Wednesday, 21 August 2013

When Volunteering Becomes a Full Time Job

I received an email from AYSO soccer and they are looking for coaches.  Immediately, I thought I might coach my 7-year old daughter’s team if I could get a friend to assist me.  When I mentioned it to my husband, he said, “ABSOLUTELY NOT!”  I don’t really blame him.

A few years ago I was volunteering for everything.  I had two leadership roles; as a mom room for one child’s class and the Girl Scout leader for another child among the many other volunteer jobs I was doing, all with a small toddler at home.  By the end of that year, I was a disaster.  While I enjoyed being with my children and getting to know their peers, there were many parts of the volunteer jobs that were not a lot of fun.  Plus, I still had all the shopping, cooking, cleaning, paperwork, etc. to handle at home.

One of the reasons that I stay home with my children is so that I can provide an organized and calm home life for my children and for my husband.  I want to decorate for every holiday.  I want to have a home-cooked meal on the table most nights.  I want the kids to come home to the aroma of cookies baking in the oven.  This was not happening.

In recent years, I still volunteer a lot in my children’s classrooms but without taking a leadership role.  This allows me more flexibility.  I am also focusing on my children, their academics, extra-circular activities and sports.  Oh, did I mention school projects.  As your children get older, you will see the projects they are assigned and realize there is no way they can complete this projects without help from you and many trips to the craft store.

Kudos to all the moms that step up and take the leadership roles.    It is great experience for moms that are out of the work force because you can put it on your resume if you decide to re-enter the work force one day.  I am sure that I will again take on a leadership role but for now, I will enjoy being a a worker bee instead of a queen bee.


worker beeimages

Monday, 24 June 2013

5 Hip Tips for Summer Travel with Kids {Pre Trip}


Summer travel is here and our parenting expert has some simple suggestions that you might take to heart while planning your family’s excursions and trips.

From the git-go, you know the kids are going start asking for goodies (and keep asking) the entire trip. Two weeks before leaving, assign them age appropriate “chores” so they can earn an allowance.  An allowance is great because the kids get excited about having their own money (they have earned), and you won’t have to break your bank during the trip.

While packing always remember less is always more. Pack things you know the kids will wear versus what they may look good in. The last thing you want to do after returning from vacation is a bunch of laundry.

Never forget the sunscreen! Regardless of where you’re going its always important to keep you and your child’s skin protected.  The higher the SPF the better and remember to reapply sunscreen every couple of hours, especially if you are in the water.  Everyone should have a hat and sunglasses too!

On the day you leave, have your kids wear comfortable shoes you know they can walk in easily. There can be lots of walking involved in travel so its important to be as comfortable as possible for the best experience. Even if you live in the desert and can’t imagine wearing a sweater in the summer months, if you’re flying always bring something to cover up your arms on the plane or restaurant just in case!                                                                                                         

Put down the electronics. Kids can be very observant. This is quality time your kids will remember forever. Don’t worry about posting on twitter/facebook or sending that email. Enjoy your vacation with your family without the distractions!

5 Simple Tips for Summer Travel with Kids:

  1. Have them earn their own spending money a couple of weeks leading up to the trip
  2. Remember that less is more when packing!
  3. Pack the sunscreen, hats and sunglasses for everyone!
  4. Wear comfortable shoes and take a sweater!
  5. Put down the electronics!
Thursday, 20 June 2013

Parenting Tips: How to Prepare for a New Sibling

Screen Shot 2013-06-20 at 3.20.37 PM

So you’re expecting and the delivery date is drawing near.  How do you ease your child into the big brother or big sister role?  Barb Arnondin of Metroplex Baby and Kids shared some great tips on CBS.  She suggests reading!  There are so many wonderful books, both story and picture books that share about this big new thing.  She also recommends products like baby dolls and Joovy’s toy infant car seat and toy Caboose.  The infant car seat has been crash tested so it is safe for cars.  What better tool than having your child learn how to care for their doll by properly having them ride in a LATCH compliant infant car seat?

Thanks Metro Moms for sharing!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Reassurances to First-time Potty Trainers

Guest post by: Julie Kieras of the blog, A Year With Mom and Dad

I’m a former first-time potty trainer. In about a year or so, I’ll be back in the trenches, potty training my second child.

What I’ve learned from my sixteen month experience (yes, that long!) with my son is: “When they are ready, they are ready.” Our son gave many indicators he was interested in the potty at twenty-two months, but then lost interest about three hundred or so days of the following year!

