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Chic Mom

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I recently made a wonderful discovery and only had to walk a few feet from my boutique’s front door! It’s called The Honey Bee Bookstore.

Moms, I think you will really appreciate everything this little shop is offering. It’s just the most adorable bookstore in Madeira that has the best selection of children’s books, from the baby years up to teen. Of course, there are lots of great bookstores in Cincinnati, but the Honey Bee is taking it a step farther by offering some truly amazing events. For example: Mondays from 10:00-11:00 there is Honey Bee Tots. Children aged 2-4 can enjoy music, story time and more. Thursday is Lunch Brunch from 12:00-1:00 for kids 4-5. You can bring your child by for story time with a brown bag lunch and drop them off for the hour!

Go do your grocery shopping while your kiddo is enjoying lunch with other children and a hearing a fun story. There is an activity for every day of the week so I encourage you to visit their website and view their online calendar. These are perfect activities for a rainy day or just an excuse to get out of the house and it’s FREE!
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The Honey Bee does community outreach by collecting donations for the Madisonville Education and Assistance Center (MEAC) The MEAC offers a preschool literacy program for children ages 3-5. When you do come by to enjoy the shop and activities drop a few bucks in the honey jug for the MEAC or bring by your gently used books.

The owner, Debbie Boylan, has selected the best in children’s books. She also has put together a superb selection of gift items. Gift cards are available and make a perfect present. I think parents really appreciate when their child receives a nice book accompanied by a gift card. The Honey Bee also has a Book of the Month Club. My mom enrolled my oldest in this program for her birthday. My daughter is so excited every month when her new book shows up. She can’t wait to tear open the wrapping and see what new book we’ll be diving in to next. There’s even a Honey Bee Book Club for kids 4-6 that meets on Tuesdays at the store. The children discuss themes and plots of a chapter book.

The Honey Bee Bookstore in Madeira is my pick for one of Cincinnati’s best kept secrets. I can find great books for my girls, drop in for various activities, drop them off while I run errands, find the perfect gift and get it wrapped for that special occasion. It’s so nice as a mom to find a place that meets so many different needs. Whether I need a book, gift or special activity, the Honey Bee has it all. I hope you’ll buzz by and check them out.

The Honey Bee Children’s Bookstore
7004 Center Street
Madeira, OH 45243
(513) 271-0590
www.honeybeekids.com

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The Centerville-based author of The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook, Erin Chase, is amazing for many reasons. Let me tell you why.

 

So, I recently started using coupons to save money where I can. It’a become a challenge for me, which I love. My biggest struggle with couponing is to use everything I had bought and not waste anything, because you often have to buy bigger quantities for the coupon to apply.

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I do love to cook, and it has always been such a passion and stress reliever. But sometimes you want to jazz up the same old same old, so I was open to new ideas and recipes. That’s why I picked up The $5 Dinner Mom Breakfast and Lunch Cookbook.

 

I like to cook from scratch, though, so I was curious to see if Chase sacrificed health and taste for economy. I was pleasantly surprised to see that she didn’t. She also likes to start from scratch – steering clear of preservatives and processed foods – and always incorporates lots of fresh veggies.

 

I fell in love with this cookbook at first read! Not only does does Chase give amazing recipes, she also shares ways to make and freeze food. One of my favorite parts of the book was learning how to make my own breakfast burrito to put in the freezer and grab when I’m ready. Now you can’t beat that! So, if you’re a busy mom on-the-go, you save time and money and give your children a home-cooked meal. For me, that’s a home run.

 

For each recipe, you’ll find the cost per meal, the cost per ingredient, serving tips, freezing tips and a "Frugal Fact" to make your dollar last. At one point in the book, she even gives the cost of a grande nonfat latte and breaks it down from weekly to annual cost, which definitely gave me a new perspective. You, of course, have to buy the book to see that for yourself!

