Blog Posts by Carpool Goddess

  • Parenting Guru: The Talk You Need to Have Before Your Kid Goes Off to College

    Off to CollegeLots to talk about before Mini-Me leaves for college. Even though she's heard the speech, I wouldn't be able to sleep at night if I didn't say it, yet again. I cringe as the words come out of my mouth, knowing what's coming, "Mom, you don't have to tell me this. I'm not stupid." But, I say it anyway.

    We have "The Talk." You know, the one about the birds and the bees, alcohol, drugs, parties, the buddy system at parties, boys, boys & safety, safety in numbers, safety in general, grades, classes, friends, roommates, and laundry. (Click here for my Health & Safety Tip Post List:What Every Freshman & Parent Should Read Before College) How do you go from holding your baby in your arms that you've loved, nurtured and protected to dropping them off, ALONE?! It feels unnatural to let go, but I must. It's just the worry I can't let go of.

    You want to make sure they remember every piece of advice you ever gave them. No matter how big or small. (Look both ways before crossing the street, don't run with food in your mouth, stay way from mixed drinks, wash your hands…) In college they will be making just about all their decisions themselves and it's scary no matter how good a head they have on their shoulders. They will make mistakes. You just pray they're not big ones.

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  • How to Rock a LBD (Little Black Dress) with a Mommy Body

    Audrey HepburnI love wearing dresses. They are a little more forgiving than pants, especially if you're curvy like me. And there is nothing like the Little Black Dress (LBD). It's every woman's secret weapon. Black is my favorite color to wear, because it's sleek, sexy, and sophisticated (think Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's), and with the right fit can take five pounds off you like that (SNAP!). You can dress it up or down and it goes with EVERY other color so you can never make a mistake.

    My 7 tips to rock a LBD:

    1. Spanx, a good bra, and an even better attitude. Because, really, who cares?! Repeat after me, "I'm sexy and I know it!" (Confidence is S.E.X.Y.)

    2. Find the right fit and a good tailor. Sometimes I buy a size larger, because much of the fashion is too short now and I'm too old to dress like a toddler.

    3. Show a little skin. Don't be buttoned up to here (pointing to chin) and don't be unbuttoned to there (pointing to naval). Only J.Lo can get away with that.

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  • Parenting Guru: No One Puts Baby in a Corner...Well, Yeah, Actually They Do

    In the corner.My Dad had an interesting way of handling these things. When my siblings and I would be screaming, fighting, and crying with no end in sight, he would call a cease fire and ask us what happened. Of course, we each had our own version of the truth. And as you would expect, we blamed each other.

    When it became clear it was nothing more than silly sibling squabbling, my Dad would make each one us stand in opposite corners of the room and forbid us to look at each other, or worse, laugh.

    Well, you and I both know what happens when you're told NOT to do something - it's what you WANT to do most! So, it was just a matter of time, usually seconds, before we'd sneak peaks at each other, giggle, and go into hysterics. By the time we caught our breaths, we no longer cared who or what the argument was about.

    Clutching our bellies, we promised to play nicely if Dad let us leave from our corners. A big smile spread across his face and he'd nod. And that's how it was done.

    When my kids

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  • Parenting Guru: Eight Feet and One TV

    Family timeAfter dinner we all like to curl up on the couch (or if we're on vacation we pile on the bed) and watch TV. Mini-Me and I get sandwiched between Big Daddy and College Boy, (6'3 and 6'5), so it gets pretty cozy. After a few minutes of intense negotiations over what to watch (one wants a chick flick, the other an adventure) and who chose the movie last time, we all agree on a comedy. Then we try to agree on the volume. I think everything is too loud (I'm not old, I just have supersonic hearing) and they think nothing is loud enough.

    And this is how it goes night after night. Side by side, pressed against each other without the awkward boundaries of typical teens. It's as if they're little again. Laughing and carefree, giving a recap of the funniest lines while the movie is still playing. I notice we even cross our feet in the same direction.

    The sheer delight of hearing belly laughs after months of an exhausting and stressful college application period, plus final exams, is a gift.

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  • User Post: Brussels Sprouts Aren’t that Scary

    I used to think Brussels sprouts weren't for the faint of heart because they were bitter. I just didn't know how to cook them. Good news, I have discovered the world of roasting. And roasting, my cooking challenged friends, is the easiest thing you can do in the kitchen. After washing the Brussels sprouts, cut the them in half and toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper and place them on a cookie sheet. Roast in the oven at 450 for about 20-25 minutes (check on them after 10 min.), until they start to brown (longer if you like them crispy, yum). If you like your veggies sweet, sprinkle with brown sugar or maple syrup before you roast. You will impress your friends and family with this one. And if I can do this, so can you.

