Thursday, December 1, 2011

Had to share- 5 best toys of all times


As we enter the festive season and with all the hurrah around gift giving, parents should be cautioned as it relates to the expense of gift giving.

While nothing brings greater joy than seeing your little one's face light up when a new toy is presented, parents are often left bewildered when that toy is discarded for.....something a little less appealing. http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

In fact, it is common to hear many parents declare that their child seems to gain more satisfaction from the gift wrapper than the gift itself. With that much said, this post from Johnathan Liu was a refresher and made me smile and nod as I went along. As you read, just consider the essence of what is being said and who knows, your daughter may end up finding extreme joy from a box of Kleenex or your son may find the bubble wrapper as the most delightful thing yet.

So let us not only look at the costs of the gifts we give our kids, but the value of some of the ones we choose to give them.

Happy reading here.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Interview with Anna Deskins- Children's author



As mommies and mom bloggers, it is always ever so comforting to see our fellow mom and mom bloggers succeeding at all things they do. So it was particularly refreshing for me to conduct the following interview with fellow mommy blogger Anna Deskins from AnnaDeskins.com. One of Anna's most recent accomplishments is the completion of her children's book, The Adventures of Smitty, which has already been receiving excellent reviews from parents. yet one of my biggest questions for Anna is where she finds time to pack so much in, especially as a single mom and recent divorcee.

Anna also goes deep by giving some solid advice for busy moms, motivation for persons who are down and inspiration to take on life's challenges.

So have a read, leave comments below and most importantly, show your support by grabbing a copy of this book.


Your children's book, The Adventures of Smitty looks magical. Tell us about it.


It's the story of a magical island of little creatures called Smilies and the mischievous little main character, Smitty. He's such a naughty boy. Haha! All the moms and kids I've shared it with have been giving me such a wonderful reaction. I cannot believe it. I have to tell you how excited I am to finally have a life-long dream come true. Writing The Adventures of Smitty was really about finding a story that I would want to read to my children at night. It has to be exciting but not scary so that my two daughters can go to sleep. Basically, I was looking for that perfect blend to read to my kids at night and decided, "Why not try writing my own?"

We've had a lot of changes in our life recently, so I want to make sure that when I put my daughters to sleep that they feel safe. I have short chapters because I know how busy we moms are but if you can just sacrifice 5 minutes at night reading to your kids, it makes a world of difference. Your kids will never forget it. And although we're running around the whirlwind of life, our kids grow up so fast, and that time that we'd rather finish watching what happened in our favorite soap opera instead of reading to our kids will never come again. I hope that The Adventures of Smitty and books like it help moms do exactly that.


And it's only 99 cents this week. That's what I love about it. Now, You are recently divorced. How have you been able to continue writing when going through such a change?
Yes, it is by far one of the most challenging points in my life. To see a marriage you thought would last forever to not last forever was difficult for the two of us. I really learned a lot about myself and most importantly, it's brought me closer to my daughters. I think that's what really motivated me to finish this children's book no matter what. When you're going through changes in your life like this, you need something to hold on to. There's a part of you that wants to prove that you can make it, that you will be a success even if it's not with the partner you originally imagined building a life with. I had to keep writing, for my kids. I want to show them that they have to keep strong, no matter what.

We as women, as moms really need to stick together to support each other and our dreams. We're living in an age when I think we're finally realizing, although we want love, the men in our life aren't the answer to everything. We have to stand up on our own two feet and keep going. True love will happen, but until then, we have to keep moving forward. Our children depend on us and we depend on us.


In addition to being a children's book author, you're also a small business owner. How do you juggle taking care of two daughters and at the same time running a business?
Yes, I am a fashion designer and have a retail store. Any type of creativity is what I'm passionate about. That's why writing The Adventures of Smitty was so important to me. Let me tell you, running a small business in today's economy isn't easy especially when raising two girls at the same time. But somehow, it seems someone's watching over me because my dreams are coming true no matter what. To have that many moms glowing about my children's book, means so much to me. And I know my girls are proud.

When do you ever have time to write?

You mean, in between laundry, running a business, chasing my girls around the house, cleaning the house, and flying back and forth from Miami to New York? Haha? That's one thing I've learned, when you really want to do something, you find a way. Things fall into place if you just go for it and that's what I want to encourage all the moms who are reading this right now. Whatever your goal is, you can do it. Don't let the challenges in your personal life stop you from going for your dreams. Just go for it and it's almost magical how things fall into place.


Where can we get a copy of "The Adventures of Smitty"?
Right now, it's available online by going to: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/94655 You can also visit my website: http://www.AnnaDeskins.com where you can read more about my writing process, my recommendations for other books and my own adventures in Mommyhood.

