Thunderstorm Lullaby

Storm clouds_freeparking_flicker_creative commons My great-grandmother, a tiny bird of a woman who was nevertheless made of surviving-the-war strength, was afraid of thunder. Because she did not want her children to shake with fear as she did during thunderstorms, even from the deep sleep of night she took their hands and led them to the windows to watch the lightning slash the sky.

 “Watch,” she would tell them. “Isn’t is glorious?” Swallowing the fear in her throat, she smiled for her children so they would grow up braver than she.

 Was it her legacy that led me outside during storms? Perhaps. Even as a small child I never felt fear when the dark clouds closed over the sky. I reveled in the electrical air, watched for the next lightning flash to crack into life, curled on the old musty porch swing and soaked in the rush & cool & currents & rumble. I loved the lull when it was done.  Loved inhaling the wet, cool air, the gritty smell of rain-washed cement after heat.

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I am Nujood, Aged 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali: A SV Moms Group Book Club

Married as a child into an abusive relationship in Yemen, this little girl had the strength to escape and demand a divorce. Interviewed by the New York Times over Skype, Nujood Ali, who does not speak English and worked with a French co-author to write her memoir, I am Nujood, Aged 10 and Divorced, tells her powerful story of becoming a child bride. It is a story that is, unfortunately, not just hers. Join us today as we discuss the book I am Nujood, Aged 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali, with Delphine Minoui.

I Am Nujood, Age 10 and 
Divorced by Nujood Ali with Delphine Minoui - Trade Paperback - Random 
House Here are what the SV Moms Group contributors have to say today, all inspired by the book I am Nujood, Aged 10 and Divorced:

DC Metro Moms Blog is hosting the book club discussion this month. Please leave a comment here join in the discussion.

Past SV Moms Group Book Clubs have included:

Click here to read all about the SV Moms Group Book Club.
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Is Multiculturalism Real?

On Your Marks

I think I have ranted on this subject before.  My son doesn't get playdates.

We were wondering if it was him.  Was he so unliked by either peers or parents that they swore to never let their children play with him.  But he was getting invited to the odd birthday party and we noticed that some GIRLS were more than happy to come to our house after school or invite him to theirs.

But no boys.

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The Body Scoop for Girls by Dr. Jennifer Ashton: A SV Moms Group Book Club

What questions do teen girls have that they are embarrassed to ask? Who will they be asking? And what answers will they receive? Knowledge is power - why not give our daughters some of that? Join us today as we discuss the book The Body Scoop for Girls by Jennifer Ashton, M.D., Ob-Gyn with Christine Larson.

Amazon.com_ The Body Scoop for 
Girls_ A Straight-Talk Guide to a Healthy, Beautiful You 
(9781583333693)_ M.D., Ob-Gyn… Here are what the SV Moms Group contributors have to say today, all inspired by the book The Body Scoop for Girls:

DC Metro Moms Blog is hosting the book club discussion this month. Please go here to join in the discussion.

Past SV Moms Group Book Clubs have included:

Click here to read all about the SV Moms Group Book Club.


The Babysitter is Twelve

Babysitter Cross-posted from our sister site, 50-Something Moms.

In Canada, Red Cross babysitter's training is the bottom line recommendation for mothers searching for someone to watch their children. It surprised me because back in my American home state, I'd never heard of such a thing though don't doubt it probably exists.

The minimum age at which a child can be left home alone, or put in charge of the care of younger children, is twelve. Anyone with sitting aspirations registers for the training at or shortly before this magic age.

I am not sure what it is about twelve. Here, children that age are likely in junior high - seventh or eighth grade - which perhaps is a tipping factor. Having taught primarily twelve and thirteen year olds back in the day, I never put much stock in age. Children's maturity levels, as far as I could tell, sprung more from innate temperament and their parents' willingness to delegate responsibilities and hold them accountable for their actions. Parents who demanded early, appropriately and often found themselves rewarded with more responsible pre-teens than those who were inconsistent and fearful.

Back in Iowa, finding babysitters was impossible, but here in Alberta, I've had a consistent supply of sitters and most of them have been twelve. As I myself began to babysit at around that age, and I fully expect to be able to leave my daughter alone for an evening at that age, I was fine with this.

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The Changing Face of Media

Ellen_ripley Being what is labeled a 'mommy blogger' means I am part of the blogging world that gets all sorts of press...mostly negative from the the mainstream media and am also fully aware of any of the so called mommy wars that erupt from time to time all over the internet, from Twitter to Facebook to personal blogs.

I have also noticed that as my Page Rank slowly creeps up and people notice that I do indeed do the odd review and or giveaway, that I get more and more notice from Public Relations and Marketing types.

Twitter, I am sure has helped this along.   It does get you noticed.

