Monday, February 29

Melissa Grelo Opens Up To Parents Canada Magazine

A while back I had a conversation with The Social's Melissa Grelo for Parents Canada magazine (we seem to go back and forth: I interview her for print, she interviews me on TV), and she was incredibly open and honest: about her struggles with infertility, her passionate thoughts about fitness, the importance of couple time and girls' outings when you're a mom, and the impact of motherhood on her career. A short version is available in the latest print issue of Parents Canada, and you can find the full interview online here.





My thanks to Melissa for being so candid!

Friday, February 26

Kate's Favourite Things - March 2016

My favourites for this month include a LOT of books...and I always love to hear whether or not you agree with my assessments, and what other titles you may recommend!

BOOKS

Pretty Happy by Kate Hudson (received free review copy)



I'm a sucker for a celebrity book, and I was excited to get my hands on this one. Divided into four sections (Cultivate an Intuitive Relationship with Your Body, Eat Well, Awaken Your Body and The Miracle of Mindfulness), the book is a positive, encouraging health and fitness manual. Now despite Hudson's protests (at one point she actually writes, "This isn't new agey!"), the book feels very much so to me.

Hudson says she wrote this book because she was tired of hearing sound-bytes taken out of context from her interviews referring to her health habits: "Kate Hudson goes vegan" or "Kate Hudson works out three hours a day". Pretty Happy tries to set the record straight.

What I love about this book is that Hudson is extremely open and honest when it comes to the topics at hand (no celebrity tell-alls, or anything about work or relationships; she stays strictly on message), and admits that she's just sharing her own research and experience - no pretense of professional expertise.

There are several interactive workbook type components (quizzes, blank lines for answering prompts), and Hudson refers back frequently to her/the reader's "Drawing Board" - which can be anything from a traditional vision board to a list in a smartphone app.

For me, I was more interested in learning about Hudson than actually getting nutritional advice - My diet is not the most nutritionally balanced and I acknowledge that, okay? - and she lost me as soon as she suggested cleanses that involve eliminating gluten dairy and sugar. Readers out there who are passionate about healthy eating and exercise and always looking for new ideas will absolutely love the book.

If not - it's worth it just for all of the beautiful colour photography.

The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey

As seen on The Social, I picked up this book, quite truthfully, to feed into my productivity obsession. (My husband: "Uh, shouldn't you be looking for a book about how not to want to be productive?")

Filled with research, especially based on the author's own project (subtitle: "Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention and Energy"). One area where we totally agree: being as productive as possible with your time doesn't exclude relaxation and fun. In fact, I believe that by being as efficient as possible with certain pockets of my day, I actually earn myself more time to sit on the couch in front of the TV with a book (or take a bath with a book, a runner up for my favourite way to unwind).If you want to get more done, check it out.

For the Love by Jen Hatmaker

My mom shared this one with me because she knows my taste so well. Hatmaker, who is among other things a mom of five and a pastor's wife, is hilarious...which might surprise you since this book of essays is heavy on Christianity (you caught the pastor's wife part, right?). Her chapters about media and marriage ("Marriage is completely beautiful and sometimes not so much...") were particularly striking to me, as well as some of her insights about the church: "Young adults are abandoning church, so we can either listen carefully or watch their backs as they go."

I actually read a passage to my daughters from her "Dear Kids" chapter, and a quick skim of copyright assures me that I am breaking no laws by sharing this much with you:

"Some of your classmates barely get out the door every day. You see them. They are picked on or mocked or completely ignored, as if they don't even matter. They pretend they don't care or can't hear but you know they do...First, I hope you see them. This is harder than it sounds; you have to learn to see hurt people, because they figure out how to act invisible...My dream is that you see hurting kids and do the simple brave work of kindness. This isn't fancy at all. It sounds like: Do you want to sit with us? or I really like your outfit or What's up, man? or What are you reading? It doesn't seem like much, maybe, but if it's the only kind word they've heard all day, it can literally give them strength to go on."

