October 31, 2018

Engineers Change the World! And That's Just One Reason to be One

10 ways to encourage your daughter to be an Amy in a world of Pennys

Industrial engineer Paula Jensen vividly remembers the day her youngest daughter told her that building block toys were for boys, not girls.
"And her mother's an engineer," says Jensen, an industrial engineering lecturer at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology in Rapid City, SD.
Despite a nationwide push to encourage more women to enter the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, there remains a lag.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that technology professions will see the greatest growth from now to the year 2030. Yet girls are still not pursuing the STEM fields in adequate numbers. And it's not because women can't do it. Studies show that girls score just as high or higher in math and science as their male counterparts, yet there remains a confidence gap – girls tend to believe that boys are better at science and math regardless of test scores.

What can parents do to encourage their daughters to remain open to careers in STEM fields? Here are 10 tips from the female scientists, engineers and staff at SD Mines.

1. Give your daughter toys that build spatial learning, an important skill in engineering fields - toys like tinker kits, Legos and builder kits. Studies show that girls tend to have less spatial skills than boys because of the toys they are given as children, says Jensen. The good news is spatial skills are easily learned, so make sure your daughters are building and creating. When Jensen's daughter told her building toys were for boys, she began to make a more conscious effort to give her toys that build spatial learning. Today, her daughter attends science-related camps and has a real interest in STEM.

2. Invite questions. Listen for those questions that show interest in the world, such as "Why is the sky blue?" and "What makes soda fizz?" And then answer the questions. If you don't know, together with your daughter find out. Make it fun.

3. Find mentors for your daughters. Do you know a female engineer or doctor or scientist? Make sure your daughter knows them, too. If you don't know any, find those examples in popular culture – books, television, movies, etc.

4. Don't be afraid to get involved with their schooling. For instance, if you know your child's school has one extraordinary physics teacher, go to bat to make sure your daughter gets that teacher.

5. Remind your daughter that it's OK not to have an A in everything. Inventors and scientists learn by trial and error. Mistakes sometimes lead to great things.

6. Find the science in everyday play. Does your daughter like to dig in the dirt and discover new rocks? Make the connection that this is a type of science and Google some fun stories about what geologists do. While making supper or baking cookies, talk about how there's a science behind the food cooking and yeast rising. If she figures out a solution to a problem, praise that she naturally used the scientific process, guessing and testing to figure it out. Attaching engineering and scientific terms to what they are already doing will help those labels continue to feel natural as they grow older, says Sarah Folsland with the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) center at SD Mines.

7. If your daughter is especially "girly," make the science fit her spirit. A science princess is good at making beautiful glitter slime and uses chemistry to make it extra gooey and sparkly. Keep in mind that even parents can have biases of what a science experiment should look like. Identify those tendencies and get creative with your approach to make science and engineering appealing to your child's interests.

8. Take advantage of classes and camps. For instance, the National Security Agency (NSA) offers a free cyber security camp for girls. Even if your daughter has no experience in programming, these kinds of experiences could open her eyes to a career in computer science and coding.

9. Get your daughter's friends involved by creating a STEM club. Go on a nature hike and identify plants and birds. Look for science and engineering companies in your community and ask for a tour. Host a science-themed birthday party or conduct a science experiment in your kitchen when your daughter has friends visiting. There are tons of ideas online.

10. Be conscious of your own biases. You might not have fond memories of math and science classes, but be careful about how you describe your experiences and feelings about the subjects, says engineer Andrea Brickey, an associate professor of mining engineering and management at SD Mines. If your daughter is asking for help with her math or science homework and you don't feel you can assist, reach out to the teacher and see if there are tutors or older students who can help. There are also some great resources online to help brush up on your skills. Search for "Khan Academy" or "Just Math Tutorials" and have some fun, she says.

About SD Mines
Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a science and engineering research university located in Rapid City, S.D., offering bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls 2,778 students with a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1. The SD School of Mines placement rate for graduates is 97 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $61,300. Find us online at and on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat.

September 12, 2018

Saucony, Keds, Sperry shoes for back to school

As the school year is quickly coming to a close, the search for the perfect summer camp shoe is on! Finding a shoe that's tough like a sneaker, yet breathable like a sandal can be tough, but Merrell's Hydro 2.0 makes it simple.

The Hydro 2.0 takes kids' performance sandals to the next level. With easy on/off adjustability and a durable outsole paired with cutouts and mesh details, the sneaker goes from land to sea seamlessly.