    Carpool Goddess is a Shine Parenting Guru. When not doing scary things in the kitchen, she's at the mall. Follow her hilarious musings on Facebook.

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  • Parenting Guru: Memories of a "Daddy's Girl"

    Dad holding daughter's handI think a lot about my dad at this time of year and I become very nostalgic. He had a way of making everyday feel special. If I were granted one holiday wish, it would be that my father were still alive, so he could meet his precious grandchildren. I know he would have been the best grandpa. Here are some sweet memories of my dad that warm my heart.

    The way he used to hold my hand while walking down the street, even when I was too old to "need" it. I'd pretend to be embarrassed, but I secretly liked it too.

    Playing, "What number am I thinking of?" and to my amazement, "guessing" it EVERY time. I thought I was psychic. And even though it never worked on my friends, the game never lost it's appeal.

    Making slice n' bake chocolate chip cookies for him. He loved it when I baked the whole log without slicing, so it was crunchy on the outside and gooey in the middle. We'd eat it straight from the pan while watching Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show.

    Going to the toy store

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  • 8 Reasons Why I No Longer Jog

    On my blissful morning walk, I gazed at a young runner and thought wistfully, that used to be me. Young. And able to run. Don't get me wrong, if the house were on fire (heaven forbid) or I wanted to beat out a crowd to get to the front of the line at Sprinkles Cupcakes, I could run. Though, I might hurt myself. So why bother?

    I can't really remember when I gave it up, though I'm sure it was sometime in the 1900s. Back then I didn't carry so much stuff when I ran. Now I practically need a tool belt to hold the water bottle, BlackBerry, iPod, Kleenex and lite snack for my daily hour long walk. You can see why running just doesn't make sense.

    Here are more reasons why I choose to walk instead of jog:

    1. Ouch. (See 2-4 for more details).

    2. All that pounding on the pavement hurts my lower back. I can just tell the fluid in the spaces between the vertebrae have dried up for good. It feels like bone on bone (I swear I can hear the grinding). All of which I'm convinced

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  • Parenting Guru: Halloween, Bring it On!

    I love Halloween. The trick or treating, the haunted houses, the kids in costumes, the decorations, the candy! It's even better than Valentine's Day, because you get to dress up.

    When my kids were little and had no choice but to hang with the hubby and I on Halloween, friends would gather at our house for a quick pizza dinner and homemade spooky cupcakes (which isn't a stretch since most of what I make looks spooky anyway) before we hit the streets in search of candy.

    Wearing my pumpkin sweater and light-up Frankenstein earrings, and Monster Mash blaring in the background, I'd give each child a flashlight and then we'd march the Ninja, Spiderman, Hershey's Kiss, and Powerpuff Girl past the "witch that crashed into the door" decoration proudly hanging on our front door. And the adventure would begin.

    The best part about Trick or Treating is the thrill of the hunt. Finding the brightly lit houses brimming with candy to be given away and the look of sheer delight when they

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  • Parenting Guru: Backpacks and College Apps and SAT's, Oh My!

    Every year when my kids go back to school, the feeling is bittersweet. I'm sad to see the lazy days of summer go and the relaxed attitude of the kids, but I do breathe a long sigh of relief (Ok, it's more of a "Yippie"!) when I drop them off on their first day of school. As much as I cherish our carefree summers, by Labor Day I'm ready for them to go back.

    But this year is different. Very different. It was the first year I didn't drop off Mini-Me, because now she not only drives herself (omg), but has her own carpool (OMG). This has totally thrown off my mornings. I like driving her to school and then stopping by my favorite Starbucks. To make matters worse, it was the last time we would go school supply shopping together. We do some heavy bonding at Staples (have you seen those sparkly pens and folders?), so this is a really big deal.

    If you haven't guessed by now, this will be our last year of having a "child" living at home, because our "baby" is now a SENIOR! We're going to be,

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  • Parenting Guru: Vegas Baby!

    Like every family we have our rituals. The summer is no exception. Just about every 4th of July we go to Sin City for fun and fireworks. That's right. Las Vegas baby! We've been going since the kids were in preschool.

    Now I know, Las Vegas might be the last place you'd think to take a child, but Vegas has changed a lot over the years. Yes, you can still find the sleaze, but over the last decade it has become incredibly kid friendly too.

    In the mornings we used to visit The Shark Reef at the Mandalay Bay, admire the White Tigers at the Mirage and ride the roller coaster at New York New York. The afternoons we'd have lunch and hang by the pool. And with the extreme heat, there's really no better place to be. At night, we'd enjoy the fabulous restaurants (Vegas has tons of them!) and then see a magic show or let the kids load up on "winnings" (stuffed animals) at the arcade at Circus Circus.

    You almost forget you're in Vegas.

    Unless you count the time we were in the pool with what we

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