Blog Archives

Tips For Healthy Kids

March 15, 2017

Thank you to Wendy Dessler for this guest post on tips for healthy kids.

Tips for Healthy Kids | motherscircle.netWe all want healthy, well-balanced children. We want them to enjoy physical activity and we want to provide them with foods to fuel their bodies and minds.

Unfortunately, we live in an instant world where snacks are loaded with sugars, fats, and just enough nutritional value to earn a government okay to label them healthy.

Children develop their taste from the foods we give them. They are not mature enough to decide what is good and what is not. Even adults have problems in this area.

Further, how we present something to them can build excitement or dread. This is true with their lifestyles, diets, and special treats.

Book Review: Wally Lamb – I’ll Take You There

December 14, 2016

ill-take-you-there-coverAbout I’ll Take You There
by Wally Lamb

Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Harper; First Printing edition (November 22, 2016)

In this radiant homage to the resiliency, strength, and power of women, Wally Lamb author of numerous New York Times bestselling novels including She’s Come Undone, I Know This Much is True, and We Are Water weaves an evocative, deeply affecting tapestry of one Baby Boomer’s life and the trio of unforgettable women who have changed it.

I’ll Take You There centers on Felix, a film scholar who runs a Monday night movie club in what was once a vaudeville theater. One evening, while setting up a film in the projectionist booth, he’s confronted by the ghost of Lois Weber, a trailblazing motion picture director from Hollywood’s silent film era. Lois invites Felix to revisit and in some cases relive scenes from his past as they are projected onto the cinema’s big screen.

In these magical movies, the medium of film becomes the lens for Felix to reflect on the women who profoundly impacted his life. There’s his daughter Aliza, a Gen Y writer for New York Magazine who is trying to align her post-modern feminist beliefs with her lofty career ambitions; his sister, Frances, with whom he once shared a complicated bond of kindness and cruelty; and Verna, a fiery would-be contender for the 1951 Miss Rheingold competition, a beauty contest sponsored by a Brooklyn-based beer manufacturer that became a marketing phenomenon for two decades. At first unnerved by these ethereal apparitions, Felix comes to look forward to his encounters with Lois, who is later joined by the spirits of other celluloid muses.

Against the backdrop of a kaleidoscopic convergence of politics and pop culture, family secrets, and Hollywood iconography, Felix gains an enlightened understanding of the pressures and trials of the women closest to him, and of the feminine ideals and feminist realities that all women, of every era, must face.

My review

I have loved Wally Lamb’s work for years and had the joy of meeting him this past October at Reading With Robin’s Evening With Authors. He is a gracious, fun, and kind man; it was wonderful to meet the man behind the words.

I’ll Take You There visits many locals that I know from “real life” and that drew my attention right away, it’s always fun to read about the places we know. My parents attend plays at the Garde Theatre in New London, Connecticut, my home state. Incidentally, today marks the anniversary of the Sandy Hook shootings, I grew up in Newtown and so much of who I am and what I love is wrapped up and tied into Newtown. My prayers and love are with the families who lost children and loved ones that horrible December 14th, and my prayers and love are with all those who have their hearts still in Newtown in any way.

So that side-track isn’t actually unlike Felix, Lamb’s protagonist who has a voice that is friendly and conversational, who is at times distracted into other thoughts and stories – or by ghosts. I’m not a big fan of the supernatural so this was harder for me to comfortably accept as a reader, though eventually it didn’t jar me so much. It was a creative tool to give us backstory and depth into his family relationships, to interact with the past in a meaningful way and allow us to live historical scenes with the characters.

Carry On Book Review

August 22, 2016

Carry On Book Review | MothersCircle.netDear Mother’s Circle Readers,

Here’s a book you’ve got to read: Carry On by Lisa Fenn. I am trying hard not to be a book review site, but I’ve been reading like crazy (I’m kicking butt in my Goodreads Challenge) and the deeper I get into this being-an-author thing, the more I’m connecting with other writers and find myself committing – and volunteering – to do reviews.

As a parent, you’ll be grateful for this book review. I devoured Carry On and found myself underlining and marking passages with hearts, stars, smiley faces and even some tear drops. I loved this book and its powerful story; I’d recommend it as a family read or an independent read for older kids and teens. There are so many things to discuss, so many life lessons and conversation starters.

