Category Archives: parenting

Women, Beauty and Advertising.

I recently watched this video from Peter Shankman (to his wife and female friends) that my friend shared on Facebook. He explains that he saw an advertisement at a local Wal-Mart while on a business trip. An ad for women in the clothing section that shows a woman putting on makeup and saying that she can be beautiful. His message is refreshing – that women are beautiful. No matter what time of day, what they are wearing or what makeup they may or may not have on.

So much of advertising to females – women, teens and girls – sets a high standard of beauty. Body image and definitions of beauty for girls usually start with Barbie, princesses and Bratz and it only gets worse from there.

“Girls’ perceptions of their femininity and appropriate behavior are largely formed before they even hit first grade—good reason to consider these dolls a lot more than child’s play. “Until children are about five, they can’t distinguish fantasy from reality,” says Lyn Mikel Brown, Ed.D., coauthor of Packaging Girlhood. “So what they see is how they think the world operates and what it means to be a girl.” – Glamour

Read More http://www.glamour.com/sex-love-life/2007/04/sexy-children#ixzz1wZhKMciH

The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty was one of the first to expose the unfair standards of beauty set by the media and to show real women, confident, independent, beautiful.

“Based on the findings of a major global study,The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report, Dove® launched the Campaign for Real Beauty in 2004. The campaign started a global conversation about the need for a wider definition of beauty after the study proved the hypothesis that the definition of beauty had become limiting and unattainable. Among the study’s findings was the statistic that only 2% of women around the world would describe themselves as beautiful.” – Dove

Females grow up comparing themselves to unrealistic images of beauty in magazines, advertisements, on television and in movies.

As a mother of two young girls, it is my hope that they will be more self-confident than I was growing up. I want them to realize that they are beautiful, intelligent, capable women and that they are a gift to this world.

Common Sense Media – Girls and Body Image Tips

Image via BeautyRedefined.net

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Act Now for Healthier School Lunches for Our Children

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution has been a wonderful resource in educating our family about eating healthier food in the home and in school lunches. Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution movement is now asking parents concerned with the current state of unhealthy school lunches to speak out and tell the USDA how they should improve lunches with new changes coming to school food reform.

Stop feeding our children processed food and flavored milk with added sugar. Give them healthier choices and better nutrition and they will thrive in the classroom.

It only takes a click, an email and a share to spread the word and get parents to show the USDA that we care about our children’s health and education and that they must go hand in hand for a successful future for our children.

From the web site:

New legislation for school food that passed last fall means we have a huge opportunity to get better, healthier meals at school. But some powerful interests think that the current meals are good enough and don’t want the system to change. There is a risk that the healthy school food standards which the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has drafted will get watered down unless they hear from the public.

The proposed standards are not perfect but they are an important first step to putting more fresh, whole food on school menus across the country.

Will you join Jamie in speaking up for better lunch and send a comment to the USDA?

Did you know that every day, millions of kids eat highly processed foods for breakfast and lunch at school, when the best source of the nutrition they need is fresh, whole foods?

New legislation for school food that passed last fall means we have a huge opportunity to get better, healthier meals at school. But some powerful interests believe that the current meals are good enough and don’t want the system to change. There is a risk that the improved school meal standards which the USDA has drafted will get watered down unless they hear from the public.

Here are some emails that you can send or go to the website and fill out the short form to have your voice heard.

I just took action and submitted a comment to the USDA in support of more fresh, real food in schools – will you join me in doing the same?

www.jamiesfoodrevolution.com/usda

The USDA is asking the public to weigh in on their proposal to put more fresh, real food in schools and limit some of the junk, but not everyone thinks that we can afford to improve school meals this way. We need a strong show of support to make sure these changes are the start to a Food Revolution in America’s school cafeterias. You can take action here and the Food Revolution will deliver your comments – it only takes a moment!

www.jamiesfoodrevolution.com/usda

End of First Grade Reflection

Today was my daughter’s end of year celebration. They put on a show with poetry recitations, silly songs and puns. It was so sweet and the kids worked so hard and it showed. They were presented with their end of year first grade certificate and made writing books that is a priceless collection of her writing from the start of the year to the finish.

My daughter has grown so much this year. I can’t believe she turns 7 in July and will be going into 2nd grade. I am so proud of her and am amazed at how much she has grown this year.