I'm so grateful for your support and the support I'm getting from so many wonderful moms who dream of writing children's books one day too. Writing The Adventures of Smitty has been such an emotional experience for me, a true journey as I was going through so many changes while writing it. It's truly been a blessing in my life. It, along with my daughters, and that guy upstairs have really pulled me through a challenging time.

It was a true honour to have gotten so much valuable advice packed into a single interview. Thanks for the interview, Anna. Now, let's go out and support a fellow mom by getting a copy of The Adventures of Smitty today. I know I will!

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

J Mom featured on Annadeskins.com


Some weeks ago, Jeff Rivera, Editor in Chief of Gatekeeperspost.com on his blog walking mission, sent me a message to say he had enjoyed viewing my blog. It was a nice gesture on his part. It was most appreciated as anyone who has ever received a compliment knows... It was also appreciated because in its simplest form " Hi Shanoy really enjoying reading your blog!" means that I've been doing a good enough job thus far to make all things mommy related an interesting read.

Mere hours later, Jeff indicated that he had a friend, another mommy blogger who he'd want to put me on to, so she could interview me for her site. That friend turned out to be Anna Deskins of Annadeskins.com....

A few questions later and voila, here goes my interview on being a mother, mommy blogging and all things mommy related...so head on over and have a read here then head back here and leave a comment.

Thank you Anna and Jeff,

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Big Baby Shower- Lifestyle parenting event- Sunday August 28, 2011

Tomorrow " A Big Baby Shower", a parenting lifestyle event kicks off at Devon House's East lawns (1:00-6:00 p.m.). The event's creators have described the event as follows: "A Big Baby shower will focus on the emotional, practical and aesthetic aspects of pregnancy and parenthood. Our aim is to inform, pamper and support mothers during their pregnancy and newborn experience."

With a grand prize of a $500, 000 nursery and other fabulous spot prizes, the event promises to be a great one. See promo video below and for more information, head on over to Boy O Boy's Page.




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Friday, August 26, 2011

Of Toddlers and Thunderstorms.....then you're NEEDED!!



" Daddy, Daddy!!! came the terrified screams from the other room as our 2 year old toddler experienced one of her first thunderstorms.

She continued shrieking and clutching us tightly even as she was snuggled up between both of us in bed. With a tear stained face, she kept hollering "It's scary mommy" and even as we tried to get her to calm down between sobs and tears, she said "I'm sorry guys" (My heart simply broke at this point as she had nothing to be sorry about, but it has been one of the expressions she has been using lately)

But the entire episode of seeing our normally bubbly and confident 2 year old cowering in fear brought about some key lessons.

It is often easy for us as mums to sometimes start seeing our kids as much 'bigger' than they really are... We look on at them with a sense of regret as we say 'oh they grow up so fast'. Then there are days when we look to our children for a sense of comfort from the world's cares but as parents we can and should never forget that children will naturally need their parents to be there for them throughout ALL of their lives.

Essentially, seeing a child cower in fear is never a welcomed sign for it signals that they are experiencing something that is beyond their understanding or something that causes them pain (we sometimes forget that children know the difference between happiness and sadness, joy and pain etc)

And so this episode with the thunderstorm just reminded me of the many ways in which our children will continue to need us... They will need their parents to share in their joys, sorrows and pains

Children will continuously need encouragement when they are not at their best, appreciation when they excel, love on their good and bad days, a sense that you care all throughout and reassurance in times of uncertainty...and so while we spent the next couple of hours protecting our little miss from the boisterous and frightening thunderstorm, it left a lasting impression, a message I'll hold forever- Parents will always be NEEDED by their children. Even when you are having your own bad days or you feel like your kids have 'grown away' from you, it certainly helps to remember that as the parent, the one who is expected to be wiser, smarter, dependable, the adviser, the doctor the friend, you are NEEDED.

You may not always feel like you embody all the ideal qualities, but know this, there is that little or big person out there who looks to YOU-In more ways than one. So even when you may be ignored by day when the weather is sunny and there are other more alluring things to explore, by night when the thunderstorms of life rages and that 'little person' needs someone to turn and talk to, to get support, comfort and reassurance, YOU WILL BE NEEDED!!!!

So be prepared always! Educate yourself as you see fit, seek the advice of positive role models to ensure that when the NEED arises, you will be ready to share the positives with that 'little' person in need.




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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Blog Swap 2011- Theme: Summer


Woot woot Its the annual Blog Swap, when another 20 something blogger takes over your blog for a day.. Erika from my life in pictures takes over my blog for the day. We were given the topic 'summer' and to blog about anything we did this summer, any favourite summer memory etc... So have a read and of course show her some love with your comments :-)


You can also check out my very Jamaican summer post over at her blog... Cheers!!!

