Thursday, November 19, 2009

Download electronic coupons to your grocery store savings card

I have found a great website to download electronic coupons directly to selected grocery store savings cards. This is a free service. The website is Shortcuts.com. When you register on the site it will ask for your name, zip code, birthday, e-mail address, password and security question and answer. Next the registration lists the featured grocery store savings cards. The selected stores include Baker's, Carrs, City Market, Dillon's, Dominick's, Fry's, Fry's Marketplace, Genuardi's, Gerbes, Hilander, JayC, King Soopers, Kroger, Kroger Marketplace, Owen's, Pavilions, Pay Less, QFC, Ralph's, Randalls, Safeway, Smith's, Smith's Marketplace, Tom Thumb, and Vons. Select your card, enter the number. Follow the rest of the registation process and you are good to go. The site will list those electronic coupons featured for the card you choose. As you select the coupons to download a list updates on the screen so you can see how much savings you will receive. Also lists savings to date.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

13 Easy Ways to Reduce your Food Budget

I found this great article about cutting expenses, you can also go to the website at http://www.frugalfun.com/reduce-your-food-budget.html.

When trying to cut expenses, food is a great place to start because there are so many opportunities to save. One way to watch your savings pile up and be able to use it for a goal, such as a vacation, down payment on a home or paying off debt, is to put the cash you saved from any purchase into an envelope or a jar until you get enough to make a bank savings deposit. Make a strict rule to not use the money for anything else but your goal. Here are thirteeen easy ways to reduce your food budget that will help you achieve this:

1. If you don't want to stop going out to eat, check your local newspaper, the back of grocery receipts and junk mail flyers for restaurant coupons. A lot of restaurants offer "buy 1 meal get 1 free" on certain days of the week. If you want to cut back even more, cut back on the number of times you go out in a month or week.

2. Shop grocery outlets. Every major city has them. Ours is called *The Canned Food Warehouse*. Not every item in the store is a deal; you have to know normal food prices to compare, but when you do find a deal, it is usually a great one. You will find enough of these deals to make your trip worth it.

3. Be sure to comparison shop. Look at the sale tag on the item's shelf and see how much per pound, ounce or whatever the item is sold as. Compare that to the other products to determine which is the best deal.

4. Always check the weekly grocery ads for the good sales. If there is a really good deal on something, be sure to buy it in multiples. This will save you from paying full price later.

5. Use coupons for food products. I have found the best way to use them is combined with a sale. Most of the time, if you use a coupon without combining it with a sale, you will still be paying more than other brands, so be sure to watch for this.

6. Always use your leftovers. This saves a tremendous amount of money and time by extending your shopping trips. If you need ideas for using leftovers, check out *The Leftover Recipe E-book* that includes over 100 ideas and recipes for leftovers here: http://homemakersjournal.com/leftovers.htm

7. Grow as much produce as you can to eat fresh and/or preserve for later. To save as much money as possible, start plants from seed. This can really add up quick and you will know how your food was grown rather than wondering what chemicals may have been applied to the plants of the produce you purchase. If you purchase organic produce to relieve this worry, it can be quite expensive.

8. Stop buying junk food, sodas and prepared food. These are not only expensive, but unhealthy, therefore a waste of your hard-earned dollars.

9. Always shop with a grocery list and stick to it so you don't buy unnecessary or expensive items.

10. Never shop hungry! Have you ever gone grocery shopping hungry? I have and I wanted to buy everything in sight because everything looked delicious! I didn't buy everything in sight, but, I did increase our grocery bill that day! Also, because I was hungry, I didn't feel like shopping or making decisions so this added to the problem.

11. About Kids. It is good training for kids, if they are old enough, to comparison shop; I usually ask mine to go get the cheapest ketchup, or whatever is nearby so I can still see them, so they get hands-on experience (you'll need to supervise this in the beginning, then later you'll be able to trust they are making the right decisions). Kids have a tendency to ask for things in the store; the best way to handle this is to let them get something within a set price limit and keep this limit each time you go shopping. If your kids are younger, you may want to consider leaving them at home with a friend or relative; younger kids can tire and get difficult in the store spoiling your frugal efforts.

12. Shop at the store's off-peak hours when you will be less rushed and can make better decisions.

13. Check out the *Fantastic Frugal Grocery Tips* E-book to learn even more ways of reducing your food budget. Among the many frugal grocery tips, you'll learn about freeze and stock foods, saving in rural areas, how to make a price book and more! Click here for more information: http://homemakersjournal.com/frugalgrocerytips.htm

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Free Milk From Food Lion

I don't know about you but our family goes through milk like it is going out of style! Especially my 2 year old, Owen!

I am a frequent shopper at Food Lion, they have a special promotion going on from July 22 through October 13, 2009. If you purchase 6 gallons of milk you will receive one free. I buy milk every other day, so this promotion is great! A friend of mine is an even bigger milk drinker...she buys 6 gallons at a time! Believe me she will be using this promotion! You need to have an MVP card for this promotion, which is very easy to obtain. After you have accumulated 6 milk credits you will receive a message at the bottom of your receipt that indicates when you have qualified for your Free Milk Coupon. To receive your Free Milk Coupon present your qualifying cash register receipt to your cashier.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It's Arby's Freebie Day!

