Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thrifty Thursday! Save Online


I am always looking for thrifty ways to save :) I found this article in AllYou magazine, October 22, 2010 issue.

Save Online

Bargain-Hunt: Dowload the toolbar at dealio.com/toolbar. It searches for coupons as you shop on the Web.

Get Cash Back: Sign up for rebate sites, like ebates.com or bigcrumbs.com, which refund a percentage of the money your spend.

Walk Away: Leave items in your cart for a few days. Some companies will send a reminder with a coupon code as an incentive to buy.

Follow a Schedule: Find the best deals on coupon sites such as smartsource.com and coupons.com at the start of the month, when advertisers release their offers.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wellness Wednesday! Eat to Relieve Ache


It is Wednesday...all about Wellness :) I have had some slight back pain lately (carried 6 kids, remember) Today, I have found an article in AllYou magazine, October 22, 2010 issue that tells you how to eat to relieve an aching back.

Substances high in sugar, caffeine, alcohol or certain artificial additives can raise stress-hormone levels, which increase inflammation and cause pain, especially in the back. Here's what to keep on your shelves--and what to eat less often.

Stock up on:

-Oatmeal, brown rice, corn, quinoa, rye and whole-grain bread, pasta and cereal.
-Nuts and seeds.
-Vegetable, olive and flaxseed oils.
-Chicken, fish, and lean cuts of beef, pork, and turkey.
-Eggs and low-fat dairy.
-Fresh fruits and vegetables.
-Seltzer and water (both plain and naturally flavored).
-Decaffeinated coffee and tea.

Cut back on:

-Enriched white flour (brea, pasta, biscuits, waffles, crackers, cereals and cookies)
-Hydrogenated oils.
-Artificially flavored or sweetened fruit drinks.
-Soda (regular and diet).
-Wine, beer, spirits and cordials.
-Caffeinated coffee and tea.
-Processed foods (including those with ingredients ending in "ose")

Tips Tuesday! Clean up on the cheap


I am a day late with my day-to-day blog, but am hoping to get back on track starting today. What better way to get back, but with a fun tips blog :) I have been following this one specific AllYou magazine (Oct 22, 2010) lately.

Clean up on the cheap: Get the job done--on a budget!

Baking Soda: For $1 (16 oz), you can...

Deodorize carpets. Sprinkle with baking soda, leave overnight, then vacuum in the morning.

Get rid of grime. Put a little baking soda on a sponge to wipe down your bathroom sink and tub.

Freshen laundry. Add 1/4 cup to the rinse cycle.

White Vinegar: For $1 (16 oz), you can...

Prevent mildew. Wipe your fridge with a 50-50 water-vinegar solution.

Brighten whites. Add 1/2 cup to the rinse cycle.

Make them sparkle. Clean windows with a 50-50 water-vinegar solution.

Lemon: For $1 (2 lemons), you can...

Purify your microwave. Warm a heat-resistant bowl with water and a few slices of lemon for 30 seconds.

Remove stains. Apply juice to white and colorfast garments, then let dry in the sun.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Must Have Monday! What Do I Get the Teacher?


Teachers are a tough one! What do you get these angels on earth who take our teach our children for 6 hours a day? Trust me when I tell you that if I were a teacher, the last thing I would want is something with an apple on it. I even go as far as sending the kids in on the first day of school with a pear or peach, just so they aren't getting yet another apple! I found this small poll in Parents magazine, December 2009 issue that tells you exactly what these educators would like if they could pick.

63% Gift Card
25% Something Crafty/Handmade
8% Cash
4% A big gift that a few families pitched in on

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Solutions Sunday! 8 rules for Dealing with a Kids Who's Fussy About Food


Need a solution for that picky eater? I found this small article in Parents magazine, February 2010 issue.

8 Rules for Dealing With a Kid Who's Fussy About Food

1. Don't label him "picky." this is waving the white flag, and it reinforces his stubborn, attention-getting behavior.

2. Give your child choices. Asking "Would you like raw or cooked carrots?" makes him feel more invested in the meal.

3. Avoid substitutions. Serving your child something else will make her hold out longer next time to get what she wants.

4. Make this deal with your child. He must take one bite, but after that he may say, "No, thank you" to more.

5. Steer clear of bribes. If you offer chips or a sweet for a trying a food, your child will expect a reward every time.

6. Go the stealth route. Add pureed veggies to spaghetti sauce your child likes. Then let her know she's eaten them and "survived." Gradually make the puree chunkier.

7. Practice what you preach. You've got to set a good eating example. After all, you can't snack on corn chips and expect your child to munch on baby carrots.

8. Treat "no" as a temporary answer. It may take 15 times before she'll try a food and maybe even like it.

Swap a Recipe Saturday! Christmas Package Cheese Snack



I found this fun recipe at www.familyfun.com. Thought it would be a really fun appetizer for the Christmas season :)

Christmas Package Cheese Snack

Spread some holiday cheer at your family gathering with this savory appetizer.


Ingredients:

8 ounces of cream cheese (softened)
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
Scallion
Red bell pepper

Instructions:

Mix the dried dill, garlic powder, and salt into the softened cream cheese.

Pack the mixture into a rectangular container lined with plastic wrap (you can reuse the cream cheese box).

Refrigerate it for at least 3 hours. Before serving time, set the unwrapped block of cheese on a platter and decorate it with a scallion bow and red pepper polka dots and gift tag.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Fun Idea Friday! Picture Perfect


Looking for something to do today? It is "Fun Idea Friday!" How about playing around with your camera for some feel good photos :) I found this article in Parenting magazine, October 2010 issue.

Picture Perfect

Give these sharp ideas a shot and you will have a blast!!

Shoot the Art. Instead of saving your kid's crumbling clay creation or messy finer painting, take a digital photo of it. You save space while still documenting her journey as an artist.

Family Portrait. Can't get the whole gang to sit for a family photo? Have your child draw stick-figure pics of everyone, then let him cut out the heads of all of you from old photos and paste them on.

Birthday Beauty. Clip photos of your child from the past year to a long piece of string, then swag it between walls so partiers can see how far she's come since her last birthday bash.

Stick 'em up. Glue a photo of your child's choosing to a piece of cardboard that's slightly bigger than the photo. "Frame" it with twigs collected together from the yard and glue them on.

Give Mom a Mustache. Gather outtakes you don't need and let the kids go to town giving you horns and facial hair. Post them on the fridge to show you're a good sport.

Face Time. Fill a cheapie photo album with images of family and friends who live far away. Flip through it daily with your kid so that the next time Auntie Karen visits, her face will be familiar.

Photo Hunt. If you trust your kids with the camera, send them on a photographic scavenger hunt. Come up with items around your house or 'hood--a pink flower, a broken toy--that they need to snap.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful Thursday! Celebrity Thanksgiving Quotes


Today is a day to be thankful for everything wonderful and blessed in our lives. One of the things I am extremely thankful for is a sense of humor and the freedom to have it. I love to laugh!!! Here are some quotes that made me crack a smile quite a few times :)

P.S. I simply adore Kevin James!

I love Thanksgiving turkey. It's the only time in Los Angeles that you see natural breasts. ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger

Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often. ~ Johnny Carson

Thanksgiving, man. Not a good day to be my pants. ~ Kevin James

Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence. ~ Erma Bombeck

My mother is such a lousy cook that Thanksgiving at her house is a time of sorrow. ~ Rita Rudner

I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land. ~ Jon Stewart

My cooking is so bad my kids thought Thanksgiving was to commemorate Pearl Harbor. ~ Phyllis Diller

Thanksgiving, when the Indians said, "Well, this has been fun, but we know you have a long voyage back to England". ~ Jay Leno

It took me three weeks to stuff the turkey. I stuffed it through the beak. ~ Phyllis Diller

Coexistence... what the farmer does with the turkey -- until Thanksgiving. ~ Mike Connolly

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wellness Wednesday! Diet Danger Zones


It is "Wellness Wednesday"! I fount this article in Parenting magazine, September 2010 issue.