Hi there!  I'm Erika, from My Life In Pictures.  I'm guest-spotting today, and I apologize in advance for the absence of anything Mommy.  I'm a recent transplant to Kalispell, Montana from Minnesota.  I've only lived here for a month type of recent.  I moved to Kalispell for a job, an awesome job, but that doesn't matter at all.  I would move out here without the job or place to live.  Kalispell is wonderful.  I'm half an hour from Glacier National Park, mountain goats, marmots, and grizzly bears.  My adventures in Kalispell have been minimal so far, but I did have a chance to go on a massive day hike in Glacier.  

I would never see something like this in Minnesota.


My friends all thought I was crazy for moving across the country for a job to a city where I knew absolutely no one.  I still know only my roommate and my coworkers.  At least they're fun.  Sometimes I think I'm crazy, but then I look at pictures like this one and realize why the mountains are so spectacular.


It was one of the best days I've had in a long time. 




























I brought my massively heavy camera with me, played around with shutter speeds, and got some wonderful shots of mountains, animals, flowers, and waterfalls.  It's all glacial meltwater, so it was frigid when I walked in it.  Made me thankful for my Gore-Tex hiking shoes.

I hiked alone, whoops, and I had the time of my life.  It was the most fun I'd had in a long time, and I can't wait to do it again.  

I highly recommend anyone who has the opportunity to go to a park, reserve, whatever, and just walk around.  It's amazing what you notice when you're not distracted by life and trying to figure everything out.  Truly amazing. 

Thanks for reading my ramblings about life in Montana.  I hope I didn't interrupt your normal readings too much.


-Erika



Monday, August 8, 2011

When Baby is away...


So its Summer!!! That fabulous time of the year earmarked for fun, sun, relaxation and all things wonderfully exciting. Summer for a fortunate set also means a break from school and/or work. And for us mums, summer often means baby goes away to spend quality time with relatives.


So with both grandmas having a little time on their hands and the constant calls that they don't see granddaughter enough, hubby and I more or less work out a schedule for her to spend time with each of them.

Now, when you work it out in your head, it all seems so appealing.. Baby will be gone for 2-3 weeks or so, which gives you more time to do all the little things you never got the chance to do. It is also supposed to mean more time with hubby, more time for self, more time with friends, time to complete home projects you've had on indefinite hold... you know what I mean right?

But then you fast forward, baby has been gone a day and oh my, suddenly, everything seems to be a little too quiet, a little too depressing, a little too lonely.

After just a day of being gone, I lay on the couch alone, praying hubby gets home swiftly as the house just seems too too quiet. I find myself just lying there watching the same shows I would have watched with my toddler and this gets me a little confused. I mean come on, here's the perfect opportunity to see all those shows I have had to put on hold because baby wants to watch TV during Prime Time and wants you to join her, so you always end up watching her shows and never yours.

I keep thinking, here is the time I should use for that exercise DVD I've been meaning to do for ages, or oh yes, I can finally read that novel that has been lying around or rearrange the furniture as I've been intending to do; but all these things pale in comparison to having my little miss sunshine around. Then on an impulse, I pick up the phone, dial grandma's number, only to hear that baby girl is busy playing. She is given the phone and it goes something like this:

Grandma: Talk to mommy baby
Baby: No, No
Grandma: Talk to mommy baby
Baby: Stop it! I don't want to
Grandma: You're going to make mommy cry
Baby (takes the phone): Hi Mommy, a mix of gibberish and some explanation about playing with her cousins, then " I love you mommy, bye bye, see ya, later"

That's it, Can you hear my heart breaking?

I'm now writing this as baby is in her third week away from home and over those 2 weeks I've really come to know how it feels to truly miss someone. Over those 2 weeks I've:

* Visited Baby just about every other evening (Thankfully Grandma #1 is close enough to home)

* Called baby just about daily (often totally shunned due to play time or Dora, Caillou or Nai-Hao Kai Lan TV time or just got a "love you" and "later")

* Felt guilty about doing nice things for myself without her around.

* Learnt it is often best to just let her be... I mean each time I visit, it just makes her a little homesick and teary, then wanting to depart with me.

* Learnt that she loves me and misses me no matter what

* Learnt that I should really try to enjoy the time apart (I actually caved in and took her back home on Independence day and after a pretty heavy 'workout session' just playing with her or telling her what not to do, and what to do and to leave the puppy alone etc. I was convinced I do in fact need a little break sometimes)

* Come to appreciate that striking the right balance often means I need to take my own advice about getting that ME time you deserve

It was also truly warming to see this post in the Jamaica Observer from another mum who knows exactly what I'm going through.