I spent a lot of time being frustrated, comparing his progress to other children, and worrying something was wrong with him. In the end I learned … it was all okay and very normal. So I’m here to give a few reassurances to first-time parents of toddlers.

It’s okay: if the 72-hour plan doesn’t work for you. It didn’t for me. And I really, really tried it! In fact, in truth, it likely WON’T work unless your child is absolutely ready to potty train. (And you’re not nursing a newborn!).

It’s okay: if your child isn’t ready to potty train at the same time as other children his age. As my motherin-law always told me, “He’s not going to go to kindergarten in diapers.” Likely not!

It’s okay: if your child has an accident just milliseconds after you ask him if he wanted to use the potty.

It’s going to happen. About a million times! Just be consistent and help him attempt to go at regular intervals (upon waking, before meals, bathtime, sleeping are good signal times).

It’s okay: if your child seem unconcerned about whether they are wet or dry. One of these days it will just “click” and they will want to stay dry! Keep being positive about any success. When there are accidents, be matter-of-fact and positive about future success: “Uh-oh, it’s an accident! Next time we’ll get to the potty on time!” There should be no shame in trying to learn this very important life skill!

Look for true indicators your child is ready. Their excitement over a new potty chair and a sticker/reward chart might get you all excited too… but here’s what you should look for:

• Ability to take clothes off independently

• Finding more frequent dry diapers when you change them

• Willingness to sit on the potty for an extended length of time (more than 10 seconds!)

Above all – have fun with potty training. It can be draining and disappointing by turns! But don’t neglect to sing a special song to remind your child to use the potty, create a “potty dance” for successful “go’s,” and praise-praise-praise your child for all their efforts. Even when you do find toilet paper trails through the entire house because they wanted to find you to let you know wiped!

Looking back, most of the times I had to grit my teeth and keep pressing on have dimmed, and I mostly remember his delightful smile when he shouted, “I DID IT!” or “I’m DRY!!”

Then him beckoning me, “Come on, Mommy! Do the potty dance!”

And why not? – because every parent could use a little more dancing, right?

*Note that none of my advice here is to be considered professional or medical advice. I am speaking solely from my own experiences in hopes of helping other parents!

*Note from Joovy:  be sure to check out our potty for your potty training toddler. The Joovy Loo looks good and pairs perfectly with the StepTool for reaching to wash hands!


Wednesday, 15 May 2013


As a mom, we all worry about how our first and only child is going to react to bringing a new baby in the house. Will they love the baby, will the feel neglected, will they be gentle, will they act out? We spend so much time worrying about how this is going to change things for our first born, we spend less time enjoying our pregnancy and those last few weeks alone with the oldest. We do everything we can to try and prepare the oldest for the change that is about to rock their boat, we read parenting books, we buy books to read to them, we talk about it. I found that the best way to prepare my child for bringing in a sibling was make her feel like she was going to play a big role in helping care for the baby.


My oldest is a caregiver, similar to myself and enjoys nurturing things whether it is her absurd stuff animal collection or one of her many babies. Joovy’s Toy Bundle, allows older sibling to mimic mom in caring for a baby. From the car seat that has the correct latch system and can fit on the stroller, to the pack n play for both play time and naps, my oldest is able to do many of the activities that I do with the baby, making the transition a whole lot easier on everyone. Bravo Joovy on not only making products that are helpful to us as parents, but also our little ones who want to be parents as well.


Bump Club Twin Cities


Monday, 25 March 2013

10 Safe and Fun Outdoor Activities for Kids

It’s a known fact that kids spend too much time glued to the TV, computer or video console.

Decades ago parents couldn’t get their kids to come indoors because there was too much
happening outside with kick-ball games, bicycle rodeos, mud pie making, relay races and more.

The warmer weather is almost here, so get ready to get the kids out of the house and moving.
Here are some safe ideas that encourage wholesome, family fun.

