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Let the children see clearly with VSP Vision Care and Boys and Girls Clubs of America

November 8, 2011

I’m going to tell you a little story… a story that many working parents can understand. Whether you work from home or outside of home, when you have school age kids you need to think about it.

After school programs

*shudder*

When Alex started school this year we were faced with choices. New and unfamiar places to us and to him and the task set before us was to choose the RIGHT one. Not just what would be the easiest or where he would have the most fun but Where would he be comfortable? Where would he be taken care of? Where would he be safe?

I was nervous. Scared even. But I finally chose the Boys and Girls Club of Salem. This has been among the best decisions I have ever made. The program there is amazing, the people are caring and warm and most importantly, they ADORE my son. I could not have asked for anything more.

So now, I want to do something to benefit them, and the many other kids that attend Boys and Girls clubs and I want YOU to help me do it.

Are you ready?

VSP Vision Care partnered with Boys and Girls Clubs of America to provide free eyecare services and eyewear to children most in need throughout the U.S.

Every child deserves to see clearly for school and play. Join VSP Vision Care and Boys and Girls Clubs of America by taking the free online Eye Pledge. For every pledge you and your friends take, a child receives a complimentary eye exam and glasses (if needed) courtesy for VSP & B&GC! The campaign runs through Nov. 18 so help reach 50K children!

Take the online pledge: http://ow.ly/7jBQt

Vision Care will donate an eye exam and new pair of glasses to a child served by a Boys and Girls Club. The Eye Pledge is easy to take and doesn’t

cost you a thing! Take the Eye Pledge now and help a child.

Also.. one lucky winner, chosen by random, of course, will receive a pair of designer sunglasses. There are several to choose from. I know it is vague, but roll with it!

Just leave a comment telling me you made the pledge!

I will also be receiving a pair of sunglasses. I will be receiving no other compensation for the writing of this post and will probably donate my sunglasses anyway. This is a good cause. THAT is why I wrote the post.

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Now THAT is Influence*

October 27, 2011

Tonight my 5yo son wanted to lay with me in his bed. He didn’t want a book. He didn’t want his superhero action figures or even his comic books.

Tonight he wanted to lay in my arms and stroke my hair and tell me about his day until he fell fast asleep holding my hand.

THAT, my friends, is what is important. More than Klout. More than the latest iPhone. More than being first with the newest piece on social media or voicing my opinion about the newest marketing trends.

Take time to slow it down and remember what is truly important.

*Blog title taken from a comment to this post on Google+ from Lynette Young (@LynetteRadio)

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Tips and tricks: Giving medicine to a baby

October 19, 2011

medicineThere is so much I had forgotten about parenting a newborn.

For example.. the 4:45am EverybodyGetDressed run to the ER with an infant with a 102.4 fever. Yup. That happened last week.

So one spinal tap, a bad ear infection and a diagnosis of reflux later and we’re trying to shove oral medications down this poor boys throat. And then I had a memory breakthrough.

Get a bottle nipple
Put it in baby’s mouth
Let them start sucking a bit
Squirt medicine into the nipple…
and VOILA! Before anyone knows it, the medicine vanishes down their throat where it should be instead of all over the onesie and your hands.

Easy peasy!

Also.. you could buy one of these for the same results. But why bother if you can use what you already have!

Photo by Micah Taylor used under Creative Commons licensing

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Salmon. Spinach. Tomatoes

October 15, 2011

I’m so addicted to this healthy, quick dinner. I originally saw the recipe in the October edition of Everyday Food.. but I have changed it a bit. It is very easy to make and tastes delicious. I’ve noted two different ways to serve this dish, either with potatoes or over rice. Both ways are great tasting.

Salmon is the only fish I can get Alex to eat, and we should be eating more fish anyway. Since we love this new dish, we will be making it a lot!

1 medium onion diced small
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (28 oz) San Marzano peeled whole tomatoes
1 box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
1.5 pounds of fresh salmon, skin removed
some olive oil
salt and pepper

optional:
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives

Variations:
3/4 pound of small potatoes of your choice, halved
or
Basmati rice, cooked separately according to package directions

In a large straight sided skillet, heat some olive oil over medium/high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 5 minutes. in your hands, gently crush the peeled tomatoes into the pan then add the juice (If you are using potatoes and not rice, also add the potatoes and 1/2 cup of water at this time). Cook until slightly reduced, 8-10 minutes. Lower heat to medium. Add spinach and olives and stir thoroughly.

Cut salmon into large chunks and season with salt and pepper. Nestle the salmon into the sauce. Cook, covered until the fish is opaque throughout, 8-10 minutes.

Serve salmon atop basmati rice with sauce spooned over or as is if you have used the potato variation.

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But what do we tell the children? 9/11 thoughts from an eyewitness

September 9, 2011

We all have moments of time in which our lives took a dramatic turn. A wedding, a birth (or several), a death.

