PBS Kids Presents Dr. Seuss Marathon

PBS kids

I have been a Dr. Seuss fan for as long as I can remember.  My love of Dr. Seuss started with the books my mom used to read to me as a child.  I’m always delighted when one of the books Paige picks of the shelf for me to read to her is The Cat in the Hat.  I mean, how could any child not love the clever rhymes, plot twists and rebellious heroes found in nearly ever Seuss book?   As my daughter has gotten older, we’ve slowly introduced television.  She is just now getting to the point where she actually watches a show.  That being said, I am really excited to see her reaction to the news below.  😆

To celebrate the 108th birthday of Dr. Seuss on March 2, 2012 (he died in 1991) PBS KIDS is having a two-hour marathon of  its popular new series The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That! including two brand new episodes.   The TV series and online resources are designed to cultivate positive views about science and scientists among the next generation.  I loved this tip sheet found on the PBS website about how to bring out the scientist in your little one.

In addition to the marathon, kids and parents can enjoy clips of all four of the episodes for free online at PBSKids.org/video and also on the PBS Kids Video app for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Here is the full press release detailing the celebration in full plus episode blurbs.

As an aside, this will be the first of many PBS specials I’ll be letting you know about because I’ve just started on as a PBS KIDS VIP, a group of parent bloggers who will be ambassadors to PBS through their blogs and other social media outlets. I’ve been invited to the PBS annual meeting where we will be talking about the PBS shows, apps and other special programs.  I can’t wait to share all the exciting information with you!  Also, MARCH 1st at 9pm EST, there is a twitter party with PBS Kids.  Be sure to follow @aMomKnowsBest & @PBSkids #CatintheHat to join in the fun!

GIVEAWAY:  A fun bag of Dr. Seuss/PBS Kids loot!  Leave a comment section below to win.

Below is the press release on the PBS kids marathon.

 

PBS KIDS CELEBRATES DR. SEUSS’ BIRTHDAY ON MARCH 2
WITH THE CAT IN THE HAT-A-THON MULTIMEDIA EVENT

Arlington, VA, February 2, 2012 – On March 2, PBS KIDS will celebrate the 108th birthday of Dr. Seuss on-air, online, and on mobile. PBS stations nationwide will feature THE CAT-IN-THE-HAT-A-THON, a two-hour marathon of THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT! (check local listings). Kids will also be able to engage with the Cat and friends through games and video content online and on mobile, and parents will be able to enjoy a new Birthday Party Builder Tool on the PBS KIDS Shop website.

“THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT! is designed to help young children learn core science skills to prepare them for success in school – while taking them on Seussian adventures that inspire their curiosity,” said Lesli Rotenberg, Senior Vice President, Children’s Media, PBS. “Families, schools and communities around the country pay tribute to Dr. Seuss at this time each year, and we join them in honoring his legacy with content that encourages kids to explore the world around them.”

THE CAT IN THE HAT-A-THON will feature two brand new episodes, “Seasons – Spring and Summer/Fall and Winter,” which takes the Cat, Nick and Sally on a journey through the four seasons, and “When I Grow Up/Doing It Differently,” in which Nick and Sally explore what it means to grow up and learn that trying a different approach can sometimes be the best way to solve a problem. The marathon will also include encore presentations of “Hooray for Hair/Ice Is Nice” and “Chasing Rainbows/Follow the Prints.”

The celebration will continue online and on mobile. Video clips from all four episodes featured in THE CAT IN THE HAT-A-THON will be available for free online at PBSKIDS.org/video and on the PBS KIDS Video App for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. The PBS KIDS Shop will also launch a Birthday Party Builder Tool – a one-stop-shop for parents’ every party need – on March 1. From tableware and party banners to clothing and gifts, the Party Builder offers customized recommendations based on the number of guests and exclusive, personalized products. It’s a fun and easy way for parents to plan the perfect party featuring their kids’ favorite characters, including the Cat in the Hat.

THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT! has ranked among the top ten programs for children ages 2 to 5 since it premiered on PBS KIDS in September 2010.* The series is a key part of PBS KIDS’ commitment to helping kids build critical STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – skills through engaging content across platforms.

