Promote Your Online Business Using a Podcast

We've discussed several ways to promote your business online. The ways we've discussed have been article distribution, blogging, videos and teleseminars. Another way to successfully promote your business, product or service is by using a podcast.
Podcasts are perfect for self promotion as well as sharing information and educating. Podcasts can be done with audio and with the popularity of videos you can incorporate a video into your podcast as well. Technically a podcast is an online radio show that one can subscribe via RSS feed or via iTunes or by simply downloading from your existing site.
Podcasts can be recorded in advance and placed on your blogs or on blog directories. One of the benefits of a podcast is that your listeners can download the episode to their mp3 players and listen at their leisure.
Lengths of podcasts vary depending on your topic. Some podcasts episodes are short lasting 15 minutes and some may be as long as 1hour. As long as you are providing information that will entice your audience your podcast will be successful. Be creative and use your podcast to promote your services. Some will use the podcast to promote others that may help in educating your target market, the possibilities are endless.
The podcast can also include sponsors that will pay you to promote their products. In this scenario, you win with some cash and they win with exposure. Consider the ease of including a podcast on your site. The episodes can be recorded in advance and placed on your site with an easy plugin if you are using a WordPress type site. If you don't have a site you can still create podcast episodes and upload them to iTunes and other audio venues.
Be creative and consider adding podcasting to your marketing plan. The more exposure you achieve in your marketing efforts the more successful you will be. Remember folks will not go searching for you, you must make yourself accessible and podcasting is just another way to accomplish that endeavor.

Teach Your Little Girls Early - How to Have Pretty Feet

I am blessed with two boys and never had a sister. When I see other parents with girls or my friends so close to their sisters, I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to have a sister or a daughter. But I wouldn't change any of the memories I have with my sons. Instead God blessed me with three nieces and my best friend's daughters, sisters and granddaughters. They are all my family now. God knew that I needed boys, but he gave me a small gift of girls so I would know I had the right mix for my life! But what do boys know about having pretty feet and pedicures?
One day my brothers' families came to the house for a pool party, when my nieces were still very young. I told my nieces that we were going to get pedicures. I had to explain what a pedicure was and that we were getting our toe nails painted. I told them we must have pretty feet if we were going to run around barefoot. They were so excited! They pranced everywhere that day to show off their painted tootsies! Spoiling them was fun and I got to soak up a memory that I never thought I would ever experience. My sons and nephews were playing water basketball and shooting water guns, oblivious to the girl's fun!
What I did not realize is how this event was ingrained in their minds forever! I thought it was fun for me, but little did I know how this would impact the girls. Every time they visit now they ask Auntie to paint their toe nails no matter what time of year. This tradition is such a gift to me and I was honored to have taught my nieces that pretty feet are important to your outer beauty. Of course I moved on to help them accessorize with jewelry. Your pretty bare feet need jewelry too!
So now whenever a little girl comes to the pool with their mom or grandmother, I spoil them as my own. When they get to an age where they start loving to dress up, the first thing I want to share with them is painting their toe nails. Around me they learn at an early age that pretty bare feet with a nice pedicure, painted toe nails, and barefoot jewelry are just as important as putting your makeup on in the morning.
Although my sons could care less about all the 'Girlie' stuff Mom likes, I don't have to rely on them for the comfort of sister, daughter, or granddaughter moments of enjoyment. The boys have so many other ways to love their Mom and create memories and traditions. So the next time you have a little girl come visit, treat them to a pedicure and paint their toe nails and give them barefoot jewelry to accessorize. The will remember! Maybe you will have a tradition and memory like this one to share with a little girl in your life. Yes, it is OK for the boys to be clueless about pretty feet.

How to Make Chores an Act of Love

My husband got up yesterday morning and reminded me he had to leave early for work as he walked out the door for his run. His reminder was so I wouldn't forget to make his lunch first. "Why can't he make his own lunch?" I thought, as I hurried through writing my blog so I could get done in time to make his lunch.
My youngest daughter announced in the grocery store yesterday that she no longer liked the lunch I had been fixing her, and she wanted something else. "Really?" I thought. "Isn't it enough that I make your lunch every day?"
My oldest daughter was unhappy from the moment she woke up yesterday after a restless night. She woke up in tears and went to bed in tears. "Why are you crying now?" I thought as I tucked her in last night.
By the time everyone went to bed, all I wanted to do was sit in a quiet corner. Two overtired children had made for a difficult evening. One was bouncing off the walls; the other was weeping at the drop of a hat.
I really didn't feel like serving my family yesterday. I wanted someone else to make lunches, make dinner, file papers and clean up the kitchen. Just once, I wanted to go through the day without having to pick up a mess that someone else had made. Just once, I'd like to walk through the family room without tripping over someone else's shoes.
It's the little things, like those shoes, that trip us up when it comes to taking care of our families. While it's not wrong to want our families to help out around the house, having a me-first attitude isn't what God has in mind for us.
Jesus gave us an example of how to be a servant leader when He washed His disciples' feet, a chore usually reserved for the lowliest servant in the household. Washing other people's feet is a disgusting job, especially when those people either went barefoot all the time or wore sandals. I think it's way more disgusting than cleaning the toilets or picking up dirty underwear off the floor.
After He was done washing their feet, He said "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet" (John 13:14). Jesus set an example of how to serve, by taking on the lowliest task of the day, then asked us to follow His example.
We don't always enjoy serving our families. Many parents work full- or part-time, then come home to deal with everything that goes into keeping a family on track -- homework, housework, activities. The grind can become old, and we can start to resent our families, especially when they're acting less than grateful for our effort.
But God sees our service, and He smiles. He looks down on you every time you encourage a child when you would rather throw up our hands and walk away. He sees the lunches you make and the bathrooms you scrub. He sees the piles of laundry you fold and the miles you drive to take your kids places.

What to Expect When You Become a Parent for the First Time?