Carry On tells the story of how an ESPN journalist featured two wrestlers, each with their own disability, one blind and one without legs, and found herself becoming entwined in their lives. Eventually Fenn became their mentor, their family, and their Guardian Angel as Dartanyon wrote on his emergency contact form describing her “Relationship to Student.”

I’m almost not sure how to begin, what to share with you about this inspiring, heart-wrenching, hopeful story. It made me reflect on so much in life, in our society, and on our current journey within the foster care system. I was moved by the challenges these boys faced, by their growth and insights, like this quote from Leroy.

History is like gravity. It can pull you down. We wanted to succeed, but we needed someone to show us how – someone who believed our potential was more important than our past.
– Leroy

Carry On is the evidence that mentoring works, that caring about another person – really investing in someone – makes a difference. I love this video from Josh Shipp and this story made me think of his video: Every kid is one caring adult away from success. For Leroy and Dartanyon, Lisa Fenn became that one caring adult.

Questions bubbled and and I pondered the effects of poverty, how long a person carries trauma, the power of forgiveness and open-mindedness and many other issues. A good book is certainly one that prods thought and pushes us to see the world in new ways.

In Twenty Years Book Review

July 1, 2016

In Twenty Years book review | MothersCircle.netI had the privilege of reading Allison Winn Scotch’s new book, In Twenty Years, before today’s publication date. I have loved Allison’s other books including, The Theory of Opposites, so I dove into In Twenty Years eagerly and it didn’t disappoint.

The story is about six close friends who live together in college (shout out to Penn, my brother’s alma mater). Their “connector” (don’t we all have friends who keep us linked and in touch?) has them all write a letter to their older selves, twenty years from senior year. Now, as those of us in our 40s know, when you’re in your twenties, the forties seem far off and kinda old, but boy it comes upon us quickly.

The book begins with their letters, which we don’t get to read until the characters reread them in about twenty years.

We were twenty-one. We were allowed to believe impossible things.

In Twenty Years explores the idea of what happens during the years in which we become adults: What happens to friendships, our ideals, our confidence, our goals and aspirations? Can we change and if so, do we change or are we the same really? What secrets do we keep from one another and from ourselves?

Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo – Book Review

March 17, 2016

Don't Let My Baby Do Rodeo Reveiw | MothersCircle.netA story of immigrants and adoption, a mother’s journey and self-exploration, Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo by Boris Fishman, was a book filled with gorgeous, rich sentences, and the requirement of some close reading.

The conflict between superstitions and traditions and the immersion into another culture, even decades later, is powerful, as are the discoveries of what lies within relationships. Familial bonds, marital and in-law relationships and the dissection of what it really means to be a mother, a parent, a family.

Fear and loneliness, blame and self doubt, lies and truths all tangle together throughout Maya’s tortured journey.

Fishman crafts sentences that forced me to underline and reread them to savor the just-right combinations of words. Some examples:

“Alex rose, the sofa giving him up with a sigh,”

“‘For my father, there’s no gift without a con wrapped around it. You divide what he says by half and subtract, and you start getting closer. He speaks in Fahrenheit, but the truth is closer to Celsius.'”

“…the value of pragmatic deceit…”

“The night shift regularly put him in acquaintance with the glitches and flaws of human design.”

“…every obsession withers if you just hold down the obsessive…”

“…when he agreed to unshell himself, the world loved him.”

You Need This to Organize Your Photos

March 8, 2016

Organize your photos | MothersCircle.netBe honest. How many pictures do you have stashed on your phone, your iPad, your computer?

Do you do anything with them? Can you easily find the one(s) you want? Can you enjoy the gazillion pictures you take? Does thinking about this make you sweat?

Mother’s Circle readers know that I love keeping record and documenting our family events, big and small, but it is a time consuming and overwhelming task to keep up with the unruly mess of pictures. That’s why I’m excited to tell you about the perfect solution to help you organize your photos.

Here’s what you need to organize your photos

Ruly is the only service that solves the problem of digital photo overload through an innovative digital photo concierge service using a combination of human touch and technology. I love this!