Images from these episodes are available on PBS PressRoom.

Following is a listing of the episodes airing during the March 2 CAT-IN-THE-HAT-A-THON (check local listings for air dates and times).

“Seasons – Spring and Summer/Fall and Winter” *NEW*

“Seasons – Spring and Summer” – For Show and Tell at school, Nick and Sally must bring something from their favorite season. But how can they choose which is their favorite? The Cat in the Hat takes them to the magical Garden of Seasons, where they can visit any season they like, any time they like! They meet three young animals and journey with them as they begin to grow up. Sally decides that she has two favorite seasons, and with the pictures taken from the Snaparama camera, she now has a scrapbook of pictures to show why!

“Seasons – Fall and Winter” – It’s Nick’s turn to choose a favorite season. Back to the Garden of Seasons to visit Fall and Winter! In Fall, they meet up with their friends from Spring and Summer to have a going away party for Candy the goose who’s about to fly south. In Winter, they have a great time playing with Sam the hare while all his other friends hibernate. Nick can’t decide on just one season, so he makes a picture of all the fun they had in both seasons!

“When I Grow Up/Doing Things Differently” *NEW*

“When I Grow Up” – Sally and Nick are trying to guess what they’ll be when they grow up when the Cat drops in for a visit. Cat is sure Nick and Sally will never guess what his friend Puggle will be when she grows up. When they see her, they start guessing right away! A frog? A duck? No, a beaver! They discover that, while Puggle may have some similarities to other creatures, she will grow up to be a duck billed platypus.

“Doing It Differently” – Nick and Sally can’t seem to find Harvey the guinea pig. They find the Cat in the Hat instead! Cat suggests that Sally and Nick might find Harvey by meeting three friends who always do things differently – like a bird that runs instead of flies, or a cat that swims, or a fish that walks on the mud! Nick and Sally are sure to find Harvey now – by doing it differently!

“Hooray for Hair/Ice Is Nice”

“Hooray for Hair” – Sally and Nick are getting their hair cut today; maybe they should try new hairstyles! A trip to meet three of Cat’s friends (and some styling help from the Wig-o-lator) will help them decide! Should they have Yak hair? No, too hot! How about hair like a fur seal? Not quite, too short. A porcupine? No way! How will they ever get a hug from their moms with hair that spiky? They decide that the hair they have is what’s perfect for them!

“Ice Is Nice” – Nick and Sally want some nice cold lemonade, but there are no more ice cubes in Sally’s fridge! A trip to Freeze-your-knees Snowland will fix that! They meet Cat’s friend Polly the polar bear who introduces Sally and Nick to all the different kinds of ice that make up her home. After trying many types of ice, they find the kind that will be perfect for their lemonade!

“Chasing Rainbows/Follow the Prints”

“Chasing Rainbows” – The kids are painting a picture of a rainbow but can’t remember all the colors to use. Luckily for them, Cat takes them to Color-ga-lore to meet King Kaleidoscope, an expert on rainbows! A musical number teaches them the proper color order, and a silly spray of water leads them to discover how to make their very own rainbow!

“Follow the Prints” – Nick and Sally are enjoying a backyard picnic when they discover their last strawberry has gone missing! Who could have taken it? Cat’s friend Cluey Looey can help them! They are off to Muddyfeet Waterhole where they learn about how the differently shaped feet, paws, or hooves of various animals make differently shaped footprints. Back home, they follow the prints and discover their strawberry was taken by a squirrel! Luckily, the Cat has some more!

About THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT!

THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT! was created in response to recent findings that children graduating from kindergarten are less prepared to learn about science than about other subjects. The series supports young children’s science learning by introducing scientific inquiry skills, teaching core science concepts and vocabulary, and preparing preschoolers for kindergarten and first grade science curriculum — all in whimsical style.