Parenthood-And I thought I knew what to expect
When I was pregnant with my daughter, I spent hours reading books and articles on parenting. I knew what to expect at birth and for the following months. I knew all about sleep cycles, feedings, diaper changing, rashes, creams, etc... I also knew what the Canadian Pediatric Guidelines were for vaccinations, breastfeeding and sleep. I was confident I was ready to be a parent. The delivery went smoothly and the baby followed the books. I recorded her first bowel movement and counted her wet diapers on the sheet provided. And then, we were discharged home! I didn't understand how these nurses and doctor could entrust us with such a responsibility.
It took almost an hour to put her in the car seat: we decided on the most appropriate outfit for the cold weather, then we put in on her and very carefully put the hood over her little head (no one had warned us how difficult that would be, but thankfully, her head and neck seemed intact afterwards). After that, we adjusted and re-adjusted the straps in the car seat to near perfection in order to have it approved before discharge. It took another hour to get home from the hospital which was 20 minutes away (with traffic). My husband took the longest route possible in order to avoid a few intersections we thought could be dangerous. There were dangers hidden everywhere that we hadn't noticed before. We made a rule at home, that whoever was carrying the baby up or down the wooden stairs had to be barefoot or wearing non-slide shoes. One of the biggest surprises was the lack of sleep.
We thought we knew what it would be like to run on little sleep, but we had no idea! I would tell my sister the same story 3 times and forget to tell my brother the same story! And despite it all, we enjoyed and continue to enjoy every moment. Our daughter was not yet a week old, when I was rocking her to sleep and thought : someday, a boy will break her heart. And I started crying and couldn't stop. The mere thought of someone hurting her was breaking my heart. This was the biggest surprise of all. I thought I knew how much I would love my daughter. Again, I was wrong. No book could prepare me for this. Her every smile warms my heart and every tear breaks it. I cannot begin to describe the love I have for her. After all those hours of reading, I follow my gut and do what I think is best for her.
Meredith is a new mom and a freelance writer on parenthood. Before going on maternity in early 2012, she used to work as a copywriter for a Ottawa based periodical in addition to writing articles on lifestyle and dating for several Canadian journals.

Baby Shower Decorations and Favors

It is always nice to see baby shower decorations and favors that are coordinated and match the theme of the baby shower well. A shower is often centered on the gender of the new baby, the theme the parents have chosen for the nursery, a favorite childhood character or story of the parents or a specific color scheme that the new parents will be using in the nursery. Many times the baby shower decorations and favors are chosen simply because they are very cute and stand out in the shop or online catalog as those throwing the shower begin to look for ideas.
While certain colors or themes remain popular choices, such as the jungle animals theme or the storks or teddy bears theme, some great and more unique and elegant ides have also emerged. One theme, which is especially great when the sex of the baby remains unknown, is called the 'pitter-patter of little feet" and it features baby sized footprints in pastel colors or greens and yellows and often favors will include a little barefoot cookie cutter or a baby bootie filled with candies. Other themes are always coming up and often those throwing the shower will find some other unique idea after browsing. The most important factor to consider is keeping the theme and the baby shower decorations and favors coordinated and pleasing to the parents-to-be.
A shower to welcome a new little one and to share in the joy of this moment with the new parents is a wonderful expression of love and makes the couple feel that their little one is being welcomed into a world full of family, friends, and love. Having a well-thought out theme with appropriate baby shower decorations and favors adds a special touch to an already special day. Of course, you do not need to spend a lot of money on these items. The thought that goes into them is what is most appreciated and with today's online shopping resources, it is incredibly easy to put together a great shower with well-matched baby shower decorations and favors that will look extravagant and will act as a well-thought-out surprise for the parents-to-be. This joyous event that has been planned well will be a fantastic memory for the family of the little one for a lifetime. The parents-to be will have photos, gift items, and perhaps will save a favor and some of the decorations as a reminder of the special thought and love that went into planning an event to welcome their new child into this world and they will always be appreciative of the effort undertaken to make this special day a success.

Little Things Can Make You Happy As You Experience Joy, Satisfaction, and Contentment

Happiness is an emotion where you can experience intense joy, satisfaction, and contentment. Happiness is more mental than physical and needs to be nurtured. It is the ultimate achievable purpose in life and is healthy for your body.
It isn't uncommon for young people to be more aware of negative emotions than are the elderly. This may be a result of childlike selfishness, which may be the result of a lack of consideration for others.
Keep an open mind and attempt not to be concerned chiefly with your own personal profit or pleasure.
When young people have a close relationship with family have an early plus. If they have relationships combined with friendships they have two pluses.
Get together with friends and family as often as possible.
Life is full of little wonders that can make us happy and they are easily accessible. You only need to look around; with your eyes wide-open. Give a helping hand to others and feel good about yourself. Finding little things to make others happy will, in return, make you happy.
Develop sensible eating habits. Good health generates joy and happiness. Eat healthy and feel it.
Try to always smile. Practice saying "Thank You", "Please", and "You're Welcome".
Exercise. A good workout can make you feel happy and satisfied with yourself.
Develop and train your senses to be sensitive to the inherent mental or physical power of sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. At the same time develop a sane and realistic attitude to situations and problems.
Slow down, enjoy the beauty of God's many Creations. Observe others and try to feel the feelings they are experiencing in their actions. Sit back and just think about the following examples. These are 'Little Things' that just might give you happiness.
Smell the rain' walking in the rain, playing in the rain.
Holding hands and walking with the one you love.
Watching someone being nice to someone else; i.e., holding open a door, offering to carry someone's groceries.
Watching other teens have fun talking on a street car.
Watching very young children play in the park.
Finding a good bargain on sale.
Enjoy reading a good book.
Send Mom a card without an occasion.
Listen to great older songs on the radio.
Walking in a cool breeze at twilight.
Phone friends ask how they're doing.
Lying on the ground staring at the stars on a warm night.
Watching an older couple hold hands and smile with each other.
Watching others kissing in the locker room.

Sarcastic Responses: We All Do It But How Does It Affect Our Children?

We have all been guilty of uttering sarcastic responses from time to time
 and most likely feel a twinge of remorse as soon as we hear the words come out of our mouths. But how do sarcastic responses directed toward our children affect them?

