pragmatic mom

Everything can be fixed with a little Hydrogen Peroxide

Okay, not everything, but almost everything to hear my mother tell it anyway. My mom is a legendary neat freak (hmm…doesn’t that skip a generation or something?) and she is almost, but not quite, as committed to hydrogen peroxide as a fix-all as the mother in My Big Fat Greek Wedding was to Windex. Really.

Turns out that she is kind of right. I met with pediatrician Dr. Laura Jana at Blogher. She was giving interviews at the Lysol Recharge station (such an awesome idea – lots of outlets and comfortable seating), and I went with Pragmatic Mom to chat with her. Predictably, Pragmatic Mom had her own set of questions and we ended up chatting well past out allotted time.

Anyway, we talked about how to get your kids to help around the house and Dr. Jana had great suggestions (no surprise here – she’s written more than a few books – I’ll list them – and even give them away – below) that her family instituted with great success. Here’s Pragmatic Mom’s post about chores building self esteem.

How did I get from hydrogen peroxide to chores? Lysol sent me a box full of products to sample – all of them using hydrogen peroxide instead of bleach, so Mom was right. Thanks, Mom.


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Gifting Granola – Day 1 of the 12 Days of Shopping

rick rack is good for everything capability momcapabilitymom chanukah geltFrom my place in a chocolate centered universe, I considered that some people might mind that this gift is (gasp!) chocolate free, but I have learned that not everyone likes chocolate. Really, it’s true. So while either of these granola recipes stand on their own, if you really feel you must, oh, I don’t know, put lipstick on a pig, feel free to add chocolate kisses or Lindt truffles or chocolate coins (coins pictured are from Trader Joe’s – they have a great selection of holiday candy) to ease your mind. I package these treats in a variety of ways, tins, cello bags, parchment paper, waxed paper bags – get creative, use what you have on hand and top it with some ric rac or ribbon and a card. Add tea, coffee or hot chocolate and you have a lovely gift.

 From years past, here are my two favorite granola recipes – be sure to head over to Pragmatic Mom‘s blog to see her spin on gifting granola.

Homemade Granola Bars from Barefoot Contessa (Back to Basics)

and

Flour Bakery + Cafe Granola Bars

Martha Stewart had some adorable packaging ideas (what else is new?) on Facebook today.martha stewartLove the envelope – of course Martha has stamps that match the food inside (chocolate and hazelnut) and, yes, it is a brittle disguised as a candy bar (in case you are not buying my whole granola thing).

The 12 Days of Shopping

 Dec 1: Make Your Own Gifts Granola, Day 1 of 12 Days of Shopping – Granola versus Homemade and Personal – Granola from Flour and Barefoot Contessa.

 Dec 2: Kids Make Gifts CRAFT (ModPodge versus Clove Fruit)

 Dec 3: Personalized Gifts (Fancy Address Stampers versus Pretty Papers Giveaway)

 Dec 4:  Father-in-Law/Dad and Mother-in-Law/Mom

 Dec 5: Tutors/Teachers

 Dec 6High Tech/Low Tech

 Dec 7: Hostess/Gifts That Give Back

 Dec 8: Sanitation Engineers, Mail Carriers, Hairdresser, Delivery People, Babysitter, Cleaning People, Dog Walker/Dog Trainer, etc. (a.k.a. who else did I forget?) and Emily Post’s Etiquette on this subject.

 Dec 9: Husband, Me (Our Own Wacko List); Capability:Mom Husband/Wife

 Dec 10:  Dog/Cat

 Dec 11: Quick Gifts from Whole Foods versus Gourmet Food Store

 Dec 12: ‘Cause I Am So Together,  Last Minute Home Made Gifts:  Pragmatic Mom and Capability : Mom

 

 

Shopping for the Holidays with Pragmatic Mom

Shopping for the Holidays with Pragmatic Mom

For the past two years, Pragmatic Mom and I have fun posting a series for the 12 Days of – not Christmas – but Shopping. We cover those challenging people to buy for (Gifts for Father and Father-in-law was by far the most searched) including in-laws, tutors, and teachers. To save you from distracted and driving around searching for gifts, we get together for coffee, brainstorm and presto, we’ve got you covered. We’ll be joint posting for the twelve days and Pragmatic Mom will do half of each post, and I’ll do the other. Also be sure to check out the great shopping guides from some of our friends at Boston Parent Bloggers.