A team of science and early childhood experts developed the curriculum for the first season’s 40 episodes, each of which begins with a question posed by Sally or Nick. Although the Cat knows a lot of things, his insatiable curiosity to learn more about the world leads to adventures with Sally and Nick in his one-of-a-kind Thinga-ma-jigger, a marvelously Seuss-ian contraption that sprouts wings, pontoons, booster rockets, skis, and just about anything else needed to find the answer. The inquisitive gang travels to the bottom of the sea to observe giant sea worms, zips to the rain forest to visit animals living in Kapok trees, and shrinks to bee-size to visit a hive and learn how honey is made. Guided by the Cat, the kids figure things out by observing, collecting and managing clues, making connections, constructing and evaluating theories, and having discussions – all in a preschool-appropriate manner. Produced by Portfolio Entertainment Inc. and Collingwood O’Hare Productions, in association with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Random House Children’s Entertainment, Treehouse, and PBS KIDS, THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT! is based on Random House’s best selling Beginner Book collection, “The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library.”

Could YOU Abandon Facebook?

addicted to facebook

Facebook is a much needed necessity and important way of life for a vast amount of people these days.   In the ever-growing world of social media,  Facebook provides so many opportunities that were not around even just a few years ago.    When I graduated from high school, we did not have social media as we do now, much like  e-mail and cell phones.     Twenty-five years ago, it was difficult to keep in touch with friends or people you went to school with as you grew up and moved on with your life.   I can guarantee you that if Facebook had been around when I graduated from high school, my life would have been very different.

Facebook provides a level of interconnectedness that otherwise would not exist.  I  love Facebook for many reasons.  It helps me keep in touch with my large family who are located all over the country, puts me in touch with friends and co-workers from years gone by and it has provided me with so many ways to meet new people and become involved with new experiences.   Trust me when I say that I have many reasons to be thankful and grateful for the invention of Facebook.

Why do I mention all of this?  I mention it because I was starting to think about what my life was like before I was on Facebook.    I was thinking about how my life is now versus the pre-Facebook days.    Sometimes you don’t realize you need a break from something until you actually get it, and you see how nice it was to just have a little time away.   On occasion, I found that Facebook took up more time  than it should  and I was beginning to neglect or put off important things. What started as a “Let me check Facebook for a few minutes” quickly turned into an hour or sometimes more and, in turn, put me behind schedule in so many ways.   Sine this was becoming a small issue for me, I decided to take a few days off from it and see what it would be like.

This “break” was by no means easy – not at all.   In all honesty, it was so hard in the beginning.   I was shaking and crying and needed to be restrained from logging into Facebook at times (well, not really, but you know where I am going with this).   I  actually felt a little lonely, disconnected and in a way afraid that I would be forgotten or, even worse, that people would not even know I was gone and– in some cases– this was true.

As the days progressed, it was still hard but it did force me to balance my life and the responsibilities I have.  The Facebook vacation was difficult to take. During those few days, I was able to accomplish so much and felt more organized.    Now please understand me when I say that I am not saying that Facebook is in any way a bad thing.   To the contrary, I think Facebook is a fantastic outlet as long as you do not abuse it or let it affect your other responsibilities and priorities.   I am happy to say that I am back on Facebook with a greater appreciation for it.  I’m now able to stop looking into everyone else’s life while watching mine fly by.    There can be a balance and I’m grateful I’ve found it.

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VTech Connect-to-Cell Phone System (Home Phone Convenience Without the Cost!)

Vtech connect to cell

Maybe I’ve been out of the loop, but I didn’t even know a product existed that allowed you to use your cell phone like a home phone.  My family hasn’t had a landline in four years; we just didn’t think it made sense.  I have to admit, though, sometimes the mad search for my ringing cell phone is frustrating.  By the time I find it, the person has hung up!  My friends and family complain that I’m the hardest person to get a hold of, but it’s impossible to be glued to my cell phone at all times.  Even if it is by my said, I often need two hands to do housework, play with my daughter, or get ready.  So when VTech’s Connect-to-Cell Phone System showed up at my door, I couldn’t wait to try it!  Even my husband (who rarely comments on anything associated with my blog) thought the system was brilliant.  Then again, this was something he could really benefit from since he works from home.

