Christmas Gift Ideas


Taken from my “Real Moms of West Michigan” segment with Tommy and Brook on Star 105.7

I know that you are so organized and probably have all your shopping done, right? OH wait this is the REAL moms segment…and if they are anything like me…they are still a few minutes away from having it all wrapped and under the tree!

My tip to get ready for Christmas is: personalized gifts!

It’s the perfect time to order those personalized gifts for Christmas.

  • Picture frames, mouse pads, mugs, water bottles.
  • Calendars…make a personalized calendar for the Grandparents filled with last years pics of the kids.
  • Personalized gifts for teachers…now is a great time to order them!
  • Personalized throw blankets for Grandmas.
  • For the kids you could get: personalized sleeping bags, duffle bags, toys, water bottles, an apron for Mommy’s little helper in the kitchen.

You can pick some great personalized gifts (including the ones shown) here at Lillian Vernon:

Free Shipping on $40+ at LillianVernon.com with promo code 58ECO211 until 11/30/12. Shop for personalized Holiday Gifts & Décor, kids toys, kitchen, office organization and more - personalization is always FREE. - 125 x 125

Affliliate link

And to help you organize all of your gift giving this year I found you a great app!

It’s called Santa’s Bag…

It helps you track everyone on your Christmas List, allow you to budget individually, set gift ideas, and then track when gifts are purchased, if they’ve been wrapped, and how close you are to meeting budget. It’s really an amazing app.

And one other thing you can do right now is start your homemade vanilla with Tommy and Brook’s recipe. I made this a couple years ago and it it amazing! The longer the shelf life the better it is, grab the vanilla beans and vodka and get gifting!

Homemade Vanilla

What is your favorite ‘prepare ahead of time’ kind of gift?

 

You can listen to my ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

If you missed this segment, you can listen by clicking on the Star 105.7 tab.

Best Apps for Moms And A Trip To the Studios

I couldn’t wait to get up to Grand Rapids for Artprize, it’s the largest art competition in the world and it’s only a half hour from my house. I live in the country now but I’m from Grand Rapids so I love getting back to the city! Denise and I took it as a great opportunity to have coffee at Schuler’s book store and then enjoy lunch at Cinco de Mayo on the Monroe Mall.

We stopped in to the studio to do my “Real Moms of West Michigan” segment on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook @TommyAndBrook. These guys are the best and I always have a good time when I get to hang out with them!

 

And while we were up there we popped into Wood TV8 to see some Twitter friends Matt Kirkwood @MatthewKirkwood, Emily Linnert @EmilyLinnert, Terri DeBoer @TerriDeBoer and Brett Thomas @daybrett (but he was chatting and missed the picture).
I love their temporary Artprize studio in the GRAM (Grand Rapids Art Museum), it feels like you’re at the Today Show with people standing outside the window waving during the broadcasts.

Ok, and now you need to see what Terri really wears for shoes around the studio:

If you live in the Midwest and you’ve never been to Artprize, I highly encourage you to visit next fall!

OK, so on to the Real Moms segment…

I shared some must have apps for cool moms. Oh yes, the REAL moms ARE the cool moms!

Grocery Gadget Shopping List
Cost: free to $3.99

It creates multiple shopping lists for different stores, matches coupons to shopping items and lets you compare item prices across stores. You can even sync it with other family members in case one of them makes it to the store before you do.

RedLaser
Cost: free to $1.99

It scans the barcode of an item and lists the prices of the product online and at local vendors. This is awesome when searching for anything from peanut butter to appliances. Compare prices in your area!

Our Everyday Lunch
Cost:$0.99

An entire week’s worth of menu options, with each day showing a new recipe, so you’ll never be out of ideas for what to pack yourself for lunch. Plus, the shopping list generator helps you plan ahead.

MomMaps
Cost: $2.99

Mom Maps helps you find family fun places, kid friendly locations on the go! Restarants, museums, playgrounds this app will let you know where the kids are welcome.

 

And I especially love this one:

Pocket First Aid & CPR from the American Heart Association
Cost: $1.99

– Includes the latest up-to-date emergency information from the American Heart Association.

– Review first aid procedures anytime, anywhere. From your home, to your car, to the wilderness.

– Easy to learn, easy to use, right there when you need it.

– Manage your first aid kit checklist, to be sure you have what you need in an emergency.

– Save your medical information for quick retrieval. Look up your doctor or emergency contacts with a single click.

– Store your insurance information for easy access.

 

I do the ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

Wrapping Up the Five Love Languages

Today we wrap up the series of Real Moms segements on the Five Love Languages of Children.

The five basic love languages that the book talks about are:

  1. Physical touch
  2. Words of affirmation
  3. Quality time
  4. Gifts
  5. Acts of service

This might help you figure out which love language speaks love to your child the loudest:

  1. First, pay attention to how your kids show you love because our kids are likely to express love the way they want to receive it.
    Are your little ones giving you lots of compliments or saying “I love you” often, this could indicate that they want words of affirmation from you.
  2. And then pay attention to how they are showing others that they care about them.
    Does your child love giving gifts to their teacher or do they like to give toys away to their friends? This might be a clue that they thrive on “receiving gifts.”