You are late for work, the dog hasn't been fed or taken out for his morning ritual and is clawing at the door, your daughter can't find her left shoe and now the telephone is your 4 yr. old, holding her right shoe innocently looks up at you and asks, "Mommy, what should I do?" you suddenly realize the sarcastic response you are thinking in your mind you actually just heard out loud in your voice"Guess you'll just have to go barefoot!"
Now you have compounded the problem because your daughter is in tears because she doesn't want to go to daycare without shoes. You immediately realize you need to back up, apologize and explain that you didn't mean she should really go barefoot, that you were being sarcastic.
Two things: First, children take things literally because their brains are not developed yet to discern information they receive so your explanation most likely will only add to their confusion. What they will take in is that you are sorry and didn't mean it. The second is to know that the rare occurrence when there is the occasional slip of the tongue will not send your child on to a path of misery and pain for the rest of their lives.
However, with that being said, if uttering sarcastic responses to your children is common place you are risking the likelihood that they will not learn to communicate in a positive way. Many years ago I worked with a family whose 5 yr. old was not doing well after only a few weeks in kindergarten. The teacher had contacted the parents stating their son was refusing to do what she was asking the class to do. Whether she asked the class to get out their crayons or put their jackets on to go outside for playtime, their son more often than not ignored her requests until she adamantly made a personal direct request of him.
She was frustrated. After the parents spoke with their son and explained that he needed to do what his teacher asked him to do they had hoped the problem would be resolved. It wasn't. Several weeks later I was contacted and asked to meet with the teacher, the parents and the little boy.
We began with a game of role-playing where I played the part of the teacher and his mom played his part. It was all very humorous and light-hearted. As I (as the teacher) asked the mom (as the student) to please take out her reading book, her son interrupted and said, "Mom, you didn't ask if it was for real or pretend!"
I was a little confused by his statement, both parents were smiling as if to say to their son, "You are so silly!", but the teacher reacted as if she had just found the answer to eternal youth! "That's what he says to me all of the time when I ask the class to do something! He doesn't respond until I tell him that this is for real!", she exclaimed.
Everyone became very serious as the core of the problem became evident. As it turned out his Dad had a longstanding habit of issuing sarcastic remarks. In order to lessen her son's confusion in reaction to his Dad's sarcasm, the Mom would interject "Dad doesn't mean it for real, he is only pretending!"
Apparently this type of exchange carried over to the majority of conversations between him and his father and so it had become a habit for him to respond to his father by asking, "For real or pretend?" Neither parent had realized the possible negative consequences of what they saw as a harmless funny little game.

Benefits of Creating a Passive Income

As your business ebbs and flows, the idea of having a passive income is probably becoming more appealing. Basically, a passive income comes from a source of profit that requires little or no effort on your part to keep the flow going. There are a number of other benefits to creating this type of income. Here I'm sharing just a few.
One of the most recognizable benefits of creating this type of income is that there is very little overhead. Most of these incomes are information based, so you do not have to worry about storage, delivery costs, or even the cost of raw materials. That way, more of your passive income can be transformed into profit.
Another advantage of passive income that you might not realize is that it is a lot easier to distribute in mass quantities. By using a website or an email list-service, you can easily distribute the information to hundreds, if not thousands of different people. To accomplish the same task through the creation of CDs or DVDs would be extremely cost prohibitive.
Of course, a third benefit may not immediately be apparent. A passive income can be a great way to build a quality reputation among the Internet community. By providing your expertise at a relatively low cost, you'll be seen as the person, the expert to go to when more information is needed. This is one long-term benefit that can not only help your bottom line, but help your business grow as well.
Finally, a wonderful benefit of creating a passive income is that it allows you to use ideas or items that are already in place. There really is no need to create brand new content for an information product, provided that the original information is still valid and usable. For example, a special report or e-book can contain information from previous blogs, replies to various comments on your website, and even information attributable to other sources. In a number of cases the information used as a passive income source can be nothing more than a rehash of what you already created.
Carrie Wilkerson is the voice of experience. From corporate life to teaching high school to direct sales, she has 'been there and done that' professionally and personally. An 'overnight mom' to 2 toddlers through adoption, her priorities instantly changed and so did her workplace.

A World of Hurt - A Bigger World of Love

The other day I hauled my bod out of bed bright and early to play some tennis. I was feeling chipper. The weather was perfect. I had my morning coffee. This had all the earmarks of a good day.
Trouble is I looked at the morning paper before I left to play tennis. There on the front page was the sad story of a very sick man who had sexually abused some young boys at Penn State.
Phooey! My heart went into free fall. Damn! Why? What makes grown men sink so low as to take away the innocence of children? I could feel my upbeat mood going south. Some days you're better off NOT reading the paper.
In a considerably more subdued frame of mind, I drove to the tennis courts, hopeful that some vigorous exercise might put the thought of wounded children behind me.
As I made my way to the tennis courts, I noticed that the sprinklers were still on, spilling water on to the walkway and making a good-sized puddle. A young dad and his little kid were seizing the moment to have some fun. The boy had discovered the wonders of a puddle of water. SPLASH! SPLASH! went the kid through the puddle. He laughed as he splashed and splashed as he laughed. This kid was having a ball.
So was his dad. After watching his son for a while, the dad got into the act, too. Both father and son stomped on that puddle scattering water in all directions, on their shoes, on their clothes and all over the place. I thought to myself the kid's mom probably will probably be doing the laundry for both her children. No matter. There are moments in life way too precious to let a little dirty laundry get in the way.
Two more of our tennis group came by and they, too, paused to take in the sight of a little kid and his dad having a good old fashioned hoot. They smiled as I did. Looking at the faces of the adults, did I catch just a touch of envy in their eyes, maybe an urge to join the splashers at play?
There popped into my head this fantasy that old Louis Armstrong was up there in heaven singing to the angels my favorite song, "What a Wonderful World."
There's something about the lyrics of that song that has always made me want to pick some flowers or hug a kid or run barefoot in the grass. My imagination boards a space rocket heading to the kind of world we all dream about, for us and for our kids, for everyone.
"The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky are also on the faces of people going by. "I see friends shaking hands, saying how do you do. They're really saying 'I love you.'" YES! You sing it Louis.
The juxta-position of reading the account of child abuse in the paper, hearing the hope-filled words of the song in my head and witnessing the scene of a father and son having their moment of innocent fun, was powerful stuff.

A Woman's Place is in the Home - With Her Home Based Business!

Forget barefoot and pregnant. Forget the traditional 'mommy' track. Women are historically survivors. Today's tough economy is merely another hurdle for women to overcome.
Women are known for their ability to multi-task. Building or supplementing the family income is no different. A woman's place is in the home with her own home-based business!
Due to the economic times, the number of women entrepreneurs is on the rise. Over 9.1 million businesses in the U.S. are women-owned. Minority women owned businesses account for about a million of these. Home based businesses for women worldwide have been conservatively estimated to account for over $3.6 trillion. That figure is more than the GNP for some countries.
Here's why:
• Most high income businesses requires significant infusions of start up capital. Not so for the home based business. In a quality home based business, YOU and your existing skills (not the least of which is multi-tasking!) are the key ingredients.
• Because many income home based businesses involve network marketing, they get a bad rap. Network marketing is a legitimate form of service or product distribution. No one criticizes the IBM business model. It is primarily a network although it has employees rather than independent contractors.
• Home based network marketing reflects a comparable sales/failure rate as other businesses. Various failures rates are thrown around by the media. Some analysts say the annual small business failure rate is as high as 95%. A network opportunity is no different. As a true woman entrepreneur, this figure quite simply doesn't apply to you!
Legitimate high income home business opportunities are definitely out there. Here are examples: website development and information publishing, affiliate marketing, membership website creation.
The key to learning about the various opportunities is to do your homework well--you've probably been supervising homework for a long time. Time to get yourself back in the game.
A quality business will not hype you. A quality business will welcome your interest and promptly respond to your questions. They will invite you to sample their typical training sessions and show you how they really work.

