POSTED: TUESDAY, MAR 19TH 2013

The Helping Foundation on Huffington Post Parents

On Monday, March 11th, an essay I wrote about my relationship with my daughter and what she taught me was published in Huffington Post Parents. This essay was a reprise of the keynote speech I gave at last year’s Mom 2.0 Summit. Here is an excerpt:

If we cannot possibly know the quality of connection someone else has with her child, why do we think it’s okay to judge her? Why is it that moms can’t set the bullying aside and focus instead on what is right in front of them: the exquisite opportunity to know and be known, to inspire and be inspired? We’re all in the same impossible predicament that society put us in — why can’t we acknowledge it and go from there? We’re all in the same pickle. We were educated from childhood to become contributing members of society and to aspire to fulfilling careers, then we have our own children and society’s expectations of us change utterly. Our collective confusion and anxiety is understandable. But why can’t we recognize that this is a consequence of living in this time, and not allow the insecurity we are almost forced to feel manifest itself in a distracting and destructive cutting down of others?

Why don’t we decide to look at the choices we make in our lives not as sources of anxiety, but as enormous opportunities for inspiration, both to and from our children? That connection, that authentic reflection of one another, the flow between the mother and the child, each inspiring the other to lead a beautiful, full life — that’s where our focus should be. It’s a gift like none other.

What my working life did was inspire my daughter to have the courage to put herself out there, to be fearless in the eyes of her peers and to tackle nothing short of the pain of human loneliness as she sees it from her perch in the second grade. And conversely, her beaming face, so incredibly proud of me, everyday, makes me determined to do all the things she’s dreaming I’ll do.

The response to this piece has been humbling. It has been liked and shared thousands of times.

What we’d like to do now is hear from you. We received hundreds of emails, messages, and comments in a million different places. We want to consolidate them. There have been so many beautiful stories that have come to us. They deserve to be shared.

So what we are asking is this: Please share your story here in the comments. If it’s too long, please email it to RedRover using hi [at] redrover [dot] co, and we will share some here on our blog.

Like I said in my essay, we’re all in the same pickle. Let’s share our stories and support each other. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

 




POSTED: WEDNESDAY, JAN 9TH 2013

Big Ideas for Brooklyn Fun from RedRover’s Serena Norr

I love that there is always something fun to do in NYC. However during winter it can be challenging to schlep around NYC with my small children where I favor local playdates and playing at home. Another way we have been keeping busy is by enjoying drop-in classes and play spaces in Brooklyn where we can enjoy an outing, but still not have to travel that far away. From rock n’ roll spaces to cheap drop-in classes, here are a few of our favorites in Brooklyn.

LARK

1. LARK: This new coffee shop/play space has been adored by Ditmas Park-area parents since it opened just a few months ago. Not only can you get your java fix and some delicious pastries, you can sit in their playspace (separate from the seated area in the cafe) and let your kids play as you eat and even meet another local parent. LARK also has a full schedule of music drop-in classes like the popular Music for Aardvarks, Silly Sing-a-Long with Mike Gold aka the Ballooniac, Sing-a-Long with Lloyd Miller of the The Deedle Deedle Dees, Music with the Dad Beats and much more. They also have a new mom meet-up and a breastfeeding support group for new moms, and jazz music in the evenings for a local night out. Check out the full calendar here. Lark, 1007 Church Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11218, 718-469-0140.

Frolic!

2. FROLIC! There are a ton of play spaces in the NYC-area, but there is only one Frolic!, a 5,000 square-foot rock ‘n’ roll play space created by two Williamsburg-area moms. I had the chance to visit Frolic! last year with my daughters, and I loved the whimsical vibe of the play space that fuses rock ‘n’ roll and play complete with a cool mini concert stage, a Rolling Stones’ tongue slide and a blue Volkswagen that they converted into a play car. In addition to their playspace, they also offer classes like music lessons for kids, Ballet Babes, Paint it Black…or Blue or Yellow, Kick Play and Little Rock Its. Frolic, The Edge, Williamsburg, 34 North 6th Street. Brooklyn, NY 11249 (between Kent Avenue and the East River).

