Monday, July 30, 2007

BlogHer '07 MILM's (Moms I Liked Meeting)

So, BlogHer '07 has come and gone, and for me at least it was over way too soon. I met lots of great people and attended really interesting seminars, including a few where I wrangled a microphone for BlogHer, which was really fun! I actually had people coming up and asking me for extra tickets for free cocktails, thinking I was "connected" because they had seen me in a few meetings, running around with a microphone like Phil Donahue used to (younger Moms, imagine Sally Jesse Raphael or Geraldo).

Anyway, I wanted to take the time to let all of you know about some of the great Moms I met!

On Friday, I knew I wanted to find the MayasMom table. MayasMom, if you aren't a member, is the best community for Moms around anywhere. They don't do product reviews, so yes, you need to keep reading Cool Moms Rule! : ) But they DO have some great groups you can join.

Before I tracked down the MayasMom group, I met up with three Moms over lunch, the ladies who write for and, and another blog called "My Funny Family"--hey, you can't see that unless you are her friend! Oh, well, maybe she will see this and fix it? Anyway, these ladies were great company and made me feel right at home.

Luckily, CrazedParent, the Director over at Maya's Mom actually found me! So then after we hugged, she pointed me over to Ann, the CEO who started the whole community, who was seated with Jean, the Director of Jean was talking about how she wanted more people to know that her site was interactive, that she wanted to do more to increase the interactivity, and that she wondered why more parents didn't come by. And I have to tell you, I felt ashamed of myself. My kids grew up on PBS shows like Arthur and I grew up on Sesame Street! When Mr. Rogers died this year, I was saddened by this loss. Although I wasn't a fan of his show in particular, anyone who knows anything about the man knows that he lived his life as a role model for kids and adults alike.

I found myself thinking fondly about those childhood days spent watching all the great PBS shows. Anyone remember Miss June from Romper Room? Remember clomping around on your Romper Stompers, while Miss June looked into her magic mirror, and you were just praying she would say your name as she started with, "I see Billy and Lisa and.."? I sure do. So, please, do remember how fantastic PBS is, and take a trip over to the PBS parents site!

I felt very privileged, on the second day of BlogHer, to meet Kristin over at PPD Survivor, because I just can't praise her enough for what she is doing. Kristin was actually an executive before she went through her own traumatic ordeal dealing with postpartum psychosis, and now she has reached out to an entire community of women, openly discussing just what that's like. Her pet peeve is the way the media portrays only the very worst--Mothers committing infanticide, horrible tragedies--about PPD, and not the success stories. She's been writing to Oprah (and others), trying to get them to show strong women who have suffered with PPD and still managed to gain control of their lives, and I think she should be the first one they call.

In one of the seminars, hosted by Microsoft, I met a wonderful young woman, Jennifer, from Malaysia, whose blog is entitled "The Imperfect Mom." As you might guess, we hit it right off! Interesting enough, Jennifer mentioned that now that she has moved to America, even though she is from Malaysia and will be returning there, her Malaysian readers seem to feel she has lost some of her validity to comment on Malaysian matters, especially politics. So let's all try to make her feel at home here, as well, and maybe check out her site?

Wow, there are so many women I want to write about, and this post is becoming long, so I guess I will need to speed things up! Kate, from Life the Universe and Everything was friendly as could be, and I rode the trolley with Susan from WMAG (Working Moms Against Guilt). I had snacks and a short break with Melissa of Under Construction, and of course there were all the great Moms who I met in passing and just neglected to exchange business cards with.

Thanks to all, and I'm sorry I had to leave anyone out, because I enjoyed spending time with each and every one of you.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

BlogHer '07 Rocks!

I just wanted to let everyone know that if you couldn't make the BlogHer '07 conference, you need to plan ahead for '08!

I've met some other Cool Moms, and next post I will write about them and their blogs so that you can meet them, too!

I've had a fantastic time interacting with all the other women (and men, too!) here at BlogHer '07. BlogHer has done a fantastic job of not only arranging quality presentations and bringing in the very best exhibitors (who, I have to say, are incredibly generous with all the swag they are passing out--it's like trick-or-treating!), but also creating opportunities for all of us to get together and socialize.

And, sorry if I am gushing here, but they really couldn't ask for a better venue than the Navy Pier here in Chicago. Once I realized that I needed to take that trolley all the way out to the very end, I was set. Note to future attendees: the Navy Pier is lo-o-o-o-ng! There's the entrance, where you find the Children's Museum and restaurants, the center full of shops, a Ferris Wheel and lots of family activities, and then finally the Grand Ballroom at the end, with beer gardens outside and sometimes music.

Tonight, though I will be flying home, is Venetian night at the Navy Pier, and I hear that the the parade of boats with their lights all lit up is just beautiful.

More soon!

Next post: Who I met and what I learned.

