Celebrate Mother’s Day Creatively

mirrorMother’s Day is almost here! It’s dad’s turn to help the kids get creative to make it a special day for mom. Crayola has some fun and easy ideas that kids of any age can participate in:

 

Greet mom in the morning with a special message on the bedroom window or the bathroom mirror Washable Window Markers. [Craft Details]

Jazz up mirrors. Make dazzling picture frames. With colorful Crayola® Washable Window Markers you can change designs whenever you wish.

1.Could you spruce up a mirror in your house with seasonal or fanciful borders? Or could you transform a plain picture with a decorative edge inside the frame? Check with an adult before you start to make Markered Mirrors.

2.Think up ways to brighten mirrors or picture frames. Some suggestions: Surround a mirror with “Happy Birthday” for a morning surprise. Create holiday decorations such as hearts for Valentine’s Day. Draw a string of colored lights for Christmas. Add an “I love you” border around your picture for a gift. Repeat or embellish designs from nearby wallpaper or clothing in a picture.

3.Use Crayola Washable Window Markers to draw a colorful border around the edge of your mirror or on the glass inside your picture frame.

4.When you are ready for a change of scene, just wipe with a damp paper towel and make a new design.

 

Personalize placemats to decorate the table for a surprise Mother’s Day breakfast/lunch/dinner using Ultra-Clean Washable Markers. [Craft Details]

Place others first and you’ll make someone smile! Show you care by creating a placemat to donate to an agency that provides meals to people who are homeless, elderly, or disabled.

1. There are lots of terrific kids who help others, care for the environment, and make their communities better places to live! What can you do to help others in your community? Here’s a great idea to inspire you: Design a placemat to donate to a service organization, such as one that provides meals for people who may be lonely or unable to leave their homes.

2. With Crayola Scissors, cut cotton or 50/50 cotton/polyester fabric into a placemat. Put on your painting shirt, and cover your work surface with clean paper. Crayola® Fabric Markers stain clothing and surfaces, CLOSE ADULT SUPERVISION IS REQUIRED.

3. Use a ruler and Crayola Fabric Markers to separate sections on the fabric. Each section can be a different size and shape.

4. Create a cheerful design with large and small shapes, colors, or patterns. Add stripes or dots to fill each section with color.

5. Designs must be heat set by an adult so the placemat can be laundered. Set the iron to cotton. Iron on the reverse side using a back and forth motion for 4 minutes. Or put the placemat in the dryer for 30 minutes on the hottest setting.

 

Create a portrait for mom on the sidewalk or in a chalkboard frame using 48 ct. Washable Sidewalk Chalk that provides you with the largest variety of colors.

 

Customize mom’s favorite picture of the family by drawing a picture-frame border with Color Wonder markers that only appear on Color Wonder paper. [Craft Details]

Make memories with this easy-to-make, no-mess frame. Kids can display their own art or photos of themselves, pets, and family members.

1. Decide whether your picture frame will be a gift or for yourself. What picture will you put inside the frame? You could draw one, or ask an adult if it’s OK to frame a photograph.

2. To mark the frame’s four borders, firmly crease its inside edges in a piece of Crayola® Color Wonder™ Paper.

3. With Crayola Color Wonder Markers, draw and color a pattern to make your Bright Borders. What decorations go well with the picture you are framing?

4. Fold the creases in both directions. Carefully tear along the folds to remove the blank center of your frame.

5. Attach your art to the back of the frame with a Crayola Glue Stick. For extra support, glue cardboard on the back.

 

[Dreaded] Time To Find A Swimsuit

Warm weather has finally arrived and it is time for swimsuit (and other things swim/beach) shopping!

For moms…

Swimwear

vintageflowersmulti chevron mint_cream retro dots
It is fun to pick out swimwear for your little ones, but finding a suit for mom tends to be a little more dreaded. Whether it’s extra weight, body changes, stretch marks, scars or loose skin, finding a swimming suit you feel comfortable in can be really challenging.

When you go to the store you might find a few styles that are cute, but as you bring them into the dressing room, your pile of “no” grows. Perhaps you find one top that you like, but you can’t find a bottom in your size, or one that matches. Or maybe you just can’t bring yourself to buy a bathing suit that requires you to wear a size that is 2x bigger than you normally wear. Maybe you are nursing and your chest is extra full and your breasts are exploding out of every option you try. Maybe you just had a baby (2 years ago counts, right?!) and you need something to hold things in until they tighten up. Perhaps you just don’t like showing too much, but the only full coverage suits you find are for a lot older women. For me, it is the new “love handles” that I possess even though I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight, stretch marks on my hips and thigh and small, deflated breasts. I can go on, but you get the point and you know your scenario.

Me and my daughter playing...swimsuit on a "normal" person!

swimsuit-divinita-sole2 Me and my daughter playing…swimsuit on a “normal” person!

