Great Kitchen Finds For Mother’s Day

May 4, 2010 at 10:07 am , by

Hmmm… what should I get Mom this year? Check out some of our fave products that are perfect for the kitchen-savvy mama.

* If your mom likes looking good while cooking, a girly, frilly apron is a must-have. Jillie Willie put our favorite apron on sale just for us. The Fancy Up Apron is now only $34.50!

* Does your mom like to bake pies? Help her get prepared with the Kitchen Krafts Pie Essentials Kit for the in-season spring and summer fruits.

* Go with a pretty spring theme and get your mom a Nordicware Floral Cupcake Pan. Don’t forget to bake cupcakes for her after she opens it!

* No kitchen is complete without a heavy-duty baking dish. You can make everything from fillet of sole to brownies in it, so this is a gift Mom can use all year round. Present the sleek and colorful Calphalon Ceramic Baker with her favorite dinner in it!

* Here’s a fun activity for you and Mom to share: home canning and preserving. (Yep, canning is cool again!) Try the new Ball Home Canning Discovery Kit.

* Spring and summer means delicious fresh fruit. Making your own juices is super-quick with the Cuisinart Citrus Juicer. Just present it to Mom with a nice, cold glass of freshly-squeezed OJ.

* Does your mom like a little spice? Organize her dried herbs and spices with the Super SpiceStack. It’s convenient, cute and it doesn’t take up too much space on the counter or in a cabinet.

For more Mother’s Day gift ideas check out our 2010 Mother’s Day Gift Guide!

Homesick: Missing My Babies

October 29, 2009 at 10:56 am , by

Picture 2Funny picture, right? Here’s the really funny part: this wasn’t Halloween. It was a random Tuesday night last week. Because, this is what you do on a weeknight when you’re a working mom and you need to cram a whole day’s worth of fun and bonding into an hour or two each evening. And this is what I miss the most when I’m away from home -  like I am in this week.

Don’t feel too bad for me. I’m at a photo shoot at a beautiful resort called The Moorings in Islamorada, FL. But as great as it is to feel the sun on my shoulders and have a restful sleep without a toddler deciding to get up at 4 am, I still miss them, desperately.

My husband and I rarely take trips without the kids. One of the few times we’ve tried to, we went to Newport, Rhode Island and left Sophia with my parents for three days. I swear there had to have been a “cute 3-year-old girl convention” in Newport that weekend because everywhere I turned I saw a little girl that made me miss mine. So much for romance.

And what do I miss most right now? Sophia’s take-your-breath-away squeezing hugs. The way Lily says “meow” when you ask her what a cat says. (Note: It’s not the same over the phone. I know. I’ve tried.)  And the little smirks my husband gives me from across the room when the kids are being so damn cute we just can’t believe how lucky we are to have them.

In a few days I’ll be home and Sophia will misbehave and deserve a timeout and Lily will get up in the middle of the night, but I’ll still be happy to be there and I won’t want to change a thing.

So, tell me…how do you deal with time away from your kids?

Trick or Treat: Kids’ Halloween Costumes

October 15, 2009 at 10:23 am , by

Picture 6Picture 3

As the leaves begin to fall, there is one holiday on my mind: Halloween. I loved it as a kid (who doesn’t like looking back at their old pictures) and as a young adult (my Monica Lewinsky costume was a big hit) but there’s nothing like being a mom around Halloween. I know the time will come when my kids will only want to be something gory—or even worse, they won’t involve me at all. But for now, I revel in every second of the fun!

I went with the “too expensive option” for my first (do you like how I say my first?), and the “$19.99 at Old Navy option” for the second. Looking back, I think the cheap chicken was just as cute as the pricey lion. What do you think?

This year, Sophia is going to be a princess just like she was last year. When you’re a 4-year-old girl, that’s what you do. Or should I say, when you’re a 4-year-old girl with about 20 princess dresses, that’s what your mom tells you to do. I have no idea what princess she’ll pick on October 31st, but I’ll be ready with the bobby pins and hairspray to give her the proper ‘do.

