Friday, January 23, 2015

Sorry you couldn't make it to the party. Here is your bill.

We have all been there. Your kid comes home with an invitation to his classmate's party. Everyone is excited and you happily RSVP. Then something comes up. Maybe it's a family emergency or maybe you just plain forgot. Now imagine that the following week your kid comes home from school and you find an invoice in his backpack from the parent of the kid's party you missed and they are charging you a no-show fee.

How would you react?

This actually happened to a family in England. When 5-year old Alex RSVP'd and then did not show up to a classmate's party due to a family event. His parents were not happy about it. The whole incident has now escalated and threats of lawsuits are being thrown around.

I believe that this is an example of how 2 wrongs don't make a right. As a parent we know how frustrating it can be to plan and pay for a birthday party and have people not RSVP and then show up, or RSVP and not show up. In this situation the courteous thing to do is to call the party host as soon as you realize you aren't going to be able to attend. This way the parent hosting the party can make the necessary arrangements. On the other hand sending an invoice through the child is not the way to handle a no-show. It is passive aggressive and down right rude.

As much as it sucks to have to eat the cost of a no-show you really just have to chalk it up to the cost of parenting.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Skittles Bag Game

Self-talk is a powerful concept. We may not realize, but we're often our own harshest critic and I see this a lot in children. I see this with the children in my day to day work and with my own children at home. It drives me mad really and I always catch my kid beating himself up with something simply like a whine and complaint because he isn't writing neatly. He'll literally hit himself with a light tap as if he's condemning his small mistake and silently berating himself. 

Might not seem like a big deal, but NEGATIVE self-talk is truly a set back for any mindset. Kids grow up believing the negative words and judgements and as adults these beliefs hold them back. We can't be there for all those moments, but we can create the opposite from happening and make that part pretty fun!

A game we play in my field of work is called the "skittles bag game." You have the children in your life pick three skittles and code each color with a question. These questions should be positive. What kid doesn't want a chance to eat candy. Let them have their candy, but first make them say a couple of great things about themselves.

For instance:

grab a green one, tell me what's the best thing about you?

grab a red one, tell me what you like best about yourself physically?

grab a yellow one, tell me how you made a difference today?

grab an orange one, tell me what you LOVE most about yourself?

and on and on...  the possible questions are endless!

Having kids get in the habit of complimenting themselves is a great habit to create.  This isn't meant as a way to build boastful character, but to create instances where children understand that how they speak about themselves matters! They must become their biggest fans and aim to be happy with themselves first and foremost. This also reinforces that what others believe doesn't matter more than their own beliefs. Their self-love and acceptance at an early age causes a profound impact stretching many, many years into adulthood.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What Are You Reading?

I love books. Like I want to live in a library. Most nights I will read until I cannot keep my eyes open anymore. When a book starts to get really good I stop and hug it. Yes like actually hug it. Last year I read 75 books. Some were hard to get through but others were amazing! Here are a few of my favorite reads from 2014...

Dancing with Butterflies by Reyna Grande: Chicana authors always hold a special place in my heart. Many write stories that really speak to me. Reyna Grande is no exception. All her books are great but this one is a beautiful story about the lives of women in a dance group.

The Bear by Claire Cameron: This is one of those kind of books that really sticks with you. You find yourself thinking about it months later. If you were a fan of the book "Room" you will enjoy this one. This is the story of a family of 4 who go on a camping trip and are attacked by a bear. The children are forced to survive on their own in the woods.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell: The book "Eleanor and Park" by Rowell was one of my favorite books of 2013. I have read a few other books from Rowell and none have really compared until this one. Landline is the story of a woman who is in a marriage on the brink of ending. While at her parents house she finds an old phone that is connected to the past. On this phone she is able to call her husband but they are back to the beginning. She has a chance to start over and save her marriage.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio: Last year I found some really great books in the young adult genre. This book is about a young boy who was born with a physical deformity of the face. This books follows along as he decided to go to a regular school. He learns many lessons along the way, as well as teaching others. A very good and quick read.

I am always looking for a great book to read. 
What are you reading right now? 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Planning a Staycation

For some families full-fledged vacations aren't necessarily practical and/or affordable, but that shouldn't keep families from local mini-vacations a.k.a. Staycations! Groupon offers great hotel stay packages searched by location and often offer discounts for last minute getaways!