September 6, 2018

7 Tips to Protect Your Child from Summertime Injuries (and What to Do if Your Child Gets Hurt Anyway)

7 Tips to Protect Your Child from Summertime Injuries (and What to Do if Your Child Gets Hurt Anyway)

By Alicia Briggs, MD, Interim Chair of Pediatrics, Norwalk Hospital, Pediatric Hospitalist, Connecticut Children's Medical Center

For many families, summertime means enjoying outdoor activities — in the backyard, around the neighborhood, and at the pool, beach, park, or playground. Although these activities provide kids with opportunities to have fun, exercise, and spend time with friends and family, they also can put children at a higher risk for injuries.

In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 9.2 million children visit the emergency department each year as a result of unintentional injuries — many of which are preventable.

According to the CDC, falls are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries in children younger than 15 years old. Falls can result in fractures, concussions, and back injuries that require emergency treatment. Other common — and sometimes fatal — unintentional injuries include burns, drowning, and trauma caused by pedestrian or cycling accidents.

Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe

Here are a few injury prevention tips from Connecticut Children's Medical Center (Connecticut Children's) Injury Prevention Center and Safe Kids Connecticut that parents and caregivers can follow to help kids have a fun and safe summer:

1. Buckle up for every ride. Make sure that every child and every adult is buckled up before you get on the road. In the event of a crash, unrestrained occupants are 30 times more likely to be ejected from the vehicle.

2. Wear a helmet. Helmets can prevent serious head injuries. Your child should always wear a helmet when skating or riding a scooter, skateboard, or bike.

3. See and be seen. Teach children to cross the street at street corners, or where there are crosswalks. Wave or make eye contact with drivers and make sure all traffic is stopped before crossing. Children's bikes should be equipped with front and rear lights and children should learn bike safety rules.

4. Look out for slippery surfaces. Whether it's a rain-soaked piece of playground equipment, dewy grass, or a wet pool deck, slippery surfaces can cause falls — which can lead to concussions, cuts, bruises, back injuries, and broken bones.

5. Be a water watcher. Parents and caregivers should pay undivided attention to children when they are around water. Young children should wear a life jacket when they are in or around water. Children should learn to swim. Every child is different, so parents should enroll children in swimming lessons as soon as they feel the child is ready. Children should be taught to only swim in a pool or other body of water when there is a lifeguard on duty.

6. Be careful when boating. Although state boating laws may vary, U.S. Coast Guard boating laws require that children under 13 years old wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD) when on a vessel that is underway, unless the child is below deck or in an enclosed cabin.

7. Stay hydrated. When kids are having fun in the sun, it can be tough to get them to stop and take a drink of water. Dehydration can be dangerous, so make sure kids drink plenty of water during sports practices and other outdoor activities.

8. Use caution near grills and open flames. Keep matches, lighters, and flammable liquids away from children. Keep children away from grills and open flames and make sure children are supervised when these items are in use.

Getting Kids the Care They Need

Although it's important for parents and caregivers to follow these summertime safety tips, accidents happen — and every parent and caregiver needs to know how to get their child the right treatment if an injury occurs.

Some injuries may only require a visit to your child's primary care provider or an urgent care facility. But if your child has a serious accident, he or she may need to visit a hospital emergency department.

As part of a partnership between Western Connecticut Health Network (WCHN) and Connecticut Children's, children who visit the emergency department at WCHN's Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital, or Norwalk Hospital will have 24/7 access to pediatric consultations at the bedside from Connecticut Children's physicians and physician assistants (PAs).

In addition to receiving best-in-class emergency care from pediatric specialists, children who are admitted to Danbury Hospital and Norwalk Hospital will receive on-site inpatient care from Connecticut Children's providers. These specially trained pediatric hospitalists and PAs will streamline communication between specialists, and support follow-up care with primary care providers following hospital discharge.

The partnership with Connecticut Children's also allows WCHN to offer multidisciplinary, collaborative sub-specialty care for children. If your child's injury requires care from a pediatric sub-specialist, such as a pediatric neurologist, surgeon or orthopedist, you can rest assured that your child will receive the highest-quality care from the physicians at Connecticut Children's — the only hospital in Connecticut dedicated exclusively to the care of children.

At WCHN, our goal is to provide children and their families with access to the best pediatric care close to home. We hope you and your child have a safe and healthy summer! Our pediatricians and pediatric hospitalists and specialists will be ready to care for your child if you need us.