 

The way I see it, this isn’t just a cookbook. It’s a guide to saving without sacrifice, because it’s full of ways to save money for every aspect of your life. With Christmas and the holiday season just around the corner, this is a great gift idea for all those budget-conscious cooks on your list. I promise they will love it!

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Ever been shopping for your little one and not found that perfect outfit you have in mind? You waste hours going from store to store, even if you’re just looking for something simple and classically cute!

Well, ladies, I have a Web site for you: www.littleenglish.com. I adore this site, not just for my little Holly, but for the gift at a baby shower that will stand out.

The smocked southern style is not something you’ll find just anywhere. It’s truly a fabulous find. As Shannon Cowles Latham-owner says, "From special occasions to everyday wear, Little English truly has it all."

I love how most of the items can be worn as separates, or together. Everyone knows as a mom, and especially as a mom of a girl, we want pieces that can go with other things. I mean, after all, we are creating little fashion divas!

 Holly has the Caroline Top and pant set. I love this set because it is so classic as an outfit together or the shirt can be worn with jeans. The blue corduroy pants can be worn with a black shirt boutique280_instory2.gifand a jean jacket for a colder fall day. Three outfits out of one, you can’t beat that! Well worth the price.
 
One of my other favorites is the Lola dress. I love all the different colors it comes in, and again, it is just a classic dress for a little girls. You can also throw a pair of leggings to make it more casual or add warmth.
 
Another favorite thing about this Web site is that you are able to coordinate brother-sister outfits for special events or photos. When I look at buying clothes for Holly, I always want clothes that are sturdy and can last more then one child. Believe me when I say that all the clothes have that sturdy quality that might even last you to baby three and four.

So, next time you are looking for an outfit or two for the little one, please take a look at Little English, I promise you won’t be disappointed!

 
 

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I am always looking for ways to save money. Because I am a stay-at-home mom, I feel like it comes with the territory. I recently heard from a friend about Plato’s Closet. She got some gently-used toys from there for about half of what they would have been regularly. We have been trying to find Holly a tricycle. She has aways been a bit short, so this is not always so easy when trying to find things that require a specific height.

 

boutique280_instory2.gif So, I thought I would give Plato’s Closet a try. They had a great selection of toys from newborn on up. I had always just assumed they had a huge selection of clothes, which they do, but they also have an amazing selection of handmade little girls’ bows, headbands and hats. When I went into the store, I felt like it had little gems all over. As we start back to school, I wanted to share this find with you as a money-saving tip.

 

The next tip that my mother and I started when Holly was born was buying the sale rack at the end of the season. I love to buy for the next year. Jeans or winter coats are always great buys. Last year, I found an L.L. Bean winter coat that was originally $125 on sale for $35.

 

Whether the savings are big or small, they really add up to keep your bank account strong. So, as we start another school year, think about the end-of-summer sales, and don’t forget to check out Plato’s Closet for that unexpected clothing or toy find.

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There comes a time in every mother’s life when she needs a time-out. We send our children to their rooms when they misbehave, so what is the big deal? Yes, it is a different kind of time-out, but don’t we all need some alone time? Everyone needs down time. Sometimes I am so jealous of a working mother who has that lunch break where she can sneak away and do whatever she needs to do. Not to say that being a working mother has more or fewer advantages – that’s a whole other column.

  

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But really, sometimes a mommy just needs her space and time alone.

 

One day on a shopping trip with Holly, she was apparently having one of those, "moments," if you will. Pretty much every child has them, where he or she just cries or screams for no reason, and there is nothing you can do about it. So yes, one of those "moments" was in progress. Then this brilliant woman came out of nowhere and said, "You know, I have a good friend who I met in playgroup, and we take each others’ children one day a week, so that we can get things done."

 

Why hadn’t I thought of that? I told her that was an awesome idea: a simple premise with a great effect for moms.