 

NYCExplorers

3. New York City Explorers: NYC Explorers offers everything from daycare services to babysitting services for date nights. I really love their open play where you can bring your kids for an afternoon of play. The beauty of this allows you to get out of the house and enjoy a social activity with your kids without having to commit to a year-long membership. Designed for kids ages 0-4, you can pay for passes in blocks of 10, 20, or 30 and enjoy all of the materials and activities on-hand such as wooden toys and games. Major bonus – the bathroom is always stocked with tons of diapers and wipes, and they microwave and mini-fridge for your kids’ lunch. New York City Explorers, 186 Underhill Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11238.

play

4. Play:An interactive 1,000-square-foot playspace, Play offers many fun classes for young kids including Rug Bug Music, Puppetsburg, Classic Ballet, Tap, Gym and more. They also offer open play space passes in their space where kids can enjoy their unique city-themed installations. Play, 33 Nassau Avenue, at Dobbin Street , Brooklyn, NY

5. Midwood Martial Arts and Family Center: Not only a place to stake karate classes, Midwood Martial Arts is an incredible place in Midwood Brooklyn to enjoy classes for kids like creative movement, yoga, gymnastics, Musical Explorers, a free toddler playgroup/storytime and their upcoming winter Dinosaur Training event! They also have incredible classes for adults such as belly dancing, pilates, yoga and zumba. Midwood Martial Arts, 1302 Avenue H, Brooklyn, New York, 11230.

Written by our Brooklyn Community Manager, Serena Norr. Follow her on Twitter at RedRoverBKLYN. Serena lives in Brooklyn with her family and can also be found at Seriously Soupy and at MamaGoesNatural.

 




POSTED: SATURDAY, DEC 22ND 2012

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Atlanta Edition)

In my humble opinion, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

One day, I hope to make it to The Big Apple in December so I can enjoy the wonderful sights I’ve only seen second-hand via the beautiful Instagram shots from RedRover, Mommas Gone City, Kathryn Tucker, and more.

Atlanta can certainly hold its own in the holiday cheer department however, and hearts will be glowing all around in the midst of these wonderful attractions.

Here is a list of my FAVORITE spots to hit up the second Thanksgiving dinner is finished.

1. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer at Center for Puppetry Arts

Without fail, we are here every year to enjoy this timeless tradition.  Warning:  you will feel the warm and fuzzies all over.

  • Running now through January 6, 2013
  • Recommended for Ages 4+
  • Single show tickets (which include Create-A-Puppet Workshop and Museum):  Member – $9.25, Non-Member – $16.50
  • 404-873-3391

2. Macy’s Pink Pig at Lenox Square Mall

Pink Pig

Photo courtesy of Titania Jordan

 We Love the Pink Pig!  With proceeds benefitting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, you will too.  Make sure to ride often!

  • Open daily through January 1, 2013
  • For all ages
  • $3 per passenger

3. A Christmas Carol at Alliance Theater

A magical tradition for the whole family, this is a great way to see the work of Atlanta’s best actors portraying Dickens’s beloved characters.

  • Running until December 23, 2012
  • For all ages
  • Ticket prices vary-please visit site to purchase
  • (404) 733-4650

4. Ice Skating at Centennial Olympic Park

centennial ice rink

Photo courtesy of Centennial Olympic Park

Secret confession:  I’ve always wanted to be a professional ice skater.  Those costumes!  The sparkles!  Ahhh…perhaps I’ll get one to wear this year and totally embarrass my family.

  • Open through January 27, 2013
  • For all ages
  • Admission is $10.00 per person for a 90-minute session. (includes skate rental)
  • 404-223-4412

5. Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Gardens

callaway

Photo courtesy of Callaway Gardens

We try to make it to Callaway Gardens as often as possible, and always have an amazing time.  It’s pretty much impossible not to, no matter the season.

