May 14 2012

“LISTENING is one of the greatest gifts we can give to each other.”

       —Julie Maloney, Founder/Director, Women Reading Aloud
How much there is, we know nothing about. Everyday, there is something new to learn.
We walk on a path throughout our lives, but until we come to new people that cross our trajectory, we are limited in what we know and can learn.
Daily, though, things happen, new contacts appear and we meet new influences which cause us to rebound in unexpected ways. Like a cue ball launched on a pool table, we travel one direction then sharply turn in another, influenced by forces we were not expecting when we met somebody new.

Knowing Zoe Artemis led me to meeting Julie Maloney. Getting
to know Julie led me to the Amherst Writers and Artists, with
their founder, Pat Schneider and her philosophy of authorship.

I betcha’ Julie Maloney never saw herself as leading writing retreats to Greece. But, one day she met Zoe Artemis and both their lives changed forever. Zoe was leading the tours and had been for many years when she got sick. During the summer of 2011, Zoe knew she would not be strong enough to make the trip and encouraged Julie to lead the group without her. In the photo above, we see Julie on the Island of Alonnisos in the Aegean Sea, feeling on top of the world.
Julie founded and directs the writing organization, Women Reading Aloud. WRA is dedicated to encouraging each writer to find her voice and, following the Amherst Writers and Artists Method, believes each person is a writer who deserves encouragement.  WRA is a non – profit organization devoted to the promotion of women writers. Julie’s goals for WRA include the development of a radio talk show highlighting non-celebrity women writers from all walks of life. Writers will read excerpts of their writing on air and have a conversation about their work.

Julie is a dancer, choreographer, writer,
author, poet, designer and photographer.

 

From her biography on Amazon.com: “Julie Maloney, the third of four daughters, was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey. She has worked in the arts as a performer and educator her entire life. She holds a B.A. in English from New Jersey City University and an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Julie performed professionally for several modern dance companies in New York City and was the artistic director, choreographer and principal dancer of the JULIE MALONEY DANCE COMPANY for thirteen years. The University of North Carolina has honored Julie with a Distinguished Alumna Award. Julie is a writer, photographer and teacher. She is the founder and creative designer for MANGO – a company that offers inspirational note cards, writing journals and books. In 2003, Julie founded WOMEN READING ALOUD, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting women writers through special events and workshops. She is a trained workshop leader in the Amherst Writers and Artists Method and leads writing workshops throughout the year.”

Julie has a lovely selection of stationery and
journals sold on-line through Mango Press.

 

In addition to WRA and distributing products through Mango Press, Julie is fully engaged in the writing life. She has written a new novel, titled The Lender, after traveling to Germany to do extensive research.

Private Landscape

 “Julie Maloney’s poems in her collection Private Landscape move with the exquisite grace of her abilities as a dancer and choreographer. Dream narratives sing in delicate imagery. Pain of cancer is here, honestly revealed and transcended; love is here, in its greatest giving. There is not a trace of easy sentimentality. This is a collection to remember, at once personal and universal.”           –Charlotte Mandel

Poet, Sight Lines; Editor, Saturday Press
Poet/Lecturer, Barnard College Center for Research and Women
   
NaBloPoMo May 2012


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May 12 2012

Zoe Artemis was of Greek heritage. She had family still in Greece.

When I last spoke with her, she was excited, to the point of being effervescent, about her tours to Greece. She took groups over in the summer, introducing them to places and people that only someone with connections would have.

She had the most compelling web site on her travels and tours. The photos were nothing short of “yummy.” One look and I was ready to get a passport and meet her over there.

Although, I couldn’t go in the years after I spoke with her, I always, in the back of my mind, intended to go at a future time. Someday, somehow….

And so, you’ll remember, when I was gathering my resources for my BlogHer dancing posts, I decided that introducing BlogHers to Zoe would be a perfect tie in to advertise her trips and show BlogHers a new vista.

Zoe in Greece by the water.

But, getting in touch with Zoe again was not meant to be. Zoe died of pancreatic cancer last July, in 2011. I did not know until I went to access her web site and saw saw that it was now a site of Remembrance. As I adapted my shock of Zoe being gone, I decided to reach out to one of the Commenter who had written in her Memories of Zoe Guest Book.