Lily, who always gets the shaft as the second child, is getting her first costume of her own this year. Last year she wore the hand-me-down lion. (Did I mention it was exorbitantly expensive?) She’s going to be a bunny this year. I’m hoping she’ll keep it on for at least 5 minutes—all I need is a picture!

So, tell me…what are your kids going to be? And what have they been in the past? Tell me in the comments or post a link. I’d love to see your pictures!

Dad vs. Mom: Who’s the Real Parent?

October 8, 2009 at 10:16 am , by

truitt“Dads are parents, too,” insists my new pal Steve Truitt. Steve (that’s him at the right) is a self-help author (Stop Waiting For Permission!), life coach and TV host who became the main caregiver for his two daughters, ages 1 and 4, after he lost a major daily radio gig. I got in touch with him after reading his recent post—on Maria Shriver’s Women’s Conference website—about how women can support their husband’s efforts to be hands-on dads.

I didn’t need to ask Steve why he felt the need to defend the idea of dads being “real” parents. I was pretty sure I knew why. As a new mom, I was amazed and horrified at the extent to which parenting, especially parenting small children, is all about moms. It’s like dads don’t exist—and even more than that, that they simply aren’t welcome to become part of hands-on parenting. It’s “Mommy and Me” this, “Mommy-Baby” that, new mom groups and mommy websites. At the time my son came along—three years ago—even Parenting magazine corrected their own gender-neutral name with the tagline, “what matters to moms.”

It made me angry. I became a single mom by choice, it’s true, but that choice didn’t have anything to do with my feelings about fatherhood. For the record, I’m for it. I think it’s extremely important for kids that their dads are hands-on parents too, and I hope my son will be a great dad someday.  But the pressure for men not to be too nurturing starts early. My son’s a very masculine, rough-and-tumble boy, but he also loves his little-boy doll. My mom, looking a bit horrified, asked me why I’d bought it for him. “So he can learn to be a good daddy,” I answered. Duh.

To me, there’s an obvious connection. I had a friend growing up, Ginny, who literally didn’t know how to cook or clean—didn’t have a clue—because her mom never showed her how or included her in the housework, and in fact discouraged her from becoming involved. Same kind of thing. Somehow Ginny’s estrogen levels didn’t entirely compensate for her lack of home training.

What I saw very clearly as a new mom was that men get (often justly) criticized for not being more hands-on as parents, while at the same time there are constant cultural messages that childrearing is women’s work, and that men should butt out.  It kind of seems like the guys can’t win for losing.

“It’s fascinating, the world you enter as a parent,” Steve agrees. “It’s so momcentric.” And as a life coach, he had found that many of his clients who were fathers were grappling with the feeling of being left out of the parenting process from Day One.

Then Steve lost a major part of his income due to the recession and found himself home, taking care of the kids. It was a harsh transition, and one that many men are dealing with right now, he says—he sees plenty of guys like himself in his life-coaching practice.  They are good guys, and they love their children, Steve says, but as traditional men, they—like he—had placed their identity in their jobs and in their ability to be providers. This hands-on parenting while the wife brings home most of the bacon can be incredibly hard on their self-esteem, and that’s not something they generally feel safe talking about with anyone.

These men are struggling, Steve says, but here’s his exciting theory: Steve thinks that this recession has created a de facto men’s movement that may finally change parenting roles the way the feminist movement hasn’t quite been able to do.

“It’s a reluctant movement, forced by the economy,” he concedes, “but I think something really good is going to come out of it. Men who have lost their jobs are not just trying to help raise their children—they’re learning to enjoy it.” Steve sees this as potentially having the kind of profound effect on men’s roles that World War II and Rosie the Riveter had on women’s.

To me, other than the economic loss that’s causing it, this situation is win-win. Men get to experience the joy of hands-on parenting, and kids get to have the pleasure of a really involved dad.

In any case, for Steve it’s been a growth experience. “First of all, it’s given me a tremendous amount of respect for women,” he says. “It has also taught me great patience. I’ve complained a lot less, and reached out a lot more.”

So, what do you think? Are men are parents, too? Are we women ready to share our role as M.I.P. (Most Important Parent)? Or is men’s lack of involvement something we bitch about, but don’t really want to change?