 

I realized something in that moment – I am not crazy for wanting that alone time. I am not and will never be the only woman in America that feels this way. Don’t get me wrong; being a parent is one of the best jobs in the world, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But every once in a while, Mommy should get a time-out, too.

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I recently took a road trip to visit family in Atlanta. That translates to 470 miles and 8 hours in a car with a kid. Now, as a parent, you soon figure out if your little one likes long trips in the car. Holly is not a good car kid, and I’m sure many of you can relate.

We leave before the roosters and Holly are even awake. She is the last thing we pack, so to speak. We ever-so-gently slip her into the car seat while she is sound asleep, buckle her in snug with her nook and blankie and off we go. Before you know it, we are just coming up on Knox-Vegas and Holly wakes up in her car seat hours later from our in genius head start! Now, what to do for the rest of the trip?

Holly is two and a half, so I try and incorporate some things that she does in her everyday life, along with some new creative things to make the car ride a win-win for everyone. Now, I will say that Holly is already being spoiled with little luxuries. We have an iPad with several of her favorite ‘Princess’ titles and we do have the DVD player in the car, but she can only do so many movies. I started to wonder what could we do as a family on our trip to make it more enjoyable for all of us, especially Holly. Then, it came to me.

boutique280_instory2.gif There are so many places on the way down to stop and visit that any kid would love! Dairy farms, look-out points, national parks, and clean rest stops. Well, the rest stops are more for Dad and I. If your children are older, you can even add them into the planning fun and test their map skills. What an adventure!

All of these things include getting out of the car, fresh air and stretching. It is also educational and hands-on. If you’re in a hurry to get to your destination, or just simply don’t want to stop, writing or coloring pictures for grandparents can be a fun activity as well.

Moms, don’t forget to pack a cooler. I love packing a cooler filled with items so we are able to have a picnic at rest stops and parks. Here’s the secret for the long trips with kids this summer: When you are at the rest stops, play some sort of outside games to get out some of that pent up energy out of your kids. Even if it’s going to a Mickey D’s playland. You will thank me, because the rest of the trip all you will hear is snoring from the back car seat. And what a great sound that is with three hours left to go to your destination… ah, heaven!

Make your summer road trips fun, interesting and enjoyable. Learning experiences can only enhance your family fun and long summer car trips. Always be prepared – it’s less stress. Safe and happy summer travels!

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As a mom of an energetic 2 ½ year old, I quickly learned to be incredibly prepared before I left the house. After that first summer with my daughter Holly, she turned into “Mobile Holly” and I realized I needed to be prepared for anything that would come our way.

 

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So, I bought a small laundry basket, put it in the back of my car and filled it full of something I like to call, “mommy necessities.” It includes a first aid kit full of band-aids, disinfectant spray and wipes. You never know when a “boo-boo” will happen. So, if you are at the mall or the zoo, your mommy necessities are conveniently close by in the back of your car. A simple fix, a kiss to the boo-boo and back to your day. WHEW!

 

Sunscreen is also a must and so important to have handy now that the weather is getting warmer. I even carry this in my purse. Did I mention that was so important? A child’s skin is more susceptible to the sun’s harmful rays. Plus, if you’ve ever experienced how cranky a kid gets when they’re sunburnt, you’ll never want that sunscreen to leave your side again.

 

Picnic blankets and towels are great things to put in the back of the vehicle as well. You never know when you will find that perfect spot under a tree at the park. Summer is a great time for picnics, so treat your little ones to some outside fun. Surprise lunches make them feel extra special.

 

Also, do yourself a favor and bring an extra pair of clothes and possibly a bathing suit. When you are out with the kids, their clothes will inevitably become magnets to water, mud, sand, ice cream and anything else dirty and sticky. Being prepared with extras, you won’t have to worry and you can enjoy the day. The kids can have the time of their lives and if they get too messy, so what? You can put them in fresh clothes before everyone gets into the car. No fuss and less mess!

