Saturday, October 27, 2012

Are You Good & Ready?



Good & Ready Seeks to Help Millions of Americans Prepare for Disasters

Regardless of where you live, knowing what to do before, during and after a disaster is a vitally important part of being prepared and can make all the difference when second count. Points of Light has launched Good & Ready ,a collaborative preparedness engagement initiative to engage people to prepare themselves, their families and their communities. 

Good & Ready is a year-round online and on-the-ground emergency preparedness initiative led by Points of Light working with core partners, American Red Cross and the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH).

Research shows only one in 10 Americans is prepared to protect themselves, their families or homes in a natural disaster. Good & Ready is designed to help more people become prepared, allowing first responders to focus on the most critical situations. Visitors to the Good & Ready website are encouraged to take a quiz to find out how knowledgeable they are about national disasters, find preparedness projects and trainings in their community, find resources to learn how to create a household emergency plan and kit, find way to help their community prepare through volunteer opportunities, and share their story about preparedness.

Taking any of these actions will enter the user in a sweepstakes to win a $50 Target gift card or an emergency preparedness kit. Those who return to the Good & Ready website and submit a story and photo or video about how they fulfilled their pledge, will be eligible to win the grand prize of a $500 Target gift card.

National support for Good & Ready is provided by Target and the Allstate Foundation.

Visit Good & Ready to find out how prepared you are, learn how to create an emergency plan, register to get trained or pledge to help others in times of disaster.

About Points of Light

securedownload (1)Points of Light is the leading volunteer organization with more than 20 years of history and a bipartisan presidential legacy. Our mission is to inspire, equip and mobilize people to take action that changes the world. We connect people to their power to make a meaningful difference by providing access to tools, resources and opportunities to help volunteers use their time, talent, voice and money to meet the critical needs of our communities. We are organized into three divisions: Programs, Civic Incubator and Action Networks, which include HandsOn Network, the largest network of 250 local volunteer centers across the country and around the world; generationOn, the youth service movement that ignites the power of kids to make their mark on the world; AmeriCorps Alums, the national service alumni network that activates the next generation of service leaders; and Points of Light Corporate Institute, which enables companies to engage their employees and customers in service. For more information, visit

Monday, September 24, 2012

Puffy Paint Glow Map

@mvemother Puffy Paint Glow Map #iLoveToCreate
Recently I was lucky enough to receive a package of Puffy Paint Glow from iLoveToCreate.  Just moments after I opened the box a number of Halloween inspired crafts came to mind. Colorful Day of the Dead Skulls and Ghostly Glow Window Clings; no other holiday lends itself to Glow paint better. But when I read that the paint could be used on paper, I went in a completely different direction…and you will need a map for it!  Bwa, ha, ha!

No matter the locale charted out, maps add a certain charm to any room of the home. On the walls of a children’s bedroom they incite dreams of exploration while familiarizing little minds with the world around them. By adding a bit of Glow paint this otherwise standard decoration becomes an interactive piece of art. 

@mvemother Puffy Paint Glow 12 pack #iLoveToCreate

  • Puffy Paint Glow 12 Pack
  • a paper map

@mvemother Puffy Paint Glow Map 2

These may be the simplest directions in the history of directions but sometimes the easiest projects can get complicated if you don’t take things into consideration before you get started.

1. Smooth out your map.  Use an iron if necessary to get rid of any creases or folds.

@mvemother Puffy Paint Glow Map 3
2. If your map takes up your entire dining room table, like mine did, plan on eating in the living room. Seriously, after everything is painted the last thing you’ll want to do is ruin all your hard work by trying to move it.

@mvemother Puffy Paint Glow Map 4
3. If you’re left-handed start in the northeast corner of your map, if you’re right-handed the northwest. Continue to work diagonally across the paper to prevent any accidental smearing.

@mvemother Puffy Paint Glow Map 5
4. Coordinate your colors with the map, whether teal or grey, the Puffy Paint Glow 12 pack has all that you’ll need and remember they will intensify as they dry.

