It’s Here Our 4th Issue of The SpecialMoms Parenting Magazine

SMPM tablet cover November 2014 Welcome To The Fourth Issue of“the SpecialMoms Parenting magazine”.  I am so excited to share this issue with you!

I can’t believe this is our fourth issue of the SpecialMoms Parenting magazine. It has been an extreme honor sharing the stories of these inspiring women who are making an impact in the community. 

Over the last year we have interviewed over 20 motivating women and men who are advocating for their child with special needs, while becoming entrepreneurs! 

We shared with you over 30 articles from business, health, education, advocacy and more!

This FREE digital magazine was designed to celebrate the contributions of women, mom entrepreneurs who are making an impact in the special needs community. 

To start receiving your free online copy of the magazine, please subscribe here!

In this FREE download, you will:

  • meet 5 inspiring moms who are making a difference not only in the special needs community but for their child as well.
  • learn how these motivating women try to find balance and harmony in their lives, while juggling the demands of caring for their families.  All while creating awareness and advocating for their child, running a business, blogging or even writing a book!
  • we wanted to spotlight a few of the SpecialMoms that we interviewed in the past and see where their businesses are at now
  • read more about “Smith-Magenis Syndrome” from a Mom Advocate  and more!

So are you excited to meet these wonderful moms?

landing page

 

Here’s a peek at the feature articles inside this issue:

    • Charitable Giving At The Holidays: by: Tawni Reller
    • Surviving The Holidays With Food Allergies by: Lauren Kossack
    • The Amazing Benefits of Yoga by: Helene Shafer
    • Business Briefcase: Networking To Promote Your Work From Home Business by: Marla Murasko
    • Occupational Therapy Corner: Top Toys For Children With Sensory Process Disorder by: Cara Koscinski
    • Passing the Torch: Life changing conversations every special needs parent needs to have by: Lenore Vassil
    • Look Where They Are Now! (Spotlight on some past SpecialMoms) by: Marla Murasko
    • and more!

I love seeing comments like:
Lauren's testimonial on magazine Kerith's testimonial

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

why type a parent is the first blogging conference on my 2015 calendar

It was a little over a month ago that I was in Atanta, GA attending my first .  Sure I attended the Bootcamp in Walt Disney World, which was amazing in and of itself, but I heard such fabulous things about Type A that I was so excited to be attending for the first time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I got to my hotel I settled in.  I looked around for a place to eat for dinner.  The hotel suggested a great place Gordon Biersch right across from the hotel, and since I was a little early for dinner I pretty much had the place to myself.

 

dinner at typea dessert

 

 

 

 

That night I stopped at the VIP Reception and met some wonderful people.  Got the chance to meet Monique Johnson and Crystal Collins from DIY Mobile. Then it was time to head back for a full day of learning at the first day of Type-A Parent.

VIP reception

The morning started off with a great breakfast and networking.  I got to meet some really wonderful women.  Some I knew like Sara Broers who I met a few years prior at Bloggy Con, but stayed in touch. Then I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Susanne Young, Celeste Eatherton, and Alisha Lampley. The great thing about this group of ladies is every morning we sat together, and attended the parties at night together, even though we may have split up to attend different presentations during the day.  We felt a sisterhood, and I enjoyed their company.

Our keynote speaker was Mack Collier:

 

mack collier

 

Then we got to listen to the amazing Rachel Martin and Dan Morris from Blogging Concentrated.

rachel martin and dan morris

 

We also got to listen to some other wonderful speakers Julie Cole from Mabel Labels.