Diet Danger Zones

There are certain times in life when blowing your diet seems inevitable, Heidi Skolnik, New York City nutritionist, author of Nutrient Timing for Peak Performance, and a busy mom, tells us when to tread carefully.

A short night's sleep. A new study has found that people eat an additional 560 calories (the approximate amount in a venti Java Chip Frappuccino) during the day after getting four hours of sleep as compared to eight. So when you shortchange yourself on shut-eye, go ahead and snack a bit more between meals, but reach for low-cal, high-fiber items (such as air-popped popcorn) and fruit (like strawberries and blueberries.)

Birthday parties. There's rarely healthy food available for the adults, and that cake looks sooooo good. Try filling up on a satisfying meal beforehand: helping to plate the cake (your hands will have a job to do that doesn't involve your mouth): or standing far from the table and engaging another parent in some delicious conversation.

That time of the month. Appetite does increase slightly in the week before your period--but luckily, so does your metabolism. (The key word here is slightly: it doesn't justify a pantry raid.) To tame cravings, increase your lean protein an ounce or two at each meal. And plan snacks so you don't get famished between meals: a small handful of nuts paired with a piece of fruit, or carrot sticks and hummus.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tips Tuesday! Make the Most of Vet Visits


We all adore our little furry family members :) Here is an article I found in AllYou magazine, August 27, 2010 issue that ensures your pet gets the best treatment.

Make the most of vet visits

Call Ahead: Contact the vet's office to ask if you should bring anything (such as stool samples if your pet is having stomach issues), so you won't have to go back again a few days later.

Shoot a Video: Capture your pet in the middle of a health or behavioral issue (like continually licking one spot on its paw) with a camera. This can help your vet diagnose the problem.

Ease Fears: Does your pet see its carrier and run away? The day before the visit to the vet's office, pull out the crate and let your pet explore it. That way, the carrier probably won't seem as scary.

Bring a Notebook: It's a good idea to take notes at the visit to help you remember your vet's recommendations. Also bring any questions you have about your cat's or dog's health.

Pay Close Attention at the Appointment: A cell phone is a common distraction. Turn it off so you're not tempted to answer it or text during the visit.

Avoid visits in the first place: Call your vet before treating your animal yourself (such as with human painkillers), so you don't end up with a crisis on your hands.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Makeover Monday! Feed Your Face


Found this small, but helpful passage in Parenting magazine. Maybe this could help out our teenagers?!

Feed your Face

A Norwegian study found that eating six servings of raw veggies a week reduced pimples by 30 percent. Tomatoes and avocados have pretty-skin potential, too, says Paula Simpson, a celeb nutritionist. The lycopene in tomatoes helps prevent inflammation. And, thanks to their omega-3 essential fatty acids, eating about two avocados a week boosts moisture in the skin.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Stuff to Do with Your Kids Sunday! Pilgrim Hat Centerpiece



With Thanksgiving fastly approaching, how about working with your kids to do an awesome centerpiece? Here is one I found on familyfun.com that is sure to be a hit with everyone old and young :)

Pilgrim Hat Centerpiece

Filled with potted mums or other fall flowers, this fun centerpiece will top off your Thanksgiving table in fitting fashion.

Materials:

Black felt, square yard
Terra-cotta pot
Permanent red marker
Black poster board
Carpet tape
Yellow poster board

Instructions:

Tape a square yard of black felt to your work surface and set a terra-cotta pot (ours is 7 inches tall and 7 1/2 inches across) on its side at one edge of the felt, as shown. Roll the pot, tracing along the top and bottom edges with a permanent red marker as you go, then cut out the felt arc.

Next, cut two 15-inch circles, one from black poster board, the other from the remaining black felt. Set the pot upside down in the center of the poster board circle, trace around its rim, then cut out the inner circle to create a large ring. Now trace the rim of the pot in the center of the felt circle and cut an asterisk in the center.

Tape the felt circle atop the poster board ring. Set the bottom of the pot on the asterisk and slide the brim up to the rim of the pot. Attach strips of carpet, tape to the outside of the pot, then tape one end of the felt arc to the side and wrap the arc around the pot, sticking it to the tape.

Trim away any excess felt. For the finishing touch, tape on a buckle cut from yellow poster board.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Swap a Recipe Saturday! Corny Cookies



I found these unique cookies on familyfun.com

These candy-topped treats are a blast for kids to help decorate for your feast -- or a Thanksgiving school party. You can use our sugar cookie recipe here or store-bought dough.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Vanilla frosting
Green fruit leather
M&M's or Reese's Pieces candies

Instructions:

Using an electric beater, cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix well. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix in the flour a little at a time until the ingredients are well combined. Chill the dough for several hours or overnight.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Divide the dough into 3 parts. Working on a floured surface with one part at a time, roll out the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Using a knife, cut out corncob shapes about 4 inches long. Place the cookies on ungreased baking sheets and bake for 9 minutes or just until the edges brown. Let the cookies set on the sheets for about 2 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Frost the cooled cookies. Next, use kitchen shears to cut husks from the fruit leather to fit the sides of each cookie. Press the husks in place atop the frosting, with the tips down a bit. Now fill in the middle with candy kernels gently pressed into place. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen cookies.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Frugal Friday! Live Well for Less


Here are some random facts, etc.. that I found in AllYou magazine, August 27, 2010 issue.

Live Well for Less

Save on Travel: Most airlines charge for checked bags, but if you pay the fee online beforehand, you might receive a discount. For example, get $5 off on usairways.com for the first checked bag on a domestic trip.

Did you Know? The average couponer can save $1,000 each year by clipping offers for just 20 minutes a week.

Indulge on a Budget: Create a Refreshing Low-Cost Summer Treat-Love those fun, fruity concoctions from Sonic and similar joints? Skip the drive-through and make your own. Try our recipe for Ginger Limeade: In a pan over medium heat, mix 8 cups water and 2 1/2 cups sugar; stir until sugar has dissolved. Let cook. In a pitcher, mix sugar syrup with 2 cups fresh lime juice and 4 cups chilled ginger ale. Serve over ice.

Extra Savings! Make this easy swap to save a few dollars.
Do you have a recipe that calls for a little white wine but you don't want to buy a whole bottle? Substitute chicken broth, the results will be similar.

Expert Tip: Streamline food shopping. Ziplist.com is a free service that lets you build your grocery list online or on your cell phone (text to add items or have the list sent to your phone when you're at the store). If you like a recipe on the site (or anywhere else on the Web), the service can automatically put the ingredients on your list. When you're ready, print it out and take it (or your cell phone) with you.

Dinner Under $10: Quick Garbanzo Bean Dinner

Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 13 min.
Serves: 4
Cost per serving: $1.55

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup jarred banana pepper rings, drained
2 15 oz cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes
3 Tbsp turmeric
Salt and Pepper

Warm oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute' until tender, about 5 minutes. Add pepper rings and beans and saute' until warmed through, about 3 minutes. Stir in diced tomatoes.

Add turmeric and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over basmati rice, if desired.

Per Serving: 306 Cal, 6g Fat (1g Sat.), Omg Chol, 11g Fiber, 11g Pro, 54g Carb, 1,621mg Sod.

