family activities

The Girl Scouts is changing its image.

Change is good, right?

The Girl Scouts Organization has announced the appointment of Laurel Richie as its new Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. Richie, a former senior partner and executive group director at WPP Group’s Ogilvy & Mather, officially came aboard March 24th, 2008.

Her job?

To modernize the image of the Girl Scouts.

Read Ellen Bryon’s article, Girl Scouts Seek an Image Makeover, March 25th, 2008 Wall Street Journal HERE.

But don’t worry… the cookies are still in. That’s the one thing that will remain, well… UNCHANGED!


Here are some of our favorite blogs from real Smart Mamas in the blogosphere.


Pundit Mom’s post – Non-Mom? Really? Are You Sure You Want To Go There?

MomLogic’s post – The Duggars Are Sex Machines

To Think is To Create’s post – Hey Mama: A Tribute to Motherhood

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers out there! What a glorious weekend to celebrate!

It’s funny how most mothers say “every day is Mother’s Day” for them… and that they “don’t need one specific day to celebrate” themselves…

But it is special to have one day each year that is especially reserved for celebrating Mothers. Mothers of all kinds. Mothers young and old. Mothers of babies, teenagers and adults. Mothers of pets. Godmothers. Grandmas. Nanas. Aunts. And women that take on the role as “Mom” in your life.

That’s right, every kind of mother.

But it got us thinking… How did Mother’s Day actually begin? What is the history behind Mother’s Day?

Well, we found the answer at Mother’s Day Central.

Mother’s Day Central is a website that you must check out. This amazing website celebrates mothers, all year long. It is just full of interesting and insightful information about Mother’s Day… and also shares information about phenomenal and special women and mothers throughout history.

Take some time to sit and peruse Mother’s Day Central. It will bring you such appreciation for motherhood.

And again, Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers! We hope you have a day of relaxing with your loved ones… and maybe a little pampering.

– Audrey, Jane and Sharon

When you look back into your childhood, which do you remember most – tangible gifts (i.e., new shoes, a new television, a new baseball glove) or major events? My fondest memory as a child was enjoying our family meals together.

Yes, my mother was a very good southern cook (certainly a plus), but this was the time that we all shared together. We talked about what happened that day. This was when I learned how to have a conversation with adults, when I learned of my parent’s values, and of course, my manners.

I know what you’re probably saying, “Who has that kind of time these days?” I look back at my parent’s lives and they were busy, too. They both worked outside the home.

The family meal is not about the food, really. Think about how the market now caters to our hurried lives. Grocery stores have prepared foods. Some stores have a delivery service where you order your items from their web site. These items just need to be reheated. How convenient is that?

To get your family involved with the evening meal, have your children set the table. Put the prepared food on serving platters and call your family to the table. Sit down, and then talk and laugh about what is going on.

Watch how each person holds their fork, and assist them if they need help. Praise them when they do something correctly. Is their napkin in their lap? How is their posture? The meal does not need to be about correcting them all the time. During some meals, you may just enjoy your time together, and allow yourself to observe and correct them at another time. It is so important just to have as many meals together as possible

Do your children like to cook? I bet they would love it. Plan your weekly menus together. This is another way to get them involved so they look forward to your family time. Set aside one night to supervise and cook with your children. Take them grocery shopping and try a new vegetable or fruit. Let them look for a new recipe on the Internet. Food Network is a great resource for recipes.

Incorporating family meal time into your daily or weekly schedule is also a great way to set family rituals. One Friday afternoon when I was teaching an etiquette class for ten to fourteen year olds, two students who were brothers were so excited that it was Friday night. I thought they may be going to a sports event or a party. They quickly told me it was pizza, popcorn and a movie night on Friday nights with their family. They explained that everyone sat around and they were allowed to eat in the family room. Their enthusiasm was great.

The family meal is a time when you can create lasting memories, and ones that your children can carry forward as they raise their families.

Lisa Richey is the president and founder of The American Academy of Etiquette, Inc. She is an international expert on manners. Lisa is described by many as one of the most motivational speakers on the subject matter. She is the author of “Manners To Go”, an activity kit for children to learn social skills. For more information please visit or

Every year moms scramble to find just the right Easter basket. Will it be the sports Easter basket for $20 or the Spiderman one for who-knows-how-much? When did Easter gifts become so expensive?