With passages like that, I know Hatmaker is a mom and wife whose advice I want to take, and I will be looking for her other books ASAP.

The Children Act by Ian McEwan

In the midst of a marital crisis, High Court Judge Fiona Maye must decide whether a seventeen year old leukemia patient (also a Jehovah's Witness) should legally be able to refuse the blood transfusions that will save his life. Heavy, obviously, and fascinating.

The Expatriates by Janice Y.K. Lee



This month's The Social Chapter pick, I really enjoyed this novel about the converging stories of three different American women living in Hong Kong. Warning: there is a child disappearance, which kept me from sleeping the night I read it, but I was fascinated to learn about the life of expatriates in Hong Kong - a topic I knew nothing about before.

Spark Joy: an illustrated master class on the art of organizing and tidying up by Marie Kondo




Companion to the #1 New York Times best-selling The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up

While I disagree that rolling my socks into balls is cruel to them, and talk of the gods of tidying doesn't exactly fit with my faith, this was one of the best books I've read in a long time. However, that doesn't mean you will agree! When I showed the book on Facebook one friend commented that I don't need it (though I have to say I definitely learned a few tricks and was inspired to clean out my kitchen cupboards and organize the spice drawer the night I finished it) but really it just makes me irrationally happy to "spend time" with someone (Kondo) who sees things about clutter the way I do. And I also agree with her that once you've done a marathon tidy it really isn't as hard as you might think to keep things that way...and it will bring you so much joy! (I may have missed my calling as a professional organizer. If I didn't already have three jobs I might have to consider adding that on the side.)


MOVIES

Clearly this month was more about reading, but I did enjoy...

How To Be Single

Even a smug married like myself could enjoy the humour (I mean, Rebel Wilson!) and (spoiler alert) a happy ending for a woman doesn't have to involve a man.



Kortney Wilson: The Momterview (Part One)

I always say I can tell an interview went well when I actually enjoy transcribing it - which was the case with my chat with Kortney Wilson from W Network's Masters of Flip.

In this post (Part One) Kortney opens up about adoption, homeschooling, working with your spouse, and Nashville must-sees...just in case you ever get the chance to visit!




You're an Adoption Ambassador with the Adoption Council of Canada. After having two sons (Jett, now 11 and Sully, now 9), what made you decide to adopt?

When I met Dave, one of the very first things I said, no joke, was, "Someday I want to adopt a baby, and if this is a deal-breaker for you just let me know!" He was, of course on a first date, saying, "Oh no, that sounds great!" I remember one day nursing our second child, and he was really young, maybe two or three months, and I said "It's time!" and Dave said "Time for what?" and I said "Time to start the adoption process!" And as any father of a second baby would say, his response was, "Are you kidding me? Our child is two months old!" and I said "I know, but I've done the research and it takes a long time!" I just felt like that was something that I was always supposed to do, that was going to be part of my life and my plan, and the reasons changed and evolved but I'm certainly glad I did because Lennox (now 6) was always supposed to be part of our family.





You homeschool your kids - how's that going?

We homeschool the oldest two, and this is the first year actually. In Tennessee, or in America in general, the school system is pretty messed up. All you have to do is watch that documentary Waiting on Superman. We live in the urban core of Nashville where you have to lottery in and out of schools and although they did go to a great elementary school, we weren't entirely satisfied with our middle school options and I would say that one of the main reasons that came into play was that we found out kids were starting to drop some of their extracurricular activities and passions because of homework, and the homework wasn't really benefiting them all that much at this age. So they would come home and do a couple of hours of homework but they had to drop piano or soccer or their art lessons, so we figured we could probably get a lot more done and cater their education to them a bit better and still offer them an outlet to do the things they actually love.

