Friday, May 31, 2013

Women Changing the World Together - Make an Impact, Skyrocket your Business (or start one) and Make Money!

If you've ever dreamed of making a better life for yourself and your family, of making an impact on other women and the world, this is your opportunity. I am so excited about this program because with a little luck, it means I'll finally be able to get my Passion Test Certification, launch my own business and make the impact I want to make. That I'm meant to make.

You don't have to have long lists, lots of clients or even your own business yet. You just have to have that little feeling inside or that voice in your head that says it is time to take a chance, make a change and rock the world.

How are you going to do that? Join Impact Posse this instant! Kristin Sweeting Morelli is launching a program that breaks every entrepreneurial rule out there!

She can do that because she was a self-made millionaire by the age of 30. After being retired for several years, focusing on her job as a single mom, she started a business with her (then new) husband called Everything Is Energy, from scratch, not using her personal wealth. Within a year or two she turned that into a multi-million dollar business! She is a rock star and she wants you and I to be rock stars too!

Impact Posse is an affiliate program like no other. She is paying out big time money to affiliates, but you have to sign up NOW to get the best out of it. Today is the last day you'll be able to make money off of the people who sign up under you.

PLUS: She's launching Booty Camp - a program for women entrepreneurs like nothing you've seen before! I'll tell you more about that soon.

I'll let Kristin herself tell you all about it. I hope you'll find her as inspiring and amazing as I do! Click the link, watch the video and do yourself a favor: sign up! This is for you!!! Feel that spark? That little lightness in your heart? That's your inner guidance saying DO IT NOW!!!

Love and blessings!! See you in the Posse.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Writer's Workshop: Learning to Celebrate Myself Again - 15 Reasons I am Awesome!

Somewhere along the road of my life, I learned that it wasn't OK to compliment myself or point out the great things about me or speak proudly of an accomplishment. That would be bragging and bragging is very bad indeed, says some deep-seeded programming in my subconscious mind.

It got so bad that all too recently I wouldn't have been able to tell you one thing wonderful about myself or one thing I did well, even if I knew I was really good at something. I was even surprised when I would see someone on some social media platform shouting about how great they were.

This is a flaw from which I'm still... let's say... recovering. In big step forward, I'm linking up with Mama Kat (again!) today to give you 15 Reasons I am awesome! I actually feel intense discomfort at the thought of writing this, but growth requires squiggling out of old skin and though sometimes the process hurts, once you're on the other side it feels amazing! So, here we go:

1. I can bake a kick-ass bread better than anything they're selling on your supermarket shelves.

See that? That's what I made last night. Delicious!

2. I can type at a rate of 65 wpm with perfect accuracy.

3. I get 3 little kids ready, out the door and to school on time every single school day.

4. I can be ready myself in 20 minutes flat, when necessary (try that, Wonder Woman! And by 'Wonder Woman' I mean my sister).

5. I can pick up numerous toys with my toes and heave them into the toy box in a single bound.

6. I always admit my mistakes and apologize, especially with my kids.

7. I have beautiful greenish-hazel eyes. My favorite feature.

8. I'm good at writing silly, somewhat nonsensical poetry to make loved ones laugh their way through challenging situations (hard times, boot camp, police academy) as well as write beautiful verse for birthdays, anniversaries and other celebrations.

9. I'm a good mom. I'm raising people who have the freedom to express who they are, follow their interests and be anything they want to be. I encourage them to follow their passions and their joy and I accept them for who they are and who they will become.

10. I am like Mary Poppins when it comes to getting a whole lot of stuff into a small purse - diapers (though happily we don't need those anymore), wipes, hand-sanitizer, lipstick, a wallet, sunglasses x4, etc...

11. I have the ability to recognize a fault, and instead of complain about it to others, or ignore it, I challenge myself to change and become better than I was before. (This one is c/o my wonderful little brother).