The bottom line is that our kids need all 5 of these love languages, but will most likely respond best to one over the others, so that means that as parents we need to be bi-lingual when it comes to the love languages of children.

Real moms really love their kids and we just want to do the best we can at raising them to be healthy adults and this is a great tool to have in our mom belt to do that!

To hear this and the other segments, click on the Star 105.7 tab.
I do the ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

Back to School, Simple Tips for Stress Free Mornings!

Do you hear it, the hallelujah chorus ringing out this morning??

Back to school means that moms can once again go to the grocery store without say “No” 38 times and when we clean up the house at 9 AM it will stay that way for at least 5 hours. Straight. Seriously, for 5 hours in a row, you won’t have to pick up anything that mysteriously appeared on the floor or find any dishes that you didn’t use piled in the sink.

Back to school also means back to crazy busy mornings, can you relate?

The biggest key to a stress free morning is found in one word: planning.

Three tips for a stress free morning:

  1. Bedtime…be consistent as possible. Plan ahead all the little things that need to happen to get them in that bed at a reasonable time.
  2. Set out clothes, backpack and shoes the night before. Shoes have this magical way about them, they disappear when the lights go out, so make sure you know where they are before you go to bed.
  3. Plan ahead for breakfasts and keep it simple.  Give them something that gives them a good start to their day, a whole grain or protein…the teachers would greatly appreciate it if we cut back on sugar in the morning.

A few simple things that can make the world of difference if we do them.

Of course this does nothing for the mornings when the dog gets sick or you spill your coffee all over yourself and the kitchen. Not that any of that has ever happened in my fairy tale life. Oh wait, this is the REAL Moms of West Michigan…yes, that has totally happened to me.

I hope you and your child have a spectacular school year this year!

I do the ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

Tips for Teaching Our Kids Honesty

I’m not talking about those times when our little ones asked someone in their 60’s if they have a baby in their tummy. Not good. This is not the honesty we’re going for, that’s a whole separate issue.

I’m talking about teaching our kids not to lie.

Lying in our home has always been one of the most serious offenses our kids could commit because it’s something that- when a child becomes accustomed to lying about things, they become known as a liar and if people don’t trust you…it affects all your relationships.

So, we really want our kids to learn to be honest at a young age.

A couple tips to help our kids do that are:

1. Reward honesty-I think this is huge! Reward those times when they tell the truth- when a lie seems much easier and without negative consequences.  Praise them, applaud that behavior!

2. Grab those teachable moments…seeing someone lie on TV or if a friend lies to them…use these moments to talk about how lying hurts others and causes people not to trust us.  Talk about how they could have responded differently. If they have a friend that lies often, you might want to limit their exposure to them if possible. Sadly, we tend to become like those who we surround ourselves with.

3. Little eyes are watching us. Lead by example. If they see you fudging the truth, so will they. When we go back in the store and pay because the cashier missed that water under our cart, our kids are learning to be honest- even when it would be easy to get away with it.

Moms, let’s help our kiddos learn honesty!
Click the “Star 105.7” tab above to hear today’s segment.

I do the ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

Preventing the Summer Slide

I talked to a friend who’s a teacher and asked her what she would say to moms this summer and without a second’s hesitation she said: “READ! Keep those kids reading through the summer!”
Ugh! Why couldn’t she say: “The beach! Get those kids to the beach this summer!”
Or, “the ice cream shop or the mall! Those kids need more dessert!”
Anybody?
*crickets*
I had grand intentions to be in the library every week this summer picking out new books for my daughter but my big confession is that I’ve only been there once this summer.
So, I am talking to myself and maybe a couple other moms out there and committing to take some time to get her reading this summer and avoid what teachers call the “summer slide.”
Tips:
• Get caught reading! Let them see you reading.
• Have lots of books or kids magazines available for easy to pick up reading.
• Get series of books to keep them interested.

Here is a link to some great age appropriate book suggestions too!

And then, call me and we’ll go to the beach and eat ice cream!

Click the “Star 105.7” tab above to hear today’s segment.

I do the ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

A Couple Tips for Moms on this Last Week of School

It’s the last week of school for most moms in West Michigan and I have just a couple ideas for you:

1. First, touch base one last time with your child’s teachers.

They’ve spent the year with your child and probably have a good idea of where their struggles and strengths are, so get the teacher’s input on things you can work on with your student over the summer.

  • See if the teacher has any recommendations for books or projects to prepare them for next year.
  • If possible take your student to their new class and meet their teacher for next year.

2. Second thing is: A lot of us moms scrapbook so, while it’s fresh in your mind, go through pictures of the school year and grab the ones you want to use for scrapbooking this summer.

  • Ask your child, what was their favorite part of 3rd grade??
  • What are some of the highlights and fun times they had. Because by the end of summer this past school year will be a blur.

Enjoy this last week moms!! And brace yourself because summer is just around the corner. Next week we’ll talk about some summer survival tips for moms.

I do the ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

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