Her teacher put a letter in the end of the book and it made me cry. It is a wonderful poem and I wanted to share. I am very glad she will have the same teacher next year at Chattahoochee Elementary! Mrs. Mitchell is a wonderful teacher and we look forward to another fun year. I was searching online for the poem and found a touching blog post that eloquently captures my feelings as a parent watching my child grow up.

Dear Parents,

I give you back your child, the same child you confidently entrusted to my care last fall. I give her back heavier, inches taller, months wiser, more responsible, and more mature than she was then.

Although she would have attained her growth in spite of me, it has been my pleasure and privilege to watch her personality unfold day by day and marvel at this splendid miracle of development.

I give her back reluctantly, for having spent nine months together in the narrow confines of a crowded classroom, we have grown close, have become a part of each other, and we shall always retain a little of each other.

Ten years from now if we meet on the street, your child and I, a light will shine to our eyes, a smile to our lips, and we shall feel the bond of understanding once more, this bond we feel today.

We have lived, loved, laughed, played, studied, learned, and enriched our lives together this year. I wish it could go on indefinitely, but give her back I must. Take care of her, for she is precious.

Remember that I shall always be interested in your child and her destiny, wherever she goes, whatever she does, whoever she becomes. Her joys and sorrows I’ll be happy to share.

I shall always be her friend.

–Author Unknown

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Free and Cheap Kid-Friendly Things to Do in and around Forsyth County, GA

I am researching things to do that are low or no-cost in North Atlanta. I will share the places I find and hope it helps you add to your summer adventures. I live in Forsyth County, GA so this will focus on this area for the most part. I will also update this as I go. Happy trails! Update: As a result of this extremely popular post, I created Forsyth for Families, a local blog chronicling free and cheap things to do for families in and around Cumming, GA.

Forsyth County Parks – we are fortunate to have a wealth of parks available for our leisure. Here is a list with plenty of resources. Central Park is a favorite hangout. Coal Mountain Park has a great shaded playground. Poole’s Mill has a wonderful creek and shady playground. Fowler Park is Forsyth County’s newest park. It is located on the greenway and is about the size of Central Park.

Lake Lanier parks and campgrounds – Shady Grove campground opens March 28, signaling the new Spring season for camping, hiking, playing and visiting all of the wonderful parks on the lake. Here is a list of parks on Lake Lanier and what they offer.

Movies 400 – free summer movies in Cumming, GA on Tuesday and Thursdays at 10:00 am. The concession stand offers a special size $1.00 Popcorn and $1.00 Soda for these showings only. Join us this summer for free movies. Bring a can of food to support our can food drive and receive a free popcorn! (Free Family Film Festival Size only, Limit One Per Customer) See my post on the other movie theaters offering free and dollar movies.

Forsyth County Public Library – activities, puppet shows and a calendar for story time keep the library a fresh fun place to go. Plus checking out books keeps our reading library replenished at no cost!

Cumming City Park Pool and playground – Hours: May 30-Aug 6, Mon-Sun 1pm–5pm; Adult Lap Swim: Mon-Thu 5:30pm-7:30pm; Call for lesson schedule. Cost: $3; lesson prices separate.

Catch Air – a cool and spacious jumpy place with weekly specials. They have a new magic wall and a preschooler area. They are adding neat things and keep it fun for the kids. One of our favorite places to go. Follow on FB or sign up for the newsletter for deals.

Adventure Kids – the newest jumpy place with a sand area. Find refuge on a rainy day here.

Chick-Fil-A – Tuesday night is family night at The Avenues in Cumming, GA and also Lanier Crossing. Balloons, face painting and special meal deals. Sign up for email newsletter local events and deals. Check out their FB page and sign up for text alerts for special promotions!

Barnes & Noble at The Avenues – story time and other fun events at the B&N in Cumming, GA.

Monkey Joe’s – Cumming, GA – jumpy place. Follow on FB, sign up for newsletter for coupons. They have run a few Groupons and Living Social deals as well.

Michaels – arts and crafts classes are offered at the Michael’s in Cumming, GA off Market Place Blvd.

Lowe’s – offers kids classes to build all kinds of fun things. Lowe’s in Cumming, GA off Market Place Blvd.

Home Depot offers craft workshops on the first Saturday of each month. Located off of Market Place Boulevard.

Sawnee Mountain – pack a picnic and head for a hike at Sawnee Mountain Preserve. There is also a small playground and picnic tables.

Rainbow Ranch Trout Farm – try something new and take your children fishing in this trout farm next to the Chattahoochee River. There is also a picnic area and pavilion for group outings.