For me one of those moments was 9/11/2001

The impact that day had on my life and the chain of events it spawned is not illuminated in that post, but they are bright in my mind. I left New York City within 6 months of the attacks. My childhood home, my adult playground, NYC will forever be in my soul, my heart but I had to leave after that. I realized after that day that I was not my career, which I had been chasing for years, my passion, the music industry. I loved it, I adored it, but there was one thing more important and I just didn’t realize it until after that day.

Me. Happiness. Love. Life. and now I’ll add to that, My Family

So 6 months later I packed up my Brooklyn apartment and moved to Boston to be with my then boyfriend. now husband (See! It worked out!).

But right now this isn’t about me so that story will have to be for another time.

With my oldest child starting kindergarten this coming Monday, it occurred to me.. How are they teaching our children about 9/11?

My first thought was about how do I explain this tragic event without overflowing with emotion about my own fear and panic and scaring my child. Followed immediately by – He should know I was there and that ‘history’ happens all around us as life unfolds and we should be aware and grateful for every moment.

Well clearly THAT is too heavy for a kindergartner. *SIGH*

I reached out through my channels to ask the teachers that I was connected to this very question. I received a wide variety of answers and resources.

Several friends and teachers mentioned that there were workshops that have taken place in the last month (some this weekend) that are helping teachers develop their own programs for discussing 9/11 with middle and high school students. I know that there are programs for younger kids, but the teachers I spoke with were specifically teaching in this age bracket. From what I can tell (and I’d be happy if you all had better information than I do!), this education happens more in the later years (which makes sense based on maturity levels).

Then I became interested in materials that were being used and thought they would make great tools for parents to help talk to their own kids about this day.

A few pointed me to the US Department of Education site. Sadly I found this resource lacking in substance with the exception of one beaming light called Voices for Peace – Nonviolent Strategies for Change. WOW this program look like an amazing teaching opportunity, but that might be (definitely is) the Human Rights activist buried deep (OK, not so deep) inside me.

I’ll be brief about this because the lessons are wider rather than 9/11 incident specific but I feel it is an important resource and information to teach our children. From their site:

Voices for Peace was developed to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The site provides a collection of resources for exploring alternatives to violence for promoting political change.

They include a teachers guide as well as a section called Strategies for Change which includes information and examples about change through the Arts, Change Through Cross-Community Work, Change Through Education and more. If these are the types of values you want to teach your children, and I do, the resources here are fantastic for parents as well as teachers.

This might not specifically be about teaching 9/11 education, but I do think it is relevant to teaching children that there are other ways besides attacking innocent people to express anger.

Moving on.. yes.. 9/11

US DOE Site also leads you to other places where more materials can be found. It lead me to a site organized by the Smithsonian National Museum of American history called – September 11: Teaching Contemporary History. These online recorded conferences are free and available now. I also love that on their description page for the programs it outlines the audience this material is meant for, middle school age, High school, elementary and even mentioning parents specifically in one.

From their site:

On Wednesday, August 3 and Thursday, August 4, 2011, the National Museum of American History, National September 11 Memorial & Museum, Pentagon Memorial Fund, and Flight 93 National Memorial, offered a FREE online conference, September 11: Teaching Contemporary History, for K-12 teachers. Designed to provide educators with resources and strategies for addressing the September 11 terrorist attacks, the conference included roundtable discussions with content experts and six workshop sessions. These sessions — all of which were recorded and are now available — highlight resources available at each organization, provide background information on September 11, and encourage conversations on how to document, preserve, and interpret recent history and current events.

Once again.. these resources are mostly meant for teachers, but parents will greatly benefit from these resources as well. This one might very well be my favorite of the bunch.

Finally, for more resources, check out teachinghistory.org’s page about 9/11 for even more teaching tools and information.

Do you have resources you are already using? Ideas for discussion with young children about tragedy? Let me know, I’d love to have them in my arsenal.

As for us? We are going to hold off for now. But I am making myself ready for these conversations, I will keep my ears open for the curiosity and questioning of my own children to lead the way in to this discussion, or will introduce my own story when they start learning about it in school.

Maybe I’m selfish or naive or both.. but I want my 5 year old to stay innocent about these things just a little bit longer.

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Mom to two

August 26, 2011

I am torn in two directions. I was expecting this.

Eldest wants me. Needs me. Youngest depends on me for everything. Both of my boys need me and I haven’t mastered the art of time bending or cloning myself as of yet. Luckily, I have the greatest husband who can pick up where parenting is needed in both cases but I think we are both just fumbling through it for now.

We have two kids now. Two little, remarkable humans who depend on us.

We can do this.

But for now, we fumble with our balance and time until we get it right.

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Welcome baby Eli

August 11, 2011

Our big boy. 8 pounds 13 ounces of all boy. Arrived 8/8/11

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