As a social enterprise, Ruly is a unique tech startup because it’s designed to achieve a specific social good objective. Ruly’s photo operations center is in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where the company recruits and invests in local women. Having visited Organize your pictures and help women | MothersCircle.netCambodia on a trip with my mom in 2012, this model immediately spoke to me. Ruly offers women who are too often marginalized and living in poverty a way to build industry-relevant skills, earn exponentially higher wages and emerge as leaders in their communities.

I Hated Math

January 18, 2016

I Hated Math (And what would've helped) | MothersCircle.netGrowing up I was always a good student, I prided myself on working hard, being prepared and getting top grades. But math was a misery to me – right through college.

I love writing – obviously – and the subjects that didn’t entail numbers were where I excelled. In math I struggled! I mean, I hated math, really hated it.

My dad, an engineer, sees numbers easily, and he couldn’t understand how I just didn’t GET this stuff. We had our share of spats when I went to him for math help. If I were forced to guess a number, I’d say that 90% of the time our tutoring sessions ended in tears and frustrations. That’s 9 out of 10 times – am I right on that?

My poor mother would leave the room and stick her head in a book whenever I asked my dad for math help – she knew the tension that was coming.

There was no Internet or online learning when we were growing up. I needed to learn math in a slow, deliberate, logical way and my dad’s fast-paced brain breezed along wondering how his daughter couldn’t grasp the four different ways he’d come to the same answer. I remember saying, “But that’s not how the teacher showed us,” I needed a straightforward path, step one, step two, step three.

I needed an option that was available whenever I was stuck whether right after school or when I was studying at 11:00 pm. I needed math help that adjusted to my pace, targeted my needs and gave me feedback.

Thankfully, I got through my statistics and upper level accounting classes in college (with a lot of calls home for long distance tutoring and tears). Then I dove into my first job which was glorified accounting – a.k.a. MATH. Working in NYC in the buying offices at Lord & Taylor required lots of math skills and in the real world, I finally got it! I finally felt competent and able to understand why math mattered. I could finally see several avenues to an answer but at what cost?

Growing up I felt tackled by math. I always feeling like something was just beyond my grasp. It was disempowering and maddening. I could’ve used a tool like

A New Tool For Internet Safety

April 7, 2015

A New Tool For Internet Safety | MothersCircle.netRegular Mother’s Circle readers may know that I’ve recently had you all vote on my next Naked Parenting topic and I’m taking on the one I find the hardest to write – Naked Parenting: Social Media and Technology.

There’s so much to it that it makes a parent’s head explode, doesn’t it? That’s why I’m happy to share a new tool for internet safety.

As parents, we’re still learning, experimenting with different rules and systems, and keeping ourselves educated. It’s a continual process and important to seek tools to support our family values and to keep our kids safe online. I believe in teaching them good skills but while they learn, it’s great to have a safety net.

Feeding Your Preemie in the NICU

January 19, 2015

Feeding your preemie in the NICU | MothersCircle.netThank you to Prolacta for this guest post on feeding your preemie in the NICU. It’s stressful, emotional, and challenging to have a baby who’s born early, and as parents, you want to learn about and do what’s best for feeding your preemie. Here is some science behind NICU infant nutrition.

In honor of the nearly 500,000 babies born prematurely each year (according to the Centers for Disease Control, that’s 1 in every 8 infants born in the United States), we’re sharing good news about the latest in medical advancements that are helping more preemies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) survive and thrive.

Critically ill, premature infants have special dietary needs requiring higher levels of fat, protein and calories than full-term babies need. Mounting scientific research supports the use of an exclusive human milk diet for preemies and this has led to a rise in use among NICUs across the country. Based on this research, the American Academy of Pediatrics published a recommendation that all preterm infants receive breast milk, be it a mother’s own or donor milk.1

While feeding preterm infants a diet of 100% breast milk may seem like an obvious solution to those who breastfeed, the reality is that for generations, preemies in NICUs were fed cow-milk-based formula. Even if a mother’s own breast milk was available, it was typically “fortified” (to add extra nutrients) with a fortifier containing cow-milk protein.

