the acidic flavor.
Ants on a Log
This snack has been a way to trick children into eating celery for years and with so many different spreads to choose from you can really mix it up. Put out peanut butter, cream cheese and Nutella along with a variety of toppings like raisins, cranberries, or chocolate chips. Mix and match accordingly!
For a refreshing dessert that is also healthy whip up some Yogurt Delights. It’s easy — take some Greek yogurt and make a base in a small cup, then layer it with fruits like oranges or raspberries. After each layer add another layer of yogurt. Add a garnish to the top (chocolate shavings round it out nicely) then settle in to watch some gymnastics or swimming!
What are some of your favorite go to healthy snacks? We’d love to know!
It's easy! Just share an offer you love and if they buy you get $5 off.
July 6th, 2012 | 4:10 PM
Share the Plum District love with your friends and earn discounts for doing it! All you have to do is share a Plum District deal that you love using our social share buttons on the deal page (see below image). If one of your friends comes to the site and purchases any of our deals you will earn a $5 off* reward from Plum District. Once your friend has completed a transaction you will receive a reward notification and within 24 hours Plum District will contact you via email with your unique $5 off promotion code.
- Individuals are only eligible for one $5 reward per day throughout the promotional period (July 8th 2012 9pm PT through July 22nd 2012, 11:59pm PT)
- All referred purchases must be made by July 22nd 2012 11:59pm PT – promo codes will expire on July 30th, 2012.
- Promotional $5 discounts may not be combined or stacked with other offers, discounts, or promotion codes
- $5 referral credit can only be earned by sharing through social sharing buttons on a Plum District deal page
- Referred purchases will only be counted if they purchase via the unique referral link
The things we inherit from Mom - besides her mannerisms, her nose, and her favorite phrases.
May 22nd, 2012 | 9:11 PM
As I was frantically trying to decide what to get my mom for Mother’s Day (ended up going with a set of lobster crackers – known to fellow New Englanders as ‘lobstah crackahs.’), I started thinking about the things that she’s given to me.
For my 30th birthday, my mom gave me her red leather jewelry box, embossed with her initials. I have so many memories of scrambling underneath her bed to pull out this box so I could pile on all of the ‘sparklies’ inside of it and parade around the house, feeling like a princess. Now, it sits on top of the vanity table in my bedroom – which was once my grandmother’s! – and is filled with jewelry that I’ve acquired from varying family members over the years.
That box also contains my mother’s pearls, which she gave to me when I got engaged. I wore them on my wedding day, carefully removing them after our photos were taken so there was no chance of the string breaking. I’m clumsy like that.
It goes without saying that my most treasured possessions are items that once belonged to my mother, and when I started asking around the office, I discovered that plenty of other Plum District ladies feel the same way. From Louis Vuitton bags that are timeless tributes to your family’s stylish lineage (Anna Lipshaw: Lead District Consultant, Bay Area) to custom capes that Mom meticulously designed and created as 4-H projects (Kate Goepferd – Site Manager, Midwest Region), the most special gifts from Mom are ones that once belonged to her.
GALLERY: Treasures passed from Mom to Mom [click on photos to enlarge]:
Shannon Vetter – District Consultant, Maryland:
“My grandmother, mother and I were all married using the same ring. When my mother was married, her mom gave it to her and she decided to use it for the ceremony. When I was married, my mom then offered it to me. How could I turn it down? It already carried 79 years of marriage in it!
It’s a simple gold band but it means more to me than anything. Its inscription, J.B.C. to P.J.A. 6-16-45, also means C.S.N. to S.J.C 12/31/66 and F.J.V. to S.C.N 5/27/95.
When my beloved grandmother passed away in 1999, as the oldest grandchild I inherited her mother’s wedding ring. My grandmother wore that ring for as long as I can remember and it is so special to me to wear it now. Its inscription is J.B.C. to A.W. Sept. 26, 1889.
