Thursday, June 30, 2011

Are You Looking For Guest Blog Posts? Also, Giveaway Extended One Day!

HAPPY JULY, Everyone! I hope your summer is full of enjoyment so far!

I recently had an excellent guest blogger write for Mommy Rantings and he was wondering if anyone else out there is interested in some guest blog posts (see Where You Can Find Guest Bloggers below to obtain his email). I love guest blog posts and have recently started to post a whole bunch (in case you didn't notice!).

If you are not familiar with guest blogging or have not taken advantage of it, there are some things about guest blog posts that I want to mention:

1) Guest bloggers can bring new topics and unique content to your already awesome blog that you might not have ever thought about! (Be sure to run it through a duplicate content site like Copyscape or Plagiarism Checker before you post it!)

2) You may not have the time to type up an effectual, well-researched and informative blog post every day. Guest blog posts can help you fill in the gaps. I have also seen people request guest blog posts to schedule in during times when they will be on vacation, moving, etc. It keeps the content rolling and gives visitors something new to read. (and, when you experience that horrendous "writer's block", guest bloggers can help you get through it!)

3) You don't HAVE to accept any old blog post that is offered to you. Simply be polite when you turn the post down, explaining why you cannot accept it. If it only needs a little bit of editing, go ahead and edit it, but if it's a complete mess written with terrible grammar,'s your blog.

4) Your guest blogger may want to spread their blog post to their followers, by means of Tweeting and Sharing, thus promoting your blog!

5) Once you post one guest blog post, other guest bloggers will probably contact you with ideas for topics and offers to guest blog.

Where Can You Find Guest Bloggers?

I have been fortunate enough to receive MANY offers from guest bloggers through Blogger Link Up. You can submit offers to write guest blogs AND request guest blog posts...and it works!!! (You can also announce giveaways and contests!)

Contact Sean at He's interested in writing guest blog posts - and he sent me an excellent one! (and he's the reason that I decided to write this post!)

You may already have contacts in your blogging network who would be interested in composing a guest blog post for you - or exchange guest blog posts with you.

Try typing "Request guest blog posts" into Google. I'm sure you will find plenty of other leads.

There Are Downfalls To Guest Blog Posts

I offer a bio and a link within the bio for guest posts. Unfortunately, this means that I need to do my research before I publish the blog post. I want to be careful not to publish a blog post with a bio that includes links that I do not want on Mommy Rantings. And, you will want to keep this in mind, too.

I try to stay away from blog posts that have direct links (because they are basically free advertising for the company) within the blog post. If someone wants to contribute to Mommy Rantings by writing a relevant blog post, that's great! They will get a link within their bio that announces who they are and use that for promotion, but I really am not big on guest blog posts that are written for the purpose of promoting products or services only.

If I've missed anything, please leave a comment!

If you are interested in guest blogging for Mommy Rantings, feel free to contact me!

ALSO...I Have Decided to Extend the Kiki's Fashions Giveaway for 24 hours!

I forgot to send out a reminder!!! So, get those entries in before midnight Eastern, July 1st!!!!

Summer Tips For Moms With Anxiety

Guest blog post by Jill Greene

As a mom of 2 who suffers from anxiety, summer can be a bit much for me. Although I love the fact that my girls are home, the general unstructured nature of summer vacation can leave me feeling anxious and more prone to panic attacks. At the same time, I know this is such a wonderful time of year and I want to enjoy it regardless of anxiety. It is in this spirit that I gathered these tips for a happy summer for anxious moms everywhere..

1. Have a schedule and stick to it. If you're home with your kids in the summer, go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This helps keep your hormones balanced and can promote feelings of well being. It may be tempting to sleep in or stay up all night, but if you are prone to anxiety or panic attacks, a regular sleeping schedule is super important.

2. Have your children on a schedule too. Of course you don't want to be a drill sergeant, but a general schedule is good for kids of all ages. My older girl is a teen and would sleep all day if I let her. Giving the kids age appropriate chores that they must do to contribute to the household is a great way for them to feel that what they does matters. Keep a chart and use stickers for the little ones. Running the household is everyone's
responsibility in the family and so all members can- and should contribute.

3. Get out and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Take walks with the kids and the dog if you have one. Go before the hottest times of the day. Early morning or evening walks are a wonderful way to get some exercise and share family time together too. You can go to parks, hiking trails, or even around the neighborhood. Make regular walks together a priority- it's so good for easing stress and anxiety.

4. Don't stress over the social stuff. For some moms, summer is a time to party and hang out. As someone with anxiety attacks, this is not something I find enjoyable, especially when there is a lot of drinking involved. If you are invited to big get togethers with freinds, it's okay to limit your time there so that you feel comfortable. I like to go to parties early and socialize before the booze and drinking shenanigans begin.

5. Take extra good care of yourself. Commit to spending a few minutes each day doing deep breathing exercises, or contemplating loving, healing thoughts in quiet meditation. If you belong to a gym, this is an excellent time to start a yoga practice. Also remember to cut back on caffeine and refined sugar, as these can make you jittery.

6. Please try to enjoy yourself. Whether you spend your time dreading each day or really tring to make the most of the hot days with your kids, the fact is, summer will go by in a flash. I spent many a summer when my girls were younger just wishing the days away and I regret it now. If your anxiety tends to flare up during summer vacation, use these tips to help you feel better. Know that your anxiety may wax and wane, and you can choose to make the best out of this wonderful time of the year.

Jill Green is a mom, wife, and recovering anxious woman who writes an anxiety self help blog. Please read her Panic Away review for more information on the program that helps her overcome panic attacks. If you struggle with panic, there is hope, there is help!

Thank you, Jill, for sharing your story and tips with the readers of Mommy Rantings!

How do you handle the stress of summer?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Party Games for a Great 4th of July

Guest blog post by Nicole Rodgers

Independence Day is a wonderful opportunity to gather friends and family together for a wonderful summer party. The beginning of July provides a great backdrop for grilling, picnics, fireworks, camping and a celebration of our wonderful nation. If you are planning an Independence Day party, be sure to include activities including games that are fun for all ages in attendance. Games that are played at 4th of July parties vary as much as the people playing them do, so if you are looking for different games and activities to play at a 4th of July party read on to get inspired.