There was an entry by Julie Maloney, “Zoe contacted me this year to work with her in leading a writer’s retreat on the magical island of ALONNISOS in GREECE. We spoke countless times over the phone and this is the way we bonded. When she told me she was ill and would not be able to travel to Greece, I was deeply saddened and I knew I had to meet her in person.

I traveled to Astoria to greet someone whose body was failing but whose spirit was beyond description. Her love for life was apparent. We spoke about the upcoming retreat and I promised to see her as soon as I returned. I visited her 2 days after I landed. Once again, we embraced with such warmth, I knew she owned a piece of my heart. When I left, I said, “You gave me a great gift.”

I am grateful to this amazing woman for showing me the “light” of Alonnisos – for inviting me into her “vision” of how it could be if writers came together on this island. I look forward to honoring her legacy. Zoe, I love you.” –Julie Maloney, Director of WOMEN READING ALOUD

The small island of Alonnisos is a gem of untouched beauty.

Julie Maloney is a bundle of talent. After a career in dance, she is now a writer, author and Director of Women Reading Aloud, or WRA, a writer’s cooperative in New Jersey. Julie is currently arranging the tours to Alonnisos that Zoe inspired.

“WRA is an organization dedicated to the power of the writer’s voice. WRA believes in providing space for artistic growth. Founded in New Jersey in 2003, it offers writing workshops modeled after the Amherst Writers and Artists Method, the Author Series and Work-in-Progress Series, Writing and Yoga Program, conferences and retreats where women writers can explore their “authentic” voices. Founded on the 3-in-1 principle, WOMEN READING ALOUD focuses on the equal value of the writer, the reader, and the listener. All genres are welcome. WRA encourages writers to cherish their own voices, as well as the voices of others, as they travel the writer’s journey.”

From the Women Reading Aloud web site:  “Julie Maloney, Director of WRA, will return to the island of Alonnisos to lead a ten day writing retreat. Open to women writers of all levels, writing in all genres, this retreat offers a perfect balance of community and solitude. Stay in the family owned NINNA PENSION, just up the hill from the port. (Visit: www.ninna.gr.) Enjoy the friendly service of Ninna and her family, as well as the hospitality of Edem, the multi-tiered taverna down the road where we will write each morning by the sea, surrounded by the island’s flora. Limited to 12 writers

When I contacted Julie Maloney a few weeks ago, this year’s Writer’s Retreat to Greece was filled. I just heard from Julie, there is now an opening, if anyone is interested, click here. The tour is limited to twelve participants.

Tomorrow: Meet Julie Maloney

To visit with Women Reading Aloud, click here.

To explore Zoe’s Facebook page, click here.

   

NaBloPoMo May 2012



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Feb 01 2012

Testudo, the University of Maryland Diamondback Terrapin
mascot, says Portlandia is alive and well in College Park.

Today I went over to the University of Maryland and found an annex to Portland, Oregon, reminiscent of the new comedy show, Portlandia. Like Sue in the video from the Sunbonnet Smart post on Surprise Birthday Parties, I was SO EXCITED! Looking around at class change when students are rushing to get from their last class to their next class, I saw pretty girls in big black glasses, flannel shirts that still look fly, clowns and the Dream of the 90s being alive and well in College Park. Chalk one up for the East Coast!

Probably because of the 50° weather, right on the mall in front of the Administration Building I was able to see many free spirits. I saw men wearing athletic shorts made of the Maryland State flag and throwing frisbees. Up near McKeldin Library, I witnessed students setting up waist high tightropes between trees, getting on them while kneeling to balance, then raising up to a standing position to walk back and forth between the tress. H-m-m-m, don’t see THAT everyday. It was my own little slice of innovative youth and zest for living.

On a spring day in February, University of Maryland, College
Park, tightrope walkers appear to hover above the ground.

Things were going pretty well as we went to the Student Union Co-op to get healthy organic food and deepen our Portlandia visuals. Tattoos, piercings, wild leggings, torn clothing and dreadlocks greeted us as we got close to the Co-op. It was a wonderful feast of individuality, except that in being individual in the same way, most of the students looked pretty much the same. I am still working on analyzing this paradoxical quandary.