Kitchen Tip: Switch peppers. Can't find banana pepper rings in your grocery store? Swap in the same amount of pepperoncini. Drain and slice before adding.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Things to Think About Thursday! Avoid Smoke, Save Your Sinuses


I found this nice tiny passage in Woman's Day magazine, September 2010 issue...something to think about!

Avoid Smoke, Save Your Sinuses

Most people who suffer from chronic sinus infections (a.k.a. sinusitis) blame them on allergies, genetics or bad luck, but secondhand cigarette smoke is the main culprit in nearly 40 percent of cases, according to a recent study.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wellness Wednesday! No Fish? No Problem


I found this informative article in Parenting magazine, August 2010 issue.

No Fish? No Problem

DHA is good for a kid's developing eyes, brain, and nervous system. but besides salmon, this miracle nutrient is tough to get. Some more DHA-liciuos options:


Sow some seeds. Chia (yep, of Chia Pet notoriety) is a mild-tasting wonder seed packed with ALA (an omega-3 fatty acid that converts to DHA in the body), plus fiber, magnesium, calcium, and antioxidants. Los Angeles dietitian Ashley Koff, R.D., suggests sprinkling raw chia seeds on cereal, yogurt, and soup, or adding them to baked goods. Just one tablespoon of the stuff a day is a great source of omega-3's! Look for chia under the brand name: Salba (at Salba.com or in Whole Foods stores). Flaxseed is a similar product that's high in omega-3 fatty acids (and if you use the oil, it's super easy to disguise in kids' food!).

Try fortified foods. Many store- and name-brand eggs and mil have been enriched with DHA. Some cookies also have added DHA--a health boost for an occasional treat!

Supplement. They may not be as helpful as DHA in food, but if your child won't try any of these other things, talk with your doctor about whether he needs a supplement. Koff likes Dr. Greene Omega-3 softgels with DHA, and Dr. Sears Family Essentials Omega-3 DHA Soft Chews.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday! Reasons Fall is Fabulous


I found another great top ten list from Parenting magazine, October 2010 issue.

Top Ten Reasons Fall is Fabulous

1. Hello? Do we need to say it? School

2. Fall clothes come in the same colors as your kids' food stains--chocolate brown, fruit-punch red, and mac-and-cheese orange. Way to save on colorsafe bleach!

3. You get to carve jack-o'-lanterns--the only time seeing a snaggletoothed smile in your home doesn't make you fear an $8,500 orthodontist bill.

4. The thrill of new crayons.

5. It gets dark earlier. It's easier to get the kids to bed earlier. You get to go to bed earlier.

6. Nothing smells better than a kid who's just jumped in a leaf pile.

7. All your favorite shows are finally back! Come on, don't you want to know if Will and Emma hook up on Glee?

8. Trick-or-treating, that blessed evening when sleep-deprived moms who look like zombies simply blend in with the crowd.

9. We're suckers for the sight of little kids in footy pajamas.

10. Hot cider, Hot cocoa. And for moms, a hot toddy.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Makeover Monday! 1-2-3 Go! Puff Busters



After 6 children and being the age of 34, I have definitely noticed my fair share of puffiness beneath my eyes. What can you do? I found this article under the mom "beauty" section of Parenting magazine that can give you some ideas to think about.

1-2-3 Go!

Puff Busters

Celebrity aesthetician Renee Rouleau, of Renee Rouleau Skin Care Spas in Dallas and Plano, TX, shares her best advice on beating that bane of tired moms: puffy eyes.

Step 1: Keep your cool. But don't bother slicing up cucumbers. They don't have any miraculous puff-reducing properties. What they do have is a gel-like consistency (from the seeds) that retains cold--and that's what reduces puffiness. So you can use anything you have on hand (even a bag of frozen peas) for just two or three minutes and it will do the trick.

Step 2: Watch the salt. Sodium contributes to water retention, so ditching the salt shaker (especially at night) can help prevent under-eye puffiness in the morning. Which type of food hits you hardest? Chinese. It's really salty, and the MSG contributes to water retention, too. If you've got a special event coming up avoid salty foods and drink lots of water (it actually combats bloating) for a few days before.

Step 3: Rethink your eye cream. Many are formulated with rich oils, which can migrate into the eyes while you sleep and cause puffiness. Another problem with heavy eye creams is that they can weigh down delicate skin, weakening elastin fibers and eventually causing premature wrinkles. The bottom line: Steer clear of greasy eye cream, especially those containing mineral oil or petroleum. And don't apply any eye cream to close to the lower lash line.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Something you may not know Sunday! Safe Celebrations



Since the holidays are coming quickly, I thought I would share this article on being safe during celebrations which I found in the December 2009 issue of Parents magazine.


Safe Celebrations

Before you light up the house, take these precautions from Chrissy Cianflone, director of program operations for Safe Kids U.S.A.

Fireplaces

-Keep flammable materials, like hanging stockings, at least three feet from an open flame.

-Don't throw your wrapping paper into the fire. It may contain toxic or explosive chemicals.

-Make sure your chimney is cleaned annually and that you have a carbon-monoxide detector.

Candles

-Place them (and matches) out of your kids' reach and 12 inches from anything flammable. Blow out candles before leaving the room.

-Never set them on a tablecloth--your child could pull on the bottom and cause an accident.

-The safest bet is to use flameless candles.

Lights

-To avoid overloading the voltage, don't connect more than three strands of mini string sets or more than 50 screw in bulbs.

-Choose lights with an independent testing lab seal (look for "UL").

-Never use lights on a metal tree; it's an electrocution hazard.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Swap a Recipe Saturday! Cute Cornucopia


With Thanksgiving coming up, I thought I would seek out some cute recipes. I love the look of this one that I found on familyfun.com

Cute Cornucopia

This mini horn of plenty guarantees that hungry young guests will have something to nibble on. Set one at each place as a meal-starter, or make a bunch to serve as a kid-friendly hors d'oeuvre platter before the big Thanksgiving feast. Be sure to check out more ideas for a fun-filled Kids' Thanksgiving.

Ingredients:
Tortillas
Toothpicks
Small veggies -- we suggest peas, baby carrots, baby corn ears, grape
tomatoes, and cornichons (or any small pickle)
Dip or dressing

Instructions:

To create each cornucopia, cut a tortilla in half. Roll it into a cone with the rounded edge at the open end. Secure the cone with a toothpick, then fill it with small veggies. Serve with your favorite dip or dressing.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Freebie Friday! Score Samples


This is the last section of the "Find Freebies Wherever You Go" article that I found and have been posting over the past few weeks from the August 27 issue of AllYou magazine.

Free! Score Samples

Be the first to weigh in on new products.

SHESPEAKS.COM: Become a member of this forum, where savvy women sound off about their favorite products. The site matches members to sample products and services by their interests and asks them to write reviews.

General Mills PSSST Program: When you sign up at pssst.generalmills.com, General Mills will send you free product samples and coupons and might ask for your honest feedback about any of the products you try.

Kraft First Taste: After free registration at kraftfirsttaste.com, you'll snag new products as they become available.

STARTSAMPLING: This company brings packaged-goods manufacturers together with consumers who want to test-drive new products. Register at startsampling.com, then click on the items you'd like to try.

ALL YOU Reality Checkers: Your favorite magazine features a free sample program! If you sign up to be an All You Reality Checker at allyou.com, you may have the opportunity to try out complimentary samples from our advertisers--and to have your quote appear in the pages of the magazine.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Through the House Thursday! My House Smells Weird


I took about a week off to get things in order for Halloween, so much chaos here with 6 kids. I found this interesting article about finding smells at the source in the August 2010 issue of Woman's Day magazine. I am only going to list 3 and then will list the final 4 another day when I have more time.