When planning activities for your party, be mindful of the ages of your guests. If children are going to be present, make sure to come up with lots of ideas to keep them entertained too. Providing a variety of activities including sit down activities as well as physical activities will keep guests of all ages appropriately engaged.

Some sit down games appropriate for after meals or when guests need a break are word games. If creative make a holiday inspired word search or crossword puzzle from scratch and make enough copies for everyone to enjoy. If creating your own is not an option, many word searches and crosswords are available for purchase. For children, there are numerous teacher resource sites and stores that will have word games available.

An active game for children is red, white and blue tag. Each participant is given one poker chip, or other colored token, of red, white or blue. After this everyone is turned loose to try and tag each other. Whenever tagged, players must give up their tokens. The game ends when someone collects all three colors.

A twist of a classic sit down can easily make it holiday themed. Adults and children both will find this fast paced thinking game entertaining. Participants sit in a circle, the first player names an item that is red, the next player white and the third player blue. Play continues in this manner with each person only having five seconds to name an item of the right color. Naming an item of the wrong color, repeating an item or taking to long eliminates players. The game is over when one person is left in the game.

No summer party would be complete without standard backyard games. If space permits, set up horseshoes, ring toss, a volleyball net or corn hole set. What could be more American than a little friendly competition? Adults and children can participate in these games and small tournaments can easily be incorporated.

A wonderful finish to a brilliant 4th of July party is gathering everyone in attendance for a fireworks celebration. If setting your own off, pool fireworks from guests to have an even larger display. Older children can be involved in firework fun to by playing with sparklers and smokers. As always, extreme care should be used around fireworks and children should never light anything. If going to public display, relax and enjoy the show while thinking about what our freedom means to you.

Nicole Rodgers has been blogging for three years; she is currently setting up the details for her own 4th of July party. She is having her whole family dress up in American themed t shirts and she can’t wait to bake her mother’s famous blueberry, strawberry and vanilla American flag cake.

Thanks, Nicole, for yet another great guest blog post! Sounds like you're going to have a wonderful 4th of July! 

Readers: what do you do to make your 4th of July special with your family?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Child Murderers and Molesters Are Going Free: Where is the Justice?

I received an email this morning that really started to burn a fire. According to ProPublica, not only are innocent people going down for heinous crimes performed on children, but the unbelievably sick people who did the crimes are going free!

How can this happen?

An excerpt from the email gives us some insight:

"Often, authorities had little to go on other than autopsy findings," write A. C. Thompson, Chisun Lee, Joe Shapiro and Sandra Bartlett. "Many of the doctors who conducted post mortem examinations failed to consult specialists in childhood injuries or ailments, or to review medical records that could have affected their conclusions. In several cases, forensic pathologists worked so closely with authorities, they became agents of law enforcement, rather than objective arbiters of scientific evidence."

In the piece, they also explain how forensic pathologists in Ontario, Canada reviewed 45 child death cases and found that 20 contained incorrect evidence of murder.  Since then the province has begun to implement improvements to its death investigations, but policy-makers in the U.S. have not sought any similar changes.

It's no secret that America (and Canada and the U.K.) has made a ton of legal mistakes that led to the ruin of many people's lives and reputations, throwing innocent men and women in jail in order to get a conviction...or to simply close a case. Although we pride ourselves on the fact that our "justice system" stands behind a "innocent until proven guilty" motto, have you ever put any thought into how hard it would be to prove that you are innocent if evidence "seemed" to point the finger at you? When it all boils down to it, the whole "beyond a reasonable doubt" thing has nothing to do with "innocent until proven guilty".

So, imagine if your child was molested and then killed. You would want justice served, no doubt! I, personally, would want to "serve justice" the form of "an eye for an eye". Call me psychotic, but if some sicko did ANYTHING to my children, the legal system had better get that person far away from me as quickly as possible...hell hath no fury like a mother's wrath. I cannot even fathom what I would do if someone did the unspeakable to one of my children...

But, imagine if the accused wasn't the right person...imagine if forensic investigators and detectives made a mistake...

Cases of Wrongful Accusation/Convictions

29 Years! Raymond Daniel Towler served 29 years before DNA evidence proved him innocent. This heart-wrenching account that demonstrates how much LIFE he much the world changed while he sat in a cold, dark cell...and what happened to the REAL perpetrator? He ran free for those 29 years, probably committing more crimes all the while.

Then even more report your 7-year-old child missing and she is later found dead. You are then accused of killing your own child. This is what happened to David and Cynthia Dowaliby

And, yet another mom...Angela Cannings is wrongfully accused and sat in prison for killing her own children. During this time, while she mourned the loss of her babies, she also became alienated from her family. (This case happened in the U.K.!)

Sitting on death row for 14 years for the 8-year-old Shandra Whitehead's rape and murder, DNA testing clears Frank Lee Smith. Sadly, while still in prison, he died of cancer.

He paid the ultimate price in 2004...killed by lethal injection for supposedly killing his 3 girls by arson, Cameron Todd Willingham begged his family to never stop trying to clear his name as they hooked him up to the lethal injection tubes. Now, fire scientists are concluding that the fire was "accidental".

And there are many more....there is an extensive list of many different cases of wrongful convictions here.

How Many Innocent People Are Accused and Convicted?

The Innocence Project works to help clear innocent people of wrongful convictions, using DNA testing. Their website states that, "Seventeen people who were exonerated through DNA testing have spent a combined 187 years on death row for crimes they didn’t commit. Some came within days of their scheduled execution." (Although not all of the are cases about children, how sad is it, regardless???)

And, while these innocents sit in a harsh world called prison, the actual murderers and rapists are still out there, free to perform more ludicrous acts...

Why Do Some Confess?

While reading through these stories, I also ran across more information that was intriguing about cases similar to these.

Halsey actually confessed to the crime of the raping, mutilating and killing of two children. 21 long years later, he was exonerated after DNA testing was performed (it wasn't available when he was convicted). WHY WOULD HE CONFESS?

I have my own theories about this...

1) People are badgered by investigators and detectives...told that there were witnesses to the crime, evidence pointing directly at them. They are "conned", so to speak, into confessing the crime. Backed into a corner...

2) Some, I believe, are convinced that they will get a lesser sentence if they confess. Say, the death penalty. Rather than paying the worst price for a crime, they are offered a lesser sentence for confessing to the crime. They have no idea that the confession will only make matters worse for them.

