Archive for the 'Current Affairs' Category

Five women I want my daughter to know

Five Women

Five Women I Want My Daughter to Know

The Yahoo! Mother Board is creating a virtual guide-book of women we want our daughters to know; women we find inspiring, intelligent, ground-breaking and positive. I am the mother of a six-year-old girl, so this project is close to my heart. I want my daughter to know her talents are vast and her opportunities are endless. It’s an honor to build a collection of amazing women who can serve as examples for her.

Here is my contribution:

1. Hillary Clinton: I always liked the persona of Hillary Clinton. She appears smart, composed, ground-breaking and glass-shattering. I am inspired by Hillary because, like me, she was raised in the Midwest, is a member of the United Methodist Church, and is the mother of an only child. I like the idea of Hillary Clinton: ballsy, compassionate and uber-smart. Reading her autobiography Living History offered a peek into her personal life, and I was so inspired by her approach to motherhood that I often times take the parenting advice from her book. I want my daughter to know about Hillary Clinton because I want her to know there are smart women who are not afraid to be smart and to pave the way for the rest of us.

2. Tina Fey: It’s no secret I love Tina Fey. I’ve blogged about her more than once. I adore Tina because she is brave, smart and funny. I feel like Tina Fey is the voice of many women of my generation, the working moms who juggle multiple roles. Not only is Tina a player in Hollywood, she dominates it. She is not afraid to be snarky (do you watch 30 Rock?) and witty. I want my daughter to know about Tina Fey because she is not afraid to be smart, engaging and funny… traits I hope my daughter will have.

3. Sally Ride: I learned about Sally Ride in my school history books. After all, she was the first woman to enter space. I always found her inspirational, but I never considered her a role model for me personally. Then I produced a daughter who loves math and science, so Sally Ride needs to be on this list. I probably wouldn’t push my daughter to become a celebrated astronaut (Mommy likes her girl on the ground where I can see her!), but I will absolutely encourage her to follow her love for math and science. I want my child to know about Sally Ride so she can see what can happen if she continues to be excited by math and science.

4. Susan B. Anthony: In my mind, Susan B. Anthony was a trail-blazer before anyone even coined that term. Our family is full of patriotic Americans who embrace its history, cultures and potential. I hope my daughter can appreciate women who were brave enough to speak up during a time when women were expected to be quiet. I want my daughter to vote in her honor; I don’t care how she votes, I just want her to know it’s a privilege. I want my daughter to know about Susan B. Anthony because I want her to appreciate the path she has paved for all women in America.

5. My Mom: I have listed women who have changed the face of the world by tackling giant issues and taking radical action. As I finish my list, I feel it’s important to remember that some women can impact millions of people, and some simply make their mark by impacting a select few. Being the first women in space or having your face on a U.S. coin is amazing, but so are the women who choose to lead a low-profile, yet extremely wonderful, lives. Some women are profound because they have good and loving souls. That is my mom. She is a good mother, sister, community-member and human being. She is caring, respectful, giving and loving. More importantly, I don’t actually know the personal character of Hillary, Tina, Sally or Susan… but I know my mother. And  I know she is an amazing role model for her granddaughter. I want my daughter to know my mom because while it is great to change the world, it is equally important and powerful to change just one beautiful life.

Who is on your list?

– LTV Mom

This post was inspired by participation with the Yahoo! Mother Board, where 80 amazing women share thoughts on a single topic each month. While Yahoo! is my client, these thoughts are mine and I did not receive compensation for writing this post.

Photo Credits: Hillary Clinton, Tina Fey, Sally Ride,  Susan B. Anthony

Celebrities as Role Models (and what to do with iCarly?)

Parents are often asked what we think about celebrities as role models for our kids.  As you can probably guess from the name of my blog, we are not afraid of TV in our house.  While we limit the amount, and the type, of TV shows my five-year-old can watch, we often have the TV on during the evening hours. (I like to watch  Cash Cab when I cook dinner!) So, I have to be mindful of the shows we are watching, especially if my kid is in the room.
That said, I’m one of those parents who will turn off the TV, cover the kid’s eyes, or change the channel if the programming quickly turns inappropriate for a child.  I freak out when a major network plays a Viagra ad in the 8 p.m. timeslot or there is a racy performance on American Idol. My kid does not need to see that type of entertainment, so I simply take action. (After all, that’s my job.)
I have greater concerns about the shows my kid loves to watch, especially when she becomes glued to the TV. She is allowed to watch cartoons when eating her breakfast (when mommy is getting ready for work, packing lunches and running around like a wild woman). The rest of her TV-watching is during the weekend, when I just need 30 minutes to make dinner, wash some clothes or pay some bills. Her favorite show is iCarly, followed by similar shows like Wizards of Waverly Place and The Suite Life of Zach and Cody. At first, I thought the shows were okay for a five-year-old… not great, but okay. And then I realized iCarly kids are more than characters to my kid, she was seeing them as role models. And I didn’t like the effects I seeing.
I realized that if my daughter watched more than two shows in one day, she would quickly start to emulate the characters by copying the word choices, rude actions and snarky facial expressions portrayed by the kids on her shows.  Trying to nip this behavior in the bud, I would sit and watch the show with her and interject commentary like “you do realize that you are never allowed to talk to a parent in that tone or manner, right? You would be in big trouble!” I then struggled with letting her watch the shows and being the super-annoying mom who was barking at her during her TV time.
Finally, I decided to use iCarly and the gang to my advantage. When my kid is busted for back-talk, not listening to her parents or being disrespectful… the iCarly privileges are taken away with the explanation that “you are not allowed to act like that, even if you do see it on TV.”
To explore other thoughts and opinions on celebrities as role models, check out the video above where my fellow Yahoo! Mother Board members from across the country discuss their opinions.
Finally, I’d like to close with my thoughts on celebrity role models for ME. I admittedly get caught in the trap of celebrity beauty, weight and glamor. But then I need to get a grip and remember professional celebrities have access to trainers, chefs and an entourage. Most importantly, I have to remind myself “I need to judge and respect people based on their personal character… not their personal accomplishments.”
– LTV Mom