Baby Wearing - Why It's Good For Baby and Mom Too

Whether you're a new parent or you have children, it's not secret that babies love to be held. The old rules of parenting require babies to learn to be on their own, set them on the floor, in a playpen, bouncy chair or swing and let them figure it out. Yet more and more parents are finding that this not only results in an unhappy child, it results in an unhappy parent. The solution, adopt a practice held around the world, and wear your baby.
What Is Baby Wearing?
Baby wearing is the practice of wearing or carrying a baby in a carrier - most often a sling. Baby wearing is part of the attachment parenting philosophy which believes that a strong emotional bond with parents during childhood is a precursor of secure, empathic relationships in adulthood. While baby wearing is a factor in the attachment parenting philosophy, parents don't' have to adopt the philosophy to practice or receive the benefits of baby wearing.
Benefits of Baby Wearing
· Babies who are worn cry less. Babies like to be held we know this to be true in our hearts, and it's been proven. In 1986, a team of pediatricians in Montreal reported on a study of ninety-nine mother-infant pairs. The study concluded that babies that are worn cry 43% less than non-worn babies.
· Babies who are worn learn more. The theory is simple, when a baby is discontent, crying and fussing; they're not paying attention to the world around them. However, when they're content and feeling safe and secure, they are free to explore the world around them.
· Parents have their hands free. Baby wearing involves literally placing the baby in a sling or carrier and wearing them. It's quite convenient because your hands are free to go about your daily business. You can cook, clean, email, shop, play with your other children, all the things you would normally do only now you have a baby strapped to your front.
· Babies are less likely to develop a flat spot on their skull. The pediatric association recommends placing them on their back to prevent SIDS; however this position often causes a flat spot on the back of their soft skulls. Babies, who are worn, are less likely to develop this flat spot because they're sleeping in the comfort and safety of your sling or carrier.
· Mother's are less likely to suffer from postpartum depression. It is theorized that contact with the baby increases a mother's progesterone levels. This increase strengthens the bond between mother and baby.

Satin Doll

Dad was not dead, but Mom decided to give him a funeral anyway. "He's dead to us," she said. We were sitting in the back yard at the ragged end of the day, watching the darkening sky toss up handfuls of stars. Mom shook her red halo of hair, and gathered the edges of her blouse together with her fist. "I'll stuff a coffin with clothes and fake-books. I'll slap the lid shut with some double paradiddles." She drummed on her glass.
"He'll get tired of her." I offered it like a prayer, prayed without faith. It had been two weeks since he'd taken off, and it didn't look like he was coming back.
"Not this time," she whispered. "Look, a liar's moon." A hoarse laugh died in the long, smooth throat that always smelled of lilies. She stared with her wide green eyes at the badminton net Dad had put up the summer before last. My friend Carrie and I had played every evening as our parents watched us, drinks in hand. Dad kept his sunglasses on the whole time. He was hiding something, and we all knew it.
He had taken up with other women before, disappearing backstage to call his latest, past caring that Mom was in the audience. The musicians took advantage of his absence, filling in all the spaces around her, vying for the privilege of fetching her drinks. Something in her movement, in her long-limbed body, encouraged them, and they elbowed each other out of the way, snarling insults you'd have to be a musician to get. Their interest had a smell, and it made me dizzy.
"They act like they have a chance," I scoffed, one night. "But you love Dad, right?"
"It's complicated," Mom answered slowly. Her green eyes bore into my blue ones. "Some day you'll understand." 
The one night she let one of the men I'd called Uncle all my life lead her to the stage, changed everything. She'd been a singer when she met my father, but he shut her down as soon as she got pregnant with me. She bloomed under that spotlight, her hair on fire, the sound coming out of her throat low, sultry, hypnotic. It brought Dad out from behind the black curtain, and suddenly he was hovering over her as if the song was all his idea. Bronze curls grazing his forehead, the cords in his neck strained as he blew into the swinging brass fish.

The last note had hardly died when Dad turned his back to his wife, and cued the musicians for the next piece. The applause meant for Mom was severed like an artery. She stumbled back to our table, tripping on a step, and I rose from my seat to help her. I caught Dad's eye for a second, and didn't like what I saw.
Through the smoky haze, Mom and I pulled each other into the ladies' room. "Don't ever fall for it," she cried. "Love is only what you see in yourself, reflected in his eyes." Her theories had never made sense to me. Other people were happy together. Sometimes she and Dad were too, the seethe of soft murmurs under their bedroom door proof enough of that.
Tears finally dried, Mom repaired her beautiful face, becoming even more beautiful in the mirror. She rolled mascara on her already thick lashes, reddened her already red lips, pinched her already pink cheeks. She hummed a few bars of "Satin Doll," then asked, "How do I look? Better than your Barbie?" I thought of the doll with the scale stuck at 105, and nodded. Mom fluffed her orange hair out over her shoulders and opened the black-painted door to the place where she always came in second.
Her moment onstage marked the end of her marriage, but she didn't know that yet. Dad left the following week, and Mom took to her bed. She wouldn't move. She would not get up. A layer of dust settled on her bedside table thick enough to draw an SOS in. A bag of capsized potato chips listed on Dad's side of the bed. Curled in on herself, she stared at her shelf of boxed Mattel dolls. She had often joked about her "dowry," but determined long ago that "These dolls will pay for your college."
There were Barbies and Kens and Skippers and Midges. Some had Dream Kitchens, others had careers. My favorite was Astronaut Barbie, although I had never been allowed to touch her. Babysitter Barbie was the only doll let out of the box for me. Losing value, I suppose.
"I read once that 'the overriding desire of most children is to get at and see the soul of their toys'," Mom told me when, at seven, I asked why she didn't let me play with the others. "Some writer claimed that when children realize that their dolls are inanimate that their toys have no souls at all, they grow disgusted with them. I'm trying to spare you that disappointment."
Who would spare her? Every evening, when I eased her into the tub filled with pink bubbles, she looked exactly like one of those dolls, staring from behind a cellophane window, messed up from some little brother's abuse. 
Mom's eyes had burned out in their sockets. There was no light in them anywhere, and I couldn't bear to look anymore. The way her hair fanned out from her head, the color of lit matches, fascinated me for some reason, so I kept my eyes there. "I've wasted my life," she whispered.

I sat on the edge of the tub and washed her back. When she had enough of that, she sank below the surface of the water. I began to count. When I reached four, she burst through the bubbles with a gasp. How was I to know that she held a safety razor in her fist? I had hidden all the sharp things---scissors, nail files, razors, knives--- and locked them in a drawer. When had she broken in? She began to saw the dull blade across her wrist as if I wasn't there. I grabbed it away from her, too horrified to speak. "What the hell?" I said.

