Friday, November 28, 2008

My new review blog and a giveaway

Starting here, starting now, I've got a new product review blog. Each week I get an increasing number of offers to try this or that item, service or website.
Some of exciting new products fit well into the narrative of my blog, others don't. So I'm setting up a space just for those items.
I'll be reviewing boy stuff, tween stuff, geek stuff, mom stuff and books*. Oh, how we love books!
If a product fits, I may weave it into the narrative here or over at Momformation, but chances are future reviews will be placed at HCD Reviews.
This new move allows me to refocus on my passions- gifted children, marketing to mommybloggers as well as hormonal rants and Friday Fun, which I'm missing out on this week.
Blah, blah, blog. My point is, HCD Reviews is hosting a giveaway! I'm giving away a Nerf Rocket Pass Football. This light-up football was the hit of last night's Thanksgiving gathering. Our gaggle of boys lurved it and I hope you will, too.

*Food stuff, kitchen stuff, cookbooks and aprons, should anyone offer them to me, will get reviewed on Scrambled CAKE, my food blog.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A tampfabulous holiday craft

Whoa, for a while there I lost touch with my roots. Michelle Lamar, AKA White Trash Mom, shocked me out of my hormone-colored daze, with her post about a turkey centerpiece made out of...well, you've got to see it to believe it.

And since I'm getting all girly on you, go read Marketing Mommy's post on her vajayjay at Chicago Moms Blog. Navel gazing is clearly passe.

Enjoy your day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving project shows appreciation for family, but disses feminism

The leafy craft project I promised my seven-year old niece did not work out as planned and she came up with a great Plan B: dedicate a leaf to each member of our family and write good things about that person on the front and bad things about that person on the back of the leaf.


Did I say it was a great plan? I meant it had potential. Fortunately, it didn't take much to convince her to stick with the positive aspects.

Here she is working on her leaf as I'm suggesting her fabulous traits. Our conversation took an odd turn. Listen in. And take peek at our fabulous finished product!





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The Sharpie marker plug in the video was unintentional. But I do love Sharpies and am geeked out over their new blog. Check out Jen at Mama Sings the Blues for another intriguing Sharpie/leaf/Thanksgiving project idea.

This is me, "funtastic Aunt Kim," wishing you a wonderful holiday!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The daring mom on the flying trapeze

When I was offered the chance to try the flying trapeze at Club Med Punta Cana, I couldn't say no.

Back pain be damned! It's the first opportunity I've had to try this in my 40 years, if the next chance doesn't come until I'm 80, it will surely be too late.

As I climbed up halfway up the narrow wobbly metal ladder, I realized I'm maybe a wee bit scared of heights.

My heart was pounding by the time I made it up about 30 (50?) feet to the platform. I took a moment to assess the situation. It was like being nine months pregnant and facing the reality that there's just no painless way for the baby to come out.

Climbing back down the ladder was not an option.

And yet.

Looking down from the launch platform and reaching out to grab the trapeze bar (while a hunky assistant held my safety belt from behind and an athletic young woman on the ground held ropes that would keep me from falling) swinging my way down didn't seem like an option either.

My heart pounded faster. Breathe. Inhale. Exhale. I reminded myself.

I took in a gulp of air and listened for my hunky helper to call out the commands.

"1..2..3..Hep!"

That was my cue to jump.

Only my feet were stuck to the board.

Deep breath. Eyes focus. Courage in its sticking place.

I jumped and start swinging through the air. Very fast. And very high up.

Holy sh*t!

I completed my arc and then started swinging back to the platform, which was even more terrifying.

I held onto the bar for dear life. My choices at that moment were limited.

Before climbing, I notified the support staff of my back problems and told them I wouldn't be attempting any fancy knee hangs and things. So there was nothing for me to do but grasp that bar with white knuckles and swing back and forth, back and forth.

"How you doing Kim? Are you ready to come down?" The ground crew asked.

"Uh-huh," I whimpered.

I'd seen how gently the ground crew lowered the other swingers. I knew beyond a doubt that they would control my landing. I knew I had nothing to fear but fear itself.

"Okay," the crew called. "I'll count to three and then you let go."

"1..2..3.."

Nothing. My hands were superglued to the trapeze bar. I could not release my grip. As much as I wanted to get off, as much as I knew how safe the dismount was, I was stuck.

But only for another swing or two.

I eventually released my hands and landed gently on the safety net.


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I did it!

Only, I did it with such fear that I wanted to go again. I didn't want to end the experience on such a wimpy note, so after settling my nerves, I climbed up the wobbly ladder once again.

And you know what? That second time was just as scary as the first, only I jumped off the platform without hesitation and had an easier time letting go of the bar for my final descent.

This flying trapeze thing? It's not for me.

But this mama did it. Twice. Chalk this up to a supposedly fun thing I'll never do again.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Fun: Ninja Baby

My boys were cracking up over this. I hope you like it, too.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Divine Chocolate giveaway

This is a prescheduled post. Right now in IRL I'm in either living la vida loca down in the Dominican Republic or recovering from a plane crash* or terrible sunburn.