December 1: Make Your Own Gifts

December 2: Kids Make Gifts Craft

December 3: Personalized Gifts

December 4: Father-in-Law/Dad and Mother-in-Law/Mom

December 5: Tutors/Teacherscapability mom at target

December 6: High Tech/Low Tech

December 7: Hostess/Doing Good and Getting Something

December 8: Sanitation Engineers, Mail Carriers, Hairdresser, Delivery People, Babysitter, Cleaning People, Dog Walker/Dog Trainer

December 9: Husband, Me (Our Own List)

December 10: Pets

December 11: Quick Gifts from Whole Foods versus Gourmet Food Store

December 12: ’Cause I Am So Together, Last Minute Home Made Gifts

 

Post BlogHer Post

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Well, I am back from a whirlwind weekend away at the blogging conference that is BlogHer and I haven’t written until now. It takes a lot of work to step out of our lives for even a little while, and while it is easier for me than for a mom with young ones, it was still challenging. I had (first time) sleep away camp to prep for (she packed herself while I was away – well, with help from Dad) and only forgot one thing which I actually had in the car. By the seat of my pants, I tell you.

Here is the thing, I started this post days ago and have hesitated to hit publish because I wasn’t expressing the over-riding feeling I have had from BlogHer. Gratitude. Exhaustion and Gratitude.

Sometimes I have a gratitude problem. It is true. Many of us do. It is easy to criticize, to correct, to suggest ways to improve on something (and I have plenty of suggestions for the organizers, if they care to ask), but here is the main takeaway:

I am lucky that I could go – it is an expensive trip and lucky that my family is supportive.

I learned things (about blogs, social media, conferences, expectations, how to present myself, how to give an elevator pitch).

I met interesting, kind and generous people willing to share their knowledge and experience at the sessions, on the expo floor, in a cab, in a restaurant. Everywhere.

I got to travel in a Blogher Bound bus (Thank you, McDonald’s) to an exciting place that I love and don’t get to often enough.

I won prizes. What? Prizes, you say? Yes. Prizes. Like what? Let me say that as a Blogher newbie, I didn’t even know there would be prizes. I had heard about the swag but really had no idea that it was anything and certainly not why I went.

But, what did I win? A $100 Best Buy gift certificate. I was walking down from the suites on the 42nd floor (TMobile, Hershey’s) because the elevators were so very busy when I got the call and I didn’t realize the expo floor was closing. By the time I got there, the super nice rep from Best Buy was alone in the almost empty hall waiting for me to claim my prize. So nice! Above and beyond, Best Buy! Thank you!

I also won a folding bicycle (a very sweet ride from Gotham Bike) from the lovely people at Advil for taking part in their scavenger hunt. It is really cool and I can’t wait for it to get here! I’ll take my own pictures when it arrives, and I think it has already been claimed by my children.

I got a ride with McDonald’s on their bus bound for BlogHer and learned more about them, and that was really nice. Thank you, McDonald’s.

More, yes, there is more. A $25 Pet Smart Gift card, and some Lysol products. bags, pens, notepads and zip drives. Am I done? Kind of. The stuff wasn’t why I went to Blogher but it’s what I tally when I get back. That and the stack of business cards I am still puzzling over (I did not write on them as I was advised to do. Next time I will).

