Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Economical Holiday Grins and Giggles

When I asked my daughter what she wanted for Christmas this year, she told me there was nothing that she wanted. Later I overheard her saying to her brother that she was excited to go to Grandma’s house for Christmas, not for the presents, but to spend time with family.

Boy, did those two comments warm my heart. However, I know when present unwrapping time comes she’ll want to tear open presents just as much as the next person.

Looking back on my own childhood, yes, I do remember getting a bike one year, which I was very pleased to receive. However, the presents that I remember most are ones that didn’t cost a lot of money. They were creatively wrapped and the three that I remember best of all were edible.

First, aware that I was a Violet Beauregarde of a gum chewer, my uncle gave me my very own jumbo-sized box of gumballs. I remember wondering what could be inside the wrapped box he had given me, and being delighted when I uncovered my whopping supply of chewing gum.

Another year, I remember a friend of the family placing a wrapped mandarin orange in my stocking. Not only was I excited that he had brought me a gift, but his present tickled my funny bone as well.

Finally, I remember my grandmother giving me my very own box of neatly packaged handmade cookies. What could be better than a personal stash of favorite cookies sitting in a pretty handmade box?

Looking past the edible gifts while staying focused on dear Grandma, I recall that she was also an expert at creating captivatingly wrapped packages. Her shopping bags usually contained an assortment of individually wrapped, inexpensive, but amusing toys and trinkets she had collected over the year.

So this year as I contemplate what to give my children, I remind myself that the spirit of Christmas is not about how big or expensive the gifts I give are (even though advertising is pushing to convince me otherwise). Christmas giving is about the love and thought put behind the gifts, no matter how small that gift is or how much money it cost.

I admit it does help that my daughter has an attitude of gratitude instead of a case of the gimmies. It is her attitude that will help give me the courage to wrap an orange, a gigantic box of chewing gum, or a homemade box of cookies.

It is my hope that those inexpensive, yet significant gifts will create smiling memories to look back on for a lifetime.
Read more by author, Linda Hatton, at Suite101, the whatnot shop, and Deliberate Creations.
Sunday, November 1, 2009

Do You Have the Time?

When I go to the grocery store to buy a particular item, the number of products on the shelf causes my head to spin. I can understand why people stick to one brand. It’s much less time consuming to grab the same product time after time than it is to read through all of the fine print on the bottles while trying to compare them all.

The older I get, it seems the less time I have. I remember my parents making comments about this when I was younger. It didn’t seem possible to me as a child since every day seemed to stretch on forever.

Now that I’m juggling the activities of two busy children, homework, housecleaning, cooking, laundry, and trying to fit my own interests into all of that, I can understand the way my parents felt. I’ve often thought that life was simpler back then and in some ways, it was.

Before you disagree with me, understand that this was the world I grew up in. It may be a generalization. It doesn’t describe everyone’s upbringing, but it does describe mine.

When I was a kid, we didn’t have to sit in car seats. I could ride my bike to the other side of town and my parents felt safe about it. Yes, there were certain foods that weren’t the healthiest, but the dangers weren’t as obvious so we ate whatever we wanted. I could play in the front yard without my parents worrying about who was driving by. At the same time, since the Internet did not exist, my parents did not have to worry about who I was chatting with on-line.

Not only that, but there were also fewer companies offering fewer products. It’s those products that contribute to my information overload so much that I often look for ways to make the most of my time. Not only is it important in my world, but it’s an important lesson to teach my kids.

Here are ten time saving tips I have come up with:
  1. Designate a home for items that you use every day. Teaching children to put their shoes away in the same spot every time will prevent the last minute frantic search while heading out the door. 
  2. For easily accessible organization, hang an over-the-door shoe holder on each bedroom door. Not only will this make clean-up time easier, but it will offer your children a home for their items (see tip 1).
  3. Pack things away in colored containers for easy finding later. For example, store Halloween costumes in an orange tub.
  4. Do laundry every day rather than letting it pile up. Have your kids help fold and put away the laundry. Wash socks, sorted by owner, in lingerie bags for easy pair matching later.
  5. Place a notepad on your refrigerator to write your needed grocery items on when you think of them – and determine what you will need for the coming week. Then designate one time during the week for your main grocery trip and resist mini-trips during the week. 
  6. Pay bills online rather than writing them out by hand. This also saves the expense of checks, stamps, and envelopes. 
  7. Sort through and recycle unwanted mail when it arrives rather than letting it pile up. 
  8. Shop ahead for birthday parties and Christmas from clearance sales. This will not only save you time, but money as well. 
  9. During birthdays or holidays, when your children receive a large amount of toys, allow them to open one or two and put the rest away to open later (kind of like saving for a rainy day). 
  10. Set a schedule and stick to it. For instance, have your kids practice their musical instruments at the same time every night. This way they will know to expect it rather than fighting against it. 
Establishing a routine is the key idea consistent in each of these tips. And these tips will not only help to save time but will also help to instill discipline in your children.

