Too Many Toys, Do You Want Some Alternatives?


As I stare at all the toys strewn around my family room, I wonder what I can actually put away, giveaway or throw away. I am sure that many of you face the same issue with kids toys.

It is true that children learn from even the most basic household items…so why all these toys?

Well, many are impulse purchases and an equal number are gifts.

How do you control the number of toys in your midst….especially when there are 2 or more children in the home?

As you know I am a fan of Janet Lansbury. This morning I came across this article for those of you looking for household items that turn a child’s world into a discovery adventure.


A couple of thoughts:

1. Allow your child to enjoy discovering them. Rather than presenting the jars to your child, include them in his or her play area, either with the tops on loosely or already separated.


2. Let whatever is, be. Trust children to use the jars their way and in their time.


3. Remember that young children are process oriented. If the jars are loosely closed, they will accept them that way, at least for a while. If you’ve left the jars and lids separated, there’s no need for your child to know that they are supposed to go together.


4. Let go of the impulse to tell or show children what the jars do, because this will likely create stress that is totally unnecessary and a dependency on the adult to fix something that otherwise wouldn’t need fixing. Again, let what is, be, and you will make room for independent, experiential learning and the power of discovery.


5. Relax, observe and enjoy your child’s experiments with the jars and the way she uses them in conjunction with her other toys.

via Unexpected Toy Find! | Janet Lansbury.

“Care Package” Wars at Sleep Away Camp


It used to be just “color war” but now it is “care package war” at sleep away camp.

Color war was a rite of passage but care packages were a comfort from home.

I am guilty of sending care packages to my kids, many years ago.

I also used a service that put together camp friendly packages…I admit this decision was a complete and total waste of money. But, I felt that I needed to compete with the other campers “care packages”… in hindsight…utterly ridiculous!

What I did not do was concoct elaborate ways to stash forbidden candy in my care packages but I did not discourage my kids from taking their own private contraband with them.

It seems that over the years camps have tried to get the upper hand when it comes to controlling care packages…some camps have banned them altogether.

For me, the jury is out on how I would deal with this if I were a parent with a child at sleep away camp this summer.

I would like to think that I would try to adhere to the camp rules.

But when my kids were at camp, I remember hating the lack of contact with them and the “care package” was something I felt I had control over.

I would probably still send one package during the 4 weeks and call it a day…and it would include contraband candy for sure!


This discussion brought back memories of the difficulty of sending my kids to sleep away…it was a very emotional “letting go”both for myself and for my kids…I never went to sleep away… I am sure if my husband had not encouraged me to send our girls I would not have done so.



For as long as American children have attended summer camp (around 150 years), parents have sent them stuff. The term “care package” originated after World War II when the Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe (CARE) began sending food relief across the Atlantic. The group bought up surplus 10-in-1 food parcels from the American military, which had prepared them for an invasion of Japan.

Each package included a pound of steak and kidneys; 8 ounces of liver loaf; 12 ounces of luncheon loaf (Spam); 2 pounds of coffee; and a pound each of lard, honey, raisins and chocolate. In its first two decades, the organization delivered over 100 million packages.

Are Over-the-Top Parents Really the Rule at Summer Camp? –

Care-Package Wars – Parents Disregard Camp Bans.

Do You Wish Your Baby Had Hair?

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored.

Your little girl does not have to be “bald” any longer.

I don’t quite know why but I find this a very cute idea for parents to actually get a glimpse of what their little girl or even boy might look like with hair.

What do you think about this?

Am I being ridiculous here, isn’t  it just a whimsical thing that should not be taken too seriously?



Our patent pending HAIR+band accessory combination allows baby girl’s (with little or no hair at all) the opportunity to have a beautifully realistic HAIR style in a SNAP!!

It’s quick, easy and baby barely knows it’s there.

Each Baby Bangs! HAIR+band has been made using only the finest ribbons and fabrics, PLUS our Baby Bangs! come to you pre-customized & size appropriate, cut, styled and ready for immediate wear.

The wispy hair strands have been arranged in the cutest most adorable elfish coiffure!

Silky strands of Monofiber Kanekalon are used to create our Baby Bangs! Hair Strands. Kanekalon is the most realistic man-made hair fiber available.

What Do Your Kids Do During Summer Vacation?

ice cream cone


Instead, I’m choosing to teach them that breaks are a good thing. That they don’t need to wring their brain cells dry to be good students. That their hard work during the academic year deserves the reward of relaxation.


I’m teaching them that right now, they should experience fun and freedom and mischief and food and yes, a goodly amount of TV and video games. I’m teaching them that they are good enough, and I don’t expect perfection.


