Blog Posts by neena

  • What the Casey Anthony Verdict Taught Me

    I admit that I have not followed the media coverage of the Casey Anthony trial. I followed some of the news a few years ago during the search for Caylee and hoped, like the rest of the world, that they would find the little girl.

    But, today I tuned in to the news to follow some of the coverage of the not guilty verdict. I have my own opinions of the verdict and the case in general, but they really have nothing to do with what this whole fiasco taught me today.

    As I was watching the coverage of the verdict, my 7 year old daughter came into the living room and asked what all that news coverage was about. I explained to her in the most appropriate terms that a mommy was accused of hurting her daughter, but that the courts decided she didn't do it. She watched the screen for a few moments looking puzzled. Then she said to me "I hope she didn't do it because mommies don't ever hurt their children." Then she walked away.

    It was my turn to look puzzled. Then I realized

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  • How To Create a Kitchen Command Center

    Earlier this year I had the sudden urge to get organized - specifically with our day to day household stuff. I was tired of my kitchen counters becoming a catch-all spot. I wanted a place for homework folders and supplies, all our scheduling mumbo jumbo, and the plethora of papers that kept taking up my counter space. I wanted a spot for phones to charge, mail to be placed, and calendars to reside. I wanted this space to be anywhere but my kitchen counters!!

    Thus the kitchen command center was born! Here's how you can create your own kitchen command center!

    Step One: Decided exactly where and how you want the space to function. My goal was to to take the hutch off the cabinet and use the wall space behind it for a large calendar, some wall files, and a dry erase/cork/magnetic board. I also wanted a charging station for all our electronic gadgets and storage for all the school stuff that comes in daily.

    Step Two: Sort through any junk cluttering the area. Decide what to keep and Read More »from How To Create a Kitchen Command Center
  • Myself as a Mother

    Sometimes I'm frantic and frumpy.

    Sometimes I'm loud and outspoken.

    Sometimes I'm patient and caring.

    Sometimes I'm hard as nails.

    Sometimes I'm brushing hair and kissing boo-boos.

    Sometimes I'm organizing toys and hiding things in the trash.

    Sometimes I'm lecturing on rules and cleaning spilled cereal.

    But, all the time I'm in love with three precious little people.

    All the time I'm wishing them the rainbows and unicorns and dinosaurs of their magical imaginations.

    All the time I'm aching to see the people they grow to be.

    And, all the time I'm grateful and blessed to be their mother.

    Neena is a mother of three and full-time PhD student. She blogs about her adventures and misadventures at hooey!critic

  • User Post: House. Work.

    Attempting to keep a house with 3 children, 2 adults, 3 cats, and 2 dogs organized is a daunting task. No matter how hard I try to keep things in their place I'm never able to catch up or get ahead. Sure, my husband helps when he can, but working over 50 hours a week limits most of what he can do until after the sun goes down. And, I'd take an overgrown lawn over the kids being woken up any day!
    Now that the children are getting a bit older we have been working to implement chores and tasks that they can be responsible for handling on a daily basis. We don't reward with allowance or special prizes. We work to show them that the house runs smoother and the mommy is more patient when everyone chips in! Check out the chores we give our 7, 5, and 3 year old.

    • Cleaning bedrooms - every Friday when they arrive home from school the children take time to clean up their toys, clothes, and messiness. They do their best to make their beds, empty their trash, and organize any special toys in a way
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  • 5 Women I Want My Daughter to Know

    Two of my three children are girls. Despite coming from the same parents and being raised the same, they couldn't be more different. My oldest, an introvert, is sensitive, genuine, and the epitome of an old soul. My youngest, a complete extrovert, is full of laughter, spirit, and excitement for the simpleness of life. As they grow and experience whatever it is they are destined to be, I hope they have the pleasure of discovering five women in their journey.

    • Emily Dickinson - while her poetry is soulful and full of beauty, I want my daughters to understand how someone that lived as a virtual recluse could experience life more fully than many of us that actually live it.
    • Katharine Hepburn - though she is known as an incredible film star, I want my daughters to take from her the true individualism she possessed. She was strong, independent, and had a mind of her own. Besides, any woman that will wear pants long before it's acceptable is worth admiring.
    • My grandmother -
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  • My Footsteps?