Where we live there are hundreds of homeschooled kids in our own community. Right now they are at a homeschooling event that happens every Friday where there are probably a hundred mothers. It's pretty amazing, and several of those people have been or are teachers, anywhere from elementary school to university level, so it's really great to be able to say, "Hey, I know you teach biology to Vanderbilt students at the university, how about doing a swap, and we'll teach music?" So it's pretty awesome.




{I'm sure it goes without saying, but if Kortney and Dave lived here in Ontario, they would be lucky enough to be able to take advantage of an incredible publicly-funded education system. Okay, I said it anyway.}

I've visited Nashville once with my husband, and we loved it. I'd like your perspective as a Canadian now living in Nashville - what would you say are the must-sees for tourists who come and visit your city?

I would say the first thing is to stay in a neighbourhood within the urban core, because there are so many within seven to ten minutes of downtown and vacation rentals are huge, huge, huge here. In the urban core there are bars and restaurants and walkability, but other than that there are a few things:

Monell's, which is in Germantown, is a restaurant and it's a full-on Southern style family dinner. Or breakfast. Actually breakfast is my favourite. But you sit with other people, so it could be tables of 10 to 15 people, and you meet tourists from all over the world, and they just keep the food coming. If you want a real Southern experience, that's it.

Mangia is an Italian restaurant - actually our friends own it, and it's really a big deal. You have to order the tickets a month or two in advance, but it's an experience. You go in and pay one price and get served food all night, there's singing and dancing - at one point in the night everyone is standing on a table or chair! It's absolutely amazing!

Of course you have to go either the Opry or the Ryman. Personally my favourite is the Ryman. I don't think you can find any better place to listen to music. It goes without saying that you should go to a honky tonk on downtown Broadway to get the tourist vibe. There's no shortage of them there - walk a block and you'll see ten!

Oh, and if you're Canadian you have to go to a Predators game! That's a given, right? I'm from Canada, my Dad's a hockey coach and so's my brother, and I've heard a lot of Canadians who have been to see the Predators say that it's literally entertainment. It's not just hockey. Because when we first got here, people didn't know anything about hockey. In '98 when Dave and I moved here, they had to entertain you, because people didn't understand what offside was!

Speaking of Dave - you run a house-flipping business with your spouse, and actually have to interact in front of the cameras and a large TV audience. What are the pros and cons of working together?

I would love to say that we leave it at the front door every day but we don't. I don't know anybody who can do that - and if you're out there, please call me! The pros are that Dave and I actually like each other, beyond just being husband and wife we're actually friends so it's kind of fun. He makes me laugh, he's a good partner. The cons: we are very different. I'm very analytical and type A and Dave is way more laid back. He doesn't really have deadlines! So he can let things go a lot easier than I can. But we've acknowledged that it takes both of us to really get us to the finish line. If you're frustrated with a coworker, you can go home and complain to your spouse or partner and at the end of the day, I can't do that, but by the same token, he understands me.




It was originally music that brought you both to Nashville {Dave and Kortney - both Canadians - met in Nashville while pursuing their music careers}. Are you still involved in the music scene?

We really aren't anymore. There are only so many hours in a day! Three years ago we decided we were going to take a step back from music, to be able to stay home with our kids, renovate houses, really focus on my real estate career, and we've done all of those things...although my husband still writes - in fact he just wrote a song last night! We still sing, and we'll likely record again in the future but we hope that for once in our lives we're doing it for us. It's not for a deadline or a project or a label deal or publishing deal to fulfil. It's nice for it to be for vanity and for us and the enjoyment.

How would you finish the sentence "This Mom Loves..."?

I love a short weekend vacation with my family - like two or three day vacations. My number one destination would be Asheville, North Carolina. If you Canadians ever come this way, next to Nashville it's my favourite city - sort of a hippie town where everyone's really happy and carefree. I think years ago it made this book where they said it was one of the happiest cities in the world. And they have the best food!