But my readers are always in my heart. I'm running a giveaway over at Scrambled CAKE, the food blog I've ignored for much of the year. The CAKE is back, baby, and I'm celebrating with a Fair Trade Chocolate giveaway.

Stop by, tell your friends. Tweet it up in my absence.

*God forbid. I'm admittedly nervous about flying in a smallish plane over the ocean!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Going topless at Club Med

I had been warned that there might be "European style" beaches at Punta Cana. But you know what? I'm keeping my girls under cover no matter what.
However, I am going laptopless. DH convinced me to leave the computer behind and I think it was a good call.
A tropical island trip with my best friend. No kids or emails to distract. Ah, heaven!
There's a cybercafe where I can check in on my blogs and, more importantly, my email. It's not that I expect any important news or urgent request. I simply don't want to return from vacation to a crush of 500 emails demanding my attention.
Remember when email was fun? How do you manage yours? I'm always looking for tips, feeling like I *must* be doing something wrong to let email become such a burden.
Note: this was a prescheduled post.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Agenda for the week of November 16

Sunday: Pack for trip to Club Med Punta Cana



Monday: Wake up at the crack of ass and head to the airport (DH was invited along, too!) 5:00 PM Tour the Punta Cana property
8:30 PM Dinner with the other press tour participants, assuming I'm still awake


Tuesday: Half day excursion out in the ocean, snorkeling, fresh grilled lobster lunch on boat
7:30 PM coctails followed by dinner and a show, assuming I'm still awake


Wednesday: Sailing or salsa dance lesson or a fitness class followed by spa treatment
4:00 PM Optional flying trapeze lesson
8:00 PM Dinner and another show


Thursday: Return to Chicago
8:00 PM Home: hug and kiss kids!
8:15 PM Start bedtime routine and all related misery.

Friday: Turn on computer and read this post to remind myself I was on a fabulous vacation. The feeling fades so quickly.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fair trade for the holidays

We attended an inspiring holiday boutique last week. Instead of the typical assortment of Christmas (or in this case, Chanuka) themed tchockes, this was a Fair Trade Bazaar. Over a dozen vendors offered up good gifts that do well for others.

Divine Chocolates had samples and sales of their yummy treats. Click over to Scrambled CAKE, my food blog, to read more about this fair trade chocolate company. I'm hosting a chocolate giveaway as well.

Our Fair Earth provided fair trade jewelry and accessories from East Africa.

A Chicago favorite, The Enterprising Kitchen, helps women achieve self-sufficiency and produces fragrant soaps and lotions. I've bought their products in the past for hostess and teacher gifts.

Hope for Nepal had beautiful purses and wallets made from old wedding saris. I liked a few of them and asked DH to pick one for me as a Chanuka present.

Mata Traders was selling fair trade clothing, accessories and home decor.

The Central Asian Institute was represented in what I term black market philanthropy. That is, someone was selling scarves their friend bought on the cheap in Central Asia with the stated intention of funneling the money back to CAI. CAI builds schools or children in remote and underserved regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. I'm reading about the early days of this organization in Greg Mortenson's book, Three Cups of Tea.

World Shoppe was there with some of their handmade and fair trade gifts, accessories and jewelry.

Woman Craft sold handmade paper, memory books, picture frames and more produced by women in transitional jobs programs and artisans.

Thanksgiving Coffee Company sol their various blends. Not only is their coffee fair trade, but it's certified organic, Kosher and Halal. The Peace Kawomera Cooperative was formed by Jewish, Christian and Muslim farmers in Uganda. (Yes, Jews in Uganda.)

Green Heart Shop showed some of their wares. They claim to offer Chicago's best selection of eco and fair trade products from around the world.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Fun: Wordle

Just because you're working for The Man, doesn't mean you have to give him your all, does it?

So while your boss is out of eyesight click away to some of this fabulous time-sink, Wordle custom word art courtesy of Life just keep getting weirder.
images via wordle.net

Got a fun way to waste time on the Web? Leave me a note along with the url in the comments. If I like it, I'll list it and pimp your blog in a future edition of Friday Fun.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

More great news: Family Farmed media meet-up

Later today I'm taking part in an exciting private media event for the farmers and producers who will be exhibiting their goods at the upcoming Family Farmed Expo.

The Family Farmed folks have assembled an impressive panel of traditional media folks to share advice on how to these producers can effectively connect with media and share their stories. And I'm going to be part of the panel as well! I'll be offering tips on connecting with new media types and using social media.