  • Open at 6pm nightly through December 30, 2012
  • For all ages
  • Ticket prices vary depending on date: Adults from $16-$25 and Kids (6-12) $8-$12.50

6. Garden Lights at Atlanta Botanical Gardens

garden lights

Roast s’mores by the fire! Photo courtesy of Joey Ivansco

You will be blown away when you see how The Atlanta Botanical Garden transforms into a true Winter Wonderland.  It is breathtaking.

  • Open daily 5-10pm through January 5, 2013
  • For all ages
  • Depending on if it is a peak night, tickets prices vary. Adults $17/$20, Kids $11/$14 ($3 discount for members)

7. Snow Mountain at Stone Mountain

Photo courtesy of Titania Jordan

Photo courtesy of Titania Jordan

You guys, Snow Mountain is so much fun!  We rarely get snow ’round these parts, and to be able to touch and play with REAL SNOW is such a treat.  The tubing is exhilarating, the carols are beautiful, the chocolate is hot.  Go there now!

  • Open through February 18, 2013
  • For all ages
  • Snow Mountain tickets include a two-hour tubing session plus all day access to the snow play areas. Snow Mountain Pass: Adult/Child $27 (plus tax)

8. Season of Magic at Piedmont Park

Photo courtesy of Piedmont Park

Photo courtesy of Piedmont Park

With the balmy temperatures we’ve experience lately, you will totally enjoy this experience under the Atlanta skyline.  This screams date night to me (ahem, Mr. Jordan.)

  • Open daily 4-10:30pm through January 6, 2013
  • For all ages
  • Horse Drawn Carriage Rides originate from Park Tavern every 10 minutes. Each ride is approximately 20 minutes in length.
  • Adults $25/ Children (11 & under) $20. Infants (0-24mos) ride free.
  • Carousel rides $3 per ride

9. Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker at The Fabulous Fox Theatre

Photo courtesy of Atlanta Ballet

Photo courtesy of Atlanta Ballet

The Nutcracker, a performance I’ve cherished since I first laid eyes on it as a child, is something I’m super excited to share with my little man this year.  I can’t wait!

  • Running through December 26, 2012
  • For all ages
  • Tickets prices start at $20

10. Magical Night of Lights at Lake Lanier Islands Resort

This holiday spectacle is celebrating 20 years of bringing lots of joy to all the girls and boys.  Load up the family and prepare to hear many ooohs and ahhhs, and don’t forget to check out the Holiday Village complete with ice skating rink, carnival and pony rides, zip lines, and Santa!

  • Open nightly 5-10pm through December 31, 2012
  • For all ages
  • $60/vehicle

That’s my round-up of items to place on your holiday must-do list if you have not already.

What are your favorite places to visit this time of year?  Please tell us in the comments below.

We wish you all the best for the holidays and a very happy 2013!

 




POSTED: TUESDAY, DEC 11TH 2012

A Visit to Harry Potter the Exhibition in NYC-Giveaway!

The best thing about New York City is the endless experiences it offers to everyone: The old and the young.  Any given time of year during any given time of day, you can find a museum to explore, an art exhibit to absorb, or a library or coffee shop to relax in. Children especially have some of the most amazing opportunities at the tips of their fingers; From Zoos to botanical gardens to ice skating rinks.

Whether or not you live in NYC or you’re just visiting, there is always going to be something incredible to do. We are so fortunate.

One of the things that we love to do best here at RedRover is spotlight these awesome places and events that are especially geared towards kids and bring them to your attention. Some of them are year round, some of them aren’t, but they are almost always worth making the effort to experience with your children.

The Discovery Times Square is one of those venues that always has something exciting going on. Pretty much at any time of year, we can look to them for an incredible exhibition that is not only fascinating but educational as well.  Some of their past exhibits include  Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Workshop, and King Tut.