Love the panel discussions were so great to hear from fellow bloggers and to bounce questions off them:  

The one on one Vlogging session I had with Desiree Miller was so insightful.  Great opportunity to learn from the best:

So much learning and networking was taking place:   learning in progress at type a   That night I had the wonderful opportunity to join Rowland Day, CEO and Founder of Websafety at a brand dinner.  This was wonderful to speak to a brand that you want to potentially partner with.   brand dinner with rowland day from websafety why created websafety   After dinner we attended a Party.  I received a pirate mouse hat, which was perfect as it was “Talk Like A Pirate Day”. disney party   The during the day you got to meet the sponsors at their tables.  This was so wonderful to chat with them, figure out a way you can partner together or how their product can help your business and of course the freebies are always great.  Thanks Redfin for my charger.     redfin charger at type a   How can you not be excited about taking a picture with Lassie.  I can’t wait to work with this non-profit organization Save The Children.  They are doing such wonderful work keeping our children safe.   met lassie with save the children    Here is another great company that I plan to partner with. I think their product is wonderful!

The breakout sessions were great.  I learned so much from all of them.  So much information to take back and start implementing.

As I headed back to my room to decompress and get ready for tonight’s party. I decided to share a picture of the Must-Haves I bring to a conference:

must haves for conference

Must Haves for Blogging Conferences:

1) Plently of Business Cards
2) Tablet, Ipad or computer
3) Wireless mouse as you will be doing a lot of typing whether it’s tweeting, instagramming or taking notes
4) Nametag
5) Portable charger
6) Gum/mints
7) Planner
8) Essential oils (definite)

But we had one more party to attend, and that was the 90’s party.  These ladies and yes men know how to have fun after a day filled with learning and networking.

So I got on my 90’s Clueless costume and went down with my fellow Type-A Parent bloggers to have fun.

ready for the 90s party at type a

 

time to party at type a

We ended this wonderful conference with an amazing speaker, one that I truly connected with, Thom Singer. What he talked about was networking isn’t a digital thing. When you go to a conference you can’t always have your face in your phone or even with your family. I retweeted the following tweet from a fellow blogger because is exactly what he was talking about:

 

Here is another quote.

Basically what he is saying is get back to writing thank you notes instead of texting or emails. 2014 is the year of the handwritten note.

handwritten note

What a way to end an amazing conference.  Here is the tweet that I ended with:

 

Then a quick tweet to Kelby Hartson Carr the Chief Executive Officer of Type-A Parent:

So enclosing you can see why the Type-A Parent Conference in Atlanta, GA is already on my calendar for 2015. Ticket is purchased and hotel is booked. You will definitely not want to miss this next year, register at Type-A Parent Conference.

typeacon14 This will be my first time attending the Type A Parent conference in Atlanta, GA.  I have heard such wonderful things about this conference.

I have attended a few blogging conferences in the past like BlogHer, BloggyCon, Type-A Bootcamp in Walt Disney World to Disney Social Media Moms Celebration “On The Road”.

So Why Do I Attend Blogging Conferences?

Each one of them seem to provide a different perspective on blogging and running a business as a blogger.  I am really excited about attending the presentation from Denene Millner entitled “Refining Your Voice – How To Write That People Can’t Stop Reading” and “How To Make Your Small Blog A Big Deal”.  Seeing I did a #DisneySide party, I can’t wait to attend the #DisneySide Welcome Reception

During this three day event, you have the opportunity to meet new bloggers, share ideas, partner on new ventures and reconnect with some or your blogging friends you have connected with at other conferences.  Blogging conferences also allow you the ability to connect with brands during expo hours, if you are looking to partner with brands to work with them in the future.  So I definitely advise bringing a lot of business cards, as these events are truly a great networking opportunity.

However, some of the best time is during the social hours like the reception, Taste and Share Party, lunches and dinners.  You can really have a lot of fun getting to meet new people, so I would strongly suggest attending them.  I only wished I was able to attend the Frozen party they had at the Type-A Bootcamp in Walt Disney World it looked awesome.

Blogging conferences have opened up so many doors for me from a blogging perspective.  I have the wonderful opportunity to partner with amazing bloggers on projects, but also works with some awesome brands.

So Want To Be A Part Of The Fun?