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A SV Moms Group Book Club: Just Let Me Lie Down by Kristin van Ogtrop, editor of REAL SIMPLE

Justletmeliedown While many of us moms don't want to engage in the debate about whether to be a working mom or a stay-at-home mom...or somewhere in between, it is a topic we often talk about. Do you miss out on things in your children's lives if you decide to be a working mom? Are working moms more crazy and stressed? Oh, it depends on your perspective, of course. Join us today as we discuss the book Just Let Me Lie Down: Necessary Terms for the Half-Insane Working Mom by Kristin van Ogtrop, editor of REAL SIMPLE magazine.

In addition to the posts below, SV Moms Group bloggers have had the pleasure of spending a bit of time with Kristin van Ogtrop during her book tour. Some of us caught up with her in Chicago, when we were there for our Chicago Moms Blog brand/blogger event and when Kristin was there for REAL SIMPLE's 10th anniversary party. Then a few of the Silicon Valley Moms Blog bloggers were invited to join Kristin van Ogtrop for lunch in Palo Alto, California last week. A leisurely lunch in the California sunshine was certainly not any of our usual Justletmeliedownlunchhappenings and we thoroughly enjoyed it...although we then all had to rush off to the next appointment, to school pickup, to conference calls, to blog about socks with large holes in them strewn all over our houses. To top it off, Kristin joined the entire network of SV Moms Group bloggers on a conference call to talk about her book, whether 21st century mothers live in a state of ambivalence and/or guilt, how to be happy with your choice, the fact that many of us are lucky to HAVE choices...oh, the conversation could have gone on and on. But, of course, it was time to hang up and get back to the chaos.

Here are what the SV Moms Group contributors have to say today, all inspired by the book Just Let Me Lie Down:

Chicago Moms Blog is hosting the book club discussion this month. Please go here to join in the discussion.

Past SV Moms Group Book Clubs have included:

Click here to read all about the SV Moms Group Book Club.


Save Mandi's Life with Your Cord Blood Stem Cells

Mandi_Card Cross-posted from the Silicon Valley Moms Blog

Mandi Schwartz is a 22 year-old junior at Yale, where she plays forward for the women's hockey team.  She is also fighting leukemia, a blood cancer that is destroying her bone marrow and rendering her stem cells useless.  The only way she will survive this battle with cancer is with a bone marrow or a cord blood stem cell transplant.  A partial-match bone marrow donor has been identified, but transplants using partial-matches often result in life-threating graft-versus-host response.  Cord blood stem cells are the same stem cells as those in bone marrow, but partial-matches from cord blood stem cells result in complications much less often.  Cord blood can be donated easily by pregnant women and can be collected from the umbilical cord post-birth with no danger to the mother or to the child.  If you are pregnant, please consider donating your umbilical cord to the organization that can save Mandi's (or someone else's) life.  How?  Start by visiting http://becomemyhero.org.  If you are pregnant, there is a non-invasive way to determine whether or not your baby's cord blood might be a match to someone whose life could be saved by your donation.  To learn more about Mandi Schwartz, please click here.  You can also sign a petition regarding stem cell transplants.

Please click here to continue reading this post or to leave a comment on the Silicon Valley Moms Blog...>


SV Moms Group celebrates the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day

Earth Day FlagImage by Barbara.Doduk via Flickr

Inspired by our Los Angeles Moms Blog writer, Elizabeth Peterson from Traded My BMW for a Minivan, we at SV Moms Group are celebrating the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Collectively, we CAN make a difference. We DO make a difference every day. Today, we are sharing insights into new initiatives, advances and ideas for how to make our earth a better place. Read what the SV Moms Group bloggers are doing, thinking, sharing and feeling today for Earth Day.

Happy Earth Day to all!

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National Geographic's Green Guide for Families: A SV Moms Group Book Club

GGF_coverEarth Day IS every day, especially when you have a family - as families, our impact can be felt more, we tend to consumer more, and there is the very real fact that we are raising the next generation that will have to live in this world. The practical questions: What kind of diapers to use? What kind of products to clean and feed your kids and home? How can your family can "Go Green" together? Join us today as we discuss the book National Geographic Green Guide Families by Catherine Zandonella. 

Special thanks to Nancy Friedman from New York City Moms Blog, who sourced this book club for us!

Silicon Valley Moms Blog is hosting the book club discussion this month. Please go here to leave a comment below to join in the discussion.

Author Catherine Zandonella also answered a couple of questions for SV Moms Group bloggers. If you have a question, please leave it in the comments below. 

Question: It’s easy to recycle (or even forgo) the plastic bags from the market.  How do you handle the endless sandwich, snack, veggie and bread bags?  Can these be recycled even if used and peppered with crumbs or peanut butter?  (I’ve already reduced the plastic bag use by choosing reusable containers for earth911.com or www.plasticbagrecycling.org. (California state law requires that stores collect plastic carryout bags for lunches, but we still use too many baggies.)

Answer: Many types of plastic bags can be recycled. These include newspaper bags, produce bags, bread bags, and "zip lock" bags (remove zipper first) can be recycled. You can find locations that will accept plastic bags at recycling, but you'll have to check with the retailer to see if they also accept other types of bags.) www.plasticbagrecycling.org site has a list of the types of plastic bags and plastic wrappers that can be recycled. In addition to the plastic bags listed above, you can also recycle plastic dry cleaning bags and plastic wrap on furniture and other purchased goods such as paper towels, napkins, and diapers. See the web site for a full list.

