Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Hanging With Heather: Featuring When The Kids Are Bored

One of the great things I love about blogging is the friends you make and I have met many great people on my blogging journey; like Heather.

I first met Heather through one of her many features and have been addicted to following her blog ever since. We have struck up a friendship and today we thought it would be fun to do a blog feature swap to introduce each other to all our readers! Awesome right?!

Heather is the author and creator of When The Kids Are Bored, a blog focused on family. She writes about motherhood, crafts, product reviews, and kid activities. She is a wife and a mother of two, expecting her third child in January. Basically, a superwoman.
So please give her a warm welcome and let's all get to know her a little better!

Welcome to Mommy, In Demand Heather. I'm so happy to be doing this feature with you. Now tell me, you've been blogging for a while now, what got you into it?
I started a blog called Musings of a Pregnant Lady in 2008 when I became pregnant with my first child. It was a way to journal and share my pregnancy with family and friends. It’s still up and running today but it’s more of a personal blog. When The Kids Are Bored came about last year when I decided I wanted to share my experiences as a stay at home mom. It’s turned into so much more than I ever imagined!
Isn't it awesome how things grow? Now, we all know that I'm a complete and udder Pinterest addict. So it wouldn't seem right if I didn't you what is something you could spend hours looking at on Pinterest?
Oh my! I could look at houses and home decorating all day long! I would love to build or restore a home one day. My grandfather used to build houses and my grandmother would pour over house plans and magazines for hours. She always asked me what I thought about the houses she was looking at. We would sit over Homes and Land Magazine and dream up our perfect homes. I get several of my passions from her.
Yes, grandmothers have a way of doing that to us. Mine created in me a love for many things; cucumber salad, the beach, and for traveling (even though I haven't really been able to). Which leads me into our next question, If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
I would love to tour Europe by rail. I’m a lover of history and old things! I want to eat authentic Italian and French foods and visit the vineyards.
Europe? That would be awesome. Maybe when that baby comes you and I should take off for a few months! Lol. But, do you know any language other than English?
Which one would you want to learn? 
Only one?! Well, I would have to choose Spanish. I know a little from taking Spanish in high school and in college but I am very far from mastering the language. Besides English, I think it’s the most versatile language there is.
That's true. I've often been told that if you know Spanish you have the ability to speak to those who know Italian as well as those from other Spanish speaking countries! So basically the world would be open to you! But me, I'm more of a reader than a linguist. Are there any books are you reading now?

I’m not reading right now…I know. Shame on me. I have a B.A. in English Literature and my summer reading list has gone to the way side. I actually would love some good recommendations! I think most of my reading time has gone into blog research. 

Wow! A B.A. in English Literature?! I didn't know that! So that must make blogging fairly easy then. But what has been your biggest challenge in blogging?

My biggest challenge has been designing my blog. I’ve had a hard time committing to one look and have spent numerous hours creating headers, buttons, social media icons, and such. I really need to hire someone to do it for me. I just don’t want to spend an arm and a leg to get everything I really need. However, a professional looking blog is essential if you want to continue to grow and gain sponsorship.

Yes! Yes it does! And so does promoting your blog! What's your favorite go-to way to promote your blog?

I love participating in linky parties. There are a lot of great weekly link ups out there. It’s a great way to show off your posts and get a lot of views and a lot of non-spammy comments. I also get a lot of page views by linking my articles to my Facebook page.

All some great ways of promoting. I've never been good at those linky parties. They confuse me! Lol. So, What are you doing when you aren't blogging, parenting, working, or cleaning? Like, what do you do during your "me time?"

 My perfect “me time” would be going window shopping on my own. I love to visit area antique stores and boutiques but it can be a challenge to do with the kiddos. I also enjoy driving around and looking at houses and neighborhoods. At home, I like to sew and do DIY projects.

I think shopping alone is at the top of ever mom's "me time" list! I know it is for me. Now, you mentioned DIY's. You have put several up on your blog, and they are all very fabulous, but what would you say is your favorite article you have written? 

I really like my article, “The Truth About Breastfeeding.” It answers my most frequently asked questions about the ups and downs, pros and cons of breastfeeding in a way that is non-judgmental and informational. It’s based on my own experience and there is definitely some good humor in it. Got to keep it real!! 