I also love me some Nars Foundation Primer. Gets me through my demo days when I'm incredibly sweaty! As a mom, that's my secret. Hmm...what else do I love...?

What about food and drink?

I'm a vegetarian. Oh, before that, wine solves most of my problems on a Saturday night! Some good wine. Actually I'll even drink cheap stuff, it only takes me one glass to feel no pain. As far as food goes, I love sushi. I could eat it four or five times a week. And Greek salad. Those are my go-tos.

*****

When the interview was over, I let Kortney know how much my seven year old loves her and Masters of Flip...and she was sweet enough to ask to speak to her. On top of that, she realized her daughter is about the same age, and told Eva that the next time we're in Nashville they should meet...which had her on a high for a long time!

I guess it's time to plan a trip! What shall we do for a Winn/Wilson meeting? A Predators game? Or perhaps a visit to Monell's? We'll see!

Coming soon: Part Two of our interview, where we get to the nitty-gritty about house-flipping and the upcoming Season 2 of Kortney and Dave's hit show, Masters of Flip! For now, you can find Kortney on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


Monday, February 22

"Ask the Teacher": My Latest Appearance on The Social

I was back at The Social today answering questions from viewers and hosts about hot topics like cell phones in classrooms, parent/teacher relationships, bullying, pulling kids out of school for vacation...and more!




The video can be found here: http://www.thesocial.ca/Real-Life/Family/The-inside-scoop-on-life-in-the-classroom

Thanks to Le Chateau for providing my gorgeous dress, shoes and bracelet (it's high praise when Melissa Grelo calls you "Glamour Girl"!), and my sister-in-law Rose for once again keeping my hair game strong. Also special thanks to my friend Janal for keeping me company and helping me prep en route!






From the guest coordinator to makeup artist to segment producer (Kate McKenna, shown with me below) to all of the hosts, everyone made it a wonderful experience for me...yet again! Can't wait to go back!




Friday, February 12

Tweens and Goal Setting

Today I am pleased to introduce my special guest blogger, Renae Quinton from Crystal Clear Goal Setting, sharing her thoughts on how tweens benefit from setting goals.

***********

Tweens have dreams, big dreams. They are not afraid to dream the impossible. There is no impossible in the minds of the youth. As a parent your challenge is providing the tools and skills necessary for your tween to advocate for themselves turning those dreams into realities. A systematic goal setting approach supports the “anything is possible” mindset as they grow older and are faced with constant distractions. 

As tweens prepare for their high school years, this is their chance to learn how to take charge of their future with the choices they make, and where they focus their efforts.  




1) Predicting the Future:

Tweens are just getting started to think and act for themselves. They are flooded with choice, whether it be personal activities or course selection.  It can all be a bit overwhelming. Setting goals allows tweens to clearly define what it is that really matters, leading them to identify their unique goals. In tween terms, think of this as choosing the desired prize.

2) Self-Identified Focus:

With so many distractions, such as the array of choices available or the digital invasion of emails and pings vying for attention, tweens who are less adept at tuning out the noise and clutter caused by all the distractions must navigate their way to their goal without getting lost. Goal setting helps your tween remain clear about his/her target goal and focused on decisions.  For example, if you tween’s goal is to make the school golf team and that goal is important, his/her focus will prevail as he/she identifies for himself/herself that he/she is not going to take swimming, gymnastics and soccer but instead is going to focus on golf drills in order to make that goal of being on the school golf team a reality.




3) Success is a Path:

In order for goal setting to have value for your tween it has be to a regular activity. Successful goal setting requires routine, perseverance, commitment and a support network.  Routine goal setting will reward your tween with skills such as commitment and perseverance.  There are many celebrities who had their goals and kept to them when others told them it could not be done: after 12 publisher rejections, JK Rowling, famous author of Harry Potter, reached her goal of getting published. After being cut from the high school basketball team, Michael Jordan renewed his commitment and focus to his goal of being a basketball star.

