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!
There are plenty of jeans out there that are comfortable AND stylish. One Plum District Consultant shares her favorites.
May 15th, 2012 | 12:08 AM
Gigi is a District Consultant in San Francisco, California. She has a 4-year old son (Liam), a 1-year old daughter (Amelie), and a 12-year old Pug (Penelope).
Motherhood isn’t always stylish, and it certainly isn’t glamorous. But if you’re like most females on the planet, you know that finding a pair of jeans is critical, and is often a humbling battle with the victor being anyone but you (at least that’s my experience). Whether you’re short, tall, curvy, or straight, getting a fantastic pair of jeans is almost as good, if not better, than – well, you fill in the blank…
Being a mom and being a jean-wearing mom can be a bit tricky. Tina Fey and our friends at SNL gave us countless laughs (and a complex!) with their timeless spoof on the Mom Jean:
My favorite jeans come from a variety of brands. My criteria – aside from wanting to look fantastic – is comfort, since I’m herding kiddos and managing a household. I have no time for binding, pinching, and certainly no time for sucking it in. Believe it or not, and all laughing aside, we can be moms – in jeans – and look fabulous, glamorous… and, yes, even rockin’…
Old Navy makes fantastic and affordable jeans that not only flaunt your figure but also help keep the budget-conscience mom in a happy place.
- The Women’s Sweetheart Skinny ($29.50) is my personal fav and is great for those wanting the sassy skinny leg coupled with comfort:
- The Women’s Sweetheart Boot-Cut ($29.50) is terrific for casual days, and rest assured – no style is left behind:
A good trouser is unbeatable. The best pair I’ve found is by Level 99. They have a classic tailored cut and quality, and they look terrific dressed up with heels and a jacket, or can be dressed down for a more casual look.
- The Jerry Sailor Trouser ($55) is my favorite (accessorized with buttons at the hip – love!):
- Level 99′s Storm Wide Leg ($106) is runner up.
I was also recently introduced to the Miraclebody denim line, from the makers of the celebrated Miraclesuit swimwear. The Katie Signature Tacked is excellent, comfortable, and, I have to admit, they make my body (and booty) look pretty phenom.
A mom should never show up to a party empty handed - here are some ideas we know your hostess will love
May 14th, 2012 | 11:30 AM
Kansas City’s Deb Clem offers a list of gracious hostess gift ideas that will have your friends grinning!
The month of May marks the start of the summer entertaining season. From Mother’s Day brunches to graduations to outdoor barbecues, you’re social calendar is filling fast! You’ve had your fair share of get-togethers, so you know planning these events is a lot of hard work, and it only seems right to reward your hostess with a lovely gift. But what?
Hostess gifts aren’t required but they’re a sweet gesture your friends and neighbors will appreciate. Most of my friends show up with a bottle of wine, but not everyone is partial to vino, so over the years I’ve learned to get creative. Here are a few of my favorites.
- Blooming plants — Cut flowers die within days, but plants can last for months or years. Bamboo, is easy to care for and is said to bring good luck. I just happen to have a great Asian market nearby to pick one up, but they are also fairly typical at most green houses. I just adore Orchids as well. If you happen to live in a Trader Joe’s market you’ll have to check out their selection of elegant offerings.
- Artisan Foods — I often gift a dip, cheese ball, or bread mix in a gorgeous bag. I love Tastefully Simple products and so do lots of my friends. It’s an easy and useful way to say thanks.
- Picture frames – You never have enough of these little gems. Why not pick some up at the end of each season and have a few on hand? Instead of a thank you note, simply add a sweet message or “thanks” in the frame to show how much you appreciate the invite.
- Monogrammed anything — From towels to napkins to coasters, we all love to receive personalized presents. Guess what? Your hostess does too. Anthropologie always has adorable, monogrammed handkerchiefs and mugs that your friends will fill for.
Always remember to match the gift to the hostess. Think about what she really likes before you make a choice. A couple of months ago, one of my friends showed up with the perfect gift — a bottle of Skinny Girl Cosmo’s. The note read, “Save this for a girl’s night.” We’ll be having one soon!
You value everything your kids say, but sometimes, it's just so silly you have to laugh!
May 12th, 2012 | 8:45 AM
The combination of your kids’ personalities and their imaginations can result in comments that leave parents shocked, embarrassed, or just downright overcome with laughter. These are some quotes that our District Consultants and Regional Managers shared:
From Kristi Stovall, Regional Manager in Jacksonville, FL:
My 7-year-old son asked, “Mama, can you hatch us another baby? Because I would really like a little brother.” To which my 6-year-old daughter replied, ”Don’t be ridiculous Walter. Mama is too old to hatch any more eggs!”
From Deb Clem, Regional Manager in Kansas City, KS:
The school counselor asked the kids to list the top 3 things they learned in grade school. Rosie listed: (1.) Never let your cousin cut your American Girl’s hair. (2.) Never ask a lady if she is pregnant. It won’t turn out well. (3.) Never trust boys.
From Dawn Lazzara, District Consultant in Jacksonville, FL:
On a Mother’s Day project in preschool, my son filled in the blank with this response: My Mommy is as pretty as…”a brown and white dog!”
From Helen Connor, Regional Manager in Boston, MA:
When people tell my 6-year-old daughter that she looks like daddy she says, “No I don’t. I’m not hairy!”
From Brita Brown, District Consultant in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN:
My 3-year-old daughter asked, “Mom are we lost again? You are so bad at directions!”
From Michelle Peterson, District Consultant in Salt Lake City, UT:
I was preparing the Thanksgiving turkey and my 6-year-old daughter Chloe was helping me. As I pulled the neck out of the cavity she said “Yep! We know this one’s a boy!”