@mvemother Puffy Paint Glow Map 6
5. Here’s a fun geography question for you to contemplate while the paint dries.  Can you find the chef in the middle of America?*

@mvemother Puffy Paint Glow Map 7 #iLoveToCreate
6. If you don’t plan on framing your map, add a strip of packing tape across the top to strengthen the paper.

7. Prepare for ohhs and ahhs when you turn the lights out.  Um, if you tend to get motion sickness don’t stare at the ONLY glowing picture I could get, it’s a blur, make that a brightly glowing blur.

@mvemother Glowing Puffy Paint Map
I’m super excited with the results and the kids love it!  I’ve got more ideas for this product so stay tuned…those Day of the Dead Skulls are going to be happening and soon.  Find my post disclosure here.

For more crafting ideas with this and other great products be sure to visit iLoveToCreate on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

*The chef is in profile.  Minnesota-chef’s hat, Iowa-face/nose, Missouri-belly, Arkansas-legs, Louisiana-boot.

Check out these other great craft ideas!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Mother & Daughter Bonding Over


Last Monday, with coffee in hand, I was reading through my Facebook feed when I came along a post featuring an adorable outfit that cost $25 from  Essie was sitting next to me so I went ahead and followed the link, thinking we could sit and do a little online window shopping while we had our breakfast.  Half an hour later, our order was confirmed and two days later we were opening that cute pink box and trying on our first FabKids outfit!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

How To Get Organized via

  I don’t take well to change, dislike technology based organizational tools, and in general I’m a skeptic. I just don’t like wasting my time trying out programs I’ll never remember to use or putting together gargantuan binders with so much paper it makes me cringe. That said I’m also absent-minded and the only thing that keeps me in line are GOOD organizational tools and now that we’re starting a new homeschooling year I’ve been on the hunt. 

Enter About One


Like the video shows, About One is a family organizer that handles everything from tax records to mementos.  It’s also a tool that slowly but surely making me eat my words and actually, ahem, like streamlining my records via cloud technology.  Seriously, did I just say that?

So imagine me, Ms. Resistant to Change, as I first started adding entries to my About One account muttering, “This is stupid, I’m not even doing it right.”  I typed in a title, attached a file, and then hit save (when needed I’d add a description).  Yup, it was that easy and after an hour I had scanned, uploaded, and archived ALL of last years art projects (for BOTH of the little ones) and my entire important stuff binder. 

And that’s how they hooked me.  It didn’t take a lot of time, it wasn’t overly complicated, and I can actually see myself doing this on a weekly basis to keep the papers in check.  The clutter purging neurotic inside me is giddy with the possibilities…and there are a lot of them.  Not only is everything in one place, we can access it at anytime via the Mobile App (which would have come in handy during our many emergency room visits when asked about medications and conditions), and with bank-level security I can feel okay having so much of me and my life in one place.

As far as online organizers there is only one thing About One is lacking, the calendar.  Because it’s still in the beta stage you get to read about how tremendously awesome it will be but you can’t use it yet.  During BlogHer I had the chance to talk with one of the About One girls in person and before the question even left my mouth she started shaking her head.  Yes, they know we’re anxious for the calendar and Yes, it will be available soon.  

I could go on and on about the really cool aspects of About One but I’ll be honest I spent some time watching videos that do a much better job than I could.  Here’s my favorite.

And here’s one from founder Joanne Lang explaining how and why she created About One.  Every parent’s worst nightmare.

So, in a nutshell About One is an organizing tool that’s actually made me want to digitize my entire filing cabinet…and that’s saying a lot.

I was compensated by AboutOne to review their online organizer. All opinions and text are my own.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Tips To Get Your Kids On-Board With Household Cleaning From Dr. Jana

During the chaos that is BlogHer I had the great pleasure of taking a moment to sit down in the Lysol Recharge Station and talk with award winning author Dr. Laura Jana about kids and cleaning. Dr. Jana InterviewAs a board certified pediatrician and American Academy of Pediatrics Fellow, Dr. Laura Jana knows the many reasons why children need to be included in our household cleaning routines.  It’s her experience as a mother of three and owner of an educational childcare center that’s taught her how to turn these dreaded tasks into rewarding family time.

