Archives for June 2010

How to Have Some Virtual, Kid-Friendly Fun

As you well know, I’ve been very interested about how we guide our children to be good online citizens. Even though I spend countless hours engaging with people on Twitter and Facebook and here, I haven’t really figured it out how to parent the next gen digital native, which is why I’m very slowly and carefully introducing them to the online world.

One of our regular guests, Youthologist Vanessa Van Petten had some great advice in our interview on internet safety. That is, treat the online world just like the real world! Duh! Ease your kids into online participation, giving them more and more freedom and responsibility as they get older. Now that my kids are 8 and 6, I take them to the playground and let them play relatively freely, but I don’t leave them there!!!

Likewise, I’m starting to let them play on ONE safe site: www.buildabearville.com

The reason I picked BABV is because I had the chance to hear from the people responsible for their digital operations and it was comforting to hear that every chat is monitored and every questionable incident gets investigated. They take this issue very seriously and are committed to working with online moms to ensure the safety of our kids. Not only that but the site content, totally in line with the Build-A-Bear brand, is all about “edutainment.” They’ve built in lessons on good cyber citizenship into the games and incentives in BABV. Is that how Club Penguin and Webkinz are too? Don’t know since I’ve never spent anytime there so if so, clue me in.

You can buy 15 Bearville Outfitters Credits here.

One of the things that piqued my interest while visiting at our friends at Build-A-Bear last week was their virtual summer camp, Camp Happy Heart. I even asked for more information from my new friend, Shannon. If you are looking for good, clean online fun that you could supervise with your kids as Vanessa recommended, here’s a great option! It starts on Friday, to coincide with the release of their ice cream bear collection (see fun pics below).

From Shannon:
Beginning July 2, Build-A-Bearville will host the third annual Camp Happy Heart, the largest summer camp in the virtual world.  Last year, over 400,000 campers participated in the online activities at buildabearville.com.  This year, Camp Happy Heart is expecting even more campers to its exciting camp program. Campers can play special online games and quests including:
·         Marshmallow roasting
·         Jump rope
·         Bear-2-Bear Tug-A-Hug

Guests will enjoy exploring Camp Happy Heart which is lead by a counselor bear from the Ice Cream Bear Collection. Once registered to join the camp, individuals will be put on a team and given daily tasks to complete in order to earn team points. Guests can also write their own camp- themed story featuring their favorite Ice Cream Bear. At the end of camp, each participant will receive a team poster for their virtual Cub Condo and the winning team will receive a 2010 Camp Happy Heart trophy, interactive camp fire and camp bed for their Cub Condo house.

So I’ve been enjoying observing how my kids explore the ‘ville! Yes, my daughter and I have been shopping in Furbulous Fashion District and I, er, I mean Zia Adventure has been helping them furnish their Cub Condos. Okay, it’s a little surreal but at least on BABV, they can actually afford bunk beds.

I’d love your thoughts on this virtual kid world. Where do you go with your kids? What sites do you recommend?

3 Month V.I.B. Subscription at buildabearville.com®

How to Protect Your Kids from Bugs

In our summer safety series, Dr. Elizabeth Laffey, M.D. offers her practical tips. In this segment, we talk about all the crawling, flying critters that can take some of the fun away from outdoor summer activities (at least for me)!
[Read more…]

How to Build-A-Business

Practical Mommy (Ria) and I spent two days at Bear Headquarters for Build-A-Bear in St. Louis (our own backyard!) with nearly 20 of the hippest online moms/bloggers from across the United States. The event was a Brand Building Workshop hosted by Build-A-Bear called Connecting in the CyBear Century.

It took Ria and I all of about 10 minutes to have our first “OMG” moment. How was #babwconnect? In a word, it was:

[Read more…]

24 Weeks: Packin’ On the New Mom 15

24 weeks and 15 pounds.  I’m actually okay with the weight gain. That’s a big deal coming from me. I have struggled with my weight since 9th grade.  Mainly emotional eating issues.

I tell you this, because it’s part of this positive force that’s taking over me during my pregnancy.  I know I was griping last week about the hubs, my mood swings and the lack of nursery progress but most days I am high on life. And it’s all because of this baby boy I like to call Skittles.

BTW, no, I am not naming my child Skittles.  Someone asked me that this week.  But the name is the only secret I seem to be able to keep so it’s Skittles for now.

I know I have to gain weight for the baby.  Every time I start to feel light headed or have stomach pains, that little boy starts kicking. So I don’t waste anytime getting my hands on some food.

I also started exercising this week. I do it because I seriously think the baby enjoys it.

I know it sounds crazy, but I am so convinced he is just like my husband I do things that I know my husband enjoys. Jason is super athletic and he gets grumpy if he’s hungry,  can’t be outside or doesn’t exercise. He’s also in love with our yellow lab Saban and plays with him several times a day.

So Skittles and I are exercising and we run around outside with Saban at least once a day. I know. Psycho.  But there’s more.

I am also convinced that this little guy is laid back and drama free like my husband. Yes, I was crazy last Tuesday but that is only the second time during my whole pregnancy I have felt like that.

I remember when I met Practical Mommy Ria for the first time I told her I actually think when I’m exhausted from this overnight shift, the baby tells me to go to bed.

She told me some prenatal psychologists say unborn babies and their mothers are so connected they both influence each other’s moods and thoughts.  I believe it!

If this is all true, I am going to have a laid back, fun loving baby!

