Archive for the 'Cedar Valley Recommends' Category

Oct 14 2010

Let’s Get Ready To Win the Mom Congress Education Achievement Award!

Mom Congress Education Achievement Award


© Kindercare


Calling All Moms!

KinderCare Learning Centers has teamed up with Mom Congress to support moms advocating for education change in their schools. This is your opportunity to be recognized for your involvement and efforts in your local area.

Email your 200-word essay to by November 4th and share how your advocacy efforts are making a difference today. 


One essay will be recognized with a special gift of a book station and a library of 24 books from Kindercare! Books will be chosen based on the age of the child.

Click here for Official Rules

17 responses so far

Oct 13 2010

Let’s Get Ready For Read Connect Grow!

Please click on the document below for a full view and all information:


10 responses so far

Oct 09 2010

Let’s Get Ready For More NJ Gov. Chris Christie!

On Monday, NJ Gov. Chris Christie was in Wisconsin campaigning with Governor Candidate Scott Walker.  I want to personal thank the Scott Walker team for allowing me the opportunity to pass along my solutions to education to Gov. Christie!  Education reform needs to happen.  Our schools are failing and have been since 1970!  No amount of money has helped!  I have been most impressed with Gov. Christie’s crusade to take the left and right out of politics and work with Mayor Cory Booker to put politics aside to create a new kind of public school in Newark with the help of Facebook Founder, Mark Zuckerberg’s $100 million dollar donation.  Here is the blank slate…what are your solutions?  How do we fix education?

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Oct 06 2010

Let’s Get Ready For Read, Connect & Grow Childhood Literacy!

Miss Suzy was my first book.  I can still remember sitting in my mom’s lap reading that story over and over and over again!  How I loved that book as a child and how I loved reading that book to my own kids.  The world of books holds the key to everything:  adventure, escape, fantasy, mystery, romance, science, travel, knowledge and so much more!   It doesn’t take many books to have an impact on a child.  Homes that have more books in the household produce better students.  Studies show that a child with as little as 15 books in the household will stay in school for an average of two years longer than those without access to books and a child who has access to over 500 books is more likely to attend college. 

I am getting ready for my “field trip” toady in DC to celebrate childhood literacy on behalf of Mom Congress, Target and Parenting Magazine!  As I was packing, Megan read me a chapter from a book she is reading in 4th grade about a boy who was pulled into a prank that hurt his elderly neighbor.  As part of his punishment he has to email back and forth with another lady, Wootie, who is currently living in an old age home.   Wootie is a hoot and reminds us of our own Grandma Martha, who we miss dearly!  How fun to share memories and get lost in a great story!  I love it when the girls come home from school eager to read to me!  It makes up for all those nights when they were little and I was running on empty and they would haul 15-20 books into the bed for us to read each night.  It’s so fun that they still love Miss Suzy just like I did when I was little.  Thankfully (big sigh), even at age 11 and 9, Heidi and Megan still snuggle up and let me read our favorite childhood books to them…again…and…again!

In honor of Read, Connect & Grow childhood literacy who will your book buddy be?  Visit Target to learn more:

15 responses so far

Sep 24 2010

Let’s Get Ready For Waiting For Superman & Oprah!

Dreams do come true!  I so wanted to be in the audience for this one!!! I have been burning the midnight oil writing to the Oprah Show asking to be invited to this powerful event:  the crisis in our schools.  I am beyond excited to have been given this amazing opportunity to watch the new educational documentary “Waiting for Superman” at the HARPO studio on Thursday night and be a guest in the audience on the Friday morning live taping of the Oprah Show!!!  This is an opportunity for us all to join the national conversation with practical solutions to for change in our current educational system.  I believe that the only way we will ever change education is to empower and inspire the parents, kids and the teaching teachers to take back our educational system.  It’s time to stop pointing fingers, no more bullying tactics, put the balance back between left and right and take action to make our schools better!

NBC is having an Educational Summit next week and will have opportunities for us all to be involved.

Here’s just one of my many wishes for education:

I would level the playing field and make cuts at the top tiers of education and develop the dream teaching team for each school, filled with passionate teachers and rich with specialty teachers and aids inside the classrooms.  No more part time guidance counselors, or doing without art and music, putting the fitness back in gym, adding fun back into the system by empowering parents, kids and teachers to take back their schools and make it flourish within their communities! 

What is your one wish for education?

10 responses so far

Sep 23 2010

Let’s Get Ready for Fire Safety Month

October is fire safety month, and most schools will be talking to our kids about what to do in case of a fire.  But how many of us really practice this at home?   How many of us have taken a few moments to read the instructions on our fire extinguisher?  Would you know how to use it in a fire? 