12. I give really great hugs and I never let go too soon.

13. I can sing some mean Disney Princess songs, do a one-woman performance of Miss Saigon, frighten and entertain children with my version of The Witches Rap (Beans) from Into The Woods. Essentially, I'm trying to say that I'm a pretty good singer.

14. I constantly endeavor to improve myself. To become a better, more loving, more conscious person.

15. I have an adventurous spirit. I'll try almost anything at least once! And I never turn away from a challenge... like this list, moving across oceans, eating weird food that the French call 'delicacies', etc...

There! I did it. That was both harder and easier than I thought it would be. The hardest part was resisting the urge to qualify my awesome points (especially the 'good mom' one) with derogatory comments.

So, what about you? Tell me what makes you awesome! Then, go tell someone else something awesome about them. You can't always tell who deals with massive insecurity. Sometimes the ones who seem the most confident are the ones struggling the most.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Vlog Talk: Disney Princesses - Good Role Models or Bad News for your Daughters?

I say... well, you'll just have to watch to find out what I say. And perhaps sing. Find out! Then, tell me what you think!

Or, go make your own vlog and link up with Mama Kat!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dragons Aren't Just For Boys - A Guide to a Girl's Dragon Themed Birthday Party

Girls like dragons too!

Look up "Dragon Birthday Party" on the Internet and you'll find a lot of How to Train Your Dragon, or Knights with swords. That was not what we were going for. There's a balance to be struck and I think we found it this year. Besides the challenge of the theme, we're working off of a very tight budget.

We pulled off our most successful birthday party ever! Our dragon-loving daughter turned 7 on Saturday the 26th (2012!). This is the second year in a row she has requested a dragon-themed birthday party. Before that, when she turned 5, it was Dinosaurs. She hasn't been girly since her Ariel-themed 4th birthday. She's a budding scientist, my Nature Girl, and fantasy has its part.

So, how did we plan and execute a very successful Dragon party on a budget, for 5 girls ages 4 - 7 (plus a 2-year-old brother)? Let me break it down for you!


Dragons - we had quite a few toy dragons from the year before, purchased at my local Michael's for a couple of dollars each, plus the cute little dragons from their Little People Castle Playset  from when my girls were toddlers. I used these, along with a balloon and streamers, as the centerpiece.

Table Cloth - Purple is my girl's favorite color, so we skipped the party in a box and spent just $2.99 on a plastic table cloth that was super easy to clean and will top our own picnic table all summer long.

Plates, Cups, Napkins & Cutlery - The budget in mind, we used our own and skipped the matching napkins. Birthday parties do not have to be picture perfect, fellow parents. They just need to be fun! By using our own, we saved money and a tree or two (no plastic or carton to throw away).

Balloons - We spent $23 at Meijer for a Helium Balloon Kit  with 30 balloons. We spent a couple of dollars extra on a "Happy Birthday" balloon, but overall saved money by doing it ourselves, as opposed to having Party City do it for us.

Favors - A last-minute planner, I express shipped Dragon Tattoos and Dragon Stickers from Amazon. I spent $0 on the shipping by signing up for a trial of Amazon Prime, which I'll cancel before the 30-day period is up. The guests went home with their choice balloon and a sheet of stickers. We forgot to do the tattoos, so that will be a little extra dragon fun for my kids soon!

Schedule of Events:

3:00PM - Guests arrive. We kept things small with just 3 guests (plus my 3). This was a drop-off party, meant to be a sleepover for two of the girls. I'll address the sleepover in another post!

3:30PM - Dragon Hunt! For our first gift, we bought an interactive dragon. It was supposed to be storming outside, according to, so we planned the hunt indoors instead of in the woods behind our house. My daughter was the one to suggest going on a dragon hunt. She wanted to find one and keep it as a pet, or steal the eggs and raise a baby dragon of her own!

