Friday, September 5, 2008

Long Acres Farm Is A Kids' Key

Do You Have A Place Like This Nearby? If You Don't, You Should!

Wow, so much fun! How many Parents can say after an outing for the kids can say, "I don't want to go, when can we come back?"

We had so much fun enriching the kid's minds and growing their confidence as they directed us in the huge corn maze! Did you know a four and two year know which way to go to successfully complete a maze? Fellow maze-goers took hours to find their way out. We did it in 53 minutes! (It must be because they are closer to the ground!)

We had a little help from the "coach" a-top the scafolding tower that ran the course but for the most part the kids directed the show.

The park also had things like goats to feed and pet, a gem stone/fossil panning operation (we found two shark's teeth and some gems and fossils), huge hill-side slide, tennis ball sling-shots, water pump races, a huge sand pit, pillow jump, peddle go-carts, climbing wall, "go-green" trivia, wonderful tasty treats, and so much more!!

What I Hoped My Kids Learned:

1. They can do anything they put their mind to;

2. Having fun and making memories with our family is treasured; and

3. I respect their individuality.

What I Learned:

1. My kids can do more than I think;

2. They are so much fun to be around; and

3. Bring extra clothes for mishaps (tinkling in a corn maze for a 4 yo can be tough!).

"No Cost" Family Fun Is A Key To Kids' Success

What is it about doing "nothing" or the little things that is so darn fun and important? For me these little moments that may have lasted less than 5 minutes meant the world!

Emmy and Sam have taught me how to play and how to really have fun. Thank you "Sunshine" and "Monkey"!!

You'll never know how much Momma Loves You!

Birthdays Are A Kids' Key To Success

I don't know about you all, but we have been to A LOT of birthday parties lately (10 in the last two months)! Some have been big and grand and others have been intimate and traditional.

I am not a parent who goes all out and hires a favorite charachter, rents a bouncy house/jungle gym, puts on a show, or rents out an identified "birthday party place".

I am a mom who, if truth be told is a little cheap and a whole lot traditional.. I prefer simple parties surrounded by family and maybe a close friend or two. Am I a bithday Ginch?

I am not saying big parties aren't wonderful and can be super special. But, I've always been this way... grand celebrations, big parties, gala events... just aren't me.

I hope I never dissappoint my kids, but small intimate parties are where it's at for me. ...probably with six kids in our family it will never really be small or quiet!

What I want my kids to learn about birthdays:

1) Make the birthday person feel really special by making/giving a meaningful gift;

2) Remind the birthday person how blessed the world is because he/she is in it; and

3) Celebrate his/her life with a silly, unique, simple tradition so they have something to depend on, anticipate, and is meaningful.

To me, that is what a birthday parties are all about.

What are birthdays for you? Do you have a special tradition? What is the birthday message you want to give your kids?

Yoga Is A Kids' Key

Gosh, I had such an awesome talk with Shakta Kaur Khalsa of http://www.children/ last Frirday! I am so inspired ... You can listen to it for free here.

If you have a child who is having difficulties with staying focused, is wired, tired, grumpy, anxious, or for lack of a better word hyper. Shakta has an activity for you.

She explains why yoga helps children to rid his/herself of negative feelings and behaviors and then in its place produce focused happiness and acceptance. Anyone can use yoga to relieve anxiety, confussion, frustration, anger, and fatigue, ANYTIME! Yoga is the ultimate natural "pick-me-up".

Yoga and meditation are what our top athletes/Olympians, entrepreneurs, doctors, high-performing people use to calm and center themselves. But unlike anything else, yoga is used for any person, no matter the age or ability level. Yoga is for everyone!

Wouldn't you like to feel refreshed, energized, happy, and internally centered with the use of yoga?

Yoga has often had a reputation for just being postures, but it is so much more than that. There has been a misrepresentation. Yoga encompases so much more and can do incredible things for you and our children.

Find out how yoga works and why it does all that I have claimed here by listening to my interview with Shakta.

Thank you Shakta for sharing your pictures!* _____________________________________________

Shakta began practicing yoga in 1972, and has been teaching K u n d a l i n i Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan since 1976. She is an IKYTA certified Kundalini Yoga instructor and teacher/trainer, an AMS Montessori educator, and an E-RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance.

Additionally, she has authored several books: Fingered Family, Kundalini Yoga, Yoga for Women, and Fly Like A Butterfly

Hiking Is A Kids' Key

This weekend we decided to seize the beautiful day (it may be our last here in upstate NY!) and packed a picnic lunch and headed for the trails!

After a short hike down (and up) a twinning and twisty trail we came to a great place to spread our blanket and lay out the spread of PB&J, grapes and chips! We took in the view of rolling glacier formed hills and cumulus clouds and compared the figures we spotted in the clouds.

Emmy was adamant to bring her coloring supplies and went straight to it as we munched in the sunshine and Sammy the man chased bugs away shouting as he went "shooo, shoo bug, go way!" and growled like the fierce lion growing inside.

We packed things up and decided to do some more hiking...the adventure truly began! Our sense of direction was turned upside down and inside out like the tumbles of our washing machine. We were lost within 30 minutes on the coiled path and think woods.

We managed to document some "firsts": It was Emmy's first experience of relieving herself, squatted over ferns and wild mushrooms; Sammy's and I had our "first" with changing a "loaded" diaper while in verticle position; and to Jeff's relief (since there was no sign of human life) that I couldn't ask him to pull over to ask for directions!

After a long hour and a half, my little troopers finally declared "we found home!" as we approached our lifesaving air-conditioned minivan parked in the deserted parking lot. I am so amazed by two little ones (age 4 and 2); they trudged along singing, laughing, jumping over roots and were fascinated by dirt, bugs, and snails.

The kiddos always seem to make the most simplistic activity special... We picked out "special" rocks to bring home to paint and celebrate our adventure to "Take A Hike"!

How did I get so lucky!?

The Zoo Is A Kids' Key To Success

Last weekend we headed off (my dramtic hubby, my buttercup, and Super Sam Man) to visit the zoo and experience oneness with raw, untamed
animals. Well, not really, but we got as close to a polar bear than I ever imaginged!

This is the first time in about 15 years that I have been to the Rochester Senaca Park Zoo. I once vowed to visit the zoo in every place I visited. (I have been to a lot of zoos...especially since I live in one!)

As I became more mature and "worldly", I became saddened by the often frustrated, board looks of the animals contained behind "bars". (I don't know, it may be my self reflected/mirrored perception?) So I stopped wanting to go the zoo and supporting their efforts.

As an even more "worldly" mom, I understand the need for zoos better: the need for public education, research to maintain some species that would no longer exsist if it were not for zoos, and research about how people and wild animals can continue to thrive together but seperate.