About Western Connecticut Health Network
Western Connecticut Health Network is the region's premier, patient-centered healthcare organization serving residents of western Connecticut and adjacent New York. WCHN is anchored by three nationally recognized hospitals, Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital, and Norwalk Hospital. We have an integrated network of more than 1,300 employed and community physicians and specialists, 70 Western Connecticut Medical Group medical and sub-specialty practices across 16 communities, and Western Connecticut Home Care. Our nationally renowned Rudy L. Ruggles Biomedical Research Institute is leading innovative research, especially for cancer and Lyme disease. Many of our advancements have been made possible by generous donors from our community and through the Danbury Hospital & New Milford Hospital Foundation and the Norwalk Hospital Foundation. As an academic institution, we are proud to shape the future of care through our partnership with the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine. WCHN employs nearly 6,300 employees including about 1,900 clinical staff. For more information, visit Share your comments with us at,, and

About Connecticut Children's Medical Center
Connecticut Children's Medical Center is the only hospital in Connecticut dedicated exclusively to the care of children and is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best children's hospitals in the nation. With a medical staff of more than 1,000, Connecticut Children's provides comprehensive, world-class health care in more than 30 pediatric specialties and subspecialties. Connecticut Children's Medical Center is a not-for-profit organization, which serves as the primary pediatric teaching hospital for the UConn School of Medicine, has a teaching partnership with the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University, and is a research partner of The Jackson Laboratory. Connecticut Children's Office for Community Child Health is a national leader in community-based

August 31, 2018

Consistency and Routine: Tips for Single Parents on Managing a Household

Consistency and Routine: Tips for Single Parents on Managing a Household

When single parents say they don't have a moment to themselves, they're not kidding. Between the demands of work, raising healthy and happy children, maintaining a home, and taking care of themselves, single moms and dads very rarely have time to just hang out or chanel surf for a couple hours each night. There are countless details to worry about, from making sure the kids' homework gets done, to cooking and getting everyone to bed on time. When you're going it alone, it doesn't take much to feel overwhelmed, especially if you don't have a support network to help when the going gets rough. Keeping a consistent routine that everyone follows and contributes to can help make it all work.

Kids need the security and normality of a routine schedule. It helps them make sense of the world around them (especially those whose parents are newly divorced), provides a feeling of security, and makes it easier to maintain discipline. If your children know that homework's to be done by dinner time every day, there's less likely to be a misunderstanding, and it's easier to hold them to that expectation if everyone knows what's expected.
If things are a little too chaotic in the evening, try arranging a regular evening schedule that incorporates homework, dinner, TV/computer/recreation time, and bedtime. Involve the kids in preparing dinner and cleaning up afterward so they have a sense of ownership and responsibility. Organize and declutter each room, arranging closets and keeping the bathroom in good order so things don't get lost.

It can be very hard for single parents to maintain discipline, particularly if their partner usually took the lead in that area. Kids can get confused or become angry when discipline is applied by a parent they've always seen as the nurturer, or caregiver. That's why it's important that divorced parents work together to establish ground rules. Set behavioral boundaries so your kids know where to draw the line and to let them know you believe they're capable of understanding how far is too far. If there's one thing that kids, especially little ones, hate it's having to sit still. Use the "time out" as a tactic to enforce discipline, a no-play interval during which they have to be absolutely quiet and do as they're told. Taking away privileges is another effective behavior-modifying approach.

For many single parents, money is tight and needs to be carefully managed. This may come easier to some people than others; it's not something everyone's good at, though there's no denying its importance. Start with the basics: make a budget to help you get a handle on how much you're spending for each household need. Consider every expenditure, from mortgage or rent to candy money for the kids. Carefully monitor your checking account and any savings you have and be very careful with credit card expenditures, especially now that you're a single-parent household. Money may be tight, but try to save where you can. Three or four months' worth of savings can help you prepare for emergencies, at least in the short term.

Single parents often feel lonely, having no one to help make decisions or to sort things out when the kids start fighting. Trying to find a little "me" time just to escape for a while and gather your thoughts may seem an impossible task. Reach out to friends or family, anyone you know well who could help out for an evening here and there. If money's tight, try saving for a babysitter so you can enjoy dinner out with friends now and then or just spend some quiet time at your favorite coffee shop.
You're not alone

Being a single parent doesn't mean you always have to shoulder the burden alone. Assign your kids tasks throughout the week so they can help out, spend an hour or so sharing your frustrations with a good friend, and make time for family fun on the weekends. And remember to take care of yourself by getting enough sleep and eating right.

