Thursday, October 30, 2008

So many mommy networking sites....which ones to choose?

There are so many Mommy sites that I enjoy visiting. How do we decide which ones to spend time on? I mean there is only so much time in a day. My curfew lately has been 2:00 a.m. That is crazy! When I get to bed at midnight, I feel like a new woman in the morning....less wrinkled and find myself needing less makeup. Anyway, I have many favorites, but here are two that come to mind. I'll list more at a later date. As my curfew is approaching. First, I enjoy Cafe Mom...very fun and a great place to not only meet other moms, but to join groups with other moms that have the same interests. Connect with other moms at CafeMom. Share photos, stories and so much more. If you sign up...join my working mommy group: Mommy's High Heel Shoes and add me as a friend. Cafe Mom is sort of like facebook for Moms.

The working mommy site that I enjoy is
Mommy Tracked which is such a fun site for working moms! I get their newletter too where you'll find fun articles and information that will keep you smiling.
Then, of course, I must give a shout out to the new Philly Moms Blog. I started out subscribing to the NYC Moms Blog, since it was the closest in proximity and because I love that city. When I found out they were launching a Philly site, I was really excited and have since been invited to blog with them. I'm really having fun meeting so many moms through this fun group already! Check it out! You can also find out what moms are chatting about all over the country through their sister sites. I hope you love it like I do!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mommy's High Heel Shoes is now at the Doylestown Bookshop!  
Find out HERE where else it is available.   

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Happy Anniversary Honey!

10/26/2008 Today is my Anniversary, #6! This is the year of the toast. Happy Anniversary Honey! At least it's not burnt! Anyway, if you haven't seen Jib Jab yet, you need to check it out. While not all of their invitations and cards are my style, some of them are so funny I about pee my pants! Did I just say that? I mean they are funny like Pirates of Penzance.

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

And since my husband just had his 20th High School Reunion last weekend, I thought this one would be fitting. Although, I seemed to have cropped the mouths wrong so I look like I have a mustache!!

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

How to Self Publish a Children's Book

I have been getting so many questions about how to publish a children's book so I decided to post an article to make it easy for all of you to access.

1) The first thing I recommend is that you do a search for all other books with your title and then search for all books in your subject matter. Search Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, libraries & etc. You don't want to publish book that is already in a saturated subject matter or with the same title as another book. It is important to be different, unique, modern, current, kid appealing, and fresh (unless you are a celebrity or well known author and people will buy your book just because you are you!) If you don't have young kids, hang out in Barnes & Noble, Borders or small independent Children's bookstores to find out what sells.

2)Second, there is one book that you all need to get if you are thinking of self publishing. The book is called: Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual. This book is step by step guide on how to self- publish. It will give you an idea if self-publishing is right for you. (I also have more very helpful books on the slide show below.) This book will also help you figure out the differences between going with a major publisher, vanity publisher, print on demand and truly self publishing.

If you aren't willing to sell your book and put forth a ton of effort and time, you may want to stop reading here. If it is your dream to self publish a children's book, then I would suggest that you keep reading so you can make it happen! Note: if you have a "type-A" personality, self publishing will come easy to you. If you don't, you can still do it- the work involved may be just a bit more challenging.

3) The other important thing to do is to join the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Membership if fairly in-expensive and well worth it. This group will help you network with other writers and editors online and live/in person.

