Samara Tilkens Postuma is raising five kids from infant to teen in the St. Michael area with her husband, Jeff. When not found driving kids to and from activities, helping with homework or at the park or pool, you can find her sharing her life online where she does some freelance writing and social media work and also writes at her own blog, www.simplicityinthesuburbs.com.

Not Your Typical Mother's Day Gift List

Posted by: Samara Postuma under Society Updated: May 5, 2015 - 9:23 PM

 

Mother's Day is just a few days away and I've put together a list of my favorite Mother's Day gift ideas:

1. For the mom who hasn't printed out pictures in 3 years:

Enter Chatbooks.

 

If mom is always snapping away on Instagram yet rarely prints photos she will love these. Each 60 page book is just $6 and you can subscribe so that mom gets 1, or 5, or all at one time. Download the app and use code AWKWQH3L and your first book is FREE.

2. For the busy mom who likes to read:

 

SAVOR by Shauna Niequist is the perfect book for moms looking for a daily dose of encouragement and prayer. Each day is just a page long, includes a real life story, a thought provoking question and often times, a scripture. 

3. For the mom with little voices:

 

They grow out of their little voices so quickly it's so nice to have a way to preserve them and hear them and remember just how sweet they sounded. I love these Hallmark books that are available at local Hallmark stores as well as CVS and Walgreens. Dads take an hour with your kids and record their answers, moms will treasure it forever.

4. For any mom:

 

Several years back I read in a magazine something about buying a sketchbook and having your kids write you a note or draw you a picture each year. It is by far my favorite Mother's Day gift ever. My husband plans time to take the kids and have them write a note, draw a picture, they even print a few photos from the year to include too.

 

 

It is so fun to read and look at each year and it's where I save all of the other cards and pictures they make at school for Mother's Day. It's the most treasured gift I receive each year.

What are the best Mother's Day gifts you've given or received?

Minnesota mom, writer teaches all that 'kindness wins' online

Posted by: Samara Postuma under Society Updated: April 27, 2015 - 8:45 PM

 

It's easy to be mean in front of a screen. There's just something about that screen that gives courage to type something one might not even say out loud and teens today have no idea the repercussions their actions may have.

 
I've written exhaustively about the way we've tried to manage cell phones and social media in our household. It's an evolving conversation balanced with safety interests and proper boundaries. 
 
While our 16-year old couldn't care much about social media in his life, it was different for our 14-year old as she figured out the effects of the popular tween/teen social site, Instagram, on her life.
 
It was easy to feel left out or have feelings hurt as friends posted pictures of where they were and who they were with. When we were growing up, the only way we knew if our friends were hanging out without us was because someone told us days later, now you know in an instant if you're excluded and it stings.
 
Even as an adult, sometimes.
 
There's been articles written about FOMO, that is the Fear Of Missing Out, and the depressing effects that Facebook can have on us and none of us are safe from the mean on the internet.
 
When you put yourself out there, whether that's a photo on Instagram, a status on Facebook or a personal blog post, there will always be mean lurking in the comments. 
 
Local writer Galit Breen is no exception. She wrote an article last summer about her happy marriage and commenters attacked her size. A few months later she wrote another article. This time about her original article and what had happened. Shortly later the Today Show and Inside Edition invited her to speak about the experience and after realizing she did the write thing by standing up and hearing her daughters ask about having an online presence, Galit had an idea.
 
"We need to teach kids to be kind online," she said.
 
And so she did. She wrote an entire parent-friendly book about teaching our kids how to be kind online. Kindness Wins is a "simple, no nonsense guide for parents" that includes 10 tips for really getting kids to be kind online.
 
Described as part parenting manual and part conversation, the reviews on the book have been impressive and have definitely encouraged me to check it out.
 
As parents we so often are stuck in this department because we too are just figuring out what works or what doesn't that I appreciate a new perspective and ideas of really teaching our kids about why being kind online matters.
 
Have you had conversations with your kids about social media? What social network sites do you allow them to be on?

Minnesota hockey families unite for Kraft Hockeyville USA

Posted by: Samara Postuma under Society Updated: April 14, 2015 - 11:28 AM

You might remember that time I wrote about the time I became a hockey mom.

He's tried lots of sports in his little life. From baseball to soccer to golf and basketball. He loves football and snowboarding and is still as passionate as ever about hockey.

I get that it's like against the religion of the state of Minnesota to not want your kid to play hockey but I did not want my kid to play hockey.

With five kids we're busy enough, I thought. And of all the things I've dreamed about myself, being a hockey mom was not one of them. {excerpt}

So my soon-to-be 9-year-old is just as in love with the sport of hockey as he was back then and the passion doesn't appear to be going anywhere. He is totally self-motivated and WANTS to play. I've never seen anything like it. He eats, sleeps, talks hockey. It's the biggest motivator and incentive to do well in school and behave and I continue to be amazed at the love he has for the sport.

 

 

While I learn how to embrace the world of hockey {starting with tying his skates tight enough!} I was excited to learn that our community, St. Michael-Albertville, has earned a spot among the top 10 to become Kraft's first ever Hockeyville USA. They've already earned $20,000 in arena upgrades but $150,000 is on the line now.

From the press release- 

STMA was the only community from the “State of Hockey” to win a spot in the final 10. There are five communities each from the West and East regions, all vying for a spot in the final four. Voting to earn a spot in the semifinal began at 11 p.m. Monday, April 13 and will continue until 10:59 p.m. CDT on Thursday, April 16.