My House Smells Weird!

The only way to remove a smell is to remove the source. This sounds basic, but you'd be surprised how often people spray air freshener and pray the smell will disappear. It won't. Odor experts never use air fresheners: "They mask the source as opposed to dealing with it," says Dr. Shaughnessy. Here's how to handle some common problems.

Smells like: Rotten Eggs-That's hydrogen sulfide coming from your main sewer line. The U-shaped trap in one of your drains may have dried up.

Get rid of it by: Doing a test: Pour a teaspoon of peppermint oil down a drain and run hot water, If you can smell the peppermint in another part of the house, you probably have a bad trap. Dump a couple of cups of water into the smelly drain.

If that doesn't work: Call a plumber. You likely have a crack in the trap that needs to be plugged or replaced. If that's not it, there may be a crack elsewhere in the plumbing system.

Smells like: Unbathed Pets-It's most likely underfoot. Most odors come not from your carpet, but the padding underneath. Pet urine is a common culprit.

Get rid of it by: Steam cleaning--it's the only way to get through to the padding. Or try a short-term solution: Cover up the smell with baking soda (sprinkle it on the rug, then vacuum).

If that doesn't work: You're going to have to pull up the carpet, remove the padding, and replace it with new padding.

Smells like: Decaying Animals-It's amazing how much one teeny tiny dead mouse can smell.

Get rid of it by: Checking behind appliances and in the chimney. If you find the animal, shovel it into a double layer of plastic garbage bags and put it out with the trash. Disinfect the shovel.

If that doesn't work: Call an exterminator. They're experts at locating (and removing!) dead animals behind walls and under homes.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wellness Wednesday! Eat This, Stay Hydrated


Ever feel like you are just not getting enough water in your day? Ever get tired of constantly drinking water, but then worry you are not getting enough. I found this article in Parenting magazine which lists food and their water content so eat away and hydrate at the same time :)

Eat This and Stay Hydrated

The Food
Cucumber-96%
Iceberg lettuce-95%
Tomatoes-94%
Peppers-94%
Mushrooms-92%
Watermelon-91%
Strawberries-91%
Spinach-91%
Cantaloupe-90%
Honeydew Melon-90%
Peaches-89%
Papayas-88%
Pineapple-86%
Lowfat Yogurt-85%
Oatmeal (cooked)-84%
Mangoes-82%
Baked Potato-75%

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday! Things We Know We Shouldn't Do--But Do Anyway


I found another great top ten list in Parenting magazine, August 2010 issue.

Things We Know We Shouldn't Do--But Do Anyway

1. Fib that Bunny Lala got a brand new fur coat when you accidentally shredded the real Bunny Lala in the dryer and bought a look-alike.

2. Say you're out of mac 'n' cheese to avoid having the fifth "but you need protein" fight that week.

3. Crack up at how crazy-funny your toddler looks when she's having a tantrum.

4. Set the clocks ahead an hour so it's "bedtime," just because you need some silence.

5. Sit back and let your kid be hyper-loud in the yard because it annoys your mean neighbor lady so much.

6. Give in and let the kids paint the dog's nails because you're too tired to come up with a reason not to.

7. Funnel the birthday checks from the grandparents directly into the college fund without telling your kids. They need an education more than another Littlest Pet Shop toy.

8. Lie to your 10-year-old about what Lady Gaga means when she sings that she wants to "take a ride on your disco stick"

9. Terrify expectant moms with life-as-you-know-it-is-over stories. It's true, and they'll find out soon enough.

10. Tell each sibling that she's the special one...and mean it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Money Saving Monday! Cut Heating Costs



Looking for ways to save money this winter? I found this article in Parents magazine, December 2009 issue that may help do just that!

Cut Heating Costs

Don't spend all your cold, hard cash to keep warm this winter. Try these tips to trim your heating bill, from Zeke Hausfather of Efficiency 2.0, an energy-management firm.

Free and Simple Solutions

-Lower your thermostat by five degrees and bundle up. Winter savings: $300

-Close your blinds at night. Winter Savings: $5

-Ask your local utility to do a free home-energy audit to uncover air leaks and insulation problems. Winter Savings: up to $250

A Furnace Checkup

-Older models can waste up to half the energy you're paying for, so consider a new, more efficient one. Winter Savings: $300

Small Investments

-Purchase DIY insulation for air ducts (at $5 per square foot) and hot-water pipes (2at 25 cents per square foot). Winter Savings: $63 and $13, respectively.

-Seal leaky windows with caulk from your local hardware store. Winter Savings: $10.

A Gadget Worth Getting

-Install a programmable thermostat for around $65 (you'll find one at any home-supply store). Set it to 60F for five hours per night and seven hours during weekdays while you're at work. Winter Savings: $213

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Solutions Sunday! Stop a Funk Before it Starts



Take charge of your health while you can. I found this article in AllYou magazine, July 23, 2010 issue that can definitely help you out!

Stop a Funk Before it Starts

Use this guide to home in on habits that drag you down.

Not sure what's causing your mood swings? Take a look at this list to see if you've fallen prey to one of these feel-good foes--some might surprise you.

Mood Wrecker: Lack of Sleep. Shut-eye helps your body better regulate sertoinin, a happiness hormone in the brain. A good night's rest that's cut short or interrupted throws your system out of whack.

Mend It: Aim for at least seven hours of sleep each night. Avoid stimulating activities such as television in the hour before bed.

Mood Wrecker: Caffeine. Your a.m. cup of coffee or tea may perk you up, but consuming caffeine from morning till night can lead to lower moods, even into the next day. Caffeine can linger in your system for up to 12 hours, making it difficult for you to get adequate rest.

Mend It: If you have trouble sleeping, keep caffeine intake to mornings only; otherwise, limit it to before about 2 p.m.

Mood Wrecker: Sugar. A sweet treat may give you a boost--thanks to the energy you experience when your blood-sugar levels rise--but the feeling is temporary. Your body overcompensates for the surge with a flood of insulin that then causes blood sugar to plunge, sometimes bringing on irritability.

Mend It: Confine sweets to mealtime. When your body is also processing fiber-rich, slower-to-digest foods such as whole grains or fruits, the sugar doesn't hit your bloodstream as rapidly, preventing a spike.

Mood Wrecker: Alcohol. As metabolism slows in middle age, your body doesn't process alcohol (a depressant) as well.

Mend It: Don't have more than one alcoholic drink per day.

Mood Wrecker: A Low-Carb Diet. Depressed about your weight? Forgo low-card, high-fat diets. They'll likely only send you further into the dumps.

Mend It: Reduce fat intake and eat complex carbs (like whole grains), which contain serotonin-producing tryptophan.

Mood Wrecker: Vitamin D Deficiency. Research suggests that low levels of vitamin D negatively affect mood, a particular problem in the winter months because you get most of your vitamin D from the sun.

Mend It: Aim to get a t least 1,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily. Start with a supplement that contains 400 to 600 IU. Food sources of D include salmon, tuna and fortified milk, cereal and bread.

Mood Wrecker: Stress. Your body can handle short-term anxiety (a busy workweek), not prolonged anxiety (a divorce). Lingering issues create a constant flood of stress hormones to the brain--which can make you feel exhausted and irritable.

Mend It: The longer your experience sustained stress, the more likely you are to suffer from depression or an anxiety disorder. See your doctor if a tension-induced low mood sticks around for two weeks or more.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Swap a Recipe Saturday! Swamp Juice



With Halloween quickly approaching,I have decided to add some spooky recipes that you can use for upcoming parties, get-togethers, etc... I found this recipe on familyfun.com.