I know I don't have all the answers, but I do know that advances in the habitats at zoos have become so incredible. Even though I wish our Seneca Park Zoo would renovate the Ape and Monkey habitats (they are so cramped) they have done some amazing work on the polar bear, elephant, cougar, and Sea Lion habitats. I actually touched "paws" with a polar bear happily swimming by (with two inches of one-way protected glass between us)! At that was exhilirating!

The Seneca Park Zoo has a new and improved fan.

What I Hope My Kids Learned:

1. To appreciate and love the efforts people are making to maintain harmony and education about wild life conservation;

2. When we see things that need to be changed, step up to the plate and make a difference; and

3. Most Improvements are not made without planning, dedication, and compassion.

What I learned:

1. The overwhelming need to participate in society...become a voice and be heard (I onced loved being a hermit);

2. A reminder, to keep my mind open and available to new experiences and knowledge.

3. The polar bear is classified as a marine mammal. Its feet are partially webbed for swimming, and its fur is water-repellent, and is not really white, its colorless. The fur are hollow tubes that scatter light to stay warm by channeling the sun's energy directly to the bear's skin.

** Thank You CharlesFS for the Polar Bear Photo

Yoga: A Kids' Key To Focus and Become Self Aware

Did you know that yoga can be a holistic approach to teeth clunching (Bruxism), ADD, ODD, Autism, or Disorder of Sensory Integration? I mean, I knew yoga is great for helping me focus and become more self aware as well as being great for strengthing my muscles, increasing my flexibility and balance, increasing my endurance (especially in active yoga), and keeping my spine in-line, but I had no idea...

Yoga has been found to activate and stimulate glands to secrete befefical energy flow which then affects mood and then relaxes and organizes the nervous system.

Yoga uses bilateral movements (such as weight bearing, rotation, and core muscles) to balance the brain's hemishperes. It encourages the brain to work in harmony. The regualr practice of yoga helps us to achieve a higher level of cognitive (thinking) skills!

So, here are four really good reasons for our kids to practice yoga:

1. helps children calm down and focus

2. enhances physical and brain coordination

3. is a holistic approach to ADHD, Autism, DSI and other special needs

4. helps children become more self-aware of their bodies, minds, and feelings

Plus is it a great way to bond with your kids! Emmy and I have taken "Mommy and Me" yoga classes and Emmy is always asking "When we can do it, again?"

What I Hope Emmy (Soon Sammy too!) Learns:

1. A greater awareness of her body and how to focus her mind;

2. A love and need for daily exercise; and

3. Mommy loves to exercise with her!

What I Have Learned:

1. I didn't realize all the awesome benefits of yoga for children especailly those wit special needs!!
2. Greater peace, focus, and self acceptance; and

3. I could exercise with a 3 yr. old (now 4) and love it.


Taking Time Is A Kids Key To Success

Well, I am attempting to put a little "God" in my life by making a commitment to attend church.

So, I was up early this morning, flipped some flap-jacks, harrassed my littlest to put on a "nice" shirt and packed the kids in the car with a bag full of crayons and paper (no lines, in deed!).

We drove the 2.5 miles into the village and yippee, found a parking spot right in front of the church... God must have really wanted me to be in the pews! We hopped out and headed for the closed doors. The ones that are normally opened-wide, informing us all, the welcome found inside.

On the door was a pink note stating today's service was a at local park. Another late arrival told me it was at Boughton Park. I asked the kids what they would like to do and simultaniously they said, "Let's go"! I think they thought the minister was going to be leading us down the swirly slide!

We drove off to Boughton Park to find the gates closed and no sign of other cars, and then headed to another near-by park... but no luck. Then a thought came to mind... "Why not go for a hike?" Can you really be any closer to God, than in nature?

I in my nicest pair of carpi's, my daughter in her favorite dress (the one with a layer of tu-tu material underneath), and Sammy in his airplane shirt (one battle I gave up on) headed into the wood on a muddy path to hike!
I wish I had my camera because Emmy was fluttering down the path like a fairy from A Mid-Summer's Night Dream and Sammy clung to my back with muddy feet swinging and singing "You Gotta Hold On Tight, Hold Tight..." (For those of you not familiar... a song from the Back Yardigans', Viking episode).

We hiked up some pretty steep hills and climbed to a sun drenched clearing where the Iroquoi had planted their fields of corn and came upon a weather worn bench readying us for a rest and reflection.

I asked the kids, "Is there anything you want to tell God today?" (because this was a better place than any other. Emmy informed me with her legs crossed and her hands gently laying in her lap that this is "simply a perfect place...can this be our special place, mom? thank you for bringing me here. Can we cuddle?" And Sammy pointing, said, "Momma, look bird flying... Gotta 'old on tight, 'old tight".

What I hoped my kids learned....

1. You don't have to be in church to worship God.
2. If things don't work out like planned we will be resourceful and find something just as good or even better.
3. Momma, like God, will love them and shine down on them... always.

What I learned...

1. It is easier to hike in our good clothes than I thought.
2. My kids and I can find freedom, peace, love, acceptance, and joy in a spontaneous decision.
3. No man-made church can replicate the harmony and love found in natureI want to challenge myself and hopefully, you with your help.

Parents' Dreams For Their Kids is A Key

I want to challenge myself and hopefully, you with your help.

I get so caught up trying to do things: raise kids, care for a household, checking stuff off, my ever so long, to-do lists. I don't slow down to ask myself some important questions to make sure I am on track, have you?

What do you think is the most important factor to help create your kids's ideal life? Is it education? Is it the tools and skills he/she will acquire? Is it the values you are trying to instill? Is it the way you are helping your child to perceive and look at life? What are your expectations for your child? What have you been putting off to do with your child? Have you ever wondered what would happen if you made decisions about your child's life without fear?

These are really important questions? Would you agree? The last question (...without fear...) can that really happen when you are a parent?

I spent too much of life in limbo, waiting for the right things to happen to in order for me to then do the things I want to do. I realize that this has been my excuse, my reason for not "going for it". I don't want to jump into something spontaneously without clear thinking and thoroughness, but have you put off what you think will really make a difference with your child, something that you think will fill an empty spot in his/her soul? I have.

Will join me to take on a challenge? I want to start doing this for my kids, but I need your help...

Can you write down 3 goals and share them with me?

My top three are (they aren't super crazy, nor exciting) except to me:
1) No longer offer material rewards for making the right decision;
2) Keep my cool and patience at the end of the day when they are tired and are bickering or whining; and
3) Help them to learn Chinese;

It is a good place to start, isn't it? Tell me where you are so I can learn from you too!

Extended Family Is A Kids' Key TO Success

Every year, the first weekend in August our family and close friends drop what we are doing and we gather together from AZ, TX, and all over the United States to Upstate NY to participate in our Annual Wagner Cup.

Our Wagner Cup started in 1995 and has taken place every year after. Our mission is to have fun together as a family but most importantly to send a message to our next generation the importance of family and "playing" together.