Pain to Power Online Childbirth Program

January 7, 2015

pain to power, online childbirth, debra pascali bonaro | MothersCircle.netI’m excited to introduce and support Pain to Power online childbirth program created by birth-powerhouse, Debra Pascali-Bonaro. Debra is a long time friend, mentor, and colleague, we worked together to revise and update Nurturing Beginnings, and I’m happy to share her latest project with you.

Debra is the Founder & President of Orgasmic Birth and creator of Orgasmic Birth: The Best-Kept Secret Documentary that explores the intimate nature of birth. She’s been a birth worker for over 30 years, helping new families all over the world unlock pleasure in birth and life.

Debra has trained thousands of doulas and birth professionals around the world in the practices of gentle birth support. And now, she’s bringing all of this knowledge to you through her latest creation.

Pain to Power, a 9-week online childbirth experience.Pain to Power with Debra Pascali Bonaro | MothersCircle.net

Introducing Stempaks

November 10, 2014

introducing stempaks, what is STEM, what is stempaks, STEM projects for kidsI’m thrilled to introduce you to Stempaks. Just in time for Christmas, Hanukah and winter birthday gift giving comes Stempaks, “sparking curiosity through discovery and creativity.”

When you subscribe, your kids will receive a package each month ready-made with projects for them to explore. It’s easy for parents to get as engaged in the topic as they want, or let kids dive in on their own.

Stempaks is targeted to kids aged 5 – 10 and each month will feature a different theme or topic. This November is focusing on paleontology.

As a blogger, I receive an influx of email requests to review items and I delete the great majority of them, but something stempaks package, science for kids, math projects for kidsin the email from the founders of Stempaks made me reach out to them. Not only are these young entrepreneurs innovative and creating a product that encourages family learning, but one of the founders also served in the military. From the first phone call, I had a great impression and love the concept of this product, I immediately agreed to not only be a beta tester but also to serve as an adviser because I believe in what they’re doing.

When our package arrived, the kids couldn’t wait to open it. Our dinosaur kit came with eye goggles and a face mask which went right on as the kids read through the materials to see what they needed to do.

stempaks, excited kids, engineering for kids, STEM curriculum

stempaks, science projects, dinosaur activities, paleontology

Decked out in their protective gear, they transformed into archeologists and little by little excavated dinosaur bones. They took it very seriously, brushing away the dust and being cautious not to harm a fossilized bone.

goggles and mask, STEM projects

Prince George’s First Birthday

July 16, 2014

prince george effect, prince geoge birthday, when is Prince George's birthday, cupcake with crown, birthday crown cupcakeSo, I’m not much of a royal-watcher, but years ago, I lived in London for four months and, because of that, I have a love of England. As Prince George’s first birthday approaches, I’m thinking of my time there.

My flatmates and I would explore Hyde Park, shop at Boots, and poke around Portobello Market on weekends. Once, after I’d heard words almost exclusively in a British accent for months, I came home and in all seriousness, reported that I’d heard a lot of foreign languages that day, which wouldn’t be odd except that I was talking about American English!

While in England, I loved walking to school from my flat, remembering to LOOK LEFT before stepping off a curb, and “minding the gap” before hopping onto the Tube. I loved going to the theater, local attractions and taking side trips around the English countryside. We even once spotted Princess Diana taking her boys to school. It crossed my mind then, how difficult parenting as a royal would be, but as a mom, I feel it even more acutely now, watching Kate and her young prince.

Yup, I really loved my time there and my visits to London and England since. While there, I was immersed in the castles, the history, and even the Royal Family; it really can’t be avoided. Decades since, and a mom three times over, I both chuckle and sadden at the attention George and his parents receive. Parenting is tough: tantrums in the market, meltdowns at restaurants, bickering siblings waiting in line at the bank. Can you even imagine doing all that on a global stage? Sure George is only one year old, but we parents all know what’s coming.

Little George is even already setting trends as the little “Pre-King.” Have you heard about the George Effect and how items that look like whatever he wears are selling out by the droves and shutting down websites? I wonder what the wardrobe will be for Prince George’s first birthday celebration. No doubt we’ll see it in stores and catalogs before he’s even done celebrating on July 22nd.