Key features of the VTech DS6421-3 Connect-to-Cell:

  • Push-To-Talk acts as a multiple handset walkie talkie system to instantly communicate with any or all of the handsets within the system.
  • HD Audio provides an extended frequency band allowing for the signal to be reproduced and tuned for a fuller and clearer sound.
  • Make and receive landline and cellular calls – Connects to BLUETOOTH enabled cell phones to make and receive calls with the ease  of a home phone system. Two cell phones can be actively connected to the base. Cell calls can be made or received from either of these two active cell phones. Pair four different cell phones to the base unit.
  • Voice Announce Caller ID audibly announces the name and number of the caller on all of the handsets and base unit. (how cool is that??) No need to find the handset to see who is calling.   Makes screening calls that much easier (love it!)
  • With the touch of a button, the handset speakerphones makes hands-free conversations easy.
  • Expandable up to 12 handsets using only one phone jack.
  • Access your cellular phonebook directory – Download your cellular phonebook directory to this cordless phone system.  Dial a landline or cellular call from the directory for easy access. Stores over 6000 directories from up to four different cell phones. No need to input names and numbers into your cordless phone. (Thank Goodness!)
  • Pair four different cell phones (or headsets) and have two devices actively connected. Cellular calls can be made or received from either of the two active cell phones. Landline service not required, works great for cellular only households.

There are so many more great features, you can check them out for yourself, by going to VTech’s website here.

As the holidays approach, I knew things around the house would be getting even busier–and messier–making all the features of VTech’s phone system that much more appealing.

In a recent holiday survey, Vtech found:

  • 46% of respondents said they would spend more time with family/friends if they had an extra set of hands to get things done (51% of all females); higher with moms at 48%.  37% of respondents said clean the house quicker; 47% of moms
  • 31% of respondents said phone calls ranked the highest as the biggest distractions to getting more done at home during the holidays.  24% of respondents (48% of moms and 40% of dads) said kids needs/events
  • 81% of respondents (92% of parents) ranked a device that could help you multi-task and get more things done  as very/somewhat important

I guess I’m not the only frazzled parent out there who wishes I had more hands!  After trying out VTech’s Connect-to-Cell phone system, I’m thinking it might just be the perfect gift for some of those hard to buy for people on my list this year.

Disclaimer:  I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of VTech and received a product sample to facilitate my review.  As always, all opinions–good and bad–are my own.

 

How Cancer Changed my Identity (Click for a Cure)

The early morning air was frigid.  The snow crunched under my feet, and a single tear rolled down my chapped cheek.  Headphones on, I was listening to Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying,” but this time, the words  cut through me and took up residence in my head.

He said I was in my early forties, with a lot of  life before me
And one moment came that stopped me on a dime
I spent most of the next days, looking at the x-rays
Talking bout’ the options and talking bout’ sweet times.
I asked him when it sank in, that this might really be the real end
How’s it hit ‘cha when you get that kind of news?
Man what did ya do?
He said

Chorus
I went skydiving
I went rocky mountain climbing
I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I’d been denyin’
And he said some day I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dyin’…

You always remember exactly where you are when you get the news.  I was a morning anchor in Cleveland,  and my husband had just been diagnosed with cancer.  Melanoma.  True to my nature, I remained optimistic, but I would be lying if I said the thought of being a widow in my thirties didn’t enter my head. My husband is a fighter, much like my sister-in-law, who at the time,  had just beaten breast and thyroid cancer.  He wanted to keep the issue private and just wanted the cancer GONE, so shortly before Christmas he had a five and a half hour surgery at The Cleveland Clinic to remove the cancer that had spread across his face, down his neck and into his chest.  It was quite possibly the longest five hours of my life. To say the wait at the clinic–alone–was agonizing is an understatement, but I’m happy to say that although he hasn’t been cancer free, he has been melanoma free for six years.

Since that day,  cancer has taken the lives of  several friends and family members-  most recently, my grandmother,  who lost her battle with pancreatic cancer.