I’m teaching them that they’re still kids. And that’s really all they need to learn right now.

via I’m Not Teaching My Kids Anything This Summer | Summer Learning.


Truly…I could not say this better myself…as I stare out the windows at the water which beckons me to just go with the flow on any given day!

Summer vacation has always been a time that I valued with my kids and now I continue to value it with my grandchild.

My own Nana, God bless her, taught me that summer was for…

Days full of unscheduled activities as much as possible…

Summer was for days…

Full of ice cream cones, sandcastles, swimming and beaches along with…

Rainy days full of  painting, make-believe and cookie baking.

What better excuse to be a kid myself…

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

NarcissticReflections: Portraits of the Elderly as They Once Were


My eye recently got pulled towards “Reflections”. A photo series by Tom Hussey, where he portrays the elderly as they reflect on their younger selves in the mirror.


This is a wonderfully done series that gives you pause to think, about the passage of time and the lives we are living.

“Reflections” is for everyone…

I caught a profile glimpse of myself in the mirror last evening …

This morning…I viewed this beautiful photographic series on my Facebook page…

It gave meaning to what I saw in the mirror just yesterday.

Photographs and mirrors…

A look into the past and present…

How Do You Know If You and Your Child Need a Play Date Consultant?


Have you ever heard the expression that “there is nothing new under the sun”…

I was a believer in that saying, until I read about this!

Experts said that kids may need the play-date tutoring because their young lives have become so regimented, with classes in subjects like Mandarin and violin, that they don’t know how to play with others.

via Rich parents hire play-date consultants to help kids play better for private-school admissions –

Since when do children need experts to tutor them in how to successfully negotiate a play date? Has childhood really become so regimented that kids don’t know how to be kids any longer?

Or is it that parents do not know how to let kids just be kids?

Play is childhood…it is how children learn about the world and how they develop skills that they will use in day to day life. It is how they first learn to problem solve.

Watching children play is absolutely fascinating…at least in my eyes.

As a grandmother of one…I am having the time of my life…I am getting to have another chance to interact on an almost daily basis with a child. I have learned from experience with my own children “not to sweat the small stuff” that children will figure it out if left to themselves to solve a problem.

Patience and time is what I have on my side. This was not always true and I realize that it is the same for this generation of parents. Like myself, they cannot wait for their children to grow…they want them to succeed…they want them not to have to deal with all the difficulties that they dealt with as children. They want “the best” for them.

In this quest for “the best”, today’s parents may just be denying their children what is best. That is just being a child and being allowed to grow and develop through play activities and imagination.

Can trust be said enough times? Trust should be our mantra. It is the secret to the most successful parenting and also the secret to enjoying it. Trust in our child, along with the magic word “wait”, help us to stay our course when friends, family, and unenlightened professionals imply that we’re not doing enough, and/or our child isn’t keeping up. Trust will remind us to let go of personal expectations for our child and to instead recognize and support the expectations she has for herself. Trust, trust, trust. It will never lead us astray. ~ Janet via Janet Lansbury/Elevating ChildCare


Parenting is definitely work and that has not changed.

In many ways, it is even more difficult in today’s world to unplug, wind down, and leave the calendar open to do whatever you fancy for a day now and then.

Just perhaps parents should schedule themselves to unschedule and let themselves and their children stop and learn to play.



Military Families, How Much is Too Much, Balancing Life


In the summer, I frequently meet military moms and dads at the beach with their families. I find them to be interesting and friendly and very well traveled.

At our local beach, we are all kind of “in the same boat”…trying to relax and letting our kids/grandkids enjoy the wonderful rights of summer, sand castles, swimming and snacking. We sometimes share snacks and the best thing of all … we don’t really care what we look like.

After meeting a military family, I find myself wondering what it must be like to live this nomadic lifestyle. And then today, I find this on Facebook…I hope you read it.


35) Yes, we “chose” this life by voluntarily saying “I Do”… but that doesn’t mean that we knew what we were getting into.  No one can understand until they are living it.  We are all learning along the way, and could really use the support of our family and friends through the ups and downs.

This blog is mostly about parenting and parenting issues…and yes, it is an arena crowded with moms but not so many grandmothers like myself. I haven’t quite yet accomplished my goals with this blog but I really enjoy writing and sharing…it is work…but it is fun.

At times, I am definitely tempted to share too much about myself, but in my job as a social worker I have learned where to draw the boundary lines.

So what does this do for me as a blogger…well, it probably makes me not as popular and widely read as other bloggers, who share their life stories as if they were in a therapist’s office.

I am not criticizing here in a bad way…but I would caution bloggers to be careful what they share and how much…because this information will follow their children for the rest of their lives.