I have found an incredible swimming suit that I became OBSESSED with the second I tried it on. Diviine Modestee has a swimwear line, Divinita Sole, called the “Perfect Fit Swimwear” that truly is perfection. All of their styles are tankinis, although many of them look like a one piece, and they are very, very cute. They have a solution for all body types (and even a guide to help you find which ones will work best for you). They have plenty of color options AND adorable swimwear skirts to match every. Single. One. I selected my sizes based on the sizing chart and had my fingers crossed that they would fit the way I wanted. You know how swimming suits always fit so small?! Well, the fit was ideal. In every way. The bottoms didn’t create that extra bulge with my love handles the way all the ones do in the stores. They are fuller coverage than I have had in swimming suits before, but with a tankini it is perfect. I felt amazing when I put it on and the skirt made the swimming suit look like a little dress you can wear when walking around in public (and it totally covered up my stretch marks on my thigh). I wore it to my baby’s first mommy-and-me swim class and I wasn’t self-conscious at all. It is comfortable, doesn’t ride up or require any tugging. It is the highest quality bathing suit I have ever worn and I highly recommend it to any woman (or teen!). I doubt anyone would be disappointed with the purchase of a Divinita Sole swimming suit.

So, for all you moms that are dreading the search for a new swimming suit this year, just go straight to this site and pick one out. Search over! Right now a top and bottom combo is $99 and a skirt is $36. It is worth the cost to have a swimming suit you will be confident in and that will last for years. www.divinitasole.com

If you are plus sized and looking for trendy and flattering swimwear, check out www.alwaysforme.com. They are all under $90 and they have tons of styles and colors to choose from.

For the Kids…

Beach Wear

daisy-langKids swimming suits are pretty easy I think. It is easy to find adorable designs and your little ones look cute in everything they put on! But, I came across a couple of beachy items that were too cute not to mention. Daisy Lang has a great “resort wear collection” that includes classic shift dresses, shorts, shirts, and sweaters in fun prints including sailors, mermaids, and sea life. Pulling inspiration from 60’s and 70’s design, Daisy Laing incorporates whimsical embroidery and knits in their collection. I fell in love with the crabs! http://www.daisylaing.com

Flip Flops

blue flik flopKids love light up shoes and we found LED light up flip flops! They add safety at night and they are just fun. Flikflops is a family run business, with a 7 year-old innovator coming up with the idea. They come in blue and pink and cost $16.95 (with free shipping). www.flikflops.com

SPF

aubreyProtecting your children’s skin from harmful UV rays is an important job for a parent. I always rush to bathe my children after they have been wearing sunscreen because I am not sure what ingredients are in it, but I found an all natural SPF that would take away some of my fears! This broad spectrum mineral sunscreen contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to block UVA and UVB rays naturally without parabens or petrochemicals. Organic green tea extract, pomegranate, Baobab Oil, Canadian Willowherb and vitamin E are powerful antioxidants that help neutralize cancer-causing active free radicals. Plus, this sheer formula is moisturizing, non-greasy, protecting kids comfortably all day long! What’s even better is that they have a spray version. $15.95 at www.aubrey-organics.com

hello kittySome kids hate putting sunscreen on, but if it had a favorite character on the bottle and come in fun scents they might be more willing. Australian Gold has launched a new Hello Kitty collection, which got my daughter super excited. They have wet/dry body mists, lotion and face lotion in SPF 30, 45 and 50 and in Summer Berry, Krazy Kiwi and Paradise Pineapple fragrances. $8.99 at all major retail stores.

Top Tips for Mom Inventors

by Tamara Monosoff

What many multi-tasking moms don’t realize is that they already possess the necessary skills to become successful entrepreneurs.  These essential skills are practiced and strengthened on a daily basis such as; coming up with creative solutions to everyday problems, extraordinary time management (getting kids to school, activities, doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, preparing meals), stamina (staying up all night when the stomach flu hits the household), all while living within a budget.  In fact, these skills are directly transferrable to launching and running a successful business.  When I hear a mother say, “I’m just a mom, I can’t run a business,” nothing could be further from the truth. And, becoming an entrepreneur has benefits such as a flexible schedule and an opportunity to contribute to the family income.

For the past ten years, I have seen thousands of people transform that initial idea into creative, money-generating new products.  And, with the resurgent economy and awesome new resources available for developing, manufacturing, funding, video marketing, selling and distributing products, the opportunity for inventive product entrepreneurs has never been better.

Every entrepreneur’s journey is unique, but like any new endeavor, the most important steps are the first ones.

Below are seven tips to get you started on the right path:

  1. Treat Your Product Idea as a Business from the Start. There is no true short-cut. With an open mind, analyze and understand the design and production costs, market size, selling price, profit potential, and competition BEFORE you spend money bringing your product to market.