Courtesy of Pixabay

August 29, 2018

5 Powerfully Valuable Steps to Help Busy Parents Soothe Their Child's Anxiety

5 Powerfully Valuable Steps to Help Busy Parents Soothe Their Child's Anxiety
By Laurie Hollman, Ph.D

Anxiety in children and teens is on the rise. More than 1 in 20 children in the U.S. experience serious anxiety. While occasional anxiety is part of normal life, children and teens with anxiety disorders frequently have intense, excessive, persistent worry about everyday situations. The disorder causes biochemical changes in the body, and has a bearing on a child or teen's future behavior.

Busy parents trying to manage a family on the go need a way to quickly and effectively help their child cope with anxiety. Stable, supportive, secure parent-child and parent-teen relationships are the most important elements to resolving experiences of anxiety. Parents' non-judgmental, empathic responses help children and teens resolve these highly tension-producing experiences.

Common anxiety disorders range from generalized anxiety to separation anxiety, panic disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorders. Parents first need to understand each episode's meaning and to consider it a message -- and even an invitation -- to empathic understanding.

To do so, here are five steps that provide parents a way to quickly and effectively approach their child's anxiety:

1. Step back. Parents need to first say to themselves, "Slo-o-o-w down. Take your time. Don't rush forward. Breathe deeply. Consider what to say or do, if anything." Without distancing themselves from their emotional response, parents often make rash decisions. If they never pause, they never allow emotions to subside and thinking to begin. By resisting the impulse to burst in with a quick solution, parents model for their child a calm manner that will help ease the child's own distress.

2. Self-reflect. Self-reflecting allows parents to observe themselves objectively and think about the genesis of their feelings, motives and actions in response to their child's behavior. When parents are busy, this step is often left out, but in the long run it saves time because self-understanding then leads to an understanding of their reactions to their child. Self-reflecting allows parents to discover how their past experiences of anxiety affect their present approach to parenting.

3. Understand the child's mind. Most parents can recognize their child's moods, but they need time to figure out the reason for a particular mood. Anxious behavior is meaningful and it's important for parents to examine their ideas about what elicited it with their child. This shows empathy, and when the child or teen feels understood, it can help in containing the emotions and thinking them through.

4. Understand your child's development. When you set expectations for your child, be sure they reflect the child's developmental level, which may fall behind or step ahead of his or her chronological age. Watch for the development of individual capacities and interpersonal skills -- impulse control, effective communication, empathy and autonomy. Being critical of a child for not completing tasks expected for his or her chronological age creates anxiety and lowers self-esteem.

5. Problem-solve. Discuss and create alternative ways for coping with anxiety that lead to resolving the internal torment and pain. The four previous steps leading to problem solving may seem linear, but parents may need to go back and forth among them. This is truly significant because the earlier steps bear directly on the process of problem solving. When children learn that their parents realize the underlying problems behind their original anxiety, they become more open to hearing what their parents have to say. It helps them to feel understood.

This 5-step approach provides busy parents not only a structured way to help their anxious child or teen, but it also offers a vision of hope. It's an avenue for parents to better understand their children at all ages and developmental levels, firming up and fortifying the parent-child and parent-teen relationships.

One word of caution: If the child's anxiety isn't just occasional and fleeting, parents will want to discuss this emotional trouble with a healthcare expert.

* * *
Laurie Hollman, PhD, is a psychoanalyst with specialized clinical training in infant-parent, child, adolescent, and adult psychotherapy a unique practice that covers the life span. Dr. Hollman is widely published on topics relevant to parents and children such as juried articles and chapters in the international Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, The International Journal of Infant Observation, and the Inner World of the Mother. She is the author of Unlocking Parental Intelligence – Finding Meaning in Your Child's Behavior, winner of the Mom's Choice Award, and the Busy Parent's Guides series of books: The Busy Parent's Guide to Managing Anxiety in Children Teens – The Parental Intelligence Way, and The Busy Parent's Guide to Managing Anger in Children and Teens – The Parental Intelligence Way (Familius, Aug. 1, 2018). Learn more at

August 28, 2018

Perfect Spots For Family Camping in Connecticut

Perfect Spots For Family Camping In Connecticut

Camping is a favorite past-time all across America including in Connecticut where the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection provides approximately 1400 campsites throughout the entire state, including 38 quaint cabins for your family's enjoyment. With children spending an increasing amount of time with their eyes glued to television and phone screens, a family outdoor adventure may prove to be just what the doctor ordered. While adequate planning is obviously an essential part of any successful and fun-filled camping trip with the family, location is of equal importance. Luckily Connecticut residents are fortunate enough to be surrounded by a host of top-notch family-friendly camping facilities such as the following that will help ensure your first camping trip with the kids in tow is a memorable one.

