Memory blankets are a crafty, unique way to preserve your kids' childhood.
May 16th, 2012 | 10:47 PM
By Melissa Carlisle
Melissa Carlisle is a local and national District Consultant, as well as the author of the MelissaStuff blog. She’s the mother of three boys – 6, 4 and 2 years old – making it easy for her to know exactly what kinds of deals you are looking for as a mom.
As your kids outgrow their baby clothes it can be incredibly difficult to bring yourself to throw them out. There’s that adorable preemie outfit, the toddler shirt that fit their budding personality perfectly, or even the blanket that they couldn’t live without for years.
But what do you do with them? Keeping a stack of clothes, blankets and bibs for years seems silly. What will your kids do with any of that stuff?
Memory blankets are the perfect answer. Experienced quilters can take outfits, t-shirts, blankets, and even smaller sentimental pieces can be preserved in a gorgeous, functional quilt. If you’re the crafty type with basic sewing skills, you can make a memory quilt on your own. There are some great tutorials like Lil Blue Boo and The Bunk House , that show you how to make a tee-shirt quilt, step-by-step!
If that’s beyond your skill-set or you have little kids running around your house getting into every project you start, there are some great online solutions. If you are comfortable mailing off your memorabilia to a seamstress and paying $150 – $1000+, professional quilters will take your shirts, create a quilt and ship it right back to you.
My personal opinion is to grab a memory quilt offer right here on Plum District, like this offer from Mominizer – and have a quilt made in the easiest, most economic way possible! Save your money, time and memories all at the same time!
Have you made a memory blanket (or had one made)? What materials did you use? Did you keep it for yourself or give it to your kids?
Unplug, have fun, and be sure to follow the rules!
May 16th, 2012 | 9:36 AM
Heaven knows we all love our electronic devices. Who among us hasn’t woken up face down in a laptop, the imprint of the home row indented on our faces? Still; as much as these technological wonders keep us connected, they can also drive us apart. Time to put down the iPad, Mom, and rally the troops for an old-fashioned game night!
Step One: Unplug your family. Grab a basket or box and collect those cellphones, DS’s, and other e-distractions. Warning: Your moody teenager will resist this analog interaction. This is just the tech withdrawal talking. Once she owns a few railroads in Monopoly she’ll fall into a rhythm of family fun that’s undeniable.
Step Two: Gather a variety of age-appropriate games. Get Cranium, Scrabble, Scattergories, and Trivial Pursuit for the older kids. For the squirrely youngin’s, Scavenger for Kids and Kids on Stage are fun and funny games the encourage kids to move. Apples to Apples, Sorry, Monopoly, Life, Clue, and Yatzee are classics that the whole family will enjoy!
Step Three: Break into a game and get started! After a few game nights a pattern may begin to emerge. In my family, I am the type-A aunty who always has to read the directions before we begin. My 8-year-old niece, Hope, always sets up the board and chooses each player’s color or symbol (she’s a good girl and always gives her aunty the top hat in Monopoly)! My nephew Gavin keeps the pace of the game moving – though sometimes he skips his sister to take his turn. We’re working on it.
Step Four: Snacks. Something healthy enough that you can graze on it for hours, but yummy enough that you will want to graze on it for hours. I like fruit and veggie wedges with peanut butter, ranch dressing, or hummus. Popcorn is also an easy way to go, and it’s great for throwing at the offender when someone bumps you back to start in Sorry!
Additional Info: It is especially important to play a fair game and follow the rules with kids. Games teach kids to be patient and wait their turn, to follow directions, to be strategic and weigh their options, and how to be a good winner or loser.
This weekend turn off the TV, pick up a board game and bring the brood together for a few hours of fun family time that they – and you! – will always cherish.
And remember: the loser has to put away the game. Rules are rules!
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.
Teacher Appreciation week starts today. Here are some ideas for showing your appreciation that are easy and fun.
May 7th, 2012 | 1:09 AM
By Jill Holland
Jill has been a District Consultant in San Diego since December 2011. She has a 13 year old daughter and an 11 year old son.
In Encinitas, a beach town and suburb of sunny San Diego, families try to keep Teacher Appreciation Week simple, affordable for parents, and meaningful for teachers! These are some A+ gift ideas that you can do anywhere, and anytime of year, so your child’s teacher will feel the love all year round:
- Flower Day: If each child picks and brings a flower from their yard, one parent can arrange them quickly in a vase for a lovely bouquet. Watching the parade of kids carrying flowers to school is adorable, and the arrangement will be as unique as each student in the class.