Catering to the fans and readers of J.K. Rowling’s smash series, the Harry Potter Exhibition is a must see. In addition to the hundreds of original props and costumes from the Harry Potter films displayed during the exhibition’s first time in New York, there are original artifacts from the series finale, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows™ – Part 2, that will be on display for the first time, including a new vignette dedicated to the epic battle of Hogwarts™.

Visitors can also celebrate the holidays at Harry Potter: The Exhibition, as the exhibition will be open during the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year holidays. If you’re visiting NYC or even live here, this is a great thing to do with your children-especially if they are Harry Potter fans!

James Sanna, President of Discovery Times Square says, “For the first time ever we have items from each film in one location. There is no better way to celebrate this iconic series than to actually walk among the costumes and props that helped bring this world to life.” It’s a fun experience for young fans and even their parents to enjoy as well-a combination that isn’t always easy to come by, especially on vacation.

Heading to one of these amazing adventures in Times Square is a great way to spend a day if you’re here in the city. There are various restaurants and shopping activities right in the vicinity for all ages, and you’ll get to witness the spectacle that is Times Square.

Discovery Times Square (DTS) is New York City’s first large-scale exhibition center presenting visitors with limited-run, educational and immersive exhibit experiences while exploring the world’s defining cultures, art, history and events. Harry Potter: The Exhibition, was created by Global Experience Specialists, Inc. (GES) in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, and will be displayed at Discovery Times Square from November 3, 2012, through April 7, 2013.

Harry Potter: The Exhibition was created by Global Experience Specialists, Inc. (GES) in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, and will be displayed at Discovery Times Square from November 3, 2012, through April 7, 2013. 

Giveaway!

We’re thrilled to be giving away a family pack of four tickets to experience this fantastic exhibit for yourselves!

To Enter:

Leave a comment telling us why you’d like to visit Harry Potter the Exhibition and who you might bring along if you won.

Extra Entries:

Tweet about this contest:

“I’ve entered to win a four pack of tickets to Harry Potter the Exhibition at @DiscoveryTS with @RedRover here: http://tinyurl.com/d4l4v5f

Share this contest on Facebook (make sure to tag Discovery TS and RedRover) and leave the link below.

We were not compensated for this post, however we were provided with 4 tickets for giveaway purposes. All opinions are our own. 

 

 




POSTED: FRIDAY, DEC 7TH 2012

Enjoying the Spectacle of the Holidays in Brooklyn

The holidays are such a magical time of year, and growing up in Brooklyn I remember the joy of visiting the grand homes in Dyker Heights, the wonder of visiting local craft fairs and the excitement of venturing into the city to see the tree at Rockefeller Center. New York City is wonderful place that offers our children so much artistic and cultural attractions during the year, and this certainly doesn’t slow down during the holidays. Now that I am a mom I’ve come to appreciate this wonder in a different light, as I have started to introduce my kids to the magic of the holidays that is right in Brooklyn. Here are some of my favorite kid-friendly holiday spots.

 

Dyker Heights Christmas Lights: This is really the grand daddy of holiday lights that draws in people from all over NYC and even around the world. This includes a block of dozen homes that are brightly lit with everything from Santa Claus, colorful bulbs, plastic snowmen, plastic soldiers and the incredible life-sized Victorian figures from “A Christmas Carol”. The best time is to go from 5-9pm where you may even see a live Frosty the Snowman and Santa roaming around. A bit of a trek from the subway, so be sure to bundle up and enjoy this truly unique holiday spectacle. Also, check out A Slice of Brooklyn for a cannoli tour before or after you take in the sights. Location: 11th Avenue 11th Avenue to 13th Avenue and from 83rd to 86th Street, Brooklyn.

Ice Skating at Aviator Sports: I haven’t tried ice-skating yet with my daughter’s but I think this is the year that I try this fun winter sport with my four-year-old. Aviator Sports, a huge indoor space, is a great place to skate and even enjoy cool events like Breakfast with Santa. Rates are $9 for adults and $7 for kids with skate rentals costing $5 and they are open seven days a week. Location: 3159 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn.

