Write for Momscape: We are now accepting article submissions and guest posts

Want to write for Momscape?

Momscape is now accepting original guest posts and article submissions.

As you know, the goal of this site is to share the best tips and ideas to help parents live a life that is easier, better, and more balanced.

If you have information, ideas, insights, tips, recipes – or anything that you think might make a mom’s life better, we’d love to hear from you. Keep in mind that, in addition to parenting tips,  we have special sections for  inspirational essays, family fun, romance, travel, health & fitness, and weight loss. We publish scrapbooking and crafting articles and project ideas. We also publish articles on entrepreneurship and home business ideas.

How to submit your original articles to Momscape

Please know that we are sent numerous submissions for review and we publish only a (very) small percentage.

Because of the volume of submissions, we are unable to provide detailed critique or comments on individual submissions.  Sorry.

Writer’s Guidelines

Here are the basic requirements:

* The article you submit may not be published on any other sites, including your own website. All content submitted must be 100% original.

* By submitting the article to Momscape, you are granting Momscape the right to publish the article – on either the Momscape blog or the main Momscape site (at our discretion.) You are also agreeing to not submit the article elsewhere. You retain all copyrights and your name will accompany the article. Additionally, you will be permitted to submit a short bio with a link to your website in your “About the Author” paragraph, immediately following your article.

* No affiliate links or advertising is permitted in the body of the article. Any articles that contain advertising, self-promotion or affiliate links will not be accepted for publication. If you would like to submit a product for review, email  editor@momscape.com with the subject line: Momscape Product Submission. Please note that we do not accept article submissions that are product reviews because it’s too difficult to ascertain neutrality. We like to have personal experience with products before writing and publishing reviews.

* Momscape reserves the right to edit your submission for grammar, punctuation and sentence structure. We also reserve the right to place links in the body of the article.

* An article will be more likely to be published if it is well-written (obviously),  more than 450 words featuring comprehensive information in an easy-to-read format. (We especially like the use of bulleted lists).

* If you are making any kind of medical claims, you need to link to an authoritative site or study that backs up your data.

* Please send a photo of yourself and a short bio (which may include a single link to your website) for your “about the author” box, which will immediately follow your article.

* Pretty please do not email us for status reports on your article. Our kids think we spend too much time in front of the computer as it is.

We promise to let you know as soon as we possibly can whether we will be using your article, so you can place it elsewhere if necessary.

Please send article submissions, accompanied by photos and short bio box to: editor@momscape.com with the subject line: Momscape Article Submission

Low-Calorie Summer Cocktails

While there’s no such thing as a truly “diet cocktail,” there are a few treats you can indulge in without a slew of unnecessary calories.
Here are three refreshing summer cocktail recipes that are lower in calorie content than some of the other cocktail alternatives.

Summertime Sangria Sparkler

* 750-milliliters dry red wine
* 1 cup light orange juice
* 1/4 cup brandy or cognac
* 1/4 cup orange liqueur
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* 2 medium oranges, sliced
* 2 cups club soda, chilled
* Crushed ice
* Curls of orange peel

Combine wine, orange juice, brandy, orange liqueur, sugar, and orange slices in a large pitcher. Chill at least 2 hours. Just before serving, add club soda. Serve over crushed ice and garnish with orange peel curls.


Mojito

Mojitos are refreshing cocktails made with light rum. These cocktails are very light to the taste and relatively low in calories.

* ¾ oz lime juice
* Fresh mint leaves
* 1 ½ oz light rum
* 2 oz club soda
* Ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in a glass and stir until completely mixed. Enjoy!


Blueberry-Lime Margarita

This frozen deliciousness only contains 125 calories per serving.

* 2 cups ice
* 1 cup frozen blueberries
* 1 cup blueberry nectar
* 1/4 cup seltzer
* 2 tablespoons frozen limeade
* 1 tablespoon lime juice
* 3 ounces tequila, optional
* 1 lime wedge
* Coarse salt

Combine ice, blueberries, blueberry nectar, seltzer, limeade, lime juice and tequila in a blender and blend until smooth. Rub rim of 2 glasses with lime wedge and dip in salt. Divide the margarita between the prepared glasses and serve.

Healthy Treats – Stay Cool with These Healthy Summer Treats Recipes

When you want a cool, tasty treat on a sizzling summer day, you may be tempted to reach for the ice cream.