Mark your calendars for September 18-20th and join me in Atlanta for Type-A Conference! You can use the discount code BLOGPARTNER (affiliate link) and save 25% off your ticket if you register in the next 24 hours.

indy car at ndsc

Welcome to the 42nd National Down Syndrome Congress Convention Recap!

This was the first time that a convention like this was so close to home for me, and I was excited that my family was going to be able to take part in it with me.  Sure we went to Bloggy Con last year at Cedar Point which was fun, but that was geared towards bloggers.  The NDSC Convention boasts the largest annual gathering in the world of self advocates, parents, siblings and professionals associated with Down syndrome.  This convention is designed for parents, other family members, caregivers and professionals alike to network, inform, educate and share experiences about caring for and living with a loved one with Down syndrome and I was excited to be able share it with my 8 year old son with Down syndrome and my husband.

After our 1 1/2 hour drive to Indianapolis we pulled up in our hotel the Residence Inn on the Canal.  We have stayed here before and enjoyed it.  The hotel sits right on a man made canal that is perfect for walks, boat rides and feeding the ducks.

residence inn on the canal

Since my son is an experienced traveler, he knows the process of unpacking his clothes as you can see, he’s making himself at home.  unpacking at NDSC
After we unpacked we got dressed to head out to a wonderful dinner at the Oceanaire.   It was a fabulous dinner, but pricey.  There was a lot going on in the city.  We noticed another large group that was also in town for a convention.

When dinner was done, we walked over to the Convention Center, where unfortunately I thought the convention was going to be.  My husband and son walked back to the hotel as I was going to take advantage of the pre-conference, register and start visiting with some vendors.  But as I walked the very large convention center I realized that I was in the wrong place.

After I got to the right location, I noticed  the place was bustling with thousands of families, registration was clicking and families were excited to see old friends.

As this was my first time attending this conference I was eager to get my registration material and head up to visit some of the vendor booths.

My first stop was The TV Teacher.  My son is struggling with writing and The TV Teacher, LLC produces award-winning programs that teach children how to write the alphabet, numbers, shapes & more! It’s visual, It’s fun. It’s effective!  Excited by the material I purchased some of her dvds and white board.

Then I moved on to the exhibit hall.  Boy there were so many wonderful exhibitors.  There was something for everyone.  Book vendors, non profit organizations, colleges, athletic exhibitors, authors and more.

I got the wonderful privileged to meet Sean McElwee and his mom, the author of the book “Who’s The Slow Learner?” A Chronicle of Inclusion & Exclusion

 Photo: Sean's autographing Both My Name Is Sean and I Have Something to Share ad Who's The Slow Learner? A Chronicle of Inclusion and Exclusion at the NDSC Conference!

The first book chronicling a student with special educational needs from preschool through high school graduation.  I couldn’t wait to get this book.  I haven’t started reading it yet but look forward to learning a lot from it.  Although my son is only in 2nd grade I hear there are some really insightful information in the book.

Then I came upon Natalie Hale, award winning author, reading educator and founder of Special Reads for Special Needs.  I was intrigued about her literacy program, so I purchased her Pre-Primer Bundle, which is combines a two pronged approach with Pre-Primer Dolch list books and visuals.

linda from IDSC After walking around and gathering information from other vendors, I finally had the wonderful opportunity to meet a colleague of mine Linda Paulson Nargi from the International Down Syndrome Coalition 

Feeling overwhelmed and tired, I decided to head back to the hotel, to get some rest and get ready for the next couple of days of presentations, mingling and visiting more vendor booths.

Looking at the schedule it was so hard to decide which presentations to attend because there were so many presentations that looked interesting.  But after narrowing it down I had a plan of action for the next few days.

Some of the presentations I chose were “Sight Word Reading vs Phonics: What is the Priority” with Margo Courter from Courter Communications a Speech Language Pathologist.

sight word presentation

 

presentation INCLUSION: 5 Things Every Parent Needs to Know with Paula Kluth, Ph.D.