From Carly Kirsch, District Consultant in Hartford/New Haven, CT:
We were out in the back yard and I spotted some tulips that had bloomed. When I pointed them out to my 3.5-year-old daughter and said, “Look, there are tulips!” She replied, “Oh wow, pretty! We have those at school, except we have a lot of lips there.”
We have some ideas about how you can add a little sparkle to Mother's Day brunch!
May 11th, 2012 | 12:13 PM
Maria Oakes is a mother, wife, and writer living and loving in Las Vegas. She is also currently penning a children’s book. Today she is sharing her Sparkling Jewels Cocktails recipe that’s sure to class up any brunch or event.
Some people say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but as an on-the-go mom I respectfully disagree. Brunch, my friends, is where it’s at! What’s not to love about a dining experience that can only take place after sleeping in past breakfast? More importantly, hosting a brunch gives you and your gal pals the chance to start the day off with a tasty glass of bubbly! From the sweet peachy Bellini to the classic Mimosa, a sparkly champagne cocktail adds a hint of elegance to any gathering. That’s why I’m sharing my Bubbly Jewels recipes for your Mother’s Day brunch.
Start with the bubbles. Some people say to use the cheapest stuff you can find as you’re going to mix it anyway. I find that good ingredients make for good cocktails, but don’t go popping that bottle of Cristal either. I like Moet & Chandon Champagne or good old Yellow Tail Sparkling White, and don’t be afraid to add a twist with some Italian Prosecco or Spanish Cava as well – sparkling wine is tasty in any language. Whatever wine you use, be sure to choose “Dry” or “Extra Dry”. “Brut” is sweeter and adding juice or liqeurs to it makes it too sweet.
- Chill your bottle or bottles of bubbly (who’s counting anyway?)
- Then gather:
A small bottle of Midori (melon-flavored liqueur)
A small bottle of Chambord (raspberry-flavored liqueur)
A small bottle of Curacao (orange-flavored liqueur – you can get blue-tinted Blue Curacao, too!)
A bottle of club soda
- Pour 4-5 oz of the bubbly into each champagne flute
- Add about 1 oz of your desired liqueur to each glass
- Add a splash of soda water (you can never have too much sparkle in you cocktails!)
Display your Sparkling Jewel cocktails on a table or platter and tell guests they have their choice of the Emerald, Ruby, or Sapphire!
We can’t wait for you to add some bling to your brunch this Sunday!
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.
Growing up you promised yourself you'd never say some of the things your mom did because it drove you nuts. Then you had kids and — oh no! — you started saying the things you swore you never would.
May 10th, 2012 | 10:40 AM
In honor of the Month of Mom, we asked you what are some “Mom-isms” you’ve caught yourself saying now that you have kids of your own. Here are your hilarious answers. Have your own “mom-ism” you’d like to share? Leave it in the comment section.
“’Do it again and you’ll be sorry!” and “Did you go potty?’ Why does becoming a mom mean you use potty and not bathroom!” — District Consultant Helen C.
“I can’t wait until you have your own kids, they’re gonna do the exact same thing to you!” — Kathy via Facebook
“I don’t care who made the mess; I’m asking you to clean it up!” — Jennifer via Facebook
“You better eat that broccoli if you want dessert!” —Thien-Kim via Facebook
“Ask your father!” — Martha via Facebook
“There’s nothing you can even think about doing that I haven’t already done. I’m always one step ahead of you …” Tammy via Facebook
“’Let me smell your hands!’ Gross right? “— District Consultant Laura O.
“’You get what you get and you don’t get upset’ and ‘Don’t make me come in here one more time’ at bedtime. Not sure what I’ll say if they start saying, ‘or what?’” — Regional Manager Jessica D.
“My personal favorite is, ‘Don’t tell Dad,’ also known as ‘DTD.’” Division Director Tori M.
“’Santa is watching you and if you are not good you will not get anything on Christmas morning.’ I said this in March.” — Jennifer via Facebook
“Singing ‘It’s time to get up,’ to the tune of a trumpet reveille. Drove me crazy at the time!” — Brittany via Facebook
Grab your girlfriends and take a well-deserved night off or grab a glass of vino and join Plum District for a fun hour-long MOM Twitter party.
May 8th, 2012 | 9:43 PM
For those of you who may not know, Thursday, May 10th is National Mom’s Nite Out. This is not a Hallmark-created event, but rather one that began five years ago after a simple tweet from Maria Baily – host of Mom Talk Radio – who said, “Mother’s Day is a lot of work for me. Anyone want to join me for a National Mom’s Nite Out?” The response was immediate and tremendous, and now, thousands of media groups, companies, malls, mommy bloggers, and social networks have come together to create events, discounts, and more, in effort to give moms a well-deserved night off.
What’s the difference between National Mom’s Nite Out and Mother’s Day, you ask? Well, on Mother’s Day, between the cooking and dinner planning and the visits to mothers-in-law and grandmothers, not that much relaxation happens! National Mom’s Nite Out, however, is meant to be a task-free evening.
So this Thursday, look out for local events and discounts from great brands, who are all looking to reach those of you who know you deserve an actual break. Grab your girlfriends and go have some fun.
For more information on National Mom’s Nite Out – and to view a list of local and online events, mom discounts, and giveaways – visit www.momsniteout.com.
Can’t get out of the house for a nite out? How about a Twitter party with @plumdistrict?! Join us from 5:30-6:30pm PT for an hour of all girl fun and prizes hosted by Plum District moms. Be sure to RSVP to be eligible for prizes! (Follow #MomMonth to join the party)
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.