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
We think all moms deserve to pamper every once in a while
April 28th, 2012 | 12:51 AM
Hosting a spa night for your friends gives you all time to unwind, laugh a little, and pamper yourselves like you deserve, in the comfort of your own home! Take tonight night off, Mom.
These DIY Spa Night suggestions are easy and fun to do at home:
- Let the kids have a sleep over with movies and pizza at a house different than where you’re setting up spa. Call the babysitter or enlist the hubbies for bedtime duty, so your spa zone remains quiet and peaceful.
- Suggest that everyone wear pajamas or comfy yoga clothes, bathrobes and slippers.
- Welcome your guests with soothing music, dim lighting and scented candles that will make the room glow. Seda France home fragrances fill any room with a warm, comforting fragrance.
- Start with a simple 15-minute yoga session to help release tension and induce relaxation.
- Provide hand soaks in bowls, filled with warm water and flower petals. You can also use larger plastic tubs for feet.
- Offer a variety of nail polishes that the ladies can choose from to paint each other’s nails. The newest Essie Nail Polish collection boasts bright, cheerful summer colors and are only $8 a bottle. Shades of pinks, corals and oranges flaunt names like Lights, Camera, and Action, which will leave you feeling like a star.
- Ahava Purifying Mud Mask is easy to apply all over your face and let set for just two minutes, then rinse with warm water. It’s gentle but deep cleans and invigorates your skin.
- Toast with a flute of glamorous and relaxing Lavender Champagne.
- For pregnant friends or those who prefer non-alcoholic beverages, brew some green tea. For a chilled drink, have a pitcher of ice water with cucumbers.
- Serve a platter of cheeses, crackers, fresh fruit, nuts, and chocolates so everyone can indulge in sweet and savory treats.
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!
Sometimes you need to buy yourself a little time and keep the kids occupied - we love this idea
April 25th, 2012 | 12:27 AM
Heather lives in Fishers, Indiana and is a busy mom to four kids ages eight down to 18 months. She’s an avid USC Trojans fan, loves teaching cardio kickboxing at her local gym, and relishes time with her family! Now let’s get crafting!
If you’re like us, you’ve been counting down the days until this year’s summer vacation. The only thing we’re not excited about is the heavy packing – especially for activities the kids can do while you’re sitting on a long airplane ride, waiting for the best restaurant in town, or even winding down at the hotel. Luckily Heather, one of our Plum District mommas has some great crafts on the go! Check out this one.
Ink Dot Pictures
Supplies Needed: Stamp Pad, Pencils with erasers, White paper
(I keep my supplies in a zipped pencil pouch to keep everything contained. Also, I usually carry a clipboard in my “go bag” to provide a workspace when we’re out and about)
- Draw a light outline for your picture in pencil. Have fun with this – it can be shapes, letters, or even an abstract drawing!
- Press the pencil eraser into the stamp pad, and then stamp the ink dot on your picture. Continue doing this – following the outline you drew – until the outline is covered!
- I color code my pencils, and have a purple pencil to use in the purple ink, a pink pencil to use in the pink ink, and a blue pencil to use in the blue ink. This helps minimize the colors getting mixed together!
My Kindergarden daughter, Sadie, is six years old and loves this activity – it’s a great way for her to practice patterns and get creative with her outline sketch.
Storage doesn't have to be boring or costly - here are some great ways to hide the toys in style
April 24th, 2012 | 11:15 AM
Marlynn Jayme Schotland lives in Portland, Oregon and is the mother of two adorable kids ages 5 and 7. She’s slightly obsessive about making home organization pretty and functional, and she’s sharing her tried and true tips with you!
Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by all of the Legos, dolls, and stickers that seem to take over your house once you have kids? You don’t need to sacrifice style – or empty your wallet — to tame the clutter that comes with having kids. Here are some simple storage ideas to help busy moms turn any room full of kids’ stuff into fabulous, functional space.