Many of you have asked where I am and what I’ve been doing since I left my job as the evening anchor in Providence.  We initially traveled around the country, but when we got to Georgia, where my parents live, they had some unexpected news for us.  My dad–the full of energy, West Point graduate, Air Force General–has cancer.  Specifically, stage 4 throat cancer. He has a tumor at the base of his tongue and the cancer has spread to his lymph nodes. He has had four chemo treatments so far and, I think, 20 radiation treatments.  Honestly, I’ve lost count.  This round of chemo is over and now he must continue going to radiation TWICE a day, five days a week, for three more weeks.  Doctors will then see about removing the –hopefully dead– nodes and will check to see if surgery to remove the tumor is an option.  My dad also has Leukemia (CLL) & Diabetes, which makes all these treatments a little more complicated.

 

radiation for cancer patient

radiation

I am the youngest in the family and am used to everyone looking after me, regardless of whether I need it: older siblings to protect me, parents to be over-protective. Being here, as my dad battles cancer,  has forced me to see myself in a new light…that of caretaker. For the first time in my life, I feel like I can really be of help to my parents.  I don’t have a job that I am tied to, yet if the right opportunity presents itself I can take it. This is the first time in my adult life I’ve ever spent any considerable amount of time with my parents, and the most time they’ve ever gotten to spend with my 20 month old daughter.  She is such a welcome distraction, not only to my dad, but to my mom, who is taking my dad’s diagnosis especially hard.

 

grandfather and granddaughter

Dad & Paige amusing each other

 

grandfather & baby

Fun at the pool!

Click for a cureI don’t know what the future holds for my dad.  We can only live one day at a time and be hopeful for many more great years together. I know it will get worse before it gets better, but I am so grateful for this time we have together.  So many families have been touched by cancer, including many of you reading this article.  My hope and prayer is that we can someday find a cure.  I am not asking you to donate any money; I know times are tough and everyone has charities that are important to them.  I would, however, be so grateful if you could find the 15 seconds it takes to “like” a company on Facebook. Overhead Door Garage Headquarters has generously offered to donate $1  to the Tomorrow Fund for each facebook “like” Overhead Door gets from the start of this campaign.  My hope is that we can help “close the door” on cancer by sending  thousands of  “likes” their way and, in turn, thousands of dollars to the Tomorrow Fund to help find a cure for this horrible disease.  So, please, spread the word, re-post, and take thirty seconds to check out Overhead Door Garage Headquarters and “like” their page.  When the campaign is over, we will be doing a check presentation.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

baby & grandfather

Where My Love for Reading Took Me……

I have enjoyed blogging so much on Allison Alexander‘s fabulous site, aMomKnowsBest, that I decided I would try it out it myself!  I am a former teacher who absolutely loves reading, so I thought,  why not make a blog geared towards reading? So, that’s what I’ve decided to do with my new blog MamaLuvsBooks!

Here is the outline for what I will be blogging about:

Mondays: Kids’ Book Reviews

Tuesdays: Tips and Advice for teaching kids to read

Wednesdays: Wordless Wednesdays (pictures posted related to reading/writing)

Thursdays: What’s Mom Reading? (reviews of parenting books, or just books moms like to read)

Fridays: Discussion Day (questions and answers, and the first Friday of each month will be our “Virtual Book Club”)

* “Virtual Book Club” will be a discussion on Twitter on the first Friday of each month from 8-9pm.  We will talk via #hashtags that will be provided before the discussion.  The books will be posted a month in advance (maybe sooner) so you will know what to read!  It should be fun, and hopefully in the near future I can supply prizes during the discussion!

Now, how to blog……..

I wasn’t quite sure where to start, so I asked around a bit.  I heard from most people that Blogger is a good place for a first blog.  It’s kind of like a nice safe car for a first time driver.  I started with following everything I needed to do in order to set-up the blog through Blogger.  It was very step-by-step and easy to follow.

Next, I had to navigate around Blogger to find out how to do certain things; like post blogs, add gadgets (things listed on your sidebar), change the look of the blog (design), make a TwitterFacebook and StumbleUpon button so people could connect to me there as well, and learn to check stats/views.  This took a while to search around, but just play with the menu bar up top and you will learn a lot.  The “help” section also answers a lot of questions.

