a transatlantic mommy / mummy blog – my kids say "tomato" & "to-mah-to"

Is it possible to be Pinterest Proof?

I love Pinterest, I could play and pin on it for hours. It’s a wonderfully visual world to immerse myself in. But recent discussions on the legal implications of pinning, and what Pinterest can do with these images – has led me to want to protect and prevent my own photos from being pinned. (Why may you ask? Read this article on How to enjoy Pinterest and not lose your shirt (and everything else you own…))

Nickie, from Typecast, posted an excellent tutorial on how to add a snippet of code to the header of your blog to prevent people pinning your images on Pinterest.

I implemented this – and it does work, as long as that someone is using the “Pin It” button from their browser bar.

 

However, if you use the image URL and pin it using Pinterest itself, that’s a different story…..

If you copy the image URL, then head to Pinterest and click “Add”

You’ll be given the option to enter the image URL

Where you can enter the image URL you’ve just copied – from a site that has the no pinning on Pinterest code installed

Which will then display on your board

Fail. ……. Anyone have any ideas for Pinterest Proof images? (besides really ugly photos?)

 

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8 years ago 0 Comments Short URL

Bedtime stories, here there and everywhere… a U.S vs U.K perspective

While most nursery rhymes are the same on both sides of the pond, think Humpty Dumpty, Little Miss Muffet… popular bedtime stories and authors are different.

The bedtime classic

U.S.

In Chicago, the bedtime classic is any Dr Seuss book. Take your pick – starting with The Cat in the Hat all the way through Fox in Socks, each of these books has become a go-to for parents in Chicago and throughout the U.S. Like the rhythm of the Iambic Pentameter of Shakespear’s sonnets – anyone who’s read one of Dr. Seuss’s books is familiar with the rhythm or beat that flows through the words as you read. Those of you who’ve read his books as a child or to your children wouldn’t be surprised to learn that when writing his books he said he was trying to copy the sound of a boat’s clanging engine. In fact, the idea for the book had come to him while he was traveling from Europe to America by boat and heard the ship’s noisy engine.

If you’d like to learn more about Dr. Seuss or his books and career, definitely check out Seussville – it’s a fun website and treasure trove of Dr. Seuss info, videos, games, activities and more.

U.K.

In the UK, the Mr Men series is a popular collection with kids and adults alike. Like the Dr. Seuss books once you see one bok you easily recognize the others and begin to enjoy the adventures of each new Mr Man you meet. As opposed to the Dr Seuss books, while the kids enjoy the silly pictures and stories, the words in the stories aren’t for early readers. Also, some of the words are maybe not those we’d expect to share with our kids at a young age (hello introduction of the word “nincompoop” to my kids vernacular)

The Mr Men series was written by Roger Hargreaves and includes 49 Mr Men books and later 42 Little Miss books with female characters – each book focused on one character and their personality traits. Mr. Tickle and Mr. Silly are favorites in our household.

The silly storytellers

U.S.

For funny turns of phrase, tongue twisters and tinglers Shel Silverstein has been an American kid’s classic of poems, short stories and silly songs. Shel was a Renaissance man – not just an author and poet, he was also a singer-songwriter, Musician, composer, cartoonist, and screenwriter. Whether it’s a snail in your nose that will bite off your finger if you pick your nose, or what happens if you refuse to take the garbage out, Shel Silverstein has been nudging children into the path of good behavior for generations. Besides being a children’s author and poet, he was also a cartoonist for magazines including Playboy Magazine, and songwriter, creating hits like “A Boy Named Sue,” famously sung by Johnny Cash.

U.K.

In the UK the storyteller who uses imagination and funny situations to turn kids onto the path of good behaviour is Roald Dahl. Sure, he’s known in the U.S. for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach – but there’s so much more to his oeuvre. was a British novelist, short story writer, poet, fighter pilot and screenwriter. If you appreciate dark humor and or Neil Gaimmon stories – you’ll love Roald Dahl’s children (and adult) stories. One of the traits of his books that makes it resonate so well with kids is that the stories are for the most part told from the children’s point of view. I think my personal favorite children’s story of his is Mathilda, it’s so satisfying when Mathilda discovers her powers and really lets the mean adults have their comeuppance! {For those of you in London – there’s currently a fantastic stage version of Mathilda being put on – you should go see it! }

It’s interesting to note that both Dr. Seuss ( aka Theodor Seuss Geisel ) and Shel Silverstein (Sheldon Allan “Shel” Silverstein) were from Illinois, Springfield and Chicago respectively.  In honor of the 108th birthday of Dr Seuss – Chicago blogger Tailor Made Momma, will be giving away $50 worth of Dr. Seuss books. You can enter to win between March 2-9th. 2012. (details to follow shortly)

How about you? Who’d win in a contest at your house? Dr. Seuss vs. Mr Men? Shel Silverstein vs. Roald Dahl?

What’s your favorite Dr. Seuss book and how much of it can you recite from memory?

