Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Yes, Mrs. Hamm, I would love some advice!

BlogHer Reviewer

I remember the first time I went through the checkout line at our local grocery store with a case of Gatorade. It was intended for a group of nine-year-old girls who were heading to play soccer in the pouring rain. While I don’t remember if they won, I do remember that it was the beginning of a long relationship with the must-have sports drink.

Since those days on the soccer field some ten years ago, I can’t even begin to guess how many bottles this family has consumed. We’ve taken them to outdoor and indoor soccer games; outdoor and indoor field hockey games; lacrosse games; track meets; football games, basketball games and baseball games. They’ve traveled with my children to summer camps, weekend clinics, summer tryouts, winter tryouts and camping adventures.

While the sport or season has changed over the years, the one constant has always, always been Gatorade.

As a parent I am always hoping that my children stay healthy and strong. I can’t always be sure what they’re eating on the fly, but I know when I have the Gatorade handy it’s my way of helping them stay hydrated.

I had a great opportunity to participate in an interview with Mia Hamm's mother, Stephanie Hamm, who offered not only some incredible stories about raising her family of athletes, but some touching moments as well. She is working with Gatorade to help educate parents and young people about important issues that families with athletes might encounter.

Her video, posted on the new mom's section of the Gatorade website, is moving and inspirational, so I was so excited to be able to speak with her, along with an amazing group of women.

I asked her about siblings, and the potential to feel slighted or ignored in favor of the more successful athlete. This has been a problem at our house, and she offered some great advice, and some great stories about life in the Hamm house.

She added that it is important to allow children to experience as many sports or activities that interest them, and then allow them the chance to choose the one that they feel passionate about when they are ready.

In the spirit of youth sports, in honor of all the mothers of athletes everywhere, I am thrilled to be able to offer one of you a $100 gift card to Dick’s Sporting Goods!!! That's right people One HUNDRED DOLLARS!!!

The rules are as follows:

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry

a) Leave a comment here about any advice for the parent of an athlete- what do you wish you had known when helping your child become all that they could be??

b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment
on this post.

c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on
this post

d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the Official Rules to learn about
an alternate form of entry.

The dates for the sweepstakes are June 1 - June 30!!

Also, if you Visit here there are a TON more chances to win other things!

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. 
Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail, and you have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be

So, give me your best advice, and let the sweepstakes begin!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Alka-Seltzer? You're like an old friend

Alka-Seltzer is sponsoring a cool contest called the Said/Heard Contest! It's all about those silly misunderstanding that are a WAY OF LIFE for most families! (When I heard that, I knew I was in.) Do you have a humorous story or twenty to share about the many different times you or your family have misunderstood each other?

I offer Exhibit A:

Sassy attends a rather large high school here in this quaint college town in Oregon. There are approximately 754 young men and women graduating with her next weekend.

Last week she came home and as soon as she walked in the door she threw down her backpack and shouted (cause that's how we communicate in this house), "Mom! I am on the front of the yearbook!"

"The front? Like the front page?"

"No - the cover."

I thought for a moment, and replied, "The COVER page? Like the first page?"

"NO! THE COVER. THE. HARD. FRONT. COVER. Oh My God. How did you EVER become a teacher?"

And then she pulled it out of her backpack, flung it on the table, and ran away shaking her head.

She was right. The HUGE fifty pound yearbook on the table? Her pic is SMACK on the front cover.

And yes, in case you were wondering, it DID bring a tear to my eye. Or two.

Enter the contest here, and go to their Facebook page here!!!

The winner of the Said/Heard Mishaps Contest will receive:

A trip to New York City to star in an Alka-Seltzer online video featuring their entry!

The winning spot will premiere on the Alka-Seltzer Facebook page!

Plus $5,000 to spend toward whatever they wish!!

Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a contest it is!!!

(NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.), 18 years or older. Contest ends 2/25/11. To enter and for Official Rules, including prize description, visit Void where prohibited.)

(Disclosure: I am being compensated for this post by TheMotherhood and Alka-Seltzer. The story is my own.)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The train, the train! Someone stop the train!

I am THRILLED to offer this to one of you! It's a train show in The New York Botanical Garden!!! Here, read for yourself.

Experience the magic of New York City dressed to the nines for the holidays. The New York Botanical Garden's Annual Holiday Train Show has become a cherished seasonal tradition for families not just in New York, but across the country. Marvel as G-scale model trains puff along a half-mile of track in and around the 140 landmark buildings constructed entirely of natural materials: nuts, tree bark, fruits, pinecones, and leaves, housed within the warmth of the historic Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.