Nurturing Beginnings by Debra Pascali-Bonaro

April 22, 2014

Nurturing Beginnings cover, baby with wings, doula guide, books for doulas, Debra Pascali-Bonaro book, Announcing the newly updated Nurturing Beginnings, Debra Pascali-Bonaro’s terrific postpartum doula guide. I’m proud to share this with you because I worked with Debra and her team to revise and contribute to the updated version.

Debra Pascali-Bonaro was first my doula trainer, then my mentor, then my friend.

We met in 2007 in New York City at a doula training, as the workshop progressed, I felt achier and sicker and on the last day, I listened to Debra lying down with my eyes closed. (It turned out I had Lyme Disease).

Then I invited Debra to teach several doula trainings I hosted and we attended conferences together. We had pajama talks, chats over glasses of wine and on long walks. We talked about issues monumental and trivial, and everything in between. We shared our families and pondered world problems with our toes in the sand and at restaurants over meals.

So when Debra asked me to be a part of this project, I jumped at the chance. I am proud to have helped to edit, contribute and update this version of Nurturing Beginnings. I am honored to be a co-author beside Debra Pascali-Bonaro.

Great Books For Kids

November 20, 2013

great books for kids, dual language books, plays for kids, teaching kindness to kids, golden rule for kids, christmas gift books for kids, kids books, new kids books, new childrens booksAs a blogger, I’m often asked to review products, websites, articles and books. I am particular about what I say yes to and only post things I can honestly recommend.

Here are some great books for kids that I want to share with you just in time for holiday giving. Full disclosure: I received complimentary review copies of these books.

 

Fife’s Lessons: The Tao of Cool

By Rob DegnanIllustrated by Jason Robert LeClair
FifesLessons.com

tao of cool, rob degnan, fife, book about kindness, book about acceptance, third grader book, teaching kids kindness, lessons for kidsThird grader, Fife is cool, her parents are cool, but what happens when a new kid moves to town and is left out and made to feel, well, uncool.

Fife struggles with issues of fitting in, acceptance and ultimately learns the greatest lesson in kindness. The story guides readers to learn these lessons along with Fife, and some unspoken ones, too. More subtle lessons presented are how we never know what’s really going on in another person’s heart and head and how we all have strengths and weaknesses.

Fife learns that working together with someone who excels in different ways than she does can bring success and that a friendship can grow when one opens their mind and heart to another person. Fife’s Lessons are just as important for adults as they are for kiddos! Welcome Fife and her friends into your home.

Festival Fete – Local Art Anywhere

August 20, 2013

Festival fete logo, festival fete RI, local artists, local artisans, local art anywhereFestival Fete creates amazing local community art festivals but even if you’re not a Rhode Islander, you can still enjoy the contemporary American craft artists that Festival Fete features.

At the June festival with over 140 artists, live music, strolling entertainment, free kids’ crafts and local foods, I met some fantastic artisans and want to share some with you.

What is littleBits?

July 25, 2013

what is littleBits, littleBits starter kit, building with electronics modules, electronics for kids, better than legos, if you like legos you'll love littlebits, littlebits color codeWhat is littleBits? Now that I know the answer, littleBits are guaranteed to be wrapped up for birthday gifts and under our tree for many Christmases to come. With the discount code for Mother’s Circle readers below, you can give the gift of imagination, too!

Move over, Legos, here comes littleBits!

littleBits makes building with electronics and prototyping for budding engineers completely accessible and fun (ages 8 and up.)

We always call our son Michael “the engineer” because he is incredibly resourceful, creative in mechanical and inventive ways, and endlessly curious about how things work. He’s always figuring things out, fixing things and solving functional problems around the house. His eyes lit up when he opened the littleBits box!

Michael has always loved all things building from Lincoln Logs and Tinker Toys to erector sets, magnetics and bristle blocks, but I think as much as we’ve loved and been buried by Legos in our house, this could replace them! Or perhaps we’ll see Legos make their way into a littleBits creation.

As a blogger, I am bombarded by people asking for me to review items or to pitch their thing on my blog. I only agree to something that I really love and feel genuinely good about recommending to my readers and I am so excited to share this with you. My whole family (and the neighbors) are happy that we’ve “discovered” it! Watch this video and you’ll be hooked, too.