Swamp Juice

Filled with gummy creatures and fish eggs made from tapioca pearls, this sweet, bubbly drink looks like something scooped up from a deep, dark bog. Try making a batch for a Halloween gathering or as a spooky after-dinner treat.

Ingredients
FOR 8 SERVINGS:

1/2 cup small tapioca pearls (found in the baking aisle of most grocery stores)
Food coloring
4 tablespoons sugar
8 gummy fish
Seltzer water
Lemonade
8 gummy worms

Instructions
MAKE THE EGGS: Bring 6 cups of water to a boil and add the tapioca pearls. Reduce the heat slightly and boil the pearls, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 25 minutes.

COLOR THE EGGS: Divide the pearls, with the remaining water, between two bowls. Add 4drops of food coloring (we used 3 drops of yellow and 1 drop of green in one bowl, and 4 drops of blue in the other) and 2 tablespoons of sugar to each bowl. Stir the mixtures, then allow them to sit uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes. Drain and rinse the pearls with cold water.

ASSEMBLE THE DRINK: Spoon 2 tablespoons of pearls into each glass and drop in a gummy fish. Fill the glasses with seltzer water, then add a splash of lemonade. Place a gummy worm around a spoon as shown.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Freebie Friday! Enjoy Freebies on Your Birthday


Another great Friday of where to find freebies! I found this article in AllYou magazine, Aug 27, 2010 issue.

Enjoy Freebies on Your Birthday!

Divulging your date of birth pays off with perks, so eat and be entertained on your special day.

Nosh on These!

Behinhana: You can find everything from steak to sushi at this Japanese restaurant. Click on "the Chef's Table" a benihana.com to receive a certificate for $30 off during your birth month.

Fuddruckers: Sign up for the Fudds Club at fuddruckers.com for a birthday burger.

Red Robin: Join the Red Robin e-club online to enjoy a free burger.

Moe's Southwest Grill: Score a birthday burrito on the house when you sign up for Moe's e-World at moes.fbmta.com

Taco Bell: Some locations will serve you a complimentary combo meal on your birthday (you need to show ID). Check with yours to see if it participates.

Quench Your Thirst!

Caribou Coffee: Create an online account to cash in on a free coffee drink.

Starbucks: Ask an employee for a Starbucks card on your next visit, then register it online. Not only will you receive the beverage of your choice once a year, you also will accrue "stars" with every visit. Accumulate enough stars and get free goods.

Savor a Sweet Ending!

Baskin Robbins: Join the Birthday Club to receive a coupon for a free scoop along with a discount on an ice cream cake, as well as other dollars-off deals throughout the year.

Cheesecake Factory: If you decide to celebrate at this restaurant, let your server know. At the end of the meal, you'll be treated to ice cream with a candle and a birthday serenade.

Cold Stone Creamery: At coldstonecreamery.com, join the Birthday Club to indulge in a free sweet.

Go Out (Or Stay In)!

Hollywood Video: Enjoy a complimentary rental on your birthday--and on that of everyone else listed on your account.

Sephora: Sign up for Beauty Insider at sephora.com and stop in on your birthday for a pampering present.

Local Attractions: Many museums, zoos, amusement parks, and cinemas offer birthday specials. Calling ahead can pay off with free admission or concession treats.

Treat the Kids!

On Their Birthdays: Bring your children to Baskin-Robbins for ice cream, Boston Market for free food or Sonic for a kid's meal. They also can receive a free meal if you enroll them in the CPKids Birthday Club at California Pizza Kitchen and the Kids' Birthday Club at your local Denny's (check first--it varies by location).

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Think About it Thursday! Clothes That Fit (In)


I have a son in the 12 year old so I hear a lot about what is in and what isn't. Some parents out there are just not ready for their babies to grow up, but need to realize that it is happening before our very eye. I found this article under the "Ages & Stages" 10-12 years section of Parenting magazine, August 2010 issue that gives us a little insight into what goes on in our child's world and how to deal with some of it anyway.

Clothes That Fit (In)

"I can't wear those tighty whities anymore--you have to buy me some boxer shorts!" Turns out, kids can be teased when classmates spot them with the telltale white band peeking from the top of their jeans. Most kids want to fit in, especially at this age, says Jaana Jovonen, Ph.D., a professor of developmental psychology at UCLA. However, lots of individual differences exist. For some boys and girls, clothes are a huge issue: for others, not so much. And while you might not be thrilled to see your child succumbing to peer pressure so soon, here are some ways to put it into perspective.

He's picking up social skills: Understanding what's desirable within one's peer network is an important social insight. Think about it this way: Wouldn't you rather your child understand what's "cool" v's having no clue?

He's learning planning skills: If your child covets pricey designer duds, there exists a real opportunity to teach him about money management and budgeting. Negotiate some extra chores to earn, say, a pair of expensive sneakers and you'll be building his work ethic.

It opens a dialogue: As with all things parenthood related, you have to pick your battles. That could mean greenlighting a pair of boxers for your son or a slightly padded bra for your daughter, but first find out why it's so important to them. These conversations over small, less consequential matters pave the way for discussions about weightier issues not so far down the road, like drug use and sexual behavior.

You can help him look in the mirror. Talk about what his clothes or accessories might say about him. And discuss why you drive the kind of car you do or carry that particular brand of purse. It will also help you see where your kid is coming from.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wellness Wednesday! Meal Makeover: By the Plate


This is a great chart for a diabetic or even a non diabetic to live by. I found this article in Diabetic Living magazine, Summer 2010.

Meal Makeover: By the Plate

Puzzled by what to put on your plate? Here's a simple way to create satisfying, good-for-you meals.

How can you combine simple, healthful foods to make a variety of quick and easy meals that are appropriate for a person with diabetes?

To create balanced meals plus stay within your carb and calorie allowance, let a 9 inch plate be your guide. Using this method, a meal complete with a side of fruit and a cup of fat-free milk provides about 425 calories, 55-60 grams of carbohydrate, 35 grams of protein, and 10 grams of fat. Save the dairy or fruit serving for a snack if you're targeting 45 grams of carbohydrate per meal (typical for many women) and limit condiments.

Fill 1/4 of plate with lean meat or other high protein food.

Fill 1/4 of plate with a starchy vegetable or whole grain serving.

Fill 1/2 of plate with non starchy vegetables.

Include a serving of fruit and/or dairy if your carb budget allows.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Top 7 Tuesday! Things You Never Did Until You Joined the PTA


I found this "Top 7" list in the January 2010 issue of PTO Today magazine. A few are interesting and some are even true of the PTA at my kids' school.

Top 7 Things You Never Did Until You Joined the PTA

1. Cook spaghetti and meatballs for 200 people.

2. Purchase 30 pounds of cookie dough at one time.

3. Unjam 50 sheets of paper from a photocopier.

4. Know you way from the school's office to the PTO closet--blindfolded.

5. Count box top labs in your bed at night to help you sleep. (Hey, that's me!!!)

6. Think that stick-on name tags are a pretty nifty thing.

7. Dress up like a Dr. Seuss character. (Wait, you did that before you were in the PTA?) (I never did a Dr. Seuss character, but did dress as Billy Bob at Billy Bob's Wonderland when I was 17)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Makeover Monday! Shopping-Cart Makeover


Ever wonder what you need to help make over your diet? I found this small article in Parenting magazine, May 2010 issue.

Eyeball your cart before you hit the checkout line. Is it a sea of boxes and bags--or do you also have stuff for the fridge and fruit bowl? "Aim to fill two thirds of your cart with produce, whole grains, lean meats, beans, and low-fat dairy foods," says Kathy McManus, R.D., director of the department of nutrition at Brigham and Women's Hospital, in Boston. That way, you can't overload on treats and packaged snacks and meals.