1. Have a scavenger hunt – Create a list of things around your home or neighborhood that
the kids can find and send them on a hunt. If you have more than one child, or your child
has friends over, you can make a contest out of it. First one back gets a prize!
2. Play in the sprinkler – Running through the sprinkler is great fun for little kids on a hot
day. You don’t have to worry about the water being too deep, and they love going back
and forth chasing or being chased by the spray.
3. Host relay races – Get a group of kids together and explain to them how the relay race
works. Set up a couple of teams and let the fun begin. This is a great way to work off
4. Play in the sandbox – A large box full of sand in the backyard is still a great play space
for kids. Just add pails, shovels and perhaps a plastic dump truck or two and let the fun
5. Have a backyard picnic – Instead of the usual lunch in the kitchen, pack a lunch and eat
it outside. Sitting on a blanket on the grass and eating lunch with the kids is a wonderful
way to spend some quality time with them.
6. Make fairy homes – Using natural things from around the backyard, the kids can build
little fairy homes. Once they get started, it might be hard to get them to stop.
7. Plant and tend a garden – Kids love planting seeds and watching the garden grow. You
may even get them to eat some of the vegetables they plant, especially if you show them
how to make some of the fantastic kid friendly recipes available online.
8. Make sidewalk art – Grab a bucket of sidewalk chalk, and let your budding artists
express themselves. Kids love drawing pictures on sidewalks and driveways. Blocking
off the driveway for safety is a smart idea if your kids choose to create their art work
9. Play hopscotch – As long as you have the sidewalk chalk out, you may as well draw
a hopscotch court and teach the kids how to play. It’s a popular playground game that
provides kids with fun as well as exercise.
10. Blow bubbles – Have you ever seen a kid encased in a giant bubble? There are all kinds
of bubble makers these days from the little round circle on a stick to the giant bubble
maker that can encase a child. Kids love making bubbles, chasing bubbles, watching
them dissolve and breaking them. Show older kids how to make homemade bubble
solution by mixing 1 part Dawn or Joy, 15 parts distilled water and ¼ part Karo syrup.

There are so many activities for kids to do outdoors. From playing backyard games like Red
Light, Green light to inventing a world of make pretend, encourage your kids to take advantage
of spending time outdoors.

Michelle LaRowe is the editor-in-chief of has been
helping families and nannies find each other since 1994. LaRowe is also the author of Nanny
to the Rescue!, Working Mom’s 411 and A Mom’s Ultimate Book of Lists. She was the 2004
International Nanny Association Nanny of the Year.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Cherry Blossoms {The Blog} Shares New Orleans

Mardi Gras may have been last week but New Orleans is a treat any time of the year.  Our guest blogger, Kiley Smith shares about her family’s recent trip, some favorites things and **star** sightings!


This past summer my family and I went to Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana.

We had an absolute blast (despite it being SO humid and SO hot)! We stayed at the Windsor Court Hotel-located walking distance from the french quarter, it was clean and gorgeous.  New Orleans is a great place to go celebrity watching! While staying at our hotel we met Ryan Gosling-(gasp!). He told us he was on ‘vacation’ so we don’t have photos of us actually meeting him but thankfully before we ‘met’ him my sister managed to take some sneaky photos of him walking through the hotel lobby. Later on that day we saw Forest Whitaker at the Aquarium with his daughter. I thought our TWO celebrity run-ins in the same day were pretty cool!


Planning a trip to NOLA anytime soon? Here are the things you MUST do (and some pointers too)!

  • Bring really good walking shoes and if you are going in June, July, August bring REALLY good deodorant. It gets humid (and when I say humid-I mean it is like you took a shower in your own sweat-gross but true!).
  • Eat at Muriels, Jackson Square-worth the splurge.
  • Go in at least one Vodoo shop
  • Eat at Sucre!-You will want to order EVERYTHING!
  • Take a trip to the Garden District-this is where many of the celebrities live–and the homes are to die for! The downtown area is really cute. Lots of fun shops!
  • Cafe DuMonde-Beignets are a must! 
  • Eat at Mother’s. It is old and grungy but the food is good and cheap
  • There are children all around the French Quarter who tap, clap, and sing. Do not stop and watch–they will hassle you for money or worse yet…you could be pick pocketed. 
  • Trashy Diva is a fun shop you will find in the French District on Magazine Street.

Can’t take a trip to New Orleans this year?

Have your own Mardi Gras party at home! We did and it was a blast!

Here is a great recipe that I made tonight (we had an early celebration!)-it is a delicious dish and makes a 4 star restaurant quality meal!


Chicken and Andouille Cajun Pasta

by: Cherry Blossoms {the blog}

3/4 box dry penne pasta

olive oil

2 tbsp creole seasoning/cajun seasoning

1 lb boneless chicken breast, 1-inch diced

3/4 lb andouille sausage, 1/4 inch slices

medium onion diced

small green pepper, diced

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 cup chicken stock

1 1/2 C. water

1 can (14.5 ounce) diced tomato (do not drain)

1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme

3/4 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp chopped fresh basil

black pepper

1/2 cup grated parmesan

Boil Chicken breasts (thawed) for 20 minutes.Remove from heat and set aside to let cool. In pan cook garlic until fragrant then add onion and peppers and cook until soft. Stir in chicken stock, water, can of tomato, cajun (or creole seasoning), sausage and thyme. (At this time put pot on stove with water and bring to a bowl-this is the water for your pasta).  Bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat and simmer till liquid reduces halfway. Shred your chicken breasts and then add to pot, stir in cream and continue cooking until sauce begins to thicken a little. Finish by adding pasta, basil, pepper to taste and parmesan. Put pasta in boiling water and cook for 11 minutes or till al dente (and then drain). Mix sauce and pasta together and serve.