Growing Up With a Bipolar Mother

When I was a kid, everyone said my mom was brilliant, and indeed, she was. She didn't finish high school, but had my older brother instead. Once she decided she wanted to learn something, she just learned it! She had an upbeat personality. People liked her energy and witty sense of humor. She was a young mother of seven children. She also had bipolar disorder.
How Her Mental Illness Progressed
At first, she started doing strange things like running outside barefoot in her nightgown at night in the middle of winter. Her temper became worse. I told myself that most of these symptoms would have occurred in anyone because of the pressures of raising a large family on a farm.
Then, one day in a fit of temper, she tried to kill me with a carving knife. My older brother and I placed a cowbell on my door, so that if she came into my room in the middle of the night, I would know she was there, and be able to defend myself.
A Wrong Diagnosis of Schizophrenia 
Our dad had her placed in a mental hospital where she stayed for some time. This was the 1960s before too much was known about various mental illnesses. The psychiatrists diagnosed our mom with schizophrenia, gave her some medication, and sent her home.

The medication made her feel funny, like she wasn't fully herself, and so she didn't take it. Another suicide attempt sent her back to the hospital. After she came home, things got progressively worse. She went back to the mental hospital, and I took over the household. At the age of twelve, I became an adult. I cooked, cleaned, took care of my brothers and sisters, and worked outside in the barns.
Finally, when my mom came home, I didn't want anything to do with her. Our dad begged for a truce between us. Bitterness, anger, and hurt filled my heart. My hatred for her became apparent to everyone.
About the same time, our parents announced that they were getting a divorce. It upset me horribly. Our mom and dad separated, and our mom moved out, taking the four youngest children with her.
Losing Hope and Faith
When I was younger, I had prayed for God to heal all of us, and make us happy again. We had been such an idyllic family! As things became worse, we stopped going to church, and I stopped praying. It seemed hopeless.
Fast-forward to 1999. My husband and I were in San Francisco when my older brother called, and said that our mom had tried to kill her husband. (Our mom had remarried one year after our parents divorced.) They took her off in a strait jacket, and placed her in mandatory detainment in the state mental hospital.
A New Diagnosis: Bipolar Disorder
While detained in the state's mental hospital, the psychiatrists diagnosed her with bipolar disorder, not schizophrenia, and placed her on the right medication for the first time in her life. It calmed the manic part of her personality, stopped the cycling between mania and depression, and she became stable.
What Did I Learn Through All Of This?
First, I learned that bipolar disorder is hereditary: a person may inherit the whole thing or inherit it in part, the fullest cycling or a lesser cycling, or one may get either the manic side or the depressed side. It was truly a revelation. It explained a lot about me, and my brothers and sisters. Knowing this, we have a much better chance of trying to control it.
Second, I learned that I do love my mother. Bipolar disorder demands that she always be the center of attention. That is part of the illness. She has all the potential to be normal when she takes her medication, and then she can be very sweet and loving.

Pamper Yourself on Mothers Day

Mother's Day is coming up. If you're a mother, why not just take the day off to pamper yourself? Why not buy yourself a nice, luxurious gift? These days, comfort and style go hand in hand. You can feel beautiful and relaxed at the same time. To get you started, here is a list of three brand names you will be hearing a lot of in the future:
o Barefoot Dreams. These soft robes made on a list of Oprah's "Favorite Things". This company began in 1994 and has created clothing lines for children and adults alike. If you really want to pamper yourself, you need to get yourself a soft, warm robe that comes in a variety of different styles and colors. If you want to get your daughter or mother something to match, you can do that also.
Barefoot Dreams is setting the standards for comfort and luxury. If you like the softness of chenille blankets, you'll love these robes. This company is also environment-friendly. They are incorporating bamboo and other high quality, eco-friendly materials in their products! Whether you're a young mom or a grandma, you will feel like a diva wearing one of these unbelievably soft robes!
o Longchamp. This French company got its start 60 years ago, when it was named after the famous Paris horse track. Most famous these days for its "IT" bags, this name brand company is quickly rising to the top of the fashion industry. It's Le Pilage collection is made up of zippered, nylon totes that are known for being durable, lightweight, practical, and, of course, fashionable.
You should be able to fit everything you want into a lovely, yet practical, Longchamp bag. Whether you need a bag for work, school, or for personal reasons, this is the name brand you need to go with. Their Le Pilage collection is especially a popular choice, and it's not uncommon these days to see celebs out and about with one of these nylon bags or purses!
o Spanx. No "luxury" list would be complete without lingerie. Even if you couldn't see yourself dressing up in sexy lingerie, you will change your mind once you get a hold of one of these panties, slips, or bras! This is shapewear that will really give you the shaping and smoothing you've been hoping for, as well as comfort. Unfortunately, shaping and comfort don't go hand in hand, but Spanx has proven that the two CAN go together! Many celebrities use this lingerie to hide saddle bags and back fat. If they can do it, why can't you?!
And there you have it: three names you need to remember on Mother's Day, or any other "pampering" day. If you think you deserve to be pampered, then you can indulge yourself with Barefoot Dreams, Longchamp, and Spanx.

The Best Mower For Mom

More and more women today are playing the role of groundskeeper as well as homemaker. They count themselves lucky to have a yard to take care of, but in their busy lives, finding the time to do it all can be quite a challenge. They know that choosing the right mower can make a huge difference in how much they get accomplished!
Mothers are busy enough trying to maintain home and family, but they know that having a well-maintained yard is important, not only for the look of the neighborhood, but for the health of their children. Having a place for children to run and play barefoot is a big blessing and for those who are lucky enough to have their own piece of lawn, they wouldn't trade it! For many women, electric lawn mowers are a godsend! No more cords to pull over and over again until they're worn clear out before the darn thing starts! Just plug it in, press the lever and away you go. You do have to watch out for the cord as you mow, but that's a small inconvenience compared how quickly it starts! And no more messy, smelly gas cans to store or handle or worry about the kids getting into.
For those busy working women who find a day in the yard a source of relaxation, having the best riding lawn mower can almost be a recreation. If they sit in an office all week and mowing the lawn is needed exercise, then the pull-cord gas-powered mower may be something they actually want - or better yet, they may want push lawn mowers! The size of lawn must be considered when choosing the right mower because most women today simply do not have time to waste and no matter how much they might enjoy the work involved, finding the most efficient mower for the time they allowed them is the most important thing.
Most women know that the best way to make the smartest choice in making any purchase is to do their homework and find out what type of machine will best fit their needs. The Internet is a great tool for looking up reviews about makes and models which can be a great way to also learn what kind of options are available. Price is always a consideration, but every woman knows that the real value of any tool is in how it performs as well as how much it actually costs.

