One Happy Photo Gift Idea

Here’s a cute one-of-a-kind photo gift idea, from (It’s even a fun thing to give yourself.)

Simply click this link and upload the photo of your choice in jpeg format. Clinique will put the picture on a Clinique Happy™ frragrance bottle. Try it!

A Mother’s Job Description

Help Wanted: Mother
Classified ads for all you do

By Melissa Stanton

Here’s a sampling of the job postings that would be needed to cover all you do for the children—and significant other adult—in your household.

NANNY: Patient, loving woman who requires limited sleep and adult interaction needed to care for child(ren) up to 24/7/365. Other duties include all those listed following this ad, as well as many not described herewith.

HOUSEKEEPER: Responsibilities include cleaning and tidying a family home several times daily. Must be available nights, weekends and overtime, and be willing to clean and tidy the same areas over and over and over again.

CHAUFFEUR: Driver needed to transport child(ren) to all activities beyond the domicile, including but not limited to school, sports, medical appointments, therapies, entertainment venues. Applicant must be skilled in defensive driving tactics and able to operate a vehicle safely regardless of the behavior of her passengers. Having extra-long arms is useful in this position, but not essential.

CHEF: Passable cooking and meal preparation skills needed for short-order establishment serving three full meals and filling dozens of beverage and snack orders per day, for both sit-down and To Go diners. The chef is also responsible for procuring and restocking meal supplies, serving the meals, all dishwashing as well as the full cleaning of both the kitchen and multiple dining areas.

DOCTOR/NURSE: Health and first aid provider needed for pediatric and adult patients in a home-based environment. Responsibilities include making diagnosis, providing medical transportation, emergency care, administering treatments, medications and overall patient assistance, particularly as relates to bodily functions.

DENTAL HYGIENIST: Assistance needed in daily pediatric dental cleaning, teething-related pain management and occasional teeth-pulling.

TEACHER/COACH: Instructor wanted for child(ren) age newborn to adult for lessons related to academics, athletics and overall life skills. Position involves both one-on-one instruction and classes of mixed-age pupils.

PSYCHOLOGIST: Compassionate, wise and tolerant person needed to listen to the problems and concerns of young and aged household members.

WARDROBE MANAGER: Fashion- and bargain-savvy individual needed to acquire, alter, organize and maintain clothing and footwear for all members of a household, for all seasons.

DRESSER: Individual wanted to ensure that appropriate clothing is worn by all household members. Wrestling skills are useful, but can be developed.

Continue reading this article >

Memorial Mother’s Day – Honoring Your Mom Who Has Passed

If your mother has passed away, Mother’s Day can be a special time to honor her memory.

Here are a few ideas:

* Create a special spot in your yard or garden for your mother’s favorite flowers and plants. Your children can make garden stones to place in the flower garden. You might even want to place a small bench or chair in the garden so you can have someplace to sit when you miss your mom.

* Visit your mother’s grave or spend some time in the place that you go to remember your mom. Bring flowers and allow  yourself to spend time in reflection and  silent prayer.

* Call your father and your siblings. They’ll be missing mom today, too. Talk about your favorite memories of mom.

* What was your favorite thing to do with your mom? Today, enjoy a little bit of that with your family.

* Your mom has passed, but her legacy continues on in the family that she created. Spend time with the generations that wouldn’t have been possible without your mom – your kids as well as your nieces and nephews.

* Honor your mom by taking some time to honor other moms who may not have family coming to visit them on Mother’s Day. Call nursing homes in your area to see if you can arrange to come in and hold hands and listen to some senior women on this day – or  in the days and weeks following Mother’s Day.

Give a flower to each of the ladies at the nursing home. Anna M. Jarvis gave out white carnations at the first Mother’s Day celebration in 1908, so this would be a particularly symbolic choice.

* Send a donation to your mom’s favorite charity. Was there a particular cause or charity close to your mother’s heart? Make a donation in your mother’s memory.

* Send a donation to a single mom’s shelter in honor of your mom.