Special Time Sunday! Spend Time With Your Kids


I am always looking for fun ideas to do with my kids. I found a few reader suggestions in the July 23, 2010 issue of AllYou magazine.

Slow the fast pace of childhood with these fun reader suggestions:

Cupcake Sundays: A few times a year, let the kids stay up late on Saturday night to bake cupcakes. The rules are: Everyone helps, you all wear a silly chef hat, and there's no taste testing. After adding the frosting, go to bed. On Sunday morning, enjoy the sweet treats for breakfast.

Scrapbooking: This is a great time to grow closer during creative sessions, but also get a chance to reminisce about the memories in the photos, too. It's wonderful!

The Library: Go to the library once a week to take out books. Every night, cuddle under a blanket right before bedtime and read the stories your child picked for the week.

High and Low: Play this at the dinner table. Take a turn sharing the highest and lowest points of your day. Sometimes a child can get so excited that they can't narrow it down.

Bedtime Questions: When tucking your children into bed, ask them questions like, "Did anything (exciting, funny, happy, sad, bad) happen today?" Being interested in their answers lets them know that you care about their lives and that what they have to say is important.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Swap a Recipe Saturday! Black Bean Cat Crudite's



This is such an awesome setup that I found on familyfun.com. Perfect for a Halloween get-together! Who says you can't be healthy even at Halloween?!

Black Bean Cat Crudités


Looking for a Halloween night snack that's both healthy and festive? This skeletal array fits the bill, no bones about it -- just assorted fresh vegetables and a bowl of dip arranged in the shape of a spooky cat.


Ingredients:

Black Bean Dip

ASSORTED VEGETABLES OF YOUR CHOICE:

Celery
Cherry tomatoes
Broccoli
Carrots
Green beans
Mushrooms
Zucchini

Instructions:
Arrange vegetables in the shape of a cat, as shown. Serve with Black Bean Dip.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Freebie Friday! Mark Your Calendars


Be sure to mark your calendars so you don't miss out on these freebies!! I found this tip strip in the August 27, 2010 issue of AllYou magazine.

Mark your calendars

Based on 2010's best free-for-all events, keep an eye on these days in 2011.

National Pancake Day: IHOP typically dishes out free pancakes on Fat Tuesday. After eating, consider making a donation to the Children's Miracle Network. For details, visit ihoppancakeday.com.

Free Pastry Day: This year, Starbucks served up free pastries on March 23. See if the same deal exists next year by checking starbucks.com around that date.

Free Cone Day: Also on March 23, Ben and Jerry's gave away ice cream to thank customers for their loyalty. Check benjerry.com for future offers.

Tax Day: Shops such as Cinnabon and Taco del Mar treated taxpayers to free goods on April 15. Google "tax day freebies" for updated lists in early April.

Earth Day: There's bound to be a slew of freebies on April 22. To celebrate this year, Disney stores and Babies 'R' Us were among the retailers peddling free eco-friendly fare.

National Pretzel Day: Prezelmaker offered a free pretzel (salted or unsalted) to those who stopped by their local shop on April 26. Find out more at pretzelmaker.com

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Think Thursday! Reality v's TV


Ages & Stages, 7 to 9 years of Parenting magazine, May 2010 issue.

Reality v's TV

What kids don't see on TV and in movies is as important as what they do, says Toronto animator and teacher Ellen Besen. Increase their media literacy by pointing out tricks that make things look more appealing than they really are.

Break up the shots: A scene with ice cream might make her tummy rumble, but the treat is probably fake--hot camera lights would make real ice cream melt. if she looks closely, she'll notice the actress is not really eating her sundae after all.

Turn down the sound: Music is used to trigger emotional responses and redirect viewers' attention during commercials or action scenes, so help her see the difference when it's lowered.

Master the moves: Remind her that those pow! crash! wham! fighting scenes are pretend and , unlike in real life, no one gets hurt. Have her try falling gracefully or stopping punches and kicks inches from targets.

Hand over your camera: Poorly attended concerts or sporting events can look packed, thanks to tight shots of fan-filled sections. Let her zoom in and out with your camcorder to see the difference.

Consider the odds: Have your American Idol fan research the music industry to learn how to break into the business. Or ask, "Can 1,000 balloons really make a house fly?"

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wellness Wednesday! Shake the Salt Habit


I am already not a big salt person, but I have a lot of friends who just dump it on in mounds! Here is an article I found in Parenting magazine, September 2010 issue concerning salt.

Shake the Salt Habit

Too much sodium is bad news for your heart--and most of us average 3,400 mg a day. The maximum recommended amount is 2,300 mg! The good news? You can refrain your taste buds to adapt to less salt. Ellie Krieger, R.D., author of So Easy: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Day of the Week, offers these flavorful tips:

Don't Cut Out All Salt! That's right, you get to keep some salt in your diet, or your taste buds would rebel. The goal is to reduce sale intake, not torture your palate.

Season With Herbs, spices and aromatic vegetables like onions, garlic and leeks.

Squeeze in Some Citrus. Fruits such as limes, lemons, and oranges satisfy some of the salt receptors on your tongue, allowing you to use less salt without noticing.

Choose Organic Versions of Processed Foods if you can't find a reduced-sodium version of your favorite brand. Many organic versions are low in sodium and high on flavor.

Use the "Double the Calories" Rule of Thumb. Steer clear of products that have more milligrams of sodium than twice the number of calories--so, a 200-calorie burrito shouldn't have more than 400 mg of sodium.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tips Tuesday! Toss It


Ever wonder what to do with that old electronic? Batteries have you confused when it comes to the environment? I found this article in the June 18, 2010 issue of AllYou magazine that gives us the best tips on how to deal with tossing items.

If it's broken or unsafe, get rid of it. But remember that some items should be recycled or trashed in a specific way. Ask what your local landfill will accept, and learn required disposal methods. These articles generally need special handling.

The item: Batteries

How to discard: Batteries--both alkaline and rechargeable--contain metals that harm the earth. Check the manufacturer's Web site to see if trashing them is OK, but it's usually best to recycle them. Take recyclables to Staples, or find a drop-off center at earth911.com

The item: CFL light bulbs

How to discard: When a compact fluorescent (CFL) bulb burns out, place it in a plastic bag and then in an orange CFL recycling bin at any Home Depot location.

The item: Financial documents

How to discard: The safest way to discard important papers is to shred them. Keep bank statements for six years and bills for one year, unless they're tax-related, in which case hold on to them for six years (along with your tax returns). Toss paycheck stubs after six months.

The item: Latex-based paint

How to discard: Pour paint into a tray or box filled with kitty litter or sawdust, then toss. Recycle the cans.

The item: Ink cartridges

How to discard: Recycle them at Staples--and receive $2 back per cartridge in Staples Rewards.

The item: Electronics

How to discard: You TV and computer contain parts too hazardous to dump. You can recycle electronic devices at Best Buy stores for Free. Before getting rid of a computer, erase its hard drive (learn how at geeksquad.com).

The item: Medications

How to discard: Flushing meds down the toilet or placing them loose in trash raises the risk of water contamination. See if your pharmacy has a medication disposal program, or ask about special sealable disposal bags.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Money Saving Monday! 33 Ways to Get a Great Deal! 11-20


As I promised, I am listing the next 10 ways that you can get a great deal as found in Better Homes and Gardens magazine, issue July 2010.

11. Got an iPhone? Download the free Coupon Sherpa app and get discounts delivered directly to your phone. To redeem a coupon, just show your phone to the cashier.

