“Friends” Reunion Skit on Jimmy Kimmel Live

our good old "Friends"

Retro “Friends” cast picture

There is so much here to love.

My favorite is Kimmel’s imitation of David Schwimmer’s Ross. Or maybe the laugh track.

Hey, if Huffington Post and Vanity Fair and every other ginormous website can post this, why can’t I? I LOVED FRIENDS.

Spiral-bound Family Time by Dotmine Day Planners (Review)

morning coffee and plannerEveryone has their own special way of organizing time. As if we humans could do that. It’s the charade of control that we enjoy, isn’t it? Blocking off hours on the calendar labeling them “DO NOT DISTURB,” scribbling commitments in a time slot months in advance, adhering (or not) to a schedule. Writing lists of things to do.

And paper. Glorious smooth sheets of new-smelling paper, blank blocks of days, ripe with possibility.

Somebody stop me before this gets ridiculous. Too late?

I love me a good planner. By “good” in my case I mean simple, straightforward, with exactly what I need and nothing more, plenty of room to write notes and doodle and to house the ever-growing lists. Up until this year I have favored the one-year weekly planner format: a 8.5″ x 11″ two-page spread for the whole month, then the weeks following with larger blocks for the days.

I started to hit a glitch this summer, though, when planning for the school year (not just for my own kids but for the whole community because I am the PTA co-president) I found that I needed pages for 2015. I started looking online for the year format for 2015 back in June. Too early.

2014_ft_free_bird

Enter family_time.mine, the code-looking title for Dotmine‘s academic year weekly planner. It goes from August 2014 to December 2015. “A place for our family’s plans and dreams” it says inside the front cover. Well, more like a place for Mom’s control freak tendencies to have a field day, but okay. That’s a nice thought.

The family_time.mine format has the 2-page monthly grid calendar that I like, plus a page for each week with room to jot down appointments and ideas. The thick margins are perforated so that if you jot down a particularly important list you can easily tear it off and go. What I need, plus what I didn’t know I needed!

monthspread weekspread

There are other nifty features of this planner – thick fold-out cards for each season of the year where you can block out your family’s master schedule, a few pages set aside at the back for addresses and phone numbers, babysitter info, and notes – but not too much of the fluff that fills up other planners. I don’t need international maps or time zones or area codes in my planner at all times. I like that this book focuses on family information but it’s not too cutesy. The design is tasteful and it doesn’t say MOM anywhere on it. The one feature I miss here is the presence of tabs for each month so I can easily flip to the calendar and find a specific day. I remedied this a little bit by adding my own tabs with tiny sticky notes.

Dotmine is also mindful of the modern family’s shift to electronic planning. While I do keep a Google calendar, I still love my paper planner, and Dotmine seems to have combined the two obsessions by offering a downloadable day planner. WHAT. It’s the same format and content as the hard copy but half the price and you print it yourself. Maybe one can prevent overwhelm that way…

Dotmine’s family_time.mine day planner – Free Bird style, $24.99 at Dotmine.com. I received a complimentary planner to facilitate this review but you can bet your overscheduled bottom all opinions are my own.

Wordless Wednesday: First Day of School 2014

first day of school 2014


How About Swimming?

Brady in water watches kyle

When my boys were old enough to join a sports team, I never considered swimming as an option. Soccer, baseball, flag football, etc., yes – because those are all in my face all the time. “Soccer mom” is as easy a phrase as breathing. But “swim team mom” is not something that is programmed into the vernacular in quite the same way.

I’m a little sad about that now, actually, because I think that swimming, with its emphasis on “team” and its constant exercise and activity, would have been a great sport to encourage my children to try. It’s not too late, though, as five time Olympic swimmer Dara Torres recently reassured me and other parenting bloggers on hand at the US National Championships swim meet in Irvine, CA.

uS National Championships seal

IMG_4588

Torres is the spokesperson for SwimToday, a special campaign sponsored by USA Swimming and other partners designed to motivate people to try swimming as a sport, not just splashing around in the pool like goofballs, the way my children approach the activity. Torres is a parent herself, and when she relocated to Boston she was surprised to learn that it was hard to find a swim team for her daughter Tessa to join. SwimToday makes it easy for parents to locate swim programs and teams for families all over the country.

Dara coaches kyle

swim instructors only

In an afternoon of chatting, a behind the scenes tour of the meet, and a once-in-a-lifetime swim coaching session for the kids with Torres, I joined the other parents and children in learning about the benefits of swimming. Torres noted that as a swimmer, you’ll never be on the bench for the whole game – everyone participates. Aside from the obvious physical benefits (that swim meet was an event for the .3 % top swimmers in the U.S.: not an ounce of body fat in sight!), swimmers get team spirit, camaraderie, and a sense of accomplishment. And unlike other sports like soccer where true competitors get started as tiny tots, my kids aren’t too old to get involved.

As we toured Irvine High School’s swimming pools – which were amazing – my boys kept getting distracted by the heats and hanging back to watch. I don’t blame them. The swimmers were intense and they were fun to watch. The main pool even had a jumbo social media board up in one corner where tweets were posted if they were labeled with the #Phillips66Nats hashtag.

swimmers take off

tweet board

After they spent about 30 minutes in the pool receiving instruction from Torres about the proper ways to kick, stroke, and breathe, Kyle and Brady seemed very fired up about swimming. They love going to the pool and playing around. Now I’d love to motivate them to achieve better form and even check out a local swim team.

Dara Torres coaches kids

SwimToday has everything parents need to get started – a tool to locate local teams, advice about how to know when your child is ready to join a team, and information about gear and training. Their mission is for kids and adults alike to learn why swimming is the Funnest Sport!

This post is sponsored by #MomTrendsSwim. Many thanks to MomTrends, USA Swimming, and Swim Today for hosting us on what turned out to be a very educational and inspiring afternoon.