Money Matters from the Author of Does this Make My Assets Look Fat

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The author of Does This Make My Assets Look Fat shares her tips on how to manage your finances and invest like a pro!

Financial expert Susan Hirshman, author of the brand new book “Does This Make My Assets Look Fat” answers our readers’ burning money questions and breaks down the concept of investing and budgeting and puts it into terms any woman can understand.

As Susan sees it, the rules of successful dieting are the same rules that apply to successful money management. In her new book, Susan offers women a 3-phase personalized plan that follows common dieting programs to help them understand their finances.

Susan’s program completely removes the intimidation factor that often accompanies the words ‘personal finance’ and ‘investing’ and provides women with all the information they need to take control of their financial situations once and for all.

Question: How do you ‘get on a budget’? What are the first steps? ((We have a decent income-but we don’t have much to show for it!! We don’t waste $$ on material things-but we barely have anything saved.)

Susan: Believe it or not this question can be answered by discussing dieting and hidden calories. You know what I am talking about – those extra calories you ingest without really counting and paying attention to. The handful of M&M’s from your colleagues candy bowl, the second glass of wine, eating out of the refrigerator, and on and on. Dieting experts state that the first thing you have to do to is to find all these “hidden calories” that are sabotaging your success by writing down everything you eat.

Have you ever done this? If you have, then you are familiar with the first step in developing a budget – writing everything down and finding our “hidden expenses.” Hidden expenses just like hidden calories are things that are not memorable but when you add them together they become significant and tend to impair your financial success. ‘
Budgeting (I prefer using the term spending plan – doesn’t it sound much more palatable?) is all about awareness and measurement of your cash inflows (net salary, dividends etc) less your fixed expenses (those that are must have’s, i.e. mortgage, utilities etc) and your variable expenses (those that are discretionary, i.e. entertainment, clothes etc.)

Bottom line – if you don’t measure you can’t manage.
There are many tools available on the web to help you keep track of your spending plan. In addition your bank and/or credit card companies may offer tools as well. Get on it…☺

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Susan L. Hirshman is a former managing director at JP Morgan. She holds an M.B.A. from Baruch College and is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Financial Planner, a Chartered Life Underwriter, and a Chartered Financial Analyst. She currently lives in Manhattan.

If you have a money question for Susan, email us at beth@rolemommy.com.

This post is sponsored by the Role Mommy Writer’s Network.

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A visit with CorCell

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This past Wednesday we had the honor of being invited over to CorCell a subsidiary or Cord Blood America to talk with Dr. Jerry Oneil and Natalie Curry. Dr. Oneil was kind enough to take us threw a brief showing of the facility and what they offer to cord blood banking parents. I know little on the subject, however I have to say meeting these people and hearing their stories really was great!

We also got to have a one on one interview with Natalie Curry, she’s the official spokes person for CorCell and one of the first people EVER to have a successful cord blood transplant. Natalie has some pretty inspirational things to say and I can’t wait to talk more with her in the future. Check out her website here at allaboutcordblood.com

Also anyone out there with friends or family who may be expecting, if you’re looking into Cord Blood Banking for your family, CorCell has extended a fantastic offer to any Healthy Belly members! So encourage them to sign up today before the offer expires and they receive $200 off their cord blood service!!

I’ll have a video to post soon so stay tuned 🙂
-Amber

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Title:  Sleeping by the Book  Subtitle: Advice to New Parents by the Authors of Heading Home with Your Newborn

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Pediatricians, moms and authors, Laura A. Jana, MD, FAAP and Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP offer a wealth of “parent-tested, pediatrician-approved” advice in Heading Home With Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality, Second Edition (American Academy of Pediatrics, September 2010). Available on the American Academy of Pediatrics official Web site for parents, HealthyChildren.org. Also available in bookstores nationwide.

The following are excerpts to help you navigate those first crucial weeks of parenthood and caring for a newborn:
“Sleeping like a baby” can mean different things to different people–usually depending on whether they’ve ever had or taken care of one before. For just about all newborns it fairly predictably means having the ability to sleep at any time and in any place, while at the same time being completely unwilling to entertain any “suggestions” as to how, when, or where to put such talent into practice. You may come across those who have ventured down the path of parenthood before you who simply shake their heads sympathetically and wish you luck in getting your newborn to wake up when you want/need him to, and even better luck getting him to go to sleep when you want. Because we’re committed to helping you set appropriate expectations for yourself and your baby, we’re going to approach the whole subject of sleep by first helping you get into the right frame of mind. We decided to start out by providing you with some basic sleep-related milestones.