That morning, knowing it should storm during her party, I wondered aloud about where we might look for a dragon in the house if we had to hunt inside. She suggested our very messy storage room or the closet in the basement. Good idea! We hid this dragon in that very closet, behind the big cardboard playhouse that is stuffed in there. We hid it in its nest (cardboard box with shredded paper) with colored "dragon" eggs (hard-boiled and colored like you do Easter Eggs, but very roughly for an authentic look) and a few dragon treasures. "Magical" stones led the way from upstairs to the closet. The dragon has a remote control, so we made it roar as the girls searched the house. Once they were close enough to hear it they saw the stones and followed the path. My husband kept making it roar with the remote control hidden in his shirt pocket. The girls tore through the closet until they all giggled and shrieked upon discovering the dragon! It was great fun!

4:00PM - Gifts! The younger kids (and Papa) just couldn't wait until cake time for the gifts, so we did this before dinner. New earrings, a couple of cool Dragonology books (this one is her favorite) and a hand-made book from her best friend topped the list.

5:00PM - Dinner & Birthday Cake! My homemade pizza was a hit with the kids and obviously so was the cake.
Add a cool Dragon to a store-bought cake and BOOM! There you go!

6:00PM How To Train Your Dragon Movie Time!

8:00PM Goodbye!

It was a very fun day. Long, fun, delicious. So there, if you have a girl who loves dragons, fear not! You can make a great party too!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I just might get paid a few pennies if you click and buy. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Rebecca and the Strangest Garden on Earth - Review & Giveaway

If you ever thought that talking to your plants was a silly idea, Rebecca and the Strangest Garden on Earth just might have you changing your mind!

Rebecca is a delightful young girl spending a long holiday weekend with her Auntie. The warm summer sun makes the colorful, varied garden the perfect place to balance the dullness of the homework she must do. When the Clematis starts talking to her, Rebecca is taken quite by surprise!

Pest invasions, suspicious characters and curiously quiet African Lily make for a sweet, entertaining story perfect for children 4+. My daughters (6 and 8) were completely entranced by the story. They got totally caught up in the gentle emotions skillfully portrayed by author Imogen Daley.

By the end, they were on the edge of their seats, giddy with excitement and joy and wanting to read it again straightaway. Overall, we loved it. My only complaint is that it is an e-book only; I'm still happiest with paper in my hands.

To me, this is simple children's lit at its best. Clean, innocent and it inspires the imagination! It may also inspire little gardeners! You can win a copy simply by way of the easy entry Rafflecopter form below just in time for summer holidays!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Smoke Relief - Electronic Cigarette Review

My husband has been a smoker for nearly 30 years. It's as much a part of his French culture as food, wine and poodles. A vocal non-smoker myself, our relationship continued from a first date only after his promise to quit. Love happened quickly between us and 13 years later he's still trying to change his ways.

Enter Smoke Relief, America's Number 1 Electronic Cigarette, now available in the UK. I had the opportunity to review this product in cooperation with my husband. Even though eCigarettes are not marketed as a smoking cessation product, we hoped it just might be the perfect way to help him take a giant leap into the non-smoking community. 

He has tried other e-cigarettes in the past, but none come close to this one. Even I was impressed with the package: 

The Deluxe Rechargeable eCigarette kit was presented in a very nice box, inclusive of the electronic cigarette, a box of 5 cartomisers containing 18m of tobacco each, the battery (which looks like the white end of a cigarette), a charger box, AC Adapter and USB Charger. Pretty impressive!  

Plus, for the review they threw in a few more cartomisers and a mixed box of flavoured "cigarettes" that I was almost tempted to try, but I resisted.

The eCigarette looks very much like a real cigarette and even produces a little odorless vapor upon exhalation, which resembles smoke. For smokers who are just as attached to the process and mannerisms of smoking as they are the nicotine, this will make for an easier transition. 

The pros, according to The French Guy (my man) were the nice presentation, the convenience of being able to smoke almost anywhere anytime, the flavor options (though he preferred the basic) and the sheer volume of what was included in the kit. It was the equivalent of at least 10 packs. 