I decided after that to purchase my domain (URL).  This way I could make it what I wanted without the “blogspot” being in my URL.  It was only $10 for the year to purchase the domain.  Totally worth it,  I think!  It’s much easier for people to remember a shorter URL.  Why do you think phone numbers are only 7 digits?  Our brains can only hold so much information at one time.

The next things I learned that are important in blogging are to have a Twitter page with a handle set-up (one that relates to your blog), and also a Facebook page set-up to have people follow you.  Not everyone has an account to be able to follow your blog through Google Friend Connect (GFC).  Having the Facebook page to “Like” gives others the opportunity to follow you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I’m learning currently is Twitter etiquette (to make sure I don’t chase any followers away), meeting other bloggers on-line (blog hops are good ways to meet people and promote your blog), and using AdSense and Amazon Associates to possibly earn some money from doing my blog.  That is set-up through Blogger as well and can give you money when people click on Ads on your page.  I am still working on all of these!

In the meantime, I’m just going to write and have fun!  My site was set-up because I LOVE books and reading, and sharing that love and any advice I can give people is my main goal.

If you want to follow my new blog, please check me out at:  http://www.mamaluvsbooks.com, or you can find me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MamaLuvsBooks, or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MamaLuvsBooks

*  I have a 100 Follower Giveaway going for people that “Like” my Facebook page, or follow me on my blog through Google Friend Connect!  The winner will get a choice of a book from Usborne Books for Kids!

If you have any questions about setting up a blog, then please comment below and ask.  Or if you are a blogger and have advice to share, then I would LOVE to hear it!  I’m learning as I go!  THANKS!!!  And thank you Allison for getting me interested in blogging!!!

Kristin Wheeler

Klout: What Is It and How Do You Give +K to Others?

Klout +KI found myself asking this very same question, not long ago, to my good friend Joanna who writes as a contributor to aMomKnowsBest, but also has her own very popular blog Baby Gators Den.  I already knew what Klout what, but I wasn’t entirely sure how to give others +K.  Joanna is pretty hip on such matters, so I knew she would be able to lead me in the right direction.  I’ve since had probably a dozen people ask me how to give +K to others, and what exactly it means…so I thought it was time for a little tutorial.

According to its website, your Klout score is the measurement of your overall online influence. The scores range from 1 to 100 with higher scores representing a wider and stronger sphere of influence. Klout uses over 35 variables on Facebook and Twitter to measure True Reach, Amplification Probability, and Network Score.  I actually have two Klout scores, one associated with each twitter handle: AlliAlexander, which I use for primarily news/media/TV related tweets and aMomKnowsBest, which is everything mom (though there is plenty crossover!).  My Klout on aMomKnowsBest  is 61 and I’m seen as influential on parenting, moms & blogging.  My Klout on AlliAlexander is 48 and I’m influential on Rhode Island, media & moms.

Now to +K.  If someone on Klout, or twitter, has recently influenced you on a topic…the neighborly thing to do is to give them +K.  How do you do it?  Easy peasy.  Log in to Klout.  Type that person’s twitter handle in the search bar, see the topics they are influential in and click on the +K button of the topic you want to give them +K about.

What do you think of Klout’s new +K tool?  Have you tried it yet?

How Social Media Makes Saying Goodbye a Little Easier

As I’ve moved around quite a bit in the past few years, moving from Virginia to Oklahoma to California to Illinois to finally Rhode Island, I’ve had to say goodbye many times to good friends.  Unfortunately, it never seems to get any easier.  This time I happen not to be the one moving, but our good friend and owner of amomknowsbest.com, Allison Alexander, is the one moving.  It’s very sad to see a friend moving away, but at least as technology has progressed over the past few years it is easier to keep in touch.  I would always say, “Let’s keep in touch!  We’ll write each other and call,” but everyone knows that is easier said than done (unfortunately).  Moms are busy, both working and raising kids, and day to day life in the new place becomes all consuming.  You make new friends, you move on, but you do always hold in your heart the friends you had in other places.  Now technology is giving us the chance to keep up with friends easier!