Read more by author, Linda Hatton, at Suite101, the whatnot shop, and Deliberate Creations.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Are you looking for a new job opportunity?

Do you have great organizational and people skills? Are you looking for a part-time or full-time job that is flexible and fun that helps moms in your community? If so, The Mommies Network wants to hire someone just like you!

TMN Sponsorship Account Executive

This is a TMN position. There are no membership pre-requisites required to apply.
The Mommies Network is growing and as part of that growth, we need some good people in your market to help with sponsorships.

The Sponsorship Account Executive should be organized, have great time management skills, feel comfortable contacting local business and building relationships to find sponsors for the local site. This can be accomplished through phone calls, emails, and face to face appointments.

SAEs will be compensated with bonuses based upon successful sponsorship contracts and there are tremendous growth opportunities as the network continues to grow. If you are interested please send your resume to Rachelle Watkins: rachelle (at) themommiesnetwork (dot) org.
Friday, September 25, 2009

Macy's Shop for a Cause

Since 2006, Macy’s Shop For A Cause Event has partnered with non-profit organizations nationwide to raise more than $28 million for their ongoing charitable efforts. This is your chance to be part of this monumental event

on Saturday, October 17, 2009.

Shop For A Cause gives you the opportunity to help by

purchasing a $5 Shopping Pass* for exclusive savings and special offers in every Macy’s store on Saturday, October 17th. As a participating charity we keep 100% of the proceeds from the sale of each pass. Plus, you can enter to win a $500 Macy’s Gift Card!

Come together with Macy’s and us, and while you’re out enjoy a day of shopping and great savings, you’ll be helping our community at the same time.

*Some exclusions apply. For more information or to order a shopping pass, call contact Rhi (Melissa/irishdreaming) at

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Love to review places?

Now you can help raise money for without buying or selling anything! Instead of writing a check, you can raise money by writing online reviews of local businesses you already use on

Each review you write earns up to $1.50 for our fundraiser! If you are the first person to review a business, your review will earn us up to $1.50. If you post the 2nd - 4th review of a business, Insider Pages will donate up to $0.50!
Reviews of chain stores or chain restaurants do not count towards our Fundraiser.

Dates: 08/31/09 - 09/21/09.
How to Participate:
1. Sign up at
2. Write reviews of any local businesses or services that you have used within the last 2 years. Just writing 20-30 reviews is a great step towards reaching our goal of $1,500.00

Check out this list of businesses to help you get started:
Health & Fitness Home & Garden
- Doctor - Plumber
- Dentist - Electrician
- Pediatrician - Contractor
- Gym - Cleaning Service
Financial Services Beauty & Spa
- Accountant - Day Spa
- Tax Attorney - Hair Salon
- Bank - Nail Salon
- Mortgage Company - Dermatologist
Child Care Pets & Animals
- Preschool - Animal Hospital
- Day Care - Pet Sitter
- Summer Camp - Groomer
- Tutor - Pet Store

3. Recruit friends and family to participate. Just direct them to our fundraising page at Anybody over 18 can write reviews and help us
reach our goal.

Questions? Contact the Insider Pages Fundraiser team at
Remember to put "SCValleyMommies" in the subject of the email.
We've got 3 weeks to raise as much as we can. Let's get started!!!!

Us here at
Saturday, August 22, 2009

Write Reviews for Trekaroo to Raise Money for TMN!

The Mommies Network and your local sites need your help!!

We're having a fundraiser with Trekaroo to raise $10,000 to help pay for liability insurance for all of our sites!

We need you to write reviews!

Join our team at Every review you write earns us $.50. There is no limit to the number of reviews you can write!!

Writing reviews is easy and fun! Help TMN and your site. Just a few reviews every day will get us to our goal! Ask your family & friends to help too. Anyone can join our team!