So, there we were in the Co-op waiting for handmade Indian Samosas, carrying them to the cashier and checking out, when I saw it: a box of free handouts on the counter

Free handouts! I LOVE free information and in flipping through these handouts I was seeing fliers for musical groups, massage therapy and…WAIT A MINUTE!…What is THIS!?!?!? A green and red postcard with the words ROLLER DERBY on it!?!?!?

A postcard from check out tells the RollerGirls Tale.

So unusual! And then I notice the “Fra-gi-le” Lamp from the movie A Christmas Story with a roller skate on it. And look, the words “Flat Track.” Oh no! For Heaven’s sake! This looks like that Roller Derby stuff that BlogHer blogger Laine is always writing about.

My eyes widened as I took in the card, right there on the front was a snappy logo saying “RollerGirls” with the Washington family coat of arms flippantly placed on her cheek.  In fact, cheeky is how she looks and how she gives us the “come-on” to meet her at the flat track referred to in the scehdule of derby events. One thing for sure, Roller Derby must be taking over the country.

BlogHer Blogger ElaineR.N. has a daughter on a team and when we looked at her video clip, there was her daughter skating and one of the teams was from Baltimore.  So, if Washington, DC has teams and Baltimore has teams…this thing is up and coming, and probably has been, as Laine says since the early 2000s. I’m just crawling out from under my rock to find out about it.

Ralphie is the boy who says, “All I want is an Official Red
Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!”

Well, everybody these days is organized and roller derby has it’s own association, the WFTDA, Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. And, flat track, that’s the amazing difference for me. I can’t imagine roller derby on anything but a track with banked curved sides. I watched roller derby every Saturday with the best of ’em when I was a kid, but it was always on a banked track.

But, BlogHer’s Laine Griffin explains that bank tracks are expense and with a flat track, groups can set up in warehouses, place some marking tape on the floor and have a session without the expense of and travel to a banked track.  So, make a mental note: banked tracks out and flat tracks in!

Truthfully, I know my derby days are over, but that is not going to prevent me from traveling to New York at some point to see Crazy Eyeris, our own Laine Griffin skate. Or, from going to see the RollerGirls in this area to get a feel for the game the way it is now. I really want to see how the sport has progressed.

And, besides, I need to see how to behave when I go north to see Laine. Don’t want to embarrass her, that’s fer sure. I do know to get a tattoo, wear my fishnet stockings and pink tutu, though. Whad’ya think I am? STUPID?



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Jan 29 2012

Depending upon the viewpoint of the recipient, a surprise
party can be a delight or a floodgate of suffocating attention.

Do you like surprise birthday parties? It does put the special person on the spot. I’m not sure that I like them thrown for me, but what fun it is to plan good times for someone else and have everyone in on the secret. I suppose the ends justify the means as only a group of people with the best of intentions would go to all of the trouble of creating such a festive get together.

Just look at the fun a group giving a surprise birthday party can have. Here is an early 1931 cartoon of Mickey and Minnie Mouse with all of their friends springing a surprise birthday party for Mickey and what a party it is. If you grew up in the 1950s like I did watching cartoons on Saturday morning, then you will recognize some of these early Disney characters from when these cartoons, originally played as previews for movies in movie theaters, were shown on TV. Share some old time memories by clicking on the play button below:

Mickey and Minnie thrilled Depression Era children at movie theaters.

Birthdays are such a momentous day of the year for children and when we are children, there are lots of relatives to celebrate each passing year. We know that such rewards and attention will surely be there our whole lives as we bask in the adoration of everyone we know. But, as the years speed by and the glorious attentions of our elders are replaced by photographs and memories, birthday celebrations can thin out quite a bit. Many of us must look forward to planning our own self celebrations, gathering happiness up around our shoulders like a wool shawl on a cool summer evening, thus marking our own yearly passages.

Looking into the sun gives this birthday girl an expression of
entitled impatience while being feted by her twenty two guests.

But, celebrating birthdays together is something we might choose to do for all of our adult friends as we parent each other through the rest of our lives. Making a fuss, sending cards and planning celebratory events increases fellowship and takes each birthday person back to the days when they were a child at birthday parties and there were less then ten candles on the cake. Now, there are even adult birthday party planning sites on the Internet with party supply packages to ease making arrangements.