  2. To Patent or NOT to Patent? A patent can be a useful tool but it is not a requirement and sometimes a waste of precious resources. Consider taking advantage of a Provisional Patent Application (PPA) first. It is a placeholder that will buy you 12 months of time before you have to officially file a utility patent.

  3. Make it Simple. Many new product ideas include flashy features from electronics to excessive bells and whistles that drive up production costs and the retail price. Creating high-quality products with fewer features–but priced right — can mean more sales and money in your pocket.

  4. Raise Smart Money. Use crowd-funding, microloans, credit lines, and new online options that fit your business. There has never been a better time to fund your business.

  5. Bring Your Product to Life with a Prototype. Start with something basic that will be refined over time. It does not need to be expensive or fancy.

  6. Be Cautious of “Opportunities.” Be careful to scrutinize companies that offer to market or license your product with sweet deals that sound too good to be true. Use the same good practices you would use to select a contractor, plumber, or new nanny.

  7. Celebrate Your Successes…Large and Small. Recognize setbacks for what they are an unavoidable — and sometimes the most valuable — part of the journey. This is an opportunity to build a business and life that you LOVE.

There are many steps along this journey but with the abundance of new resources available you can take your idea and run.  As Julie Martin-Allen, Senior Director of Showcase Events for Sam’s Club said in the foreword of my new book, “My final advice to those readers who aspire to see their products on the shelves of the nation’s top retailers; be courageous and go for it!”

For more resources on funding, manufacturing, publicity and managing your business check out The Mom Inventors Handbook, How to Turn Your Great Idea into the Next Big Thing, Revised and Expanded 2nd Ed (second edition), released on April 1, 2014.

 

Tamara Monosoff is an award-winning inventor, educator, media contributor, speaker and author of six bestselling books; including the new interactive version of The Mom Inventors Handbook, How to Turn Your Great Idea into the Next Big Thing, Revised and Expanded 2nd Ed(second edition). If you need help getting started, Tamara offers Power Mentoring Programs that will rocket you to success! Visit: www.TamaraMonosoff.com.

A Different Kind of Gift!

As the holiday season is approaching, many of you are probably starting to think of gift ideas for the people on your list. If you are anything like me, you always want to come up with something different than everyone else will think of and really be enjoyable for your gift recipient. I came across an idea that I think is really awesome-a fun gift and you don’t even have to go to the store to buy it! I checked out both of these and loved everything about them. A nice, sturdy box filled with quality items that were well thought out. Whether buying for a fellow parent or a special child, this is a great way to go!

For a parent:

googaro Googaro

Googaro is a subscription box service that delivers the highest-quality, full-size products for children 0-3 years of age. For $35 a month, Googaro helps new parents find the most beneficial products for their baby that are organic, BPA-free and eco-friendly, and is the perfect gift idea to make a mom and dad’s job just a little bit easier.

Every month, subscribers will receive a care package with 4-5 full-size products that are the perfect blend of practical, safe, stylish and fun. Each box is carefully curated with new and exciting high-end toys, books, snacks and household products that are tailored to a child’s age and gender, with the occasional surprise thrown in for mom and dad.

Three, six and twelve-month subscriptions are available at googaro.com for newborns to toddlers age 3. A three-month subscription retails for $35/month, a six-month subscription retails for $32/month (with ½ month free), and a 12-month subscription retails for $32/month (with one month free). Check it out at www.googaro.com.

For a child:

thehappytrunkThe Happy Trunk

Creativity in a box! The Happy Trunk is overflowing with surprises including arts & crafts, science experiments and creative play items. You have two trunks to choose from: one for 3-7 year olds and one for 8-11 year olds. Each box comes with all the materials and instructions! The best part – you don’t have to go anywhere to pick it up. Imagine the excitement on your child’s face when they receive their own mail! You can purchase The Happy Trunk as a one-time gift or sign up for a monthly subscription. Prices are 20 dollars/month. Peek inside The Happy Trunk at: www.thehappytrunk.com.

Breastfeeding: The First 6 Weeks

Breastfeeding: The First 6 WeeksBreastfeeding: Surviving the First 6 Weeks

Breastfeeding resources always tell you stick it out for 6 weeks. To a new mother, the first six weeks are so difficult and if you are having a hard time with breastfeeding 6 weeks can seem like an eternity. So what’s up with continuing to try it through the whole six weeks even if it is not going well? A lot of things actually…

Your Body Is Healing

Delivering a baby, either vaginally or by c-section is a big deal! Your body takes a while to fully heal from it. Any time your body is healing it takes a lot out of you physically and emotionally. If you can stick it out, nursing your baby with a fully recovered body could change the experience dramatically. You will feel better and surely have more patience for anything breastfeeding brings.