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , | 55 Comments

Ladies We Love: Melissa Michaels

September 23, 2009 at 10:14 am , by

Melissa Michaels“Refining your home for authentic living” is the tag line of Melissa Michaels’ interior decorating and lifestyle blog, The Inspired Room. Her home decor ideas are fabulous, but she writes about more than just paint and fabric. Her readers love the way she combines tips and techniques with ways to become inspired by your surroundings, which she says can encourage you to live your most authentic life. Sounds good to us!

What makes me a lady: I ventured out of my comfort zone and started The Inspired Room two years ago, and I found I was stronger and more confident than I ever thought I could be! Each time I try something new, I grow in confidence and find I enjoy the challenge.

Favorite guilty pleasure: I would say chocolate but I seem to have no guilt about indulging in it, so I think I need to find a new, more guilty pleasure.

Three things on my life list: Starting my own interior decorating business, which I finally did at age 40! I really want to learn to embroider. I also want to start an interior decorating outreach program for low income women. Everyone deserves to have a home they love and are proud of.

If I could have a superpower, it would be:
I’d be just like I Dream of Jeannie and be able to blink my eyes and appear somewhere else.

Ladies I admire: I admire any lady who is willing to accomplish great things in her world while keeping her family a priority.

Do you know a woman who deserves some of the spotlight? Tell us about her! E-mail us at and she could be featured in a future post.

Categories: Fun, Home | Tags: , , , , | No Comments

Objects of Desire

September 22, 2009 at 9:56 am , by

a girl can dreamI was recently in Target when my 4 year old started having a HUGE tantrum. What was wrong, you ask? Oh, just the simple fact that she had spotted a Dora mermaid doll and I said she’d have to wait to ask Santa for it. Her face began to turn red, the waterworks were sprouting, and she started jumping around like she hadn’t peed in hours. I wanted to say “Knock it off! You’re being ridiculous!” but instead I soothed her with some reasoning. “We can’t always have what we want.”

Sure it’s silly when she pulls these tantrums but then again, she is 4. And we all know what it’s like to want something we can’t have. Which reminds me…

I’m on the hunt for some new fall shoes. Let’s face it, it’s not really a desire, it’s something I need, right? Unfortunately, my budget is more “steal” than “splurge”. So, I picked out some nice Banana boots and felt pretty satisfied. Until…I popped into the Saks shoe salon. Prada studded round-toe pumps! Balenciaga lace-up booties! YSL navy sandals! Christian Louboutin patent peep-toes! My heart began to race. My palms started to sweat. I had an achy feeling in my stomach. Had I died and gone to shoe heaven? If so, it didn’t feel very good. I had to do everything in my  power to avoid having a full blown tantrum when I looked at the prices. And suddenly I understood the way my daughter felt about that Dora doll.

The next time we went to Target, I bought her that doll. I know that was probably not the right lesson but I just figured one of us should get what we wanted, right? And since hers was only $14.99, she won.

So, tell me…What have you wanted so bad that it hurt?

Ladies We Love: Julie Maloney

September 16, 2009 at 9:38 am , by

Julie MaloneyJulie Maloney started her cheeky blog,, just last year but has already garnered a huge following. Her biggest claim to fame? She lost 60 pounds using the Nintendo Wii Fit and got an overwhelming response when she blogged about it. Now Julie also runs with two other women who got similar weight loss results—talk about a woman with drive!

What makes me a lady: The way I can walk with my head held high, hips slightly swaying and confidence strong because I am secure in my mind, body and spirit.

Favorite guilty pleasure: Oh, do I have to name just one? Chocolate. Hands down, chocolate wins every time.

Three things on my life list: E-Publish a novel, raise my two sons to be the best they can be and work to make my body better than ever.

If I could have a superpower, it would be: I’m a mother, I have them all. ;)

Ladies I admire: My mother, for being strong, outspoken, generous and loving and my grandmother for surviving a concentration work camp, enduring the loss of two children and coming to the United States to live the American dream.

Do you know a woman who deserves some of the spotlight? Tell us about her! E-mail us at and she could be featured in a future post.