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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!"


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

Escaping the PTA Piranhas

Rachel HammanBy Rachel Hamman; Guest Blogger

I hate that time of the month. No, not the time when I'm doubled over with cramps or bloated beyond recognition. Instead, I am referring to the once a month torture known as the PTA meeting. What was originally created to be a supportive extension for our kid's school-age experience has now been transformed into a keeping up with the Jones' nightmare.

There's always those one or two women who live, eat, breathe, and sleep PTA. Just like other religious zealots, I am not one to pass judgment. Do want makes you happy…just don't expect me to behave the same. If you want to dedicate all of your free time running carnivals and selling stale chocolate, knock yourself out. I have been known to volunteer for a certain cause or two in my time, but I don't feel compelled to sign my name to every list that is passed. Let's get real. Is the true worth of a woman really measured in how many committees she serves on? I give myself credit just for showing up to the meeting, itself. In my book, just the fact that I am sitting in an uncomfortable, under-sized, plastic chair instead of at home, in my pajamas watching American Idol, gets me brownie points.

Furthermore, when did it become socially unacceptable to donate money vs. time? I was raised in an environment where you gave, either, "Time, Treasure or Talent." As long as you were providing one of the "T's", you were doing okay. In this new hierarchy, however, the check writers seem to be treated like redheaded stepchildren.

Well, I say put yourself on a pedestal if that's what your ego needs. This Mom is secure in knowing that just because she doesn't sacrifice her Saturday to sit in a dunking booth, doesn't mean she does not pledge her allegiance to her children and their school.

So, until next month's meeting…hey, maybe I'll be lucky and my root canal will fall on the same day?

About Rachel

Rachel Hamman is not your ordinary soccer mom. She has been named one of the “Most Remarkable Women” on ABC’s The View and has been featured as an expert on The Today Show, sharing her sage advice with millions of women. Rachel has been highlighted in Glamour magazine for her philanthropic advances and was recognized for her ongoing community endeavors as one of the “Eckerd 100 Outstanding National Volunteers.” Her versatile background has made her a go- to Mom expert, where she has been quoted in publications ranging from The Wall Street Journal to American Baby magazine. In the spring of 2007 Rachel founded National Mom’s Night Out, an extremely successful campaign, to encourage moms to take time off from the kids and celebrate who they are besides being a mom. Rachel is the author of Bye-Bye Boardroom: Confessions From A New Breed of Stay-At-Home Moms and Mom's Night Out: Even Inmates Get Time Off for Good Behavior. Visit Rachel's Web site at


Sara Snow

by Sara Snow

There are so many small changes you can make on the road to greening your family. That’s why the near year is the perfect time to get started. You don’t have to go all the way, all at once. Remember that along with the changes you’re making, you’re also breaking habits…something that is never easy to do. So take it slowly and baby step your way to a greener 2009.


1. Bring more organics into the kitchen.

Did you know, the average child in America is exposed to five pesticides every day in their food and drinking water. That’s the bad news … here’s the good stuff. According to a study involving school-age children, switching to an organic diet for just five days virtually eliminates any sign of exposure to organophosphate pesticides. And, as an added bonus, you can increase your antioxidant intake by 30% by switching to organic foods. Start by replacing 2 items each week on your grocery list with the organic counterpart, then grow from there.

2. Source more locally.

Here’s some food for thought - the average American meal travels about 1500 miles to get to your plate. All of that travel – by boat, truck or plane – means a lot of wasted petroleum, freshness and nutrients. Look instead for foods (from produce to meats to sauces) and other products that have been grown or produced locally. Your farmer’s market or local CSA is a good place to start. Visit to find one in your area.

3. Skip the paper and plastic.

Any time you hit the grocery store, meat market, or mall, take your own reusable shopping bag. Paper bags require a lot of trees and energy, while plastic bags are made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource, and are littering our landfills and oceans. Start a collection of reusable cloth bags and carry it every time you head out.

4. Embrace the green triangle

Americans generate 13 million tons of glass waste each year and enough aluminum to rebuild an entire commercial airline fleet every three months. Get in the habit of recycling your glass, plastics, aluminum and paper. Then go one step further and start buying recycled-content products like tissues and paper towels.

5. Green your ride.

Even if you’re not ready to buy a hybrid, there are ways you can be a more fuel efficient motorist.

Keep your tire pressure at the recommended level, don’t be an aggressive driver and keep the AC on low. Also, check your air filter. A clean one can make your car 10% more fuel efficient.

6. BONUS: Give your mind room to breath.

For you that may just mean finding five minutes of quiet, meditative time each morning, or it might mean signing up for a regular yoga class once or more a week. Either way, make sure you’re finding balance even in this busy, green life of yours.