While I attended these presentations my son and husband were fortunate to be able to go over to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.  I want to personally thank Lori Philips, the Blog & Social Media Manager at the museum for providing them with complimentary tickets to experience the museum.  They had a wonderful time, check out for yourself:

 

dinosaurs at the museum doing the slide at the museum

mulan learning about astronauts

It was really nice that my family was able to enjoy this convention with me. They got to meet vendors, try out some of the products and make new friends.
riding amtryke

 

Here is my son trying out one of the AmTrykes from Ambucs dedicated to creating mobility and independence for people with disabilities.

Buddy Up Tennis

Jacob testing out his tennis skills at the Buddy Up Tennis booth.

buddy up tennis 2
Dad joining in on talking about this wonderful program.

Then it was off to visit more vendors:

ellies heart
Jacob visiting with Eli’s Heart, a non profit dedicated to help families pay for travel expenses associated with heart surgeries for children.

eruption athletics

Jacob joining the men from Eruption Athletics a group that provides personal training services for individuals with developmental disabilities in both group and individual settings. He had an awesome time.

gigis playhouse

Then it was a stop at Gigi’s Playhouse. Where Jacob had a wonderful conversation from a worker from Hugs & Mugs.

Hugs & Mugs is a brand new retail and online store run by adults with Down syndrome from GiGi University!


university of north carolina greensboro

While my son and husband went off to look at some more booths, I stopped off to chat with Eric Marshburn, Director of Admissions from University of North Caroline Greensboro, I was very interested in getting some more information about their 4 year certificate course of study for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their partner Beyond Academics.  Even though Jacob is only 8 years old it’s so encouraging to see the options that are available for him with secondary education.

love the frienships at NDSC

Even though we had a busy afternoon, there was always time to make friends. That’s what was so nice about this conference is that it really was for the families and a time to connect and building friendships.

dinner at buca dibepi

 

Well it was time to head off to dinner and we felt that a good Italian meal was in store, so we headed off to Buca di Beppo.  We fortunately beat the crowd because when we left there was a line.  But the food was great!

feeding the ducks

When we got back to our hotel we figured we would relax with a nice walk down by the canal and we were given some bread from the front desk to go feed the ducks. It’s a really nice area if you make a reservation (well in advance) you can take a quiet gondola ride.  It’s a little expensive riding the paddle boat probably not something you want to do with your family, but they have paddle boats which my son and husband did earlier in the day.

 

evening gondola ride on canal

Before we left Indianapolis, we took a ride around the city and passed the famous Lucas Oil Stadium to complete our trip to Indy!

lucas oil stadium

It was a fantastic weekend.  I learned so much, got to meet new friends (I was so excited to meet Keith Harris, Tim’s dad from Tim’s Place and Tim’s Big Heart Foundation) and network with new businesses and contacts in the Down syndrome community.

The nice thing about this convention was there was something for everyone, every age.  They had a separate track for youth and adults with Down syndrome to be able to take part in their own presentations like: “The Sweet Taste of Success: Finding Your Passion and Starting Your Own Business”, “A Healthy Lifestyle: Diet, Exercise & Well-Being” to a Talent Show, and so much more.

There was also a different track for Brothers & Sisters of Individuals of Down syndrome to engage in healthy conversations with their peers about such topics as Inclusion, Family Dynamics, Bullying and the R-Word.

Unfortunately I didn’t take part because of the timing but the dances appeared to be the “best” part of this convention. A true moment to have fun and enjoy your family and friends in a non-judgmental environment.

I also want to say thank you to Maria from Specs4Us for giving my son a free pair of frames.  After explaining to her the issues we had with my ophthalmologist and ordering him the wrong size Specs4Us frame, she graciously tried a few sizes on him and gave us the right pair.

So in closing I would just like say a very “big” thank you to Muriel Cross from BohlsenGroup.com for giving me wonderful opportunity to experience my first National Down Syndrome Congress convention, and to let me bring my family.