Mystic KOA Campground – North Stonington
This KOA (Kampgrounds of America) site is situated on a 250-year-old site in Southeast Connecticut and effortlessly combines the best traditional New England has to offer with all the latest family camping conveniences. The family resort with its ancient maple trees and picturesque stone walls provide both Connecticut natives and out-of-state visitors with gorgeous views of rolling hills, breathtaking sunsets and an unlimited amount of crisp, fresh air. If you don't have an RV or aren't quite ready to attempt tented living with the family you can take advantage of the campground's Camping Cabins and Deluxe Cabins while reveling in modern-day amenities such as a sparkling swimming pool, dog park, Wi-Fi facilities and mini golf course. After an exciting day of enjoying everything Mother Nature has to offer, the whole family can partake in Campfire Theatre where employees engage in storytelling and other kid-friendly entertainment around the fire while s'mores are being roasted.

Nelson's Family Campground - East Hampton
The Nelson's Family Campground is located in central Connecticut and has been owned and operated by the Gustine family since back in 1964. The campground is located on 175 acres of scenic land and allows visitors to either bring their own RV or rent one. Apart from regular amenities such as a swimming pool, pool table, basketball, volleyball, hiking and fishing, Nelson's also offers various themed weekends including Bingo Mania, Happy Days and Mad Scientist. If you are looking for a fun-filled family camping experience paired with a hint of nostalgia, Nelson's should undoubtedly top your list of dream destinations.

Nature's Campsites – Voluntown
Tucked away in the Pachaug State Forest, Nature's Campsites offers families the opportunity to enjoy the Connecticut natural scenery at its best. The large campground is covered in soaring pines and boasts access to one of New England's most renowned rivers for family fishing and canoeing. If you bring another family along for your camping trip you can make use of the grounds' group tent sites or you can merely pick a charming spot to park your RV or pitch your tent. The children will love running around under the trees while the entire family will undoubtedly enjoy spending time in the pool or at the playground while also keeping in touch with friends and family back home thanks to the very nifty Wi-Fi hotspots situated around the grounds. The campsite is open from May to October so there is still time to book your weekend away before we bid a sad farewell to summer for the year.

Regardless of where you choose to camp, and how well you plan (or fail to plan), time spent outdoors with your family will undoubtedly be memorable. Enjoy every minute as a family as children grow up so fast and before you know it they will be spending weekends and holidays with their friends instead of the family. Make the memories while you can – they will last you a lifetime.

August 22, 2018

FastAsleep Playard

FastAsleep Playard

Chicco's NEW FastAsleep playard is expertly engineered to simplify both travel and everyday life for parents and their little ones. Designed to be portable and used on-the-go, the FastAsleep requires no assembly thanks to its convenient snap-open set-up. When folded, it's compact and easy to maneuver so it's not a headache for parents to pack or carry along with them. Adding to its convenience for parents, the FastAsleep features zip-and-wash fabrics to ensure clean-up is a breeze.

The FastAsleep is a comfortable play and nap spot for baby, complete with a full-size padded mattress. It also offers parents the versatility of a 2-in-1 changer/napper innovatively designed to flip between the two without any hassle. The changer/napper duo clicks directly into the playard's frame and travels seamlessly as well.

Available online at and in-stores, the FastAsleep retails for $179.99. A GO version, which omits the 2-in-1 changer/napper, is also available for $149.99.

May 8, 2018

5 Ways to Celebrate Mom Without Breaking the Bank

By Brian O'Connell

Mother's Day 2018 spending is expected to remain near record highs, according to the Washington, D.C.-based National Retail Federation.
Mother's Day spending "is expected to total a near-record $23.1 billion this year", according to the NRF. "Additionally, the average American will spend an estimated $180 for Mom's big day, no doubt on pricey niceties like brunches, flowers, and maybe even a shopping spree for the family matron."
"This year's Mother's Day forecast is one of the strongest we've ever seen," notes Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the NRF. "With spring in full bloom, Americans are looking forward to splurging on their mothers and retailers are prepared to offer a variety of options that will allow consumers to find the perfect gift for the occasion."
Yet the fact is that many mothers don't want family members to spend all that cash. Instead, they'd appreciate their loved ones getting creative and getting busy with Mother's Day gifts that are heavy on memorable experiences and lighter on the wallet.
"Some of my favorite Mother's Day memories with my kids were the inexpensive ones," says Allison Radkay, founder of the lifestyle blog, "Come to think of it, most of my Mother's Days were inexpensive when my kids were little. My favorite ways to celebrate were either working in our gardens as a family or taking a day trip to Starved Rock State Park in Illinois."
"Spending those special moments"—for the cost of a tank of gas, a picnic lunch and an ice cream treat—"with my daughters is something I will always cherish, especially now that they are young adults," she adds.