3) Some will confess to stop the interrogations. These interrogations can go on for hours and hours, and many can last days. They are questioned and questioned and twisted and turned for hours and hours and hours, quite often yelled at and threatened.

4) Some think that they can get out of these difficult situations by confessing now and then proving that they are innocent later, unaware of the true implications of their confessions.

5) Their mental state can affect their actions. I mean many things by this: whether they are under major duress and cannot handle it, have a diminished capacity at the time or are truly mentally impaired, a person can confess without understanding what they have just done.

Walk a mile in the accused shoes...Until you have been through it yourself, one cannot judge what they would do in a situation like this!

True enough, the justice system, just like the government, is run by human beings - and humans make mistakes. But, it is also full of corrupt "human beings", too, who cover up their mistakes and continue to put innocent people behind bars, skippy to simply get a conviction and put a case to rest. They continue to allow wrongful convictions to occur, which not only takes away the lives of innocent people, but also permits the real killers and rapists to run free, while the parents and families of the victims are led to believe that cases are solved.

How is that justice?

My heart goes out to the wrongfully accused. These "mistakes" tear apart families and lives...and put the rest of us in danger as the real killers and rapists continue to live in society. And, who really pays for the mistakes? Do the detectives, investigators, officers, forensic specialists and prosecutors have to sit in jail for wrongfully accusing/convicting people? Do they pay anything for their "mistakes"? Certainly, they cannot replace the time/life that they have taken away from the wrongfully accused...they can't give back what they've taken away. They can't right the wrong, especially in Cameron Todd Willingham's case.

And, all the while, the rest of us feel "safer" because someone - anyone - is behind bars for the crime.

Where is the justice for the victims of these crimes? After years - or decades - of an innocent person sitting in prison, is there any hope for the real perpetrator to be caught?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Tangle Teezer and Magic Flowerpot Review and Giveaway! How to Get the Tangles out of Hair without Tears! CLOSED

I love it! I love it! I love it!

Did I say that I love it? It's called the Tangle Teezer...and it's seriously ingenious! Is your hair unmanageable and difficult to brush? Do you fight with your hair every day...if you do, how much hair are you losing in that brush or comb? I can bet that if your hair is anything like mine or my daughter's, you're finding gobs of hair in the brush after pulling through the tangles!

Two Totally Different Hair Types

My daughter and I, believe it or not, have two totally different hair types. I have below-the-bum-length, dirty blond, thick, bone-straight hair, while she has the gorgeous medium length, spiral curly hair that is hard to brush and definitely impossible to manage at times. Despite how beautiful her hair is, she hates to brush it (she has SPD, so she is especially sensitive when it comes to brushing hair).

The Tangle Teezer

It looks like a simple concept, but I was surprised at how well it worked! After several years of purchasing numerous detangling "solutions", hair serums and oils and a plethora of brushes and picks and combs, the solution to detangling hair without causing breakage and assaulting it comes in the form of this little "brush", the Tangle Teezer.

My hair loves it! The Tangle Teezer makes my hair soooo soft! There is a "trick" to using the Tangle Teezer, too (you can find it in the instruction manual that comes with it). When you are in the shower (or my favorite - the bath!), while conditioning your hair, use the Tangle Teezer to evenly distribute the conditioner through your hair and comb through any tangles right then and there. This works so well! When you get out of the shower (or tub), your hair is already untangled...all you have to do is dry it and style it. And, it will be soft, soft, soft! When my hair gets tangled throughout the night - I toss and turn when I sleep - it's best to start at the bottom of my hair and work my way up to get out all of the tangles.

This conditioning trick works great for my daughter's very unmanageable hair. No more fighting with the hair after the shower...all she has to do is scrunch her hair after the shower and it's a done deal! Oh, the struggles that I won't have to face anymore!

The Tangle Teezer is also supposed to reduce breakage and damage to the hair - and I can see how it does this. The bristles are gentle, flexible and shorter than a normal hairbrush or comb and they are very thin, so they won't pull on the hair and get caught like most bristles. 

Here is a shot video about the Tangle Teezer:

The Magic Flowerpot

I received a special bonus in my package to review! And, I have to share that when I was conversing by email with the representative for Tangle Teezer and she offered to send the Magic Flowerpot, too, I was thinking, "Cool! My kids love to grow flowers!" I immediately thought that she was referring to a flowerpot that would magically grow flowers! (LOL) But, this is a miniature version of the Tangle Teezer, made specifically for little girls.

Isn't it the cutest thing? It doesn't come with the hair thingies inside, but there is plenty of room to store little hair items. Here is what it looks like closed:

As you can see, there are different colors to choose from. If this wouldn't make the perfect gift for a little girl on her birthday or for Christmas, I don't know what is!

Because my "little girl" was away at a friend's house when we opened the package, I had 5 "little boys" trying out and reviewing the Magic Flowerpot. All of my boys have a variation of curly hair, from fine and curly to thick and curly, and when you wet the boys hair and comb through it with the Magic Flowerpot, it makes those curls bounce right back! It's like using a pick. I didn't have to use any other products on their hair (the usual mousse or gel) to get those curls...the Magic Flowerpot magically created them without the added products.

Other Reviews

I actually combed through - cute pun, huh? - other reviews on the 'net and found many-a chickies with hair that looks far more difficult to work with than my daughter's hair, and they raved about the Tangle Teezer, too.Curly Nikki recently updated her review to say that she thinks that the Tangle Teezer might be the culprit for her newly forming split ends...bummer! But, I personally think that most brushes/combs/etc and normal daily care is going to cause split ends - so, considering how quick and easy it is to use and the immediate results that it has proven on both my and my daughter's hair, I won't be "shelving it" like Nikki.

Buy It

You can get your own Tangle Teezer at Sally's Beauty Supply or visit the order now page. Amazon and Google have also jumped in on the bandwagon. You will find the Tangle Teezer for about $10. If you think about all of the hair care products that you have gone through trying to find the perfect solution, $10 is just a drop in the bucket in comparison.

But, Wait! There's More! Giveaways!

There will be two different winner will be chosen for the original Tangle Teezer and one for the Magic Flowerpot. Be sure to mention in your entry which one you would like to receive. I will do my best to get you the one that you request. I will make the method of entry fairly simple:

1) Join Mommy Rantings via Google Friend Connect (left hand column) OR "Like" Mommy Rantings on Facebook (right hand column). This is a mandatory entry.