So the process of self-publishing goes like this...
  1. Research and learn your market: What are parents buying? What do they need? What do kids want?
  2. Hang out with Kids!
  3. Write what you know and/or what you love. Your passion will shine through.
  4. Join a children's writers group (if you are not already in one) The critiques of fellow writers are so very important. Edit your manuscript and have it professionally edited if the other writers in your group aren't particularly gifted in this area.
  5. Read your book to kids! Read it aloud! Read it to parents of your target age group! Read it to teachers and to anybody who will listen and give you honest feedback.
  6. Once you have decided to self-publish- Get a website domain! Try to get your book title and your name (for when you get famous). If your title is too long, pick something catchy and easy to remember. You need to start thinking about how to sell your book now. Your website will brand you. Go to to do this! Just start typing in possible domain names and find one you like. The help desk there is awesome if you decide to host your site there. Also, you can set up a free blog through google, wordpress or typepad. This blog is a blogger blog through google. It's easy to use and completely free. I point my domain name ($10/ to this blogger address ( I can also host my domain name here, but just haven't gone through that step yet as I know my blog will have to be down for a day or two.
  7. Set yourself up as a publishing company. Decide whether you would like to become a Sole Proprietor or an LLC (I chose LLC for a few different reasons) I really had no idea what to do and a friend of mine recommended The Company Corporation- thank goodness! They were truly awesome. And since you are self publishing- you need to set yourself as a company so you get the many benefits of being a small business owner. At first, I tried to figure out how to do this on my own and wasted many valuable hours googling. The company corporation will walk you through every step and for under $500- they do everything and are awesome to work with. Here is a link:
  8. If you are not an illustrator yourself, have 3 illustrators do samples for you and give you their estimates to do the job. I paid $50 a piece for each sample.
  9. Choose your illustrator and have him/her begin the sketches. Make sure when choosing your artist, that he/she is somebody you think you can work well with. This is an important relationship! There needs to be great communication.
  10. Show your illustrator examples of styles of art in other books that you like before she gets started. And if you have any ideas of what the pictures should look like in your head- include illustration notes. Also, it is helpful if you have your manuscript broken out into pages. Your artist may be able to do this for you or you can work on it together as well.
  11. The most important part of your book is the COVER! Have your artist work on this first. First the artist will do some sketches. Then make any changes and any more changes until you love it. Put on your best pair of art director shoes. Once you love it, work with the artist to pick out eye catching colors and fonts for the title. Your book needs to pop out on a shelf and talk to buyers. This is the most important part of the book! Did I mention that?
  12. Next you will start getting your sketches for your interior pages. As you receive the art, make notes on any of the pages that you would like altered. Once all of the sketches are way you like them, it's time to move on to the painting. Let your artist know if there are any particular colors you are fond of. Show her other books that you like as examples.
  13. While your artist is painting or digitally coloring the artGet your ISBN #, bar-code, register with the library of congress (step by step instructions in Dan Poynter's book for this tedious task) Also, hire a website designer or you can go to several different hosting sites where you can set up a website with your registered domain name with a template yourself. If your budget is an issue, try
  14. Decide on whether you want a hardback or paperback book and on the size.
  15. Research printers in the US and Oversees. Submit specifics (paper weight, size, binding) for quotes and ask free sample books. By doing this, you can touch and feel the paper and tug on the pages to see how well they are bound. You will be surprised in the difference in quality with different printers. I got one set of samples that wreaked of Moth Balls. I ruled them out right away for fear of receiving 3000 books that would stink up my whole house!
  16. Hire a book designer. Ask around so you can get a few different quotes. The designer scans the original artwork into the computer, lays the artwork out in a design program, adds your words to the pages. The specifications are given to the designer from your printer. The designer will be in communication with the printer. Then the files are uploaded to the printer or sent on a CD.
  17. Once the book is all together in a computer program like Adobe InDesign, it's time to print out the .pdf files and mark them up. If the text placement doesn't look right, have your designer move it. If the colors are off from the original art, have them adjusted.
  18. Next, you will receive color proofs of your book from your printer. This usually happens a few weeks after the final files are approved by the printer. You will get to mark them up and make notes of things that need to be changed. Pay special attention to the colors. Make sure they are like your original art or that your are okay with the differences.
(More important steps to come, but this should get you started- stay tuned!)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Quick and Easy tips for a Fast and Healthy Dinner.

Combining my degree in Nutrition and previous career as a Registered Dietitian with my busy mommy life, here is an article I posted on a while ago.  As I struggled with what to make for my kids tonight, I thought it would be a great post!

"When your a working mom or a mom on the go we can all use some quick cooking tips!