We are not all pictured together because our event has become so big that we can't fit everyone in at one time. So, our event coordinator, Uncle Rick (a.k.a. Luigi) has broken us up into our representative teams: Europeans Vs. The Americans. Our "Cup" is based on many events (Golf, mini golf, euchure, beer pong, relay races, dancing, kireoke, and many more) and includes everyone from our oldest members (85+) to out youngest (1 old year +). The scores are calculated at the end, the fourth day, to to win the "Cup". We had trophies made especially for this event and they are passed from one team to the other depending on who wins.

A LOT of work goes into this...much, time, effort, and heart. We start preparing for the next year as soon as the Cup is done; As we drive our family and friends to the airport. We are continually coming up with new ways to improve and make it better. We have been told from friends who have been invited that this is "one awesome event... one like no other with a family like no other!"

What I Hope My Kids Learned:
1. How to work together, even when we are tired, and we don't get along 100% of the time.
2. A family that plays together; Stays together.
3. We are here; We offer support, love and guidance.
4. Respect for one another; take turns.
5. Being a Team Member.

What I Learned
1. Every Year I learn more about commitment to family.
2. How to be a more effective role model
3. How to really have fun.

A Native American Festival Is A Kids' Key To Success

Last Saturday, My husband, daughter, son with blanket/a.k.a."silkie" in tow drove the 3.7 miles up the road to the Native American Dance & Music Festival, in Victor NY.Since I was young, Ganondagan has held a festival celebrating the culture and hertitage of the Haudenosaunee, or as the French called them, the Iroquois. Ever since I can remember, July meant we would hear the drums for miles. I still love the rythem and dense, rich sounds that resenate through the air, the trees and my soul.
I was so excited to take my kids to see all the beautiful clothing, eat the awesome food, gaze at all the beautiful hand crafted art and jewelry for sale, and particpate in the music, kids' activities and performances.

Not only was the festival great, but Ganondagan came through this year with an added bonus: Dancers from Hawii to perform some of their dances and my daughter and husband joined in to learn! (Where was my camera?! Of course it was, at home on my self, by the door!)
* Leilah Euseeio (center), 5, helps teach people Hukilau with her Hawaiian traditional dance group, Halau O 'Aulani (my daughter and husband were to the right...darn it!

We also enjoyed the dances and music from the Buffalo Creek Dancers and Young Spirit Dancers. I wish I had some pictures of these (the paper didn't even take them!)

What I learned at the Festival:

The best gift I recieved from our visit was what I learned from my children. When I told my kids where we were going, I said to the "Indian Festival". Of course this totally confused my daughter who loves to learn about all kids of cultures and immediately referred to India. I stood corrected and emphasized that the right way to refere this festival was "Native American Festival". Isn't it aweful to think that because of the use of the lable "Indian", our "American" culture attempted to strip Native Americans from their claim to their land and history?

The second gift my kids gave me was the effort I needed to place on the respect I for the Native American's clothing... A man walked by us (about 25 feet away when we first arrived). I was getting my 2.5 year old son out of the car and I caught my self in mid sentence. I was about to say, "Look, buddy look at the man's beautiful costume"; I quickly corrected myself to say "clothing" instead of "costume".
Some may think I am splitting hairs here because I wasn't intending to demean or offend the Native American culture with my comments and thoughts. But I realize the power of words. The energy that is given to our language is so important because it really does shape us and the way we think about things.

One of my goals is to consciously teach my kids kindness and respect. I would not have been doing so if I have used the above words.

What I hoped My Children Learned:

1) Admiration and Respect for another culture;

2) Having fun when you learn;

3) Mom makes mistakes;

4) Mommy learns too.
* Melenani Hirabayashi (center), 16, dances the Ka Uluwehi O Ke Kai with her Hawaiian traditional dance group Halau O 'Aulani

You, Too should doa "Hoola"... It's Fun!

* Photographer JEN RYNDA, from the Democrate and Cronicle took these pictures

To learn more about the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois go to

Learning Chinese Is A Kids' Key To Success

There are two main reasons why learning Chinese is the right choice for your kids.

1) China is fast becoming the economic world leader. Although sometimes we don't want to admit it money does make our "world-go-round". Don't you want your children to be able to communicate effectively with this "hungry" nation?

With China's recent economic explosion, it's a necessity to at least have the skills needed to work with this culture. Major companies are looking for people who can help them communicate and establish themselves in China. We all realize it is better to prepare yourself for what the economy is demanding verses what we wish it to be (Business 101).


2) The "kids" who can communicate with the people of this region will have a competitive edge not only in the job market when they graduate but will be identified by selection committees for entrance to universities as being "motivated, on-top, and realistic".

The best way for kids to take the lead and stand out amongst their peers is by being useful in non-traditional qualifications. Your kids can establish themselves in this thriving and highly competitive atmosphere of college selection boards. Just ask any school guidance counselor, a kid has to have more than good grades to get into their first choice school.

I personally know so many kids who are great kids, well-behaved, smart, have great grades (top 10%), and are even taking advance, college level courses and are not able to get into their own state school. If you really want to offer your kids the best opportunity to get their foot in the door to recognizing his/her goals and making their opportunities happen then you will offer them the skill that will make the difference....Learning Chinese!

A Second Language Is A Kids' Key

Again, I am faced with the thought...."Is French or Spanish really the best second language I and Kids' Keys To Success should endorse to our children?"

We all know that the majoity of of public schools offer two options..French and Spanish. This may have been enough and acceptable in the 20th Century but is it today?

The research I have been doing suggests with a resounding "NO"! Another testiment about how our public schools are failing us.

Jim Rogers, the best selling author of Hot Commodities and Adventure Capitaliststates, "If the twentieth century was the American century, then the twenty-first centurey belongs to China."
Jim Rogers

If projections hold, China will surpass the United States as the world's largest economy in as little as twenty years. So, the time to act is now." This may be tough for some of us to swallow but the the fact is with China embracing the Free Market and coming out of a hibernating phase of being, Asia is hungry for growth, progress, and sustainability. Their greatest resource is their sheer poputaion.

Jim Rogers is one of the world's most successful investors, so you may wonder what does he know about what our kids should be learning today to be successful tomorrow. Well, no other person than Jim Rogers can explain to you the "amazing energy, potential, and entrepreneurial spirit of a billion people".

Jim recently moved to Asia with his wife and daughter. I'll let you decide what second language his daughter is learning!

Safety I A KIds' Key To Success

Kids' Keys has been meaning to post about "How to Protect Our Kids" for a while now and it was brought to my attantion recently in a fellow blogger's post about the fears we face being parents and the resposibility we have for protecting our kids.

We all know that there isn't a gaurantee our kids will always be safe and all our precautions and care will eliminate our worries and secure our children's well being. We all have seen the frightening reports and media scares of children being beaten, neglected, battered, and assaulted. What is a parent to do.

