Archive for Parenting Tips


Summer by Design

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I got a big wakeup call today when I read Renee Trudeau’s post on creating an intentional summer on her blog, The Journey.  She asks a simple question – what do you want your summer to be like? 

That’s when it hit me.  The summer?  Is it summer already?  Good grief!  I am a business owner, master of my own destiny and manager of my own calendar… right?  So what’s with all these hectic days and crammed schedules?  Do I even have time to figure out what I want?

Luckily, for me, my kids, and my hubby, Renee’s post really hit me.  I CAN decided what I want and create a summer of intent.  I will be working on my list of things I want from this summer – not a to-do list, mind you, but what I want to create – this evening.  It’s going to be filled with SLOW times with my kids, reconnecting with friends, and enjoying this wonderful place where I live.  It will also consciously plan out what I need to do these next couple of months to make the rest of the year truly successful for my book, My Mommy’s on a Business Trip, and it’s soon-to-be-released partner, My Daddy’s on a Business Trip.  What can I do in the next week to kick-start this summer of intention?  I’ll let you know.  What about you?  How are you going to design your summer?

The following is from guest blogger, Angela Ploetz, organizer extraordinairre and owner of the her firm, The Posh Space – Productive Office, Stylish Home.  Any tips that can save me from making multiple trips to the grocery store in one week and I’m all ears (eyes!).  Thanks, Angela!

Meal Planning Makes Life Simple

Monday marks the start of a new week and with it comes the infamous question “what’s for dinner tonight”?  Planning dinner on the spot can be stressful and can result in a lot of time back and forth to the grocery store.  So what can you do to save time, sanity, and keep from making so many unnecessary trips?


Start by creating a list of all the meals that you know how to prepare or prepare on a regular basis.  Having a go to list of everything that you know how to cook is a great way to spark your memory when you have no idea what to make.  A good place to start is to divide the list into categories like:  chicken, beef, turkey, fish, vegetarian, and side dishes.


Keep the list in the kitchen in a handy location.  On Saturday or Sunday before you do your weekly shopping go through the list and decide what you will have for each day that week.  Write it down so you don’t forget.  Trust me; I’ve made that mistake before!  Then make your shopping list checking the recipes so you don’t miss any ingredients and you’re off to the store!


Just remember there may be some ingredients that will not hold until the end of the week so you may have to make a list of items to purchase later in the week. 


Already knowing what to make for dinner each night can help reduce your stress at dinner time and help make your night run smoothly.  I’m getting more relaxed just thinking about it!

I had an interesting set of experiences yesterday.  I had to take 1.5 yr old my son to the doctor’s to get a blood culture.  They pricked him three times and couldn’t get any blood.  He was screaming as I laid across him, trying to keep his small body still enough on the examining table so they could put the needles in safely.  We tried for at least 20 mins.  He was shocked by the pain, and also by the fact that I was letting this happen to him.  Once that was done, the nurses then gave him an antibiotic shot that they told me was very painful.  The poor little guy slept for almost four hours after the ordeal.

I wanted to cry, too.  On the third prick, I got tears in my eyes, but I knew I had to keep it together for my son.  Later that day I was in the grocery store and some child, probably around three, was having a whale of a tantrum in the check out line.  His mother was desparately trying to calm him, even as he started to hit her.  I’m sure it seemed to her that the whole store could hear him.  Finally, her eyes started to well up, too – clearly out of frustration, feeling overwhelmed, probably exhausted, and who knows what else was going on in her life.

I wanted so badly to help her but didn’t know what I could do.  The grocery bagger helped her out to her car, and the cashier gave her a hug.  I whispered to her that it would be alright at she walked by, but I think I just embarrassed her more.  I really felt for her and got a little teary-eyed myself.  Maybe it was just the day, but I really think all of us mothers are pulling for each other and fully empathize when we see another sister struggling.

It made me think about how much we love our babies and how we cry when they’re hurt, we cry when they frustrate us, and we cry when they shower us with unconditional love – from the scribbled drawing to the hug around our necks.  What a wild ride this is!

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If you are a working mom, with any age kid at home, a subscription to Working Mother magazine is definitely worth your time and money.  It’s not like many of the parenting magazines that we’re through with by the time we’re done with maternity leave.  It grows with you and is multifaceted.  I’ll be recommending other magazines and links in this blog on a regular basis as well. 

At DolceVita Woman, I am so happy to announce that my book, My Mommy’s on a Business Trip, was chosen as Working Mother’s Top Pick for Children’s Books in this Feb/March issue.  And no, the plug above isn’t because of the review – I really do find the magazine helpful!  What are your favorite sites or magazines?  Which ones keep you sane, offer relevant tips, and don’t talk to you like your biggest passion in life is staying up until 2 am making cupcakes for the school party?  Any submissions will be aggregated and posted here.  Let’s share the wealth and help promote those who serve us!

Below is our Mom Story of the Week, from reader and recent winner of my children’s book, My Mommy’s on a Business Trip, Christie Arseneau.  The Story of the Week is becoming a regular feature on this blog, with Christie and other mom’s tales of heartache AND triumph as they balance work and personal lives, on the road and even at home.  What’s your story?

From Christie:
So, the story of the week is the heart-melting good-bye wave.  My daughter, 13 months old today, will on and off wave good bye to people.  She’s gotten in the habit of waving bye-bye when she goes to bed, but won’t wave bye-bye to perfect strangers (probably a good thing that I shouldn’t encourage, but it is just so darn cute!).  Whenever she waves, it’s usually on cue with the suggested “wave bye-bye, baby!”. 


www.dunlapportrait.comThis past Sunday morning, I was leaving on a business trip from Houston to Muskegon, MI.  The baby and my husband were packed in the car and dropped me off at the airport (side note – if time allows for it, this is a great strategy for a working mom.  You get more face time in with the spouse and you get to see the baby until the last moment when TSA kicks the parked car out of the Departure unloading zone!).  As we pulled up to Departures, the baby was sound asleep in the backseat.  Of course, I wasn’t going to ignore the sleeping baby and not kiss her good-bye, so I gently opened the backdoor and leaned down to give my little angel a kiss.  Just as I was leaning over her, she opened those beautiful big brown eyes and smiled.  Up came her little hands and she wave “bye-bye”.   I kissed her, wiped away my tears, kissed her again and closed the door.  As the car was driving off, I could see the little hand waving from the back seat….  This was the first time she’d ever waved bye-bye to me on a business trip.  My heart melted in a giant puddle right then and there. 


When I get back on Friday night, I will see her again – I would’ve seen her sooner in our normal round of Peek-a-boo Skype, but the home web cam was acting up.  I’m sure that she’ll be there, just after security looking through the crowds for mommy.  She’ll smile at some strangers, and bury her head acting all shy to other strangers.  But the biggest smile and cutest wave will come only to me….!  Till Friday night, I’ll have visions of “bye-bye” for now.