As a special needs mom blogger this was such a wonderful experience and strongly suggest any parents, individuals with a child or loved one with Down syndrome needs to attend this convention.  You won’t be sorry!  You will only walk away with more knowledge, a wider network of physicians, therapists, businesses and more to tap into.

So I encourage all families of a child with Down syndrome to mark their calendars for June 25-28, 2015, the 43rd Annual NDSC Convention will be held at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix, Arizona.

It’s on my calendar and I hope to meet you there!

{Convention Post #2} Spotlight Interview with Carole Guess, “How The NDSC Convention Has Impacted Our Lives”

setting the pace “I am a ‘mom-parenting-solo’ of an active nine-year-old living with . For me, the convention is truly a family reunion. That feeling of extended family and support is priceless,” said Carole Guess, mother of Evan.

Guess is one of more than 2,500 people are expected to take part in the 2014 National Down Syndrome Congress Convention in

Why?  In less than 2 weeks I will be blogging at the 42nd Annual National Down Syndrome Congress taking place in Indianapolis, IN. National Down Syndrome Congress

Yes that’s right a convention that brings together families and professionals in the Down Syndrome community, and I have been asked to be a part of it.  I feel extremely honored and excited to have been asked to attend as a Special Needs Mom Blogger and Health Advocate.

The NDSC Convention boasts the largest annual gathering in the world of self advocates, parents, siblings and professionals associated with Down syndrome.  More than 2,500 people are expected to take part in this event.  Families, professionals, doctors to therapists will be at this 3 day event.

This is the first post of a series of posts about email for entrepreneurs

How often do you check your email? Every hour? Every few minutes? Or is it every time that little “unread” number pops up?

If you suffer from email overload, that little number can make you crazy – and plenty unproductive as well. But a little discipline and a good plan can help you tame your email and regain some of your sanity to boot.

Better Email Settings for a More Productive Work Day

First, do you really need to check your email every five minutes? That’s the default setting for a lot of email clients, but that kind of instant receipt is almost always unnecessary. A better idea is to set your email client to only grab email on demand, meaning if you don’t ask for your emails to be downloaded it won’t happen.

If you can’t (or won’t) rely on manual downloading of emails, at least turn off the “unread” notification or for me I turned off the sound for new email notification. That way you won’t be tempted to rush off to read every email that comes in, even when you’re up to your eyeballs in a project.  mail-icon-117-messages

Ideally, you want to limit checking of emails to three times per day: in the morning, in the afternoon, and at the end of the day. But here’s the thing – you have to “process” those emails at the same time. You can’t let them sit around to answer later, or that defeats the whole purpose.

A Systematic Approach to Email Processing

What do you do when you open your email client? If you’re like most people, you browse the subjects, open the most interesting ones first, make a decision about what needs to happen with it, then move on to the next.

This is a serious waste of time because you end up opening, reading, and making decisions about the same emails again and again, every time you look at your inbox. There’s a better way.

David Allen, author of “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity”
recommends a triage approach to email that leaves your inbox empty every time you look at it. Here’s how it works.

For every email you open, immediately decide if it requires action or not. If not, either file it (if it contains information you might need later) or trash it. If the email requires action – whether it’s a to-do item for a project or simply needs an answer – you have three choices: do it now, do it later, or get someone else to do it.

If it’s going to take just a couple of minutes (i.e. you just need to write a two line response), then do it and trash the email. If it will take longer than that, add it to your to-do list for later, then trash the email. If you want someone else to do it, forward it to them.

No matter which choice you made, the email does not stay in your inbox. It’s either filed, done, or added to a to-do list (yours or someone else’s).

Do that for each email you receive, every time you open your inbox, and you’ll never again have to face the clutter of an overflowing inbox.

Will it take some time and discipline to build that habit? You bet, but the result – no more stressing over emails, and no more wasted time searching for an email you’ve read before but failed to act on – is well worth the time it will take to re-train your brain about email.