We can confess and bodly state, my children will never be left with anyone. Not even family becasue who can you really trust? Believe me, I have heard more horror and gut wrenching scenarios than I care to remember (I once specialized in domestic violence and sexual assault). Becasue of my expereience I have a greater appreciation of the realities that face our kids.

I was one of people earlier mentioned. I vowed I would never leave my kids with babysitters, friends, or even family. Becasue you never know. You could say I was some what of a controll freak. Not that my children's well being isn't important to me but I was a little obsessed.

There was an author I came across when I was practicing psychotherapy that I loved and helped empower the survivors I worked with. The book helped them realize that they used their instincts to stay a live. The author further expands on this topic and teaches the survivors about how their instincts can also keep them from being victimized again or people from ever being victimized. The Gift Of Fear is a super powerful book!! The author is Gavin DeBecker. To say the least... I LOVE this guy!!! For most of my clients, I asked them to read this as part of our work together.

When my nephew was born I was of course concerned about his well being and wanted to learn everything I could about keeping him safe. Gavin came through for me again. He wrote a sequal called Protecting the Gift . This book tells readers about what we do as care givers and parents that can set our kids up to be more likely to be abused and how we can in stead teach our kids the tools to keep themselves safe. Again, I absolutley LOVE this book!!

Please, if you haven't read this book and it isn't sitting on your self to be used as a reference when looking for pediatritians, dentists, schools, nannies/babysitters, or even what to teach your children about when you are out and about running your errands. GO GET IT!! I think this is a MUST have for any parent who wants to protect their kids.

Mom's Best Life Is A Kids' Key To Success

I wanted to let everyone know I have added a new Blog to my business called My Best LIfe Now.

This site will be dedicated to all my ebusiness tips, resources, and links. I hope you will find it helpful and inspiring.

Mom' Health Is A Kids' Key

Ruby, a fellow "Mom Packer" had this article to share... Tomorrow marks the anniversary of the death of my best friend and mother-in-law. She died of cancer before she was able to enjoy her grandchildren and fully bask in the glory of retirement.

I am sure cancer has affected all of our lives and I just wanted to include a little reminder because you are important to so many people.... Thanks, Ruby!


Breast Cancer Awareness

It is extremely important for women from ages 20-39 years of age to be examined by a physician or specialist every 3 years. Although there is no sure fire way to prevent breast cancer, catching in its earliest stages can sometimes mean life or death. Statistics show that the earlier breast cancer is detected, the better the survival rate.

As with any cancer, the more progressed the cancer is, the harder it is to fight . Therefore, doing regular breast-self exams is crucial to catching cancer early. Every woman should do a monthly breast exam and should not hesitate to contact a physician if she sees or feels anything suspicious. Most of the time, it is not breast cancer but it is still important to always have a physician check.

Women over the age of 40 years, should get annual mammograms and clinical breast exams. Mammograms, although EXTREMELY helpful, may not always catch all types of breast cancer but it is still highly recommended.

Now, these are just general recommendations. If you are considered High Risk, your physician might recommend more frequent clinical visits or might even consider starting mammograms at an earlier age. That is why it is crucial to speak to your regular physician about any family history of breast cancer.

Crippling Statistics

Breast Cancer is way to common and unfortunately thousands of women die every year from breast cancer. Breast cancer is the leading form of cancer for Caucasian and African American women and the most common to American women in general, second to skin cancer.

Breast Cancer is the second leading cause of death to women from cancer. Every 3 minutes, a new woman is diagnosed with breast cancer and thousands die per year. Unfortunately, there are no sure fire ways to prevent breast cancer or stop breast cancer. Although, research has shown that eating healthy, not smoking, avoiding alcohol and cutting down on stress can help reduce the chances of getting breast cancer. So, at least that's a start!


? ?_____________________________________________ ? ?
Ruby Ramberg
Proud member of MUIB, LTTM and the MOM Pack

Giving Back Is A Kids' Key To Success

A question was asked resently about why am I writing all these articles about internet business, marketing and such when the name of my blog is "Kids' Keys To Success"? Isn't this blog suppose to be about Parenting and being the best parent you want to be? Well, the answer is, "Yes" and the reason I have been writing these articles becasue that is what my readers have been asking me about.

Which you know, really makes sense and ties in with "being the best parent you want to be" and this is why... I have recently been doing a lot of reading and research lately and I am learning that the best way for me to be a parent and a person is to be as financially successful as I can be. See, I was trained to be a social worker and practiced therapy for many years with trauma victims, so, I thought I knew what was the best way I could "give back" to my community. I thought for many years it was the long hours I put in volunteering, working as a therapist, writing up treatment plans, steering down defense attornies in the court room as I explained the emotional, physical and spirital toll abuse has on a survivor, etc.

Although those are all great ways to give back as I know there are other super great ways to give that many people do every moment, I have come to realize there is an even a better way. If I was able to make enough money; to become successful/financially free, then, more than likely, I would not only be financially in good health but also emotinally and spiritually in good health. See, the doors have been opening up to me and revealing some personal truths.

I have realized that not only is the key to well-being, living a balanced life but living a financially-free balanced life. Thus, the freedom to choose how I want to spend my money and where I want to spend my money. Living from paycheck to paycheck and working super long hours was not helping me live a life in balance - emotionally, physically, spiritually or financially.

See although, I graduated with a Master's in Social Work from a great school and always worked super hard (60+ hours/week) I wasn't making even $24,000 a year. Let alone the emotional drain of the type of work I did. The rule: work hard, go to school, do well, and you will be rewarded just was not the case for me. As a newly married person without any kids, it really didn't matter in the beginning because all I really needed to do was support myself but as the years past and I earned only a little more due to our annual 1% raise (FYI: working for non-profits is not profitable!) , I new I would need to earn a whole lot more if I wanted to go back to work and make it meaningful to be away from my kids.

Plus, in order to do that sort of work I would be looking at long hours again, little pay-off financially, and being away from my kids which I did not want. Anyway, this brings me back to the reason why I began this article, I can do so much more for my community and people in general if I was financially free. So, I started my own business: My American Dream.

Shopping From Home Is A Kids' and MOM's Key

Just because of all the sky-rocketing prices, I know all of us are looking to minimize our costs.... So, I wanted to let you know I have helped to develop a new site to shop at some of our favorite the stores
(Amazon, eBay, Toys R Us, etc.) to seriousely save time, moeny, and cut back on (and my goal... to eliminate) the actual "drive" to the store.

What could be better right?

Here Are Some Benefits For You:
- Convenient Shopping On Your Terms

- The Store is your one-stop source for some of the best products at the best prices in business today. Whether it's big brand name high dollar items or obscure products or services, you can find what you're looking for.

- Enjoy the added convenience of a single login, shopping cart and simple checkout.

- And we can even show you how You can make money by referring people to Amazon, eBay and others, including our 24 Hour Web Cash Referral Program and more.

SHOP with Confidence

- One Simple Shopping basket and checkout for all of your items

- Access to all stores and multiple items from stores like Amazon, eBay, Toys R Us, and more...