Daily sleep. The average newborn spends at least 16 hours a day sleeping, but there can be big differences from one newborn to the next. The total amount of sleep babies need in any given 24-hour day gradually decreases over time, but still totals just over 14 hours at 6 months of age and just under 14 hours at 1 year.
Naps. Sure, many newborns nap in 1- to 2-hour spurts, but before you go planning your schedule around any preconceived idea of nap time, let us add that the length of most newborns’ naps are also very variable and tend to be scattered throughout the day (and night) in a completely random and therefore unpredictable manner. The 3-nap-a-day schedule with which you may be familiar should be considered a sleep pattern you should aspire to down the road, because most newborns don’t settle into this type of nap routine for at least a month or two. Even then, it can take a few additional weeks or months before you can count on a morning, early afternoon, and early evening nap. 
Night versus day. During the first few days and weeks of parenthood, you are likely to find that there’s not going to be a whole lot that distinguishes your days from your nights. More often than not, they just seem to blend together into one big sleep-deprived blur. That’s because it will be almost completely up to your newborn when he chooses to be awake and when he chooses to sleep. Most newborns spend equal amounts of time sleeping during the day and night–a tendency that can be quite challenging for those of us accustomed to more of an awake-by-day, asleep-by-night approach. By the end of their first month, most newborns do manage to figure out how to consolidate their sleep into longer stretches and start to get at least one extended stretch of sleep each 24-hour day. So with any luck, you’ll be blessed with a baby who decides to choose nighttime as the right time to do so. And for the real light at the end of the tunnel: By 3 months of age, many babies get approximately two-thirds of their total daily sleep during the night.

*Book excerpt from Heading Home with Your Newborn (Second Edition/Copyright 2010 American Academy of Pediatrics).

The Heading Home with Your Newborn excerpts are sponsored by the Role Mommy Writer’s Network.

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Yes Mommies a “real” Healthy Cookie” recipe!

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FAT-BURNING CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

(Best Eaten: as a morning or pre-workout snack) Now lets be honest, these cookies don’t actually blast fat off  thighs or eliminate the need for that afternoon run, but they do help sustain blood sugar levels which help us fight the urge to over consume at our next meal or load up on bad carbs and fat!  Every mom and Grandma should have this recipe around for those little ones who are always willing to have a cookie 😉

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
2 cups whey protein powder
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ cups low-fat small-curd cottage cheese
½ cup honey
¼ cup canola oil
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional)
½ cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

1.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.   Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl and blend with a fork.
3.   In a separate bowl, combine next 5 ingredients and whisk
together with a fork, or use an electric mixer or food processor.
4.   Add wet ingredients to dry and mix with a fork. Mix in oats,
chocolate chips and walnuts.
5.   Drop by teaspoonfuls onto an oiled or parchment-paper lined
baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes until the cookies are slightly
brown on top.

Nutrients per serving (2 cookies):  Calories: 99, Total Fats: 3g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 6mg, Sodium: 72mg, Total Carbohydrates: 11g, Dietary Fiber: 2g, Sugars: 5g, Protein: 7g, Iron: 0mg

Staying slim requires eating satisfying snacks that keep hunger away. Key ingredients in these cookies include: Cinnamon to keep your blood sugar in check, slow-digesting protein from cottage cheese paired with faster-digesting whey protein powder to steadily suppress appetite, whole wheat flour for energy-revving B vitamins, oats for their anti-inflammatory polyphenols and beta-glucan, which along with healthy fats from walnuts promote a feeling of fullness that subdues cravings.  We all crave sweets, so the way I look at it is, why not put something in our bodies that will actually do some good!  Complete Recipe also available on The Healthy Belly.com

BONUS:  Chocolate chips will surely squash any feeling of deprivation!

bon’ appetit

Amber 😉

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Techie Moms 

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As I continually catch myself being high-tech in front of my little one I’ve started to wonder……Is what I’m doing teaching her bad habits or is this behavior going to rub off on her? I’ve come to the conclusion that too much computers and PDA devices in front of her can more than likely be teaching habits now, that I may come to regret later in life.  Think about it moms, you tweet, update your FB profile and check emails throughout the day!  I know for me when I’m out and about I’m all business multi-tasking and getting things done.  I know not all moms are like me and hopefully have more self-control than myself.  I run a fairly large pregnancy and parenting website so I’m consistently being contacted or tweaking technical issues to keep my parents and visitors to my site happy, however the mobile connection obsession is a growing epidemic!