Work At Home Parent: The Life Of A Daughter Of Parents Working At Home - True Story

Mateo and Cecilia, my parents came as immigrants to the United States 22 years ago, they came with only few dollars to the U.S and knew nobody. Like everyone else they wanted the American Dream and possibly make money for their upcoming baby, me. I was born in Los Angeles and after the hospital I came to a small bed-room, living with my mom and dad along with other people in the house. The room was so small only a small twin bed and a small furniture could fit. My parents didn't have enough money to buy me shoes, sometimes I was barefoot and if I was lucky enough I would get some shoes from the 99 cents store only. My dad had a job and my mom was working for a small family who owned a small business but it was still not enough. A year later, they noticed they needed more money because my baby sister was coming so they decided to become their own boss and start a small business.
How It All tarted
My mom started selling clothing and shoes as she bought them at a wholesale price and sold them at retail price from home. As far as I can remember I was always with my mother going house to house distributing merchandise. My father was still working at his job. As time passed my mom's small business working from home was kicking off and they were building their list of customers. My dad decided to get together with my mom and do the business together, I was about 12 years old when they decided to rent a warehouse because their business and merchandise could not fit in my parent's room anymore.
After school instead of going home I will go to my parent's business retail store. People will go in and out of the shop as I will do my homework. I was always with my parents, in my parent's break we will always eat together. They never missed seeking me and my sister grow.When kids at school asked me what my parents did for a living I will always say they sale clothes and shoes. I knew I didn't have a normal life because all my friends had parents working for someone else, at a restaurant, construction, at a warehouse and here I was with parent's working from home. I sometimes felt left-out and confused of why my parent's didn't have a job like everyone else. I wanted to be normal.
As their business grew bigger, we bought a home of our own in 2005, the house was so big they decided to get all the merchandise and business and bring it into the new home. The retail store was fine but it was until then the housing market crashed and we were forced to move all the stuff inside a home once again. They don't regret it in fact they like it better, working from home doing almost everything online was something they are grateful about.
Since I was 17 I have been working at my parent's home business, creating invoices, and sometimes calling customers but like any other person I felt I needed to have something on my own. So I started my own home based business as well while going to college and it was the best decision I could have made.
Would You Do The Same Thing
Since I could remember I was always with my parents, I thank God for not knowing what is like having parent's work away from home. I was always there with them and I am sure when it is time for me to spread my wings and leave away from home they won't feel as, "I was working too much I didn't have a chance to spend time with her." My parent's saw me growing from the time I will get my awards for being the best student in elementary school, parent conferences, during break they will be there when I had trouble learning subtraction, the first time I became a young lady and my mother went to the store to get me pads, the time they decided to enroll me to a dance academy and watch me and my sister perform, they met my first boyfriend, they were there when I got my heart broken for the first time and my mom telling me everything was going to be OK. They saw me getting ready to go to prom and since they worked from home they had no problem going to my high school graduation. Now I am 22 and I realize having parents working from home was the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Choosing Mother of the Bride Shoes - 10 Do's and Don'ts

As we get older, our backs and feet aren't what they used to be.  So what's a mom to do when she knows she must wear fancy dress shoes at her daughter or son's wedding?  Don't use excuses about comfort to avoid looking the best you can on your child's wedding day. Your shoes can make or break your outfit.  Those wedding photos will be around forever, so make sure you look your absolute best, from your feet up, on the big day.
 If you're not sure how to make the transition from sneakers to stilettos, then here are 10 Dos and Don'ts for choosing the perfect pair of Mother of the Bride shoes.
1.    Don't buy shoes that can be dyed. Perfectly matching the color of your shoes to your mother of the bride gown is very passé. Plus, when your feet sweat, your feet will turn color.
2.    Do break your shoes in before the wedding. Vacuum in them. Walk up stairs in them. Otherwise you'll be walking around the reception with big blisters.
3.    Don't change into rubber or plastic flip flops during the reception, or even worse, go barefoot.  Is the dance floor a dormitory shower, or the boardwalk? Change into a lower heeled formal shoe if you must, but respect the formality of the event.
4.    Don't choose mother of the bride shoes with boxy or squared toes.  These heavy, clunky looking styles do nothing to elongate your leg, and are best left for more casual outfits. Fine occasions call for fine shoes.
5.    Don't buy shoes that are not your size!  Too many women fall in love with a shoe that's a half size too big and end up stepping out of it, or they buy a size too small hoping  they'll l  be able ignore the pain.  You can't.  If you really can't get the store to locate it in the correct size, move on!
6.    Don't wear a heel you may slip out of, or fall off.  A mule or a 5" stiletto heel will give you rolled ankles and swollen feet if you are not used to wearing them. Let's make sure the limo, not the ambulance, is what transports you from the ceremony to reception!
7.    Don't opt for price over quality when buying Mother of the Bride shoes.  Expensive, well-made shoes are worth the investment.  Scrimp on less important things.  (We won't tell anyone those earrings are faux-pearl!)
8.    Do try wearing a neutral or metallic shoe like gold, silver or pewter, instead wearing a shoe the same color as your mother of the bride gown. It is much more sophisticated and classy!
9.    Don't wear flats to the ceremony.  If high heels make you squeamish, try a kitten heel or a wedge instead - you'll walk taller and look slimmer with some extra height!
10.    Do choose age appropriate shoes.  Ditch the Granny orthopedic wannabes, but also don't choose a shoe that looks like it belongs in your teenage daughter's closet.  Anything too strappy or sparkly will look tacky on a woman over 40.

Take Off Your Shoes and Walk Barefoot

Have you heard that people are beginning to take part in the "new" barefoot running exercise based on the new book, "Born to Run"? 
I grew up when life was simple and natural. As a kid it was normal to go outside and play in our bare feet. I remember the feel of the grass on my feet and the fun of jumping in a pool of water barefoot. I also remember bee stings, cuts and bruises that my mom or dad would always "fix" for us and send us on our way back outside. I recall putting my bare foot to the metal pedal of my bike and feeling the power of speed. There were only two times we wore shoes: 1) at school and 2) at church services.  Kids wear flip flops or some foot covering now when they play outside. However, the sensory perception and knowing what is going on in the earth beneath our feet is an experience they are missing.
Considering the fact that almost all of us are wearing improper shoes and damaging our feet only highlights that we need to spend time finding, purchasing and wearing the proper shoes. And, go barefoot whenever we can--safely. Barefoot running or walking encourages mid foot strike and preventing hard unnatural heel strikes and encourages natural posture and motion. It is only in the past 30 years that running shoes have become laden with padding, arch supports and technical advances that countless studies and medical professionals show are doing more harm than good. People are realizing that barefoot is really a way to go. Can this be contributed to people looking for back-to-basics, simplicity and natural ways of living - going green, so to speak? 
For the majority of people barefoot is the healthiest way to be for the body. However, it is too risky for most of us to strip off our shoes and go for a barefoot walk/run (unless on a sandy beach). I have read that "The VivoBarefoot shoe has a uniquely thin and puncture resistant sole (a patented technology) that gives all the protection of normal shoes and the health benefits of walking barefoot". If nothing else, it is recommended that you walk barefoot around your home - inside and outside - to see if barefoot walking is the "new" activity for you.