Thanks for helping make TMN and your local sites great!
Saturday, January 3, 2009

Save the Server

Save the Server!
[Cough] [cough] The system health is strained due to overwork and lack of sleep.

Write reviews and help TMN raise money for a new server so we won't have to see this message any more!

Save the Server!

The Mommies Network needs your help. We are raising money to pay for a new server. In order to continue growing, we need to add a new server to our system. At this point, we are unable to add any more sites to our network because we are maxed out (have you seen the "[Cough] [cough] The system health is strained due to overwork and lack of sleep." message at the bottom of the screen?). The basic server we need is at least $5,000. The more money we raise, the better quality server we can purchase. Our goal is to raise $10,000 during this fundraiser.
The fundraiser runs from Sunday, January 4 through Sunday, January 25.

How can you help?
Join Insider Pages http://www. insiderpages. com/fundraisers/The-Mommies-Network-0901 and write reviews for businesses that you have patronized in the last 24 months. Invite your friends and families to write reviews as well - they do NOT need to live in your area, this is a national fundraiser ;) The more people who are writing reviews, the more successful this fundraiser will be! Our goal is to have all of our members write at least 10 reviews over the three weeks of the fundraiser. Each review can earn up to $1.
50 for The Mommies Network! Every little bit helps!

You win too!
Your members have four chances to raise money for your site too!
When TMN raises $1000, we will pick one participating site to receive $50 for a site party/event, and that site will receive a special theme color.

When TMN raises $2500, we will pick one participating site to receive $100 for a site party/event, and that site will receive a special theme color.

When TMN raises $5000, we will pick 1 participating site to receive $125 for a site party/event, and that site will receive a special theme color.

When TMN raises $10,000, we will pick 1 participating site to receive $150 for a site party/event, and that site will receive a special theme color.

*A participating site is any site that has 10% or more of their members register, join their site team and write at least one review. Based on membership numbers as of December 2008.

Join Your Site's Team!
Want to get that prize for your local site!? Join their team in helping TMN SAVE THE SERVER!
Here are step by step instructions on how to get into your team and how you can participate!
Go To: http://www. insiderpages. com/fundraisers/The-Mommies-Network-0901
Click on the Join This Fundraiser.

Choose 'Select a Team' (located under Your Contribution on the right hand side)
Select your site's name (SCValleyMommies) from the drop down menu and join!

Keep up to date on our progress! Visit http://themommiesnetwork. blogspot. com to view updated progress on the fundraiser, participating sites, and more.

The fine print from Insider Pages:
* You must be at least 18 years old to participate.

* Your experience with the business or service reviewed must be a first-hand experience. No hearsay please.

* Your experience with the business or service provider must have occurred within the last 24 months.

* The reviewed company must still be in business.

* Reviews of restaurant chains (McDonalds, Outback Steakhouse, KFC, etc.), gas station chains, movie theater chains and national or regional chain stores (Target, Dollar Tree, Home Depot etc.) DO NOT qualify. You are welcome to write reviews for these businesses but they will not earn your organization money for the fundraiser. Most people are pretty familiar with these businesses and there tends to be little differentiation city to city and state to state. In other words, these are businesses that do not require a word-of-mouth referral so reviews of these businesses are of little value to people like you – and to our community of users.

* Copied reviews in whole or in part from any other sources do not qualify.

* Profanity, abusive or offensive language in reviews, reviews alleging illegal activity or malpractice, and reviews deemed inappropriate by Insider Pages editors do not qualify.

* Proper grammar, punctuation and spelling must be used. No "text speak" or ALL CAPS.

* Business owners and employees/associates are not allowed to review themselves. Instead, business owners should claim their business profile page and customize it by adding information, photos, special offers, their story, and more – all for FREE.

* If you are adding a new business to the Insider Pages database, please make sure to the best of your ability that the listing is not a duplicate and that the company's current contact information is provided. Information provided must be able to be verified by a third party source including another website, a business card, receipt, directory listing or other reliable source.

* Personal information or messages including email addresses, URLs, phone numbers and postal addresses (or both first and last name of an individual unless their name is also part of the business name) that are not already publicly available.

* Review submissions must be entered directly on the Insider Pages website.

* Reviews not meeting our terms and conditions or deemed inappropriate by Insider Pages editors do not qualify.

Thank you for supporting The Mommies Network!

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