Other possible entries:

1) Visit the Tangle Teezer website and tell me something that I didn't mention.

2) "Like" Tangle Teezer on Facebook. Leave them a message that Mommy Rantings sent you!

Please be sure to leave your email in your entries! I will not track you down if you don't. :( This giveaway will end July 6th at midnight eastern!

Thank you, Tangle Teezer for the opportunity to do this review and giveaway!

FTC disclosure: I received products to perform this review. All opinions expressed are solely mine. No compensation was received for this review.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Have Unique Baby Names Gone Too Far?

By guest blogger Jenni Sunde
What’s in a name? Our given names help shape who we are, and how we are perceived by those around us. As such, it’s arguable that a baby’s name can affect their future lives in either positive or negative ways. These are all things to consider when naming your child, although ultimately, the choice is up to you, whether you are a traditionalist or a cutting edge trend-setter. 

In some cultures, naming a baby is a sacred celebration. In the Jewish tradition, for example, baby girls receive a naming ceremony after their first Shabbat (the seventh day of the Jewish week), and baby boys are named eight days after their birth. Hindus also practice a sacred baby naming ceremony called the Namkaran. Along with friends and relatives, the child is blessed and named after a letter of the Sanskrit alphabet that is chosen based on the time and date of the child’s birth.  

In our culture, we are a little less formal, but baby naming is still an important ritual. When you are pregnant, you will no doubt receive suggestions about baby names from friends and relatives. Sometimes this advice is welcome—other times, it isn’t. A lot of us have a good idea of what we want to name our kids. When others make suggestions we merely smile and nod, and end up naming our kids what we want. 

For some people, unique and trendy baby names are appealing. When it comes to celebrities, especially, it seems that the stranger the moniker, the better—whether it’s Moon Unit, Apple or Blanket. But when does unique become just plain weird? Will our kids grow up to resent us if we name them after a newly discovered galaxy, or after our favorite food? 

What about their schoolmates? Being teased at school is always a concern. The cold hard truth is that kids can be terrible to one another, even without funny names for ammunition. We tell our children that sticks and stones may break our bones, but that words can never hurt us, but the reality is that words can hurt a lot.

While a parent should always consider the well-being of their kid, when it comes down to it, all a child really needs to thrive in this world is love, food and shelter. Even the kid with the weirdest name on the block is probably going to grow up alright if their parents provide a loving home. And who knows, maybe one day Apple will be a completely common place name.

About the author: Jenni Sunde is a freelance fashion writer and pop culture junkie. Jenni specializes in all things lifestyle-related. From home and design to health and beauty. With her love of art and all things beautiful, she delights in sharing her sense of style from her life to your computer monitor. Her title pegs her as an editor at a website that specializes in fashion careers and another that focuses on providing people with car insurance quotes, but her passion leads her into writing with a little more substance and a lot more heart.

Thanks, Jenni, for your contribution to Mommy Rantings!  So, what do you think? Have people gone too far with naming their children? Will their children resent them?

Friday, June 24, 2011

2 Simple Ways To Empower Your Child Against Peer Pressure And Being Made Fun Of

By Guest Blogger Phoebe Lee (in honor of her new book/CD and blog tour)
Author, “Monkey Mind: A Captivating Bedtime Story for Children”

One of the most difficult parts of childhood, for many children, is being made fun of, harassed, or ostracized by their peers. Whether it’s being poked on the playground, being denied seats in the lunchroom, or simply not being invited to the round of birthday parties, the exclusion and torment that can happen during childhood is worse than most adult pain, probably because children are particularly ill-equipped to cope with it.

But whether your child is going to become Miss Popularity or not, there are ways to help your kids through their school years so they emerge relatively unscathed. Here are some ideas:

Teach kids the power of acceptance.

Trying to impart to children that they cannot force someone to agree with them, or to be nice to them, is no easy task. First of all, this is a concept that is difficult, even for some adults to comprehend. How can you explain this to children who have shorter attention spans than adults? They are generally not interested in analyzing their relationships, or the social dynamics are simply too intricate for them to understand. But this lesson is important, because the point of teaching children that they have no power over other people is to empower them to take control of their own feelings. It’s one of those paradoxical life lessons: Through the acceptance of the fact that we cannot control others, we become empowered ourselves. The lesson is, simply that, “I only have the power to change things about myself.” Once your children have internalized this lesson, they will no longer expect to sway the bully on the playground, or the snob who doesn’t invite them to join the gang. But they will know that they can still change the situation, by changing how they act and respond.

Teach kids the power of discernment.

If your children are ridiculed in school, they need to understand that the other child has an opinion, but that an opinion is not a fact. The child that makes fun of another is expressing only what they think. The appropriate question to ask your child (who was made fun of) would be, “Do you agree with that, assessment?” If your child disagrees (which is usually the case) then you are in a far better boat, since all that will be necessary is to remind your child that others’ opinions are not fact, and don’t have to be treated as fact. The difference between opinions and is a crucial distinction to teach our children, and the sooner the better.

Fact or Opinion has become the name of a game in our household, which we play often, frequently on car rides, and which our second-grader loves. We take turns asking each other if a comment that is made is a fact or an opinion. Then, when an incident occurs where some other child has made fun of her I ask, “Is that a fact or an opinion?” She usually answers, “Opinion,” and is undaunted as a result of this reminder.

Teach kids the power of choice.

Peer pressure is the major issue among children today. Don’t be surprised if the same kids that made fun of your youngster become the very ones that encourage your older child to engage in undesirable acts. If a child finds themself in a situation where other kids are going to do something that is against school rules, their moral judgment, or even the law, how do they muster up the courage to leave the situation? Your child will benefit from knowing that they have the power to choose their friends, and that there are different options out there for friendship: If children find themselves in a situation that is uncomfortable, they do have the power to leave. Children need a safe person with whom to share this experience, optimally a parent or teacher. It might seem obvious to an adult to simply exit a bad scene, but children have a tendency to feel stuck in situations.

Teach kids the power of solitude.

Which leads to another value: That it is better to be alone than to be in bad company.

