MomTalk.com September 23, 2021:   The women's magazine for moms about children, family, health, home, fashion, careers, marriage & more

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Recently in: Advice, Ideas & Stories

Gadgets on the Go


Must-have tech for your next trip Are you planning a quick weekend getaway, a family vacation or a business trip? Here's a round-up of some nifty gadgets ... Read more

Safe Winter Driving


Anyone who's lived in Minnesota for more than a minute is familiar with winter driving. Winter weather poses unique challenges. Before heading out onto snowy or icy s... Read more

A Local Writer Could Use Your Help

Do you have children ages newborn to 25? Are you willing to share some information (anonymously if you choose) to help a local writer with her book project on relationsh... Read more

More Articles in: Advice, Ideas & Stories

Advice, Ideas & Stories


Tracking Down College Scholarships


We hear often from parents, "I'd love for my son/daughter to get accepted to their dream school...but I'm very nervous about how to pay for it."

Even if you're in a more comfortable income bracket, scholarships can go a long way to making the college-going years less of a financial burden. Here are our top tips on getting started:

The Internet
Scholarpro.com and Zinch.com are both great resources for scholarships.

Your Employer
Look for college scholarships close to home. See if your company or any professional organizations you belong to offer scholarships.

Local businesses, civic groups and even wealthy people in your hometown may offer scholarships to local students.

Guidance Counselors
Proactively sit down with your student's guidance counselor to discuss scholarships that are a personal fit for your student and your family's financial situation.

The University
Most people don't know that universities earmark scholarship money for students studying specific majors or entering certain career fields. Once you have narrowed your college list, be sure to reach out to each university to see what is available.

Federal Government
The federal government offers certain scholarships and grants: studentaid2.ed.gov is a great resource.

Courtesy of BrightGuide
This article comes to us from BrightGuide, a community of parents preparing their children for college. Signup and you'll get practical tips, empowering ideas, and the best possible college preparation resources...daily to your inbox.

... Continue reading Tracking Down College Scholarships.

Little Book, Big Noise


If you haven't heard about it yet, you will soon. Maybe you've even read a PDF version of it? We're dying to know what you think about Go the F&%* to Sleep! Here's one story from MomsToday, NBC.

... Continue reading Little Book, Big Noise.

Local Nonprofits Partner on National Make A Difference Day - Oct. 23

On October 23, more than 3 million Americans are expected to volunteer on Make A Difference Day, the nation's largest single day of volunteering. Two local nonprofit organizations will be partnering to also make a difference in the lives of 1,500 less fortunate children in our community.

Cheerful Givers is planning a "Birthday Bag Blitz -- Kids Helping Kids " where mentors and mentees from the Kids 'n Kinship program along with Cheerful Givers volunteers will assemble 1,500 toy-filled gift bags which will be distributed to shelters and food shelves so that parents living in poverty can give their child a birthday gift.

This event was so well received last year on national Make A Difference Day that both nonprofits decided to expand their efforts and triple the number of birthday bags that will be created. In addition to participating in this meaningful and fun hands-on experience, volunteers will get to meet Kathryn Knuttila, Miss Minnesota and Sergeant Todd of the US Army, as well as enjoy birthday cake and giveaways.

Thomson Reuters is sponsoring and hosting the event and additional sponsors include the Northern and Southern Dakota Chapters of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

About Kids 'n Kinship
Kids 'n Kinship is a preventative mentoring program for children ages 5-16 who are in need of a positive adult role model. The goal is that the children will form a long-term friendship with a responsible, consistent adult. Through their mentor relationship children receive positive attention, experience a variety of activities, and are helped to develop the sense of self-worth that is essential to successfully functioning in school, in healthy relationships, and eventually on the job. Kids 'n Kinship also has a school-based mentoring project in collaboration with Glacier Hills Elementary School. www.kidsnkinship.org

About Cheerful Givers
Cheerful Givers is a unique, local nonprofit organization that provides toy-filled birthday gift bags to shelters and food shelves so that parents living in poverty can give their child a birthday gift. This simple gesture boosts self-esteem, enhances self-worth and strengthens family bonds. Since 1994, with the help of thousands of volunteers, more than 360,000 children have received birthday gift bags. www.cheerfulgivers.org

... Continue reading Local Nonprofits Partner on National Make A Difference Day - Oct. 23.

