Real Kid Friendly Entertainment

Hi RichMamas – this just came across the wire, and I thought it was important (this is as I watch yet anohter Disney Channel original movie, Wendy Wu – Homecoming Warrior – with the kids).

When was the last time you saw a G-rated movie?   Kenn Viselman, the creator of The Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure (due out “Oogust” 29th) believes in the The Power of Mom. So much so he and his team have been traveling around the country engaging bloggers in conversations about what constitutes quality G-rated entertainment. Other than a few wildlife documentaries and a re-release in a popular children’s movie in 3-D, Hollywood has completely ignored the youngest moviegoer. The best they give us for our kids – animated PG films – are loaded with aggression and bloodshed.

 

Moms: You have the power to change what Hollywood pushes on your children. In fact, there is no voice more powerful than yours. You control the home, the family budget and your child’s welfare. Aren’t you tired of watching moms die in the first ten minutes of so many animated movies? Aren’t you tired of seeing your children confused by the aggression towards their beloved movie characters? There’s no place for such violence in a children’s movie. Enough is enough.

 

It’s this “enough is enough” attitude that got Kenn Viselman, the marketing genius who introduced us to Teletubbies, Thomas the Tank Engine, Noddy and Eloise, mad as h*ll. The end result: The Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure, a film that reinvents the movie-going experience. This film – basically a movie and a live show rolled into one – is the first-of-its-kind interactive family musical that encourages the audience to get out of their seats, dance, and sing. Visual and auditory cues invite the audience to “move” the action along, allowing parents and kids to interact not only with the characters, but also with one another.

 

The story follows the Oogieloves – Goobie, Zoozie and Toofie – as they prepare for a surprise birthday party for their friend, Schluufy. When their guardian, J. Edgar, loses the last five magical balloons in all of Lovelyloveville, the Oogieloves take action. Along the way, they meet Rosalie Rosebud (Toni Braxton), Dottie Rounder (Cloris Leachman), Lola and Lero Sombrero (Jaime Pressly and Christopher Lloyd), Milky Marvin (Chazz Palminteri), and Bobby Wobbly (Cary Elwes). The movie opens in theaters “Oogust” 29th.

Does Eat Less Move More Really Help You Lose Weight?

The basic formula for gaining and losing weight is well known: a pound of fat equals 3,500 calories. When you consider that an hour of moderate exercise like walking only burns 350 calories you realize that one has to walk (run, swim, bike) a lot of miles to lose a pound.  As a busy mama, do you really have 10 hours a week to dedicate to losing weight? Do you want to?  Perhaps you should be working on your finances, growing a side business or spending quality time with your family.  Which is why this article from the NY Times caught my eye, “Debunking the Hunter-Gatherer Workout”

In this article, the author studies the Hadza tribe who live in East Africa, in hilly dry terrain.  The woman of the tribe gather, looking tubers, berries and other wild plant foods, while carrying heavy stuff like firewood, water and sometimes babies.  The men go out hunting for small game with arrows.

So does the Hadza tribe, who do not show signs of obesity and move way more than the average sedentary American, expend much more energy?  Is that why they’re ‘skinny’ and we’re (for the most part) not?  Many experts would have you believe that it’s the change in our acitvity levels in the past 100 years or so that accounts for America’s expanding waistline.

But wait – get this. As it turns out the Hadza tribe members didn’t burn that many more calories than the average American desk jockey, even though they are much more active. So in other words they don’t burn thousands of calories a day doing what they need to do to get their jobs done.  So why are they skinnier?

Well the author, who helped head up this study speculates it’s not their exercise level…It’s their diet.  Yup, the fact that the tribe eats moderate portions of animal protein,  fruits, honey and vegetables – no cultivated grains or processed sugar makes them skinnier.

So what can we get from this…Guess what – you don’t need to exercise constantly to lose weight.  You have to change the way you eat – you can’t go on a diet…you have to stop eating like an American and start eating like a hunter-gatherer — lots of veggies and some protein.  Grans for the most part are absent, as is sugar in all its forms (except fruit).

Sure perhaps getting up at 5 am in the morning to do a p90x workout sounds like fun to you, but I could really do something amazing with an extra 6 hours a week.

In truth, it seems that we need to get serious – we’re not getting fat because we don’t do aerobics.  We’re getting fat because we eat too much junk.  And it takes a whole lot of exercise to overcome the bad effects of a box of cookies or a bag of chips…So ask yourself – what you rather do – eat better…or exercise a lot…

I’d rather eat better.

 

How to Stay Organized As Kids Head Back to School

How Stay Organized as the Kids Head Back to School

Hey everyone – it’s back to school time – and some kids will be heading back in less than two weeks.  That’s why it’s so important to get your game on – so we asked, Megan Brown, Co-founder of HatchedIT.com an online scheduling app for parents to give us her top tips for staing organized this back to school season. Good luck!

As another summer draws to a close and we begin to prepare our kids for the start of a new school year there are several tips we can follow to help stay energized, organized and on track.

1. Turn off the TV
Television time is ok but it should be designated. It is too easy to get sucked in and waste hours in front of the tube. Create a schedule with your kids on when they can watch TV and how much they can watch at a given time.

2. Schedules
With sports, after school activities, homework, play dates and more scheduling can be one of the more stressful tasks during the school year. It is important to be on top of your scheduling by using calendars, online organizers, and reminders to help you keep track of your busy day.

3. Storage
Buy boxes and baskets to help store things around the house like toys and gadgets. Compartmentalizing is great for organization and de-cluttering! They are also the perfect way to help each child know where to put items specific to them like homework assignments, permission slips and after-school activity information. Kids are used to putting things into labeled bins at school – why not let them help you keep organized at home too!
4. Cleaning
“A place for everything and everything in its place” is a great motto to live by. Don’t let the cleaning work pile up; try and disperse chores through the week so that you aren’t overwhelmed.