Craft Fairs: I love craft fairs and Brooklyn is home to several including the always-exciting Brooklyn Flea including their upcoming Gifted event where you can find handmade and vintage goodies as well as artisanal food. I also love Brooklyn Craft Central’s upcoming Holiday Market where you can discover handpicked items from local designers to find really unique and personalized gifts for everyone on your list Location: Brooklyn Flea, One Hanson Place and Brooklyn, Brooklyn Craft Central, Littlefield in Park Slope/Gowanus.

Performance of the Nutcracker: It has become a tradition of ours to see the Nutcracker every year during the holidays. I love going to Brooklyn College (you really can’t beat $10 tickets) for their colonial American version and in Brooklyn you can also see the show at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and at Kingsborough Community College with the Brighton Ballet Theater. Location: Brooklyn College, 2900 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn; BAM, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn and Kingsborough Community College, 2001 Oriental Boulevard, Brooklyn.

Celebrating Hanukkah: The festival of lights is fast approaching, and Brooklyn is a great way to experience this holiday. The Brooklyn Children’s Museum has a fantastic event where your kids can learn about the culture and traditions of the holiday and then take home a craft. You can also view a 32-foot Menorah (also dubbed Brooklyn’s Largest Menorah) at Grand Army Plaza that will be lit every night during the holiday. Location: Brooklyn Children’s Museum, 145 Brooklyn Avenue, Brooklyn and Grand Army Plaza, intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Eastern Parkway on Grand Army Plaza.

Seeing Santa: This can be a hit or miss experience for some kids, but if seeing Santa is on the top of your holiday to-do list you can enjoy the annual Town Square community event where you and your family can enjoy a brunch and then enjoy a parade with Santa to McCarren Park. Santa will also be dropping by the Brooklyn Lyceum during their Annual Holiday Marketplace and at Flatbush Avenue where he will be traveling via a trolley visiting local merchants in Brooklyn and delivering balloons, candy canes and cotton candy! Location: Town Square Event, Starts at 424 Leonard Street between Manhattan and Bayard Avenues, Brooklyn; Brooklyn Lyceum, 227 4th Avenue and Flatbush Avenue, North Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn.

Dyker Heights Image Via: Brooklyn Paper

Written by our fabulous new Brooklyn Community Manager, Serena Norr. Follow her on Twitter at RedRoverBKLYN. Serena lives in Brooklyn with her family and can also be found at Seriously Soupy and at MamaGoesNatural.




POSTED: THURSDAY, OCT 18TH 2012

Clean and Green with Seventh Generation {GIVEAWAY!}

I’m not sure if you can tell, but we’re slightly obsessed with everything Seventh Generation in the Jordan household.

The obsession started when I was pregnant with my son and started to research how to have a healthier home.   I needed cleaning products that didn’t have scary labels like this on the back of them:

You would think this bottle contained crazy hazmat chemicals only good for nuclear plant-type clean-ups.  It is registered with the EPA for pete’s sake.

Not so, my friends.  This is a bottle of cleaner (which shall remain nameless) that is in the v-e-r-y back of the cupboard from way back in the day, before I started to actually READ THE LABELS on things in my house.

Enter Seventh Generation:  (cue the choir) a company committed to transparency and safety.  They disclose ALL ingredients, and their plant-based products are free and clear of dyes, fragrances, and masking agents.  Seventh Generation products, although not intended for consumption, aren’t poisonous.  I love that.

 Why is it important to use green cleaning products?  So glad you asked.

Conventional cleaners contain many harmful substances:  artificial fragrances, VOC’s (volatile organic compounds), harsh solvents, chlorine, ammonia, triclosan (antibacterial agent), petroleum-based derivatives, respiratory irritants, carcinogens, hormone disruptors, neurotoxins, and more.

(Ohmygosh are you hiding under the bed yet?!)