I Love Thanksgiving

by Sharon MacDonell

Just when I thought we had no Thanksgiving tradition at all, my daughter taught me that tradition is simply whatever we do.

When I was a kid my mother rose early on Thanksgiving morning to wrestle with the turkey and jam it full of rosemary-scented stuffing before putting it in the oven. The house smelled of that heavenly rosemary all day long.

Back then we only had eight TV channels and all attention was on the one showing the Hudson's Thanksgiving Day Parade, with its school bands and toy commercials. My siblings and I jumped up and down screaming when Santa appeared on his sleigh, ushering in the Christmas season.

My dad was seldom around, but mom was amazing and managed to get everything on the table by herself, including the crispy turkey, creamy mashed potatoes and her fabulous stuffing. To this day, anytime I get a whiff of rosemary, I'm right back at that happy table.

But those were the olden days.

Today, my 6- and 8-year-old daughters have little interest in watching the Macy's-Target-American-Whozit's Parade that plays on one of our 120 channels. They're too busy with the Disney Channel or the Internet. But I can't really complain. I'm hardly the ideal Thanksgiving mom myself. I simply don't love the cleaning or cooking required to get through the day.

Yet nearly every Thanksgiving I end up hosting my family for the big meal. I try to get out of it, begging my mother or sister Cathy to host, but the bird duties always land on my doorstep. They say I have more space and somehow that makes it fair. Yeah, right.
The only saving grace is that while I have to clean my house, dig out the dusty platters and buy the food, at least it's not my elbow poking out of that turkey's hiney. Cathy and mom come over and play top chef in my kitchen. I focus my limited skills on the grunt work and my two specialties--devilled eggs and mashed potatoes.

But this year I had a new idea. Why not go out for Thanksgiving? There's absolutely no downside. We can get all dressed up and pay a charming waiter to ply us with food and drink till we can barely move. The only hard work will be lifting our overstuffed bodies from the restaurant table and squeezing them back into the car. What difference does it make? We hardly have a Thanksgiving tradition of our own.

The idea was a hit. My mom declared her turkey days over. My husband was thrilled I'd be in a good mood this Thanksgiving. Even my sister was beginning to weaken, when I suddenly made an about face and decided to do Thanksgiving after all.

Blame it on my daughter Patti. Apparently in her eight years on the scene, she's decided we're steeped in Thanksgiving tradition.

Our tradition is my coaxing them to watch the parade. It's having Grandma and Aunt Cathy argue and laugh with me while making a mess in my kitchen. It's playing with their cousin Trése and even watching me tussle with their dad over bringing those darned chairs up from the basement.

And it turns out that Patti loves my devilled eggs as much as I love my mom's rosemary stuffing. She begged me to have Thanksgiving at home.

Who knew!?

So I'm doing Thanksgiving. And since mom says she's retired from turkeys for good, I have to cook it, too. But that's OK. Now I know I'm making more than just a meal. I'm making traditions and memories that will stay with my girls their whole lives.
It's a breathtaking responsibility, but one I realize I'm thankful for.

Visit Sharon MacDonell's website at www.sharonmacdonell.com

... Continue reading I Love Thanksgiving.

Checklist for Choosing a Safe Day Care


By Madonna Behen

Finding the right day-care center requires a balance of many practical issues: location, cost, hours of operation. And you of course also want a nurturing staff. "But bottom line, your child's health and safety is what matters the most," says Patricia Skinner, executive director of the Capital District Child Care Council, a resource and referral agency serving six counties in the Albany, N.Y., region. "After all, it doesn't matter how stellar the caregiver's interactions are if there's broken glass on the playground," she says.
Jump to full text of this article.

... Continue reading Checklist for Choosing a Safe Day Care.

Lake Fun & Safety

It's that time of year--time to head out to one of Minnesota's 10,000 lakes (or to one of umteen thousands of lakes all over the country). Before you go, check out the downloadable guide below to safe swimming, boating and fishing from Conservation Minnesota. If you're worried about water pollution and contamination, you can go to CheckMyLake.org to find out whether lakes have been tested and what the results show.

Parent's Guide to Safe Recreation

... Continue reading Lake Fun & Safety.

Moms Dissing Moms

Do you sometimes feel that moms can be critical and judgmental about other women's parenting style and choices? Do you feel pressured to be the perfect mom? See what Liz Szabo, writing in USA Today, says about 'competitive parenting.'

... Continue reading Moms Dissing Moms.