Men and women are passing by each day with their heads down and all eyes on their mobile device.  Not that this is a bad thing, I think there is a time and place and if we work on monitoring ourselves and the habits we portray, than are kids are in good hands for the future.   I’ve spoken with moms of teens and they have expressed that their teens are so involved in their mobile communication they see constant problems with everything from eye contact in conversations to family involvement at the dinner table.  Really who do we have to blame?  We set the bar and we are the role models they see and relate to on a daily basis.

What can we do?

I’ve decided all my time with River is now for the most part mobile device free.  I keep my phone in my purse and only answer it if it’s an important call or of course an emergency situation.  I believe if we show our children that they get our full attention and they are number one then it will not only help how they interact now and in the future, but I also believe it can be such a self-esteem booster!  So just remember moms and dads our children our number one above all, your social networking friends will always be online later, however your little one is changing every second right in front of your eyes!

As always I encourage any words of wisdom from parents as I really find this topic more and more relevant!  Thanks for reading my blog


xoxox
Amber

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Little Fibber….

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What happens in each and everyone of us that enables us to tell a lie?  Really I mean I figured you just learn from peers in school or movies, but when my almost 20 month old started blamming the dog for everything that she was doing (and they where all things she shouldn’t) it really made me stop and think, where in the world did she learn that?  Everything from breaking stuff, taking things outside she shouldn’t and even for her falls, when I ask her “River what happened” she’s says “Jetty, she’s bad gurl”!!

One of my all time favorite movies is the invention of lying and I’m guessing River must of popped it in when I wasn’t looking.  If you haven’t seen that movie you must!  Really it makes you thankful for the little white lies we get to tell to make people feel better or even to properly communicate in our sometimes strange world.  So all of this rambling comes down to this, I have been so careful watching every single word and phrase that comes out of my mouth and so far I haven’t caught myself telling a fib to her, however she did randomly decided to tell me “dont’ to almost everything I ask her in these last few days.

I’m not sure but it’s really feeling like the terrible twos are creeping up on me.  No longer do I get to dictate what we are going to do or what we are having for lunch, or ever when it’s bed time.  We have now entered enemy territory and everything is a little mini battle.  I wouldn’t fight with anyone over silly things like this, but I am enjoying the little challenges she brings forth.  To all moms out there who’ve encountered their tots in fibs, I ask this…..How do we turn the clock back?  How do we get them to forget this skill and return to their sweet little honest by nature selves, cause I’m not ready for a little mini teenager 😉

xoxox
Amber

ok this is weird…..i just found this article after “digging” my post  check it out http://digg.com/d31RG8s

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16 Year Old Doula!!

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Yep thats right this inspiring young woman has become a DONA trained birth doula at age 16!  I got in contact with Allie after seeing her profile on yourbestbirth.com Ricki Lake and Abby Epstien’s natural birthing inspired social network, of which I am a proud memeber :).  Allie is very sweet and passionate about what she does and is working towards.  We will be interviewing her for our podcast series in the very near future and I couldn’t be more excited!!

Check out more about Allie and her accomplishments at her website!  I love finding people like this who are out there going after their dreams and goals! Way to go Allie.

On another note, I’m auditioning to be on the new Oprah Network “Own”.  This contest seems pretty exciting, they are going to give one contestant the privlage of having their own show on Oprahs new network!!  We are filming my idea later today or tomorrow and I am so excited.  The ideas are racing through my head, you’ll just have to stay tuned to see what it is!  So the winner gets chosen by votes and I’m a little behind so I’m gonna need all the help I can get from my friends and viewers ofcourse.  Also I wanted to mention to anyone who hasn’t listened yet (especially if you’re expecting) you have to check out my podcast series in itunes! Open itunes store and search pregnancy under the podcasts, click on HB radio and subscribe!  Or you can just click the rss feed and listen to them online here at http://thehealthybelly.com/podcasts.xml

Thats it for now as my little ones nap time has come to an end 😉

Amber

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Press Release

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The Healthy Belly, LLC shares its dream with mommies-to-be!

Lake Havasu City – June 1, 2010 —Most of us dream about doing something in our lives that can impact others in a positive and caring way and when you find an interest in something that has the potential to do just that, you want to put your heart and soul into it and make it your life’s work.

