Sunday, May 30, 2010

A New Secret Weapon For Moms

I used to brag a little about my incredibly un-picky eater. There wasn't much you couldn't set down before Pudding Pie. She'd give it all a go - within reason. I (smugly) sympathised with friends who lamented they couldn't get their kids to move beyond chicken nuggets or PBJ sandwiches, and I eagerly suggested ways to help them solve their dinnertime dilemmas. Of course I patted myself on the back for instilling such excellent eating habits into my adorable child.

Then one day, when I wasn't paying attention, somebody slipped my precious girl the toddler memo about refusing to eat anything healthy. The memo that recommends refusing to eat bread crusts, gagging at anything green and healthy, clamping ones jaw shut at the very thought of whole grain, eschewing any food not loaded with carbs and sugar ...

I was horrified. Where did my model eater go? Who was the dinnertime tyrant pretending to be her? I finally realized that it was not my child so much as her age; she has entered the realm of picky-eaterdom. Whatever that toddler memo said, its authority trumps her previous desire to please mom and eat whatever she is served.

I realized I had to up my game and find cunning new ways to get the daily required amounts of goodness into her stubborn little body. Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain White Rice is a wonderful tool in my arsenal. It is the first and only whole grain rice that tastes just like white rice, and looks like it too! I get to feed Pudding Pie a good serving of fiber without her knowledge, and I still manage to cater to her new-found aversion to anything brown and healthy-looking.

This evening was our traditional Sunday dinner: burgers and hot dogs on the grill. Pudding Pie got her hot dog, but she also got her fiber and vegetable when I served her a mix of Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain White Rice and broccoli. It was simple, yet delicious, and she loved it!

I was lucky enough to be able to share Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain White Rice with four other moms, with kids ranging in age from 12 years old all the way down to eighteen months old and the verdict was the same - a roaring success!

*Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain White Rice products will be available at grocery stores nationwide starting July 2010.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Uncle Ben’s and received samples to facilitate my candid review. Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Teach Your Tweens Not to Fret the Sweat

Pudding Pie has a few years to go before she enters her tweens and we have to think about things like using deodorant, but Meisie is a dear friend of mine, who is also mom to three tweens, and she keeps me chuckling with her tales of life with her tween girls.

I asked Meisie how things went down in her family when it was time to introduce the subject of odor control. Her ten-year-old is not quite there yet, but her twelve-year-old twin daughters are. The twins lead energetic lives between school, their varied afternoon activities and their beloved T-Ball. Meisie said that when she realized, after one enthusiastic afternoon hug (and a private wrinkle of the nose), that it was time to introduce deodorant, she made sure to turn a matter of necessity into a fun outing - and a sweet rite of passage.

She asked her twin daughters to join her on a trip to their local grocery store and, after picking up a few mundane essentials, she suggested they check out the deodorants. The girls were enthusiastic and they all had fun investigating the dizzying array of choices before Meisie gently guided them toward choosing the right deodorant. They ended their expedition with a stop for Sundaes at the local ice cream parlor, where they giddily 'toasted' their latest foray into their teens. My smart friend took advantage of her girls' giddy mood to stress the importance of regularly using their new deodorants to keep themselves free of odor and thus avoid any discomfort and embarassment.

Recently, Unilever released the Tween Confidence Index, which suggests that tween confidence is short-lived but can be safe-guarded by maintaining strong communication between tweens and parents. With this and other resources available at, Unilever aims to show parents that they can talk to their tweens about how the right deodorant can keep them free from odor, embarrassment and discomfort along the way.

I shared the site with Meisie and we both love the expert advice section from the "perspiration pros" - great tips and stories! the stories are not just about how not to fret the sweat, but are also on how to handle those moments when you realize, with a gulp, that your tween is becoming a teen.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Unilever and received the items necessary to facilitate my review. In addition, Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Must-Have for all Hot Mamas To Be

When I was pregnant with Pudding Pie, it's safe to say that I was the poster child for the not hot mom to be. My sister was pregnant at the same time and we'd compare notes over the phone. She was happy, energetic, confident and always stylish. I was nauseous, exhausted, anxious and a complete style disaster. Of course I did gain 70 pounds - around twice the recommended amount, and this didn't help. I also had 'morning sickness' most of the way through my pregnancy and, while it really wasn't pleasant, it was also my excuse for the saggy, baggy, blotchy, bleary disaster I presented to the world each morning. I kept waiting for the 'glow', and it did show up eventually - the morning that Pudding Pie emerged and my pregnancy was over!

I had piles of pregnancy books but what I needed was one easy-to-read book with punchy, bite-sized bits of valuable info: The Hot Mom To be Handbook delivers exactly this. Author Jessica Denay addresses a host of pregnancy topics, including the right way to tell your boss you're pregnant, how to deal with those legendary pregnancy mood swings, and keeping the spark in your relationship even when you feel like baby hippo.

The book is wonderful for its "Yes, I know exactly what you mean!" moments. Denay touches on Pregnancy Brain; cravings; nausea that simply won't go away (Denay does give us a list of what mom says works best if you're afflicted); the angst over choosing; how to have a memorable shower; decorating baby's room.

I particularly love her Hot Mom Checklist: Focus on what you can control (healthy eating and drinking, limiting caffeine, eliminating smoking and alcohol), and let go of what you can't! (Other people's reactions/pregnancies, your mother-in-law ...) I was always comparing myself/my pregnancy to other moms and moms-to-be and it was never a good idea. Denay reminds us that there is no perfect pregnancy and that we should strive to find our own balance. Oh boy, I could have used this advice four years ago!