It’s vital to show your children that spending quality time by themselves is a gift and not a punishment, particularly if the alternative is poor role models. Enjoying time to nurture ourselves is how we exhibit self-love, and it is only when we love and respect ourselves that we are capable of having healthy and lasting relationships with others.

Knowledge of the power of choice is a gift to people of all ages, especially our children. When they learn that it is better to play alone, rather than getting into trouble, we find a sense of peace in the world. People who cannot bear to be alone may find themselves in co-dependent relationships. And those who feel the need to be accepted by everyone may end up following other people’s ways throughout life, many times to their own detriment. These people are not able to learn how to create their own destinies and are likely to blame others for their problems.

Try teaching your child the Fact or Opinion game, to take the edge off of being made fun of. Teach them when it’s appropriate to play alone. Your child might well become an independent and empowered leader. At the very least, these lessons will make their school years more enjoyable.

Author Phoebe Lee writes about ADHD, children’s sleep issues, and parenting from a Buddhist perspective. She is the author of the new children’s picture book, “Monkey Mind: A Captivating Bedtime Story for Children” and the accompanying children’s audio, “Monkey, Fish, Dragon.” To follow her blog tour, see or email her publicist at

Keep your eyes open for another guest blog post from Phoebe in the fall!

More key points from the publisher:

* Phoebe Lee's children's picture book, "Monkey Mind" is the only children's picture book on the topic of ADHD and Buddhist parenting
* ADHD is a problem affecting 10% of children, and that number is growing by more than 5% per year, according to the CDC
* The economic cost of dealing with ADHD is an estimated $46-$52 billion/year in the United States (roughly $12,000 to $17,000 annually per affected child)
* 'Monkey mind' is a Buddhist term meaning unsettled, restless, or confused.  It dates back at least as far as the later Qin Dynasty (384-417 AD) in China
* Phoebe's book, her first, has already been lauded by several top -10 Amazon reviewers
* Phoebe Lee writes frequently on ADHD, children's sleep issues, and parenting from a Buddhist perspective
* More details are available at
* Readers can buy the book in bookstores and via Amazon:
Congratulations and good luck on your new book, Phoebe! Thank you for spreading the word about issues that help us help our children. :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Parenting Tips for the New Mom: Organizing the Chaos

by guest blogger Diane Johnson

Let’s face it, amid all the love and awe of a new baby comes another state of being – chaos. When parenting, it’s as reliable as a dirty diaper. Try as you might to get as completely organized when a new baby is on the way, when that baby gets here, it's just chaos. A good chaos, but it is chaos. The best thing to do is to organize what you can and roll with the rest.

We’ve collected five parenting tips to help you organize the chaos of a growing family and get back to what you should be doing – enjoying time with your new baby.

1. In/Out log. What is an in/out log? It’s keeping up with how much food goes into the baby and how often waste comes out. Some people say keeping a log is overkill. Some people keep one for months straight. We fall somewhere in the middle. After all, you’ll want to have a general idea of how many dirty diapers you have a day for the first few weeks. You will be put on the spot and asked by the pediatrician, so best to have your diapers in a row.

2. Calendar. If you’re not a calendar-type person, you need to become one. Between pediatrician appointments, follow-up gynecological appointments, newborn picture appointments and more, you’ll always have some place to be, so you might as well develop a system for keeping up with the parenting game.

3. Supplies. If this is your first child, your nursery was probably fully stocked and ready to go. The diaper changing area was cleaned up and all supplies laid out for first use. Except now that the baby is here, you realize you may not always need to change a diaper in the nursery. If you mainly stay in one part of the house during the day, keep a supply of diaper changing necessities tucked in a corner, a change of clothes is great too (especially if you have a multi-level house). This will keep you from having to dart upstairs to grab a diaper or wag the baby up and down the stairs for each and ever change.

4. Feeding supplies. If you bottle-feed, have enough bottles on hand to rotate a day’s feeding supplies in and out of the dishwasher. This ensures you have plenty on hand for that day and let’s face it, getting though this day, then that one is what matters most.

5. Eats. While everyone is probably most concerned with the new baby’s feeding schedule, don’t forget that you and everyone else in your family needs to eat, too. Plan out a schedule for meals ahead of time and stick to it. Build up your supply of made-ahead frozen meals and have them ready to pull out every day for the first few weeks. Nothing is more stressful on a new mom than worrying about what everyone will have for supper at 6 p.m.

Parenting a new baby is exhausting and stressful. Everyone who has been through it knows that you really can’t understand until you do it yourself. Even in the chaotic environment of a newborn, you can instill a little organization to help things run more smoothly and help you get back to the thing you love most – being a mom. Have a great parenting organization tip? Tell us about it!

Diane Johnson writes about a number of her interests including shopping, online schooling, and traveling.

Thank you, Diane, for your contribution to Mommy Rantings!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Kiki's Fashions: Cheap, Trendy Maternity Clothes! Review & Giveaway! CLOSED

When you're expecting a new baby, the last thing you want to do is spend a fortune on maternity clothing. And, if you have other children already, you will definitely want to find some cheap maternity clothes! Unfortunately, if your belly is expanding and your wardrobe isn't stocked with elastic-waist pants and stretchy shirts, you're going to need to invest some money in maternity clothing.

I, personally, have done a ton of investigation to find inexpensive and trendy maternity clothing. The thrift stores have limited, if not dull and boring selections - and that is if they even have maternity clothes in stock. Online stores with trendy maternity clothing, even in their clearance sections, can be very expensive! But, I found one store where the prices are $30 and under on pretty much everything they carry. They even have an under $10 section, too!

Kiki's Fashions, an online maternity store that I found, carries a ton of trendy maternity styles, including maternity dresses, tank tops, bottoms, short sleeves - you name it! And, their stuff is absolutely adorable!

The One I Chose

I chose this one (with the help of children and hubby):

There is a bow on the shoulder and, at first when I took it out of the package, I thought: "Oh, that is a bit gaudy!" But, when I put it on, it was adorable! It's a little bit funky, a little bit 80's and a little bit cute-and- sweet, all mixed together. In addition, it's lightweight, as the top layer is completely lace and the under-layer is a thin, nude colored polyester/spandex material. Sassy and chic, trendy and affordable - I love it!

How Do You Feel When You Are Pregnant?