 

Now, here is a mom secret; the last bits of items I like to have in the basket are snack foods and beverages of some sort. Keeping the kids hydrated and snacks for the ride home makes everyone happy. Being prepared and having these things in the car with you on day trips this summer can not only be a lifesaver but also be a money saver! Fast food stops can really add up!

 

But remember, when thinking snacks, you have to find things that will obviously not melt in heat. I find that pretzels and Goldfish can be your safe bets and pretty much every child I know loves them. I am also a big fan of peanut butter sandwiches. Beverages are dealer’s choice. I find that old fashion water, juice boxes, premade Kool-Aid in a plastic container or Gatorade will always be in the back of our car.

 


Being prepared this summer is the key to many wonderful days out with your little ones and keeping you stress free as a Chic Mommy. Safe travels!

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It’s not easy being a mom. You’re raising a child, but you’re learning a lot in the process, too. And that’s why we wanted to start this new feature for you as a reader. I’m very excited to start the new “Chic Mom” column for Cincy Chic because I do consider myself to be just that.

 

I love shopping in local boutiques, dressing my daughter, Holly, in all the cutest clothes and finding all the fun family-friendly activities there are for us to do in Greater Cincinnati. I also love to throw on a fab dress and fun pair of stilettos for events around town, or just a date night with the hubby. So, that’s what I’ll be writing about: Great boutiques, cute kid’s fashions, events around town, and how to be fabulous and family-oriented at the same time.050211MOM.jpg

 

So, for this first column, I want to tell you a little about myself and what kind of a mom I am. I always dreamed of being a mom. I know, kinda crazy, right? But it makes sense. My parents were amazing growing up, so why wouldn’t I want be that, too?

 

Now, after becoming a mother for the first time two and a half years ago, I still find this the best, most rewarding job I’ve ever had. But it hasn’t come without some struggles.

 

After I had my daughter, Holly, I really struggled as a woman with a lot of things: time management, how to feel sexy again, etc. Because, all of the sudden, I took on this new identity and title of "mom."

 

Several of my friends were still single and couldn’t relate to my new life as a married woman, much less life of a stay-at-home mom. But over time, I figured a few things out: There will never be enough time no matter how well you manage it, and my husband and I are learning how to keep the spark alive. Actually, I think things between my husband and I are better than before we had Holly, all around. We joke because “we still got it!”

 

In terms of what “kind” of mom I am: I was always so flexible with naps, I tried really hard to breast feed (but it only lasted a week), I don’t and didn’t make my own baby food (but I will have to admit that I admire the women who do!) and I absolutely love when my daughter makes messes (even though I’m horrible at cleaning it up). Don’t laugh – it’s true!

 

I don’t sanitize everything all the time because I feel germs are okay and they help the immune system. I am pretty laid back; unless something’s bleeding and then I go into freak out mode. But what mom doesn’t, right?

 

I will say though, the thing I struggle with the most is other mothers, and the judgment passed on other mothers. I feel that we as moms need to be kinder to other moms – in a BIG way. Stop judging each other and be happy with who you are as a mom. I know that sounds so silly, but I know we have all been in that conversation of, "…you mean you don’t breastfeed…?” “…what do mean you don’t make organic baby food that you grew in your garden…?"

 

As if all the children who didn’t get breastfed will fail in life – that’s ridiculous. And “No organic food? Well just forget it, your child will never go to Yale!” If you don’t think these conversations really happen, they do. And all the judgment makes it really difficult to know if you’re doing the right thing. But in reality, only you will know what’s right for you and your family. Follow your heart and the experts – not other judgmental moms – who you truly trust, and your kids will be just fine.

 

So, for this Mother’s Day, lets all spend less time worrying about what other moms are doing and just enjoy our own families! There are far bigger problems in the world, like how to save money to buy more shoes to be a Cincy Chic mommy!

 

So, with all that said, I am very excited to be a part of the Cincy Chic family. I think that this publication is wonderful for helping other women and families engage in the community – and, of course, look great in the process!