9/11… Never Forget

Tragedy at the World Trade Center

Tragedy at the World Trade Center

Amazingly enough, it’s been eight years since this day.  We all remember it; in fact, we can’t forget it. Stop, take a moment, and honor the Americans who died heroes.

– LTV Mom (who is too emotional to write a long blog post)

Photo Credit Phia Kushi

Activeion: I finally have my “Green Machine”

Activeion: My Green Machine

Activeion: My Green Machine

When I was a little girl, I really wanted a Green Machine to ride around the block with my friends. Do  you remember those funky tricycle-like toys?  I had a Big Wheel that I rode for hours and hours, but those Green Machines looked so darn cool.  Alas, I never got one.

However, a few weeks ago I attended an event with Bill Nye the Science Guy who introduced me to a new kind of Green Machine… and this one is pretty cool too. It’s also environmentally friendly and my four-year-old loves to play with it. I am talking about the Activeion (pronounced Active-Ion) cleaning solution.

Those of you who know me can stop laughing now.  I am not the uber-domestic type and I rarely (never?) talk about cleaning products. (After all, I hired a house-cleaner as soon as I could afford one, and I would lose my mind without her!)  But, I am going to tell you about this particular cleaning product since I believe in its benefits and  purpose.

After both fathers died of cancer within seven short months,  my husband and I decided to do whatever we can to create a clean and green home for our family.  We no longer cook with a microwave, we use chemical-free laundry detergent, we wash with plant-based soaps and shampoos, and we eat organic food whenever possible.  We have tried some “green” cleaning supplies… some good, and some not-so-good. Needless to say, when the folks at Activeion invited the moms from the Silicon Valley Moms Blog to discover a healthier way to clean our homes, we were all ears.

Now, what I am about to tell you will blow your mind. The Activeion will clean your home, and practically eliminate germs and bacteria, using tap water. Of course, it took someone like Bill Nye to explain how it works.  My husband (who, along with Bill, has a degree in Mechanical Engineering) was in love with the concept.  Here’s what I heard:

You fill the container with normal tap water, blah blah blah, electric charges flow through the water, blah blah blah, water grabs dirt, blah blah blah, water grabs germs, blah blah blah, windows are clean without streaks, blah blah blah, your house is clean without chemicals.”

I was sold. Of course, I took an Activeion home and “played” with it. (It lights up green when you use it!) I cleaned everything from my windows to my car to my toothbrush holder. Everything is clean, and there is not a chemical in sight.

So, there’s my pitch. I highly recommend you visit the Activeion Web site and check out the video that explains how it works.  (Trust me, Bill Nye does a much better job than LTV Mom!)

ALSO, amazingly enough, the team at Activeion is giving an Activeion cleaner to one lucky LTV Mom reader!  Please go to the comment section and share your best tip for keeping a clean and green home!  I will draw one lucky winner at random on Monday, June 23.  Yep, one week to share and enter.

You also can click HERE to order an Activeion, and you too can have your very own green machine!

– LTV Mom

LTV Dad, Bill Nye, LTV Mom

LTV Dad, Bill Nye, LTV Mom

CBS Reports with Katie Couric: Children of the Recession

Katie Couric

Katie Couric

News about the recession is everywhere.  We watch it on TV, and read about it online and in print.  Journalists spend hours trying to explain how we got here, what’s next, and how to fit the massive economic problems we face as a country.  All the doom-and-gloom has me worried about my family, my job, my house, my retirement fund, and my future. Well, it took a journalist, the one-and-only Katie Couric, to make me stop thinking about my world and start thinking about the innocent people who truly suffer during the recession: our children.