When I think about the hands on which these rings were worn, all the places they have been, all the meals they have prepared, all the children’s backs they have rubbed, all the words they have written, all the music they have played, all the gardens they have tended, all the toys they have put away and all the faces they have held, I am inspired to live up to their legacy and make these rings and their owners proud.”
Helen Connor – Regional Manager, Boston:
“I have several pairs of my mom’s high heeled shoes from when she was my age. Now that I’m a mom I realize what big shoes I have to fill!”
Lisa Barnes – District Consultant, San Francisco Bay Area:
“I wear my grandmother’s diamond on a chain around my neck 24/7. My grandma was one of the most important women in my life. She treated me like I was the most amazing person in the world. Always complimented me and made me feel so loved and important. Any time I was down and needed to talk to someone, I would call her. She always know the right thing to say. She always told me that I was her “diamond” (I was born in April, and that is my birthstone) and that when she died, she wanted me to have her diamond.
She passed away four years ago, and her funeral was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. After the service, my sisters, my daughter, my cousins, and my mom all went back to her house and sat on her bed with all of her jewelry boxes. We sat there for over three hours laughing, crying and sorting out all of the “treasures” she had saved over her lifetime. She saved everything, included all the notes that accompanied the jewelry. Going through all of her jewelry that day is a memory I will never forget – it helped ease the pain of the funeral. We all choice pieces that held important, strong memories for us. Her diamond, stays on me 24 hours a day. It’s a reminder that I was so loved by such an amazing woman, and I can hear her little words of encouragement and praise still.”
Marie Kagay – Sales Operations Coordinator – San Francisco:
“I love wearing my moms old clothes, especially her summer dresses. They have an authentic vintage feel, and are a great reminder of how cool my mom used to be!”
What are your favorite gifts from your Mom?
Isn't She Lovely?
May 18th, 2012 | 9:05 AM
Right about now, your teenager is starting to sweat it out over the most important social event of their young life…
Oh, the glitter, the glamor, the drama of it all. Remember your prom night? You probably rocked a dress that made you feel like a princess. Of course, fashion doesn’t always hold up over the years…and who else but the ladies of Plum District to remind you just how fantastic and fantastically terrible a prom dress can be?
Names have been withheld to protect the bedazzled, the shoulder-padded, and the tuxedoed.
GALLERY: PLUM DISTRICT PROM MAGIC (click on photos to enlarge):
One day a year just isn't enough.
May 10th, 2012 | 11:45 PM
I don’t have children yet, so Mother’s Day is still all about celebrating my own special Mom, Carolyn.
Many of my friends have kids, and I love hearing their hilarious stories about what the little scamps get up to in an effort to please Mom on ‘her’ day: Sloppy art projects; sloppier breakfasts in bed; backyard plays and impromptu evening jam sessions on drum kits fashioned from pots and pans.
Of course, I have special memories of doing all of those things myself – even scars on my knuckles from the disastrous time I attempted to make Mom my ‘specialty’ (cheese melted on Portuguese Sweet Bread) in the toaster oven. Mother’s Day reminds me of the wild lilacs that grew along the remote dirt road I grew up on. Every year, my brother and I would sneak out before Mom came downstairs, snipping as many of those fragrant lavender blooms as we could carry. Though this became our annual ritual, Mom never failed to gasp in delight, as though we’d brought her the moon instead of an armful of wildflowers.
She deserved so much more, this woman who was always in the front row at my choir concerts or cheering like a maniac at my soccer games. She cried with me the first time I had my heart broken. She cried with me the day I got engaged.
Now that I’m grown, my relationship with Mom has shifted. It’s become less about trying to please her and more about finding a balance, finding a friend. I want her to be proud of me, and I want her to be proud of herself for raising kids who became loving, conscientious, and ambitious adults.
I still have cooking disasters. All the time, actually. And the first thing I do when I realize I’ve used salt instead of sugar or have added too much milk to the damned mashed potatoes is call Mom. Though I moved 3000 miles away from home, she always picks up the phone, no matter what time it is. She always knows just what to do.