12. Most items bought on target.com, jcpenney.com, and walmart.com can be returned to the store, so you don't have to pay return shipping.
We Love...A Good Value!

13. Don't be shy about asking for a better deal on a big-ticket item. if they won't come down on price, ask for a value-add, like free delivery or installation. The worst they can do is say no, then you decide whether to buy anyway or walk away.

14. Original, one-of-a-kind art can be spendy. Visit UGallery.com and etsy.com, which sell the work of recent art school grads and budding artists at reasonable prices.

15. 3M Command Hooks are the best bargain for organizing. Put them up anywhere to hold backpacks, purses, robes, pajamas, towels, etc. They come in different colors and sizes and they come down without damaging your walls.

16. The golden rule for shopping home decor at a discount store: Stick with items that have the fewest materials and embellishments. Simple, timeless things--a glass hurricane, a wooden bowl, solid-color cotton napkins--will perform better and have a place in your home longer.

17. Join the rewards programs at your favorite stores to earn discounts (So all those membership cards don't clog your wallet, store them in a gift card tin in your car or purse.)

We Love...Secret Sources

18. Old-fashioned corner hardware stores and feed stores always have interesting things. Head down the aisle with all of the galvanized metal=--buckets, pails, chicken feeders make unique and affordable storage containers.

19. Sign up at estatesales.net to get e-mail notifications of tags sales, estate sales, and auctions in your area.

20. Shop consignment stores. They usually take only high-quality items, and prices drop dramatically the longer an item sits on the floor. Upholstered pieces are typically in excellent condition.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Something you may not know Sunday! Caffeine Concerns



Ever wonder if your kids are consuming way too much caffeine? I found this article in Parenting magazine, Sept 2010 issue that may shed some light on just how much is too much for our little ones.

This just might give you the jitters: By conservative estimates, 77 percent of children regularly consume caffeine through sodas, energy drinks, and other products. But too much of this stimulant can cause nausea, heart arrhythmias, insomnia, and ADHD-like symptoms.

"It also makes kids fidgety, impulsive, and less able to focus. A strong connection has been found between caffeine and poor academic performance," says Marina Kushner, founder of the nonprofit Caffeine Awareness Association. And while you might be able to handle mega-latte amount of caffeine just fine, the same is likely not true of your kid. "It really hits children hard because the less you weigh, the more caffeine affects the body--and the longer it stays in the system," adds Kushner. Try to keep your kid's consumption under 100 milligrams of caffeine a day (what's in about two cans of caffeinated soda). Aside from the usual suspects--coffee, tea, cola--here are some other surprising caffeine sources to watch out for:

Hot chocolate (8 oz) 3 to 13 mg
Dark chocolate (1.45 oz) 18 mg
Coffee ice cream (8 oz) 58-68 mg
Barq's root beer (12 oz) 22 mg
Nestea Peach Green Tea (20 oz) 106 mg
Clif Bar Peanut Toffee Buzz (2.4 oz) 50 mg
Glaceau Vitaminwater-Energy-citrus (17 oz) 82 mg

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Swap a Recipe Saturday! A Mwa-ha-ha-ha Midday Meal


Since we are into the month of "Halloween" I decided to swap some spooky recipes from familyfun.com. This is a great one for a home or school lunch!

Total Time Needed:
30 Minutes or less

Say "boo" to ordinary fare by packing this school lunch for your child.

Ingredients:

Sandwich
Red pepper
Clementine
Green fruit leather

Instructions:

Use a paring knife to cut a sandwich into a skull or bite-size fingers, as shown. For the latter, add red pepper nails. To turn a clementine into a jack-o'-lantern, press on green fruit leather shapes.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Feel Good Friday! Smile, You're Amazing!


It is a Friday and a day to feel oh so good about yourself! I found this article in Woman's Day magazine, September 2010 issue.

You rock. Seriously.
You look great!
Let the world see your beautiful smile!
Be who you are and say what you feel.
Fabulous + Beautiful x Amazing = You!
You are a work of art!
You matter to me!
You deserve to be happy :)

"Smile, You're Amazing"

Imagine opening a menu and seeing that phrase written on Post-it note inside. Or seeing "You are beautiful at any size" tacked to a dressing room mirror. Operation Beautiful founder Caitlin Boyle hopes that just might happen sometime soon. Her project encourages women to put Post-its with uplifting body image messages in random places (such as inside bathroom stalls and on the covers of library books). "We need to replace 'fat talk' with positive exchanges," says Robyn Silverman, PhD, body image expert and adolescent development specialist in New Jersey. To participate, go to operation beautiful.com or pick up Boyle's new book, Operation Beautiful.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Think Thursday! Fallen Heroes


Seems like everywhere you look there is something going on with a celebrity. Who is on drugs, who committed suicide, who is sleeping with who, etc...I found this article under the 7-9 years section of Ages & Stages in Parenting magazine, August 2010 issue. This may shed a little light on how to give an explanation to our kids who ask questions about their favorite stars.

Fallen Heroes

Sports stars, pop singers, movie and TV actors--the list of celebrity idols caught up in scandal seems to get longer every day. You can't hide the headlines anymore, but explaining infidelity or drug use at this age can be tricky. What to know.

Assess his knowledge: "Kids this age are starting to piece together information they get from friends and the Internet," explains Kristen Eastman, Psy.D., a child psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic. As a result, your child may have only a vague idea about Tiger's transgressions or Lilo's antics, so probe a little: "What did you hear about the baseball steroids scandal? Do you know what steroids do?"

Be straightforward: Try not to shirk his questions (or tell him to ask his father): instead, correct any misconceptions, while keeping things age-appropriate. For example, an 8-year-old is probably not prepared to hear what infidelity is, so you might say "It's when someone who's married falls in love with another person."

Seize the moment: Your child may be sad or even mad about what a beloved star has done. "Talking about this kind of public downfall gives you a chance to add your own family values into the mix," says Eastman. Whether to judge other people, give a second chance, or accept an apology for mistakes are topics that open the door to discussing fairness, generosity, and honesty.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wellness Wednesday! The Exercise Cure


Ever just feel blah over random things in your life? I found this small article in Parenting magazine that will help cure those here and there emotions.

The Exercise Cure

It's well known that exercise boosts the production of feel-good chemicals in your body called endorphins, but you can reap even more benefits by choosing the workout that can best "treat" your negative emotion, says Karol Ward, psychotherapist and author of Worried Sick.

If you're angry that your neighbor had the nerve to complain about your messy lawn, try kickboxing or a game of tennis. The physical act of hitting something will help you release energy and hostility.

If you're worried about your child starting a new school and can't stop ruminating over every little thing that might happen, try yoga or ballet. The slow, meditative movements help calm your mind.

If you feel powerless after losing your job, try strength or resistance training. Studies show that as you increase your physical strength, your confidence gets a lift as well.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tips Tuesday! It Worked For Me!


I found this random section of tips in the February 2010 issue of Parents magazine.

Work of Art: Have a child who loves to finger paint, but are overwhelmed on how to display the artwork? Decoupage your favorite paintings onto a four-foot canvas and hang it up in your living room for all to enjoy :)

In the Bag: To make packing the diaper bag easier, attach a luggage tag to the strap and insert a list of necessary items. It serves a great checklist before you head out!

Rest Stop: Using public restrooms can scare some kids due to the auto-flush toilets triggering before they are done. Stick one sheet of a self-stick note pad over the sensor before they get on the potty to keep it from flushing early.

Better Bandages: Licensed character bandages can be expensive so draw your own shapes and scenes on plain ones. Your kids may like them even more and it is a great way to distract them from their boo-boo!