And sometimes you should.

But for those other times, here are some healthy summer treat recipes and ideas that you and your kids will love.

Freeze some fruit
* Grapes, blueberries and strawberries make fantastic snacks fresh from the freezer. This is a trick that many dieters say helps to curb their cravings. It’s also nice to have a stash of frozen fruits because, when you make smoothies from frozen fruit, you get a super frosty treat.
* Chunked up watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, and pineapple are also very good frozen. And also good in smoothies.
* Sliced peaches, nectarines, and kiwis can be frozen on wax paper-covered trays. Once they are frozen, pull the slices off the trays and pop them in Ziploc bags.

Puree some Fruit
* Freeze fruit puree or straight-up fruit juice into ice cube trays. When you’re ready for a fizzy drink, place several fruit cubes in a glass and add plain soda water.

Make Frozen Yogurt Sandwiches
Frozen yogurt is lower in fat than ice cream.  Soften some of your favorite flavor of frozen yogurt, then dollop some between two whole-grain graham crackers. Freeze for a few hours or overnight and enjoy. (The longer they’re frozen, the softer the crackers will get.)

Make an Icy Granite
Mix together 1 cup of water and 1/4 cup evaporated cane juice for 5 minutes. While it’s cooling, puree 2 cups of frozen strawberries. When the syrup is cool, add the pureed berries. Stir and pour into a metal cake pan. Freeze. Scrape or “fluff” the granite every so often with a fork as it freezes. These Icy Granites are good in a variety of flavors – from lemon to coffee to chocolate.

Make Popsicles

Get some good Popsicle molds and make some healthy Popsicles. (Cooking.com has some nice Popsicle molds, and they always have good coupon codes, so check for Cooking.com coupons here before you purchase.) Homemade popsicles can be as simple as frozen juice or frozen fruit purees. If you love creamsicles, try pureeing fruit, yogurt, vanilla, and honey and spoon the mixture into your popsicle molds.

Here are few more recipes for healthy summer treats:

Low-Fat Blueberry Popsicles

4 cups fresh blueberries (or other berries)
1/3 cup fine sugar
1 cup low-fat plain yogurt
Place blueberries in a bowl and crush with a potato masher. Add the sugar and combine well. Stir in the yogurt and mix until well combined. Pour mixture into 8 Popsicle molds and put into the freezer.

Yogurt Popsicle Treat
2 ½ cups plain low-fat yogurt
2 small bananas
2/3 cup frozen orange juice concentrate (undiluted)
Combine yogurt, bananas and orange juice in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour mixture into Popsicle containers and put in freezer.

Mango and Raspberry Frozen Smoothie
½ cup non-fat vanilla yogurt
½ cup fresh mango, cut into cubes
½ cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
Mint leaves
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour into a glass and garnish with mint leaves.

And to top it all off, here’s one recipe that is not at all healthy!

Cherry Pineapple Frozen Treats

1 – 21 ounce can cherry pie filling
1 – 20 ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 – 8 ounce whipped topping, thawed

Combine all ingredients and pour into a 9 X 13″ pan. Cover and freeze. When you’re ready to serve, combine into one large bowl or cut into squares and serve. Keep cool by refrigerating. Serves 12.

You might also enjoy these other Momscape Recipes

Diet Smoothie Recipes
Five good-for-you, delicious smoothie recipes. Includes Power Breakfast Smoothie, A Touch of Citrus Smoothie, Superhealthy Cranberry Smoothie, and Sweet and Tangy Banana Smoothie.

Healthy Smoothie Recipes
More good for you treats that are high in fiber and antioxidants. Kid friendly, too!

Old Fashioned Children’s Games – Today’s Product Pick

Old Fashioned Children’s Games – Over 200 Outdoors, Car Trip, Song, Card & Party Activities
Where to buy: Better World Books
Old Fashioned Children's Games

Remember “Farmer in the Dell”, “Kick the Can,” and “King of the Mountain”?

How about “Run Sheep Run” or “Slap Jack and Old Maid”?

If you long to go back to a simpler time with your kids – even for just an hour or two a week – brush up on your knowledge/memory of those so-called “old fashioned games.” These games are great for birthday parties – or just a Tuesday afternoon in the summertime when your kids are saying they’re bored. The games are cheap to play and don’t take a whole lot of equipment or even organization.