Tabata Songs

July 19, 2013

tabata songs, tabata workout music, tabata training, tabata timing, tabata intervals, interval training music, timed music, barefoot truth music, Tabata songs are the perfect way to time your Tabata interval training workouts. Easier and more inspiring than a timer, these original, timed songs can kick up your routine. My friend Jay Driscoll along with Barefoot Truth band-mate John “Wayno” Waynelovich wrote, performed and recorded these songs specifically for Tabata training.

Jay explains how Tabata Songs originated: “While on tour, we have found Tabata Training to be the quickest, most effective form of exercise. For us, it is perfect for a quick hotel room workout. We hated staring at a clock to time the intervals, so we decided to just make music that tells the listener when to GO and when to STOP. Its basically like having a personal trainer on your iPod!”

What’s Tabata?

Ideal for busy Moms, the Tabata Protocol for interval training, though not new, is quickly gaining in popularity. Developed in 1996 by Japanese fitness researcher Dr. Izumi Tabata, its studied benefits include fat-loss, building cardio fitness and muscle retention, increased metabolism and muscular endurance.

Whether you’ve just been given the thumbs up to exercise after a baby, whether you’re chasing a toddler or working out with your teen – a huge benefit for Moms is that it can be done in 4 minutes. It’s high intensity training with intervals of 20 seconds and a 10 second rest in between.

Here are some tools and videos to help you design Tabata intervals that work for you.

Benefits of Tabata Songs

Tabata Songs allow you the freedom to focus on your training without fussing with a timer, stop watch or juggling a smart phone app.

Sell Old DVDs Online with Music Magpie

July 8, 2013

sell old DVDs online, music magpie, making extra money online, helping kids make money selling, organizing cds, cleaning old DVDs, tag sales, yard sales DVD, Music Magpie is a site I recently learned about that let’s you sell old DVDs online. Somehow, we have way too many CDs in our house. They’re stacked up and hidden away, taking up space in our TV armoire barely ever looked at, let alone listened to.

So I’m taking the plunge, paring down and selling whole towers of old CDs. I remember my first CD player and the feel of opening a new CD and now I chuckle as they collect dust and I listen to my iPod while cleaning out our old music collection!

The Beauty of Humanity Movement

May 8, 2013

the beauty of humanity movement, camilla gibbs, vietnamese art, read across rhode island 2013 book, rhode island center for the book, reading across ri,I was so moved by The Beauty of Humanity Movement and it’s author, Camilla Gibb.

As I got onto Amazon months ago to purchase this year’s Reading Across Rhode Island book selection, I gasped aloud as I saw the cover image. Artwork of a Vietnamese woman standing in a boat peered out at me.

I attended the May 3rd breakfast with some members of my book club, Reading Between the Wines, and I brought my Mom.

Last year, my mother and I spent an amazing 20 days in Vietnam and it is a place that is now a part of me. Wherever I go, I hold that place dear and take a piece of it with me, but there is something different about Vietnam. Some stronger hold that country has held on me. It felt like serendipity that this year’s book was about Vietnam – I couldn’t wait to read it.

As I savored this story and its rich imagery, the tastes and smells of Hanoi pulled me back to the other side of the world. I craved a bowl of pho and felt a special connection to the characters and even to the author. I was intrigued to learn her story and how she came to write about Vietnam since she is Canadian. It seemed that Vietnam had captured her spirit as it had mine.

Bunny in the Basket

March 9, 2013

bunny in basket, stuffed animal bunny, bunny book, Easter books, Easter giftsI recently learned that my dear friend, Kelly Connaghan Dengler, wrote a children’s book, Bunny in the Basket, that comes with a plush bunny in the basket that your child can name. The simple story explains to children (and parents) how the bunny works, it’s similar to the Christmas elf idea for Easter time.

Through the bunny, Kelly tries to give parents that extra set of eyes and gives kids a little motivation to exhibit good behavior since the bunny is watching and reporting back to Peter Cottontail.

When our package arrived, I wasn’t sure how it was presented so even though Anna was dying to open the newly delivered box, I waited until she went to school to check it out. I didn’t need to worry, it was child-friendly and packaged with the book and bunny together peeking out through the box. I read the book and left it, with the pale blue bunny in the basket, for my daughter at her place at the dinner table.