These toxic chemicals hang around on surfaces and in the air, eventually making their way onto your skin and into your lungs.  Not only that, by they also make their way into our waterways.  Natural cleaners work just as well as conventional ones, and don’t compromise the health of your family, pets, and one of most precious natural resources.

Now that I’ve gone all Debbie Downer on you, here are 5 helpful tips to get you started in your quest to clean a little greener:

1.   Read labels.

If they look scary, chances are they ARE scary.   Replace toxic chemical cleaners in your home with safer products.   Like, yesterday.

2. Do your research.

Two of my favorite sites for keeping up-to-date with the latest in the green movement are healthychild.org and ewg.org.  They will give you the ins and outs of how to live a greener, cleaner, and overall healthier life.  My favorite green mom who kicks butt in the green research department?  Kathy Scoleri.  She rocks the SafeMama.com cheat sheets.  Check them out for sure.

3.  Make your own.

I bet you have a few products in your house that you didn’t even know could be used for some crazy-good cleaning.  Orange peels?  throw a few in the disposal to clean out the gunk and give your kitchen a nice, fresh scent.  Baking soda?  Sprinkle a little on the carpet before vacuuming or dump a cup in the washing machine to absorb odor.  Baking soda can also substitute harsh abrasives meant for counters and tubs.   Distilled white vinegar?  Perfect for killing mold/bacteria and dissolving soap scum.  I love to mix this with water to use as a glass cleaner, or use it undiluted to kill weeds.  Hydrogen peroxide?  Hello natural laundry bleaching agent and antimicrobial!  Essential oils?  Add these to the mix to get a healthier “clean” scent.  I lurrve lemon, lavender, tea tree, and eucalyptus to name a few.  Craving more?  Jennifer Taggart  provides excellent DIY recipes on her blog TheSmartMama.com.

4. Beware of greenwashing.

Greenwashing:  the act of leading you to believe (through deceptive marketing practices) that a product is green and the company behind it is committed to environmentally safer practices.   Many marketing terms (natural, new and improved, green) are unregulated and the responsibility lies with you to research and decide if the green claims are actually true.  If a product is colored apple-green and smells like pine trees, chances are it probably isn’t as green as the bottle would lead you to believe.

5. Vote with your dollars.

Choose to support companies making a commitment to producing safer chemicals.   Eventually, when profits fall for the key players in the conventional cleaner industry, they will reformulate to safer products.  Many have already begun to go greener, but still have a very long way to go.

So there you have it, why you should clean greener and a few simple ways to do it from me, RedRover Atlanta Community Manager (and Atlanta Green Mom) Titania Jordan.

Halloween Inspiration!

In honor of Seventh Generation’s 1 million Facebook fans, they created an adorable little video tutorial on how to crate a cute monster out of a tissue box!

Win It!

We’re so thrilled with the fabulous products over at Seventh Generation that we are giving away a huge set to one of you (Including some of the products above, plus tissues and others).

To Enter:

Leave a comment telling us one way in which you’ve introduced green products into your lives.

Extra Entries:

Share this giveaway on Facebook tagging RedRover and leave the link below!

Share this giveaway on Twitter, tagging @RedRover and leave a comment letting us know you did!

Contest runs from tonight Thursday October 18th until next Friday, October 26th at midnight, EST.

Good luck!!

We were in no way compensated for this post by Seventh Generation and the above Seventh Generation items were all purchased by Titania Jordan (however the company sent some for our review for purposes of this post). All opinions are our own. 




POSTED: TUESDAY, JUL 3RD 2012

Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World

What are you doing this 4th of July?

Hopefully your Independence Day will be filled with family and friends enjoying delicious edibles copied from Pinterest and taking in some awe-inspiring fireworks shortly after the sun sets.

While you celebrate on Wednesday with parades, barbecues, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and memorial ceremonies, I’d like for you to also think about the Means family.  Specifically, Ryan Means.