The book Old Fashioned Children’s Games is a book every modern family should own. In its pages, you’ll discover more than 200 games, songs and card games from “the olden days” that were popular then and will likely be every bit as popular with your little ones.

This book is a wonderful collection of good old-fashioned outside games, card games, singing games, campfire songs/games and party games everybody – old and young – can enjoy.

Here’s the Product Description direct from BetterWorldBooks.com
“Whatever happened to the old-fashioned children’s games and songs? Old favorites like Kick the Can, Fox and Geese, and Red Rover encouraged camaraderie, physical activity, coordination and social interaction-as electronic and computer games never can. Family and campfire singalongs helped preserve the folksong and storytelling tradition while instilling in children a sense of community and a confidence in their musical capability. Writer and poet Sharon O’Bryan has gathered a collection of the old games and songs. She brings the old days back to life with instructions for outdoor games like King of the Mountain; car games like Graveyard; card games including Old Maid; and favorite party games such as Blind Man’s Bluff. Lyrics and music to singing games and campfire songs are added to this collection to offer old style amusement for every child and occasion.”

Buy it today from BetterWorldBooks.com>

Momscape loves Better World Books. It’s the socially conscious consumer’s bookstore. Not only will you get a fair price on the books you want, you’ll fund literacy and care for the environment at the same time. BetterWorldBooks.com offers some of the lowest shipping rates on the Web: free shipping in the United States, and $3.97 shipping worldwide.

Handmade Paper – How to Make Your Own Homemade Paper From Recycled Paper

Handmade paper has such a beautiful feel to it. You can use it for papercrafts, cards, and more. But did you know that you can make your own homemade using the paper in your recycling bin?

Any paper that doesn’t have a shiny coating will work. In fact, newspaper works the best, so raid that paper recycling bin and let’s get started!

You’ll need:

- Recyclable paper

- Small Screens. Any flat screening will work, so you can use an old window screen or simply nylon hosiery stretched over a frame. You’ll probably want two screens, so you can work in batches.

-  A pan or tub, which your screen will need to fit into. (A rubber dish tub is ideal.)

- Water

- Blender

-White Glue

-Towels

-Iron

How to Make Your Handmade Paper

1. Tear the paper into strips. (You’ll want to tear the strips – instead of cutting – because you want to expose more surface area.

2. Place the paper strips into your rubber tub. You’ll want it about 2/3 full of strips.

3. Pour water over the strips until they are just submerged.

4. Stir the water-paper mixture with your hands.

5. Soak the paper strips. If you used cold water, you’ll need to soak for several hours. If you used hot water, they’ll be ready for step 6 in about 30 minutes. Different water temperatures and soaking times will achieve different results.

6. When the paper is soft and pulpy, mix it thoroughly with your hands again.

7. Blend the pulp and water mixture in a blender. Do it in batches if necessary, but do not put the blended pulp back into the tub.

8. When all the paper pulp is blended, pour a few inches of water into the dish tub. Stir in a tablespoon of white glue.

9. Set the screen down into the water in the tub.

10. Pour about 1 cup of the blended pulp onto the submerged screen. Using your hands, spread it thoroughly over the screen, making sure to incorporate the water and glue.

11. Lift the screen from the water, and set it where it can drain well.

12. Invert the screen onto a towel. Lift the screen off; there should be damp pulp sitting on the towel.

13. Lay another towel over the pulp.

14. Once the pulp is between the two towels, run a hot clothes iron over the top towel to steam out the moisture and smooth the paper.

15. Leave your pulp to dry for about 24 hours.

16. Cut into sheets and cards.

Enjoy your new handmade paper!

Negative People – 7 Ways to Cope

7 Effective Strategies for Dealing with Negative People

This is a guest post by Lori Radun.

Have you ever been around a chronically negative person? How does he or she affect your mood in that moment? More than likely you will feel drained of energy or you’ll find yourself carrying around your own negative energy. Negative people make us feel angry and challenge our ability to stay positive. Whether your child or spouse has an occasional negative day or you deal with a family member, friend or co-worker that is chronically negative, there are things you can do to remain positive in the face of negativity.