Inspired by the pregnancy and birth of their own baby in 2008, Jeff and Amber Janke began researching every bit of information they could find to ensure they gave mommy and their baby a healthy and supportive environment during and after their pregnancy. “What we discovered was that we could become a greater part of the decision process in all aspects of the experience” says Amber. “Deciding to have a baby opens a whole new world of possibilities that can enrich the experience for mommies and their family when you truly engage in the experience.” This was the springboard for the development of a web site that has all the information in one place making it available to millions of people.

TheHealthyBelly.com has all the ingredients of a business created for all the right reasons. It fills a tremendous need for new and soon-to-be moms and extends information to all members of the family. By providing visitors access to credible information and support at no cost, it provides opportunity to join groups, research products and share information.

“The goal of The Healthy Belly is to be the most hip, fresh, high-end, interactive, and intuitive website in its class” says Jeff. “There’s a strong focus on nutrition, fitness, and mental health, which strives to give visitors the most positive, organic, and holistic approach to pregnancy, child development and parenting.” Interviews, articles, testimonials, illustrations, forums and more add depth and interest to visitors extending their stay on the site.

The couple overlooked all the obstacles of developing and launching such a large project during one of the toughest economic climates in American history. Amber believes it was the most important thing to do! “We couldn’t sleep at night! All we thought about was sharing our experience with everyone” states Amber. “Our home birth was something we’ll never forget and it all went so well because we took the time to research and learn how to make it so wonderful.”

Not only does TheHealthyBelly.com provide the knowledge to educate daddies and mommies-to-be in a way that best suits their personal needs, it also has a sister site for parents and mommies-to-be that want to share their pregnancy experience or children’s growth and development in a safe and secure site on Dooddles.com. The Dooddles’ family-safe social network is said to give Facebook a run for it’s money!

Learn more about The Healthy Belly family of websites, product recommends and social networks by visiting http://www.thehealthybelly.com.

For questions or an interview, contact
Amber & Jeff Janke
amber@thehealthybelly.com

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Tot Training 101

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As a first time mom with a now 19 month old, it’s beginning to really get hilarious as I discover the things we will think up to entertain, satisfy and calm our little ones when they aren’t behaving or doing something they shouldn’t be.  I’ve stumbled upon some little tips from family and friends, reading and of course my own experiences on this ultimate journey of mine into motherhood.

So my first tip is one of my favs that I’d like to share, I can’t claim this one as my own but Ashley you’re a genius for thinking this one up and I’m not even sure if you realize how much this has helped me so I’m sure it will help out some other mommies too!

So in my daily routine I always get to dinner-time just barely able to cook the meal without little River loosing it cause she wants me to hold her, however it’s just not the best idea to hold a toddler while cutting and chopping and so on……So we get to dinner-time and everyone is happily eating their meal and filling their tummies with a smile, when my anxiety begins to set in.  See I like to clean up dinner dishes and such immediately after we are through rather than wait till the tot passes out for the night and I’m scrapping pots and pans when I should be relaxing or whatever.  Now thanks to Ashley’s little trick I wet a papertowel sheet and give it to her, asking her to help mommy clean.  I give her an order like start with the high chair then clean mommy and daddy’s chairs.  Really this works!  It’s amazing she’ll clean everything in sight all the while happily chanting “help mommy cwean” and I’m busy away scrubbing dishes and getting things in order!  Ok so maybe you’re kid isn’t into cleaning, but I think the real trick here is giving them a task that makes them feel significant.  These little ones are so much more aware than we often realize and I believe they just want to feel important 24/7!


Some more super helpful articles for moms of toddlers 😉

http://www.thehealthybelly.com/healthy_tots.php?sub_tab_id=143

If any of my blog readers have any more fun tips I’d love to hear more!!!

-Amber

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Mommy needs a time-out ;)

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So this article came inspired by those moments when you literally wanna check out as mom and pass the reigns to someone else but guess what you CAN’T!!  Funny how this blog posts follows my last one about how touching being a mom can be, but hey we all have our day….

What are relaxation techniques?

Our fast-paced society often causes people to push their minds and bodies to the limit, often at the expense of physical and mental well-being. Relaxation techniques are helpful tools for coping with stress and promoting long-term health by slowing down the body and quieting the mind. Such techniques generally entail: refocusing attention (by, for example, noticing areas of tension); increasing body awareness; and exercises (such as meditation) to connect the body and mind together. Used daily, these practices can over time lead to a healthier perspective on stressful circumstances.

Have I got your attention? Check out the full article here with all sorts of good info you don’t want to miss!!


-Amber

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