Ryan kept a journal in the days and years following the tragedy of 9/11. He documented the process by which he allowed his loss to drive him to greatness. Throughout his journey, he signed every email update with Neil Young’s hit title, “Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World” showing the pride he had in his duty to protect our country.

An excerpt from his journal, “Perception is everything.  As I walk down the streets and avenues of NYC, I see nothing but beauty and joyous life, sometimes so intense that my heart feels like it may explode.  I’m unable to contain my goofy smile, and I struggle to contain my spontaneous laughter so as not to scare others.  I love this city…this country.”

Ryan’s zest for soaking up every ounce that life had to offer was soon shared with a beautiful soul named Heather.

Knowing their relationship would be something extraordinary, Heather Means saved every email and handwritten letter that Ryan wrote to her from the day they met. Since the Special Forces soldier was often deployed, their relationship was captured in writing, leaving behind not just a memoir about the present day war, but a powerful family love story to be shared with the couple’s children (Elizabeth and Sophie) as well as the world.

This truly is a raw and inspirational story of modern day love and war filled with patriotism, courage and the strength of human will.

“Elizabeth & Sophie Means will thankfully never know the heart break we felt on the day that their father died. But sadly, they will never remember what it felt like to be held in his strong embrace. As their mother, I can only hope that this documentation of his life, as I knew it, will give them some sort of answers and peace in the coming years.”

“Ryan left us a handbook by which to live. We are forever grateful to have his words now that we can no longer have his embrace. He was a true American hero and I am honored to tell his story.”

- Heather Means

As we celebrate the founding of our country on Wednesday, we must also remember the great men and women who fought and continue to fight to ensure we keep on rockin’ in the free world.

My heartfelt thanks go out to Heather and the Means family for sharing Ryan’s story with us.

If you would like to read the profound novel written for Ryan’s daughters, RPM Rockin’ in the Free World, you may purchase it here.  Profits from the book will go to help the Special Operations Warrior Foundation that provides scholarships for children of fallen special ops soldiers.




POSTED: MONDAY, JUN 25TH 2012

Speak Out for the New York Public Library

Who doesn’t have childhood memories of their beloved hometown library?

The library has always been the place for children — all children, from any and all backgrounds — to discover the magic of reading. New worlds are discovered, friends are made, and imaginations run wild. Libraries provide a haven for children to expand their minds through books. They meet new friends and connect with family members through the hundreds of programs that are held each year. They are also a place for parents to take classes and get involved in the community.

Team RedRover’s beloved hometown library, The New York Public Library, is facing a proposed $43 million cut (!), and they need your help to stop it. This cut would affect 8 million residents from a combined 212 locations and close 46 libraries around the city. Also,  thousands of job and computer classes will be cancelled, books and DVDs will be cut by a third, hundreds of librarians and other staff will be laid off. With decreased funding up to 12 branches will be closed, and the rest will only be open 4 days a week.

The NYPL is a cornerstone of the New York City community serving as an invaluable resource for all of its members, and it is a cause that deserves all of our support.

We need to consider the affect that this will have on the NYPL’s biggest fans: children. First grader Beatrix Alevras like so many other little New Yorkers discovered a world of new books and ideas at her library. This cut comes at an especially unfortunate time because summer is when children and their parents flock to the library to escape boredom and take a break from the heat. Beatrix may have said it best for all of us, “The Library is my favorite place in the world.”

Protect the library for Beatrix and the thousands of other children around the city that will be affected. Speak up for your libraries. Sign a letter of support today!

 

 

 

 

 

Tweet your support:

I support the Library. You can too. Sign a letter today: http://ow.ly/b9pwi #ProtectNYPL

 

 

 

 




POSTED: WEDNESDAY, JUN 13TH 2012

Father’s Day Gifts For The Dad Who Has Everything

Hello, Rovers! It’s Titania, RedRover’s Roving Mom from Atlanta. If you’re like me, that special man in your life either already has everything or doesn’t want you to buy anything, ever, especially for him,  which poses a problem come Father’s Day, every. single. year.

