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Kat

Kat's Blog

I’m mom to two boys - Whiz (9) who's very likely to be a lawyer some day and Speed (6 "and 3/4") who's very likely to need a lawyer some day. We have an Australian Shepherd (Tucker) who tends to tip the scales of our life closer to crazy than calm. I’ll share their antics here. I also work part time for Education.com and feel so lucky to have a job that gives me a chance to make a difference in the world, challenges my brain, and still gives me time with my boys. I'm new to the blogging world (my boss "asked" me to do it) so thanks for reading. But please don’t just read. Comment comment comment!

Recent posts

So long Summer-Me

Thursday, September 17th, 2009 by
I don’t know about you all, but I’m in denial about summer being over. 

It’s not the season of summer I miss exactly.

Ice Cream for Lunch...again.  I love summer.

Ice Cream for Lunch...again. I love summer.

 It’s “Summer-Me” -the mom I am all summer – that I’m sad to see go.  Summer-Me is fun and laid back.  She stays snuggled in bed for a long time in the morning with munchkins excited to tell her every second of last night’s dreams.  She allows ice cream for dinner, camping in the living room, and staying in PJs all day.  Summer-Me cares not about bedtimes or schedules or even exactly how many times a day her children’s teeth get brushed.

Summer campout in the living room - on a (gasp) weeknight!

Summer campout in the living room - on a (gasp) weeknight!

But Summer-Me is gone now and in her place is a more structured and stressed mommy called…oh, I don’t know…”School-Year-Me.” (See? Even her name isn’t as pleasant as “Summer-Me”).  Anyway, School-Year-Me looks down her nose at morning snuggle sessions and can say “Hurry! We’re Late!” fifty times in the amount of time it takes a four year old to remember a dream out loud.  School-Year-Me is a slave to her iPhone calendar with its multiple entries every afternoon for soccer practice, cub-scout meetings, PTA events, and homework time.  School-Year-Me counts vegetable servings and minutes until bedtime.  And she knows exactly how many times a day her children’s teeth get brushed.

So, I’m going to allow myself a few minutes to sit here and mourn the loss of Summer-Me but then, I’ve got to get moving…my iPhone says we’ve got gymnastics this afternoon and those spelling words aren’t gonna learn themselves for Whiz’s test tomorrow’s.

Happy Fall! 

Kat

The Summer Activities Challenge is Heating Up!

Monday, July 20th, 2009 by

It’s been just over a month since we kicked off our first annual Summer Activities Challenge and I’m so excited about all the progress families have made so far!  We have over 1,300 families participating and 43 families have finished (and are therefore entered to win a Dell Latitude 2100 Netbook or one of 100 Lego Creator Mini Sets).  Here are some of my favorite stories so far from the Challenge:

  • One mom let us know her daughter’s day camp is participating in the Challenge together - and check out the awesome 4th of July streamers they made!

A summer day camp works together on the Challenge!

  • A soldier told us she’s participating in the Challenge with her kids even though she’s currently deployed far from home.   She prints out and mails activities she thinks her kids will like, they complete the activities with the dad and grandma, and then they talk about their experiences doing the activities when she calls home.
  • My kids got so excited about the duct tape wallets they made that they’ve now moved on to more elaborate creations.  Last week I went on a fancy night out on the town and Whiz made me an oh-so-elegant duct tape evening bag to carry.  (photo to come!)
  • Another mom let us know that she was having so much fun doing the Challenge with her five year old daughter that she posted a note about it in her Mom’s Club newsletter and now a bunch of those moms are doing the Challenge together.
There are 43 days left in this year’s Challenge.  Plenty of time left for those who aren’t yet participating to get off the couch and join in the fun!  And if you have a fun story to share about your family’s experience so far – post a comment or send me an email…I’d love to hear about it!  keden@education.com.
Good Luck!
Kat

I’m off to see the Wizard…The wonderful Wizard of BlogHer.

