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Meet Mary Susan

"Welcome to Mommy Magic! An interactive community of real moms, founded by a real mom, to give support and tips to make the chaos of motherhood easier and more fun! I am Mary Susan, an author, a columnist, a life coach for moms and a I have Mommy Magic TV segment too! Most importantly, I have three beautiful (and very busy) daughters! I am a real mom managing the daily insanity of motherhood just like you!"

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$50 Target Gift Card Giveaway

TargetGiftCardOkay, ALL mom's need a break from the craziness of school starting. I mean, is it exhausting or what? I never knew 4th grade Math could give me bad dreams. Not to mention, the packing of lunches every morning at 6:15AM and being the official drill sergeant for bedtime. Can you relate?

In celebration of all mom's and going back-to-school, I am raffling off $50 Target gift card! All you have to do is join the Mommy Magic site by clicking on the "Join this Site" Button. One mom will be chosen from the group and win the Target gift card. Second runner up gets a Starbucks gift card.

As a mom, you can't beat a trip to Target and a little caffeine from Starbucks!!! I hope you join the club and sign up today and celebrate finding the balance of motherhood with other mom's like you!!!! It is in fact, important for us to keep our own sanity in the midst of the chaos of motherhood. So with that, this is in celebration of you and all the great moms you know too. Spread the word and have your friends check out the site. After all, we are all in this together! CHEERS to us moms!!!!

Back to School

So summer is over. School is session. Why am I still exhausted? Every morning when I get up at 6:15 AM I have the hope of leaping out of bed and feeling great. Everyone morning I am surprised that I am still tired. How can it be possible that I wake up stiff and with a headache and went I went to bed only 7 short hours before I fell into bed with the same symptoms?

As I shake out my kids vitamins every morning and place it next to their breakfast, I usually find myself wondering if it is too early to take two Advil with a diet coke. I turn 38 years old in two months and the last time I remember really feeling rested would have to be nearly 11 years ago before my first pregnancy.

I started to feel badly about this and decided to confess it to a veteran mom one summer afternoon. Mind you, my kids are 10, 6 and 3 years old. This mother had survived raising two children who are now grown adults. What I always noticed when I saw her is that she was always laughing and smiling. Matter of fact, she laughed so much I loved seeing her because she made me laugh. Obviously, a chemical release I needed desperately in my exhausted state. So I asked her one day...."Were you always tired when your kids were young?" She laughed (no surprise) leaned over and grabbed my knee and said, "Honey, I go to bed at the end of each day more rested now than I did when I woke up with little kids." I think the heavens parted and the angels sang at that very moment the Hallelujah chorus (in my one head, of course) . In fact, I was NOT going crazy (yet) and what I was feeling was indeed normal (thank goodness). So with that and the transition from summer to a new school year, I will go to bed each night with the hope that in the future I will get up and feel great. Until then, I vow to laugh a lot through motherhood, after I take my two Advil, of course.

Miley Cyrus Cuts out the Middle Men

Little did I know when I became a mother that in the job criteria would be stressing (not really, but kinda) over getting tickets for my kids to see a pop star half my age. So here I am 37 years old thinking, plotting and planning with other mom's on how to secure tickets to see Miley Cyrus in concert.

Last time she went on tour, ticket brokers made it hard for many tween fans (let's face it...hard on their parents) to get tickets. So here we are two years later...I am pushing 40, Miley now has her license and my two older daughters are hook line and sinker Miley's #1 fans (along with millions of other tweens). One other difference...Miley (and her "people") cut out the middle man for ticket purchasing to give more kids (and parents) the chance to get tickets. I have to admit...she has me as a fan now too!

Check out the article in The Indianapolis Star on Miley Cyrus cutting out the middle man for concert tickets.

To view the IndyStar article.

Lara Hazlett Shelton Brings it to the Table

As a stay-at-home mom, I have often been asked if I work outside the home. Although I’ve launched an international, online business, the answer is still no! I take great joy in the fact that I can be with my children in their young years, but still have the independence and creativity of working from home.