Called "one of New York City's best holiday gifts to itself," and a chance to "See the city anew," by the New York Times, the Holiday Train Show is a winter wonderland full of twinkling lights and the sights and sounds of New York City at its best.

A visit to the Holiday Train Show is an entire day of fun. Sip a hot chocolate or grab a bite to eat at one of our Cafes, decorate gingersnaps, visit with Thomas the Tank Engine™ (January 1-9, 2011), and stroll through the 250 acres of the Garden's grounds, spectacularly decorated for the show. Still have some names on your holiday list? Find just the right gifts at Shop in the Garden.

Thomas the Tank Engine™ Visits

Saturday, January 1–Sunday, January 9, 2011;

Weekdays 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Weekends 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

The classic childhood friend is back! Mark the dates to come photograph your child with Thomas the Tank Engine™. Become certified as an honorary engineer, and take home Thomas & Friends™ coloring sheets, stickers, and temporary tattoos, while supplies last.

I will give you a FAMILY OF FOUR pack!!! Leave a comment below, and I will have Mr. Random pick a winner on Friday morning!!! Tweet about it, and you will have two entries! Pay my rent for a month and they are yours hands DOWN.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's all about the company you keep, really. And this company is pretty incredible!

Many of you have heard me talk about the BlogHer conference, and how incredibly HUGE it was, and how incredibly WONDERFUL it was. Each person I met who was affiliated with this community was warm, personable, friendly and pretty great. (BOTH years I was lucky enough to go!)

But in these last few years have I taken the time to really talk about BlogHer, and the community it represents? No, I think not.

Fortunately, they have a great website that really speaks for itself. It’s over here. Please, take the time to visit and check it out!

Personally, I always enjoy the pieces highlighted in the What's Hot section, and I never miss all the chances to win giveaways, gift cards and other items on their exclusive offer section. (YOu can't win if you don't play. Right? right.)

Enough of my rambling - go on over, read it for yourself and them join us. Trust me, you won't be sorry. Oh, and just for checking out their new and improved site? A chance to win a FREE pass to the San Diego conference! Now go on, get over there.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Coffee, and a Little advice from Bitchy.

This is sponsored content from
BlogHer and LG Text Ed

I’m here today with Bitchy, our 21 year-old college junior, who is probably the technologically savvy member of our household.

“And prettiest.”

Yes, well, as you can see is not shy about sharing her thoughts and opinions, and we will be talking about texting, sexting and other issues that might come up.

“Ewww, mother. Try NOT to say that word in my presence The sex word.”

“So, Bitchy, is the cell phone used for evil purposes in college, or by people you know? Do people send horrible pictures or terrorize each other?”

“No! At least not anyone I know. I use my phone to stay in touch with my friends, and all that, but I also use it to go online and check homework, and stuff like that. I don’t give out my number to everyone, so anyone who HAS my number wouldn’t be rude, or anything like that. And I need some money.”

“We’re trying to find out what the hazards are when you have a phone, and how you can protect yourself against dangerous or bad situations.”

“A cell phone, really, is more about keeping you safe. My friends always know where I am, and thanks to my annoying MOTHER, so does my family. So, I really think that it’s so much more about you knowing where I am, than worrying about someone sending me a nasty text. I think maybe online stuff like Skype is probably a more likely way for someone to get themselves in trouble. You have to be careful WHO you Skype with. It has to be someone you trust.”

“But how can parents help their younger kids, kids not as brilliant and as perfect as you – be safe?”

That’s easy. Never, never give your number to anyone who is questionable, never - never send any stupid pictures of yourself to ANYONE, even if they say they will not show ANYONE. People lie. And just be smart. If something doesn’t feel right, then it ISN’T right. And I still need money.”

And so you have it -be smart, and FOLLOW your gut.

Have you had a conversation with your kids (or nephews/nieces, grandchildren) about texting, sexting and safety? BlogHer is matching LG’s donation of .50 to for every comment on this post, so please tell me about your conversation with your kids in the comments. Or if you haven’t had the conversation yet, what’s holding you back? Maybe another reader will have the perfect suggestion for how you can get your conversation going. It’s important for all our families, and will get a $1.00 for every comment, question or suggestion.

And my personal advice from the mother of three texting children to other mothers and fathers? Talk ALL the time. Talk, talk, talk, until you can’t talk no more. Something is BOUND to sink in.

Monday, November 15, 2010

We are ALWAYS ready for some football...

This is a sponsored post by BlogHer and P&G.