- Your account information is securely stored for speedy ordering

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Finding Mom's Potential Is A Kids' Key, Part III

Although most people are unnecessarily harsh in their assessments of his/her self, it is easy to become too hopeful when you start breaking down barriers. If, for instance, you love music and want to be a singer, it would be unrealistic to set your goal to be a singer when you sing off key because some talents are inborn. But if you are knowledgeable about the music business and would be happy being involved in another capacity, then it would be reasonable to pursue a career in that business.

Caution, don’t make reasonable goals unattainable because of a stringent time frame. When you set a goal, you will most likely set times for achieving the steps along to achieve your final goal. Even if you don't set the time frames formally, you will probably have a pretty good idea of how long you are giving yourself.

It's wise to sit down and formally set these goals. Think about it and give yourself reasonable time to achieve them. Make a deal with yourself to make these time limits flexible. Life has a way of interrupting.

Don't get discouraged if things don't work as planned. Sometimes finding our place takes both time and error. All of us experience failure. The key is to view the failure as a learning what not to do. Remain flexible. As long as you keep focusing on your talents and potential, the right piece will come along - and probably sooner rather than later. But don't quit! Even if you have truly found your niche, you will not feel enthusiastic 100 percent of the time.

Don't worry about others - don't compare your progress with others. No matter how successful you are, there will always be someone else who looks like she's getting where you want to go faster and easier than you are. Maybe she is. Maybe she isn't. Who really cares?

Focus on your own achievements. There is NO room for competition…work to develop your skills and talents to their full potential. If you must compete, compete with yourself.

Your short term goals should be based on today's accomplishments. If you have reached Point A today, make Point B your next objective - improve yourself and don't worry about the other guy.

OK. You have decided what your ultimate goal is. Make sure it is a well-defined goal. "Someday I want to be famous" just doesn’t cut it. Define exactly what you want to do. Define a legitimate time frame. Know what you have to do to get there. The smallest detail is not important but the big picture and many of the big details do matter.

If you have a goal in mind but don't know what it takes to reach it, then you need to find out. Do some reading, talk to people who know, ask questions and LISTEN to the answers.

Does this sound like a lot of work? It should, you are doing what is needed to be successful and happy. One phrase is very true… “Happiness isn’t free.” Because those who have it know you have to work at it.

Anyway, a little research into what it takes to reach your goals isn’t too difficult because it is something you want to do.

Train yourself into making this "research" the next chapter of your life. You will be focusing on your strengths, on your purpose, and on learning and doing. If you have chosen a goal that is right for you, focusing on these things and devoting the necessary time should not be too difficult.

It may take a bit of self-discipline at first, but your determination and interest will carry you through until the focusing process becomes a habit. When you have a real desire to accomplish something, your initiative should only require an occasional shove - you may need to give it a nudge every once in a while.

Get into the habit of visualizing your success. Not sitting around and daydreaming in generalizations. I mean, you need to visualize specifics. Picture in your mind how you will work your play to your goal if your opponent makes a play. What will your next response be, how will you react? Visualize the specifics. If you run through the specific moves in your mind, you will be prepared.

Don't be afraid to use your imagination to visualize new and better ways to accomplish things. In your mind, do the things in ways that are different from your usual response. This is a creative process called creative thinking. Thus, training yourself to think creatively is largely learning to let your imagination work on methods that are different from the "way things have always been done."

This is breaking away from the idea that there is only one way to do something effectively. It's looking at a problem from all angles. Asking "what if" is a great place to start. It's OK to think “out of the box”. But, you must also spend some of your thinking time at specific visualizations of the moves you need to make to accomplish your goals.

Physical practice of your skills is also critical to success. Practice the boring little skills that are necessary as well as the skills you enjoy. Don't let yourself rely on just the things that come naturally and easy to you, work your weakest assets to develop them. Work on developing the more general attributes that are important to any goal:

1) Success comes more easily to those who have an agreeable personality (don’t bend over backwards to please every person’s wishes, but be respectful and true to your beliefs).So be flexible, accept other’s ideas, seek out and learn from others;

2) Learn minimize emotional responses. We are all susceptible to errors in judgment; strong reactions have little place in decision making, however. Hold your emotions in check. Try to delay decisions if you are in an emotional state. Learn to ignore your emotions and use reasoning to arrive at your decisions;

3) Develop the habit of enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is a magnet - it draws people and success. It's a pleasing personality trait that people like to be a part of. Be contagious - it sparks initiative and purpose; and

4) Develop the habit of focusing on your goals, on your strengths, on learning and "researching," on visualizing, and, of course, on enthusiasm.

Now you need to assess if your habits that may be annoying to others. Offensive habits can hold you back from success. It will be very difficult to assess your own habits accurately. After all, a habit is something we do without thinking much about it. You will have to spend some time at this and be very conscious of yourself. Ask someone you trust to help you and then substitute that habit with a more pleasing behavior.

OK. Now, you have set definite goals, you have a purpose, you have researched and know the specific steps to take to achieve the goals, you have resolved to be flexible, and to further develop your pleasing personality. Now what?

Well, success will not drop into your lap overnight.

As you advance toward your goals, you will come against some difficult people, and there will be times you'll need to deal effectively with them. Since you are working on becoming a nice, enthusiastic person and a team player, you already have half the battle won. Your attitude is as important as the other guy's attitude when you are dealing with difficult people.

Keep in mind your job is a training field for you. View your job as a paid opportunity to advance toward your goals. You will be a happier, a more productive person. Viewing your job in this manner will allow you to view the difficult people you come across as an opportunity to grow. From them and the situations they create, you will learn to negotiate with, side-step around, and draw out the best in others without letting yourself become upset.

Each time you successfully deal with one of these people you will gain confidence and friends to add to your support network. The skill of negotiating is not a contest of wills - it is working together to solve a problem or come to an agreement. It is an opportunity to learn.

- Be prepared,
- Know who you are talking with (always know as much as possible about the person, this information will be the most effective way to get your point across).
- Know the issue - not just your opinions about it.
- Always enter into negotiations with a calm and reasonable manner (be courteous and leave them a chance to save face).
- Be prepared to face people who are not calm and reasonable (don't let them get to you).
- Play "Let's Make A Deal," (be prepared to not get everything you want).

To develop your potential to it's fullest, you need to become a more a efficient and effective person - get more done in less time with magnetism. The first barrier to efficiency is procrastination - putting off getting started. Like Nike, “Just Do It!”

So how do you beat procrastination? Get organized and plan ahead. Know what you want to accomplish and make lists. Now look over the lists and rank the tasks in order of importance. Make three or four groupings based on importance. Within each group, star the things you least like to do.

Each day you will have a "today" list to work on. Tackle the tasks that are most important first. If you have several "most important" tasks, do the least liked things first. When you have accomplished a task, check it off. You'll be surprised at the sense of accomplishment you will have at checking things off.