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8 years ago 1 Comment Short URL

Spring cleaning my dirty dirty twitter account

Ok, so there’s snow in London – that must mean it’s time for some spring cleaning! Erm, right. Anyways. …

Looking over my Twitter account I decided there were some random accounts without profile pics, had way to much love for Justin Bieber or used heart symbols way too often for my comfort level. It was time for some spring cleaning! A little grooming is not a bad thing – so I looked around and tried out a few Twitter profile cleaning tools. By far, my favorite was Manage Flitter. I used their free service and it was by far the easiest and most intuitive to use and easily helped me clean up my account and would have helped me follow more people should I have been so inclined.

I first sorted out the people who hadn’t yet updated their profile picture (that’s like the first thing a real person does, am I right?) It identified 54 people whom I had been following who didn’t have a profile image. I selected all of them to delete but had to pause on one, @mommykikka – that tweet made me pause you know, and wonder a little bit more about this mommy and her spunky bows account…. I began to wonder about the words spunky and bows – their connotations and denotations and then their relationship when placed together…

AND… unfollow and delete.

Right, so then it was time to clean out old or expired accounts. The ones people hadn’t used in a while. I was thinking this might have been like 3 months, 4 months – I know how it is, you get busy with life/family/job etc. I was really surprised to see some accounts had been truly abandoned. I mean come on, are you really going to come back after 3 years? Especially you @couponsavinggal – you were last looking for deal saving sites, I hope your 3 year absence means you’ve won the Lottery.

All in all – I’m glad I tried this tool and do recommend it if you’d like to do some cleanup of your tweeple. Have you tried a Twitter cleaner or Twitter tool that’s worth taking for a spin? Please do share!

 

{disclosure notice: I did not receive any compensation or products/services for mentioning my use of Manage Flitter}

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8 years ago 2 Comments Short URL

You know when they say “Mummy I don’t feel so well…”

It’s time to pick them up and run like hell for the nearest bathroom, sink, flowerpot, mixing bowl.

Yep, we’ve been struck down (again) with the vomiting bug. Norovirus/Rotavirus/stomach flu/mummy’s bad cooking…. pick your poison. (Hmmm perhaps I could blame it on the ABC gum chewing…)

In any case, there is nothing worse than seeing your child suffer and not feel well. Our little man F got sick last evening and we’ve all been feeling a little shaky in the tummy since.

J has been fine so far -no hint of it so hopefully it will skip him and F is feeling better today (although he did pull the sick card when he didn’t want to finish his dinner).

All in all we got by fairly unscathed this time. Oh man – I hope I didn’t just jinx us.

One of the worst times we had it was shortly before J was born. I had been watching my baby nephew C, who was about 2 months old. He had just gone to his first week of daycare and I was watching him his first day home. He projectile vomitted like Linda Blair in the Exorcist all over my face and everywhere. Since he was still on the bottle and spitting up small amounts occaisionally I didn’t link it with an illness just thought holy cow! So after bringing him around to my brother’s in the evening I was feeling a bit peckish and my brother brought out some “awesome chili you have to try” that he had made. Halfway through tucking into the bowl, he was like, “hmmmm ya, I can’t remember when I cooked that, it might have been a week or two ago.” Fast forward several hours letter to where I’m shaking and feeling like I’m going to die – running to the bathroom trying to decide which end gets the toilet (for those of you who really want to know the trick I discovered is sit on the toilet with the rubish bin in your lap – fyi) Needless to say I cursed him profusely for giving me food poisoning – that was until the next day when he, his wife, my husband and everyone the baby had come into contact with fell ill with same within 24 hrs. Following that they got notification from the nursery that apparently Rotavirus was going around – huh, really? Thanks for the heads-up.

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8 years ago 0 Comments Short URL

Childcare costs in Chicago and London

So childcare is not one of those things you necessarily want to scrimp on – you want the best quality of care for your child afterall. However – childcare costs, especially in large cities make finding the right solution very challenging.

When we lived in a suburban city in the US childcare costs were about $300-$400 USD/month at really nice daycare centers and in-home childcare (childminders) would be less than that. {total costs approx $5,000 USD / yr per child}

When we lived in an urban city in the US, in Chicago we were looking at about $215-$350 USD/ wk for up to 10 hrs per day 52 weeks a year. {total costs approx $15,000 USD / yr per child}

So if you have 2 kids in daycare in an urban city like Chicago, you’d need to make $40,000 / yr pre-tax at your job to come home with no money. Considering that – it’s no wonder that many women take a couple years out of work or stay out altogether to raise their children and watch them instead of paying for daycare.

Here’s an infographic I found interesting on this subject:

ChildCare FINAL Design

So having lived in Chicago I new childcare would be expensive in London but I was still kinda shocked about how much it costs.

If you’re looking at one of the private nurseries or daycare centers in central London they range from 250 – 400 GBP per week, with most being around the 350 mark. What does that mean in dollars? Well, it means 18,200 GBP which is about $30,000 USD/ child per year.