Here are a few So-Cal gems:

1. Visit San Diego and combine that with a trip to Legoland, Sea World, Wild Animal Park or all of the above! San Diego is a city with plenty to do and so many hotel options that prices are fair.

2. Knotts Berry Farm Hotel with theme park tickets for all registered guests to visit the neighboring Knotts Berry Farm Amusement Park. My family did this over NYE weekend and loved the price, proximity to theme park and hotel restaurant (good food option away from park crowds).

3. Hotel stay beachside in the South Bay, OC or even more popular destination,  Santa Monica, CA. This is always so easy since a beachside stay is fun in and of itself. 

4. Palm Springs trip combined with shopping (Cabazon Outlets). Make sure to stop by the neighboring Morongo Casino for their yummy buffet or to gamble if this trip is kid-free.

5. Spend a day in Santa Barbara where you can combine a 1/2 day at the beach with a 1/2 day at the Santa Barbara zoo. While there for the weekend enjoy wonderful shopping on State Street and tour the wonderful local university UCSB! 

A couple of things to keep in mind to save on all trips: find hotel deals with no hidden fees (Expedia features these often). Look for rates that include free parking, wifi and meals. As a minimum, search for kids eat free deals. This is a great way to stay locally and save!

These destinations are easy, fun and local for So. Cal. residents, share your favorite spots, too. We'd love to learn about other staycation destinations across the nation. 

Monday, January 19, 2015


Pop star Demi Lovato is starting her own trending hashtag. We all know "MCM" (man crush monday) and TBT (throwback thursday), but Demi is using social media to remind women that they are beautiful with NNM or No Makeup Mondays. 

The idea is simple. You post a picture of yourself, makeup free on Monday. The purpose is to celebrate natural beauty. In an age where photoshop and and makeup are a regular part of our media it's nice to see a pop star embracing realness. When my girls watch me put my makeup on in the mornings the older one asks when she will be able to wear makeup and the youngest always wants to put some on right there and then. I always respond with the same thing...

"You are so beautiful you don't need makeup".

Why can't I embrace those words for myself.

So to support #NoMakeupMonday, Irene and I are posting our pictures here on HerMamas.

We would love to help spread this hashtag because we love what it stands for. 
Share your #NoMakeupMonday on Instagram and twitter today! 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Take Care of YOU, first!

I can't say I've been the most balanced parent... correction: the most balanced person these days and I once prided myself on balance. I didn't even know what was causing me to be so out-of-whack even though I knew there was suddenly plenty more landing on my plate. 

The list goes on...I was recently promoted, recently moved, I am a wife, and I have ever growing commitments with my children. My 8 year old alone has 4 weekly basketball commitments, a weekly catechism class and school work/activities to attend to. Assisting him in his everyday life feels like a pretty big package and he's 1 of 5 in our family! 

Then I saw the amazing Jada Pinkett-Smith talk about this very thing.... balance in motherhood, and more importantly, self-care!  Truth be told, I realized that my out-of-balance feeling comes from me neglecting to care about me, FIRST! I love how Jada breaks it down in the following video and I especially understand the part about projecting on to our children and partners because of our own internal struggle with overly depleting ourselves. 

And with that here's a little something for those mothers out there giving every ounce of themselves to everyone but themselves...

Are you taking care of YOU, first?!?

Let's do like Jada and start placing ourselves at the top of the list. We'll be better for it and love in the best way possible. Don't you agree?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Giving Kids "THE" Talk

This is something that I am really, really dreading. The time is coming soon where I am going to have to sit my kid down and have "THE" talk. You know about the birds and the bees. Ugh I am getting the nervous sweats just thinking about it. This is such a delicate subject that can be confusing and lead to many, many questions that I am just not ready to answer. I think part of my fear comes from the time my mom sat me down for the talk. She literally handed me a pop-up book. Yes, pop-up penises and sperm. As you can imagine it was a bit traumatizing.

Cut Video released on YouTube this great video about parents giving their kids the sex talk and the kids reactions.

I can only hope my talk with my kid is as entertaining as these!