So, with all the work done, sit up straight, make a wish and blow out all the candles at once!

Sue shows us how to get excited about Surprise Birthday Parties.

If you decide to plan a party, this book has rave reviews. Hover your mouse over the link to preview:

Real Simple: Celebrations



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Jan 16 2012

There she is!….

….Miss Blog-Her Dot Com!

There she is!…

….Featured in FOOD!

(sung to the tune of There She Is, Miss America!)

Talking and telling is what I do best...

Oh Happy Day! What FUN!

What FUN to wake up and see one of my posts is featured on BlogHer!

In the FOOD section…

What a match made in heaven! There is nothing I like better than food and there is NOTHING I like better than to see something I’ve done in print. I could look at it for hours while savoring each noteworthy detail of my brilliance. And to find a resource like BlogHer.com is nothing sort of a miracle for this author, turned blogger, turned into Featured Food blog-gair…

Oh! Be still my heart…

In the past, commercially available post cards were handy to
show women the proper way to behave and “wear their face.”

As a woman, sometimes little affirmation seems to come from anybody. I’m afraid to say much, though, as it’s yet to be determined whether the lack of affirmation is a result of lack luster performance or truly gender related. But, I do know how it is to work hard and have little affirmation, going maybe days and weeks without so much as an “atta boy.”  Then, to find a welcoming group of accomplished women of all ages and experiences ready, willing and able to write, talk, tell, affirm and get along is a dream come true. And what fun and delight I have experienced since signing up on BlogHer.com in November, 2011, over Thanksgiving weekend.

When women share support for each other,
great things can be accomplished.

I have found BlogHer.com to be the slumber party that never sleeps; the quarterback run to the goal with the crowds in hysterical support that replays without pushing the play button; the Miss America walk down the runway where the roses are always budding, the crown forever sparkly and the body filling out the swimsuit eternally the correct size. BlogHer.com is an author’s dream come true: a receptive reading audience where the reviews are immediate, the rewards unending and the numbers always spiraling upwards….as long as one posts and comments, giving to get.

Women of any age blossom with love and support.

BlogHer.com is a remarkable group of blogging authors, and I am very proud to be represented on these Internet pages. So, thank you, BlogHer.com, for this recognition and for being there. Whether it is first thing in the morning when I wake to face the day or late at night when I just can’t sleep, BlogHer is always there. It is my pleasure to be there for BlogHer as well. I am delighted to be featured on the FOOD page and, BlogHer,  I thank you!

NaBloPoMo January 2012



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Dec 24 2011

Sunbonnets all over the world are talking about the latest:
SunbonnetSmart.com is the Featured Money Blogger for
Christmas Week, December 25 – 31, 2011!

Left Sunbonnet: Goodness! Have you heard the news? The BEST web site in the world, Sunbonnet Smart, has been selected to be the Featured Money Blogger on www.BlogHer.com.

Right Sunbonnet: Oh my! Well, you know what THAT means!

Left Sunbonnet: No, what?

Right Sunbonnet: Well, Sunbonnet Smart loves to share and every time good things happen and abundant energy flows in…why, you just watch, the web site will be giving something away to show gratitude!

Left Sunbonnet: What!?!? To us!?!?

Right Sunbonnet:  Yes! To everyone who visits SunbonnetSmart.com on that internationally renown women’s forum www.BlogHer.com or who visits www.SunbonnetSmart.com itself.

Left Sunbonnet: When?

Right Sunbonnet: Why, all this week! Starting tomorrow, there will be a free PDF download of one of the new Bargain Products that Sunbonnet Smart is introducing into the Sunbonnet Bargain area of the web site. But, each download will only be available for free for one day. Then, the next day, another PDF will be given away. So, basically, you’re going to have to put aside EVERYTHING else you planned on doing during this holiday week to make sure you get all of the PDFs before they switch.

Left Sunbonnet: Wow! I’m going to get in on that!

Right Sunbonnet: Yeah, who wouldn’t. Be there or be square…

Left Sunbonnet: I know I’ll be running to the computer first thing Christmas morning…forget the tree…

We now return you to your regular programming.