Like most mommies, our days may start at 2:00 am. We are either up nursing a baby, getting a child a glass of water or being kicked in the side by a 3 year old who somehow snuck into our bed in the middle of the night. The alarm goes off at 6:00 am so you can get your shower and get dressed for work. We then rally the troops…feed them breakfast, get them dressed, get their backpacks packed, etc. Then, off we go to work or into our home offices. The last thing on your mind is what to feed your kids for dinner.  So here are a few tips and ideas on how to make your dinners quick and healthy.

  • Annie’s organic bunny pasta just takes 12 minutes to make and feeds two kids! They also make organic pasta in quick and easy single serve packets- 3 minutes in the microwave and it’s done!
  • Green giant frozen vegetables take 3 minutes in the microwave, are low fat and loaded with vitamins. Broccoli with cheese sauce is our favorite (regular cheese- not “zesty” – check the package) and also “Healthy Weight”…soy beans, pea pods, carrots…
  • Barilla makes a barilla plus pasta that has more protein and nutrients. This is especially great for those kids who won’t eat meat. 
  • Here is an excellent site for some quick recipes for your family and picky
  • Carnation Instant Breakfast is loaded with vitamins and minerals for kids. The vanilla flavor can be incorporated into a smoothie with bananas and frozen strawberries for an even more nutritious shake. This is great for dessert for that picky eater. Let your kids add the strawberries and bananas to the blender. Kids who help prepare their food, are more likely to eat/drink it. This works also for a quick and easy breakfast.
  • Healthy takeout once a week is a great option! Don’t feel bad about it especially if you choose healthy options: Chinese- steamed vegetable with chicken- sauce on the side like garlic or sweet & sour.
  • Pizza night- tomatoes/Cheese and another vegetable on top (if your kids will have it). Carrot sticks/celery/snow peas on the side with the option to dip in a low fat ranch dressing is a great way to up your vegetable servings.
  • Orange Yogurt: My daughters favorite…Add pureed baby carrots to vanilla or banana yogurt and let them put a few ice-cream sprinkles on top!
  • Rotisserie chicken picked up from your local grocery store is a great option and healthier than chicken Nuggets or frozen chicken strips.

Make play dates for dinner with other working moms you know through work or your daycare program. You’ll enjoy the company and can get some great ideas from seeing/talking to other families about what their kids eat! Bring PJs so they can sleep in the car on the way home if the night rolls into bedtime.

If you are a planner, Crock pots can be started in the morning so dinner is ready for you and the kids when you get home. One of my favorite cookbooks is: How to Make Love and Dinner at the Same Time (although that has never quite happened at my house….sorry honey).

For adult conversation with your spouse during dinner, occasionally try feeding the kids first and then give them an activity or game to do while the two of you eat.  Maybe even allow a ½ hour of tv while your at the dinner table uninterrupted by, “Mommy can I have?” or “Mommy, can you get me…”

Remember, research says that it takes a child 19 times to adopt a new food! All you can do is offer healthy options and let them adopt the foods at their own pace."

Kristie Finnan
Working Mother & Author of Mommy's High Heel Shoes

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Mommy's High Heel Shoes are PINK

Hi everyone!  Mommy's High Heel Shoes is now available to purchase!  

I am excited to announce that for each book sold with the coupon code: PINK through our online store we are donating $1 to breast cancer research.  

Since it is breast cancer awareness month and so many moms, women & families are greatly effected by this disease- we thought we would pair the launch of Mommy's High Heel Shoes with donating to this great cause.  

So think PINK, tell a friend and help us contribute to finding a cure for breast cancer.    We will also continue to donate .50 from each book purchased through our website to working mom entrepreneurs through


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Mommy's High Heel Shoes-Reading Time Gone Mobile!

Now you can download Mommy's High Heel Shoes for your ipod touch, iphone or computer right from the iTunes App store and for a limited time just .99 cents! Your child can read along with the book or watch when you are in the car or out and about. Now screen time can be reading time too! Here is a 25% off code: MHHS. Just type the code in at the checkout!