Tame Toy Sprawl
- Buy furniture that doubles as storage: ottomans and benches with hidden storage for easy stashing of clutter can be a frazzled mom’s best friend when last minute company comes over (a bright idea: Brighten White Storage Bench, $399, Crate & Barrel)
- Organize open bookshelves with bins. Label the bins so kids can help you clean up easily and quickly. (Check out: IKEA Expedit shelves $89 and IKEA Branäs baskets $12.99)
- Save money by purchasing furniture that will grow with the kids. This locker storage unit is stylish for ages newborn through college and it’s classic look never goes out of style. You can hide massive amounts of toys, games, and books, and your elementary-school aged kids can use it as a homework station. (Cute cabinet option IKEA PS cabinet, $99)
Keep Craft Supplies Organized
- Wash out peanut butter jars, jelly jars, or even yogurt containers. Group together those little items that have a habit of being sprinkled throughout your house: stickers, jewelry beads, googly eyes, stamps.
- Round and square glass candle holders from the dollar store can store odds and ends.
- Store pencils, pens, and crayons in easy-to-grab-on-the-go little buckets. (photo)
Don’t Just Stuff Your Stuffed Animals
- Big wicker baskets serve as easy, beautiful (and inexpensive) resting places for beloved stuffed animals.
- Use canvas bins to keep Pooh Bear, Dora, and Sponge Bob safe and sound and out of your way while adding a hint of class to any room. (Look up: Elephant Canvas Bin, $31.99, Container Store)
Style Your Storage
Dress up storage bins and baskets with fun labels that match the décor in your kids’ rooms. It’s easy to make your own. Just download free printables, like the ones on the jars above, or check out Martha Stewart Clip Art and Templates.
Tips for finding the perfect sitter
April 23rd, 2012 | 12:45 PM
Carly is one of our hardworking moms in Connecticut. When she’s not out making moms day, shes making her own day with her children and husband. Here she shares her tips on finding the perfect sitter for your family.
I don’t know about you, but when I hear the phrase “date night” I gently sigh as I briefly think back to what life was like before kids. Don’t get me wrong – I simply adore my children and I wouldn’t change a thing about having them, however, there are times when I crave the quiet nights my husband and I used to have before kids.
In order to have some well-deserved time alone with your sweetie, you also have to find a good babysitter. If you don’t have friends and family close by, then that can be a difficult and daunting task. Weeknights are busy and by the time our long-awaited weekend arrives, we find ourselves over-committed and ditching the idea of going out (yet again).
The first step in reclaiming date night is committing to a date. Once that is agreed, established, and officially written in pen on the calendar, we come to the truly hardest step in getting out for a night:
Finding a reliable and responsible babysitter with whom you can feel confident with leaving your kids in their care.
Here’s some helpful tips on how to find the perfect babysitter so you don’t have to stress while you relax with the hubby.
Tip #1: Stay local
Luckily, my sitter lives right across the street from me, but if I couldn’t connect with her, backup plan is to contact the guidance department at my local high school. They put me in contact with their program that works directly with people and businesses in the area to provide students with job opportunities and work experience. Not comfortable with a high school student? Consider contacting local colleges and universities and get in touch with a coordinator at student services. Often those who are seeking a degree in early education may be looking to gain some experience with kids and some extra cash, too!
Tip #2: Get a friend’s recommendation
If you have a good friend whose sitter they trust, their sitter probably has friends who are also looking for some extra cash. It’s well worth the effort to ask. If they’re really your true friend, they might even loan you their sitter just this once!
Tip #3: Create or join a sitter swap
Create a fun solution to your own problem! Take full advantage of your network of friends, family and neighbors and see if they’d be interested in doing a sitter swap. One week, you drop your kids off at their house for an evening play date while you and your significant other go out for date night. Then, the next week, you take their kids and do the same. A huge benefit: it saves money and your kids get to hang out with their friends.
Tip #4: If all else fails – Google it.