- Fruit Day: Think outside the apple. Each child brings a piece of fresh fruit from home on this day and everyone chips in for a bowl. Voila! A beautiful fruit arrangement that every family can easily participate in.
- Coffee Day: A few parents bring the teacher’s favorite coffee or tea from their favorite coffee spot, favorite breakfast treat, and surprises them at their break. Parents can also chip in for an extra bag of coffee and have all the kids sign a mug.
- Spa Day: Parents can chip in to buy a mani/pedi or massage and package the gift certificate with some lotions, scented candle and card.
- Restaurant: Chip in for a gift certificate to a local restaurant so they can end their week with a delicious meal. Include a nice bottle of wine with the card, and toast to them.
Simple, honest appreciation from kids and parents versus grandiose gifts seem to touch teachers the most. They dedicate every day to your children, so dedicating a few days to them is worth the creativity and gesture.
Being a mom is a tough job and we love our kids, but sometimes things just get crazy
May 3rd, 2012 | 8:20 AM
Leave it to the little ones to stump us with the most unusual occurrences.
Here’s one story from Grabriela, a Plum District Consultant who lives in Connecticut:
Last Sunday afternoon my 5-year-old, Charlotte, lost her first tooth. She is almost six and has been watching her friends lose teeth all year, waiting eagerly for her turn. That evening, we were getting the girls ready for bed when we suddenly heard screaming, crying and huge commotion. My husband and I ran to where the girls were to see what the problem was. We found both of our girls in a panic and managed to figure out that Charlotte had taken her loose tooth and shoved it up her nose! When we tried to assure Charlotte that there was no reason to be scared. She explained to us that she was not scared, she just needed to know if the tooth fairy would still come!
We looked in her nostril and saw nothing. My husband – who happens to be a doctor – looked up her nostril with an otoscope and then looked at me, bewildered, and said, “I can’t see anything.” I then asked, “So what do we do?” After 6 years of specialty training at some of New York’s top medical centers, and seeing “everything”, he said, “I have no idea. I have never seen anything like this!” Leave it to a 5-year-old to completely stump a seasoned medical professional.
The rest of night involved a number of phone calls consulting other medical professionals. On Monday morning we visited an ENT doctor, who also looked completely dismayed. She looked up Charlotte’s nose with an otoscope and saw nothing. After further exploration, which involved a fiber optic camera and a lot of squirming, it was determined that she must have swallowed it! The ENT doctor made Charlotte agree to never put anything else up her nose, they shook on it and we were on our way.
In the end, Charlotte was no worse for the wear, even when I told her that I would not be retrieving her lost tooth when it finally reappears. In case you are wondering, the tooth fairy did come. She left money and a note stating her disappointment and asking that Charlotte not shove any more teeth in her nose. Lastly, it has occurred to me that this is karma for all of the crazy (and often disgusting) things I did to my parents. What’s a mom to do?
We think moms rock and they need more than a day!
May 1st, 2012 | 1:56 AM
All mothers are working mothers. — Author Unknown
True, at Plum District we’re all about making YOUR day, every day, but this May we wanted to shout it from the rooftops 24/7. Being a mom is one of the hardest and most rewarding jobs in the world and that’s why we want to celebrate above and beyond May 13th. Check out our site for exciting promotions and deals this entire month that are about celebrating you!
To start off the “Month of Mom” we found some fun facts from www.mothersdaycelebration.com that we thought were just too cool/juicy/fun NOT to share.
- In the vast majority of the world’s languages, the word for “mother” begins with the letter M.
- The earliest history of Mothers Day dates back to the ancient annual spring festival the Greeks dedicated to maternal goddesses. The Greeks used the occasion to honor Rhea, wife of Cronus and the mother of many deities of Greek mythology.
- Jayne Bleackley is the mother who holds the record for the shortest interval between two children born. She gave birth to Joseph Robert on September 3, 1999, and Annie Jessica Joyce on March 30, 2000. The babies were born 208 days apart.
- Elizabeth Ann Buttle is the mother who holds the record for the longest interval between the birth of two children. She gave birth to Belinda on May 19,1956 and Joseph on November 20, 1997. The babies were born 41 years 185 days apart. The mother was 60 years old when her son Joseph was born.
- 24.8 is the median age of women when they give birth for the first time – meaning one-half are above this age and one-half are below. The median age has risen nearly three years since 1970.
- Many of the sweaters worn by Mr. Rogers on the popular television show, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, were actually knitted by his real mother.
- August is the most popular month in which to have a baby, with more than 360,000 births taking place that month in 2001
- A female oyster over her lifetime may produce over 100 million young.
- A mother giraffe often gives birth while standing, so the new born’s first experience outside the womb is a 1.8-meter (6-foot) drop.