Memories of Brooklyn

I was born September 9, 1927 in a house (1075 60th Street) in Brooklyn, New York, delivered by an old Italian lady who was an amateur mid wife. My poor mother! I was 9 lbs! No hospital. In a feather bed. We lived in a 3 family apartment house owned by my Grand Father who spoke little English but tried. If we got on his nerves, he used to say, "Go uppa stairs!" I remember a big party when he got his citizen papers. I used to help him study for his test. When he went before the judge, he said, "I'ma no speka Inglish too good but I study hard. I hopa you maka me a citizen." The judge said, "Nuncha worry, Nunzio, I'ma gonna passa you." Judges haven't changed much.
In my early years we lived on 58th street in Brooklyn between 11th and 12th Avenues. There were few cars then. I remember the peddlers all had horse and wagons. One used to come by yelling, "Hey bannano," another, "Aschallola (escarole) frisca (fresh)... another, "Fresh fish." We loved it when the ice man came in the summer. We would all stand around expectantly as he chipped the ice blocks with his ice pick. The chips would fly and we would scramble for them. It was our ice cream. My parents did not have a refrigerator. We had an ice box in the summer. I remember the ice would melt and drip into a pan underneath. It had to emptied periodically. In the winter we had a large metal window box about the size of an air conditioner. My Mom would keep butter, milk and eggs in it.. There was no ice purchased in the winter. We were not poor. This was common. The milk man had a horse and wagon. The horse knew his route and would walk ahead of him to the next house as he delivered. He would leave the milk in a little box outside our door. There were no school buses. I walked several blocks to PS 105 from when I started kindergarten to the 6th grade. When I graduated I went to Pershing Junior high which was 13 blocks away. Three of them were avenue blocks. My children don't believe me when I tell them I walked barefoot through the snow to get there. All of this is true except perhaps the barefoot part.
When I was about 13 we moved to the Marine Park section of Brooklyn. 2049 Brown Street. A one family home. The Mondellos were proud home owners. My Mother's family were furious with my Father because he took her miles away to the "country" where they would never see us again. It was in fact pretty undeveloped and remote at the time. There were potato farms just a block away. It was a bus and train trip to visit my grandmas. We had no car, but we did it every Sunday. There the family would gather with Aunts and Uncles and cousins for the traditional all day meal. There was a lot of food and home-made wine and singing and talking and playing. And lots of love
We had no telephone, no TV, no computers, only a small radio. But strangely enough we were happy.
Two blocks away from our house on Nostrand Avenue there were trolley cars running. They didn't go very fast so we used to hitch a ride on the back. When we finally got a phone it was a party line. Then we graduated to a dial phone and my Dad bought a car! A brand new 1941 Chevy for $800 dollars. We were rich!
When I was 15, I worked in a one man butcher shop after school. I delivered orders on a bike and helped out in the store. I learned a valuable lesson there that I pass on to aspiring business men. One Saturday, we had finally closed and I was exhausted. Saturday was a long day and it meant cleaning out the cases when the store closed, scraping the butcher blocks, putting down fresh sawdust etc. We were just about to leave when the phone rang. It was Mrs so and so calling. She forgot to include bacon in her order. Would my boss please have the boy deliver some. She needed it for Sunday breakfast. Well my mouth went a mile a minute...."Is she nuts." I told my boss. "No way". "Carl" he said, patiently, "Butcher boys are a dime a dozen. I need every customer I can get. Either you deliver the bacon or don't come in on Monday." Well I wanted the job so I reluctantly agreed. P.S. He drove me in his car and I got a good tip. Moral of the story. Every customer is important if you want to stay in business.
I graduated from grammar school went to James Madison High School, World War 2 was raging. No butter, no tires, no gas, no sugar, no coffee. Almost every house had a little flag with a star indicating that the family living there had someone in the service. Unfortunately some had gold stars which meant the service man or woman had been killed. My Father was an air raid warden and voluntarily patrolled the streets at night to make sure every one had their lights out.
Then my time came. I was the bright old age of seventeen and I eagerly enlisted in the Navy. Wouldn't you know the day I was called up to active duty, August 11th, 1945, the Japs surrendered (It was the atomic bomb and me I guess) the war was over. After serving my tour I was discharged returned to Brooklyn, went to college, got married, and here I am living and working in Kingston, NY. I have to tell you that even though I love the Hudson Valley. It's a great place to live. Unlike Tony Bennett, I left my heart in Brooklyn and it will always be there.

Kill the Wasps - How One Mommy Saved Summer

I love the summer. I love being barefoot, sleeping with the windows open, and spending as much time as possible outside. I love baseball, Frisbee, and the Fourth of July. I love barbecues and picnics and afternoons at the pool.
Unfortunately, wasps love the summer as much as I do.
I had childhood run-ins with all kinds of wasps-hornets, mud-wasps, paper wasps, and wasps of unknown origin. I actually bled from a yellow jacket attack on a hiking trip when I was 11. I learned to hate them.
And they apparently hate me back.
Early this summer, I discovered a little papery wasp nest inside my Weber grill when I was preparing to kick off grilling season. I shooed Jasper and Emilie, 10, inside and was able to scoop the nest into a plastic bag and heave it into the garbage cans by the driveway. I boiled hot dogs for the kids on the stove.
A couple of wasps were still buzzing around the grill a few days later, until my husband hit the whole thing with a long-range wasp spray. Effective, perhaps, but definitely toxic as well. Three guesses who had to clean that up later.
In July, yellow jackets closed down the outdoor pool at the Y. The wasps had burrowed themselves into the ground next to the pool patio. Someone innocently stepped on that patch of earth and set them swarming. One little girl was actually stung underwater; she jumped into the pool to get away from the yellow jackets but one held on, stinging her knee.
The pool was shut down for the rest of the afternoon, and the Y called an exterminator to deal with the wasps. I can't say I'm that excited to know that they probably bombed the area around the pool with pesticide.
The final straw came at the pitch-n-putt. Golf is a sport I love and truly a great activity for little girls; I'm delighted that Emilie has been enjoying learning to hit balls. I bought cans of lemonade for us, set Emilie up with her own balls on the green, and helped Jasper "putt" with his little plastic putter.
I took a drink of lemonade, and was struck with horror. Something fuzzy was moving in my mouth! I spit the whole mouthful of lemonade into the grass, along with a soggy yellow jacket. I saw that there were 4 or 5 of them on my lemonade can; while I watched one of them crawled inside.