5. Preparation
Start preparing anything and everything that you can ahead of time. Some examples? Prep your outfit for work before you go to bed, prep dinner meals on the weekend, pack the kids’ lunches the night before and keep them in the fridge. This way everything is ready when you need it to be and you can start the day feeling prepared rather than discombobulated or rushed.
6. To Do Lists
To gain perspective on what needs to be done now and what can be held off – lists are always a great tool. However, sticky notes scattered across the walls of your home are not the best method for list making. Make one list at the start of your day and use it as you get things done throughout the day.

7. Sleep
You may not realize it, but getting adequate rest and having a regular sleep schedule will help you to be more organized throughout your day. Both kids and parents should have a bedtime.
8. Communication
Coordinating is never going to work without communication. Talking it out is also important in any busy family.
9. Stop Buying Things
Seriously! Consider what you actually need versus what you want. Not only will you be saving money, but you will also have less to clean up.
10. Reward Yourselves Give credit where credit is due! If the kids are doing their chores and helping, don’t forget to reinforce their good behavior with compliments and rewards like going out for ice cream or renting a movie. And if the parents have had a great week, treat yourselves to a night out.

The most helpful hint of all- Don’t over stress the start of the school year. If the family supports and loves one another then being organized will happen naturally, especially if you remember to follow the tips!

About Megan Brown:

Megan Brown is the co-founder of HATCHEDit.com, the online organization and collaboration tool for families. She has over a decade’s worth of Wall Street experience spanning both sales trading and Asset Management Sales & Marketing.

A Howling Halloween History

Old Farmer's Almanac for KidsWho doesn’t love Halloween – it’s one of my favorite holidays – and sometimes I do get a little carried away with decorations.  Every year I re-read the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and remember the spooky tales my elementary school principal would tell us during a special assembly….so here are some fun facts to share with the kids about Halloween from The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids Volume 4available now from Amazon.com and other booksellers.

A Howling History of October 31

Centuries ago, this was a 2-day celebration that marked the end of harvesttime and the beginning of the new year.

 

  • At night, people put food outside on the doorstep for evil spirits who might otherwise play a trick on them. People wore costumes outdoors at night and made lots of noise to scare away evil spirits.
  • “Witch” originally meant “wise one.” People thought that witches told fortunes and flew out of chimneys on broomsticks.
  • Ancient Romans bobbled for apples, believing that the first person to catch an apple with his or her teeth would be the first to marry in the new year.
  • In ancient Ireland, people carved faces in turnips and potatoes and beets—not pumpkins.
  • “Trick or treating” dates from the Middle Ages, when rich people gave poor people “soul cakes” (baked goods) if they promised to pray for the giver’s dead family members.

Yummy Cookie Critters

YOU WILL NEED:

 

Black licorice, cut into 1-inch-long pieces

Chocolate sandwich cookies

Chocolate frosting

Miniature chocolate-coated candies

 

Take six to eight pieces of licorice (depending on the size of the cookies) and push them into the sides of each cookie. Dab a small amount of chocolate frosting on two miniature chocolate-coated candies and stick them on the cookie to look like eyes. MAKES 1 CRITTER PER COOKIE.

 

Be sure to check out The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids Volume 4 available at Amazon.com for more cool kid stuff.

How to Live on a Budget – Like a RichMama

How To Live On a Budget

For many families, finding out how to live on a budget is very similar to trying to find a weight-loss plan and sticking with it. Just like a diet makes you feel hungry all the time, a if you learn how to live on a a budget it can often cause a family feel poor, like they simply are not getting what they want. This is why many people struggle to find a budget and stick to it. The most important part of budgeting is all about approaching with the right state of mind. If, from the very start, your family views a budget as a punishment, there is no way you will be able to live well while trying to restrict what you spend. When learning how to live on a budget, it should be viewed as an essential, long-term tool so that your family can get what they want. In other words, it is important that every member of the family understands that how to live on a budget is all about achieving a specific goal. With this in mind, the right way to approach making a budget is not to think about what you are restricting in your finances, but about how you are going to plan them out. How to live on a budget is not about cutting spending, it is about planning out exactly how you will be spending your money.

How to Live on A Budget- No Ramen Needed

When planning  how to live on a budget, it is a good idea to take a look at different aspects of your life where you can afford to spend a bit less. However, it is easy to get lost in the details. There is no reason to force everyone in your household to start eating ramen for every meal or recycling soap slivers just yet.  The best way to learn how to live on a budget is to look at your biggest expenses and find ways to reduce these. Often, cutting just a tiny percentage of your utility bill or your auto insurance payments means significantly higher savings than anything else you may do – and this is a great thing to when you’re learning how to live on a budget.

This is not to say that you should not look for little ways to make your daily spending more efficient (those little changes can add up to big savings,) it simply means that you should look at your biggest expenses first. The best part about this approach of how to live on a budget is that the biggest spending cuts can be made without making your family feel poor or that they do not have the things they need.

 

How to Live on a Budget – Find the Splurge Spots

The best way to learn how to live on a budget is to find ways to occasionally splurge while not losing sight of your long-term, most important goals (such as college, retirement, or your mortgage.) Remember, the real answer to understand how to live on a budget is to view the budget as the key to achieving all of your family’s dreams and long-term goals. This requires flexibility and creativity when it comes to how you will spend your money. It also requires that absolutely everyone is on board with what you are doing. Of course, it pays to set up several shorter-term goals, so that your family can stay motivated by seeing what their budget is achieving. While budgeting is about sacrifice, remember that sacrifice is not simply giving up the things you want, but giving them up for something that you feel is more important.  You can live on a budget – and live well if you think creatively about your needs and wants.