As for his fun loving father..he is almost finished with the nursery.

Here’s a small sample. Not a great shot. I took it at 2:30 this morning before I left the house.

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Virginia Kerr is a morning news anchor on News 4. You can watch her Monday – Friday from 5AM to 7AM.

*You’re invited to a baby shower for Virginia on Wednesday, August 25. More details.

How to Nurse a Baby and/or Twins


Before our twins were born this February I went online to search for tips on HOW to nurse twins. Were moms doing this successfully? How? Same time? Not at the same time? So many questions filled my head. And I was a veteran nursing mom so I can only imagine how many questions a first time expectant moms of twins might have. [Read more…]

How to Trust Your Gut

How do we teach our kids how to pay attention to their gut instincts? Expert Mommy and author, Carrie Silver-Stock shares some great tips with us from her book, Secrets Girls Keep. Personally, I loved the fact that Carrie organizes her book in such a way that highlights seven powerful tools for tween and teen girls, regardless of the situation. Carrie’s positive approach to parenting is very much in line with my own. This book was encouraging, a pleasure to read, and oh so practical! Watch this VIDEO interview with Carrie Silver-Stock.

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How to Teach Intuition

[Read more…]

How to Protect Your Kids from the Sun

Summer is in full swing now and I’ve been relatively good about suncreen. The kids are off to camps with their very own spray bottles tucked in their backpacks. We are spending tons of time outdoors and in the water at the pool and late and my little guy has still turned dramatically browner. I wonder if I’m applying enough or using the right SPF. So I consulted the Expert Mommy!

Related Articles

How to Choose the Right Sun Screen [Read more…]

How to Thank the FATHERS in Your Life

As it is Father’s Day (errrr… correction… Father’s WEEKEND as my kids have declared it!) I just took a walk down memory lane and watched our birth story from when the twins were born a few months ago.

As I sit here in a puddle of tears, so grateful for my husband and our life… I am struck by what a rock my husband was and is for our family.

Babe, I want to thank you for [Read more…]

Positive Parenting Tip: Don’t Talk to Strangers!(?)!

positive_Parenting_tipOur Yogi Parenting audio tips are presented every Friday by Michaela Turner, BS Ed, CYKT, YKT, Co-creator of the Yogi Parenting course.


A great tip for both kids AND parents! Listen to this :15 AUDIO TIP:

If you are ready for parenting to be easier, more fun and less stressful, sign up for a free Yogi Parenting lesson.

[Read more…]

23 Weeks: It’s A Boy!!!!

I told you I couldn’t keep a secret. I all but gave it away on TV yesterday so I got permission from the hubs to tell you Skittles is a boy. A very active little boy who feels like he’s already practicing soccer and basketball every two to three hours. After all, his dad played every sport in school!

Here’s Skittles at 21 weeks

I know I’m just a delusional mom-to-be but don’t you think he has Jason’s cheek bones and nose?

Last night, he started something new. He is now pinching my nerves in my back.  At least, I assume he has something to do with the sharp pain in my back. And I will assume he got that from my husband, too.

I have a wonderful, caring husband but I discovered this week that he has a lot to learn when it comes to dealing with a hormonal weepy pregnant wife.

DON’T ARGUE WITH A CRYING PREGNANT WOMAN.

I’ve been pretty sane for the last five months or so, but man, on Tuesday I was a mess. I had this big, bad ball of a cry swelling in my chest all morning.  EVERYTHING was upsetting me. I almost threw up during the morning show and by the time I made it to the Great Day set for a pregnancy segment I had to warn the host Carol that I was about three minutes away from being a huge bawling mess and it may happen on air. Carol was great, she said I could cry all I wanted since the segment was on pregnant women.  I didn’t. I got through it. I actually made it until my husband got home and then it just all came out. You know the kind of cry that makes no sense because the between the heaving and sniffles you are just spewing out random non sense?

That was the cry. And of course Jason can’t solve any of those “problems” because they sounded so irrational to him so he got frustrated. He tried to calm me down by asking me why I was worried about things that weren’t a problem and eventually just walked out of the room when I stopped talking.  Hello! That doesn’t mean I’m finished sulking..I was just taking a break!

Later, I told him the next time I act like that, don’t try to reason with me. Just tell me I’m right and that I look beautiful (feeling fat was on my whine list) even if it’s a total lie. He said he would.  Low and behold.  I’ve been fine since. At least until the next wave of hormones comes over me.

The lesson I learned…now that I am sane for the time being…is to try and be proactive instead of reactive. I have to sort through all the worries and annoyances while they aren’t bothering me so I can make rational solutions to them now and then remember them during my next rage. And I can’t blow them off.  For instance, I was mad at Gold’s Gym for double charging my account.  So I will continue to call them until the money is refunded but I’m promising only to call them on the days I am not hormonal.  I will say this, pregnancy makes you assertive! I’m usually non confrontational to a fault but now I won’t let anyone get away with crap. As for the feeling fat thing, I am making myself start an exercise routine.  That will make me feel proactive and should reduce the stress. Plus, I think Skittles likes it. I can feel him getting all excited when I’m out playing with the dog. Oh! and he likes Harry Connick Jr. Skittles was dancing up a storm at the concert the other night! At least he got MY taste in music 😉

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Virginia Kerr is a morning news anchor on New 4. You can watch her Monday – Friday from 5AM to 7AM.

*You’re invited to a baby shower for Virginia on Wednesday, August 25. More details.