I met people from Newton, Needham, Boston, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York, California and Canada. I enjoyed every conversation and meeting. I had two breakfasts on Friday, the one for newbies and one with McDonald’s. Here is a link to Honest and Truly blog and a transcript of the Question & Answer session at breakfast. I got a recharge massage at TMobile (their tech stuff is awesome).

I went to Getting Gorgeous, had my hair straightened (thank you, GG and CVS, and I love my Extracare card) and it held up in the humidity, and have some more great stuff there. Okay, I’ll share! Super cute dark wash boot leg jeans from Coldwater Creek that make me look smaller than I am, a pair of gorgeous shoes from Naturalizer, and a gift card from Diet Pepsi! There is more but I think that may be another post.

So…Blogher in NYC. Huge. Overwhelming. Loud. Crowded. Busy. Both the city and the conference, so imagine them combined. I like the chaos for a while (as the oldest of five, it is my natural state of being) but then I need a break which I took in the form of a run through Central Park on Saturday morning.central park imagine strwaberry fields nyc manhattan capability mom blog

It was wonderful to connect with bloggers from Boston Parent Bloggers some I met for the first time on the BlogHer Bound bus. We had plenty of laughs (especially at the rest area where seven other buses stopped at the same time, yes, I said seven) and we got to know a little bit about each other, and found out we shared some connections other than blogging (even though that would have been enough). I had a Martha’s Vineyard connection with one super nice, grounded blogger and learned about more about Kegels than I ever thought I would know), talked to another BPB Blogger who is running the Falmouth Road Race to benefit the Melanoma Foundation of New England (something I am into, too) and I met someone who is funnier than I am (it is rare because I think I’m really funny – ask my family).

Once we got there, it was super crowded and chaotic. The elevators were jammed and it didn’t help that FFaNY was in the building (all the rooms on our floor were shoe showrooms except for ours and one across the hall). What a confluence that could have been. Women with sore feet and 14 stories above people selling shoes. Next time, FFaNY, bring shoes to sell. Seriously. Twitter was full of people looking for other shoes because they only packed cute heels.

But I digress. The conference proper is kind of hard to tease out of the side events. While it was great to meet so many people with a shared interest in blogging, writing and playing nicely with social media, it it does seem like it should be easier to find and schedule things.

One of the sessions was so overcrowded (so great that so many people wanted to learn about turning posts into published essays) that I stood against a wall trying to find enough air to breathe, never mind trying to take notes. I think PhD in Parenting was there,too, but couldn’t confirm. That was my main celebrity sighting* and I’m not even sure it was her. I may have been lightheaded from lack of air.

As always, NYC is a great destination and there could never be enough city love time. I wish that some events were “off campus”, as in not in the Hilton (as nice as it is). It is a shame to not explore such a fabulous city.

Pragmatic Mom and I found a great local restaurant (Thank you, Hilton concierge) and had a wonderful dinner where we met some lovely shoe people from FFaNY. We may even have a shoe giveaway with them – Stay tuned!

Best things about BlogHer? The people, the sessions (although they need a better system), the location (more recess time needed if you are in the city), and the sponsors are interesting and varied, which is always good. I saw Advil, Clorox, Lysol, CVS, Verizon, Best Buy, Disney Jr, Poise, Dannon, Samsung and so many more. I’ll go into it later or this will be the longest post ever.

I liked connecting with people, brands, bloggers, seeing new things, learning something new (so like Martha), trying something new, and sharing it all. Did I love every minute? No, I am no Pollyanna. Some things were size and location related, some easy fixes, some more complicated. If you really want to know, comment below! I promise to share and even over share!

*Correction – I did get to see Jeannie Mai, host of The Style Network’s “How Do I Look?” She looked great. I was in a button down and a pencil skirt. Ehh.

Lest this post makes it sound like I was careening hither and yon getting swag, I was not. I went through the Expo Hall and stopped at booths where I engaged in a dialogue with brand representatives and happened to get lucky. I found great new finds and will write about them when I sort through the bag of note and paper…too much paper!

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