Last year, we had a family pow wow. This consisted more of my husband and I discussing and my 3- and 1-year-olds playing. We had come to the difficult time when my SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) status was up for review. Should I go back to teaching elementary school, create a tutoring business OR go out on a limb and create an online business? I had sketchbooks from years of designing stationery – I love personalizing anything! These ideas had never made it to any sort of mass production, but it was a long-time dream. While the stationery world had a lot of competition, the mature melamine plate world had a lot of room for growth. And then La Plates was born!

What I have learned in my first year of business from home…it sounds a bit like what we teach our kids:
1 – Family comes first. If you have the flexibility to plan your own work schedule, make your hours around what works best for your support team. You may have a lot of late nights, but you won’t look back on your child’s milestones and feel you’ve missed out.
2 – Trust your gut. Enough said. If you’re a mom, you’ve got that mother’s instinct – use it!
3 – Ask questions. There are so many women doing wonderful things out there! Don’t be scared to email them and ask for advice. I’m amazed at those who have been thrilled to share their tips for success in business (and motherhood).
4 – Listen. When people offer advise, take it all in - write it down. You may not use each piece immediately, but it can come into play later.
5 – Take care of yourself. I’m still working on this one…when you have a new business, it’s a bit like your baby. Sometimes you need to take a break.
6 – Share with others. We take great pride in La Plates being a company that cares. We try to give back with all of our sales.

A cause close to my heart is bringing awareness and research to Ovarian Cancer. The organization Ovar’coming Together in Indianapolis, IN is a fabulous group doing both. Wednesday, May 6th, 2009 they will be hosting their 4th annual The Bag Event. If you are shopping on La Plates, you can enter BAG10 for 10% off your order and we’ll donate 10% to the event.

By a mom, for moms

by Jenn Kampmeier, Guest Blogger

When I was pregnant, I got addicted to watching any and every baby show on TV. Name an episode of “A Baby Story” and I can name the characters and tell you what birth method they chose. Some shows, where everything went great, were very comforting and after watching them I felt confident and assured. I was going to be super mom! But the majority of the shows left me biting my nails and wondering how I was going to do it – my house wasn’t “baby proof”, I valued naptime – no, not my kid’s naptime, MY naptime. I obsessed over how I was going to do it all, learn it all, and find everything in time for the baby’s arrival.

Being pregnant and a soon-to-be single mother, I got a lot of advice, from everyone. My mom was especially helpful, but there was the thought in the back of my mind that her baby-knowledge was old. I mean, come on…I have been out of diapers for more than a quarter century, and I can’t remember the last time I needed to be burped. So I was constantly in search of experts. I tried to find the latest products, studied all safety pamphlets, consulted with doctors. My head was whirling with trying to get it all in, find it all (which was not easy), and determine what was going to be best for the health and safety of my baby.

While in my pregnancy whirlwind, I mentally committed myself to making the process of learning and finding products easier for other moms who were also in my state of mind. I may be neurotic, but my guess is that most moms hit the stage of craziness while trying to figure “it” all out! And I didn’t want anyone else to have to face the madness.

I made true of my promise to stop the madness last April, when I launched the first Indy Baby Expo. I created the event as a one-stop-shop for all the information that new moms need in regard to safety, health and the latest in products and services. And, of course, I added entertaining events because all moms, future moms and caregivers need to sit back and laugh sometimes! The Indy Baby Expo took place at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, had more than 125 maternity-to-toddler related vendors, and more than 6,500 people in attendance. What I enjoyed most about the Expo was the knowing looks from mom-to-mom as they walked through the Expo. Since that one was so successful we had a second one in October with the same amount of success.

Seeing and hearing how new and future moms appreciated the Expo, I made it my goal to continue the event, and grow on the success of the previous. The next Indy Baby Expo takes place on April 25-26, 2009 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. There will be more than 135 exhibitors with the latest products, health and safety information; entertainment for parents and kids – including Mic the Music Man and the Bounce House Band (you can only imagine!), Sara Snow and tons of kid entertainment. We would love to see you there! Neurotic or not, this event was designed for you – our future parents, new parents and caregivers. For a complete schedule of events and more information, go to