Goal setting provides tweens with the life skills; perseverance, focus and commitment necessary to turn their dreams into their reality. 




Renae Quinton is the author of the Crystal Clear Goal setting workbook, being used in schools across the Caribbean, and the newly launched Crystal Clear app. You can also find Crystal Clear on Twitter and Facebook.


Wednesday, February 10

The Meaning of Flower Colours

I receive a *lot* of media releases in my inbox: most that are not relevant to This Mom Loves and my readers, many that don't pique my interest, and some that are great but I just don't have time to pursue.

This week when I received this information about the meaning of flower colours (just in time for Valentine's Day), I thought it was too cute not to share (the photos are gorgeous!) - plus I'm happy to support Flowers Canada (Ontario).

Take a peek, and see what your favourite colour means!

****************

Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion to show your lover, family or friend just how special they are. Flowers have a long history of being the ideal gift whether you are celebrating 30 years of marriage, have just started to date someone or want to show your friend you appreciate them.

“The beauty of flowers as a Valentine’s Day gift is that they can easily be personalized depending on how you want to make someone feel” said Dejan Kristan, Marketing Director at Flowers Canada (Ontario). “You want to send out the right message to your Valentine, whether it is ‘I love you’, ‘I care for you’, or simply—‘you are a great friend’”.

Dejan offers insight into the meaning of flower colours:

Red: Undoubtedly the colour of passion. Giving out a red flower arrangement will communicate your strong and powerful love. With a colour the same as the heart, red means seduction, desire and passion. Try red roses, red gerbera daisies, or red tulips.





Pink: A colour of innocence and sensitivity, but also very romantic. Although red flowers mean love and passion, pink flowers can show your gentle, yet deep love for someone. Pink flowers can also indicate appreciation, joy and happiness. Try pink ranunculus, calla lilies, or potted azaleas.





Yellow: The colour of harmony, trust and kindness— a great middle ground between friendship and love. Yellow flowers have grown increasingly popular in the work place and at social and family gatherings. These convey meanings of sympathy, thoughtfulness and friend-like love. Try daffodils, yellow tulips, chrysanthemums, or potted begonias.




Orange: Symbolic for growth, enthusiasm and warmth—orange is the colour of friendship and community. Orange flowers send feelings of happiness and joy, with a hint of adventure and spontaneity.  Just like a beautiful sunset, these flowers can also convey a message of fiery passion and intense desire. Try orange parrot tulips, gerberas, or Asiatic lilies.




Green: This colour will send wishes of good fortune and harmony. Green is the colour of health, youth and prosperity. By giving this flower, you are telling your friend or loved one that you’d like your relationship to grow and continue to do well. Try an arrangement with lots of green ball chrysanthemums, or give a lucky houseplant such as jade or pachira.




Purple: A royal colour which often means fascination and respect. Purple flowers show a very romantic gesture as they carry with them feelings of elegance and charm. These can express feelings of love at first sight and say ‘I admire and adore you’. Try purple iris, campanula, or an elegant potted orchid.




Blue: Blue means serenity, intimacy and deep trust. Blue flowers are often used by long-term couples to communicate their never-ending love, trust and loyalty in a relationship. Try soft blue hydrangeas, or a bouquet of delphinium and muscari.




White: The colour of purity, innocence, sympathy and humility. This flower will show your friend or loved one that you are thinking about them. While it does convey messages of purity and innocence, this colour also means new beginnings. If given to a long-term partner, they show you want to move forward and think about marriage. Try white daisies, roses or gardenias.





“Flowers are known for having their own language” added Dejan. “It is important to keep these meanings in mind so that your flowers communicate exactly what you intend. One bouquet will tell a passionate love story, while the other will be the tale of a never-ending friendship.”

For more information, please visit www.pickontario.ca. Follow @pickOntario on Twitter and Instagram, and like them on Facebook.