- Kittens are born both blind and deaf, but the vibration of their mother’s purring is a physical signal that the kittens can feel – it acts like a homing device, signaling them to nurse.
- Just like people, mother chimpanzees often develop lifelong relationships with their offspring.
Keep checking back to the blog for fun M.O.M. entries, great deals, and surprise guest bloggers!
Have you noticed certain traits in one of your kids and not the other? The order they were born in could determine key personality traits.
April 30th, 2012 | 3:50 PM
Kerri R. lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and is the proud mom to three little girls: Clara (6), Sisi (4), and Lenie (2). It is no great coincidence that as a youngest child of five kids herself that she loves working in sales!
Have you ever wondered why a firm “NO” elicits such different responses from your children? In my household, the oldest will promptly behave, the middle will burst in to tears and the youngest will give me her cutest grin and start singing Disney tunes.
There is no doubt that birth order is definitely at play and it powerfully influences who we are, the job we choose, who we marry, and even how we parent. Dr. Kevin Leman, author of The Birth Order Book, provides an in-depth look at the characteristics of first, middle, last, and only children.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the dominant traits of people who are born in this order. Do you think he’s spot on when it comes to your own kids?
- Firstborn children tend to be perfectionists, reliable, well organized, and overall people pleasers. They are our CEO’s, presidents, and are likely to work in a science or engineering field.
- Middle children are the hardest to define as they are influenced from all directions. They may be described as the peacemakers and are very sociable as they look for friends outside the family. They are mentally tough and independent.
- Youngest children, as you may have guessed, tend to love the limelight, and are often described as affectionate, engaging and tenacious. Many salespeople and comedians are youngest children.
- The ‘Lonely Only’ tends to have many traits similar to a firstborn, but with ‘super’ in front of them. They also tend to be creative, comfortable with adults at an early age, and possess strong language skills.
Although we can’t choose the order we’re born in, every child can break out of their birth order stereotype!
Source: The Birth Order Book by Dr. Kevin Leman
Sibling smiles! Kerri and her girls at home.
Their a tough audience but we have some finger foods they'll love!
April 28th, 2012 | 11:40 PM
We wouldn’t usually advocate eating with your hands, but we also wouldn’t trust a 5-year-old with a steak knife! That’s why we asked our moms for some easy finger food options that will keep even your fussiest eater feed.
Shannon Vetter lives in Fredrick, Maryland and has her hands full with three kids; two daughters ages 10 and 7 and a little boy that’s 5 years old. She keeps her brood on the go with a menu of hand held snacks.
At my house fruit kabobs are always a big hit. They’re bright and colorful and the kids eat more off a stick than a plate – this trick also works well with grilled veggies. Simply thread cantaloupe, strawberries, grapes, and the like onto a skewer and they’ll disappear in an instant.
My kids like variety and activity, so dipping always goes over well. I slice up apples, pears, and other fruit, then have the kids scoop peanut butter, vanilla yogurt, warm cheese, even caramel for a sweet treat. You can also plunge pita triangles and veggies into a dish of dip. We spread hummus on them but the possibilities are limitless.
Dry cereal is a no brainer. It’s portable and not too messy. My little chefs love to mix several brands together using their signature “recipe.” It’s too cute!
Rebecca Buscemi loves living on Chesapeake Bay with her hubby of eight years. She has a 6 year old mama’s boy and 3 year old daddy’s girl.
My kids are constantly eating everything from inside the sandwich and leaving the bread behind? If only giving up carbs were that easy for everyone! Here’s a quick recipe that I use to get some bread in their bellies.
1. Spread cream cheese onto a pretzel or bread stick.
2. Squeeze one line of easy cheese or wrap a slice of cheese onto the stick.
3. Add mustard if desired
4. Wrap lunch meat around the stick and enjoy!
My kids get frustrated when their pizza topping come sliding off their slice. So I give them ‘cups’ of pizza that stays put!
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
2. Cut pitas in half
3. Pop them in the oven for 5-7 min
4. When they come out the oven, the edges should be curled up a bit creating a ‘cup
5. Spread your sauce and cheese on asap so the cheese melts on the hot bread
6. Add other ingredients as desired
Someday your kiddos will dine like little ladies and gents with a mastery of every utensil imaginable even those tricky escargot crackers – we’ve all see Pretty Woman, right?! But for now, it’s a job keeping them on the go with full tummies and smiling faces. Use these quick tricks to satisfy the appetites in your family
Signs that it's happening and how to approach it
April 27th, 2012 | 12:13 PM
Bullying is a widespread problem that affects millions of people everyday – online and in person. It happens among children as young as 4 years old, through young adults (at which age, this behavior often results in legal consequences). As a mom, it’s highly important that you are informed about this common and harmful behavior, and know how to combat or prevent the bullying of your child, or interfere if you suspect your own child is being a bully (which no mom wants to think, but must be prepared to deal with).