Is it your most popular?

 It isn’t my most popular post, which is “How to Comment on a Blog Post,” but it did get a lot of page views. I also love my article, “The Beauty of a Woman.” In it, I write about why I think “seasoned” women are the most beautiful.

I read that article and loved it! I completely agree with you about "seasoned" women. There is just something sexy about a woman with a little life experience. And with those experiences comes a few skills, now you and I are fairly young in the scheme of things. So if you could learn one random skill, what would it be?

If I had the time and resources I would love to learn carpentry work. I would love to be able to build and repair furniture and do complex home repairs. I grew up in a home where if something breaks, you fix it. You don’t call someone else to come and do it for you, you do it yourself. Both my father and grandfather are/were builders of some kind. Somehow I managed not to learn those skills. But, it’s never too late!!

No its not. I am a firm believer in the theory that you're never too old to learn something. Anything. 

Thank you so much Heather for doing this feature swap with little ole me here at Mommy, In Demand. I've had so much fun with it!

If any of you would like to learn more about Heather and her fantastic blog head on over to When The Kids Are Bored. I know she would love to hear from you! And you can also visit When The Kids Are Bored to see my answers to the above questions! And who wouldn't want to do that?

So go. Now! 
When The Kids Are Bored

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Our First Day of School Party

In classic Kendra form, if there is a reason to throw a party then a party will be thrown. And what better reason is there than your kids going back to school?!

*Happy dancing*

And, no, I'm not the only one in this house that's excited about it.

But what does a first day of school party look like? Well, allow me to show you!

I hit up pinterest for some inspiration (because where else would you go?) and the local dollar tree for some supplies (best store ever for cheap supplies), and went to town.

I happened to have the table cloths left over from some birthday parties I threw over the years and the frames from around the house. So I only needed a few items to make the whole thing pop, which is where Pinterest came in.

I found the print outs for the frames at Redfly Creations and Gemini Celebrations which looked like writings on a chalk board.

Very fitting to the theme (and absolutely adorable!). And, a perk, the Back to School sign from Redfly Creations came with some name tags that I was able to personalize for the boys!

Isn't that just the cutest?! I laminated it and have it tucked away for next year too!

And just to make things more fun, I decided to blow up and throw balloons all over my floor. Because, frankly, what is a party without balloons? I did, however, have to hide them in a garbage bag in the closet from the cats because I didn't feel like being up all night listening to popping balloons.

And those babies are still kicking around this house a week later.

But a party isn't a party until you add the kids and the food. So when it finally came time to wake the boys I made sure to have the delicious smell of fresh baked cinnamon rolls flowing through the house.

Which is a big treat for them because I don't usually allow for a sugary breakfast.

The party was a hit, the food was yummy, and it completely set the positive and excited mood I wanted for the Tyler's first day of first grade.

And you all know I had to get pictures of my little boy on his first day before I dropped him off.

Look at that face!!!! And he picked out his own clothes this year too. Isn't that a far cry from the Rag-A-Muffin I had to deal with last year. Let's hope it stays this way all school year.

Goodness I love that boy.

I was very excited with how well the party turned out and how little effort I actually had to put into it. I will most definitely be doing this again next year. And at that time I'll have a preschooler on my hands too! (Where has the time gone?!)

What do you do with the kids in your life to make the first day of school fun?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Today's My Sunday Sip Feature at More Than Mommies!

When you're sitting down for a great cup of coffee on a peaceful Sunday morning what is better than getting to know a new friend?

That is the premise behind the Sunday Sip Feature at More Than Mommies. Every Sunday they feature a new blogger as a way of getting to know the different blogs out there and build a blogging community!

And today is my feature day!

But before I start in on how honored I am to have been chosen for their weekly feature, let me share with you a little bit about the ladies behind the More Than Mommies blog.

More Than Mommies

More Than Mommies is a blog started in 2012 by real life friends who share a love for family, learning, teaching, and writing; which makes blogging a perfect place for them to explore their interests and have been a perfect fit for them!

