Tag Archive | "Parenting"

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Book Review: Prudent Advice and My Prudent Advice


prudent advice books

As you get older you learn so much about yourself and life in general and we all have little pearls of widsom that we want to pass down to our little ones.  If you don’t have the time to do this yourself, then Jaime Morrison Curtis has you covered with her Prudent Advice: Lessons For My Baby Daugher (A Life List for Every Woman).  In this little gem of a book she lists 500 lessons for little women – everything from advice on hem lines, places to see and things to do in a lifetime.  My very favorite advice is #171 “There Is No ‘Man’s Work’”.  Prudent Advice is a very quick read and a lovely keepsake.  These lessons are just important for you as they are your your daughters.

prudent advice books

If you want something a little more personal, then try out Morrison Curtis’ My Prudent Advice: Lessons For My Daughter.  This is less of a book and more of a journal.  My Prudent Advice basically provides you with an outline and you fill in the pages with your own advice to your daughter.  I can’t wait to start filling in the pages with my own personal advice for my tiny dancer.

These books would make a wonderful Mother’s Day gift for your mom friends and sisters. We can forget the importance of passing on our knowledge and experiences to our little ladies.  It’s priceless.

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Happy 3rd Birthday My Love!


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Today is my tiny dancer’s 3rd birthday so we are out celebrating. Be back tomorrow!

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L’Oreal’s For Girls In Science Initiative


for girls in science

You may remember last year I posted about a European campaign aimed at girls to attract them to the field of science called “Science: It’s a Girl Thing.”  Though I couldn’t agree more that we need more girls in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields the way the message was conveyed was pretty horrible.  When I learned about L’Oreal’s  “For Girls In Science” Initiative I was interested to see how L’Oreal conveyed a similar message.  I visited the site and breathed a sigh of relief.

I think it’s ok to let girls know that behind every lipgloss is a team of scientists developing formulas.  My problem with the European “Sciene: It’s a Girl Thing” campaign was how the conveyed the message.  The L’Oreal “For Girls In Science” is less Charlie’s Angels and more Dr. Sally Ride.

ForGirlsInScience.org is a great resource for young women who are interested in STEM fields.  The site is entertaining featuring videos and quizzes but also includes features on Women In STEM, information on Opportunities and Careers and lists camps where girls can participate and build communities.

I’m currently reading The End of Men: And the Rise of Women by Hanna Rosin and she discusses how women are outnumbering men in graduate schools including law, business and medicine.  It’s only a matter of time before more women enter STEM fields and I think the messaging is an important way to get young women interested in these fields.  I think L’Oreal’s “For Girls In Science” is a great resource and we need to start providing more good examples for our young women.  If you have a daughter or know a young girl interested in science or math, please share ForGirlsInScience.org with her.

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The Importance of Estate Planning For You & Your Family

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The Importance of Estate Planning For You & Your Family


estate planning key to future

You may not have the net worth of Warren Buffett but if you have children, if you have not already you should definitely consider estate planning.  Kern Singh of the Singh Law Firm was kind enough to share some information with us at the March F.U.N. Mothers’ Club Meeting and here’s a brief summary of what we learned.

You may not have the net worth of Warren Buffett but if you have children, you should definitely consider estate planning.  Kern Singh of the Singh Law Firm was kind enough to share some information with us at the March F.U.N. Mothers’ Club Meeting and here’s a brief summary of what we learned.

Key Definitions

First, it may be helpful to define a few key terms:

Estate Plan – a set of documents designed to “manage your assets and make health care and personal care decisions if you ever become unable to do so yourself.”

Probate – “A court-supervised process for transferring a deceased person’s assets to the beneficiaries listed in his or her will.”

Fiduciary  – “From the Latin fiducia, meaning “trust,” a person who has the power and obligation to act for another (often called the beneficiary) under circumstances which require total trust, good faith and honesty.” Legal Dictionary

Trustee – A person who manages a trust and the assets within it for the benefit of the beneficiaries of the trust.

Guardian – A person who has been appointed to take care of a child, and in the case of the death of the child’s parents, will act as the child’s parents.

Goals and Elements of Estate Planning

The goal of estate planning is to avoid probate because probate is costly, takes a long time and is not private.  A deceased person’s assets will become a matter of public record and the court will determine how long the process will take and how much it will cost.

A good estate plan will include four important documents: (1) Living Trust; (2) Pour-Over Will; (3) Durable Power of Attorney; and (4) Advanced Health Care Directive (also called Health Care Power of Attorney).  What follows is a brief description of each document and how it works.

1. Living Trust

“A living trust is a legal document that contains instructions for what you want to happen to your assets when you die.”  While you are alive, you are the trustee of your living trust.  When you pass away, the person you named as a successive trustee will become the trustee.  A living trust allows you to bypass probate and by avoiding probate, the trustee can pay your debts and distribute your assets in a private and timely manner.

The assets within the trust will typically include real estate, life insurance and other accounts and property.  To place the assets within the trust you just need to change the property deeds and financial accounts to name the trust as the owner.  You will continue to file the same tax returns.