First, the basics. What is bullying? According to www.StopBullying.gov, “Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived imbalance of power. The behavior is repeated or has the potential to be repeated over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.”
Signs that your child may be bullied:
- Becoming withdrawn
- Decline in school performance
- Trouble eating or sleeping
- Few friends or close contacts
- Speaking of another child with fear
- Showing fear when it is time to go to school
- Noticeable decline in how he/she sees him or herself
- Signs of physical altercations, such as bruises, scrapes, and other marks
- Missing or damaged clothing or other personal belongings
How to approach the situation:
- Encourage your child to share his or her thoughts and concerns. Remember that this is your turn to listen. Don’t lecture or interfere with their verbal expression.
- Learn as much about the situation as possible. Ask your child how and when the bullying occurs and who is involved. Talk to other adults and children who may have witnessed bullying incidents.
- Teach your child how to respond to bullying. Encourage your child to maintain composure when approached by a bully — not to cry or fight back. Suggest that he or she say “I want you to stop this now,” and then walk away, and go to a teacher or school official for help, if necessary. Tell your child it might be best to stick with a group of friends in the places and during the times when the bullying tends to happen.
- Contact school officials and follow up. Talk to your child’s teachers and school principals to inform them about the situation, gain more information, and determine the next step. Keep in contact with them, especially if the bullying is persistent.
- Boost your child’s self-esteem. Remind your child that you love them the way they are and that the bullying is not acceptable and will be ended. Praise your child for being brave enough to talk about the situation, remind them that it is not their fault, and tell them that you will come up with a solution together. Help your child get involved with activities that raise self-esteem, such as sports, music, and art. Arrange fun get-togethers, outings, and other activities that help to develop your child’s social skills and social network.
Now, here are some signs that your child may be a bully:
- Views violence positively as a solution to most problems
- Shows little sympathy to those who are being bullied, or are having problems
- The need to dominate others and control situations
- Shows aggression toward adults and other children
How to approach the situation:
- Make sure your child understands that bullying will not be tolerated anywhere. Tell them about the consequences of bullying.
- Teach your child about diversity, and about treating others with respect and kindness. Let your child know that it is wrong to ridicule differences (whether it’s appearance, race, religion, special needs, socio-economic status, etc.), and that there are consequences for being disrespectful. Consider signing them up for an activity or club where they can interact with a diverse group of people and form new friendships.
- Encourage good behavior. Praise them with they handle situations in positive ways. Positive reinforcement can be more effective than negative discipline.
- Set a good example. As you know, it’s best to lead by example, so think carefully about how you resolve conflicts and problems. Your child will most likely follow your lead.
Almost 20,000 moms told Plum District what they want for Mother's Day and we listened!
April 26th, 2012 | 12:01 AM
Last month we launched a campaign to unravel the mysteries of Mom and her feelings about Mother’s Day. Our mission was to know more about what she really wanted on her special day – and if it really did feel “special.” We revealed that Mom is looking for the perfect blend of time for herself and time with her brood on Mother’s Day.
Among the findings:
- 75 percent claim they would prefer a handmade card over a necklace from Tiffany & Co.®
- Two thirds prefer to not pick out their own gift
- 54 percent would choose to spend quality time with their own mother versus 46 percent who would have her babysit the kids
“Some of the things we discovered in our survey were pretty surprising to us, like the fact that only 56 percent of husbands/significant others always remember Mother’s Day,” says Megan Gardner, CEO of Plum District. “What didn’t surprise us is that at the end of the day, moms might crave some ‘me’ time, but their families will always rank first.”
What sort of “me” time is Mom after?
- Eight out of ten moms would choose to sleep in versus a sunrise breakfast with the kids
- One third of moms secretly want the day to themselves
- 52 percent would use an hour to themselves for a massage, while the other 48 percent would go on a bike ride
Plum District didn’t just learn – we’ve listened! We have decided that you deserve more than a day – so we’re dedicating all of May to the “Month of Mom,” or M.O.M.. Moms across the country should expect to find offers that are just for them to enjoy and indulge in, as well as fun activities for the whole family! And to really make things exciting we have partnered with Bethenny Frankel to help make your day! From Monday, May 7, through May 13, you’ll find offers in your local city that will quite literally help you plan the “Perfect Day!” Be sure to check your inbox on Friday, May 4, for a special note and video from Bethenny just to you!