Oh and don’t forget your Mardi Gras beads!



Our THANKS to Kiley Smith and Cherry Blossoms {The Blog} for this great insight to New Orleans.


Monday, 4 February 2013

Mummy is a Gadget Geek

From Mummy Gadget Geek:

Just wanted to let you know the Ergo Caboose arrived safe and well and has already been on several outings. My Mum’s partner (an engineer) says it kind of makes him want to go into pushchair design, he spent a long time examining how it all worked and marvelling at modern pushchair techniques!

Daphne loves the front seat and has had a couple of lovely sleeps in it, so it’s obviously comfy for her. She’s very excited when we get ready to go out and insists on climbing in herself. Sebastian thinks the ‘windows’ in the rear seat hood are amazing! And I am astonished that I managed to for a weeks worth of shopping in the basket.


Thursday, 17 January 2013

Joovy Blogger Program 2013

Review Bloggers

Moms (and Dads) you’ve come to the right place to learn about the Joovy Blogging Program.  Joovy loves partnering with blogging professionals to review our products.  We also love to learn about you, your blog’s focus, your expertise and passions.

We’d love to learn why you want to blog about Joovy, our brand and products and how they fit with your blog. There’s just a little bit of information we require of you and it’s all listed below. Please tell us about your site and the traffic. This helps us determine which item is best for your blog. Samples are for review and giveaway only, not for resale.

Presently, we are looking for bloggers to review all Joovy products especially our newer introductions: moonRoom, Roo, TwinRoo, Spoon, Loo and StepTool.  Existing favorites are also available: Caboose Ultralight, Groove, Nook to name a few.  Take a visit to our website to see what product fits your family presently.

If one of the above products is of interest to you to review, please note this on your application with your color of preference.

Next step? We’ll visit your site and take a look at previous reviews you have done. If we feel that we have a good fit, you’ll be hearing from us.

The Joovy Blogging Program will serve you, your readers and fans of Joovy products with valuable information about our product features and cool new introductions and we look forward to working together.

Please submit your application only once. Thank you for your submission!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Joovy *Star*, Celeb & Expectant Mom, Christie Lynn Smith, Shares About Pregnancy Second Time Around & more!

Actress Christie Lynn Smith is best known for playing Deardra Farnum in the recent remake of the film “The Crazies.”  Her latest projects, include two feature films,  “Assumed Memories”, starring with Casper Van Diem and “The M Word” starring Frances Fisher due out 2013. She has also Recurred and Guest Starred on some the hottest TV shows such as Bones, NCIS, Justified, House, Weeds, 90210, Castle and General Hospital just to name a few….

Christie Lynn and her actor husband, John Fortson, are expecting their second child in early January.  We were grateful to spend time with Christie to chat about motherhood, being a working mom and pregnancy the second time around.

 Christie, can you tell me what you are working on currently?

I just wrapped Guest Starring on Paging Dr. Freed, a new comedy pilot for USA network. I play Karen, a pregnant woman who is 10 months pregnant and beyond livid that my doctor is sending me home when I am ready to POP! and want the baby out!  It was a blast! It’s very funny how life imitates art. I know in about 3 months I could feel the same way!  I got to work with Joel David Moore from Avatar again. We worked together a few years ago on a Ray Liotta film called Ticket Out and Annie Potts also stars in the pilot.

Christie Lynn, as an expectant mother of your second child due January 3rd, what is different about your pregnancy this time around? 

People always say you “POP” much earlier, and it’s true. I definitely started showing much earlier than with my first.  Right now it looks like a swallowed a basketball.

And it’s been harder to sleep this time around and for the first time the other night, I had heart burn! OH MY! I thought I was having a heart attack! I made John, my husband, get up and grab the pregnancy book… and sure enough it was heart burn! And I just heard that “heart burn” = “lots of hair on the baby’s head.” HA! I wonder if that is true! We will find out soon….

And I feel like this pregnancy is flying by, I’m really not sure where almost 7 months have gone. I’m sure it’s because I have a little girl to also take care of. We are constantly busy with so many things… I’m really trying to find the time to rest – much harder this time around.