Take some time in the coming weeks and put together an emergency evacuation plan and practice it! Here are some additional tips to keep in mind:

  • Having properly installed smoke alarms cut the chances of dying in a reported fire by half.  Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside every sleeping area and on every level of the home.  Consider purchasing one with an escape light built in as well.  Put a note on the calendar to test the smoke alarm on the first of every month.
  • Be sure to place specially designed stickers from the fire department on the window of each child’s bedroom which will alert fire fighters that a child could be present in that room.
    • Keep fire extinguishers in various places around your home including the kitchen, garage, near the furnace and near any fireplace.
  • If you are using a portable space heater, be sure it has built-in safety features, such as automatic shutoffs, anti-tipping devices and heat guards.
  • When you have small children in the home, install a baby gate around the fireplace to prevent access.
  • Purchase a 2-Story Emergency Fire Escape Ladder and keep it somewhere in or near your bedroom.
  • Teach your children never to try and put out a fire themselves but to leave the house immediately and call 911 from a neighbor’s home.  Have a fire drill once every few months so that everyone can practice.

You can learn more safety tips and give your kids a chance to ride a fire truck during Safety Saturday at your local Lowe’s store on Saturday, September 25th from 10A – 2P.  And, your kids can even build a fire truck for themselves!

Visit  and be one of the first 50 to sign up and reserve your spot. All Build & Grow attendees will receive a free apron and goggles.

218 responses so far

Sep 13 2010

Let’s Get Ready For a Costume Swap from &!

It may seem early to be talking about Halloween, but one of the best ways to celebrate green is by planning ahead.

In 2009, $4.75 billion was expected to be spent by consumers for Halloween. And you can bet that this spending ultimately results in a lot of waste, some of which is attributed to costumes.

Swapping half the costumes that kids wear at Halloween would reduce annual landfill waste by 6,250 tons, equal to the weight of 2500 mid-sized cars, says Bob Lilienfield of

Millions of parents buy new costumes each year wanting to fulfill their childrens’ fantasies. But like a wedding day, in general, costumes are worn once, then thrown away. Relatively small numbers are kept in dress up boxes and reused or donated to thrift shops. Most are likely sent to the dump.

So this year, why not make a boo-ti-ful Halloween resolution and swap?

It’s easy to plan a family or neighborhood swap. Just sent out e-invites inviting guests to bring outgrown costumes in good condition. Make it a party by adding activities like the design-a-bag contest from ChicoBag where your kids can win $250 for them and the same for their schools. Or dunk for apples, make goodie bags or add other Halloween/seasonal games. Or how about staging a fashion show with kids wearing their new-to-them outfits!

If you’re interested in staging or attending a public event where more costume choices should be available, check out where you’ll find a database of swaps plus tips on how to set one up.

Add another aspect to a public swap by teaming with a non-profit. Charge a small swapping fee that goes to your partner.

And if you can’t make it to a swap or there is none in your area, the internet comes to your rescue. Do a search for “costume swap” or “clothing swap” and you’ll likely find online alternatives.

103 responses so far

Sep 07 2010

Let’s Get Ready For Some Magical Moments with Guest Blogger & Author Donna Mavrides!

Books by Author Donna Mavrides

Instead of my typical weekly blog that involves strategies, ideas, and suggestions for parents and educator, I have decided to share the themes and goals of my children’s books with you.  The common thread throughout each of the stories is my commitment to help our children to become more self confident, to instill a love for reading, to encourage children to  be open to new ideas, people, and places, to be kind and empathetic, and to love and respect  family, friends and the world around us.

Forever Love is a beautiful story that explores the everlasting love between a terminally ill parent and his child.

Room for One More is a wonderful book to share with young children for it focuses on the heart’s ability to expand as a new baby is welcomed into a family.

Margaret the Magnificent is the first in the Margaret series of stories.  It introduces the magical super-dog as she travels the globe in her quest to help a little girl who needs love, friendship, and a boost to her self confidence as she gets ready to attend a new school.

Margaret the Magnificent Visits the Everglades is dedicated to children and adults who believe in the power of friendship, beauty, and in the belief that working together will create a greener and kinder tomorrow. The book combines accurate information about the Everglades   with the imaginary adventures of Margaret the Magnificent, Ali the alligator and Crock the Crocodile.  It also blends photographs by Rodney Cammauf with the beautiful art work created by Ann Pilicer.”

“Margaret the Magnificent Visits the Rain Forest” invites readers to travel to the wetlands of Africa in order to help Margaret assist Kyle the crocodile and his friends preserve their ecosystem. Once again, Margaret, the magical, super-dog demonstrates how perseverance and team work can impact change and give us hope for a greener and kinder future.  The graphic illustrations, created by Michael Costa, are so life-like that you will feel as if you are in the African jungle along with Margaret and her friends. Again, the combination of facts and fiction make this story a “must read” for elementary aged children.