 

NaBloPoMo 2011



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Nov 23 2011

Here’s hoping your Thanksgiving brings back
many happy memories and creates many more!

Oh! How I love to think of Thanksgivings at my grandmother’s house. What a big deal they were as she was cooking for days ahead. She was a detail planner and carried off big dinners with clockwork precision. The menu was always the same because there was no way to improve upon it. Besides, everyone counted on it from year to year.

Let’s celebrate this woman’s efforts to provide the
perfect Thanksgiving, half a century ago. Where is she?
In the kitchen, of course!

My grandmother was also a great club woman as she loved to go to meetings and socially participate for the betterment of mankind. Most of her meetings were luncheons, so I remember that every meeting she went to, she would come home and recite the menu and describe the table with its tablecloth, centerpiece and place settings. She kept a hostess book, listing every gathering she gave and the menu presented. And, she kept track of what other ladies in Maryland were serving as well. So, I am smiling to myself when I recite my grandmother’s Thanksgiving menu here because the voice in my head, as I type it out to you, sounds just like hers.

Endless tasks accomplished with seemingly endless energy.
Where? In the kitchen, of course!

On a big table that was “U-shaped” and started in the dining room, ran out through the hall way and up into the living room, she served thirty people roast turkey with dressing, mashed potatoes, homemade giblet gravy, candied sweet potatoes, buttered kernel corn, big luscious pans of macaroni and cheese made with New York sharp cheddar, green beans almondine, homemade cranberry sauce, a relish plate of celery, pickles and olives, AND “Brown and Serve” rolls.

Lots of love on this Thanksgiving dinner table. Just
look how much is heaped in with those mashed potatoes.
And where is this loving cook? In the kitchen, of course!

They had to be “Brown and Serve” rolls, because they were the latest and greatest back then in the 1950s when each labor saving innovation was hailed as an additional blessing for which one should give thanks. I know my grandmother blessed the Brown and Serve rolls. She was the oldest girl of a family of nine children and had made many a pan of rolls, so buying them and popping them in the oven to brown before serving was a treat. Her delight and enthusiasm, as she brought the bread baskets to the tables, was infectious.

“What? Oh no! I don’t need any help. I’m almost done.
I’ll just be a few more minutes…”

The routine of it all was so comforting then. Not boring at all, like it might appear to this sound byte world we live in now. We knew who was going to be there, what we would eat, how wonderful the food would taste and, on top of it all, had the childhood luxury of thinking these Thanksgivings would last forever. We believed they would stretch out in an endless twelve month Thanksgiving cycle, connected like a string of cranberries from one year to the next.

The only problem was, of course, it didn’t last forever. Things changed, as they always do. The older people got even older and then finally weren’t with us. Then parts of the family moved away and some families broke up as the parents got divorced. But, I remember when that wonderful part of childhood, thinking everything was forever, was such a comfort in itself.

If I close my eyes, I can still bring it all back. Everyone is seated at the “U-shaped” table, laughing and talking, eating and getting full. They are all there and all I have to do is take my seat to start joining in.

How about you? Can you close your eyes and bring it all back?

I hope so…

Much love to you and please pass the gravy.

 

Giving Thanks

If you have an interest in this great book that has
outstanding reviews and is just mouthwatering to read,
hover your mouse over this link to preview:

Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving Recipes and History, from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie



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Oct 28 2011

The term Senior Moment means more than “not remembering
where you placed the car keys.” With people living longer
and taking full advantage of the good life, the term
Senior Moment can refer to pleasant moments later in life.

And, talk about pleasant moments! You’ve got to love these Seniors. What “get up and go” they have. I can remember being in graduate school and living near a ninety year old women who rode her bike everyday. I can remember thinking, “When I’m ninety years old, I hope I’ll be riding my bike everyday.” But then, I realized I wasn’t riding a bike everyday at age thirty…who was I kidding? Well, I hope when I’m in my nineties, I’ll be singing rock songs with friends…

Young @ Heart is a senior group of singers
that rock and roll to popular hits.

Watching these Young @ Heart videos pump me up. How invigorating it is to see everyone having a good time, being active and refusing to sit back and let the world pass by.  Isolation can occur at any age.  So, it’s good for everyone to remember to enjoy enriching group activities.