Introducing Happify :-)

February 6, 2013

happify trademark, happify logo, what is happify?, so do I get happy?, happiness projectIt’s finally time to introduce you to Happify! Two months ago, I was invited to try out Happify and provide honest feedback as I used the site and now Happify is open for new users! Check it out here.

Happify is a cross between a new social media, an interactive game and a shared (or private) gratitude journal. The site is based on scientific studies of happiness that show that what we DO makes a difference in how happy we are in life. Through quizzes, games, prompts and activities, participants on Happify learn ways, and take actions, to be happier and to better appreciate things in their lives.

There is an initial assessment of how happy you already are. I’m pretty happy by nature, so I wasn’t out looking to get happier, but it’s also important to actively do things to nurture my own happiness. I have really enjoyed doing these small activities as a reminder to slow down and appreciate just how much I have in my life.unlock your happiness, happiness skills, happiness test, studies on happiness, how to be happier, blue brain, join happify,

Starting out, users select a track to follow. You can choose from things like: Enjoy Parenting More, The Art in Happiness, Talkers and Listeners and Nurture my Body and Soul. You’ll then have different activities opened to you each day. If you’re gung-ho and ready to do more, there is also a skills section where you can do more activities. I completely cracked up one day when I just kept doing more and more activities and a message came up that congratulated me and addressed me as “You’re an over-achiever!” Hilariously on target!

There are five main skills and all the activities fall under one of these: Savor, Thank, Aspire, Give and Empathize. As you work through different tracks (here’s the video game-like part) you earn gold or silver for completing tracks within certain time frames, and you move up different skill levels as you finish and “Happify” activities.

You’ll do guided activities with prompts like, “Take a walk with a camera,” “Mix things up,” “Give a small gift,” and suggestions for doing and reflecting on what you did. Some things are silly like trying to brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand to try to shake things up in your normal routine, while other things might be more sentimental, pensive, or celebratory of you or someone else. Some activities are quick, some you make a plan and pledge to do it then report back after you’ve done it. At any point, you can click and read the science behind the activity, the “Why it Works.”Happify, the science of happiness, studies on happiness, brain with gears, colorful gears, what is happify?, happiness assessment,

You can post pictures with certain activities either from your Facebook photos, Happify stock images or by uploading something from your computer, here the posts look a little like Pinterest with social interaction features for liking and commenting.

I’ve been enjoying my time on Happify. It’s nudged me to really mull things over, to cherish the everyday ho-hum stuff and to share my happiness in different ways. It’s challenged me to recognize and acknowledge my positive impact on others and to consciously live according to my values. Give it a try!

 

** The opinions stated here are my own and I was not required or asked to write a review, only to use the site. As a pioneer tester of Happify, I received a t-shirt and a copy of the DVD “Happy.” **

 

 

Workout from Home with Ana Caban

January 22, 2013

I’m happy to introduce you to this reasonably priced workout from home program with top trainers to the stars.
In full disclosure, I have not received payment or free goods or services in exchange for this guest post.
Ana Caban, Inc. is offering discounts for Mother’s Circle reader, see end of this post for discount codes.

Guest Post from Ana Caban, Inc.

exercising mom, mom on orange ball, orange yoga ball, mom on birth ball, exercise after birth, postpartum exercise, exercising with kids, exercising at home, working out at home, cheap workout plans, online workout plans, It’s still January and resolutions of health and fitness are still swirling, or fizzling. Save time and money with a work out from home with Ana Caban, celebrity fitness trainer.

Sharing resolutions keeps us honest and accountable, to ourselves, and anyone else we have included in our close-knit circles. The intention is there, and we are gung-ho about waking up at six o’clock in the morning to head out for a jog before our bodies realize what tricks we’re up to.

For many busy moms, it’s almost impossible to think about how to formulate a workout schedule beyond that point. Moms of toddlers or teens are often just too busy to even think about the gym. And it’s not just the kids or a nine to five it’s the million other responsibilities, too.

What if there was a way you could workout from home without interfering with your daily routine? It makes working out sound doable doesn’t it?

p-_j53ayb9sRH9s