About PickOntario
Pick Ontario is a comprehensive marketing communications campaign developed by Flowers Canada (Ontario) Ltd. to raise awareness, interest and demand for Ontario-grown cut flowers and potted plants. Launched at the Grocery Innovations Tradeshow in October 2007, the fully integrated strategy includes PR, media relations and outdoor advertising initiatives intended to promote the reasons why consumers and retailers should Pick Ontario. When you Pick Ontario, you are supporting the more than 200 greenhouse farmers who employ over 7,000 people in our province. The growers in Ontario work hard to produce quality flowers and are always looking for latest trends in technology and growing techniques. This is all done to produce the best flowers possible!


Monday, February 8

Children’s Book Recommendations for the 21st Century Family

I am thrilled to welcome today's special guest blogger, Vanessa Heron from Like Mother Like Daughter - who's also one of my most loyal supporters!

As a mom and primary teacher, I loved Vanessa's idea the moment I read it - and I'm sure you will too!

*****

It’s 8:00 p.m. and bedtime routine is in full swing. My daughter brings over her chosen bedtime stories and my husband and I look at each other, knowing exactly what we are about to read for the eleventy-fifth time: her favourite princess books followed by her favourite book about a little boy playing hockey. Same storylines. Same characters. Every night.       
                 
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with predictability, my family thrives on it in many ways. There is also nothing wrong with my daughter having favourite stories; the fact that my daughter loves reading makes this mama swell with pride. But sometimes…every once in a while…it would be nice to break out of the monotony of defenseless princesses saved by heroic princes; little boys playing sports exclusively with other little boys; and stereotypical nuclear families having perfect, predictable days. These stories are classic and deserve a place on our shelves, but what about adding some variety to the mix? What about adding some stories that have modern heroes, non-traditional storylines, and diverse characters that represent the modern 21st century child and their families?

I am here to share a selection of books that do just that. These books add a little bit of seasoning to traditional children’s picture books.




Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall

This is the story of a crayon whose label reads Red. The problem is that Red cannot actually colour red no matter how hard he tries. Why? Because he’s actually Blue! A great story about ripping off labels and being true to yourself.




Not All Princesses Dress in Pink by Jane Yolen & Heidi E. Y. Stemple

Princesses may wear sparkly crowns, but their interests go far beyond sparkle and shine. They play with soccer balls, wield power tools, plant in the soil, and fight sorcerers. A refreshing take on what it really means to be a ‘princess’.




The Boy with Pink Hair by Perez Hilton

The Boy with Pink Hair stands out from other kids. His pink hair makes him different, and because of this he gets called names and teased by the other children. This is an important story about the power of believing in yourself and finding your own special gifts.





The Princess Knight by Cornelia Funk

A daughter teaches her royal father about the inner and outer strength and bravery that exist in a petite princess. A wonderful lesson about not underestimating or stereotyping.




The Only Boy in Ballet Class by Denise Gruska

Tucker loves to dance, and he is very good at it. Unfortunately, Tucker’s passion for ballet causes him to be misunderstood by both family and peers at school, until a chance meeting with some boys on the football team gives Tucker an opportunity to let his ballet skills shine in a whole new light. This is an engaging story about opening up your mind to non-traditional gender roles.




The Family Book by Todd Parr

There are many different types of families in the world. Some are small, some are big; some eat the same things, some eat different things. This adorable book highlights all different types of families and the love that exists no matter what kind of family you belong to.





This is a very small sampling of some of the fantastic books that break the mold of typical children’s literature, celebrate the unique differences in every child, and shine a light on the diversity of the 21st century family.  The next time you find yourself at your local bookstore or public library, I encourage you to think outside of the pink and blue box and take a chance on one of these great stories!

****

Thank you so much, Vanessa! For more from Vanessa, visit Like Mother Like Daughter and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Tell her I sent you!


Tuesday, February 2

Get Into the Valentine's Day Spirit - and Win a Prize!