My mother was on my left arm as I walked down the aisle at my wedding, and I imagine she’ll be there in the hospital when I finally do have a child. (Does a hospital waiting room have a front row? If so, I know exactly where she’ll be.) How do you thank someone for that? How do you properly celebrate the unconditional love and support that a person has shown you for your entire life?
I don’t know the answer. But I do know that Mother’s Day has taken on a whole new significance for me, particularly now that I’m the same age my mother was when I was born.
I know that she deserves more than just a day of celebration. All Moms do. After all, you Moms are shaping the lives and perspectives of little people who will one day grow up, as I did, and rely on their foundational values to make good decisions. No pressure.
Thank you, Moms, for all you do, and thank you, Mom, for all you do for me.
Here's a craft your kids will love to make, and one you'll love to receive this Mother's Day.
May 8th, 2012 | 12:40 AM
Bonjour! I’m Bay Area mom, writer, planner, and Plum District Consultant Shari Wargo Stamps here to show you a heart-felt craft to give the mom in your life. Mother’s Day isn’t always about the sparkly necklace or expensive brunch out- it’s about showing mom that she is loved and appreciated. Every family is different, so this post has a do it yourself (DIY) craft that uses items you already have (or can borrow), and suggestions for ways to make the craft specific to your family.
Even though they may die after a couple of days, there’s something special about receiving flowers from the ones you love. The Blooming Love DIY allows mom to get flowers she’s never seen before, and your child to enjoy making a simple gift for mom. Toddlers and big kids will love being able to choose which flowers to pick and what to write or create on them. This DIY idea is ideal for ages 3-16, and can be customized to fit these different ages. Fun Fact: I first created a Blooming Love gift in high school to ask a boy to prom. I’ve also used a variation of this to remember a family member who passed away (it’s a versatile DIY).
- Ball point pen
- Stickers, glitter or stamps (for younger kiddos)
- Bottle, vase, or teacup (this is where you can make it your own)
- Ribbon (optional)
1. To start your project, choose a flower. This is an opportunity to talk to younger children about the different types of flowers and what the colors mean. If you don’t have flowers at your home, take the opportunity to go to a park or meadow with your child. When you cut your flower, be sure to leave some stem in case you choose to place your flower in a bottle or vase. Try to get any bugs out of the flower, and cut down any thorns before your child works with it.
2. Once you have your flower ready, you can decorate it for mom. Gently hold the flower in your hand and write or draw on the most visible center petals. You can tear away any petals that interrupt your pattern/message, or that maybe don’t look as great as the others if there are enough petals to work with. Alternatively, babies and toddlers can put fingerprints on the petals for a unique look, or toddlers can place heart-shaped stickers on the petals.
3. (Optional) Take your flower outside to sprinkle on a glitter which compliments the color of the flower. If you decide to use glitter, use it sparingly and remove the excess before bringing the flower back into the house.
4. Decide how you would like to present your gift to mom. There are so many ways to customize the Blooming Love gift to the special mom in your life by how you present it, but here are three options to give you some ideas. One option is to keep the stem and place it in a bottle (maybe reuse one from a drink mom loves) or vase with some water and a few extra petals (with or without writing on them). Another option would be to place your flower(s) in a bottle with some flower petals (without water) and strips of paper from different members of the family that each have a message about what they love about mom. For my last example, cut the stem of your flower so that it can sit in a teacup (or bowl) with or without water.
Find great offers to help plan Mother's Day. Spas, Sweet Treats, Family Fun and more!
May 6th, 2012 | 12:06 PM
Just in case you missed it the email from Bethenny Friday – here is her note to you! Be sure to tune in Monday for great offers all week that are just for MOM!
Want to know how she balances motherhood, a career, and marriage? Or maybe you just want to know what her favorite Skinnygirl cocktail is ... ask away!
May 3rd, 2012 | 7:18 PM