For a frugal and fulfilling Mother's Day this year just like the one Radkay remembers, here are 5 creative ways to give Mom what she really wants—a great holiday experience she'll cherish.

1. Just Show Your Thanks
Instead of heavy doses of cash, say "thank you," says Sarah McVanel, chief recognition officer at Greatness Magnified, a speaking and coaching services firm. "Make it your own, make it surprising, make it unique and make it fun," she says. "Write the 20 reasons you are grateful to your mom, the 15 lessons she taught you—that you're finally ready to admit, your fondest memories of her, or anything else that recognizes in specific, meaningful ways what she means to you."
Simply write a note, post it on Facebook and print it, and film yourself on a video. "You can even ask for submissions from others in your family about why she's an amazing mom and compile it in written, video or picture form," McVanel says.

2. Write a Pure Love Letter
"As a mom who lost her only child four years ago, I can tell you the most precious gifts are memories and love letters from my son," says Roni Lambrecht, an author and speaker based in Castle Rock, Col. "Planning a day full of games at home, such as board games, card games, or outside games, along with cooking together and everyone helping to clean up together are awesome. But the most prized possessions I have now are the words that my son wrote to me."

3. Make Mom a Visual
For less than $10 you can print 50 photos at retail outlets like Walgreens or Walmart, says Alex Cook, co-founder of NanaGram, a photo services company. "Going through photos with your Mom or Grandma is a wonderful activity," Cook notes. "Like vinyl records, the printed photos are amazing conversation pieces. Unlike looking at photos or videos on your phone, printed photos stay with your Mom or Grandma after you go home, on the fridge, in frames, and in albums, and serve as a constant 'I love you' message."

4. Cooking and Cleaning
A lot of moms will appreciate a little help around the house, says Kelan Kline, co-founder of the Savvy Couple blog. "Give her a coupon that she can redeem to clean the bathrooms, kitchen floors, or even her car," Kline says. "Another great Mother's Day idea is planning out a meal and cooking for her."

5. Give to Charity Together
Working together to support a favorite charity is yet another creative way to enjoy Mother's Day. "We offer Mother's Day gift bag that tie to the National Breast Cancer Foundation," says Kelly Anne Parker, founder of Send Ribbon, an online gift shop that gives back to charities via specialized gift bags. "It's two gifts in one and you can start from a budget of $10 to $100 dollars; 50% of the proceeds go to charity."

The takeaway? Mom's want you on Mother's Day—more than they do flowers or plush brunches.

The message is clear, says Denis Devigne, founder of Vidday Media, Inc., a video services company. "They're saying 'please don't buy me anything—I don't need any more stuff," he says. "The truth is, mothers value relationships and experiences over possessions."

This post originally appeared on the Experian blog.

March 29, 2018

Beautiful gifts for the woman in your life

This Spoken by Chamilia collection is really jewelry reinvented through the influence of social media," said Chamilia Vice President, Global Merchandising and Marketing Catherine Ottaviano. "Personalized jewelry ideally lends itself to this lifestyle trend, because it is already a social expression for women. We are simply expanding the options women have to work with when inventing their own jewelry message."

Spoken by Chamilia will launch five Emoji Petites charms, including:
• Chamilia Petite Blowing Kisses Charm—This sterling silver charm with polished finish features a smiling emoticon blowing a kiss (MSRP $25 U.S.).
• Chamilia Petite Smiley Face Charm—This sterling silver charm with polished finish features a smiling emoticon with heart-shaped eyes (MSRP $25 U.S.).
• Chamilia Petite Crying From Laughter Charm—This sterling silver charm with polished finish features a smiling emoticon crying happy tears (MSRP $25 U.S.).
• Chamilia Petite Laughing Out Loud Charm—This sterling silver charm with polished finish features a text bubble silhouette with the letters "LOL" in black enamel (MSRP $25 U.S.).
• Hashtag Chamilia Petite Charm—This sterling silver charm with polished finish features a representation of a hashtag and can be paired with Spoken by Chamilia Initial Petites in any combination for a personalized message (MSRP $25 U.S.).