I have always thought that pregnant women are adorable...but never felt the same about myself. You feel uncomfortable, round, overheated, bloated, waddle-y, frumpy...have I missed any adjectives? With all of those adjectives mixed together, the last thing I want to do is wear clothes that aren't trendy and fashionable. Beyond that, I can't afford to spend a fortune on a new wardrobe that will only be necessary during the short-term weight gain period.

So, thank you, Kiki's Fashions, for knowing that us mom-to-be's need to feel fashionable and trendy - and for especially knowing that we need to keep an eye on our wallets because there is a new baby coming.


In honor of my soon-to-be-here seventh baby and in the spirit of maternity clothing that is fun and trendy, yet so very affordable, Kiki's Fashions is offering a $25 gift certificate to one Mommy Rantings' followers! (And, I can tell you after searching through their site for many hours, this will purchase almost anything there!)

How can you win?

Mandatory entry: Go to the Kiki's Fashions site and tell me what you would choose if you were to win the gift card.

The winner MUST be a Mommy Rantings GFC follower to win the giveaway. Remember, the more entries you do, the better your chances are to win!

Extra entries (leave a comment for each entry):

1) "Like" Mommy Rantings on Facebook. (right hand column of blog)

2) Follow QueenBMomma on Twitter. (left hand column of blog)

3)Subscribe via email (left hand column)Blog about this giveaway - tell me your blog's URL.

4) Tweet this giveaway (you can do this once per day!) (1 entry per tweet -leave twitter name)

5) Grab my button and put it on your blog (leave the link).

6) Update your Facebook status with this giveaway.

7) Like Kiki's Fashions on Facebook (you'll want to do this anyways!) AND tell them Mommy Rantings sent you!

Winners will be chosen through and the winning entries will be validated (I will make sure that you did the mandatory entry and the entry # that is chosen and you are a GFC follower). PLEASE LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN EACH ONE OF YOUR ENTRIES. RUNNING AROUND THE INTERNET TRACKING DOWN WINNERS IS NO FUN!

Thank you to Kiki's Fashions for sponsoring this giveaway! This giveaway will end on 7/1/2011 at midnight EST. I will contact the winner by email and they will have 24 hours to respond before the runner up is chosen. Good luck!

I was provided a product in order to conduct my review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happy Summer!

I am finally in my glory! If there is anything that gets me up and going, its a beautiful summer day. :)

So, as the kids get finished with school and the summer sun starts to really show its face, I just want to say a Happy Summer to everyone!

The Stocked Kitchen Recipe Book Review

I found a gem of a recipe book! It's called The Stocked Kitchen - and it's 300+ pages chock full of unbelievably delicious recipes based off of only 1 shopping list! When I was offered the chance to review this book, I had no idea what a surprise I was about to receive!

First of all, when you open it up, it starts reading like a regular book, with "The System"...

"Start With the List"

"We've all had that moment during the day when we ask, with a knot in our stomach, 'What am I going to make for dinner?'" (Oh, my goodness! That thought crosses my mind about 6 times a week!)

Then, the awesome authors (above, Sarah Kallio and Stacey Krastins) go on to tell you how to effectively use the recipe book, with "Using the System", still all the while writing in a down-to-earth, fun and, of course, informative fashion. What's even better is that they have come up with a basic list of about (I didn't exactly count) 200 ingredients. And, every recipe in the whole 300+ pages of the book, about 300 pages of which are all recipes, are derived from that one shopping list.

One Shopping List

That's the true beauty of this recipe book! Every other recipe book that I have ever owned required me to search through the recipes, find what I liked and then create my shopping list based off of the recipes that I wanted to make. This book does it all for you! They even include about (again, I didn't count) 15 pre-printed pages in the back of the book with the complete shopping list and boxes to check off while you are shopping. So, you can pull out a page and head to the store right away!

Okay, but that's not the best part! Well, maybe it, I guess it's not. Okay, I'm torn! The recipes! The recipes are so expansive and's difficult to believe that one grocery list covers all of the recipes in this book! Some are made from scratch and some are quick and simple. After looking through the recipe book for a while, I still haven't found a recipe that seemed really hard to make - they're all pretty simple, most with under 10 steps of directions and many with only 3-5 steps.

I don't even know where to start, but here are some of the recipes you will find:

pineapple upside down cake
meat loaf
cinnamon roll loaf (and the pic of this - yes, there are pics, too! - looks yummy!)
turtle pancakes (mmmhmmm...with the nuts on top)
veggie pizza
chocolate chip almond bars
cream cheese coffee cake
pancake batter fried shrimp
moo shoo shrimp stir-fry
italian burger
stovetop mac and cheese
hamburger buns
crab rangoon with sweet and sour sauce
bacon-wrapped pineapple
bacon-wrapped ranch chicken
cinnamon french toast bake...and if that's not enough, there's a raspberry french toast bake, too
margarita bars
lemon layer cake
marinades! honey-lime, italian, asian, greek, java, lemon-pepper, moroccan
egg salad
curry chicken salad
apricot chicken salad
asian lettuce wraps
deviled eggs
chicken pot pie
chicken florentine
cinnamon chip scones
pesto spinach pizza
chocolate truffles

I could go on and on and on...that's just the tip of the iceberg! There are over 300 recipes to choose from...if you can't find a ton of recipes for your family in this book, there's something seriously wrong with you. And, again, there is only one shopping list to work with. Forget about the hunt-for-the-recipe, check the pantry method of cooking. Shop with one list, make anything you want in the book.

As a busy mom of six and a new baby on the way, I love the concept and will be shopping with the grocery list next shopping trip! I'm excited about how much easier this recipe book will make my life! Don't forget to get your copy! They'll be on sale July 5, 2011!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Top 10 Mistakes Women Make When Pregnant!

1. Eating for two – You don’t need to eat for two! When pregnant you do need extra calories, though this figure is around 200 extra calories. This is about the same amount of calories as a small sandwich! Make sure you eat a healthy balanced diet which contains protein, vitamins, and minerals that you need to keep your and baby healthy.

2. Missing out pre-birth classes – even if you plan to have an epidural. Pre birth classes have been shown to reduce stress before and during labor. They give you an insight into what will happen and things that may go wrong during birth. This can lead to a much less stressful birth! It’s also a good opportunity to meet other couples in the same position as you.