* Send a donation to a charity that helps children in need. A couple of ideas: or The International Rescue Committee at has a campaign called “from harm to home” that allows you to give money to refugee moms who have been separated from their children:

You might also like:
Mother’s Day Traditions
10 Memorable Ways to Celebrate Mom this Mother’s Day

Planting Seeds

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
-Robert Louis Stevenson

When our tee-ball team gets tired, they lose all focus. Some of them can’t muster the energy to stand so they sit smack down on the base. Some of them droop their torsos and let their arms hang long like butter noodles. Some get wild with laughter and have snorting contests. Some cry.

When you think about it, these tiny humans have been in preschool or kindergarten all day and by 6 or 7 in the evening, most of them just want their Capri Sun and cupcake from the Snack Mom and to curl up in the backseat with a blankie.

It was the last inning of the second game in my son’s first t-ball season. The sun was low enough that it made colors look surreal, and it cast a long shadow as one 5-year-old, whom I’ll never forget, loped up to the tee. He had spent the previous inning filling his baseball hat with dirt from center field and, at some point, he had begun to cry, so the red soil in his hat and hair now streaked down his face in pinkish streams.

I didn’t know this particular boy and I don’t recall him making contact with the ball on his previous batting attempts. Judging by his tears, he would have preferred to be somewhere else, but his dad was the coach, so there he was. He scanned the crowd and looked down again when he caught my eye. Something about the look on his wee little boy face made we want to go over and give him a cuddle and let him watch the game with me from the other side of the fence until it was all over.

His dad held out the batting helmet, which he slid on. It knocked his glasses crooked and didn’t quite fit right so it perched on top, and, with his small frame, he looked remarkably like a bobblehead.

He pushed the helmet down as far as could and took the bat from his dad, who was kneeling to give him some last minute instructions. The boy’s attention was focused exclusively on home plate, as he tried to cover it with dirt by kicking with his tiny cleats. That’s when a spectator from our team yelled out, “Heads up, team! This kid’s a real whacker!”

The little boy jerked up his head to find the source of the voice. It was a stranger. A stranger who expected that he would hit this ball hard. A stranger who expected that he would astonish everyone with his mighty swing. A stranger who thought him to be a genuine, bona fide athlete.

This was not a boy who had likely thought of himself in such a way before, and you could see it happen, even from behind: A shift took place. Where once he didn’t believe he could hit the ball, he now all of a sudden did.

Now I wish I could say that he swung that bat and slugged the ball right out of the park. (He didn’t). But he did stand a little taller and suddenly and maybe for the first time, thought of himself as a true ballwhacker indeed.
That man planted a seed in his mind. And the cool thing is that we have no way of knowing where that seed eventually ended up. All of a sudden, this awkward little kid starts to think of himself as a guy whom the crowd is watching; a guy whom the players on the other team had better be wary of.

Sometimes I think that’s the most important part of parenting: just planting seeds. You are smart. You are calm. You are peaceful. You are a beautiful. You are a risktaker. You can do this. You sure have a gift for music. My, my, what a whacker you are.

The seeds you plant have to be sincere – otherwise it’s manipulation, and the kids can tell and it’s no good. Also, you have to assume that many of the seeds will get washed down the gutter with the next rainstorm. Still, it takes so much of the pressure off to think only about scattering them and not about where they might someday end up.

Life is so messy, after all. There are all kinds of big and wonderful, bright and shiny moments where I am really at my best, but there are also a lot of moments raising kids that maybe I didn’t exactly make a good, conscious decision. I just went along. When I have so much to do, and it all gets overwhelming, I can think of it as just planting a few seeds, which comes naturally to me when my head’s on right, and I can do it right from where I am. If I plant enough, some of them, somewhere, are bound to stick. It is this thought alone that gets me through, some days.

Read more from this author by visiting her blog >

The Sound of Music (where you least expect it)

I saw this video this morning on Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project blog, which is one of my favorites. The video takes place in the Central Station of Antwerp, and it started my day with a smile:

Or watch the video on YouTube here >