New earrings in the Emoji Petites collection include:
• Chamilia Petite Smiley Face Stud Earrings—These sterling silver earrings with polished finish feature a smiling emoticon with heart-shaped eyes on a sterling silver post. (MSRP $35 U.S.).
• Chamilia XO Stud Earrings—These sterling silver earrings with bright finish send hugs and kisses in the shape of the letters "xo" in a vertical orientation on a sterling silver post. (MSRP $35 U.S.).
• Chamilia Petite Lips Stud Earrings—These sterling silver earrings with bright finish feature the silhouette of luscious lips on a sterling silver post. (MSRP $35 U.S.).
Chamilia is introducing two new Spoken by Chamilia ID Bangles this season:
• Chamilia YES SI OUI ID Bangle—This 100% recycled sterling silver bangle displays the message "Yes Si Oui" and features Chamilia's iconic hummingbird logo charm. The bangle is available in sizes S/M and M/L in a silver satin finish (MSRP $39 U.S.).

• Chamilia Arrow ID Bangle—This 100% recycled sterling silver bangle features an image of an arrow. The bangle is available in sizes S/M and M/L in silver satin finish (MSRP $39 U.S.), as well as 14 karat yellow gold electroplating over sterling silver (MSRP $xx U.S.), and 14 karat rose gold electroplating over sterling silver (MSRP $59 U.S.).
The brand is introducing one new Spoken by Chamilia sterling silver Soft ID Bracelet:
• Chamilia So Loved Soft ID Bracelet—This sterling silver bracelet with bright finish displays the message "So Loved" along a horizontal oval bar with cutout filigree detailing on both top and bottom of the plaque (MSRP $39 U.S.).

Items from Chamilia's Spoken by Chamilia Spring 2018 collection will be available starting January 14, 2018, and will be sold at the brand's more than 1,000 retail partners worldwide and on the Chamilia website. For more information about the Chamilia brand, please go to

About Chamilia
Based in Cranston, RI, Chamilia is an American company that was established in 2002. Since its purchase in 2013, it has been owned in full by Swarovski, a world leader in quality and innovation. Each of the more than 400 exclusive charms and wide selection of fine jewelry available from the brand are made from .925 sterling silver or 14 karat gold and feature genuine Swarovski Crystals or Zirconia, or Italian Murano Glass. The brand follows strict Swarovski guidelines for quality and aesthetic excellence. For more information, please go to

About Swarovski
Swarovski delivers a diverse product portfolio of unmatched quality, craftsmanship and creativity. Founded in 1895 in Austria, Swarovski Crystal Business designs, manufactures and markets crystals, natural and created gemstones, finished products such as jewelry, accessories and lighting. The company's film division, Swarovski Entertainment, produces artistically accomplished feature films with global box-office appeal. The Swarovski Foundation was set up to honor the philanthropic spirit of the company by supporting creativity and culture, promoting wellbeing and conserving natural resources. Now run by the fifth generation of family members, Swarovski Crystal Business has a global reach, with over 2,350 stores in about 170 countries and more than 25,000 employees,

March 16, 2018

The latest Spring and Summer toys!

The latest from Amloid – a fourth-generation, family-owned toy company that's been making a wide range of fun, innovative and value-driven toys for more than 100 years – include the all-new NextWave™ Jumbo Beach Basket, Aqua Creatures Swim Masks & Squirterz and the Play Day™ Character Beach Basket, all of which are now available at retail. Fun fact: Since 1916, Amloid has sold a whopping one billion beach shovels and pails to date!

For connected, tech-savvy kids, KD Interactive has been making innovative electronic toys for more than 20 years, and is well-known globally for its best-selling Kurio line of kid-safe tablets and smart devices. Perfect to keep children busy and entertained in the backseat or on a flight during summer adventures and travel are the Kurio Watch 2.0 smartwatch for kids and Kurio Snap digital camera!

NextWave™ – Jumbo Beach Basket
Get ready to have tons of fun in the sun with the all-new, totally redesigned NextWave™ Jumbo Beach Basket from Amloid! This bright and colorful activity set is packed with play value with all the accessories kids need to spend hours at the beach or in the sand box with new sand forms and a collection of multifunctional sand tools. New features include a sturdy nylon shoulder strap along with a comfort grip handle for easy on-the-go portability. And the collapsible folding case makes clean up a breeze by shaking out water and sand when its time to go. Plus, the cover detaches from the basket to double as a super-sized animal sand form! Whether little ones are creating cool castles or sculpting masterpieces in the sand, parents will love the quality and value of this Jumbo Beach Basket set from a trusted brand name in Amloid. The 15-piece set comes complete with assorted sea creatures and nautical forms, bucket with handle, castle molds, rake, roller, sand spinner, sifter and shovels in a variety of sizes. Available in 3 styles: Flamingo (pink), Whale (purple) and Shark (teal).
Ages: 2+
MSRP: $14.99
Available: Now @ Sam's Club