The cons, he said, were that the taste of nicotine was more present and it was harsher on the throat than a real cigarette. For one who truly wants to minimize the effects and cost of smoking, these small issues wouldn't take much getting used to. 

You can find out for yourself by visiting and utilizing the discount code: SHIPMYKIT

For me, I think the eCigarette is a brilliant alternative to the real thing. He's hasn't been allowed to smoke indoors since our second date, but the smell of a cigarette lingers even after hand-washing  So, the pros in my opinion are the elimination of the smell, the reduction of any chance of passive smoking by the children or me and the savings! Huge savings. 

Finally, and forgive me for stepping up on a soapbox for just a moment, since we've been in England, I've been shocked to see so many mums on the way to school smoking while pushing their babies in buggies (strollers) or holding the hands of their school children. If you aren't ready to quit, I think this product is the perfect alternative to ensure that you don't harm your children while engaging in your favorite habit. Plus, since smoke is bad for your skin, you'll look younger longer! ;) 

*** We received a complementary Deluxe Rechargeable eCigarette Kit for review purposes only. No other compensation was provided. Our opinions are our own. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Head Lice, Husbands and Harry Potter World!

Yes, it is true! I love alliteration!

See that spec? That's a nit! Go read all about it
Head Lice
It's also true that we have recently faced and conquered head lice. No, my husband didn't have it. I wrote all about facing my fears here on Parent Society and then took you through the eradication process step by step here. I'd love for you to read all about it and leave me a comment or two on the site. Have you ever had to deal with it?

I survived two weeks without my husband! I have to say that dinner got a bit boring without my personal French chef, but it was a calming and restful time. Since he returned on Saturday, I have realized that my daily fatigue is no longer due to the children, but to poor quality sleep due to his snoring! Yikes!

I slept so well while he was away - deep, restful, solid sleep. I felt good during the day and far less grumpy. For the past 3 nights I've been waking up constantly, trying to sleep with headphones in to block the noise and it just isn't working for me. I'm exhausted! Any tips? Believe me, ear plugs won't do the trick!

Plus, tell me truly: Do you like to cuddle at night or do you sleep better out of the arms of your love? My next bed seriously needs to be King sized.

Harry Potter World
Finally, my little Nature Girl is on her way to Harry Potter World RIGHT NOW! I so wish I could go with her!!! She's going to have butter-beer in the Great Hall, step into Dumbledore's office and walk the cobbled stones of Diagon Alley. How cool is that?!

Later this week I'll be reviewing a couple of cute books, electronic cigarettes and reminiscing on 8 years of parenthood in preparation for my first-born's birthday!!! See you then! Have a beautiful week.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Introducing... and Saying Goodbye to... Milo

This is Milo. He was my baby long before I had children. He was 5 weeks old when I brought him home.

A kitten I had inherited had died a few days before, at just 8-days old, before he'd even opened his eyes. When my friend told me about a box of kittens that had been left on a veterinarian's doorstep, I thought I would just swing by and take a look.

I already had one cat, Meena. I didn't need another. But there was an ache in my heart and as soon as I saw Milo, I knew he was mine.

He was the biggest of 5 in a litter and he never stopped eating. Or peeing (on my bed) or pooing (then tromping through it - he had a lot of baths that first week home). He had a crooked tail, what they called a "Singapore Tail" with a bend about an inch before the tip. He slept on my shoulder, fit into my husband's bathrobe pocket and had the weirdest meow I'd ever heard. It was instant love.

Nearly five years later when Nature Girl was born, Milo fell in love with her. And her car seat. And her stroller.

He was the very best cat for children you could imagine. So gentle, so sweet. No matter how much any of them pulled on him, chased after him or even sat on him, he was completely tolerant.

We called him a dog-cat. He would come when called, take walks with us through the woods, cuddle up whenever possible. He would literally jump up into your arms for attention and some loving, resting his head on a soft shoulder just like a child.

He stayed my baby through all my babies.