So, I am turning to Pinterest for creative and inspirational solutions to this annual pickle I find myself in.

Here are my top 10 DIY (low-to-no-cost) finds just in time for Sunday, June 17th. Yep, it’s THIS Sunday! Get cracking!

1. The iDad Card

This card is perfect for the gadget-loving, app-downloading, tech-obsessed man in your life.

2. Personalized Family Tree

While this template can be purchased on Etsy, I am confident enough in my tree-trunk-drawing abilities to make my own version of this cute craft.

3. Father’s Day Questionnaire

These answers have the potential to be nothing short of hilarious.  For example, my son thinks my husband’s favorite food is brown food sticks.  After a minute I finally realized he meant pretzels.  Toddlers are so literal.

4. Photo Shadow Love

This one might just be my favorite.

5. Matching Ties For All

While you have the option of purchasing these hip tees, the DIY route might be even better because it includes a little personal TLC.  Buy a fresh pack of white tees, onesies, fabric paint, and paint some sharp matching ties for the adorable males in your life.

 6. Less is More

The perfect gift for short attention spans, all that’s required is a printer and crayons or markers.  Easy cheesy.

7. Tailored Dad

I know, enough with the ties, but this is such a clean-cut look…and what else will you do with all that card stock?  Just be careful with the buttons and wee ones; no choking hazards please!

8. Origami Hint

Cue Steve Miller Band in the background and sing along as you tell him to go on, take the money and run.

9. I’m Feeling Lucky

How cute is this?!

10. Would You Like a Sample?

I truly believe that paint color sample cards were created solely for the purpose of Pinterest-inspired crafts.

And there you have it.  I’m hoping this page stays on the DL from my dad and husband long enough for me to surprise them…because they are the best dudes on the planet.  I’m sure you feel the same way about the men in your life.  Happy Father’s Day 2012!

My dad.

My husband.

P.S. Cool Mom Picks does a wonderful job selecting, well, the best of everything including Father’s Day gifts.  Check out their 2012 gift guide here.

 




POSTED: THURSDAY, JUN 7TH 2012

Aeolian Ride blows up on Governor’s Island

Looking for an exciting adventure with the kids this weekend, but don’t want to travel far from the city? Venture out to Governor’s Island on June 9th and 10th and join RedRover’s very own Jessica Findley for a fun-filled bike ride with a twist. Kids will be transformed into cats, bubbles, and more by Aeolian Ride inflatable bike costumes as they cruise around Governor’s Island.

The event includes Kiddie Loops starting at 2pm and a Mini Parade to conclude the day where riders will have the chance to display their inflatable costumes and riding skills for all to see.

Schedule for Saturday, June 9th and Sunday, June 10th is as follows:

2-4:00 pm
Kiddie Loops
We will set up in an area where kids can wear a costume and ride in a loop as long as they wish.

4:00 pm
Suit up for Mini Parade
Don a costume for a follow the leader ride around the island.

4:30-5pm
Mini Parade

This event requires sign-up (bikes and costumes are limited), so make your reservation at www.aeolian-ride.info. Bike and Roll will be loaning out free bikes for those that sign up online. Children also have the option to bring their own bikes to the island. Children that do not reserve costumes may still participate in the Mini Parade.

This event is part of the annual Figment Weekend that celebrates participatory art and culture. Over 200 artists will have their interactive art featured, and there will be plenty of other activities for you and your child to enjoy throughout the weekend. Governor’s Island is only a short, free ferry ride away from Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, so make your way out for what is sure to be a blow out.

Requirements to wear an Aeolian Ride inflatable costume:
- Riders must wear a helmet (the costumes don’t work without them)
- Do not wear large bags (these make the suits difficult to inflate)
- Please print, sign, and bring the waiver (if you don’t have a printer we will have some waivers, but bringing them signed helps signing in go much faster)