(Part of the AMKB Contributor Crew with Allison, Owner of AMKB)

The greatest thing now is the expansion of social media.  I created a Facebook profile in 2006, and have connected with many friends and family through that outlet ever since.  It’s such an easy way to keep in touch and see what friends are doing.  I have been able to connect (and even reconnect) with friends from all the States I’ve lived in.  It makes it so you can actually say, “Let’s keep in touch!” and truly mean it.  Our group at amomknowsbest.com will use social media (Facebook and Twitter) and other technology available to keep in touch with Allison on a very frequent basis.  I’m sure we will be Skyping her in at meetings!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Friends I keep in touch with from Illinois through Facebook!)

Technology is always advancing and bringing us new great ways to communicate.  My parents, even in their 60’s and 70’s, are using tools to commute with us!  We just spoke to them from their Alaskan Cruise, via my father’s iPad 2 to my MacBook Pro, using Facetime (the Mac version of Skype).  It’s just really amazing how much technology has advanced even in the past 10 years.  One of our AMKB contributors, Joanna Stepka, was able to view her child’s crib on her phone from the restaurant we were eating (see her article).  Now that’s some great technology!   I guess we’ll see what they think of next!

(Skyping with my kids while my parents were babysitting them)

 

Allison Alexander, we will miss you here in Rhode Island, but we know you will be just a mouse-click or Skype call away!

*  How do you use technology to keep in touch with friends?

 

 

Kristin Wheeler

‘Mommying’ in the Digital Age

“Mommy, Cait paint?” came the little voice. I replied not now Cait. A few minutes later, that sweet voice popped up again…”Please Mommy, Cait paint?” I finally gave in. We had been waiting at the doctor’s office for some time, and the books and crayons I brought were not cutting it today. So I reached into my pocket and pulled out my cell phone. I turned on Toddler Lock and handed it over to her. She was thrilled to make lines, shapes and splashes of color magically appear on the screen. Then, with a swish of her little finger, it was all gone and ready for her to try again. I thought to myself what has become of me that my child needs to play with a cell phone to be happy? My two-year-old was coming into the digital age faster than I was.

I have had a cell phone dating back to when they came in bags. I liked the security of being in contact. I always had the basic model…made calls, texted. A model back, I updated to one with a camera. I thought I was really stepping up in the world. I was comfortable with my phone. It held my contact list, made calls, took pictures and sent texts. I didn’t need anything else. Then it happened. One minute I was happily chatting away and the next…silence. The diagnosis was grim. The speaker was blown and I no longer had any sound. It was time to shop for a new phone. I have to admit…I had HUGE cell phone envy. I loved those jazzy models that had ‘apps’, played games, checked email. I am a stay-at-home mom of four kids. Not only was there no budget for a ‘data plan’ but what was the justification? What did I NEED a fancy phone for? My dear husband, knowing my longing for the fun gadget, told me to get a smart phone (even though he is still at the basic model he has had for 5 years). I went back and forth and finally did it. I bought the Droid 2. And much to my surprise…no owner’s manual! What was I thinking???

So now I had this fancy new phone with all the bells and whistles, and I didn’t even know how to dial a call. I was excited and exasperated simultaneously. Eventually, I got the hang of it, after a few lessons from my 10 year old who figured out how to get it to play games. I was still not sold on the fact that it was worth another monthly bill and then shazam. As we were driving down the street one afternoon my son asked from the back row where money was made. My husband and I started rattling off mints…Philly, DC, San Fran, Denver, Fort Knox…there were six…what was the last one? I told my son that we would Google it when we got home. That was my standard answer to questions my children asked that I didn’t know the answer to. Then my husband looked at me and said “Don’t you think you could find it on that fancy phone?” And I did. I Googled US Mints and there it was…West Point, NY. It was in that moment that I decided that this might be worth it after all.