More Than Mommies has become a place where women (mostly mommies) come for advice, support, and honesty. They have obtained over 1,200 twitter followers and 950 facebooks fans which has made it wonderful for them to be able to reach out, connect, and share with their community.

They have worked hard to build relationships and trust with their readers and followers and have worked with some top name brands that you may have heard of: Hershey (Eeeek!), Method brand Laundry Detergent, Copy Kids, Chef Boyardee, Firehouse Subs, and Farm Rich.

I'd just like to say thank-you to these ladies for choosing Mommy, In Demand as this week's feature and I urge all of you Mommy, In Demand fans to please check the ladies of More Than Mommies out! I know you wont be disappointed in what you find!

If you're stopping by from More Than Mommies, welcome! Please feel free to snoop around and comment to your heart content. I hope you like what you see and will come back for more!

And don't forget to click the links to the right to "like" Mommy, In Demand on Facebook and to follow on Twitter and Pinterest. That way you're never too far away from the awesome-ness of Mommy, In Demand!

Also, please be sure to check out my Sunday Sip Feature

More than Mommies is a place where women with children come for advice, support and honesty. With over 1,200 Twitter Followers and 950 Facebook Fans, More than Mommies is able to reach out and share with its community across several different media channels. 
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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Book Feature: Mom At Last

The path to motherhood is different for every woman.

Some of us are lucky enough to conceive almost instantaneously every time, others try for a few months before we see those coveted blue lines. And yet others try desperately for years.

Then you have those who are just not that lucky. That fight, and grieve, and pray, and morn and still aren't able to have the one thing they want more than anything in the world. Something we lucky few forget to be thankful for. And in turn have to explore other avenues to becoming mothers.

So when I was asked to read and feature the book 'Mom At Last: How I Never Gave Up on Becoming a Mother' by Sharon Simons, I knew it was something I needed to do.

And, boy, am I glad I did.

Mom At Last: How I Never Gave Up on Becoming a Mother follows the author through her struggles with infertility and adoption. But, as the book promises, it's really about much more than that.

From the moment I picked up the book I was overcome with the emotions I felt through the authors words. In many of her tales, the pictures she painted were so vivid, I felt I was right there; living and breathing with her through every struggle as though it were happening to me. Honestly, there were times when I had to put the book down and go hug my own kids.

I was gripped with overwhelming heartbreak and I soared with elation right along with the author.

In my opinion, this book wasn't just meant for other families/women who are struggling with infertility or adoption issues, it's a book for women. Period. Any women who has faced a parenting struggle of any kind will find something in this book to love.

And if you don't believe me take a look for yourself. Here is an excerpt from the book 'Mom At Last: How I Never Gave Up on Becoming a Mother':

     "The baby house hasn't seen new paint in decades. That’s what they call it, the baby house. Where they keep all the abandoned Russian babies. More precisely, it’s where the state agency keeps all the unwanted Siberian babies, or maybe just the Novokuznetsk babies, the small town we have driven hours to reach. The baby house is concrete block covered in dirty stucco and the facade has a slightly depressing rhythm to it: stucco and window and patches of exposed concrete repeated in long horizontal bands across the front of the building. It doesn’t look anything like a house for babies, wanted or otherwise.
       The air inside our car is heavy and smells of cigarettes, sausage, and mayonnaise. We sit there at the edge of a dirt parking lot for a long moment and stare out the window. By “we” I mean my husband, Rick, and me in the back seat, and in the front, our interpreter in her punkish ball cap and a bulky Russian driver. Outside, the sky is not entirely grayblue, but strangely the same gray-blue of the baby house. As I sit here staring out the window, what strikes me, other than the bleakness of the place, is that there isn’t a baby, a child, or a wayward teen in sight...