So even as I write and I absorb the lessons learnt, my heart is still a little in the dumps, knowing that Grandma # 2 is a little further away and this will prevent me from dropping in every other day *sniff* ( I actually just called while I'm typing this and my little missy just said "Mummy I got bubbles" and ran off..sigh..)

So share your own stories of how you deal with summer separation and I think I'll find solace in knowing some mums who have been there and done that can testify that the 'spend time with grandma/alone time' has some definite benefits.





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Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Terrible Twos- What I have learnt


Hi Mommies,
Wow has it been ages!!! While it was never my intention to let this blog ever go unattended, the realities of being a working mum to a 2 year old and an equally demanding 30-ish year old child :-), has somehow made things slip along the way. But boy, do I have a lot to share... Let me just first off that the term 'terrible twos' was not just some fancy term pulled from a hat- It is as real as the two year old angel-looking child that's sleeping peacefully as I type, as it is like the 2 year old semi-monster that appears when she's awake.

But for all the time that my beloved blog has not had its blank canvas filled with tales of how to survive as a mom (yes survive), rest assured, I have been learning a whole lot, which I'll make as concise as possible below:

1. A toddler is quite an individual
- Its amazing actually how their personalities just suddenly shine through, a far cry from the teeny, curled up mass you brought home from the hospital.

2. That term "Children live what they learn"..believe it! Its amazing how swiftly a child picks up on your tones, the phrases you use, your 'angry voice', your 'disciplinary actions' etc and readily copy and repeat often to the amazement of friends and family members who cant believe the exactness with which they relay things you so often do.

3. Oh yes and again that term "children are like little sponges' that too is true beyond belief
Mind you, they may not immediately repeat or display what they have previously absorbed, but don't be surprised when days down the line you hear the very words you uttered being repeated.

4. Toddlers have a sense of humour- "Mommy you're funny", "Knock knock daddy" are just a few ways in which they let their funny sides shine through. Their little sense of humour certainly makes you appreciate them as little human beings and not just tiny, moveable beings.

5. Toddlers are demanding: Whew! I've had a rough run trying to figure out why my 2 y-o doesn's seem to understand "In a bit" "later" or "tomorrow", but now I know for a fact that they are hardwired to get things done here and now and they demand accordingly.

6. Toddlers can be manipulative: Yes! believe it. The first time my 2 y-0 made a mess she cupped her lil hands over her mouth, said "Oh no, I made a mess", followed by "I'm sorry mommy, don't cry" my heart just melted- There was a part of me that couldn't reprimand that cute little thing looking so truly apologetic. Yet as time went by, I realised it is a definite strategy. These days, almost as suddenly as lil one discovers she did something wrong the uh-oh moment comes along with the "I'm sorry"... So we're still working on going beyond the cuteness while reprimanding wrongdoings. Oh, just to add as well, a newer strategy has come in the form of the 'cuteometer'.. These days she puts her two hands together as if to utter a prayer and say "Please Daddy Please 9sounds more like Peese Daddy Peese" while she jumps excitedly about. Seems to work too as Daddy always breaks down and seems to forget that it is a manipulative strategy.

7. Toddlers can clearly show emotions: Not that you didn't know this already, but your day certainly becomes lighter when you have two little arms wrapped around you and a soothing little voice that says "Mommy I love you". Then of course there is the flip side, when a toddler gives the 'rude aunty Danz' a side eye and the pointy finger, reprimanding tone and complains to everyone who will listen. At those moments, her 'upset' state clearly shines through.

8. Toddlers are jealous! Yes they are! of Daddies, Mommies, other kids, even pets. Just look carefully the next time a neighbor's baby comes over and mommy seems to spend a little too much time with baby. Don't be surprised when your toddler suddenly wants to be cradled.


9. Toddlers are a lot smarter than we think and this is so true.. I can already see you nodding in agreement as your toddler or those you have been around would have certainly done something or many things that made you look on in amazement and think "wow he/she is so smart".. That much said, be very careful what you do around your kids.. Rest assured, if the neighbor doesn't hear about it the next day, you may hear it repeated next week :-)

10. Toddlers look up to you
Both literally and figuratively. A mommy or Daddy is like the very best thing to a toddler (until Teacher becomes the idol). They look to you for guidance and a total understanding of how the world works. It is through your actions that they often see the world. So in everything you do, be the very best role model for the children in your life. Remember much, if not all of their molding rests in your grasps, so treat them as the tender, moldable little beings that they are.

So there you have it, just a few thoughts. Feel free to add your very own observations.. I'm already envisioning a possible post (The toddler as cupid) as I remember once when Daddy asked little miss for a kiss, she ran across the room for me, pulled me closer and said "Daddy kiss, Kiss Daddy" awwww

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