Teaching the importance of cleanliness and hygiene go without saying, but my first question for Dr. Jana was if there were long term benefits to having chores?  Turns out there are and you might be amazed at just how big those benefits are.  A study conducted by the University of Minnesota found that the best predictor of a child’s success is the age at which he or she begins helping with household chores.  It went on to show that children involved in regular cleaning routines had a sense of responsibility, competence, self-reliance and self-worth that stays with them throughout their lives.

I’m busy, you’re busy, we’re all busy, sometimes it just seems easier and quicker to do the work myself rather than try to explain how to do it or worse, have to re-do work.  That’s were Dr. Jana recommended setting aside a special time each week dedicated to cleaning.  You can’t expect any lessons to be learned or good habits created while you’re doing a quick sweep of the house before company comes over.  Designate cleaning time as family time so that it is a time to be enjoyed together and not dreaded. 

Little ones WANT to help and a great way to get them involved is to turn cleaning into a game, explained Dr. Jana.  Form an assembly line, set a timer, or implement a game of “hide and seek,” just be sure that your kids know the rules and their limits when it comes to handling cleaning supplies.  Assign ambitious jobs like vacuuming, scrubbing and disinfecting for older kids while the younger ones handle simpler one-step tasks like dusting or picking up toys.  In our house my two little ones are the designated ‘runners,’ running everyone’s toys, books, shoes and miscellaneous items to their respective bedrooms.

Friday, August 10, 2012

BlogHer '12 Swag Giveaway!

I'm going to keep this short 'cause I've got entire post about what I learned at BlogHer this year over on my other site.  This is all about the swag that I am NOT keeping!  Cookbooks, grocery totes, lip balm, facial creams, Wall Pops, notepads, shoelaces, press-on nails, t-shirts and whatever else I could fit into this large USPS flat rate box can be yours!  Enter below via Rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 27, 2012

$20 for $40 Towards Eco-Friendly Products from The Honest Company


Yes, you heard me right $40 worth of trustworthy eco-friendly products for the whole house for $20!

We can’t control everything our children come into contact with but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t provide them with safe natural and non-toxic products when we can.  That’s why I’m excited to be able to share with you this great deal RUNNING RIGHT NOW!!!! between The Plum District and The Honest Company.

For $20 you can nab $40 worth of products from a company that embrace the honest belief that they can make the world a better place for families everywhere, by offering affordable and effective diapers, household cleaning and personal care items.

Don’t have kids in diapers?  Neither do I, but that’s the beauty of this deal because The Honest Company also offers these great products:
  • Family Essential Bundles (monthly shipments of personal care and household cleaning products)
  • Healing Balm
  • Sunscreen
  • Shampoo, Conditioner & Body Wash
  • Face and Body Lotion
  • Bubble Bath
  • Body Oil
  • Soap
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Organic Bug Spray
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Multi-Surface Cleaner
  • Auto Dishwasher Gel, Pods, and Rinse Aid
  • Dish Soap
In addition they’re active member of the B Corp community and a portion of every dollar The Honest Company earns goes to our charitable partner This worthy non-profit supplies local families in need with essential baby gear and clothing for children up to age 12.  Join them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and their Blog for fun educational and community-building opportunities.


Who is The Honest Company?

The Honest Company was started by a mom and a dad who, like many modern parents, were increasingly worried about products made with questionable chemical ingredients. But the alternatives they found were often expensive, inaccessible, bland, or ineffective.

In response to this clear need for something better, they created The Honest Company to ensure that parents (or anyone for that matter!) could easily find natural and non-toxic eco-friendly products that are beautiful, effective, and affordable. From customized product bundles to diapers and wipes to cleaning and personal care products, you can find everything you need at and have it delivered directly to your front door.

Visit Plum District to learn more about how you can take advantage of this great deal!