2. Pour-Over Will

When you having a living trust in place, your will is called  “pour-over will” and has two major functions: (1) it designates the trust as your desired way to distribute assets; and (2) if you have children under the age of 18, you can designate guardians for them.

3. Durable Power of Attorney

Before you may become incapacitated due to health or age, it is important to designate someone you trust to manage your financial affairs in the event you are not able to do so.

4. Health Care Power of Attorney

In the event you are terminally ill or in an accident, your Health Care Power of Attorney will designate someone to make medical decisions for you.  The document will also list your preferences for accepting or denying medical treatment such as whether you would want to be kept alive on a respirator.

Choosing an Attorney

Creating an estate plan is of the utmost importance if you have property or children under 18.  Though creating the four documents may seem overwhelming if you visit an attorney they will do all of the work for you.  It’s best to find an attorney specializing in estate planning and someone who you feel comfortable with to get the best results.

Estimated Cost of an Estate Plan

So how much will this cost you?  I know that’s the next question because that was mine!  I can only speak to what The Singh Law Firm charges but feel free to shop around.  The cost for a married couple is $1600 and the fee includes creating a living trust, pour-over will, durable power of attorney and health care power of attorney.  The fee covers all updates to the documents in the future.  If you own more than one piece of property, or a business, then the fee will go up accordingly.  F.U.N. Mothers’ Club members receive 10% off their fees so don’t forget to mention F.U.N.

You can learn more at SinghLawFirm.com.  If you are out of state or not in the Bay Area, you’ll need to use an attorney in the state that you are located as estate laws are different state-to-state.

Unless otherwise noted, all quoted material comes from The Singh Law Firm pamphlet.

*I am not a practicing lawyer and the article is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  Please see an attorney for legal advice.

You can learn more at SinghLawFirm.com. F.U.N. Mothers’ Club members receive 10% off their fees so don’t forget to mention F.U.N.

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Grab a Hat and Read With the Cat Today!

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Grab a Hat and Read With the Cat Today!


read across america

Today is the National Education Associations Read Across America Day and since Dr. Seuss’s birthday is tomorrow, the annual initiative has a Dr. Seuss theme. There are events planned today and tomorrow across the United States where adults will read to children – the more red and white striped hats the better!

You may remember I recently wrote about the benefits of reading to children and if you’ve been lagging today is a great day to get started. Remember as Dr. Seuss said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” (I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!, Dr. Seuss)

Have a wonderful weekend!

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My Favorite Tips For Beating Colds and Flus

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My Favorite Tips For Beating Colds and Flus


chocolate pudding chocolate pot de creme

This year’s cold and flu season is particularly nasty so Kleenex asked me to share some favorite remedies, tips and tricks for beating colds and flus and reviving your spirit. When you have a cold or flu you have to just wait it out but there are ways to get relief when you are sick. Here are my five favorite tips and tricks to keeping my sanity while getting over a cold.

Chicken Soup
My number one remedy is chicken soup. This is no old wive’s tale people, there’s scientific evidence to back this one up. (CNN). The ingredients often found in chicken soup are found to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body and may even inhibit the production of mucus. Not to mention that the warm deliciousness that soothes your sore throat. If you don’t have homemade chicken soup a canned or dry variety will work but nothing tastes like mama’s chicken soup. In the winter when I know it’s inevitable that the family will get sick I make a big batch of my mama’s chicken soup and freeze it in individual portions so I have it at the ready when the colds strike.

Hydrate
One of the most important things to do when you have a cold or flu is to stay hydrated. Whether I’m drinking bottled water, orange juice or herbal tea, I’m drinking something throughout the day. Tea soothes my sore throat and good ol’ water keeps the mucus on the move out of the body.

Soft Tissues
Speaking of mucus, I have boxes of Kleenex tissues in every room. I use an empty box as an empty box to put all the used tissues in. Not any tissue will do, I always get the softest tissue I could find because if I don’t, after a few wipes the skin around my nose gets irritated. No need to make yourself with rough tissues!

Rest
Sometimes when I have a cold I look at it as a way to catch up on some movies or reading but the inevitable happens – I fall asleep. I guess that’s my body’s way of telling me that’s what it really needs. Resting is really the only way to get better. There have been times that I’ve worked through a cold and I think I made the cold last 2-3 times longer because I wasn’t giving my body the break it needed.

Chocolate Pudding
Okay, I will admit chocolate pudding is straight out of left field. I have no idea why, but chocolate pudding makes me feel better when I have a cold. Actually, it makes me feel better any time but there’s something about its soothing quality when I have a cold. About ten years ago I had a cold and I happened to have chocolate pudding in the refrigerator. The silkiness had a soothing effect on my sore throat and as a chocolate addict, chocolate always makes me feel better. Since then, I need to have chocolate pudding as the ultimate pick-me-up when I have a cold. It’s weird, but delicious – and definitely helps me feel better immediately.

Hoping you don’t have to use these tips, but hope they help in case you do!