Selecting a Mother's Day Gift

Every year I wonder what I can get mom for Mother's Day. This article provides useful tips with getting mom that perfect gift. We will help you find a great gift that will last and be just as perfect as mom. First, let's look back and see how Mother's Day got started to give us a better understanding.
Mother's Day started out in the 1600's as honoring mothers in which was called, "Mothering Sunday." Employees were given the day off to visit their mothers and be with them on that special day. In 1872, Julia Ward Howe, a Boston poet and suffragist, organized "Mother's Day" meetings in attempt to create a day of peace. Then, in 1907 a woman named Ana Jarvis started a campaign for National Mother's Day to be held the second Sunday in May in honor of mothers. Finally in 1914, Woodrow Wilson made an official announcement proclaiming Mother's Day a national holiday. Since then, it has spread beyond the USA to countries throughout the world.
Mother's Day is also about preparing something for your mom because it is her day and everyone knows she deserves it. Some say to plan out the day for your mom. It can be anywhere from making her breakfast in bed and adding something special by making homemade placemats covered with Mother's Day wishes or even a flower by the plate. Mother's Day is known as your mom's day. She can do whatever she wants without being bothered and you are there to make sure it happens. Make your mom feel special and know that she is well appreciated by doing the dishes, cooking and even making her something. You can even get her a little something special because it is her day.
Getting that special gift for your mom has never been easier because no matter what you get your mom, you know she is going to love it. Maybe you want to get her something that will keep her warm and cozy at night. The perfect gift to do just the trick would be the Barefoot Dreams Grown Up Robe or even the Lite Women's Hoodie. One cannot go wrong with those items.
Although mom may like cozy and warm things, she may want something that she can use on an everyday basis. That would imply an Abas Full Frame Clutch Wallet-Croco, which she would definitely get use out of. Mom may even want a gorgeous Lois Hill Small Round Thai Weave watch to show off her stylish taste.
One of the ultimate Mother's Day gifts that will definitely touch your mom's heart is the Lucy Ann Charms. You can get a watch or even necklace from Lucy Ann to give to your mom to show your love and appreciation towards her. What better way to show mom you love her than to get her a loving memorable gift that she can keep with her and wear.
If you live far from mom, do not feel discouraged on getting it to her on time because free shipping is offered and beautiful gift wrapping is free as well. That means, not only can you find the perfect gift here, but you can also make sure it gets to her on time with the addition of having the item gift wrapped just for her. What better way to go?

3 Adventure Moms, 7 Kids, and 2 Months in Greece Set the Tone For My Life and Gave Me The Travel Bug

Thanks to my mom, I have an adventurous spirit, and KNOW beyond the shadow of a doubt that I can do anything I want in life. She gave me the gift of an open mind and an adventurous spirit. The first really clear memory is from when I was seven but my mom has always done adventurous things like this...
When I was seven, my mom and two of her girlfriends decided to go to Greece for a week. They signed up for Greek classes and started to study. But they soon realized that one week would be much to short considering all the effort they were putting in for the trip. So they upped it to two week... but what about the 7 kids????
The answer of course was "Let's take them too, but let's go for two MONTHS." So off we went in the summer of 1976, taking the last month off school, and planting some pumpkin seeds in the garden before we left. The three father's couldn't take that much time off work, so the poor guys stayed home and did some sailing around the Great Lakes.
I remember that trip so clearly and what amazes me now is how I thought it was just normal. Kids are so adaptable and what you teach through your actions becomes part of them. Thus, the travel bug was ingrained in me, as will as a spirit of adventure.
We spent a few days in Athens in a hotel, then took an overnight ferry to Crete, where we spent the entire two months. We lived in a pensione with a single mother and her two children, Nicos and Nifoula, who rented out three rooms to us for $2.50/night per room. We had many adventures during our stay, made friends with the locals, and played with the local children. I learned some Greek and crawled through the sewers at Knosses.
But one adventure really stands out... Donkey Island (or so WE called it even though there weren't any donkey's there). I am not sure how it all came about but the 3 moms somehow organized for some fishermen to take us out to sea, drop us on a deserted island, and come back for us in the morning on their return trip.
I remember being dropped off and thinking "What if they don't come back?". We had a bagged lunch for dinner and our sleeping bags and that was it. There wasn't a single other person, building, or road on that island. We explored and picnic'ed and slept side by side in our bags on the beach, watching for shooting stars until we fell asleep.
In the morning, the fishermen did return, and cooked up some eel soup for us for breakfast. At first I wasn't sure about eating eels, but it was the most delicious soup I have EVER tasted to this day. It was a light chowder like-soup with intense lemon flavour... cooked fresh straight from the sea and eaten barefoot in paradise.

Why Be A Stay-At-Home Mom?

In this article, we list some of the benefits to answer - why be a stay-at-home mom?

Each woman has her own set of priorities and reasons why she chooses to do things. I've listed some benefits for women working from home and divided them up into these categories: expense factors, time factors, stress factors and relationship factors. They are NOT listed in any order of importance. Naturally, for each woman, some factors will weigh more heavily than others.
Time Factors 
  • Your schedule is your own. Imagine having no boss or time clock that shapes your day for you.
  • Flexibility to do more things you enjoy like reading, gardening, shopping, bubble bathes with your favorite music playing, playing an instrument, walking barefoot along the beach, etc.
  • More time to manage the financial details - not having to do it in a rush or on the fly.
  • Easier to keep the house clean on a daily basis.
  • Easier to cook healthy meals which can be tough when you not home most of the time.
  • More time to prepare lunches - also an expense factor because eating fast food lunch can eat away at the budget.
Expense Factors 
  • Less expense for transportation back and forth to work.
  • Less expense for wardrobe especially if your work requires professional attire.
  • Less expense for childcare which is a huge factor especially if you have more than one child.
Stress Factors 
  • Less stress with no morning rush to get everyone out the door AND on time.
  • Less stress with no rush-hour traffic to deal with every morning and evening.
  • No missing work when your child is sick and you can't find alternative childcare.
  • Easier to schedule doctor visits since you're schedule allows appointments in the middle of the day when most people are at work.