In August of last year, we prepared both cats to fly with us to England. It wasn't easy. The logistics were a challenge. Nevertheless, we worked with our vet to get all the shots, microchips and papers in order. We loaded them up and drove them to my parent's in Detroit to reunite with the kids and hang for a few days before the flight.

I didn't want to leave them pent up in little cat cages for those three days. Milo needs space, room to move. He's always been an indoor/outdoor cat; an explorer. So, after thinking about it, I decided the cats would be best in my mom's greenhouse. It was closed for the season. The cats would feel like they were outside, yet they'd be sheltered, captive and they wouldn't be tortured by my parents' dog or be stepping on the territory of their cats. I thought they would be happier in there.

I should have left him in the cage for a day to let him get used to it. Instead, I let the cats out. Meena hid behind a water tank and Milo slipped through the wall into a vent of some sort between the store and the greenhouse, which are connected. It took a whole day and a lot of coaxing to get him out.

The next day when I went to visit him, he was gone. Somehow he had gotten out. Maybe slipped through an open door too quickly to see or out a vented window when they opened to cool the greenhouse. He was gone.

My parent's live on acres and acres of land. There are woods, sheds, ponds... plenty of wonderful places for an adventurous cat to explore. But Milo was also scared. He was nervous around strangers. He was away from home, the smells, sounds and sights were different. Too different.

I searched and called for him several times a day. I hoped he would just wander up to the house... I put out a missing pet alert. Our flight was two days away. We decided that if Milo didn't return in time, we would leave Meena with my parents. They had the gecko and the fish, plus two cats and a dog of their own, why not one more? I love Meena, but without Milo it didn't seem worth the trouble when I knew she'd be safe and happy in Zonerland. It's pet heaven.

On the morning of our flight, my mom and dad departed for California for a week. If Milo came back after we left, there would be no one to see him, greet him... love him. Just hours before we were to leave for the airport I got a call from the lost pet people saying someone had spotted a cat with a similar description to Milo about a 10 minutes drive from the house.

With doubt tinged with great hope, I drove like a madwoman through an area I hadn't lived in for 20 years. I found the location thanks to the GPS. Neighborhoods, businesses and a vast green with roads all around. Why would he be there? Could he have gotten so far in just a day? I couldn't imagine, but cats can travel fast..

I ran around, I called for him. I wandered to where an animal might hide. From a football field distance I spotted a cat. A glimmer of white, a spot of brown. I called, "Milo!" I made his funny meow sound and the kissy noises I used to call him. I managed to get close enough to get a good look without scaring the cat away.

It wasn't him. I sobbed my way back to my childhood home.

It's funny how you can love an animal so much. Strange how they can break your heart as easily as any human love. Sad to realize how much guilt I carry for losing him. Imagining him lost and lonely and scared.

I don't know what happened to him and that's the hardest part. There's no closure. All I can do is try to let go of wishing that I had done it differently and imagine him happily chasing birds, bunnies and butterflies in the outdoors that he loved so much.

But I miss my baby cat. I'll always love you, Milo.

*** I've been avoiding this post for months. I'm linking up with Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop. Thanks for the therapy prompt, Mama Kat.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Silent All These Years - Vlog!

Is there a song that holds special meaning to you?  I've loved Tori Amos since Spring Break my senior year of high school (thank you, Laura). Little Earthquakes touched my core and for years I was a huge fan; collecting every album, hunting down rare imports, going to every concert when she came to town - I even have an autographed concert ticket!

After I grew up a little, got married and had kids, I didn't need her music anymore. My angst had resolved! I listened to her now and again because she's fun to sing to and her music (at least her first 4 or 5 albums) holds a special place in my heart, but the words held little meaning for me.

Recently, after listening to Little Earthquakes for the first time in years, I reconnected with one particular song: Silent All These Years.

Motherhood is one of the greatest gifts of my life. It changes you forever, sometimes leaving bits of you behind. That woman you are, the essence of you, falls silent for awhile as your life, your world is taken over by all things baby. The purest expression of womanhood - childbirth - can actually strip you of your feminine power.