       ...“This is it,” Rick says. “Here we go.”
       I look at him and smile because that’s what I do, a woman who hankers for the bright side of things, the good and the positive. If I have to, I’m perfectly willing to put on blinders and blot out all the ugliness in the world, if it helps me get what I want. And right now I want inside the baby house.
       I reach for the door handle and this little gesture sets everyone in motion. We crawl out of the minivan and I take a deep breath and grip the two little brown teddy bears we brought with us. Rick holds a bag of baby clothing and a few other items and hustles us inside. The lobby of the baby house is a spiritless dump, describing it as “cozy” or even “welcoming,” would be a blatant lie. Again, no babies. I learn later that we are not allowed to see any of the other orphans and thus they are hidden conveniently out of sight. I want nothing so much as to hold my baby boys, precious little Siberian tikes I have only glimpsed in photos thirty-five days ago. In one photo Dmitry is dressed in a pink jumpsuit and he stares up at the camera, frowning, his mouth slightly open, ready to say something quirky or maybe angry. Sergey is dressed in a black and yellow bumblebee outfit, arms in the air, and he has this loving, needy look in his eye.
       My husband, Rick, is a cardiologist and cardiologists are compulsively alert to looming problems. He spent I don’t know how many years at Penn State and then medical school and then in his practice looking inside the body’s dark corridors for impending problems. Before we agreed to make the trip, he reminded me what we might be in for. “A lot of fathers and mothers of Russian orphans are alcoholics,” he told me. “Vodka,” he said using his doctor’s voice, in a way that was both stern and caring. “They can’t keep a job and they can’t raise a baby, so they drop the child off at the baby house. Only the child has fetal alcohol syndrome and nobody knows it.” This was a month ago, and I can still see him making a little check mark in the air with his finger listing off troubles to come. Extreme difficulty forming social connections. Check. Trouble with emotional ties. Check. Zero impulse control. Check. Learning disabilities. Check.Check. Check.
     “You're signing us up for a lot,” he said, “if we take in a fetal alcohol child.”
      Nothing in any the documents we’ve received says anything about fetal alcohol syndrome or any other disease. Far from it. Every bit of information has given off a calibrated, but incomplete report of the boys, which probably explains Rick’s skepticism.
      “The boy’s aren’t sick,” I said.
       “I’m just saying.”
       “Do you want to reconsider?”
       Here my husband softened, as he always did when we talked about the boys. “No.”
      “I’ll love them no matter what,” he said.
       “Me too.”
      The director of the baby house spies us standing sheepishly in the lobby, trying not to touch anything. She marches out of her office and half-shouts something in Russian at us. Our interpreter, a skinny girl with glasses and her cap now tucked away, mumbles something to me I don’t catch. I want to see the boys and I’m tired of being in the car, of meeting strangers without understanding the language, and tired of the way the Russian adoption process doles out cryptic, often conflicting, bits of information in small doses. The director is blonde, round-faced and babbles on relentlessly. She has graying teeth and heavy makeup and a body several sizes too big for her clothes. Finally, she stops talking and stares at me, then at my husband, smiles and lets loose a little gruff noise. The interpreter says there is a small problem. They only have us down for one baby. She says it as if we’d stopped at a McDonald’s and the bored sixteen-year-old at the window had forgotten to include one of our milkshakes.
       “What do you mean?” I ask.
       “The paperwork. It says just one,” she says.
       “Two,” I say. “We’ve been over all this. The paperwork, the money, it’s all correct.”
       The way it works here, way out in the boonies of Siberia, is if you want a baby, or two, you follow the rules. And here are the rules. You pay thousands up front to people in America, some whom you’ve never met, don’t know, and don’t fully trust. Then, once you arrive in Moscow, you take 10,000 dollars in cash and you put 5,000 in one envelope and seal the envelope. You take 4,000 and put it in another envelope. Seal it. You take the remaining thousand and slip it into a third envelope. At some point on your trek from Moscow to the baby house, a man will ask for one of the envelopes. You give him the envelope. No talking. No questions. Later, at another time and another location, another man will ask for another envelope. You give him the envelope. Same with the last envelope. For two babies, you double the money and the envelopes. No discounts.
       What’s the money for, you ask?
       No questions. We already told you.
       To what degree that money filters down to care for the babies isn’t clear, but it’s not much, judging by the dilapidated condition of the baby house.