Thursday, July 16th, 2009 by

A couple of months ago Ron asked me if I’d like to go to the BlogHer conference in Chicago. I feel sheepish in admitting that I didn’t know a ton about the conference at the time. But I love the work that BlogHer is doing, I manage Education.com’s blogger relationships, and I’m an occasional blogger on our site, so I said “Sure!” and went back to my desk to learn more about the conference.

After about 15 minutes I’d worked myself into a full-fledged anxiety attack. It seemed everyone on the World Wide Web is attending this conference – or wanting to (it’s sold out!) The blogosphere was abuzz with survival guides (for those who are going and those who aren’t), party crashing strategies, and (I’m not making this up), style tips! for BlogHer ’09. I’m an experienced marketing professional who’s logged many hours at conferences and trade shows (albeit in tacky corporate logo wear rather than cute outfits). And in the more fun side of my life I’ve spent my fair share of time at parties – which I greatly enjoy. And I Blog. And I’m a Her. So what do I have to worry about? And yet – with less than a week to go before the BlogHer ’09 conference – I feel like Dorothy spinning through the air on my way to the mysterious land of Oz.

What will all the BlogHer veterans be like? (I hope they’re more friendly Munchkin than flying Monkey!) How will I figure out which of sessions to attend? And even more intimidating…which parties?!? I won a prize (in a random drawing of conferernce registrants) from Listerine’s Agent Cool Blue so at least I’ll be able to buy all the apparently very important cute yet comfortable shoes I’ll need (I think not red sparkly ones. Right?).

I have a perfectly good brain and heart – now I’m just hoping the Wizard of BlogHer will grant me some courage!

See? Dorothy found new friends and had a happy ending!

Yesterday my boss asked me what my “goals for the conference” are. I heard myself say some smart stuff about connecting with bloggers who could help spread the word about Education.com but inside I was screaming “SURVIVE!!!!”

I’ll report back next week to let you know if all the survival guides worked and I make it back in one piece (mind, body and spirit). And if any of you friendly Munchkins are reading this…post your best tips in comments here…I need all the help I can get!

Wish me luck!

Love,

Dorothy Kat

School’s Out!!!

Thursday, June 18th, 2009 by

Yep.  It’s true.  School’s out.

And whether that statement makes your heart sink, stop, or soar, there’s no getting around it – summer is here!  

I’m so excited to announce the Education.com 2009 Summer Activities Challenge – a free program designed to help parents keep their kids sharp during the summer break while also reminding them that learning can be really fun!  Oh, and there’s also a chance for you to score some great stuff… Families who complete the Challenge by August 31st will be entered to win a Dell Latitude 2100 Netbook or one of 100 LEGO Creator Mini Sets.

As a mom staring down the barrel of eleven loooonnngggg weeks of summer break, I’m really excited to have this new way to help my kids stay busy, have fun, and avoid the summer slide this year.   We’ve already got two activities under our belt!  My boys were blown away when we made fireworks on our kitchen counter last night.  Seriously…that’s one you should all check out.  And I’m sure their dad will be thrilled to unwrap his Duct Tape Wallet on Sunday (shhhh….)

So don’t fret, participating in the Summer Activities Challenge will make the summer zoom by.  And when that beautiful yellow school bus shows up next fall to take your kids off your hands again, you may be able to curl up on your quiet couch with a shiny new laptop!

Good luck!

Kat

When bullying knocks the wind out of a mom.

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009 by

I was so saddened to read about 11 year old Carl Walker-Hoover’s death earlier this week

 

Carl took his life after enduring constant bullying and daily taunts of being gay at school.  He was at least the 4th middle schooler this year to commit suicide as a result of being bullied.   As a mom to 4 and 6 year old boys, I can barely breathe when I think about one of my precious children becoming so sad and hopeless that he would hang himself in our home.  It literally knocks the wind out of me to consider it and I’m tempted to just shift my thoughts to happier things like how much more chocolate I can get away with eating before my boys catch me in their Easter baskets.  But I know ignoring or wishing away the horrific thoughts I’m having right now isn’t the right answer.  I’m a mom in today’s world which means  I have to face the brutal reality that bullying is real, that my kids will be affected by it, and that it can have absolutely devastating consequences.   