    When I was younger I wanted to be an astronaut. Specifically, I wanted to be Sally Ride. I remember checking out an old, worn book from the school library that chronicled the life of this amazing female astronaut. I remember thinking 'How cool that a girl is doing what is usually just for boys!' Maybe I was a feminist long before I knew what that word meant.
    As I got older and discovered the joy of keeping a diary, I moved beyond literal space travel and discovered a love of writing my own version of adventures and travels. I knew from that moment that writing would be a part of my life somehow. I thought maybe this would include writing books or even editing a major daily newspaper. Either way I felt the power of words and clung to them through all the ups and downs of adolescence.
    I'll admit that this writing dream was momentarily put on hold in junior high school as I developed my plan to move to Boston to be close to the New Kids on the Block. But, I quickly got back on track

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  • The Ripple Effect

    This month, thanks to Yahoo! and their generous donation, I had the opportunity to participate in their bid to spread random acts of kindness. The premise is this:
    "Your single good deed, big or small, can inspire others and cause a ripple effect of kindness that continues to grow as others join in. Start something today - the more people who take action, the larger your ripple will become."
    I spent quite a bit of time thinking about how I would spread the kindness this holiday season. I thought of extravagant ideas, lump sum donations, and even specific individuals. But, what I decided was I wanted to reach as many people as possible in hopes of bringing a smile to their morning. Last Friday my 2 year old and I went to Starbucks. We pulled the managed aside, handed him $100 dollars and told him we wanted to pay for coffee for as many people as possible in the drive-thru line. He was shocked, but excited! As we waited for our order I got to see at least 5 people drive away with curious

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  • Black Friday Night Lights

    What I love about this time of year is the transition from the Autumn holiday of Thanksgiving to the magical Christmas of Winter. In our family this transition happens on Black Friday.
    Many spend the day shopping - getting as many deals and steals as possible. For our family of five we spend the day decorating for Christmas!
    On Thanksgiving night my husband heads to the attic and pulls down box after box of lights, garland, ornaments, and holiday decorations. The next day we begin our family traditions of turning our normally simple house into a magical holiday extravaganza!
    My husband and son are in charge of hanging lights and garland outside and on the porch in an attempt to create an elegant scene for us to enjoy. My daughters help me inside the house. We put up the tree - telling stories of all the ornaments. We light the Christmas candles, turn the dining room into a warm, cozy atmosphere of red and green. We pull out or cookie book and begin deciding what we want to bake. We

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  • Applying Creative Strategies to Mommy Blogging: Part III

    When I began blogging several years ago I put an unnecessary pressure on myself to blog every day. There was a rather long period where I had a new blog post up 7 days a week - and it was exhausting. I was afraid if I didn't post every day not only would my readers be disappointed, but I'd be disappointed in myself. During this time I noticed the quality of my blogs began to suffer. I wasn't exercising as much creativity because I was more concerned with just being able to get something out there and hit that 'publish' button.

    Suddenly it wasn't as fun.

    It wasn't as fulfilling.

    Thanks to the pressure I had put on myself I had to give myself permission to only blog when it felt authentic, when I felt like I had something to say. Letting myself off the hook was exhilarating! Once I didn't feel the 'have to' of blogging I found myself reintroduced to the 'want to.'

    Taking the time to have a 'creative pause' is a simple strategy all of us can use to enhance our blogging

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  • User post: Applying Creative Strategies to Mommy Blogging: Part II

    If someone asked you how you define art what would you say? Would you reference the masters and their creations hanging in museums and studied in textbooks? Would you rattle off a list of supplies like crayons, glue, and glitter that our children often use when building their own creations? Or would you define art as something more?

    Part of learning to embrace our own creativity is learning not only to recognize art, but also how to find it within what we do. Art is not limited. In fact, it is exactly the opposite. Art is everywhere and can encompass just about anything. Words. Photographs. The organization of a closet. The setting of a table. The presentation of a holiday meal.

    Mommy blogging is an art.

    We are artists.

    We take words; we twist and shape them into stories. We hide behind our cameras waiting to capture the moments, the tales, and the stuff of legends. We recognize the power of sharing, empathize through the journey, and come out on the other side with

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