There are new services popping up with parents like us in mind. Two relatively new sites are Sitter City and Care. Both offer similar services for finding babysitters, nannies, and even daycare. Some of the benefits of these sites is that they have free trials so you can see if you like the service. You’ll find there are reviews from parents who have used certain individual’s services through the site. Once you have added your information, and the type of sitting services you are looking for, the rest is easy – the applicants come to you! The cons? The drawbacks include a fee to join to get the “premium” information.And of course, the big caveat that it is the Internet – you just can’t be sure what information is true or not, despite background checks. Being very careful is always the best advice when choosing to use the Internet for these searches.
Tip #5: Talk to your kids
Once you’ve found a sitter, it’s critical that you some feedback from your kids. See if they like the sitter and are excited to see them. Ask your kids if they like being with the sitter. If they do, then book them for some nights in advance so you have some date nights to look forward to in your future to reconnect and get some time away – even if it is just for a few hours!
We all know the earth feeds our families, but we can feed the earth too. Read today's post to learn how!
April 22nd, 2012 | 10:35 AM
We chatted with two Plum District Moms to see how they incorporated composting in their homes.
Ginger, of Los Angeles, says ever since installing the compost bin and utilizing a “food scraps” container (a small metal bin right near the sink), she’s amazed at how much less trash she’s producing and how good it feels to re-cycle. Her family’s daily routine includes a trip to the backyard with their food-scrap-filled canister to “feed” the compost bin.
Liz, of Denver, recommends a simple black trash can ($12) with the bottom cut out and air holes punched in the sides. You can also Google the word “composting” to see if your city offers free containers. The Department of Sanitation in your town just may surprise you!
Here’s what to put in your new compost bin (it’s an easy equation):
Half green, half brown, a little water, a little air flow, and heat.
- Green is your vegetable and green plant scraps, or your nitrogen: carrot peels, apple cores, lettuce scraps, pepper cores, orange peels, potato skins, celery tops, grass clippings.
- Brown is your dead plant matter, or carbon: last fall’s leaves, deadheads and old twigs from your bushes, grass clippings that you let dry in the sun for a day or two.
The key is getting the mix right. Water the bin until the mix is moist like a sponge. Then make sure there are some air holes, put the lid on and let it heat up! If you have the mix right (the 50/50 split) it shouldn’t smell at all. If it does start to smell like ammonia, you’ve got too much green stuff. Add some brown.
(Note! Here’s what you should not put in the bin: No meat, no fats. No steak bones, or cheese rinds, or leftover bacon, or last night’s salad with blue cheese dressing).
Now that you’ve collected your bin, you can keep it right in your garden. The sun heats it up, and the good compost-making worms and bugs will crawl right in. When it’s time to harvest, just lift up the trash can, and that handy hole in the bottom lets the rich brown compost fall out! You can distribute the compost through your soil to increase its richness and feed our earth!
Composting is a great daily activity for you and the kids. It teaches the whole gang to be conscious of the earth and reinforces how even the littlest effort makes the biggest difference.
Liz Easterly writes StapletonMoms.com in Denver, where she keeps a little backyard garden and a $12 trash can compost bin that her two boys help care for. Ginger lives with her husband and two children in Los Angeles, CA and loves working for Plum District. Since starting composting a year ago, she feels a little better about doing her small part to leave a healthier planet behind for the next generation.
Even Mom can appreciate a great shoppertunity!
April 20th, 2012 | 10:22 AM
With Mother’s Day less than a month away, we want to give shoppers some creative and shoppertunistc ideas for gifts for Mom. We will also be doing a giveaway a day starting today through April 30th. For details of how to win be sure to follow our Facebook page. Continuing through May we have an amazing month of offers lined up for Mom. Yep – that’s right, a whole month!
Looking to get ahead of the game on your Mother’s Day shopping? Check out these great offers!
Some of our moms' favorite picks for Mother's Day
April 19th, 2012 | 12:01 AM
Mother’s Day is quickly approaching and we thought inquiring gift-buyers might want to know what Mom really wants for Mother’s Day. Plum District polled our District Consultants to find out what they were hoping to unwrap on May 13th and created our Ultimate Gift Guide. Purchasers beware – mom has great taste!