What are you most looking forward to upon the arrival of this new bundle of joy?

I want to meet the little guy who has been kicking me all this time! It’s such an amazing experience to feel that sensation and kinda unbelievable at the same time… that a human is growing inside me. I still am in awe about that! I can’t wait to hold him and my arms and see his sweet little face and look into his eyes and smile and tell him I love him.  I’m also very excited to see the bond that Abby and the little guy will have. Abby’s is going to be an amazing big sister.

You and John are great parents to Abby Ryder.  How are you preparing her for her new little brother’s arrival?

We are including her in everything, from name picking to picking out clothes for him. We are taking her to the hospital where she was born for a “Big Kid’s Maternity Tour.” She will get to see where she was born and where this baby will be born. They talk with the kids about when mommy goes away for a couple days and they get to play with some pretend babies. It sounds very sweet.

We also have been talking to her about becoming a big sister and how important her role will be. She’s very excited about her baby brother’s arrival. She’s always kissing my belly, singing and talking to him. Abby’s an amazing girl. She’s so sweet, caring, smart, strong and playful.

And I have told her that she will always be mama’s baby girl no matter what!

How does work play into motherhood for you?  What is the secret to balancing family and parenthood?

Doing it all can be tough sometimes, but I love being a mom, wife and a working mommy. Sometimes I feel bad if I have to go to work to shoot a TV show or out of town to do a film, but I know I will be a better mommy if I continue following my dreams and my heart.  I love what I do, acting is in my blood and I hope to instill in Abby and my little guy on the way how important it is to continue to do what you love. I really talk to Abby about “quality time verus quanity” and I make an effort to give myself fully when I am off and not working. Also, I try to keep it in perspective. Family is the most important thing in my life, not working… and the memories I have with them will last a lifetime.

Are you planning on breastfeeding this time around?  If so, what do you like best about nursing your baby?

Yes! Breastfeeding your baby is so important if you can do it. I loved the bonding experience that it created between Abby and I.  She was rarely sick when she was little or now and I think it’s from breastfeeding.  I remember having to pump out of town when I shot a few films and carrying my breast milk through security at the airport… Having to take it out and have them “inspect it” was pretty funny!

Abby has been pretending to breastfeed her doll, Uda. I think she’s preparing for the baby coming and what I will be doing all day long…

As a Joovy Mom, how do Joovy products fit into your home life and your active family’s lifestyle? What product(s) are your favorite?

I love Joovy! I wish I had learned about Joovy when Abby was first born. Joovy’s products are all high quality while being functionable and stylish as well. They just seem to have thought of everything.

We have really enjoyed using the Cocoon! We pull it behind us when we go bike riding down by the beach.  It’s so nice to put the cooler in the back with Abby’s toys and ride for an hour and stop and picnic. Then we convert it into a jogging stroller and use it to go on walks or runs around the neighborhood.  Abby loves riding in it since she feels like she’s a princess in a carriage.

Abby LOVES her Bicycoo Balance Bike. She rides everywhere and has developed a great since of balance without ever using training wheels.  Which is great because I think Santa is bringing her a BIG girl bike this year. (Shhh… don’t tell her) We love the quality here again as it’s got real rubber tires giving her a smooth sturdy ride.

Abby also loves using the Joovy Toy infant seat, playroom and stroller. Her dolls Uda and Pom Pom (love their names!) have fun riding in the stroller and Uda is sleeping in the playroom now! The products are amazing and built just like the real thing!

We are excited about the Ergo Caboose Stroller that we get to use with the baby on the way. I love the large canopy it offers and the stand/sit feature for Abby so she can ride with her little brother. It’s just an awesome looking stroller as well.  Since my husband runs all the time he is going to love using the ZOOM jogging stroller! It’s super light and strong made from aircraft grade materials with super smooth wheels so your run isn’t interrupted by bumps.

Joovy just fits our life. We love them!

What’s up next for you?

Over the next few months we are in transition with our home. Making a playroom for Abby and baby to be, clearing out garage, getting ready for baby… very busy in that regard.

We are having a Baby Shower on October 21st at the COOP which is also benefiting a special charity.  As children of military parents ourselves, we are honored to join with the wonderful charity Celebrate the Military Child to acknowledge and support the Military child. These children make the unknowing sacrifice of living with brave parents and service members who fight everyday to keep our America free and preserve it as the great country it is.  To learn more about Celebrate the Military Child, visit

And best of all, we are so excited to welcome our little one into our family and share the joy with our friends and family. Cherish every moment…