Do you see what is happening? You get the most pressing, least liked tasks out of the way early in the day when you are fresh and rested. As the day goes on you will feel less and less pressure. You have reserved the less important tasks for the end of the day when you will be more tired.

With this system you will increased your efficiency and reduced your stress because stress gets in the way of efficiency. Another important part of efficiency is delegating. If you are in a position where you have assistants or designated people under your supervision, you need to learn to delegate. If you are not in such a position yet, you still need to know - since you're working on developing your potential you very likely will be some day.

Delegating work is difficult for many people. Some find it hard to ask others to do things for them - others find it hard not to demand that others do tasks. Delegating is an art.

First, you need to realize that the people under your supervision are PEOPLE. You should never demand - it takes away self respect. People who are asked to do a task, are given explanations and clear instructions, and are praised for a job well done will grow self-respect and loyalty.

When you delegate work, don't delegate just the "junk" tasks. Delegating important task shows them your respect for them and the faith you have in their abilities. So, it's a good idea to save some "junk" tasks for yourself. Perhaps the most respected and effective boss is the one about whom the crew says, "She never gives us anything to do that she wouldn't do herself."

All of us have untapped potential, perhaps even areas of genius, we have neglected to develop. What ever your concept of success, developing your potential will help you achieve your goals. If you learn to assess your potential, set realistic goals, and go after those goals with determination, organization, and purpose, you will use your potential more fully, gain confidence, and be a happier and more successful person.

Mom's Potential Is A Kids' Key, Part II

If you go after “happiness”, directly, it is as vague a goal as self-esteem is. They are elements of our persona that are there inherently, yet only continue to thrive if nurtured and exercised. So, the secret to achieving these characteristics is to focus on other things.First, focus on your gifts/talents. Begin by listing an accurate assessment of your potential. To do this you must take an inventory of yourself.

Sit down and make a list of all the things you can do well. (Hint, the more honest you are with yourself the better.) Then, make a list of all the things you like to do, even if you think you can't do them well. Then, make a list of all the things you would like to do, if you could (no exceptions, no excuses). Now list your hobbies.

Now,go back to the list of things you do well. More than likely you are being too hard on yourself. Most of us are. We often have tiny voices in our head telling us things like: "You're so dumb,"; "You can't do that"; "You never do anything right"; or some similar nasty things. The worst part is we have listened to this voice and allowed it to stop us from doing what we want to do, like it has authority over us!

Don’t do that any longer! Don’t let that voice continue to control your life and happiness. Just think… that tiny, negative voice has influenced so many of your choices in the past. What if your true, authentic voice took over and revealed the truth?

What if you told yourself to do all those things you wanted to do and you believed it? Can you imagine how strong, successful, and happy you would be? Turn that disruptive, demoralizing voice off! Although it can be hard to do at first, once you do it will be SO liberating! You can do it!

Then add a few more things to the list of things you can do well. Pretend you are your best friend. Write a note to yourself (it's amazing how supportive and encouraging we are with our friends!).

Now that you are your best ally, you should be able to add a few more items to your "do well" list. But do be honest - don't list things you feel you really can't do well. Next, go to your list of things you like to do but you feel you don't do well.

Speaking as your own best friend, do you think there are some things on this list that could be moved to your "do well" list? More than likely, there are. If you like to do it,chances are you do pretty well at it. Now, do the same with your hobby list.

Next,go to your list of things you would like to do if you could. Ask yourself, "Why can't I do this?" Put your reasons on another list.

OK. So you have a lot of lists going – what is it worth? Well, you have just made an assessment of yourself. If you have been truly honest in making these lists, it will be a pretty accurate assessment.

Even if it is not, it is OK because this assessment isn't carved in stone. It's subject to change (just like you!). But for now we will workwith what's on the lists. It is a great place to start.Look over your lists again. Are you focusing on all the things you feel you can't do and the reasons why you can't do them? DON’T!

FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN DO - FOCUS ON YOUR POTENTIAL. Make it a habit to focus on your strengths. Write them down on a little paper (maybe a word or two to remind you of the whole list) and carry it with you and look at it every now and again.

Plus, include your undeveloped potential, as well. Train yourself to focus on your abilities instead of your limitations.Just because I am asking you to focus on the “can do” pieces, don’t ignore your list of excuses for not doing the things you want to do. But look at as “How can I make this happen?” Make your “limitation” not important.You see the difference?

Focusing on your excuses allows your weaknesses to make your decisions for you. However, focusing on your assets lets YOU make the decisions. When you' decide to overcome your limitations with something you really want to do, you will be more determined to develop your strengths to compensate.

Then,you will do well, because you will be doing what you really want to do. Thus you are developing the full potential of your strengths. Very few people concentrate on fully developing any of their strengths.

Deciding to master a skill takes dedication and drive. Now, you have the edge. You know your true disadvantages but your will, your purpose, will drive you to fully cultivate the talents and skills you do have.

So, what is your greatest interest? What are your natural abilities? Go for it. Devote yourself to something you really like to do. Don't choose something just because you think you could make more money at it.

Do the work that you love. If you don’t love it you won’t work at it to develop your full potential. You may start with enthusiasm, but you will soon fall short and it will be a chore to work.

It'll become difficult to work on improving your skills because you won't like what you are doing. No doubt, you won't be working up to your potential. Your success will be limited by your lack of interest and your happiness will surely be affected.

On the flip side, if you devote yourself to something you really like to do, you'll enjoy your work, you'll be enthusiastic, and you'll probably find yourself working on improving your skills just for the sheer joy of it.

You will be working to reach your full potential. You'll probably soon find you are making more money at this truly interesting occupation than you ever dreamed possible. And because you like what you are doing, you will be happier.

Then you know you are working to your full potential and you enjoy your work and feel successful. You will find that your self-confidence and happiness follow. Remember, the key is you must be realistic and honest with yourself.

If you set goals that you can't possibly reach, you are setting yourself up for failure. You will make yourself frustrated and unhappy.


Finding Mom's Potential Is A Kids' Key, Part 1

If you want to use your talents and increase your ability to give to others, you'll have to exercise them. You'll really need to challenge your creative left sided brain! Only you can make up your mind to do something different.This process starts with identifying your current habits and deciding which habits need to change. Ask yourself, "Is this habit (i.e. watching TV at night) going to get me where I want to go?

To learn new skills and completely utilize your gifts, you need to determine your interests; what don't you like and what do you like. Sometimes just finding out those two things can be a challenge. Then, I recommend, with the qualities you don't like, dare to look deeper into the "things" you don't like and do them!! You will exceed any goal you make by doing this!

By doing this you will improve the way you do things, the quality of your work, your appreciation for what you already have, and your well-being as a whole.

What defines success? Luck, intelligence, talent, determination, and dedication are just a few of the characteristics that play into making the difference.
But we all know smart, gifted, hard-working people who do not consider
themselves very successful, content, or even happy. Plus, we know people who are not exceptionally bright but declare his/her self to be happy and successful.