We all know Katie Couric as the anchor of CBS Evening News, but you might not know she also has a YouTube channel, keeps a Twitter handle, and writes for NYC Moms Blog.  Katie’s recent blog post and upcoming series on “Children of the Recession” made me stop and take a breath, and then inspired me to want to raise awareness of how kids are being affected by this very grown-up crisis.  Here are staggering statistics Katie reported in her blog post and in her upcoming series:

  • Since this recession began sixteen months ago, one million children have lost their health insurance as their parents lose their jobs. [LTV Mom: What are the long-term affects of these one million children skipping wellness exams and dentist appointments year after year?]
  • A CBS poll found that 56% of parents surveyed have discussed the economy with their kids, and half of all the parents have discussed their own family’s financial situation. [LTV Mom: I come from a very tight-lipped family, but this seems so important and obvious.  I need advice to teach the basics of "economics" to my four-year-old.]
  • The poll found that 21% of parents said they are now buying generic brands and less expensive food items for their children. [LTV Mom: Is it safe to assume these kids are now eating over-processed, super-fatty and unhealthy foods?  Now see bullet one about no healthcare.]

You can learn more about how American kids are affected by the recession as the Early Show and the CBS Evening News feature stories all this week.  Please watch and encourage others to watch.  Let’s talk about what we learn, and then explore how we can help.

I also can confirm that Katie Couric is passionate about this topic. In fact, she invited writers from the Silicon Valley Moms Group to join her and her team to discuss the upcoming series and to explore how she can keep the series going throughout the upcoming months.  During our hour-long call, Katie wanted to hear what is happening in our hometowns, learn about our experiences, listen to our frustrations, and praise those who are helping children through this time.

I happily shared information about a San Francisco Bay Area organization called Shelter Network that provides housing and support services that create opportunities for homeless families and individuals to re-establish self-sufficiency and to return to permanent homes of their own.  Shelter Network is more than “a cot and a hot” — they teach life skills, they do the leg-work to get families back in homes, and they keep children with their parents as the families get back on their feet.

I have been inspired to get off the couch — and perhaps turn off the laptop AND the television — to help the children in the San Francisco Bay Area and across the country.  Please join me.

– LTV Mom

The Alzheimer’s Project on HBO

First Lady Maria Shriver

Calif. First Lady Maria Shriver

Maria Shriver calls it “an unprecedented television event” and “television at its best.”  As a mom who spends hours writing about unimportant television, it is my honor to raise awareness of the new documentary called “The Alzheimer’s Project” which begins on HBO starting May 10, 2009.

Last week, writers from the Silicon Valley Moms Blog network were invited to join a private conference call with California First Lady Maria Shriver, who is raising awareness of the disease and the impact on patients and dedicated caregivers.  Ms. Shriver appears in the four-part HBO documentary to help parents explain the effects of the disease to their children.

Maria Shriver is no stranger to the issue; in fact, she wrote the book called “What’s happening to Grandpa?” when her father, Sargent Shriver, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s six years ago.  She speaks with conviction, passion and reality. Not only was I moved by her, but also by the story she shares:

  • Alzheimer’s claims a new victim every 70 seconds.
  • 70 percent of patients are living at home.
  • 76 percent of caregivers are (uncompensated) women, many of whom also have small children in the home.
  • Caring for an Alzheimer’s patient is overwhelming — financially, personally and spiritually.
  • Alzheimer’s could bankrupt the American healthcare system as we know it.
  • This is a family disease, and there are no survivors.

The part of Ms. Shriver’s story that struck me the most — and has stayed with me for days — is this: Alzheimer’s is an old person’s disease, but a young person’s burden.  I never thought of it that way. As our parents are getting older, many will become ill.  It will become our challenge to take care of them both physically and financially, regardless of healthcare aid that is available or not available.  Equally important, we need to solve the health and financial issues of Alzheimer’s before my generation goes from caregivers to patients. As Ms. Shriver said, “we don’t want our children to spend their lives — or their life savings — taking care of us.”

The documentary will appear on HBO or on-demand for everyone to see. For more information, click HERE.

To learn more about Alzheimer’s, visit the Alzheimer’s Association web site or call 1-800-272-3900 (24 hours a day).

– LTV Mom

The Simpsons’ Apple Spoof

Have you been to the “Mapple” store recently? Watch the Simpson’s spoof on Apple-mania… no commentary from LTV Mom necessary for a good belly-laugh!  Thanks to the folks at Obsessable for the video, which also is found on Hulu.

SNL on HRC; Huckabee on SNL

SNL is finally back on the air, and the amazing Tina Fey is hosting the evening.  The SNL crew was sorely missed during the beginning of the election season, due to the writers’ strike, but last night’s show was back in full-force with commentary on Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. Hillary Clinton and Gov. Mike Huckabee himself.  Here are my favorite skits of the night:

"Bitch is the new black."  "Bitches get stuff done."

"I’ll exit out with class and grace."

Happy Valentine’s Day

Thanks to the folks at Mashable for sharing some great Valentine’s Day logos around the Web.





My new favorite t-shirt