The Ice – New ice skating rink in Cumming, GA. Dress warmly and learn to skate a figure eight!

Slapshots – Family roller skating center – fun for everyone. Check their FB page for events and discounts.

Stars & Strikes – Bowling, laser tag, bumper cars, arcade, restaurant. See their FB page for specials.

Cumming Playhouse – offering plays, musicals, concerts, and catered fine dining on select performances.

Kinsey Family Farm – pumpkin season starts September 25, hay rides, nursery, apple cannon, fun!

Nearby Activities in Surrounding Counties

Waterparks around Atlanta – I just learned of the one, Bogan, near Mall of Georgia. Great list here and although there is a cost, some like Bogan are real deals.

Fountains of Atlanta – we love to pack a lunch and visit the fountains within 30 minutes of our house in the heat of summer for a cool treat.

Autrey Mill Nature Preserve and Heritage Center
Autrey Mill, located in Alpharetta, has miles of walking trails, a Heritage Village with original buildings and artifacts from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s, animal exhibits and replicas of Native American dwellings. All activities on the grounds are free.
9770 Autrey Mill Road, Johns Creek, GA 30022.

Chattahoochee Nature Center – walking trails and educational sessions with a low cost admission is fun for the whole family.

Wills Park Wacky World and Disc Golf is a 110-acre park featuring baseball fields, a disc golf course, lighted tennis courts, picnic pavilions, walking trails and two large playgrounds, including “Wacky World,” a unique kingdom that kids rave about. Situated at the edge of the park is the Alpharetta city pool, which has a diving well with three boards, a shaded kiddie, shaded and open deck areas and a concession stand.

Suwanee Town Center Park and Playtown Suwanee – a little bit further away but adventure awaits with an interactive fountain, lots of greenspace and a great playground.

North Georgia Premium Outlets – playground, food court and outdoor shops for window shopping and enjoying the outdoors.

i Shop Lollipop – toy store, jumpy place by North Georgia Premium Outlets. One of our favorites. Follow on FB, get email newsletter for coupons/sales.

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Note found by kindergartener on school bus – disturbing!

My kindergartener found a handwritten note on the floor of her school bus and put it in her school bag. I found it and opened it up and started reading it. At first, it read like any other note from a girl to another in high school. The bus is shared between HS, middle and elementary school so that made sense.

But as I read it, every parent’s nightmare was listed in the note. Jail time, teen pregnancy, you name it. The question is, now what do we do with it? We are going to turn it into the Principal. Thank goodness my daughter can’t read it, but what if a 3rd or 5th grader read it? Oh the horror. I typed it out into a word document as a reminder as well and I vow to be sure we are active in our child’s life so that this isn’t the path that she takes. I feel that the parents need to know what is going on with these kids and that is the least we can do. I will have nightmares tonight!

What would you do?

Teacher Gift Ideas for the Holidays and Beyond.

As the holidays approach, I was stuck trying to think of teacher gift ideas for my girls’ kindergarten and daycare teachers.

So I turned to my good friends on Twitter. I love having a sounding board for ideas be it marketing related or for holiday gift ideas. Feedback so far – candy/food, scarf/hat, handmade items from child like jewelry or card.

Last year I got Target gift cards so they could either buy for themselves or for the classroom.

Once idea I like from the web sites below is a gift basket filled with school supplies/books for the class. There is also an appreciative wall poster about teaching that a teacher can put on the wall in the classroom.

I guess the underlying message is that teachers like being appreciated and we can show them through our children’s eyes in simple, inexpensive ways.

 I checked Google search as well and found a neat ecofriendly gift site as my daughter’s kindergarten teacher is very earth friendly.

Holiday Gift Ideas for Teachers and Caregivers
http://ecochildsplay.com/2008/12/01/holiday-gift-ideas-for-teachers-and-caregivers/

Teacher Gift Ideas for Preschoolers
http://www.squidoo.com/teachergiftideaspreschoolers

Celebrate Teachers with Thoughtful Gifts
http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=1331

Teacher Gifts: The Official Holiday Shopping Thread for teacher gifts!http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=5888340

Let’s stop teaching our preschoolers to be sexy

There was an eye-opening article recently in Glamour magazine about the onslaught of sexual marketing messages our sweet preschoolers are exposed to and the effects it has on them.

The Bratz dolls are a key example.

As a mom of a 4 year old, you bet I’m concerned.

Here’s the link to the article:
http://www.glamour.com/news/articles/2007/04/childrensexy

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