So there is something else. Would you care to guess what the secret to happiness could be? Is it a magic "happy" pill, is it weight loss, and is it more money? I am sure many advertisers would like you to believe that!

Could you believe your secret to success and realizing your dreams is the same thing for everyone!? There are several ways to achieve desires and surpass you identified potential, but it all starts with the way you perceive your self - self image.

Your ability to meet your potential in life (work, relationships, hobbies, etc.) based upon how you think of yourself. Dissatisfaction and discontent is something you choose. So you have two options if you want to be "happy"...lower your expectations of yourself or rise to challenges.

Have you ever heard "Happiness lies in the journey, not the destination"? What do you think this really means? Is it that "happiness" is the expectation of something, the thrill and challenge of just not yet getting what we want, or it is that unclear, shadowy spot just out of our reach because no one in their right mind chooses to be miserable.

NO! It is not - - - Happiness is a conscious decision every single moment! Being present, in the moment and believing you are doing everything you can be doing, right now. This is the secret to happiness! We have to consciously choose to be happy, self-confident, and successful. (And I don't mean exaggerated, boastful, and bragging.)

Mom Having Fun Is A Kids' Key

What mom doesn’t want to have fun? I know when I became a mom it was the most momentous, joyous time in my life and then came the endless nights of crying, nursing, rocking, crying, walking, bouncing, slowly and gently placing baby in crib, crying (rinse, repeat, with mom crying too!)

It’s rough right… All of a sudden I was thrown from being independent; working out side the home and all I really had to worry about was me. I was able to use the bathroom, eat, and well just do what ever I wanted when I wanted. And for better and for worse that was just the beginning. My sister told me the first few years are the easiest, and then it really gets tough. From talking with friends the “fun” really begins as our beautiful babes enter their adolescence and teen years. So much to look forward to, right!

When discussing with my husband whether we wanted to start a family I told him I wasn’t sure if I wanted to deal with teenagers… His response, “If people made the decision to have children based on their life while the children are teens, no one would have kids”. That’s probably a pretty accurate response, right?

Well, not exactly. I didn’t want to feel frustrated, confused, and not knowing what to do. So I started looking for answers and I found and amazing source and wealth of information. The resource I am speaking of is Nicole MacKenzie. She created a home parenting course called: Parenting Rule #1: Mom Has Fun and I was able to interview her. Nicole also offers for moms like me where “too much information” still isn’t enough, a newsletter. She first tells mom’s “not to be perfect and to have fun”. What is not to like?

Mom and dad “having fun” will encourage your kids to make better choices, listen and be more respectful. Strange isn’t it! It is such a parenting paradigm switch. That is why it is so intriguing to me. So I decided to give it a try! I placed the emphasis of parenting on me. If things seemed to be going down hill and unwanted behavior started to flair, I quickly stepped aside and said to myself “Am I having fun?” The answer was always, “no”. I realized that if I wasn’t having fun, neither were my kids.

When I sat down and really thought about the things I want to give my children and the most important quality is to appreciate and enjoy life. How am I going to do that if I am frowning, agitated, and becoming spooled up because my kids are “not listening”, tormenting each other, and acting like monkeys. If kids learn (if anyone learns, really) more from seeing and doing (not from what I say) then how would I really be teaching this? So my mission was to practice having fun myself. What an incredible gift!

When I sat back and my primary focus for the day was to enjoy it. Not changing the bed clothes, not to clean the house with resentment because I knew the house would be a mess again in less than 1 hr, not wondering if I am giving my kids enough “quality time”, etc., etc. My goal is to teach my kids to be well-adjusted, kind, conscientious and responsible adults who are in love with life. A tall order right! But here is the thing. It was like a light bulb glaring at me in the face: They are not going to learn this from watching the “old” me. I had to live it.

So what only seems like a simple solution really is simple if I put the focus on me and not on the kids. Does that seem original? It isn’t, really. If I think back to when my parents were growing up they didn’t have all the material stuff or luxuries so there was less time to spend with us kids. Kids had so many more responsibilities.

We hear so often: “kids need to be kids”; “kids don’t play anymore”; and “they are forced to grow up too fast”. Don’t get me wrong, I think our kids are exposed to violence, sexual mature situations, and adult responsibilities all too often in our culture. But I also believe our kids are not held accountable and given reasonable tasks they stick to, and know how their behavior affects others.

I don’t mean the consequences for toddler hitting, or that two year old slapping that necessitates a time out and saying “sorry” with a hug to the injured, but the kind of empathy learned when emphasis is placed on giving to others; the happiness, joy, and contentment that truly lie when giving to others.

I have heard statements like this before but for some reason this was different. There is meaning in a new way (finally, after 34 years of life). Although, children learn to receive love and affection by watching their number one teachers (mom and dad), but what if that is all they learn? What if they aren’t given the responsibility of giving love and feeling the love, joy, and satisfaction of truly giving of him/her self?

Would I be giving my children the “education” and lessons they truly need to live the life I want for them, if I don’t create situations where they have to give in order to know joy, happiness, and satisfaction? I once thought that happiness didn’t really exist in life. I thought, “Yes, we do experience happy moments but life is filled more with boredom, problems, want, need, rejection, fear, and loneliness.” I have learned recently that there is so much more and happiness, joy and contentment can be the mainstay with bits of sadness, loneliness, and fear thrown in so we know we are alive.

Yes, there are quiet moments and times when I even crave to be by myself because now I know happiness and fullness. I feel love and I am surrounded by it. It has taken me way too long to find this and what I really want is for my kids to grow up with these feelings and have them all there life. I know I can’t guarantee that they will always have and experience those feelings but I can set up the lifestyle that supports it.

My faith in this is compounded by the people I see and the stories I hear in other countries where there isn’t the intense media and focus on material things. Places where there is true need, despair, and want, but often there isn’t loneliness and rejection when there is a family unit. A family that depends on one another with children held to standard of their parents with giving and caring for one another.

Some may question…what about role reversal, what about inappropriate responsibilities for a child. But that isn’t what I am discussing. I mean creating situations where the child realizes and practices the power of their life and love by giving it to another, unconditionally. Unfortunately, our culture doesn’t necessarily support this and I truly do not want to offend. But if you ever experience feelings of being overwhelmed, frustrated, or counting the minutes until bedtime so you can have a break, then I think you need to have fun!

Just the other day, I took Nicole Mackenzie’s advice, and acted instead of reacted to my kids bickering and said… “Hey guys, mom isn’t having fun right now, are you?” They both looked at me and said a resounding “no!” Well, what do you think we need to do then?” I asked.

At that instant the fight was over and we were off doing something else! Thank You Nicole Mackenzie for making our lives so much better!!

Mom Working From Home Is A Key To Kids' Success

A fellow "Blog Trainer" from The Blog Train, asked if I had links I recommended... I set up a site to help you out!