Comment below if this process worked for you?

6 Tips To Being Confident And Setting Your Goals!

How many times in a day do you find yourself asking yourself “Where did the time go?” Let’s face it, we could all use a little help achieving our goals and improving our productivity. The key to doing this is to figure out what you want and make a list of your priorities.
With the fast-paced lifestyle we all lead, it’s no wonder you can’t find any time for yourself or to do the things that are important to you. You seem to spend all day doing for others, that at the end of the day, you have no energy or time left in the day to do anything for yourself.

  set goals

 

Tip #1: Ask Yourself What Do I Want To Accomplish?

Whether it is today, next month or this year. You need to set a goal. A long-term goal is essential, but also include steps you need to achieve that goal. This way, you not only have small goals to help monitor your progress and motivate yourself with your achievements, but you also have a built-in way of knowing that you’ve thought in depth about what you’re doing and are acting wisely. These small goals will also keep you on track in reaching your bigger goal.

Tip #2: Now Create Your “To Do” List To Reach Your Goals

Once you have your steps, turn them into to-do lists. It may helpful to have not only daily lists, but weekly and monthly ones as well.

Another trick that might be helpful when prioritizing your goals is create a list of activities you do daily, committees and/or organizations you are currently active and participate in. Compare that list with your “to do” list for reaching these goals and decide if there are activities that can be eliminated to make more time for you to reach your goals! You may find things that can be delegated to a Virtual Assistant or maybe even your children.

Tip #3: Stick To It

Once you’ve set your priorities and made your to do lists, you need to stick with it. Sure, if things change, you may need to do some tweaking here and there, but you put a lot of thought into your lists and you need to trust your own judgment. If you keep backtracking and re-prioritizing, you’re never going to get anything done.

For most of us, it is generally easiest to make a list and then pick and choose which things we’d like to do off the list. The problem with this is that something you like doing more may not be as urgent, and the more important items will be put off until the last minute when you absolutely have to get them done.

A better way to look at your list, is pick the one thing that you’re dreading doing. Sure, it might take you a while to get it done, but once you do, you’ll not only be less likely to procrastinate, you’ll also have a sense of accomplishment and momentum to get through the rest of your work.

Tip #4: Be Realistic About Your Time

A key part of time management is being realistic. Many people think that if they set lofty goals, they’ll get that extra push from the perceived time crunch and actually meet them. The truth is, if you set unrealistic goals, you’re rarely going to meet them. If you continue to not meet your goals, you’re going to become discouraged and actually lower productivity and work quality.

One of the most important steps in time management is taking responsibility for your actions and how you manage what you do during your days. When we fail to meet a deadline, many of us blame it on other things, like a distracting co-worker or a great show that was on TV. This leads us to believe there is nothing we can do about meeting deadlines, which just isn’t true. You need to own your own time. If you don’t meet a deadline, figure out what you did wrong and what you can do better next time to fix it.

With a little effort and a lot of conviction, you can stick with your plans and achieve your goals.

Tip #5: Learn To Say “No”

I know sometimes it’s just easier to say “yes” to all the requests, but if you want to reach your goals the most important things is you are going to learn to have to say “no”. Set boundaries when needed to help you stay on track in what you need to get done to meet your goals.

Tip #6: Keep Your Goals Visible

goals_deadline Whether you create a vision board, have a hand written list or use a cork board, keep your goals visible to you that you can read daily.

What is a vision board?  A vision board is a collage of pictures, phrases, words or items that represent you and your goals.  Vision boards are for inspiration; think of it as a vision of the future.  These goals can be long-term or short-term.  By seeing these images on a daily basis, you will keep the motivation to reach for those goals and dreams.

I have also created a vision board on Pinterest if this may help you get started.  Check it out:

Follow SpecialMoms A Business Club for Mom Entrepreneurs’s board Vision Board on Pinterest.

Do you have a vision board? Will you be creating your vision board today?