When I found the following videos on YouTube, I was tickled to see people who grew up without computer technology adding to their experiences. What fun they are having. They are enjoying life and each other.

The frustration of trying something new and having no point
of reference increases the learning curve quite a bit.

Think of how computers have changed in the last twenty-five years and how they have changed everything we do. When I started working with computers in the mid-1980s, the screen was yellow green and the only way to move the cursor was selecting arrows on the keyboard. In 1993, when Microsoft released “this new program” called Windows, I couldn’t understand why I had to buy a new computer and just couldn’t enlarge the memory of my old one. And then, on top of buying a new computer, I had to learn new things. Sigh…  Now, I believe my acceptance of having to learn things hard and fast in the computer world has changed me for the better. I expect to be frustrated with innovations on the computer and to work through them successfully.

This video is endearing as love surmounts unknown technology.

Back when Windows was first introduced, the thought of buying a new computer just to accommodate a new program was hard to understand. It was equally hard not to invest, though, because friends were raving about Windows and were very convincing as to its merits. When I bought a new computer with Windows, I was amazed at how Windows enabled one to work on tasks without flipping back and forth through many screens. Why, one could just open a new window and do more than one thing at a time! It was wondrous and now, with all of the videos, colors and graphics we have today, computer progress during the last twenty-five years is truly a miracle.

Another Young @ Heart video to put pep in your step.
I dare you to stop toe tapping!

I guess what keeps one eternally young is “going with the flow.” Getting up and out of the comfortable chair, going out to see what the world has to offer, then jumping in and learning how to enjoy what’s new and exciting. Works well at any age, but especially so when one is older. At that time, it is easier to believe there is nothing new while one sits in a comfortable chair looking at the same four walls. And, sadly, it’s true. There won’t be anything new, if one doesn’t get up and go out to find it.

One reviewer says: “Race around the board and challange each other to remember lists-from the simple to downright goofy. For example: can you remember to: pat your head, whistle “Dixie”, stick out your tounge, give the peace sign and touch your nose…in that order? 2 to 8 players. Ages…sorry, but we can’t remember how old you need to be to qualify! I read that out of the magazine that I orderd it from.”

If playing Senior Moments sounds like fun to you, hover
your mouse over this link to preview the game,
before you forget…    Senior Moments Board Game



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Dec 17 2010

What a surprise to come to the table and see these GIANT eggs.

It’s lots of fun to surprise your family and friends with these big “dinosaur” eggs. Although they really do look like eggs sunny side up, they are actually two organic canned peach halves on beds of organic whipped cream. Try this bit of fun on those you love and watch their expressions when they come to the table. It’ll be a hit!

If you have an interest in recipes that children
love to cook, bake and eat, hover your mouse over
the link below:

Williams-Sonoma Kids in the Kitchen: Fun Food



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Filed under: Heart,Kids — admin @ 5:25 pm Comments (0)
Dec 02 2010

It can be a real challenge trying to run a family efficiently and make sure everyone’s needs are addressed. It’s hard enough when the kids are little and shorter than you are because you have a fighting chance as long as you can run faster than they do. But, what happens in the teenage years when they sometimes equate size with superiority?  Just because they are now taller then you, it seems they think you’ve “gotten stupid.”

Enter Jean Tracy, MSS.  I found Ms. Tracy’s website while looking for information on making household chore charts, including how to decide what chores are age appropriate for what child. What a wealth of information I found. The woman is wonderful. Very pleasant, down to earth and to my tastes, realistic with a heavy dose of common sense thrown in.

Jean Tracy, MSS

Ms. Tracy’s welcome says, “I earned my Master of Social Work degree from Bryn Mawr College. Parenting Resources grew out of my experiences as a mother, a teacher, a marriage and family counselor for over 20 years, and as an author and speaker.” And I believe every word! She seems great to me. Try going to her web site, by clicking here, and see what you think. Nose around because there is lots of information and it will take a while to settle in.

Now, remember, if all else fails, you can always simplify things and follow Anita Renfroe’s methods instead:

If you haven’t seen this video, today is the day!
It’s a big hit at our house, but I know each member
of the family has a different reason for thinking so.



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