As you read the list of panel members below, you'll quickly see why I am proud to be a part of this event:
Monica Eng, reporter at Chicago Tribune
Ann Flood, editor-in-chief of Edible Chicago
David Hammond, founder of LTHForum.com, contributor to TheLocalBeet, WBEZ radio, Time Out! Chicago and Chicago Reader, among others
Kim Moldofsky, blogger and social media consultant
Cassie Walker, senior editor of Chicago magazine


I sent out a quick tweet asking for ideas about how farmers can use social media and got back several interesting ideas. I'll be back with the tweets and more details after the event.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Great news

Guess where I'll be a week from now?
Hint: it involves warm sunny beaches, an all inclusive report and a savvy PR pro who contacted me after I wrote my Club Med, as in Medicine post last summer. We leave in a week!



Friday, November 07, 2008

Friday Fun: Spinning lady messes with your mind

Switched on Mom, who typically writes about gifted issues over at The More Child, served up this trippy little optical illusion, which I cannot figure out how to reproduce here. So go spend a few minutes with her for your Friday Fun. Come back and let me know how it went for you.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Volunteer like a pro this school year

After an uninspiring morning helping assemble the school newsletter, I was inspired to repost this item from the back-to-work blog I once wrote over at AustinMama.com. So, I guess the morning was inspiring, after all.

Volunteer like a pro.
"Volunteer like a man." That's what Going Back to Work author Mary Quigley said in an interview on CNN's In The Money back in 2004. Offering advice to on-ramp moms she continued, "A man doesn't run a cookie sale. He runs the fund-raising drive to raise $10,000 for a new playground."

Volunteer like a man. Career columnists, job coaches and other back-to-work advisers have since echoed her words.

Ugh.

Do they also suggest doing manly things like stopping to scratch your crotch as you unload heavy boxes of frozen Market Day foods? Or leaving a copy of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue in the PTA office?No, what Quigley meant and later said was, "Volunteer in areas where there are measurable results."

So let's change that to Volunteer Like A Professional.

For example, if you're a writer, or an aspiring writer, volunteer to craft press releases, write grants or help with the school paper. Take on meaty tasks that build up, and on, your professional experiences. Use your volunteer time to make contacts, develop skills, and work on projects that make an impact.

Good enough advice, but let's get real. Does heading up a $10,000 volunteer fundraising effort stand out on a resume? And if it does get noticed, will it lead an on-ramp mom to a job offer or even an interview given the bias against hiring moms?

The fact is that schools need volunteers for the "gruntwork." Usually there is much more work to do than there are volunteers to do it. Sometimes the work can be done from home, some can be done at night or on weekends, so it may be working-parent friendly, but it's not all high-profile, fun, growth-oriented, or interesting.

In fact, most of it isn't.

Professional backgrounds or aspirations shouldn't serve as an excuse to avoid lunchroom duty or cleaning up after Bingo Night.

Despite Quigley's take on this type of "women's work," I've expanded my network by rubbing elbows with other moms and dads doing these things. But instead of counting them among my "contacts," I tend to call them friends. You can really get to know a person in the time it takes to mix up 60 gallons of lemonade.

Lest I sound too self-righteous, though, I must admit that for me, the volunteer line is drawn at counting up the Campbell's Soup labels. Even contemplating serving as the label program coordinator makes me anxious and depressed. Damn it, Campbell's, I will not be your whore!

I started thinking about the concept of volunteering like a pro because I'm currently helping with our school's largest fundraiser- a silent auction. When the chairperson told me that I was an account manager for a select group of prospects, I suddenly felt so important. I no longer saw myself as an underachieving mom begging for donations. Now, I'm a hotshot account manager, cultivating relationships with qualified donors in order to increase revenues by 50%. How great will that look on my resume?

I don't care if you volunteer like a man, a 50s housewife or a chimpanzee. But please, please get involved in your child's school even if it doesn't add oomph to your resume.

Do you have a "volunteer philosophy?" Have you ever school-volunteered your way into a job?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Our Happy Dance

We're breathing a big sigh of relief here at Chez Moldofsky. I told DH last night that I feel like the clouds have finally parted. Fittingly, we woke up to a sunny day.

I am predicting a drop in the sale of antidepressants. I joked about this on Twitter and @sairy suggested perhaps I'd been touched by Republican Elective Disorder. Whatever the diagnosis, I know many people who feel they've been in a funk since the 2000 election.

It's the dawn of a new day.

There is a tough road ahead, but I'm feeling hopeful.

We're doing the Happy Dance today!

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

And the winner is...

We have many hours before our new president is named (hopefully he'll be named--I'm having flashbacks to 2000), but I have a winner in my Lands' End Fleece giveaway.

Congratulations to Naomi of SuperdumbSupervillian!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Camp Baby Roundup

I guess I should rename this the week's hottest links or something more exciting. I'll work on that.


In the meantime, check out these links from my Camp Baby friends:

Go Green, Go Frugal with The Mindful Moms

Jane from Mom Generations talks about the power and value of Twitter (See? I'm not the only one talking about it!)

Product Review & Giveaway: Bella Sara and Baby Bella A trading card games for girls!

Six Days Leeanthro describes her feelings after watching Obama's TV spot.