Plastics that CANNOT be recycled, according to www.plasticbagrecycling.org, are:

  • food or cling wrap
  • prepackaged food bags including frozen food bags (e.g., prewashed salad bags)
  • film that has been painted or has excessive glue
  • other bags or films
  • bio-based or compostable plastic bags

Make sure all bags are clean and dry before you recycle them!

Question: Our family swing set sits atop a blanket of recycled tire rubber.  Until reading the Green Guide, we thought it was the best choice (environmentally & economically).  Should we immediately swap out the rubber mulch for a natural wood product?  If so, how should we dispose it?  Can the rubber mulch be placed in the recycling container?

Answer: Tire disposal is regulated on a state by state basis, and you will have to contact your state's department of environmental protection or waste management board to find out what to do with the rubber mulch. In California, you might start with CalRecycle: www.calrecycle.ca.gov.

Past SV Moms Group Book Clubs have included:

Click here to read all about the SV Moms Group Book Club.


Regarding The Birds And The Bees

Swamp Sparrow fws Our kids are receiving sex education as early as kindergarten. In British Columbia, that meant a notice folded into the papers which came home with the year’s curriculum regarding in-class discussion of appropriate and inappropriate touches and how to say "no" if the children felt frightened or uncomfortable. By grade 7 they are being taught how to put a condom on a banana.

While I struggle with the reasons behind the need for such discussions, especially at younger and younger ages, I am entirely comfortable with giving children, even very small ones, a vocabulary for making safe choices.

What I am having difficulty with is conversations regarding the birds and the bees. The real ones. The small creatures who do the critical dance of life with our fruits, vegetables, trees and flowers are dying. I am struggling with how to speak honestly about this.

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Selling Maple Syrup .

Maple There have been several articles in both the local and national press lately saying that maple syrup is Good For You.  That it has anti-oxidants and other good stuff.  I knew that a long time ago because I was a maple syrup producer for over a quarter of a century and we used this kind of info to market the product. Here is some of the research:

    * Maple Canada's pure maple syrup label - 'Maple Syrup contains significant amounts of potassium (35 mg/tbsp), calcium (21 mg/tbsp), small amounts of iron and phosphorus, and trace amounts of B-vitamins. Its sodium content is a low 2 mg/tbsp. Maple syrup can be declared a good source of 3 essential elements - calcium, iron and thiamine'; and

    * Wikipedia's entry which says 'Maple syrup has a number of nutritional benefits for humans. It is low in fructose compared to other popular sweeteners such as high-fructose corn syrup and agave syrup - extremely high percentage of fructose can be deleterious and can trigger fructose malabsorption, metabolic syndrome, hypertriglyceridemia, decreased glucose tolerance, hyperinsulinemia, and accelerated uric acid formation.Maple syrup is an excellent source of the trace mineral manganese, with 2 tbsp (13.33 grams) containing about 0.44mg or 22% of the FDA Daily Value (DV%) of 2 mg. It is also a good source of zinc with 2 tbs (13.33 grams) containing 0.55mg or 3.7% of the FDA Daily Value (DV%) of 15 mg.'

I could keep on with this, but you get the picture.

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I'll have some aspirin please, some body wash, and a vaccination

4319461386_a0d19e0860 Nova Scotia is freeing up some room in your doctor's waiting room.

Amendments to the Pharmacy Act now mean that pharmacists in Nova Scotia will be able to administer vaccinations and order some diagnostic tests.  Imagine! Getting both the shopping done and having your jabs done all at once! Health Minister Maureen MacDonald says the goal is to take advantage of a pool of qualified professionals in order to free up doctors to concentrate on other areas of health care. Although unable to put a dollar figure on any potential savings, Health Minister Maureen McDonald says the move will create efficiencies in the health system.  As more pharmacists graduate, more will begin helping out.It's hoped the program will begin some time this year.

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Cuts to BC Healthy Kids Causes Backlash From Critics (and me)

3610103532_442d77cb73 I have a mouthful of teeth that I wouldn't want you to look at. Seriously, I can't smile with my lips parted because I may possibly believe in those lens-cracking myths that rolled around forever ago.

Why am I so ashamed of my dental reality? I haven't been to the dentist since I was 15 years old, the last time that I was privy to affordable and/or free dentist visits.

Just in time for our basement neighbours to be applauding (or disliking) their upcoming health care reform, B.C. is tearing down a little bit of ours by reducing funding to the Healthy Kids program, one that provides free dental services to children under the age of five from low-income families.

I've come to realize that some Americans think that Canadians have free dental. Many of the people I've come to know, via blogging and writing, have been under the assumption that all services, whether specialty, general physician, surgical or dental, were covered by a single, massive umbrella, made of the word free. Not so!

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