One of my favorite chapters examines Baby 'Crap" and here Denay is not referring to the stuff that diapers are made for, but rather the mind-numbingly long list of must-haves that we decide we need for baby. I know exactly what she is talking about ... The more I prepared for baby's arrival, the longer my list of essentials grew. To be fair, I was discovering things that I really did need, but I also spent precious pennies where I didn't need to.

There are invaluable sections on how to select the best and most apropriate strollers and diaper bagsfor you/your lifestyle. My husband and I were bewildered and baffled by the array of choices when we decided to select a stroller. We ended up choosing a beast that barely fit in my trunk and took several minutes to set up each time we used it. It wasn't too long after Pudding Pie was born that we acquired two more strollers: a jogging stroller and a light, compact stroller that requires no more than a deft flick of the wrist to get it roadworthy.

We got lucky with the diaper bag. I received a Petunia Picklebottom as a shower gift and I never looked back. I have a friend who had her son just three weeks before Pudding Pie arrived and she went through several diaper bags all in his first year. It is easy to underestimate how much use that sucker will get! In her Handbook, Denay lists her favorite diaper bags in every price range.

I found myself nodding feverishly in agreement when I got to the line where Denay says, and I quote " ... getting supportive bras during your pregnancy for the time being and beyond is a MUST!" (page 171). At first it didn't occur to me that I'd actually need to throw down cash and get new, decent bras for during pregnancy. I decided I'd be fine with what I had. Besides, I couldn't afford it, I needed to save the money for more important baby stuff (yet another cute blanket, extra refills for my diaper disposal unit, a bottle sterilizer for my exclusively breast fed baby.) As my pregnancy progressed and those bras began to bite into my increasingly more fleshy shoulders, and as these same bras began to sag helplessly under an increased load that they were never meant to uphold, I was forced to re-visit my initial decision. I gave in and I bought pregnancy bras. A few months later, I was that mom, racing into the store with a wailing newborn, frantically searching for decent nursing bras because I was so focused on getting all the baby gadgets, I'd forgotten about the important stuff for mom - again!

At the end of each of the nine chapters, Denay poses some monthly journal questions and they are a great way to help a mom-to-be get her thoughts on paper. I wish I'd kept a pregnancy journal, perhaps I would have if I'd had questions like these to help get me going. Also neat are the Bump On A Budget and Eco-Minded Mama sections (I love the tip to squeeze a lemon into your diaper bucket as a natural way to neutralize odor!) found near the end of most of the chapters.

If you're swimming in a sea of pregnancy advice and you need a candid read that'll have you smiling, while it dispenses valuable advice, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Jessica Denay's The Hot Mom to Be Handbook - you won't be disappointed! Also, the last chapter has a sweet bonus: the Hot Moms Club Exclusive Directory: punch in the discount code andget access to thousands of dollars worth of online discounts at Denay's favorite companies - ooh!

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of HarperCollins and received a copy of The Hot Mom to Be Handbook to facilitate my review. Mom Central also sent me a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Say Hello to Bright, Bold, Comfortable and Confident U!

Pudding Pie has a few years to go before I sit her down and talk to her about women's health issues, but I clearly remember my own mom earnestly sitting me down and attempting to open up a discussion about the beginning of menstruation and related issues. We are very close, but on that afternoon, I wanted to be anywhere else but where I was. I was an awkward teen, embarassed by the mere thought of having a period. I had so many questions, but I couldn't bring myself to address them with my mom - not even when she was offering answers!

As a teenager, I had a close friend who declined to discuss the matter at all with her own mom and instead chose to deal with the onset of her menstruation as best she could. Months went by and her mom became puzzled at the large bills she was receiving from our boarding school pharmacy. She questioned my friend and discovered that the poor girl believed that once you began your period, you had to wear bulky sanitary pads every day - forever! Imagine her relief when her mom gently informed her that this wasn't the case!

When its time for our mother/daughter chat, I want Pudding Pie to feel confident and relaxed, I want her to see our conversations about women's health issues as direct and informative rather than uncomfortable and embarassing. Most of all, I want her to feel at ease enough to ask questions, so that she never has to suffer the misconceptions that my dear friend did all those years ago!

We need to challenge the climate of secrecy and embarassment surrounding an event as mundane as monthly menstruation and, with this in mind, Kotex has launched the bold and bright U product. U by Kotex is a new line of tampons, pads and liners, with a slim, thinner design, making them easier and more comfortable to use. U is also a product line with a mission to help girls become more educated about their period, to learn how to better take care of themselves, and to refuse to go along with the norms of secrecy, embarassment surrounding menstruation.

Visit to learn more about the U by Kotex line, get some free samples and download a fun Daily Journal iPhone or iTouch application that lets you take pictures, add play lists and geo-target your location for each entry. I clicked through the Period Know-How quiz and learned a few new facts myself. U by Kotex has also aired some very clever and funny commercials which address the myths - and realities of having your period, check out this one for a good chuckle:

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Kotex and received products necessary to facilitate my candid review. In addition, Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mom Central's Mother's Day Gift Guide and Giveaways!

Its time to celebrate! Yup, its time to celebrate your own mom, time to celebrate being a mom - and its time to enjoy being celebrated as a mom! Mom Central is helping us with all this celebrating by offering their own fab guide on what gifts to give mom this coming Sunday, May 9th. They are also hosting a bunch of giveaways - so fun! Click over and scroll through their great ideas, then get your name in the hat for a chance to win a fabulous prize!