Hormones are Changing

Those darn hormones cause all kinds of problems in a woman’s life. After delivering a baby they change yet again and we all know what kind of effect raging hormones have on us. They cause us to be extra emotional….a bad combination with all of the other things you are getting adjusted to. By waiting until your hormone levels have balanced themselves back out, you are giving yourself a real mental chance at handling breastfeeding. Once hormone levels are stable you might also enjoy breastfeeding on a deeper level and find it easier to bond and connect with your baby.

Exhaustion Has Set In

By the time you have delivered your beautiful baby, chances are you are exhausted. Definitely by the end of day two with your new bundle of joy sleep takes on a whole new meaning. Waking up multiple times a night with a crying baby and never getting time to catch up on sleep is extremely taxing….possibly one of the hardest parts about having a newborn. You do get used to running on no sleep, but it takes a while (especially when your body is requiring extra energy to heal). Lack of sleep can surely put you in a bad mood, limit your patience and cause every little thing to make you cry. Any complication with breastfeeding can feel like a huge mountain, when in reality it can be a tiny something, or even nothing at all!

Some women, desperate for sleep, understandably want their husbands to pitch in and handle some of the night feedings and may feel as though they have to carry all of the burden because they are breastfeeding. While it is important for a mother to nurse often in the beginning, by the time your baby is 4 weeks old, you can (and should) pump and introduce your baby to a bottle. Hang in there until that 4 week mark and you can share the feeding responsibility with dad (or anyone else who wants to help).

You and Your Baby are Learning

Although completely natural and something God designed us for, breastfeeding isn’t a piece of cake. It takes a lot of learning and practice for both you and your baby to get the hang of it. Many women complain of pain and discomfort and the only reason for that would be an improper latch. With tweaking, practice and help any mother can figure it out, though and find the secret to pain-free breastfeeding. And, luckily, this is something that should not take 6 weeks to figure out. If the first few days are awful, keep seeking help from a lactation consultant until you determine what is wrong with your latch and you will soon have it mastered. A baby knows how to suck, but she doesn’t know the best ways to latch on either. It takes time and patience and teaching her how to do it, too. Give it a little time and you with both have a grasp on how to achieve the perfect latch.

You Might Be a Basket Case and Filled With Worry

Bringing a new baby home is stressful! It is natural to worry about every little thing, and many breastfeeding mothers are convinced that their baby is not getting enough to eat. They fear they have an issue with their milk supply and that they cannot provide all of what their baby needs to survive. While there can be some instances where this is true, in fact only about 5% of women have a true issue with milk supply. The reality is that babies don’t require much at first and your body is wired to perfectly provide your baby with all that she needs, throughout the entire time you breastfeed. The amount of milk you produce and even the breakdown of your milk’s components will change to match what your baby needs (this is why breastfed babies do not have to keep on increasing the number of ounces they consume…the milk matches their caloric/fat needs). If you have a proper latch and feed your baby when she is hungry, she IS getting enough. More than likely, by the time you reach the six week mark you will have gotten used to having a newborn around and you won’t be worrying quite as much.

The Magic of the 6 Week Mark

I was dead set on breastfeeding from the beginning. I had a hard time picturing myself nursing before my baby was born, but because of the health benefits, bonding and cost my husband and I both felt strongly that breastfeeding was something we would do for the first year. I told myself early on that no issue or struggle would cause me to quit. Even with this passion for breastfeeding, I got very annoyed with nursing my baby in those first 6 weeks. I would be annoyed with the latch and overthink they way everything needed to be. I never had any major problems or even sore nipples, but I was not able to enjoy breastfeeding during those first six weeks. Since I was so committed to breastfeeding I thought for sure I would like it from the start, but I truly didn’t! It was like a light switch, though, when I reached that six week mark. Out of nowhere, breastfeeding became a great experience and all of my annoyances ceased.

When I think about mothers who don’t have a good support system or who go into breastfeeding timidly I get worried. It is so hard to go into it thinking that you will try it and do it if you like it, because chances are you won’t….unless you stick it out and give it a try once you have gotten through the battles of the first six weeks. Six weeks is kind of a long time, especially when you are physically and mentally drained. But, the best thing you can do for you and your baby is hang in there!! If you are having problems and struggling to make it through to the six week mark get support. Not enough can be said for the value of a support system. Whether it is family, friends or a nursing support group (which can be found through local hospitals, doctors or La Leche League), being able to talk with people that can understand what you are going through, offer you advice and/or be your cheerleader, can do amazing things to get you through to the end.

I am so sure of the magic of the six week mark, that if you are struggling to get through it and you need some support, give me a shout. I will do everything I can to help you through it so you can get to the prize and have a successful, happy experience as a proud, nursing mother!