       The director and our interpreter whisper in Russian. Occasionally, our interpreter turns to me and says, “Is much better, I think.” Or, she says, “Okay, the paperwork, it must not be correct.” Or she says other things equally unlikely to get us anywhere. By now, I’m gyrating with unhappiness, straining to smile at the director, moving my hands and shaking my head, and beginning to feel what mothers must feel who have inexplicably lost a child. I haven’t been a mother for even one second, and I have lost my child. This is a child I’ve never seen in the flesh, never held, never comforted, but the feeling of loss is no less real.
       The director shouts and the interpreter says, “You get Sergey,” and pauses and says, “now.”
      “Yes, of course I want Sergey, but I also want Dmitry.” Here I pull out a photo, the one of Dmitry in pink, as if proving he is mine. I have his picture, don’t I?
      “Is not a problem,” the interpreter says.
       “Can I help?” I say knowing full well that I am ill-equipped to track down the whereabouts of a twenty-one-month-old in a far off Siberian baby house, especially if he is not so much lost as hidden.
       “Is not necessary,” she says.“The director, she is looking,”which isn’ t true because the director is flashing her graying teeth at me, shaking her head as if to say, “Only one baby today.”
      Rick quietly intones something to me and the interpreter and the director whisper, but no one is looking for Dmitry.
       Our interpreter nudges Rick and me down the hall into another room, this one radiant in its cleanliness and color and aura of hope, all elements conspicuously missing from the rest of the baby house. Without warning a thick-bodied woman appears with Sergey and carries him to the center of a little play area filled with toys and places him on the floor, the floor itself a flimsy ancient carpet that looks much like a giant board game, one that involves trains, train tracks, train stations and the like. Sergey is sitting squarely in the middle of the tracks but doesn’t notice, or if he does, he appears happy to find himself at the center of things. The director casts a frown at us. We have an hour with him and we’d better get to it while she tracks down Dmitry, or at least that’s what she means if not exactly what she says. I sit on the carpet next to Sergey, a fourteen-month old cutie in his red-and-white striped outfit, and I brush his blond hair with my hand and glance from Rick to the interpreter to the backside of the director marching away, hopefully toward my other boy.
     Sergey sits next to me, inhaling giant breaths through his nose as if breathing me in. I speak to him and make soft little cooing noises. Rick kneels beside us and takes Sergey’s arm and strokes it. I show him the teddy bear, wriggle it to get his attention, and then I place it in his lap and let go. Sergey watches me, ignoring the bear at first, then leans his little head forward and smells it and wraps a skinny arm around its body and squeezes and squeezes.
     There is more whispering off in the hallway and Dmitry finally appears, a tiny body cradled in a woman’s hefty arms. Compared to Sergey, Dmitry is a mess. Our order for two babies has apparently gotten waylaid, and as a rush job Dmitry hasn’t been properly prepared. He looks as if he’s been plucked from a box of mischievous babies, shaken and lightly dusted like you might a blouse you hadn’t worn in a while, and handed over. He isn’t dirty exactly, but he isn’t as spruced up and prepped as Sergey, as if the kids are only buffed, polished, and put on display when the adoptive parents show up for a test drive. He has red bumps all over his face from what I hope is only spiteful mosquitoes and nothing more serious. The bites, if that’s what they are, have been treated with something blue and pasty dabbed over the red. My little Dmitry is polka-dotted in baby blue and rose-red and, given his sallow skin, the combination isn’t at all pretty.
       That, and he is wailing in one long, noisy, burst of anger, pain, or I don’t know what. Everyone vanishes. It’s just Sergey and Dmitry and Rick and me off in one corner of the play area, our little family parked on the floor of a baby house in Novokuznetsk staring at each other. "

See? Doesn't that just grip you?!

And I think what is more impressive is the Author herself.

Even after (or rather, while) fighting such a difficult battle she has held a part time job as a Director of Marketing in the insurance industry and has used her marketing skills to create and promote her website Mom At Last, ( And she's recently launched The Adoption App on ITunes,( She hosts a weekly internet show on Mom TV and has appeared on Dr. Oz sharing her story and she, simply, makes me feel as though I'm not doing enough with my life!

I was very impressed with the entire book and encourage you all to check it out for yourself.

It's available for sale on Amazon, you can pick up a copy at your local book store and if you'd like to purchase a signed copy of Mom at Last: How I Never Gave Up On Becoming a Mother visit