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Wednesday
Jun272012

A Perfectly Inappropriate Birthday Card for Grandma

This is the card one of my now 9 year old twins picked out for my mom for her 70th birthday.

She ran over to me with the card and of course I said,

"PERFECT!"

And Grandma love it.

 

Monday
Jun252012

Who is Really in Charge of Your Child's iPod, Mobile Phone, TV Viewing or Internet Activity?

The Best and the Worst Gift Ever

Last December, with much trepidation on my part, we gave our 8.5 year old twins each an iPod Touch for Christmas.

Not only was I hesitant to spend that much on eight year olds, but I had to think long and hard about giving them a portable device that gave them access to the Internet.

We live in a very different time.
When I was eight the coolest thing I had was call waiting and the ability to conference in a friend…who would then conference in a friend…who would then conference in another friend.

But having 20 kids on a conference call is very different than 20 kids who can take pictures, or trade emails or texts and shoot them to 100 people each within a matter of minutes.

If you make a wrong statement to your friends online, it's out there permanently. A text that says "I don't like that person" still lives a year later. It can still do damage a year later.

All this is reeling around in my mind when my mom says she'll go halvsies on the iPods so then we only have to get one, and my husband is nodding and saying, "take it and call it a day", and before I know it I've agreed to getting them each a $200 device that can basically ruin their life before they've even it puberty!

Here's my own neurotic version of parental controls:
It's my iTunes account on their iPods so I have to approve every app download
YouTube is deleted (have you SEEN the "popular" stuff that pops up when you launch YouTube???)
The do not have an email of their own yet (so they can't Text or use FaceTime either as far as I know)

Learn More about Parent Controls from Cox Cable and John Walk on June 28th

As a Lifetime Moms Affiliate I'm excited to tell you about a Tweet Up on June 28th where a local DC blog friend of mine, Leticia from @TechSavvyMama and the amazing child advocate, John Walsh, will be talking about parental controls and monitoring tools for TV viewing, Internet and mobile phone use as an important component in keeping kids safe.

Join me, @Cox_Comm (Cox Communications), @Techsavvymama and other concerned parents and child advocates on Twitter:

Date: June 28th

Time: 6 - 7 PM

Hashtag:  #CoxTakeCharge


As I was browsing the Cox Take Charge website I found this great list of 10 Tips for Parents About Internet Safety.

The Number One item?


1. Talk with your kids about Internet Safety.
Talk to your kids regularly about what they do online and what they shouldn't do. Research shows that kids whose parents talk to them about Internet safety are less likely to engage in risky behavior while online.


I have started to talk to them regularly mostly because they keep asking when they will get an email and get to text and FaceTime their friends. They might not be happy with the discussion, but I know that my reasons are slowly seeping into their heads. When it IS time for them to start using more functions on their iPods, I hope they will do so responsibly.

What are you doing to ensure your child's safety online?

I'd love to know the steps you have taken.

Janine

Disclosure: as a Lifetime Mom affiliate I have been compensated for this post and for helping to spread the word about this Tweet up and the Cox Take Charge cause. All that said, ALL opinions expressed here are my own and are based on true experiences I have documented. This is a cause that is close to my heart. I'm excited to learn more on the 28th!

Wednesday
Jun202012

18 Summers

This year I couldn't make the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration - a conference where Disney celebrates the influence of digital parents, treats them to a speaker series unlike any other (think Peter Shankman, Chris Brogan, Maxine Clark, the woman who started Build-A-Bear, and many other great minds), then lets attendees and their families explore the parks and enjoy unique entertainment.

It's Magical.

I feel like I'm getting 1st Class treatment every time I'm with Disney whether it's when we took our twins for their 6th birthday, visiting with the conference, or at a local Disney event.

Through the Disney SM Moms conference (search for posts on Twitter, Instagram, Google+ with this hashtag #DisneySMMoms) we learn what new attractions Disney has in store at various parks, and learn about other Disney properties including the line of cruise ships and vacation properties. (think Hawaii).

Disney is the King when it comes to customer service and creating magical, bonding moments for me and my family.

It is no surprise that Disney is the one who woke me up to the fact that I only have 18 summers with my children. I know not every summer can include a visit to Disney, but I can be sure to create my own magic.

Then I realized…my twins are 9. I only have 9 more summers with them!


This summer will be a little different.

 


Instead of 5 weeks of camp, the girls are enrolled in 2 weeks.

Instead of work being the focus for the next 3 months, I'm fitting work in around our play schedule.

I have purchased a few Groupon deals and have marked the calendar (in pen) the days where we'll visit the adventure park, the bowling alley, and other sites where we bought deals. (Buying the ticket ahead of time via Groupon or some other discount site makes it harder to blow off a day of play. The tickets have been purchased. We have to go!)

I will be working while on vacation, but I have limited it severely. (Admittedly I still can't bring myself to set that email vacation responder for fear of lost opportunity. Baby steps.)

I am 'considering' adding a responder that says "during the summer break I may take more than 24 hours to respond to an email but I will get to it, I promise" or something to alert people so they are aware in case they are trying to reach me for something urgent.


Have you considered that we only have 18 summers with our children? Have you thought about how you might make changes to make the most of them?

And - I'd love to know who's going to Disney!

Janine

Monday
May282012

Buy Toms of Maine Toothpaste, Get $1 off Stonyfield YoKids

If you are going to give your kids organic and all-natural foods to chew, doesn't it make sense to give them an all-natural toothpaste?

Starting May 21st each tube of Toms of Maine children's toothpaste purchased on http://www.tomsofmainestore.com/ will have a coupon for $1.00 off Stonyfield YoKids Organic Greek yogurt!

You can even take 20% off your Toms of Maine purchase by using code YOKIDS20.

But hurry - this special offer ends June 4th!

Janine


Disclosure: I received coupons for free YoKids yogurt and Toms of Maine sample size products as a thank you for sharing this information.However, I should also disclose that I buy YoKids regularly anyway and my Toms deoderant is just about empty. .

Thursday
May242012

Chevy Cruze Eco - Who needs to Carpool Anyway?

Recently I had the chance to drive the new 2012 Chevy Cruze Eco for a week.

It. Was. Awesome.

First, it was nice to ditch my bulky, slow, 125,000 mile minivan for a week and zip around in a sporty little Chevy Cruze.

Second, I'm convinced the Cruze Eco doesn't run on gas. It can't. They delivered it with a full tank and I drove ALL OVER the county to meetings, activities, and on errands I was saving up to do that week - I don't think I used half a tank!

Third, it was quick, comfortable, and offered a really smooth ride considering how low I felt to the ground. Also, I was never a big American car person. That has changed.

Girls took a photo of me driving... and smiling

The only thing that is not great about it, is that it's not practical for carpooling. BUT, it hardly uses gas so I don't mind driving just my kids anyway! Who needs to carpool when you have the Chevy Cruze Eco?

 

Disclosure: GM gave me the Chevy Cruze Eco and a full tank of gas for the week. I was not required to post nor was this post reviewed prior to being published. All opinons are my own.