Ok sure – living in England you get paid in GBP not USD, but in a way it’s equivalent, because your salary is adjusted when you move to account for that. So for example if you’re making $40,000 USD in Chicago which is enough to pay for 2 kids in daycare and nothing more – then in the UK you’d be making 25,000 GBP – which is not enough for private daycare or nursery in central London.

Besides private nurseries – there are child centers and childminders (a babysitter who has an in-home small daycare). Child centers are like council run (think of it as local government run) daycare centers. These are about 200-250 GBP/week in central London. Ok great, but the waitlist for these is incredibly long. We were on some waitlists for these when we first came over – we were offered a place eventually, 10 months after we needed it. So, if you made 25,000 GBP you could probably afford a child and half at a child center.

Luckily, school starts 1 year earlier here than in the US. While Kindergarten starts at 5 in the US, Nursery starts at 3-4, and Reception at 4-5.

Ok so then you’ve got your kids in school, but what do you do if you’re a working mum, or working couple – how do you pick up the kids from school around 3? Well.. then we get into afterschool nannies, nannies and aupairs.

We had wanted to have a third child at some point – but trying to figure out how to afford it while keeping our current style of life in London has been a challenge.

How have you managed childcare? Did you find you had to stop working? How did you make it work?

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8 years ago 1 Comment Short URL

Twitter names

Sooo…. I was trying to change my twitter username to a new one to match my blog.

Unfortunately TransatlanticMom is 1 character too long, so it made it TransatlanticMo

Well I don’t want to be a “mo” so then I was trying other variations on the theme, but somehow they just didn’t look right, for example

TAmom and TAmum conjures up tits & a*$ mom – definitely not a handle I’d like on Twitter. Then I thought,

USUKmom – then realized it said “you suck mom.” Pfff. TransMom – nope!

Fail

Darn you Twitter and everyone who has taken any non-dirty relevant name.

Out of desparation I tried one of those username generators.  I put in Transatlantic Mom, I got back: Loser-tastic Emo 

Lovely

Major Fail

Ohhhh ok I got it  TransatlantiMom   – it’s only missing a “c” and isn’t dirty. Yay!

Have now updated my online profile and notified my tweeple.

 

 

8 years ago 0 Comments Short URL

Why Transatlantic – Why not Expat?

It’s funny even though I live in the UK and have American and Belgian nationality I don’t feel like an Expat. When I think of Expat I think of compounds of Americans in foreign countries – living outside or next the general native populace. It also feels to me like with Expat there is an expectation that you’ll be returning to your place of origin within a short time.

So what are you if you aren’t native – go back and forth and have no plans for repatriation? What if you feel like a local because the places you live (in the US and UK) are multicultural cities – so in a sense they don’t feel all that different as far as the daily life, restaurants and attractions available.

For me – I think it makes me Transatlantic.

 

So how does the dictionary define transatlantic?

trans·at·lan·tic (trnst-lntk, trnz-)

adj.

1. Situated on or coming from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
2. Spanning or crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

I live on an Island in the Atlantic

I lived in the US, then the UK, then back to the US and now again back in the UK (with multiple stops in Belgium in-between)

I cross the Atlantic regularly for work, family and fun

Um yep, check, check and check – I guess I’m a Transatlantic Mom then.

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8 years ago 0 Comments Short URL

Goodies & Baddies

It was kind of surprising to hear about “Goodies and Baddies” at first. In the US the boys had played good-guy and bad-guy scenarios with their friends but they had always been someone specific – generally a branded character. For example they would come home and tell me that they were red Spiderman while their friend so-and-so was black Spiderman (aka Venom) and would tell me about their fights and adventures etc. However, within a week of the kids starting school in the UK it was all about “Goodies and Baddies.” It was no longer about Spiderman, Batman etc. When watching a movie now they will ask if the person is a goody? It’s not a huge change in the sense they are playing the same games – but it’s big in the sense that their imagination isn’t tied into the constraints of a specific character and they are free to invent their own goodies and baddies scenario. Now instead of being Spiderman when he grows up – my guy wants to be a goody who is a superhero scientist. (Hello Peter Parker!)

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8 years ago 0 Comments Short URL

2012 Mummy Blogger Events UK and US

MummyBlogger Conferences 2011Conferences and meetups are a great way to learn new blogging tips of the trade and connect with other bloggers.

While some conferences are focused on blogging and social media in general – there are a few that have started which are focused on Mummy and Daddy bloggers. Here are just a few – please let us know in the comments if we’ve missed any so we can add them to the growing list.

UK – 2012
Canada –  2012

United Sates – 2012

 

 

BritMums Live! 2012

Friday, June 22, 2012 at 2:00 PM - Saturday, June 23, 2012 at 8:00 PM (GMT)

London, United Kingdom

BritMums Live! 2012

 

 

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9 years ago 0 Comments Short URL
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