 

So what am I going to do about it?  For starters, I’m setting aside some time this morning to re-read the Education.com Special Edition on Bullying at School and Online.   We published this special edition back in February in partnership with the American Association of School Administrators (AASA).  It contains resources for parents and educators to help them get a better understanding of bullying (based on the latest research, not myths) and suggestions of specific actions each can take to help reduce bullying.  

 

I’m going to print out the tip sheet we wrote for parents and make sure I’m doing all I can in my own house to combat bullying.  My kids are young, but I know it’s time for me to start talking to them about bullying and what they should do if they’re bullied, if they witness bullying or (gasp) if they think they might have bullied someone else.  

 

I’m also going to send a note to my son’s principal encouraging him to register for a free webinar on bullying Education.com is hosting school administrators on Wednesday , April 29, 2009 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM PDT.  The session will be led by Dr. Shelley Hymel – a world renowned expert on bullying.  Any administrator is welcome to register.   I know that schools are doing a lot to manage bullying.  But it’s not enough. 

 

Our children deserve to have the opportunity to feel safe and happy every day in school.  No child should ever feel the complete sadness that Carl Walker-Hoover must have felt when he took his life – before it really even had a chance to begin. 

 

I hope you’ll join me in doing whatever you can today to help prevent another senseless tragedy like Carl Walker-Hoover’s death.  Bullying is not going to go away on its own.  It’s going to take all of us – every breathless mother, every busy principal, every one of us – to keep our kids safe from this terrible thing.

 

Rest in Peace Carl.

Boo! What’s your best Halloween story? Share to win!

Friday, October 31st, 2008 by

The big day is finally here…Happy Halloween!  Even before the big night, we’ve had a couple of memorable Halloween moments in our house.  Last weekend we had a Halloween party attended by 17 ghosts and goblins.  Here’s the parade…

Speed is Batman this year and two Super Girls attended the party.  He walked around the party holding each of them by the hand proclaiming “I got TWO Super Girls!  I got TWO Super Girls!”  Most of the parents laughed.  The dads of the two Super Girls did not. 

For one of the games we played “Make your Mommy a Mummy” and armed each kid with a roll of toilet paper which ended up being quite hilarious!  

Oh and I also got a kick out of seeing Speed as Batman, my husband as his faithful sidekick Robin, and my father-in-law as Superman.  Three generations of super heroes under one roof!

 

3 generations of super heroes!

3 generations of super heroes!

I think my favorite Halloween story though is actually my brother’s who, when he was 4, spent weeks getting excited to dress up as a ghost.  On the big night my mom got him dressed and let him look in the mirror and he got so scared that he refused to leave the house for trick-or-treating and went right to bed.

What are YOUR best and favorite Halloween moments (your own or your kids’).  I have five copies of the brand new Wiggles DVD called Sing a Song of Wiggles to give away.  (It’s a brand new  collection of your favorite foursome performing a nursery rhymes and original songs by the Wiggles – not even available in stores until November 7th).  We’ll send a copy of the DVD to five commenters chosen at random on November 3rd.  Make sure to put your email address on the comment form so I can contact you for shipping info if you win.

Wiggles DVD box

Wiggles DVD box

Help! I’m going Bangladesh on my kids.

Friday, October 17th, 2008 by

At Whiz’s six year well visit I finally got brave enough to tell my pediatrician the truth.  I’ve ruined my two precious children.

Are they bright, well-mannered, happy, healthy and sparkly kids?  Well, yes.

But they’re also the two pickiest eaters on the planet.  And it’s starting to drive me insane – and to embarrass me.  When we go to friends’ houses for meals I have to explain that my kids won’t be partaking in the lovely meal they’ve prepared because they eat no meat, only raw fruits and vegetables, and single ingredient main course selections like pasta or cheese.  The good news is that the things they will eat are pretty good for them and net out to a relatively healthy diet.  The problem is that if something looks or smells the tiniest bit different than the items on their short list of approved foods, they both summarily turn up their noses, declare it ‘yucky’, and refuse to eat it (or anything that’s touched it of course).  And I have enabled their insanity by serving as a short-order-chef.  Not only do I almost always make two dinners (one for grown-ups and one for kids), but I also frequently make three dinners (one for grown-ups, one for Speed, one for Whiz).  RIDICULOUS right?!?! (more…)

The holidays are coming early this year!