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This cold and flu season, make the care complete with Kleenex® brand, and together we’ll turn a seemingly small gesture into something bigger, to make everyone feel better.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Kleenex via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Kleenex.

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Pajama Party Time!

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Pajama Party Time!


sleepover
Sorry for the lack of updates but I’m out of town and catching up on some quality time with my family. The Tiny Dancer only gets to see her cousins a few times a year and when they see each other it’s a constant whirl of hugs, kisses, playing, dressing up and dancing. It’s hard to get away from it to blog – sometimes I need to step away from the computer and just live :)

So sorry for the lack of posts, I’ll be posting more regularly next week. In the mean time, I leave you with a favorite song of the girls from Yo Gabba Gabba! that is pretty much the theme song of tonight’s adventures.

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Book Review: “French Kids Eat Everything” by Karen Le Billon

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Book Review: “French Kids Eat Everything” by Karen Le Billon


french kids eat everything

I wouldn’t call the Tiny Dancer a picky eater but I wouldn’t say that she eats everything. She loves fruit and some veggies so I can’t complain. She definitely doesn’t live on a carb/cheese diet though that does play a big part in her diet. After reading Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman, I was intrigued by how well French children ate. Shortly after I wrote my review for Bringing Up Bebe I heard about French Kids Eat Everything – a book devoted solely to how/why French kids eat the way they do.

I reached out to the publishers for a copy to review and they sent a copy to me. French Kids Eat Everything is the story of author Karen Le Billon’s move to France with her family. While abroad, she took up the challenge of broadening her children’s palettes and adopting the French method of food training and eating.

french kids eat everything

Growing up as a first generation child of an Italian family I saw many similarities in the way French and Italian children are brought up (there are differences too). Mainly, the emphasis on cooking whole foods, taking time out to savor a meal, eating together as a family, and incorporating vegetables and fruit in every meal were a big part in how I grew up, and I have been trying to convey the same lessons to the Tiny Dancer. But there were many aspects I didn’t know about such as the “no snacking rule” and the “try everything once” rule.

In French Kids Eat Everything, Karen Le Billon breaks the French method down into ten rules. She also gives helpful tips and hints to incorporate these methods in the U.S./Canada where the cultural difference sometimes work against you. I found this book highly informative and hearing Karen Le Billon share her personal errors and trials gives this book a human touch and makes you realize that it’s ok to make mistakes along the way.

You can purchase French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon on Amazon.com.

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With A Piece of Chalk – Short Film

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With A Piece of Chalk – Short Film


with a piece of chalk

I came across this short film and was moved to tears. It’s an uplifting reminder that we have a responsibility to not let our problems become our children’s problems and also reminds us how mean other kids can be. What I loved about this short film though was that with a single piece of chalk, a child could find a place to escape to make his worries go away. Whether conflicted or not, I think all kids need that single piece of chalk, or book, or instrument – whatever they choose to give them peace of mind, knowledge and creativity. Get your tissues ready…

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My Two Cents: Science, It’s A Girl Thing!

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My Two Cents: Science, It’s A Girl Thing!


science for girls video

I heard about a video trying to get girls interested in science that was published by a European Commission circulating around Europe on NPR and I was intrigued. The video was getting some backlash for appearing too “girly” and having the opposite of its intended effect – that is, instead of appealing to girls to get into the sciences, it was pushing them away. As soon as I got to a computer I searched for this video because I had to see it for myself. It was worse than anything I could ever have imagined.

science for girls video

The opening is a mix between Sex In The City and Charlie’s Angels (I love both but I don’t see what they have to do with science – especially for young teen girls). It then shows the girls striking poses and laughing with shots of makeup and beakers interspersed between. Yes, you read that correctly. Make up – specifically nail polish, lip gloss, lip stick and blue eyeshadow.

science for girls video

There is so much I want to say about this video but I don’t want to sound like a raving lunatic. This video in a nutshell represents everything bad with marketing geared toward women. It’s the science PSA version of a pink sneaker for adult women. I wish I could have sat in on this pitch meeting to hear what the thought process was behind this. I would bet money that there were no women in this meeting – at least no women scientists.

WHY would you try to get young women to go into the fields of science with MAKEUP? Are you trying to tell them they can make the next great lipstick formula?? WHY wouldn’t you just highlight the many technological advancements that benefit health, living and the environment instead. WHY wouldn’t you show the many achievements of scientists and inspire young women to aspire to great heights? WHY must we throw pink on everything just because it’s aimed at people with ovaries. CAN WE JUST STOP!

You know how we’re trying to introduce science to the Tiny Dancer? My daughter is just learning to talk and some of the first few words my husband was teaching her were “math” and “science”. When I first heard it I thought it was cute and funny. The more I thought about it, the more I thought my husband is brilliant. We’re starting at an early age to introduce her to math and science – at first just with words, and later with actions and experiments. The main goal is to not let science and math be something that’s viewed as scary or hard. If she likes it and wants to do it, she can. Her having ovaries should have nothing to do with it her abilities. We sure as hell won’t be showing her videos young girls wearing too much makeup and giggling to get her to see that science can be wonderful.

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