BlogHer '07 Session: Silenced Women Speak Out

Bahraina journalist Amira Al Hussaini led a discussion, along with Liz Henry from ( and Katherine Stone ( about "Silenced Communities" and giving women from these communities a voice.

These women, on the stage, live very different lifestyles, and yet they all identified with the concept of "Silenced Communities." Then the audience joined in, and the discussion really became interesting.

Amira Al Hussaini understands what it means to silenced. Her community believed that a woman should be seen and not heard. Although Bahrain does now allow women to serve in elected posts legally, the stigma is so great societally that for a very long time not even a single woman served in an elected post, because people simply would not vote for a women to represent them.

For Kristin Stone, the stigma of mental illness has created a silenced community among mothers who suffer from postpartum depression, postpartum psychosis and other mental conditions. She spoke about how women with these problems, if they are addressed by the media at all, are those at the extreme negative end of the spectrum: a mother who has committed infanticide, for example. You'll see a woman, perhaps, crying and falling apart. But you will never see a happy, healthy, recovered woman, or a strong woman trying who also happens to be struggling as a victim of PPD. She explains that she has written to Oprah about this issue several times (as well as others), but has never gotten anywhere.

Jennifer Hogg wants other women to know what it really is like for women serving in the military today. An actively anti-war veteran and gay woman, Jen has been quoted on Iraq Veterans Against War as saying, "Being willing to give our lives for this country does not mean our government should be willing to give us up so freely."

Urban Mom Liz Henry, self-described "feministgeekpunkpoet" with short vividly purple spiked hair, just happens to blog from a wheelchair. No, she will not tell you what that's like, because she is bored with trying, but she can recommend some excellent blogs by women with disabiliites:

Broken Clay
Wheelchair Dancer

Friday, July 27, 2007

Coming to You Live from BlogHer '07!

I'm sitting outside the door of the busiest room so far at BlogHer '07--in fact, it is two rooms, usually partitioned, that have been set aside specifically for this afternoon's session.

I'm sitting outside because, at the mmoment, the room is so crowded I can't even get in the door. And I'm not the only one. Mingling and eavesdropping outside with me are numerous bloggers, some I met or lunched with earlier in the afternoon.

Which session has us all hanging out here, listening in, while the seats inside--and any available floor space--is already brimming over with warm (make that hot, it's humid here in Chicago) bodies, listening avidly to each speaker in turn?

The session is "The State of the Momosphere."

That's right, we're BIG NEWS here at the BlogHer Convention, Moms!

The session's being chaired by an organization known as Five Moms, a great group of women I spoke with earlier today on an issue that I didn't even know was out there, an issue that affects one in ten kids--cough syrup addiction.

I kid you not. One in ten children, including the child of one of the original Five Moms, has this addiction. And, according to Five Moms, one in FOUR children has a friend who is addicted.

But they are getting the word out. And not only that, Moms have come from all over to share their own concerns and questions, and to join in the incredible sense of community that is the Momosphere.

I'm so glad I'm here at BlogHer '07 to experience all this myself first-hand.

(But don't worry! I'll keep you all posted, too!)


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

My Harry Potter review is on Fuel the Rebellion!

I'm happy to say that the folks over at the gaming blog Fuel the Rebellion put my review of Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows up over on their site! They've also got a new post with an interesting take on the latest Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Check it out!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (NO SPOILERZ in this post!)

Well, after a day and a half of reading (I had to stop to feed and water the young 'uns and we had a date to play cards with the neighbors), I just finished the 7th Harry Potter book! Woohoo!

Now, I want to reassure you all here that I am not the type to just up and post all the best and worst specifics in the books and spoil it for the rest of you. I know you all want to read what happens to Harry, Ron, Hermione and the rest of the cast of characters for yourselves. I also know that posting spoilers, true or not, changes everything for the reader. You can't go into a book objectively once you've read the rumors, not knowing whether they are true or not. You look at each character in a different way--is he or she going to make it through this book? Will this character be in the last novel? What happens between this couple, or this group? Where does the action take place, and does it matter, and what mysteries evolve, only to be solved or left as cliffhangers as the book nears completion?

So I won't spoil the adventure for you. Instead, let me just say that in this last installment of the Harry Potter septology (thanks to Jon Stewart for the term), J. K. Rowlings delivers to her fans in a big way.

Naturally, it isn't a short book, but there's good reason for it. Rowlings has dealt with all the important, unanswered questions her fans have. She's plotted adventures and twists you can't imagine, magical duels and harrowing adventures, terrific new characters and creatures and the very best from those old characters she chooses to re-visit. (Vague enough for you?)