Opposition is Rarely the Answer
The worst thing you can do is argue with a negative person. This only adds fuel to the fire. A negative person will use the opportunity to argue to reinforce his mood or attitude. I have noticed when my children are in an irritable mood, it is best to avoid trying to convince them to have a positive attitude. As soon as I take the approach of being in opposition with them, they pounce on the opportunity to prove me wrong. Their negativity escalates and the situation gets worse before it gets better. Know when to remain silent and let the negativity pass.

Smother Negative People with Love
Strange as it may seem, a negative person often needs love and attention. Unfortunately, it is not easy to love a negative person. It is our challenge to rise above the off-putting behavior and love the hurt and scared person that is deep inside. By truly listening to what she is trying to tell you, you are showing love. Acknowledge the feelings she has by saying something like, “It sounds like your daughter really makes you angry”. Even if you don’t quite understand the person’s feelings, know that your reality is rarely the same as someone else’s. Ask if there is any way you can help. This shows you care about her well being. Offer a hug even if you get rejected. Remember not to take a rejection of your love personally. A negative person often has difficulty receiving love from others.

There is Always Something Good
There is always something good to be found in any negative situation. Search for anything positive that you can draw attention to. Even a negative person has positive character traits. When a person is drowning in negativity, it can be difficult to see the light. Whenever my clients begin highlighting their shortcomings, I always remind them of all the positive things they are forgetting. I admit that sometimes a negative person doesn’t want to see the positive. This might require her to shift her perspective. Negativity can become a person’s best friend and no one wants to willingly give up their best friend. Be patient and gently remind your ill-tempered friend or family member to be grateful for all her blessings. Hopefully, in her down time, she will begin to reflect on what you have said.

Turn Generalizations Into Specifics
If you pay close attention, you’ll notice negative people often speak in generalizations. You may hear them say things like: “Lawyers are shady.” “It’s stupid to be an entrepreneur.” “My kids are driving me crazy.” These kinds of statements are referred to as cognitive distortions. To help a person sort through her distorted thinking, ask for more specifics. Questions like “Which lawyers are shady?” or “What specifically are your kids doing that is making you feel crazy?” forces a person to evaluate what he or she is really trying to say. A negative person will either get to the bottom of the issue or drop the subject because they are being challenged to elaborate.

Practice Detached Involvement
Sometimes the best thing you can do is emotionally detach from trying to change the negative person. No one likes it when someone is trying to change them, and their tendency will be to fight harder to remain negative. You can even try a little reverse psychology and agree with everything she says. I once read a great article about a mother who was exasperated with her son’s negative mood. Everything she tried to soothe him and make him feel better backfired. She finally gave up and started agreeing with everything he said. When her son told her his teacher hated him, she agreed with him. When he complained that playing with his friends was boring, she couldn’t agree more. After several minutes of this conversation with her son, his mood suddenly shifted. He declared that he was sleepy and he went to bed happy.

Remove Negative People or Seek Professional Help
Chronically negative people can critically affect your physical and emotional well being. Sometimes you have no other choice but to avoid these people or completely remove them from your life. It is possible to find a new job if your boss or other co-workers are negative. You can replace a friendship that is bringing you down. Other people, such as children and spouses, may require professional intervention if their negativity is affecting your life. By setting very strong boundaries with chronically negative people, you protect yourself and send a message to them that you care enough about yourself to avoid negativity.

Maintain Your Own Positive Attitude
If you do nothing else but focus on managing your own negative thoughts and behavior, you will come a long way towards remaining positive. A negative attitude is like a bad virus, but a positive attitude is contagious as well. Surround yourself with positive people that encourage you to be your best self. Use positive affirmations to conquer your own negative self-talk. Keep a gratitude journal to remind yourself of all your blessings. Take the time everyday to stop and smell the roses, watch children laugh and play, and listen to the birds chirp in the morning. Read inspirational material and listen to joyful music. Connect with your spiritual self. Do whatever you have to do to remain positive and joyful despite the negativity you face. The world will be a better place because of you and your attitude. And you never know, you just might help a negative person make the transition to a better way of living.

© Lori Radun
All rights reserved.

Lori Radun, CEC is a certified life coach and professional speaker specializing in helping moms be effective leaders of their home and work lives. For more FREE personal development tips and the FREE special report “52 Positive Affirmations for Moms”, visit her website at www.momnificent.com.