So here I am 11 months later. I could not imagine my Mommy life without my phone. Google calendar is amazing, especially with its pop-up reminders of important scheduled events and its ability to tell me when I need to clone myself. I have apps for logging my diet and exercise, for updating Facebook and Twitter (although Twitter is still somewhat of a mystery to me), checking my email, finding the least expensive gas around, finding my way…you name it. I even have apps for games for the kids, including alphabet and counting games for Cait. Our favorite app of all is Geocaching. Anywhere we are we can see if there is a geocache around and with the help of the phone’s GPS, find our way to it (look forward to more about the fun of geocaching in a later blog). I now look forward to moving into the new digital age. Not for my kids, but with them by my side. I don’t think I could make the journey without them.

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Memorable Moments of Mom 2.0 (Part 1)

NOLA Ritz

NOLA Ritz, locale for Mom 2.0

 Life is about memorable moments. Creating them. Savoring them. Replicating them.  (It never hurts to try.) As Mom 2.0 approached, and the talk on twitter, facebook, and email peaked leading up to the 3 day conference,  my excitement increased. I knew I would learn a massive amount of information. The ingenuity, creativity, dedication, and passion of women like Kimberly Blaine, Jyl Pattee, Emily McKhann, Andrea Wishom, Liz Gumbinner, Beth Lemanach is knock your socks off inspiring. I honestly don’t know how you guys do it. While I only dropped named a few names, truth is—every single person I met during Mom 2.0 moved me in some way. I left every conversation thirsty for additional knowledge, empowered, and excited to do more. Faster. Better. Smarter. I wondered how on earth I was going to manage it all, plus a full time career as a TV Anchor.  The content at Mom 2.0 is top notch. I was often torn as to which breakout session to attend. The New Style: Bloggers, Brands and the Post Review & Giveaway Era or Video, Multimedia and Monetization: How Video Can Realistically Raise your Visibility and Credibility??   Creating and Building Influence or Personal Brand Building: Real-time Coaching and Brainstorming on Building Your Personal Brand and Where it Can Intersect with Big Brands??  Ultimately, I discovered it was the people BEHIND the message, more than the message itself that stayed with me…and THAT’S what making memorable moments is all about. The bonds you create with people. The lasting friendships, and partnerships. Conferences allow brands, bloggers, and PR folks to see the REAL you, not the person hiding behind the computer screen. On several of the headers on my site I have three words that I was happy to hear often throughout Mom 2.0. Authentic. Engaging. Approachable. More Mom 2.0 posts are to come, but if someone were to ask me to describe the people and discussions at the conference, I would describe them quite simply with the words we live by at  A Mom Knows Best.   Authentic. Engaging. Approachable.

Getting Gorgeous in New York City

New York City

It’s going to be a fun weekend. Today, several of the contributors and I are piling in Carrie’s SUV and heading to New York City where we will meet up with Katrina for a day of fashion, fun & beauty…oh, and pampering!  Two of my friends are putting on a spectacular event in the city called Getting Gorgeous, and it is going to be fabulous!  Audrey McClelland & Vera Sweeney are the masterminds behind the event and, to be honest, I’ve never even met Vera before–but any friend of Audrey’s is a friend of mine.

This will actually be my first “event” as a blogger and I can speak for all of the ladies of  A Mom Knows Best when I say we are thrilled to get a little R&R, meet some other wonderful women and engage with the terrific brands that will be in attendence.  I really have to give Audrey & Vera  a hand for choosing terrific companies to allign themselves with.  We’re talking Degree, Lifetime Moms, Hanes, Sandals Resorts (BTW, who else is DYING for a vacation after our recent snow in New England?) Weight Watchers & Goody Hair…just to name a few!dad NYC

After hanging with the girls all day, my husband and baby will pick me up and we’ll spend the night with our good friends who have a daughter just two weeks younger than Paige.  The babies always have such a great time together and it’s so fun to see them interact!  Sunday I have a business lunch at a great little restaurant I’ve been dying to try, right by the water, before heading back to Rhode Island.  Crossing my fingers that Paige sleeps a little in the car.  She’s typically good for about an hour…that’s it.  Maybe it’s time to invest in one of those portable DVD players…although since she’s never seen a movie it might kind of freak her out.

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