Smart Cookie: Play-Doh is a great "kid's favorite" thing to play with, but preventing it from falling on the floor is often a problem. Give your child a metal cookie tray to build their Play-Doh projects on and the high edges keep everything contained.

Color Scheme: Do your kids enjoy coloring while eating out? Keep a few crayons in a travel soap dish in your diaper bag just in case the restaurant doesn't have any on hand.

Made for Shade: Instead of tossing the beautiful bumper that came with your child's bedding set, repurpose it as a matching valance if you have a window in the nursery. All you need to do is remove the stuffing.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Money Saving Monday! 33 Ways to Get a Great Deal!


I found this article, 33 ways to get a great deal, in Better Homes and Gardens July 2010 issue. I will be doing this one over a 3 week span. Here are the first 10 :)

We love a sale!

1. Get to know a clerk who can tell you when merchandise goes on clearance so you can mark your calendar.

2. When does it go on sale?

Appliances: Holiday Weekends
Cameras & Camcorders: February, March
Carpet & Flooring: January
China and Flatware: March, September
Computers: August, December
Cookware: May, June, December
Dining Furniture: October, November
Electronics: Spring and early summer, also Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Furniture: January, July, holiday weekends.
Holiday Decor: Day after the holiday
Linens: January
Mattresses: May through August
Paint: Summer
Patio Furniture: After Labor Day
Plants, Trees, and Shrubs: Fall
Small Appliances: December
Snow blowers: April
Televisions: Early spring, also six to 12 months after a particular model is launched
Vacuum Cleaners: April, May

3. Many online retailers offer a deal of the day, usually in limited quantities. Check dodtracker.com for a listing of daily deals from around the Internet.

4. The longer an electronics product is on the market, the better your chance of finding it on sale. Check the date the first review appeared (search for "review" and the product name) or its "first available" date on amazon.com. If the model you're looking at was introduced more than six months ago, you can probably find it on sale.

We love the web!

5. Private, invitation-only online sales are the latest thing. For example, become a member at onekingslane.com (it's free) and you could score high-end home decor items for up to 70% off retail prices. On Saturdays, check out their designer-curated online tag sales.

6. ShopGoodwill.com is like eBay only more addicting. It features a huge selection of artwork, decor items, and housewares for just a few bucks.

7. Find the best price using a shopping aggregator site like Flit.com that does the work of comparison shopping for you. It samples prices at several different e-commerce sites and lead you to the best buy.

8. Search online liquidators such as nobetterdeal.com--a site that sells returns and overstock from big retailers.

9. Make your purchase through ebates.com to get cash back from more than 1,200 top retailers. Most stores offer between 2% and 7%, some more.

10. Become a Facebook fan or Twitter follower of your favorite stores and brands. Many of them announce exclusive offers this way.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Something you may not know Sunday! Your Curious Kid


I, for one have hundreds of questions asked of me all day everyday! It is enough to drive someone mad!! I found this article in the 5 to 6 years "Ages & Stages" section of parenting magazine, May 2010 issue.

Your Curious Kid

All those questions may try your patience, but they'll make your child smarter. "Curiosity is the driving force of intellect," notes Pam Schiller, author of Seven Skills for School Success. Kids' brains thrive on new experiences and activities, so shake things up with these ideas:

Break with tradition: Turn things upside down every so often: Have cereal for dinner or pizza for breakfast. Introducing novelty into your child's routine gives you a jumping-off point for conversation--does he know people eat miso soup and fish for breakfast in Japan?--and shows him there's more than one way to do things, says Schiller.

Change the Scene: Rearrange the toys in her room or the dolls on her bed, and then discuss the difference. Does it look better now? Is it less cluttered? Does this arrangement seem more inviting?

Rewrite the book: Mix up the characters and the scenery in the stories you read. Add a dragon to "Jack and the Beanstalk," for example. Ask "what if" and other open-ended questions, like "What if the wolf in 'Little Red Riding Hood' wasn't hungry? How would the tale be different?"

Make it kid-friendly: Create a special space--in his bedroom, the den, or the basement--where anything goes (finger painting, fort building, pillow fighting) and exploration is encouraged.


Ask away: Show her that you're curious about her interests by asking her to explain the difference between Ariel and Snow White, say, and getting just as excited about the dead beetle she found as she is (okay, you may have to fake it).

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Swap a Recipe Saturday! Cheesy Baked Ziti



I found this yummy looking recipe on familyfun.com. Check it out!

Every time I make this recipe, I am pleasantly surprised since the results far exceed the effort. This casserole is perfect for a simple family meal, but also hearty enough to serve guests. This is fast comfort food that is sure to please everyone at your table. Tip: Just add a tossed salad for a complete meal in a snap. Also, leftovers will freeze well. Serves: 6 Preparation Time: 20 minutes Baking Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

1/2 pound dried ziti
15 or 16 ounces ricotta cheese (part skim)
3 cups (or 12 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
3 cups (or a 26-ounce jar) spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Instructions
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add the ziti. Cook until tender, about 8 minutes, drain the pasta.

Place the ziti in a large bowl. Mix with the ricotta and half of the mozzarella. Grease a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish. Spread half of the spaghetti sauce on the bottom of the pan. Add the ziti mixture and cover with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan and the remaining mozzarella.

Bake uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes, until the casserole bubbles on the edges.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fun Crafts for Kids Friday! Decoupage Collage Box



Found this great craft on Kaboose.com

Decoupage Collage Box
By: Amanda Formaro

Difficulty: Very Easy

Age: 5 and up

Parental supervision is recommended

With a few craft sticks, some paint, and a lot of imagination, your child can have a personalized door hanger to call his/her own. This project is simple and it’s fun to make.

Be sure to visit all of our classic crafts for more fun ideas!


What you'll need:Papier–mâché box with lid
Old magazines
Scissors
White craft glue
Water
Bowl
Paintbrush

How to make it:

Go through old magazines and cut out pictures, words and phrases of things that you like.

Mix 2 parts white glue and 1 part water, mix together. (Recommended amount: 2 tsp glue and 1 tsp water. You can always make more if you run short, rather than having too much and having to throw it away.) Mixture should be paintable but not too thick.

Paint mixture onto one side of the box.

Place pictures on glue and paint glue mixture over the top of the picture.

Cover all sides and lid with pictures, phrases and words.

As glue begins to dry pictures may bubble a little. Gently flatten with your fingers as it dries.

Tips:Travel magazines are perfect for making a vacation box. Look for advertisements with small pictures and fun phrases.

Try dirt bike and motorcycle magazines for the adventurous child.

Be sure to clean paintbrush out when you are finished or the glue will harden and ruin it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Think Thursday! Is it really an allergy?


I know a lot of moms out there who are always very quick to determine that their kids have food allergies. It seems nowadays, everyone has to have an illness or allergy! I found this small article in the September 2010 issue of Parenting magazine. Maybe it can clear up confusion for some.

Is it really an allergy?

May people who think they have a food allergy--or believe their child does--actually suffer from a food intolerance. Unlike an allergic reaction, an intolerance doesn't involve the immune system and can have several causes. People with lactose intolerance, for example, lack or have less of a digestive enzyme needed to properly break down dairy products. Here, some ways to tell the difference:

Signs your child likely has a food intolerance:

1. She can eat small amounts of the worrisome food without a problem.
2. Symptoms usually include nausea, belly pain, bloating, and diarrhea.
3. The reaction causes temporary discomfort.

Sign she may have a true allergy:

1. Often, even a small amount of the food can cause a reaction.
2. Symptoms include hives, swelling of the lips and face, difficulty breathing, and a severe drop in blood pressure.
3. The reaction can progress rapidly and be life-threatening.