That's what I'm talking about today on the vlog! I'd love to hear your thoughts.

So, what song holds special meaning in your heart?

I'm linking up with Mama Kat's Practically World Famous Vlogging Prompts!
Thanks for the inspiration, Mama Kat!

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Mother Matters

I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day and that your children gave you plenty of love and hugs or cards and calls!

I saw a video on You Tube the other day with Jim Carrey that touched my mother-heart. He was talking about how his path of comedy served a higher purpose - to relieve suffering. He spoke about his mother, whom apparently suffered from depression and he said that he wanted her to believe that, "Her life was worth something because she gave birth to someone who was worth something..."

I saw her from his eyes in that moment and tears stung mine. Imagine, being that child... he must have had an incredible sense of self-worth from a very young age. Imagine your own child feeling that way? If you've ever been depressed and wondered if anything really mattered... Everything matters about you to your children no matter how young or old they are.

Motherhood and the domesticity of it can be overwhelming. To maintain balance is our goal. To keep our eyes on our higher purpose as mothers is vital to our own well-being. We're raising real people here, hopefully great ones! So vent once in a while if it helps (it did help me - read Domesticity Sucks!) and then let your heart fill up with love for your children.

One of those moments that makes it all worth it!
Sweet Rose discovered my nose! (2006)
When your heart is full of love and light, it makes those challenging moments and even the boring, redundant moments and tasks, so much easier to bear. Take care of yourself, moms!

(FYI: Self-care includes avoiding the pile of laundry on your bed so that you can blog instead ;)

Have a happy week!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

What Are You Putting Off? Vlog!

It's Wednesday - when I blog... sometimes. I'd tell you more about it, but... I'll wait until later.

Want to join the party? Visit Mama Kat.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Domesticity Sucks

Sometimes. A lot.

See, it isn't Parenthood, per se, that gets the gander up of moms worldwide. It is the redundancy, the repetition, the daily drivel (and drool) that wears us down. It's the consistency of chaos, the lack of personal pleasure and peace, the endless crumbs on the floor, dirty dishes, tables, counters, chairs, walls, toilets to be cleaned, butts to be wiped, diapers to be changed, mouths to wipe, toys to tidy...

that gets us stressed and frustrated. Give me a maid to keep up on the laundry and housework and I might be a calmer, more composed parent.

I might have the energy to patiently address the needs and wants of 3 children all asking at the same time and chastising (i.e. yelling at) each other for interrupting! I might send them back to bed for the fourth time with just a love-pat on the bottom and a kiss instead of threatening to take away every privilege they've ever known.

I might stare at the mess of dried, crusted-on toothpaste and spit on the sink with a light in my eyes and a smile in my heart and rejoice for the three little miracles I get to parent.

But I don't. Usually. Because I'm tired. Because one of them whined too much that day and the other argued with everything I said. Because we're running late and that makes me anxious. Because I just cleaned 3 rooms and 3 rooms are messy again. Because the towels that were freshly laundered have been used to clean stuffed animals. Because I have two hands and 3 kids fighting over who gets to hold them. Because they have asked for just one. too. many. things. Because I still hear bangs and bumps upstairs begging for my attention as I take out my frustration on the keyboard instead of the kids.

I am no perfect mom. Sometimes I'm downright mean. I lose my temper. I say things I wish I hadn't in tones I wish didn't exist. I probably shouldn't even be allowed around young humans (or my husband) when I'm PMS-ing, but that's another story.

I am human. That's what I'm teaching my kids. Mommy deserves a little respect. Mommy has needs too. Sometimes, occasionally, mommy is going to put her own needs first. If you want a nicer mommy, be a nicer kid. And vice-versa.

We moms love our kids. We'd do anything, anything at all for them. We feel guilty for occasionally detesting our lives. Because our kids are our lives we "can't" really hate said lives. It isn't the parenting part we hate, though, It's all the other $h*! that comes with it.

So, I guess I'll keep them.

What say you?