3. Leaving child care to after baby is born. Many nurseries have long waiting lists, and the process of choosing the right one can take time. You need to visit the premises, check references. This is a huge decision so make sure you don’t rush the process. Choosing a good nursery will you’re your child the best start in life.

4. Not planning how to manage your finances before baby is born. Who is going to look after the baby? Can you afford for you or your partner to give up work? So many questions that its best to work out before baby comes. These questions can difficult problems for both you and your partner. These are much better sorted out before pregnancy so they don’t become a worry during pregnancy.

5. Not getting enough sleep – Not getting enough sleep is a very common complaint during pregnancy. At some time during your pregnancy you will probably suffer from the lack of sleep. In the first trimester, elevated progesterone levels cause fatigue. If you work part-time or don’t work take a nap during the day. This is more difficult if you work full-time but you can always close your eyes for a while during your lunch break. The second trimester is generally the easiest time to sleep during pregnancy, hormones are changing a you may need to urinate less, which helps sleep when you don’t need to visit the toilet several times during the night! In the third trimester babies increasing size starts to get in the way of sleep. Baby puts pressure on your bladder making visits to the bathroom increase during the night – limiting liquids a few hours before bedtime is recommended.

6. Not getting regular exercise – you need to stay fit and flexible for the labor! Exercise can also relive problems like excess weight gain, swelling of hands and feet, leg cramps, varicose veins, insomnia, fatigue and constipation. It also help mood and self image, exercise encourages your brain to release endorphins which helps keep you happy and gives your skin a glow.

7. Getting stressed during pregnancy – Stress is part and parcel of pregnancy however finding ways to relieve stress is important as it can be harmful to your baby. Studies show that stress can lead to low birth weight or preterm birth. If work is getting too stressful then don’t be scared to talk to your boss, many will be happy to help. Try to make friends with other pregnant mothers, giving you somebody who really understands what you are going through. Visit your local health centre or community hall, many run classes that give you the opportunity to meet other pregnant women.

8. Stopping medication for pre existing conditions. If you have a pre existing condition consult your doctor as soon as possible. Many medications you can continue with however it’s always better to air on the side of caution.

9. Not belting up in the car. Many pregnant women find it uncomfortable sitting in the car with the seat belt on. Remember that you seatbelt is a life safer – for both you and your unborn baby. Position your seat belt as low as possible below your belly and keep it directly across your hips not over your belly.

10. Not preparing for breastfeeding – breastfeeding does not always come naturally. It can be difficult to first learn the position best for baby and then to get the baby to latch on. With the different generations of midwives comes different views on how best to train baby. This can lead to conflicting advice depending on which midwife is on duty. There is so much information promoting breastfeeding with good cause however, it’s not always an easy task. Neither is it always the best option for your baby.

 Nicola when not looking after her two children is a writer for a baby names site. The site also offer quality article on baby health, toddlers and pregnancy week by week.

Thank you, Nicola, for your contribution to Mommy Rantings!!! If you have anything else to add to the pregnancy no-no list, please feel free to leave a comment!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Best & Worst Store Credit Cards

Guest post by Emily Esper

Most department stores have credit cards. They try to entice you into applying for their card by offering some sort of incentive. They are very easy to get, and when money is tight, credit cards seem to be the answer.

Advantages of Store Credit Cards

Store credit cards do have their benefits. Some of the advantages are as follows:

• They are easier to be approved for. They do not perform a strict credit check in order for you to get a card.
• You can build your credit history.
• Most stores allow you to do financing on larger items with no interest charges for a certain time period.
• Stores offer many discounts and promotions if you use your card.
• You can normally get reward points on your purchases.

Disadvantages of Store Credit Cards

The store attempts to try to persuade you to get their card. However, having a store credit card is not all good, as there are many disadvantages to being a cardholder of a store credit card:

• Some stores provide an open line of credit, which can affect your credit history in the future.
• Compared to regular credit cards, the fees and interest rates are very high.
• You can only use them at one store or chain.
• They can lower your credit score.

Best Store Credit Cards

• Kohl’s: There is no annual fee, and they give great incentives. They have coupons sent to you regularly, and are always having a sale. You can receive at least 12 discounts each year at 10 percent, and you receive 15 percent off of your first purchase after you apply for a card. However, the interest rate is high. The normal fixed rate is 21.9 percent.

• Visa by Chase: There is no annual fee, and it is accepted everywhere. You can get free shipping on purchases of $25 or more, and you can also earn rewards on gift cards. For every 2,500 points that you receive, you will be issued at $25 gift certificate. The interest rate depends on your credit score, but it is usually between 18.24 percent and 21.24 percent.

Worst Store Credit Cards

Wal-Mart: The introductory APR is only for the first $250.00 and must be made before a certain date. The normal interest rate is 22.99 percent. One benefit is that you do get .3 percent off of gas purchases. However, it is not available at every Wal-Mart station.

• Macy’s: The interest rate on a Macy’s card is 23.99 percent. Some Macy’s cardholders also complain that the billing statement is difficult to understand, and sometimes people pay the wrong amount. The older generation also says the print is too small, thus hard to read. You can get a 15 percent discount once you are approved, and it does offer excellent discounts and coupons.

Credit Card Bankruptcy

Because store cards are so simple to get, many people think that they will be a solution to their financial problems. However, if you are not careful, they could get you further into debt, and before you know it, you have too many bills to pay and do not know where the funds are going to come from.

If your credit card burdens become too great, you could be forced to file credit card bankruptcy. Therefore, you need to budget carefully when getting a credit card to make sure that you are not getting in over your head.

You need to decide what is best for you. Research your options, and make sure that you read the fine print.

Thanks, Emily, for your contribution to Mommy Rantings! Have you had any experience with store credit cards? Which ones have been good and which one have been nightmares?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

ToonUp's A Better World Facebook Game Review

If you're one of those Facebook game addicts, I have another one to fit into your gaming schedule! I was recently asked to do a review on the Facebook game, A Better World, by ToonUps®. 

And, after banning myself from Facebook games for almost a year now, I went back to gaming to check it out. Here is the trailer to give you a quick peek:

You'll start out personalizing and dressing your character and customizing your house as you earn more gold to purchase items.