In this book, much of the plotting that has gone into the first six is revealed as part of a much vaster chain of events, which just goes to show, as her devoted fans have known all along, that Rowlings' phenomenal success is not the result of simple luck or formulaic writing. Hopefully, critics will back off a little and accept that her work is here with us to stay. Rowlings' series is not popular because it is the latest "in" thing among tweens but because it is a classic in its own right, a magical world that comes to life between the covers of each of the seven books, finally culminating in a resounding finale worthy of the author at her best.

Now, go out, get the book, sit down and read it.

And then share it with your kids!

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Saturday, July 21, 2007


On May 29th of this year, Miami Heat basketball star Dwayne Wade and his wife Siohvaughn gave birth to their second child, a little boy named Zion Malachi Airamis Wade. Little Zion's dad, Dwayne, was also among eight men honored on June 7th by the National Father's Day Committee at the 66th Annual National Father of the Year Luncheon.

In this day and age, when the sports industry suffers so much from recent scandals, like the blood doping allegations shadowing the cyclists in the Tour De France at this very moment, or the truly sickening dog fighting ring with connections to football player Michael Vick, the fact that basketball players like Dwayne Wade have their priorities right, valuing family first, renews my hope as a Mom of two boys that there are sports figures out there that can serve as positive role models.

Dwayne Wade has gone further in his role as a father to two boys as well, by sponsoring, in conjunction with Converse shoes, a line of kids basketball sneakers known as the Converse Kids Wade 2.0 signature shoe.

Let me say, first of all, that this shoe is available in toddler and grade school children's sizes, so it is designed for younger kids just beginning to get interested in the game. These shoes are, honestly, cute as a button. I received a sample size of tiny 10.5 Toddler shoes, and the black leather shoe has white stitching with red accenting that gives it a really sharp look.

There's no doubt that a lot of thought went into the design of the shoe, which includes a padded tongue, built-in stabilizers and a rose-printed insole with cushioning. There's an internal bootie which allows "flexible movement and ankle support", and the "Rose and Thorn" motif "reflects the fierceness of [Wade's] play on the court meeting the beauty of his game."

So, obviously, it was intended to be a quality shoe, and it performs like one. I have no complaints about the way the shoes held up during the time I tested them, or about the beauty of the design. If your budget allows for the $49.99 retail price, all you have to do is head down to Champs, Footaction, Eastbay, Finish Line, Dick's Sporting Goods, TAS, Modells or Hibbetts and pick a pair up.

And that's where my one complaint lies, really. The price. The shoes are quality, they are readily accessible, but they aren't cheap. Any kid would love these shoes, but could any parent afford them for a growing child whose shoe size is going to change rapidly during those formative grade-school years? For me, the 49.99 price tag is a bit of a deal breaker. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the shoes aren't worth the price, only that the price is prohibitive for most of the parents I know.

My advice would be to check out the back-to-school sales at your local stores (as you can see, the shoe is widely available) and look for a great deal on these shoes. Your kids will want them, and you will want to fit them into your budget.

So, in the end, my review for the WADE 2.0 Signature Shoe from Converse is: Quality = A
Affordability = C.

Hey, It's July 21st? Know What That Means?


Harry Potter 7 is Here!! 234x60

Like a lot of you, I pre-ordered my copy, and I am waiting right now for it to arrive at my door! Your kids may have gone to a midnight party, dressed up as a character in the books. Or maybe you were waiting until today to go out and get it yourselves. Of course, Barnes and Noble would be happy if you used the banner to order it now. LOL. Anyway, Happy Harry Potter Day!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Between Me and You

Sand Dune Books has a great new series called Between Me And You™ ... a few things I’ve been meaning to ask.

Basically, this series consists of journals with questions inside tailored specifically for the recipient: MOM, GRANDMA, HONEY, etc. You can give them to the people you love and the journals are returned with handwritten responses. You then have a great keepsake to cherish.

I know that, growing up, I used to hear great stories from my own grandmother. We used to say things like, "Did that really happen?" and "That would make a great book!" Of course, we never seemed to get around to recording any of her stories until it was too late.

My grandmother, my father's Mom, died when my youngest, the Rhino, was still a baby. She was undergoing treatment for cancer and, due to her compromised immune system, she could not even see the Rhino because, since he was getting his series of shots at the time, he could have made her seriously ill.

So the Rhino never met my Dad's mother, and he never got to hear her great stories.

I think these journals are a great idea, and when Winston over at Sand Dune books wrote to me about them, I wanted to share them with you, so you can keep the stories alive for your kids.

Incidentally, my father-in-law, a journalist, created a family newspaper for the grandkids with much the same idea as these journals, and I know our kids are going to cherish it as they grow older.

Check out the Between Me And You™ series over at

Monday, July 9, 2007


Well, Moms, I have been promising this review for a while, and it has been busy at home since school let out, but that's not the only reason it took me so long to write this review. I honestly wanted to give you a full review of the website, which is a free, interactive kids site brought to you by Hasbro, and there really is just so much to do there that I went back several times. Now, I don't take compensation for my reviews, as you know, and I have to say, I think most kids would just love the whole site!