Beautiful New Birth Announcements from Minted

I’ve posted about my love for minted.com before. I love the premise. First, Minted holds bi-monthly “design challenges.” The winning designs are then sold through the minted.com website in a format that you can customize with your own text and photos.

Some of the new birth announcements available are out of this world. Here are a few of my favorites, which I love precisely because the focus is on your baby’s full frame photo.

Urban Baby Birth Announcements


Urban Baby Birth Announcements

An innovative layout makes this the perfect birth announcement for a full-frame photo. Playful typography and text placement.

simply stripes Birth Announcements


simply stripes Birth Announcements

Your newborn’s photo and name are prominently displayed in this effortlessly modern birth announcement.

Hello Baby Birth Announcements

Hello Baby Birth Announcements

A simple and heartfelt welcome greets recipients of this modern birth announcement. The simple typography will perfectly complement your full-frame photo.

Momscape publishes Minted.com coupon codes and specials here >

The Flip SlideHD Camcorder

SlideHD Camcorder - Free Shipping


The Flip SlideHD Camcorder

This is the first shoot and show camcorder that will capture your memories in 720p High Definition video. And built-in Flipshare software gives you everything you need to shoot and share dazzling videos.

FlipShare 5.0 Software Features:

o Available now at www.theflip.com/support (at no cost)

o Pre-loaded software to organize, edit, and share videos

o Works on a PC or Mac

o Email videos and video greeting cards

o Upload videos instantly to Facebook™, YouTube™ and MySpace™

o Create Flip Channels to share content privately with groups of friends or family

o Share instantly to mobile phones using the FlipShare Mobile app

o Share instantly to any TV using FlipShare TV

o Capture HD snapshots from videos

o Watch videos on-the-go at FlipShare.com

o Create movies or use Magic Movie to create custom movies in moments

Here is a coupon code you can use for the flip. (Click the link below and use coupon code: FLIP10 at checkout, but hurry, ends 7/31).

$10 Off Coupon from Flip Video, EXTENDED! Exp 7/31 Use Coupon Code:FLIP10 at checkout

Woodland Fairy Birthday Party Package for 10

One of my favorite things to do is put my feet up and browse the genius of people far more creative and talented than myself. And I just stumbled on this Fairy Nana Land shop on etsy, where I love every little thing.

If my little pixies could still fit into a girls size 6, I don’t think I’d be able to resist this Woodland Fairy Party Package for 10.

What an enchanting, memorable, magical (and easy) birthday party this would be for your little imp . You’ll get 10 woodland fairy costumes and accessories. Included in the package (and available in sizes from 2T to 6) is 10 tulle tutus bedecked with flowers and ferns and leaves, 10 ruffle sleeved leotards with leaves on and flowers on the neckline, 10 fairy wands, 10 fairy crowns and 10 fairy wings – with glitter and ribbons. And there are various add-ons, too, like fairy favor buckets and boas and glittery sunglasses. I can think of lots of little girls who would think this to be one heavenly birthday party.

If the price for this 10-pack package falls outside your fairy birthday party budget, you can also purchase costumes a la carte for your favorite little fairy – like this little number:


O be still my heart!

How to Boom Boom

Boom Boom Cards

These cards help you to go beyond random acts of kindness – to create intentional acts of kindness.

This is a set of 26 cards, each featuring a creative idea for intentional acts of kindness. You’ll find yourself  writing a letter to someone who inspired you, picking up the trash on your street, giving genuine compliments, and more.

And then use the cards to create a chain reaction of covert kindness…

How to Boom Boom!

1) Do the revolutionary act of kindness on the card.

2) Go to boomboomrevolution.com and tell your story and upload pictures and video.

3) Pass the card on to anyone (a friend, a stranger, your mom).

4) Follow your card on the website’s map as it moves across the globe!

Boom Boom Cards were created by Mary Beth Campbell and Helene Scott to incite an “uprising of guerilla goodness.” Click here to read more of the story of Boom Boom.

Set comes with calling card note pad, mini pencil and canvas carrying case.

Boom Boom cards are offered by Uncommon Goods. While this online store rarely offers coupon codes, we publish promotions and discounts from Uncommon Goods whenever available on the momscape site here.