I was watching the kids attempt to play a game of football one afternoon at recess. Anyone who has been around five year olds KNOWS that an organized game of ANY kind is typically out of the question.

At some point during the hysterical “chase whoever picks up the ball” game, one young boy ran up to me and stood panting. Finally, after catching his breath, he asked, “Mrs. Smythe, WHY do they call it football when we use our HANDS?”

I shared this story that Sunday, during our Sunday football marathon, and got to wear the “Official Football Necklace” for the duration of the day. This, my friends, was quite an honor.

The Necklace was purchased at a Flea Market in New England- a gargantuan, sparkly, gaudy, coveted necklace worn only by the winner of the “best true story” contest.

The contest, in which each family member brings the funniest story to football Sunday, determines who wears the good luck necklace. It has, for years and years, brought incredible luck to the bearer of the necklace and the team that this person supports.

For me? There is NO question- the Philadelphia Eagles. I have been a loyal fan since I was old enough to understand what football WAS. I would spend time at my father’s feet and listen as he spoke of his favorite team.

As the years went by, I can to watch and admire the coaching of Dick Vermeil, and thus an Eagle Fan For Life was borne.

Here’s a great opportunity to get some great prizes from one of the NFL’s sponsors, Procter & Gamble. Check out their “Take it to the House” program and photo contest, where prizes include a $10,000 community donation to support NFL PLAY 60 and an at-home visit from a local NFL legend! One lucky Grand Prize Winner will even win a trip to the 2011 Pro Bowl in Hawaii. Show us how you and your football family bring NFL game day to life at home at (click on the contest tab)!

Promote Your Page Too

Also, please be sure to check out the rest of the football fanatics over here!

And now, as I wear the necklace and watch them play their hearts out on Sundays I not only cheer for those playing on the field, but those who have played before.

And if I ever get the chance to speak to ANY of those strong and talented men, I would ask them the same question that Jack asked me.

“Why DO we call it football?”

Monday, November 8, 2010

Welcome to the dark side, my friends; where Texting is King.

This is sponsored content from
BlogHer and LG Text Ed

I’ve spent the last three years of my parenting job communicating primarily through text messages.

Now, don’t you go and judge me people, until you’ve walked with my cell phone in your pocket.

While I scoffed, scorned and rolled my eyes at the parents who handed cell phones to their children in preschool, I have since fried up those thoughts and served them to myself for dinner.


I’ve crossed over.

When you are the parent of a teenage who has successfully convinced themselves that they are “adults”, it’s either jump in the pool with them, or watch them swim away alone. I chose to swim.

This joining of the dark side has proven very, very worthwhile. I am riddled with text messages while at work, while running errands, cleaning house, making dinner and laying in bed with a good book. Is it a bother? Absolutely not. I am thankful beyond measure that my teenage children are communicating with me.

They share details about where they are; who they are with; items they need from the store; and other useless information that I may or may not ignore. I offer you Exhibit A from Bitchy, who is currently a junior at a well known Big Ten University on the East Coast.

Exhibit A: (A random sampling of several texts I’ve received in the last two weeks.)
1. People who walk faster live longer.
2. Chips are not a food group.
3. I need my “allergy medicine” picked up.
4. Why won’t you pick up the phone. I need to go to the mall.
5. You can’t possibly lose weight after 50. Give up.

While I laugh out loud at most of the messages, as a parent I am always on edge about the dangerous possibilities when your children have phones; especially ones that connect to the internet. What can we do to ensure their safety? How do we know, in our hearts, that they will make smart choices?

We don’t. However, we have to let go and trust that the lessons they’ve learned while in our care will guide their hearts when they are forced to make choices.

I am going to take this opportunity to interview my children - Bitchy (21 and a junior in college), Sassy (18 and a freshman in college) and The Golden Boy. He’s 12, has his first phone and is texting everyone and their brother; whether he knows them or not.

Do you have questions I should ask? I would LOVE your thoughts and suggestions, and will answer them in my next post.

Because this topic is so important for our kids and their futures, BlogHer really wants to get the conversation about texting, sexting and safety going – both with our kids and among parents. It will match LG’s donation of .50 to for every comment on this post, so please give me your suggestions on questions for my kids. will get a $1.00 for each and every one.

So, are we joining hands in our attempts to keep all young people safe in this technological world? Can we join the amazing Jane Lynch in her efforts in this regard??

I think we can.

So, for each comment, questions, suggestion I will do at LEAST one jumping jack. And perhaps a push-up or two. Go on - make my day.