 

There are three ways to vote in the Kraft Hockeyville USA contest. Fans can text “Albertville” to 35350, call in a vote at 1-855-255-5975, or visit KraftHockeyville.com and vote online. Voting is open to all those 13 years of age and older, and voters can submit 50 votes via EACH method, for a total of 150 entries each day. Further details are on the Kraft Hockeyville website.

 

Supporters in STMA have also set up a website with information about the contest at VoteSTMA.com, and a Facebook Event site with voting reminders and instructions is also available.

 
From one hockey parent to the rest, please go vote and help support a local Minnesota hockey town! Thanks for supporting our hockey future here in STMA.

Parenting stories from the middle of the night

Posted by: Samara Postuma under Society Updated: April 12, 2015 - 10:53 PM

A few weeks back in the middle of the night I heard her. Our 6-year-old daughter was standing next to my bed.

"Mom...?"

I lay there silently WILLING myself not to move or give any indication I can hear her. Not because I'm a terrible, heartless mom but because my husband is laying next to me reading his Kindle and I can NOT believe she is standing next to me. {Fact: 99% of the time when any of our kids get up at night they come to me. WHY!?!}

"Mom....?" She says it again and then before I open my eyes I hear the soft pitter patter of her feet walk to my husband's side of the bed. I drift off to sleep not quite sure what she needed or wanted but happy for a good night's rest.

What feels like five minutes later on this same night, I hear our youngest fussing in her crib. I can't tell if she's awake yet or just fussing in her sleep but again, I lay there so quiet hoping that my husband will get up.

Moments later, he says, "What do you want to do?"

This is code for: "Wake up. The baby is crying."

I am silent. I will not let him know I can hear him because I'm tired and I will not give in. I win. He gets up and tends to her and I drift back to sleep, again.

Still yet, once more I hear a pitter patter of feet approaching our bed. And then I hear a cough. The kind of cough that comes just before vomit and sure enough thanks to my stealth fake sleeping earlier our 6 year old has thrown up all over my husband and the carpet on his side of the bed. I wonder how much longer I can get away with my quiet, laying still until he pokes me and says, "I'm gonna need your help here."

Without saying a word we get the job done, clean and change bedding, shampoo the carpet, calm down and clean our daughter before we fall into bed just after 1 a.m. even more tired and dreading the sound of alarm clocks in just a short while. 

This whole thing is not the picture you have in mind when you walk down the aisle, am I right?

But oh we wouldn't trade it for the world.

We'll celebrate 11 years this Friday and I'm more sure than ever he's the one for me. Because really and truly, there's no one else I'd rather do all this with in the middle of the night than him.

Don't overschedule your kids (or yourselves) this summer

Posted by: Samara Postuma under Society, Education and literacy Updated: March 29, 2015 - 10:10 PM

As the end of March nears, I'd estimate that we've received about 157 different brochures, booklets, emails and flyers on all the different opportunities to spend money  I mean "enrich" our children's lives this summer.

From accelerated sports training to remedial academic classes, it's quite possible to have an even busier summer than school year for the small price of a second mortgage.

Gone are the days of summer freedom, the way I grew up, when we'd run amok through the neighborhood, barefoot to a neighbor lady's dismay, eating popsicles and dirt and we knew it was time to go in because it was either getting dark outside or we heard our parents roar from the front step of our house. As we got older, our neighborhood boundaries grew and we'd hop on our bikes to the DQ or the local library or even the old mostly empty Apache mall.

This wasn't just a suburban kid's dream. I lived just a few minutes from downtown and this was summer. 

I laugh because just this last week my newsfeed on Facebook was full of stories and articles about the "good ol' days" where our moms drank Tab soda and we were sent out to play. The comments are all the same as we all reminisce the same innocent childhood filled with bike rides and running through the sprinklers and plain old fun. 

And then just as soon as we click share, comment and x right out of that, we're on another website to sign up our kid for this or that or the other thing. {I can't possibly be the only guilty one here.}

Can we please stop reminiscing the good old days and just do it? Can we just remind ourselves and each other that we're really in charge of what our kids' summer looks like or doesn't look like? It's not bad to sign up for soccer or Bible camp or some academic fun if that's where they're in to and your family schedule allows but don't become a slave to your childs' schedule at age 6. 

I get the pressures of today. There is this panic among us that perhaps if we skip out on an organized sport one summer or a tutoring opportunity or extracurricular class that our kids and we will miss out. But for most of us, that's just not the case. It's up to us to find the balance for our kids. 

A wise friend once told me that for every yes we say when it comes to our time, we are saying no somewhere else. I have applied this to my personal and professional life about 15 times since I first heard it and have decided to apply it to my kids' schedules too. Every yes means no somewhere else whether that's financial- or time-wise. 

So as you start scheduling your summer activities, make sure you're saying yes to the things you want to matter most. Maybe that is twice a week soccer or an intensive hockey clinic or remedial reading, all good things. Or maybe that's a combination of picking and choosing activities and down time so that you can go to the beach or eat ice cream for dinner. Or maybe it's tossing out all the "what you SHOULD do this summers" and doing what you WANT to do this summer. 

Whatever it is, and I'd argue it's likely different for each family, make sure your yes counts and don't be afraid to say no when it doesn't.

How do you schedule summer activities for your family?

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