Dear Parents, It’s Not Our Fault!

My kids tell me all the time when I embarrass them. I’ve got news for them – while I love them with everything I’ve got, they’ve also found ways to embarrass me, too!With reflection, it’s not my fault, and I don’t blame my kids either. The times we live in now are much different than when the parents of today were kids themselves. Digital technology has taken over nearly every facet of our lives, for us and our kids. Lost in the shuffle is the development of social skills and manners. Yet, these capabilities are still just as important as ever (ask any college recruiter, employer or someone new to your neighborhood)!Maybe that’s what drove me to write The SMART Playbook. It took years of researching and drafting, but I did it. I’m not an expert, I’m just a Mom – that is a Mom with … [Read more...]

How Artwork Changed My Room from Drab to Fab!

There’s an old saying, “The dress maketh the man.” Well, in this case, the artwork maketh (or should I say minted) the room!A few months ago, I began the process of looking at my family room to try to figure out how to give it an update and a fresh modern feel. Everything in this room was dated and the colors were just very bland – browns and beige! I wanted to add color, brighten the room and end up with a modern transitional feel. A designer pointed me to one of my favorite sites – minted.com for inspiration. Surely there would be something to inspire the new look of my family room.The minted.com site is fabulous. They have anything and everything to get you excited about colors and looks. The art is sourced from a global marketplace of independent artists. These artists submit … [Read more...]

The SMART Back to Basics Summer Project. Bring it ON!

I’ve spoken to hundreds of moms and everyone seems to have the same complaint. How do we get our kids off electronics and back to basics? How do we teach them to connect with people on a deeper level? How do we teach them to search for a solution using their minds and not just with a push of a button?Sometimes I just want to shout, “Stop looking down and take the time to look up, connect and enjoy the moment.” I am determined to teach them the amazing benefits of life unplugged!And voila, that inspired me to set up my summer of getting back to basics plan begins! It’s time to look up, connect and experience real feelings, real emotions, real people, real nature – everything REAL and NOTHING electronic.I’m calling it 'My SMART Back to Basics Summer Project'. The goal is to … [Read more...]

3 Amazing Benefits of Cooking with Kids!

Yes, it’s true! Sometimes cooking with our kids can require time, patience, and some extra clean up effort. But experts agree that the extra effort is well worth it. The benefits are countless.Recently I was reminded how fun cooking can be when my kids and I attended a photo shoot for Cuisinart. The shoot was focused on the amazing Griddler! After the shoot, we were fortunate enough to keep the Panini maker and had so much fun coming up with creative delicious panini recipes. One more memorable than the other – the kids even got a little competitive.  As we sat around the table that night, we came up with a list of amazing benefits derived from a day in the kitchen as a family.Family Bonding OpportunityAll children love attention and cooking together requires a little … [Read more...]

10 Amazing Tools to Inspire Fantastic Table Manners!

Calling all parents with kiddos that care about good table manners!We spend so much time focusing on teaching our kids how to talk, to read, to write, to count and more. But do we know enough and spend quality time teaching our kids basic table manners? It all starts with moving them away from using fingers to introducing utensils. As a mom of three kids, I’ve seen it all and I’ve learned that the earlier you start working on the basics, the easier it will be!The first step is to expose them to flatware.  Start with a spoon and fork. Then you move on to the knife and how to use them together.  Using utensils can be compared to riding a bike. If your balance is off, it won’t work very well. Food is less likely to launch off the table or spill onto clothes if your kids know how to … [Read more...]

The Perfect Valentine’s Day Thanks to minted.com

Guess what arrived in the mail today?A few weeks ago, my daughter and I picked out lots of cards and gifts from minted.com to get ready for Valentine’s day 2017! This year they offered an amazing section of Valentine’s day cards for her classmates—she was so excited. We also added a few elegant personalized cards for grandparents and some special Valentine’s day gifts.The long-anticipated box is here!  I always love opening the minted boxes because they do such a great job with their packaging. They find a way to make every item look even more beautiful than online.To give you some ideas for your Valentine’s day shopping list, I thought I’d share ours. If you hurry, you too can take advantage of all the great deals on minted.com this Valentines. Unique Classroom … [Read more...]