Monday, October 6th, 2008 by
Today Education.com published its 2008 Gift Guide.  I’m SO excited about it!  As things get scarier and scarier in the economy, I’m realizing that when the Jolly Old Elf and I are shopping for the boys this year, we’re going to want to make every dollar count.  We’ll likely have fewer things under the tree, so I want every one of them to be home runs!  The gift guide is going to help – a lot!

For months now our office has been full to bursting with more books and toys than you can imagine (It was like coming to work in Santa’s workshop!).  Our selection team (of editors, parents, teachers, and kids) road tested every item.  I saw our Editor-In-Chief float by my office wearing butterfly wings and watched our CEO zoom by in carpet skates.  It’s been lots of fun around here but the best part is we now have a fool-proof list for parents (and grand parents, and aunts & uncles….) to use for their holiday shopping this year.

To make the list, products had to be really fun but also have some physical, developmental, or educational benefit.  There are definitely some electronics and some cool toys made of plastic, but there are also lots of toys made of wood, fabric, and other materials that will last a long time and help kids get back to basics a bit. And most items fall in the $20 – $40 range.  It’s organized by grade level so you can shop fast and shop smart.

Check out the Gift Guide and let us know what you think.  And to help get you in the spirit, we’ll choose 10 commenters to receive Disney’s new Little Einsteins DVD The Christmas Wish (not available in stores until October 14th).  With exotic snowy landscapes, magical ballet performances and classical music and artwork, it’s a perfect treat for kids – and may let you get some online shopping done! Make sure to include your email address on the comment form so we can contact you for shipping info if you win.

Little Einsteins

Little Einsteins

‘Tis a gift to be simple….

Monday, September 29th, 2008 by
Sand Buckets for All

Sand Buckets for All

On Saturday we celebrated Speed’s 4th birthday. 

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that preparing for the party consumed every free moment of my life for the weeks leading up to the party. 

It didn’t start out that way – we were just planning to have a few friends meet at the playground.  But as the date got closer I kind of whipped myself into a frenzy.  For example, I decided that since we were having the party at a playground that has a fantastic sand and water area, we should give each kid a sand bucket and sand toys to play with during the party.  Apparently, sand buckets are “out of season” now (despite the fact that it’s still consistently 85 degrees and sunny here) so I drove to eleven stores until I found them.   Once I had the buckets I decided they should be personalized to make each guest feel special and to avoid ”that’s MY bucket” squabbles at the party – so I stayed up for most of a night with a pile of paint-pens and 22 sand buckets.   (more…)

More winners and a great link

Friday, September 19th, 2008 by

Hi everyone!

Congratulations to this weeks Comment Giveaway Winners!  Sue will receive Two water babies dolls (by wild planet).  One is Caucasian, one is African American – you fill the dolls with warm water to become “the most realistic babies ever”.   And Megan will receive a basket of Toddler books including 6 board books, a couple of 2+ Kumon work books, 2 Tilly and Friends hardbacks and a Teddy Bears Picnic pop up book.

Congrats to all and keep commenting.  We’ll have new winners every week!

Also, I read a really sweet blog post today that I thought I’d share.  It’s by a mom who writes letters to her daughters for their birthdays.  I’ve been doing that for Speed and Whiz since they were babies and it has become one of my very favorite traditions (I love that it’s something that happens outside of the holiday tradition craze).  I can’t wait to give them to them on the day they head off to college…a brief record of all their brilliant, frustrating, funny, inspiring moments.

Do you have a cool non-holiday tradition that you do for or with your kids?   Share it here in a comment and you could be our next “Great Closet Clean-out” Winner!