Anyway, here's a rundown of some of the fun things I found to do over at

First, I played a game called "Sandman's Tower", which is a Spiderman game. You climb up building, and move yourself left or right with the arrow keys to either grab points and bonuses, or avoid dangers (like electrically charged windows and bad guys). I played this A LOT. Word to the wise: use your spidey sense!

Remember Lite Brite? ("Lite Brite, making things with light...") The online version is as much fun to play, only better. You don't have to clean up the little pegs or worry about stepping on them in bare feet. Yes, that IS my creation above.

The Littlest Pet Shop Line up Game is a very simple matching game. Older kids will probably want to skip this one, but little kids (and Moms) will love the cute animals.

Okay, my boys totally won't understand my fascination with this, but my very favorite activity over at was creating my own fashion mini-magazine over in Designer's World. You can pick which edition you want to "publish", choose the model, what she is wearing and how she accessorizes her outfit, select a color scheme, and include fun pages, like horoscopes or word puzzles. Personalize the magazine more by adding in your own name as editor, your model's personal information (little girls will want to use their own) like favorite vacation spots, birthday, etc. Then, print up and assemble your pages into an actual mini-magazine!

I thoroughly enjoyed all the activities I tried out over at, and there were lots more I could have selected. Yes, they have Transformers activities to go with the new movie.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, there is a link to the Hasbro store on the site, as well as some activities that require registration, like competitions. But I didn't register, and everything I sampled on the site was free. Ideally, grade-school children, those from say 6-11, will probably get the most out of the site, as some of the games are geared towards younger children, but, well, I had a ball! Guess I need to grow up a little... : )

So, final rating for the website? A+

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Red, White and Blueberry!

This Fourth of July, declare your independence by having some breakfast for dinner! pull out your griddle and give your meal some festive red, white and blue. Below is a festive, firecracker recipe for you all to try. It’s easy enough for the kids to help, but the presentation will impress even your toughest critic. (via Hungry Jack pancake mixes)

Stars-n-Stripes Breakfast Parfait

Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
1 cup Hungry Jack® Buttermilk Complete Pancake & Waffle Mix (Just Add Water)
3/4 cup water
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped
2 tsps Hungry Jack ® Microwave Ready Regular Syrup
1 1/4 cups frozen nondairy whipped topping, thawed
Dash cinnamon
Flag and fireworks party picks
2-1/4-inch star aluminum cookie cutter, optional
2-inch pieces red string licorice, optional

1. HEAT skillet over medium-high heat or electric griddle to 375 F. Spray with no-stick spray.

2. COMBINE pancake mix and water in medium bowl stirring just until large lumps disappear. Spoon 1 teaspoon batter onto hot griddle, cooking 1 minute on each side or until golden brown. Make 24 mini-pancakes. Spray inside of star cookie cutter with no-stick spray. Place on hot skillet. Fill with 1 tablespoon batter cooking for 2-1/2 minutes. Carefully remove cookie cutter; it will be hot. Turn star pancake. Cook until golden brown. Make 4 stars.

3. MIX blueberries with 1 teaspoon maple flavored syrup in a small bowl. Repeat with strawberries in a separate bowl. Whisk cinnamon into whipped topping. Place into corner of a resealable bag. Cut off small corner from bag. Layer 3 mini-pancakes in base of each parfait glass, layer with 1/4 cup of a fruit and whipped cream. Repeat. Decorate each parfait as you desire. Serve immediately.

4. FIRECRACKER PARFAIT: Top off parfait with whipped topping and place a 2-inch piece of red string licorice in center.

©/™/® The J.M. Smucker Company

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Coming Soon! More Reviews on Cool Moms Rule

We'll have a review of a free web site, MonkeyBar TV, geared toward providing good, clean, online fun for kids with games, videos and comics based on popular Hasbro’s brands, coming up right after the 4th of July here on Cool Moms Rule. Keep a lookout for our review of MonkeyBar TV!

In addition, we'll be reviewing a brand new sneaker by Converse, the Wade 2.0.

A little back story on these cool shoes:

Basketball star Dwyane Wade, of the Miami HEAT, is a proud Dad to two boys, five-year-old son Zaire and new baby boy Zion Malachi Airamis Wade, born on Tuesday, May 29, 2007. Dwyane was recently honored at the 66th Annual National Father of the Year Luncheon on Thursday, June 7, 2007.

Obviously, Dwyane knows basketball, and he's partnered with Converse before to create basketball shoes. Now, in his role as father, he has helped to create a new sneaker for kids and toddlers, the Wade 2.0.
Cool Moms Rule! is in full compliance of the new FTC rules concerning Bloggers. I disclose on all posts where a product was received for free and/or if there was any kind of financial compensation involved.