To order Donna’s books and/or to find out how to schedule a speaking engagement/author visit, please visit,

10 responses so far

Sep 02 2010

Let’s Get Ready To Get Rid of Too Sexy for our Kids!

Moms, we need your help again! Are you frustrated, like me, by companies like Abercrombie & Fitch who seem to think that too sexy is right for our kids and teens?  I called to complain and they said the Managers don’t take complaints — must be too busy surfing the web to find nude inspiration or maybe playing Farmville?? I love who think like I do!!

Abercrombie and Filth
August 26, 2010

Abercrombie and Fitch continues to push the envelope and now has become more p*rnographic than ever before. A & F’s p*rnographic posters are desensitizing our youth which can lead to addiction and destruction. They are ignoring parents’ concerns and have outdone themselves by printing images which are more graphic than in years past.

A & F’s s*xually explicit posters have images of models posing n*de with parts blurred out, full rear n*dity of a male and men and women with clothes barely covering themselves wadded up so you can tell nothing about the article of clothing they are attempting to sell. These posters will shock, embarrass and potentially hurt the teens they hope to profit from. This type of marketing is damaging to our youth since so many struggle with self-esteem issues which can lead to obsession, eating disorders and depression as well as addiction. The destruction continues in the A & F Quarterly which is published with more s*xual imagery. (* used to bypass internet filters.)

OMM has received numerous complaints from our members over Abercrombie and Fitch’s new ads and store displays. Even though the company has blocked our emails in the past, we will not give up. We will call their corporate office and voice our concerns. We know from past experiences that calling may take a few more minutes of your time, but it will be time well spent. We have found from past experience that we have been successful in doing this and that most of you have no problem in giving your opinion to a retailer that is displaying nasty images to make a buck.


Call Abercrombie and Fitch’s corporate office at 1-614-283-6500 & press #3 & #4 or you can press 0. If you get the recording asking you to email them, then just call back to get the menu to talk to someone. (The email address given came back as undeliverable for OMM since they block us.)

Then ask, “As a mother and a member of, I would like to know why your ads and posters have images of models posing n*de if you are in the market to sell clothes?” Let A & F know that if they do not remove these outrageous posters from their stores immediately, then as a parent this Christmas Season you will not be shopping in their stores (A & F, abercrombie Kids, Gilly Hicks and Hollister’s) for your family’s Christmas gifts. This type of marketing is ridiculous and we want answers. They can block our emails, but they can’t keep us quiet.


Monica Cole, Director

121 responses so far

Aug 24 2010

Let’s Get Ready To Love the ISafeBag!

When I was asked to review the ISafeBag (; I could hardly wait to receive it.  It was invented by an entrepreneur in the Chicago area after he heard a news story about a woman walking on the street at night who was raped by four guys.  He was so upset by this story that he decided to do something to help protect women and kids from abductors, muggers and rapists…and even your run-of-the-mill school yard bullies!  I love that he was inspired to take ACTION!!!

Essentially, the ISafeBag looks like a regular backpack but underneath a flap on the right strap is a rip cord that, when pulled, activates a LOUD alarm (equivalent to a car alarm) and a strobe light.  It will sound for two hours so it’s also wonderful for campers or hikers who are lost.  It works on two nine volt batteries and the weight and price of this back pack is similar to any other back pack BUT this offers PEACE OF MIND!!

Ironically, on the day it arrived, I had received an email alert that an alleged kidnapper was on the loose in our tiny community. I am not kidding! The alert contained a picture of a man who looked very familiar as someone we had all recognized as seeing before in our small town.  I work from home so I turned on our home security alarm.  When it was time to walk down to the mailbox, our lovely babysitter and neighbor (who we all love like a family member) Amanda (Photo by Heidi Kannenberg) wore the ISafeBag Sling Bag and pulled the ripcord.  


It’s LOUD and will definitely scare away a predator and get attention!  My girls reminded me that it will also scare away the coyotes who have been getting braver and braver, and the recent black bears that have been seen in our neighborhood too!   I just reminded the girls that it was not a toy, but a tool. 

So the ISafeBag isn’t just for back to school for kids and college students; it’s perfect for traveling, hiking, camping, biking and other outdoor adventures, the zoo, the park, shopping and any place you need a little extra PEACE OF MIND! 

We all love the ISafeBag!  Please share it with your loved ones too!

Smiles – Stacey

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary ISafe Bag for this review. No other compensation was provided.

14 responses so far

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