But as the parenting platform becomes more crowded, and as more accomplished women choose blogging over other viable work-life options, will writers feel pressured to keep upping the ante, revealing more and more about their kids and their private lives? After all, there are only so many eyeballs for so many posts. And what does this mean for the kids who are the subject of all this blogging? How will they react (either now or in 10 years) to their mothers publicly sharing the natural, though previously seldom discussed, underbelly of parenting emotions?

One of the hardest things to do is balance work with life as a mom and in my case grand mom. I am a fan of MomTrends and wish there was a GrandMomTrends but to my knowledge there is not.

Nicole shares some of her tips for those of us trying to create a work/life balance.

I’m sharing my top 10 tips for creating work/life balance. When Always Infinity came to me with the program, my first thought was to giggle. No working mom I know has balance 100% of the time. But some of us have a fragile dance that is working. I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I’ve got a terrific family, a thriving business and my health. I don’t want to discount my successes to luck or timing. Smart moves and good decisions help. I’d like to see more strong independent women business owners rise up in the USA. So I signed on and I’m ready to share!

Have a wonderful weekend! Thanks for reading!



Will You Watch Jenny On “The View”?


The news that Jenny McCarthy will be joining a show as popular as “The View” is very disturbing and distressing to me.

My whole professional life has been devoted to maternal child nursing and clinical social work. Jenny’s views on vaccinations are dangerous and deadly. She has used her “Hollywood” persona to champion her anti-vaccine cause…along with thumbing her nose at legitimate scientific research.

Barbara Walters has now given Jenny a national platform. In my opinion, Barbara is making a huge professional mistake with this choice.

Does she really want to be associated with promoting the anti-vaccination culture?

Ironically, Barbara may have lived to the ripe old age of 83 because she was vaccinated when she was a child.

Barbara’s decision to give Jenny national exposure on a daily basis on “The View” is as outrageous as Jenny’s beliefs about vaccines.

It is definitely time for Barbara to retire but her last deed before leaving television should not be something that very well might eclipse all the good that she has done for women during her career. Hiring Jenny should not be part of her television legacy!

What do you think?

Personally, I  will not be viewing “The View” nor will I be supporting any of its sponsors.


That’s why it is so distressing to add another first to the list of Walters’s achievements: Jenny McCarthy, who will join “The View” in September, will be the show’s first co-host whose dangerous views on childhood vaccination may—if only indirectly—have contributed to the sickness and death of people throughout the Western world. See McCarthy, who is savvy, telegenic, and pulchritudinous, is also the person most visibly associated with the deadly and authoritatively discredited anti-vaccine movement in the United States. She is not subtle: McCarthy once essentially threatened the actress Amanda Peet, who has often spoken out about the obvious benefits of childhood vaccinations, by warning Peet that she had an angry mob on her side. When people disagree with her views on television, McCarthy has been known to refute scientific data by shouting “bullshit.”


Ways to Have Fun Reading with Kids

Where the Wild Things Are

Children’s literature is one of my personal joys….

Thank you, dear granddaughter

for sharing this joy

Thank you, Toddler Approved for your “Virtual Book Club”


Our July Virtual Book Club for Kids author is Jez Alborough!

Each month for Virtual Book Club for Kids we feature a new author. You can find many of the posts we’ve shared over the past year on our VBC Pinterest Boards. Below are a few of the authors we’ve featured. We’ll be announcing our author line up for 2013-2014 in a few weeks!

Table Manners, Tantrums, Strong Willed Kids – Summer Weekend Reads

A Day at the Beach...Martha's Vineyard

A Day at the Beach…Martha’s Vineyard

Table manners are one of my pet peeves….but so hard to teach when life is so hectic and sit down family meals are not “regular” happenings each day as they were “back in the day”.

How do you teach table manners to your kids and grandkids?


Your kids may have learned table manners for restaurant eating, but if your kids are anything like mine, those table manners aren’t nearly as good at home. Circle of Moms member Rhionna H. points out two important things to remember about kids and table manners: they need to learn them while they’re young and they will learn by your example.


Tantrums…there is so much written about them and so little parents and grandparents can do when it comes to  the when and where of “melt downs”.

How do you handle tantrums?

Basic reasons for toddlers tantrums:

1. Can’t express what they want/need

2. Trying to assert their independence

3. Want to be in control

4. Too many limits

5. Basic needs not being met- tired, hungry, thirsty, etc.

6. Overstimulated

7. Bored

Strong will is in reality a good thing but a “strong willed” child certainly can pose a challenge to parents and grandparents as well as teachers.

Do you have a strong willed child or grandchild?


It is so frustrating when you have a strong-willed child who just will not cooperate. And it is even more upsetting when you read  parenting books and the “experts” suggest contradictory strategies!