The average family has 2.4 children and Easter gifts can break a budget in a hurry. Here are some wonderful Easter memory-creating ideas that won’t break the bank.

1. Bunny Paw prints

Grab an old shoe box lid and cut out big bunny paw print to make a stencil . On “Easter Eve” use the stencil to make paw prints through your house by sprinkling baking soda in the stencil. Turn it over to make left and right feet. (The baking soda vacuums up off the carpet!)

2. Easter Eggstravaganza

For most kids, Easter is not Easter without decorating eggs. This year, instead of letting the kids have all the fun, start a tradition that involves the whole family. Throw an annual Easter egg decorating contest.

Choose enough categories so everyone gets a chance to win. Some categories might be: funniest egg, most original egg, scariest egg, or celebrity egg. The wackier the categories, the more fun you will have decorating and judging.

Ask everyone to submit an egg and display them on the kitchen table. Ask Grandma and Grandpa to be the judges. Before you know it, you will have trouble finding judges because everyone will want to decorate an egg!

3. Follow the Ribbon

This is a simple tradition that doesn’t take much preparation. All you will need to do is buy some narrow, inexpensive ribbon from a local craft store. Choose a different color for each member of the family (15 to 25 yards per person, depending on how crazy you want this to be).

Once the kids are in bed, tie a ribbon to each of their hidden baskets and wind them in and out of the furniture and the other ribbons until you can’t see where they began. Bring the ends to one central location (perhaps the kitchen table) as a place where your family can begin the entangled maze to find their baskets. Before you know it, everyone will be tangled in ribbons and laughs.

4. The Big People Egg Hunt

On Easter Sunday, gather the adults together and have them each hide one or more eggs somewhere on themselves. It might be in Grandma’s apron pocket, Uncle Bob’s boots, behind Dad’s glasses, or under Grandpa’s hat.

This hunt isn’t just for the little ones; it involves everyone and is a wonderful way to connect the generations. Your family will be sure to get a laugh as the kids poke around looking for hidden eggs. No one and no place is considered out of bounds. You’ll definitely want your video camera ready for this Easter Egg Hunt.

5. Personalized Letter from the Easter Bunny!

What child does not get excited about getting mail? How about a personalized letter to your child from the Easter Bunny. This letter will be mailed directly to you child and talk about how mom and dad have told the Easter Bunny that he/she has been good. What an exciting memory for your child!

Easter baskets and gifts do not have to ruin your budget in order for them to be meaningful. These are just a few ways in which you can start some family Easter traditions with your family.

Here’s to a wonderful, traditions-filled Easter!

Dawn Holland is a WAHM of 3 boys and an RN with 12 years of maternal infant and pediatric nursing. She is also a Certified Breastfeeding counselor. Dawn owns Books from the Hearth, an online bookstore and gift shop specializing in personalized children’s books and personalized baby gifts.

I saw this excellent idea for a “Question Jar” over at Mommy | Mother:

Besides asking your children “How was your day?” or “What did you learn at school?” at the dinner table, try some new questions drawn from The Question Jar.

These questions are about feelings and situations. Parents should give their answers, also, so everyone shares. Helping your child to understand and express their feelings and emotions is one of the best things you can do as a parent.

Just type up whatever questions you want on the computer, print them out, cut them up and stick them in the jar.

Here’s a few suggested questions to get you started:

What is one of your fears?
Tell about a time when you found it hard to be honest.
How do you feel when someone teases you?
Have you ever been blamed for something you did not do?
Tell about a time when you had courage.
What do you do when you feel sad?
When do you feel left out?
What do you do when you want attention?
When do you feel embarrassed?
What is something you are sorry for?
When do you feel nervous?
Whose advice do you listen to?
Do you like yourself? Why?
Tell about one of your disappointments.
What responsibilities do you think adults have?
How do you feel about secrets?
Tell about a mistake you have made.
Tell about a time when someone helped you.
When do you feel happy?
What do you worry about?
When do you feel grouchy?
How would you describe a good friend?
What are some of you talents?
Have you ever tried to cheer someone up? How?
How can you tell if someone is not listening to you?

For more “Practical tips and ideas for all seasons of Motherhood” visit