Mom Marketeers: One for All!

I was once just starting out. I had an idea about what I wanted to do and absolutely NO clue about how to do it. It was a gigantic learning curve for me. If I knew now what I didn't know then, I don't know if I would have taken it on!!

But I would have offered a person who gave me a site like this, the right to ----------------------(you finish that statement!)---------------.

It would have been that important to me!

I am so glad I did, though! I have met some awesome people and I love meeting more. I find huge satisfaction is helping people and I can do it from my computer!! I LOVE IT!!

(In my previous life, before children, I was a's in my blood to link people up with resources and tools!!)

So, Let me know what you think and how I can further assist you. I love the feedback!

Silliness Is A Kids' Key To Success

And I wonder why I have a tough time focusing....Nose Picker

Not only do I have a digit digging, "catch a big one" trophy winner....

Painted Kid Yes, she painted her entire body green!

AND then did a little dance to celebrate!

Respect and Sustainable Living Is A Kids' Key

Just wanted to let you know the interview with Meglena Antonova was Super Great! I had so much fun and I felt like I was talking with an old friend!

How often does that happen? You meet someone and you make that instant connection. I know it doesn't happen all too often for me but when it does it is such a high.

If you weren't able to make the live version last night... here is the recorded version!

Go check it out..


Please give me your feedback!

Meglena asked all of us to check out these sites after listening to our call... (calculate your cabon footprint!)


Blog Train Is a Key For Mom Bloggers

Need traffic to your blog? Join our "blog train" at Best part is it's free and you can build great Karma!

Sustainable Living is a Key for Kids

What do you need to do right, but most people do wrong? Find out tonight! Meglena will shed the light on how to increase our children's respect.

Anyone can listen for FREE for our OPERATION SUSTAINABLE LIVING call
with author and teacher Meglena Antonova live on , June 3rd at 9pm EST.

Meglena Antonova is a highly acclaimed international author who has written a children's book "The Golden Fish". You can read more about it below on a previous post.

Find out more about her and her important message about how you and your family can live a more sustainable life! What is really cool is her method increases the respect your child has for you and for our environment!

Dish me up a little of that please!


Find Out Tonight
at 9 pm EST.
the bridge number is 1 (218)936 - 7999
access code 458138

If you want to "Live" a more fun, satisfying, and sustainable life, plus get the respect you deserve
from your children....
Learn from, be inspired by --- and make the best use of this call.

Meglena will tackle two challenges in a light, upbeat and positive way.
1. She gets parents excited and proactive (because kids follow when their parents lead the way).

2. She explains, in a simple way, what the next step to Eco friendly living. (Most people have started the basics...recycling, florescent lights, low flow plumbing, etc. But what is the next step?) And She Covers So Much More!
Parents Do Make The Difference.
Is it too much to ask? Probably, but Meglena starts her lessons here. Who wants to listen to someone who lowers the bar of conscientiousness, makes you feel condemned, irresponsible, and plagued with fear? Not Me!

Summer: Kids' Keys To Success

The start of a new week and we are entering the busiest time of the year-- summer. I looked at the calender and all our weekends are booked through the second week of August. It's nuts; what happened to the "lazy days of summer"? Even when the calender says "summer", in upstate NY it doesn't necessarily mean the corresponding season. We have to smoosh all the parties, family times, etc. into a slot that has the highest possibility of "nice" weather. Which is really maybe three mystery weekends out of the summer!

What is really nutty, is I am a pretty boring person and for me to have so many things planned is kind of crazy.

In all this craziness, does anyone have a solution to really slow down, decompress, de-stress in the summer? Share with me some suggestions and I'll be your best friend!

As far as news from Kids' Keys, I'll be interviewing Meglena Antonova this week! I am so excited! Just the few times I have talked or emailed, it seems like she is an old friend! Meglena has written a children's book: "The Golden Fish". It is an updated version of an Eastern European fairy tale.


This book is perfectly set up for a discusion with your child about "happiness" in your life and the choices we make. A WAHM or a mom who home schools will really love this new variety of book!

Meglena makes it super easy for parents because she even offers questions for both parents and kids right along with the story!

Check out her excerp...

"This is one of my favourite fairy tales which originated in Eastern European folklore.Back in the 19th century, the great Alexander Pushkin retold it in a poem. The Russians dramatized it in a sweet 15 min animation during the 1950s and there are a few versions floating on various Internet web sites at the present moment. This is my spin on a timeless story with a memorable, true-to-life ending (I have never been one for the sugary kind).

For those of you unfamiliar with the twists and turns an Eastern European fairy tale is likely to offer... here is a primer, so you know what to expect.

Abandon all rules!
You are now in a world that knows no boundaries, respects no limitations and demands the impossible.

The hero will be put to tests that challenge common sense, the punishment for failure will be severe but the rewards will be more than worth the effort.

Life was hard for the common man and that shows in the stories that most tribes passed down to their children. Going up against a dragon, confronting a witch or searching for a cure in another world was the easy part. Surviving the wrath of a local tyrant, dividing the family fortune or living in peace with your neighbour... now that, was tricky!

Often people wished for miraculous solutions. And that’s how a wide spread myth emerged: that magical creatures dwell deep in the forests or in the waters of the lakes and sea. They somehow know things about the hero that nobody else does, they have the power to make any wish come true and sometimes possess magical objects that either transform the shape of the hero or deliver valuables like food and gold.

Among the most famous stories that children and grown-ups equally love is “The Golden Fish”. It would appear that the fantasy was all about rising out of poverty and settling into a happy life...

Not so fast!

There is a hidden test, weaved between the lines. Read for yourself to find out how well you would have handled the same challenges.

Still curious about the plot but not convinced you can handle the curves?

OK... Here is the snapshot:
When a pour old fisherman catches a magical golden fish, she agrees to grant him three wishes if he would save her life (yes! the fish is a girl! she has powers - she must be). The good man shows mercy and is rewarded with more wealth than he knows what to do with. And that’s when trouble starts...
Did I mention he had a very greedy wife?

Strictly for your viewing pleasure, I made sure to enlist the talent of a spectacular illustrator whose flair for the dramatic rivals that of the Renaissance maestros... I have a feeling she may have been one in a previous life. Lisa Dong gets sole credit for transforming the fantasy inside my mind into the vibrant world that you will feel tempted to step into.

The book was created on 100% recycled paper using waterless printing. Great for the environment and great for the reader. No toxic residue and no guilt over killing trees. The pages are thicker than regular paper and can take the abuse a children's book should expect to undergo. The size is 7" x 9".

You can read it to a child as young as 4 or 5 but it can also serve as practical reading for 3rd or 4th graders. Relevant questions about the child's personal reaction to the story are spread throughout the pages to engage their interest."

----Meglena Antonova

I will be posting tonight or tomorrow wthe exact time of the interview... Check back!