Sure, some may see Valentine's Day as a commercial holiday, and no, I don't need a special date on the calendar to show my sweetheart how I feel about him...but it's still fun to get festive when a holiday arrives - especially as a parent and teacher of young kids!

Here are a few little touches that get me into the spirit...keep reading to find out how you can win one of them!

Hang a Wreath

I keep a hook on the mudroom door year-round and switch it up with a wreath for every occasion!




Embrace Pinterest

Of course the final results might not (or if you're anything like me, will not) look like the Pinterest-perfect photos you see online, but it can be fun to try! Here you see the a couple of my Valentine's Day-themed Pinterest attempts: XO frames and candy-hearts frame.








Throw a Cushion

This "Happy Pillow" (Hallmark, $34.95) has embroidered and applique front detail and pom-pom attachments and reads, "Let's get happy up in here".

[Giveaway has ended. Plus, guess what? I'm giving away one of these adorable pillows in a flash contest on social media right now (Canada only)! All you have to do to enter is retweet my tweet about the cushion on Twitter, like/comment on my post on Facebook, or like/comment on my Instagram post. You have 5 possible entries, and giveaway ends Thursday, February 4th at midnight Eastern. (I told you, it's a flash contest!)]





Bring it Into the Kitchen 

A few festive details make working in the kitchen even more enjoyable! (Ha ha - just kidding!) Plus, this time of year it's convenient that red is already my kitchen accent colour.





Give a Sick Kids Get Better Gift

What better way to warm someone's heart than to purchase a special if in their name? Ideas, at a range of prices, include a Memory Box, Valentine's Day Craft Supplies or Pet Therapy for a young patient, or a Heart Saturation Monitor - how appropriate! Check out Sick Kids' Valentine's Day Gifts page for more information.

Highlight some Blasts from the Past

As I do for most holidays, I pull out framed pics of my girls (here on their first Valentine's Days) to make a nice greeting at the front door.





Bring Out the Kids' Books

I keep holiday-themed books in the appropriate bins to pull out when the season arrives, and they're like brand-new stories to the girls every year.




Cuddle Up

The Count on Me Bear Techno Plush with Sound ($17.95 with purchase of 3 Hallmark cards, regularly $32.95) was a hit when it arrived at our house...the girls argued over who got to keep this sweet item! Press the button to hear a version of "Count on Me" by Bruno Mars (there's also a coordinating book, sold separately).




Happy Valentine's Day!

Disclosure: I was provided with the above-named two Hallmark items for review purposes. Opinions are, as always, my own.


Monday, February 1

The Value of YOU - Trista Sutter's Powerful Ted Talk

As you likely already know, TED talks (short for Technology, Entertainment and Design) are short, powerful speeches presented on a variety of topics by speakers who range from high-profile to under-the-radar.

I recently learned of a talk given at TEDxVail by Trista Sutter called "The Value of YOU". While many know Trista as the first Bachelorette, more recently she fell into the trap of describing herself as "just a mom", which is part of what inspired her speech.




In an email, Trista says that this talk is for "anyone who has ever felt judged, either by personal friends/family, strangers on the Internet or otherwise, and worst of them, by their own personal demons.  Many stay at home moms are relating as well as anyone feeling alone and insecure. After being asked to be part of the Naturally Grateful section of TedxVail a year ago, it took me awhile to decide what to speak about, but ultimately, I thought about the kind of message I would want to give to my kids.  Thankfully, they haven’t experienced much judgment in their lives, but I hope that if they ever do, that they understand that they are unique, valued, and loved…and that’s what I want for everyone who hears it, whether they are insecure, bullied, or just need a little reminder to never devalue themselves, no matter their title or lack thereof."





I found her words very powerful, especially when you see and hear a real live person recounting the cruel things that have been said about her on the Internet. It really makes you stop and think.

Take a peek, and if you can't see the embedded video you can also find it here.