Ah! But, then you get to the best part: A Better World is just that! It's about doing good deeds and making positive choices that make the world a better place to live in. In the game, you get involved in the community, where you can head over to places like the Department of Do Good, Gratitude Grotto and Sanctuary of Hope, each of which has its own do-good purpose in the game. For example, at the Department of Do Good, you can spread the word about your good deeds and see what others having been doing to create a better world.

You will earn Do-Good Gold as a reward for the good deeds that you perform and buy things with it around the town. There also mini-games, one namely Thump A Thought, that you can play to earn some more gold to spend.

According to TuneUps, "A Better World’s original approach could usher in a new genre of 'do good gaming'. Research shows that being encouraged to think about things they are thankful for and doing activities that provide encouragement to others improves their mental, emotional and spiritual well being."

My opinion

At first, as with any other game that you start playing on Facebook, there is a getting-to-know your way around period and the general start-up and initial establishment in the "World", but after that, the game gets pretty interesting and there are plenty of different places to go to and explore. Performing good deeds, rather than running around, shooting people or cooking different recipes, is definitely a positive influence to have - especially if you are going to be "addicted" to Facebook games! And, if you have children on Facebook (I don't promote it, but I know there are plenty of kids under 18 on there!), this game is a much better influence than many of the others.

I was given the opportunity to share my thoughts and opinions on A Better World. I received a gift card as a thank you for my participation. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, June 17, 2011

ManBabies??? You've GOT to Check Out These Photoshopped Pics!

Just in time for Father's Day, I ran across some of the funniest, if not absurd looking, Photoshopped pics...and they can be put on t-shirts for only $19.99! The whole idea of the movie, Like Father Like a more "freakish" sort of way... - Dad? - Dad? - Dad? - Dad? - Dad? - Dad? - Dad? - Dad? - Dad? - Dad? - Dad? - Dad? - Dad? - Dad?

If you haven't seen enough, you can head over to and check out the others on their site. You can even submit your own Manbabies pics on the site.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Prepping the Nursery: The Items That Parents Often Forget

Guest blog post by Nicole Rodgers
When parents are prepping for a baby's nursery, they buy the ritual furniture, paper the walls with little animals and hang mobiles for the baby's amusement. All that, in addition to stocks of bibs, jumpers, tiny T-shirts, blankets and, of course, diapers are quite necessary. A few equally necessary items get left off the list, however, and these are items needed for the baby's comfort plus the bond with the parents. Many parents wouldn't believe a simple tape recorder could be a part of the nursery, but it gives the baby a sense of security and safety hearing mom's voice when she has to catch the phone, answer the door or runs for a bottle for a baby.

New parents, especially, tend to forget vital things in the heat of an emergency. Since their cell phones are usually in their pockets, a small erasable memo board on the wall of the nursery would come in handy. This board could contain phone numbers of doctors, grandmothers, pharmacists, and babysitters. It could notate times medicine has been administered or how many ounces the baby drank from the bottle so mom knows how much to make at the next feeding. The memo board could inform parents that they are low on diapers, wipes, baby laundry soap, baby bath soap or rice cereal. New parents need all the help they can get, so a little helper here and there would be appreciated.

Getting the nursery ready for its tiny tenant needs to include items that are eco-friendly so that the baby doesn't get a rash or start having breathing troubles from allergen-laden items. Eco-friendly cleaning solutions and laundry soaps exist at most stores, which would make excellent dedicated baby-safe supplies. For times when the baby does get a rash, a stock of aloe vera gel is a must. Make sure it is pure and contains no alcohol, for alcohol worsens baby's condition. Most herbal shops carry formulas for babies who have tummy troubles, pain with teething, or headaches from crying. Since a baby can't tell mom where it hurts, mom has to guess, so a good supply of various easing medications would be a good idea.

Another useful idea for the baby's special place would be a futon-like piece of furniture or a nap pad such as children use in kindergarten for those times when mom and her baby spend together just before a nap. The baby will appreciate this piece of furniture because it smells like mom, so the baby will be relaxed and happy on this furniture. While rocking chairs are a part of any baby's nursery, preparing a baby's room with a place for parents to spend time with him separates sleepy time from play time. If a nap happens during play time, that's usually a blessing for mom and dad.

Color and texture, smell and taste mean a lot to an infant, because they are constantly learning from them. Stuffed animals can be smooth or furry, while cloth dolls can be made of yarns entirely or snips of cloth. Stocking a baby's room with toys, books and learning material is part of having a baby. Make sure the items are capable of being cleaned with natural soaps and combine colors and textures for the baby's amusement and education.

Nicole Rodgers has been blogging for three years; she encourages all you new moms to build your own website to blog about your motherhood experiences.  She also finds great deals on baby necessities such as clothes and toys for her new born niece at

Thank you, Nicole, for the wonderful tips!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pregnancy Countdown/Baby Boy Names

According to the pregnancy countdown widget to the right, I *only* have 99 days left until there are more sleepless nights, a crying newborn and lots more diapers to change on a daily basis! (Maybe, just maybe, I can have Kodi-Bear potty trained before then, but right now, it seems like it's not going to happen.)

On a happy note, my oh-so-thoughtful husband comes to me almost every day with new ideas for baby names. As this will be our sixth BOY (yes, we were blessed with only one girl), we ran out of our favorite boy names a few newborns ago. At least we already know the sex of the baby, confirmed by ultrasound (and there was no question about it), so we can toss around baby boy names for the next few months. Of course, we not only have to try to pick a perfect first name and middle name to match our last name, but we also have to make sure that it jives with the other names of our children.

So far, our boy's names are:

Lucas Randal
Nicholas Hunter
Wesley Morgan
Dylan Jacob
Dakoda Riley

As the day gets closer, I will publish another post with the baby names that we have come up with so far - and maybe you can help out with choosing the one. Right now, we're still searching the lists, forums and everywhere else on the 'net to find that perfect name. Because, it's not just about if the name sounds good for a baby, it's how that name will fit when they are a grown man, what the name symbolizes, how it falls in the line-up of our childrens' names, when I am reciting them to the doctor's office, school, etc (we don't need any tongue twisters) - and if it carries any family traditions along, it's even better.

While we ponder and search, I guess I'll keep you in the dark, wondering. I think by August, we'll have some great ideas and I will post them for the meantime, do you have any ideas for boy's names that are cool, unique and will flow with the others that we have chosen?

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