Play Day™ – Character Beach Basket
Amloid's newest beach play set packs fun with functionality at an amazing value! The new Play Day™ Character Beach Baskets features a trio of creatures to choose from to take on any adventure: Turtle, Clown Fish or Crab. Children will have a super fun time with the assortment of brightly-colored, durable and essential sand tools to add endless enjoyment to any beach escape. The collapsible folding case cover detaches from the basket to double as a large-sized animal sand form, while the enclosed basket makes clean up a breeze by shaking out water and sand when its time to go. Plus, a comfort grip handle makes for easy on-the-go portability and travel. This 6-piece activity set is the perfect accessory pack to start shaping creations in the sand with a pail, castle mold, shovel and sifter. Available in 3 styles: Turtle (green), Clown Fish (blue) and Crab (red).
Ages: 2+
MSRP: $4.96
Available: Spring 2018 @ Walmart

Aqua Kidz - Aqua Creatures Swim Masks
Take a dive on the wild side and discover the underwater world in a whole new way with the Aqua Creatures Swim Masks from Amloid! Kids can explore their animal alter-egos with a quality mask that will keep their eyes protected and will surely bring loads of fun to pool and water activities. Each version features unique creature characteristics as the shark mask comes complete with a fin on top, realistic eyes and jagged teeth over the lens, while the crocodile mask is decked out in reptile scales, spooky yellow eyes and spikey teeth. The one-size-fits-all mask features an adjustable strap to fit kids ages 5-and-up along with a durable, high-quality kid-safe lens. Available in 3 styles: Crocodile (green), Shark (pink) and Shark (blue)
Ages: 5+
MSRP: $9.97
Available: Spring 2018 @ Walmart

Aqua Kidz - Aqua Creatures Water Squirterz

Talk about a wet and wild sneak attack! With Amloid's Aqua Creatures Water Squirterz, kids will have a blast battling each other to see whose predator is the pack leader. Just place the hand-held launcher under water and squeeze the compression pump to fill it up, then squeeze again to soak your target. Available in ferociously playful shark and crocodile editions, each squirterz can launch a steady stream of water up to 10 feet! Whether outside in a pool or inside in a bath, the Aqua Creatures Squirterz will take the fun to a whole new level. The one-size-fits-all squirterz are the perfect accessory to add to any water toy box this spring. Available in 3 styles: Crocodile (green), Shark (pink) and Shark (blue)

Ages: 5+
MSRP: $7.68
Available: Spring 2018 @ Walmart

Kurio Watch 2.0
The next generation of The Ultimate Smartwatch Built for Kids is here – Kurio Watch 2.0+! Now comes with two (2) interchangeable bands to match your style, including a bonus band that changes color right on your wrist! The front-facing camera is perfect for selfies and recording videos—make a silly face or add to the fun with photo filters & frames, then customize the watch face with your photo! Play the included single and two-player games on one watch, or connect two watches together via Bluetooth, plus motion-sensitive games that get kids moving! Message friends via Bluetooth to share texts, emojis, selfies, doodles and voice recordings with other Kurio Watches & Android devices. Plus, everything you need in a smartwatch – activity tracker, music player, alarm/stopwatch, calculator, calendar and so much more. Connect to a parent's smartphone via Bluetooth as a hands-free way to make and take calls. With scratch resistant and splash proof protection, plus an "In Case of an Emergency" (I.C.E.) app where parents can enter their child's medical and contact information.
Ages: 6+
MSRP: $59.99
Available: Now @ Amazon

Kurio Snap
Kurio Snap is the ultimate digital camera built especially for kids that makes it simple to snap, edit and share fun photos and videos. A swivel camera lens easily switches from regular camera mode to taking selfies and YouTube-style videos, so kids will never miss the perfect shot. The large touch screen makes photo editing easy, and kids can use more than 100 fun photo filters, frames and stickers to personalize every picture. Create fun slideshows and even add your own custom soundtrack or sound effects. Safely share photos and videos with friends and family over Wi-Fi using the free Kurio Snap app (Snap to Snap or compatible with both iOS and Android devices). Or print your custom creations to give them out using the included USB cable (subject to printer compatibility). Kurio Snap also comes pre-loaded with fun games where you can be the star – just snap a selfie and you're in the game! A splashproof bumper protects the device from drops and spills, and a wrist strap makes it easy to carry.
Ages: 4+
MSRP: $69.99
Available: Now @ Amazon

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