Today at Arby's if you purchase any size soft drink you will receive a FREE Roastburger.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Sweet Phoebe

Gotta share this cute story. My children and I were outside playing this morning, Phoebe got a little too aggressive with the toy she was playing with and fell down. She scraped her knees and hands and was crying. I brought her inside and gave her the TLC she needed (clean up, bandage, ointment, kiss the boo boo), then put her down for her nap (well, quiet time). She was still a little upset so I asked what else I could do to make it better, she said "well, going to the park would make it a lot better!" She is soo sweet!! Guess where we're going after naptime! The park! :-)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Great deals!!

Today is freebie day at Arby's. If you purchase any size softdrink you will get a free regular size Arby's roast beef sandwich. Great deal!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Food Lions popping up everywhere!


I don't know what is happening to the town I live in, anytime you see any new construction it turns out to be a Food Lion! They just opened a gourmet one just near my house. I haven't been in to purchase any gourmet items, but the prices on traditional groceries seem reasonable. On another note, it almost seems like an oxymoron when you are walking down the ailes there are WIC signs on almost all items, then the next aisle is the gourmet food section. I guess they cater to all shoppers! I guess this make me realize how many American's are really suffering financially.

When Phoebe (4), Owen (2) and myself walked in the store there were the cutest little shopping carts just the right size for them! It was like we were on parade walking down each aisle first me, then Phoebe pushing her cart and Own taking up the rear grabbing anything he can and putting it in his cart just like Mommy! My kids are such a trip! Half the time I can't wait for my daughter to start PreK in August where she will be gone from 8:30 to 3! Then I get nostalgic and wish she was just a baby again! Time certainly does fly!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Kroger Website

If you have a Kroger Supermarket in your area there are some great deals you can electronically add to your card for savings the next time you shop. Just go to Kroger.com, select Plus Card, from there you can create your account by adding your Kroger Plus Card number, select your store, view your fuel points (this is a great deal, by the way if you spend a certain amount Kroger will take 10 cents off your gas purchase!!) and select the coupons for the week. They have some geat deals listed. Check it out go to www.kroger.com

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Family Vacation???

With the state of the economy I have to pose this question...are you are your family taking a summer vacation this year?

With the situation my family is in we are going to stay put not to mention gas prices on the rise and flying is totally out of the question!

There are so many inexpensive summer programs my kids and I can participate in like next week Phoebe will attend Vacation Bible School. Also, both Phoebe and Owen are participating in a reading program every week at the library.

Have a safe and happy summer!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Firehouse Subs - Eat free on your birthday!!

If you have a Firehouse Subs near you they are offering a special promotion. Just got to this website http://www.firehousesubs.com/birthday/ and fill out the appropriate information! You will get a free sub on your birthday!!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Free tastic freebies

Free tastic freebies

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Family Game Night Planning Blog

I am venturing out from this blog to a new one for planning family game nights. I would love for this blog to be a resources for parents to come to for game ideas, snack ideas, etc... all in an effort to promote family togetherness. Please visit http://planyourfamilynight.blogspot.com/. I would love to get your comments and/or suggestions!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Family game night planning

Why is family game night such a good idea? First of all, it’s a fun way for families to spend time together. Games allow you to compete, show off skills and learn sportsmanship. They encourage family communication. Family game night is like a mini-vacation where everyone can enjoy each other’s company -- and make memories that will last forever.

Here’s how to make your game night something you look forward to all week:


Clear the books. Make this an important date. This sends a good message about family priorities, and it gives everyone something to anticipate.
Keep it to the family. You may want to make other game evenings when you invite guests, but for this night, make sure it’s all about your immediate family. This fosters communication, comfort and helps everyone build a strong sense of family identity.

No interruptions. Let the machine get phone calls, turn off your cell and PDA, and make sure all homework is done beforehand.

Choose the right game. Make sure that everyone can enjoy playing the game, and let different family members choose the game. In fact, you might share the duties of being “in charge” of the night so that everyone gets a turn to create the event. (Of course mom and dad can assist the youngest players.)

Vary the games you play. It doesn’t really matter what you play, as long as everyone can feel like a participant. But balance games of skill with games of luck so that everyone gets a chance to do something they’re good at -- and improve the odds of having a winning night.

Use this as a teaching time. Family game night is a great time to reinforce things like manners, being a good sport, taking turns and other social skills that children will need as they grow up and go out in the world. This can all be done with good humor in the context of the game play and the family, and it gives kids a chance to practice these positive behaviors.

Different Options for Different Ages
Well, the sky’s the limit. Bear in mind that all good games have a few things in common: they’re easy to understand, they’re different every time they’re played, and they take an appropriate amount of time. For younger kids, games that you can play several times in an evening are ideal. Older kids may enjoy a game of Monopoly that can take the whole evening. In all cases, make sure that everyone feels involved and engaged in the process. If you’re trying out a new game, you might want to have an old favorite as a back-up in case the new one isn’t right for your family.

Game Types for Every Family

Now, the fun part: playing! With over 5,000 games on the market at any time, the choice can by dizzying, but here are some ideas:

Classics The advantage to these is that everyone knows them, or almost -- and they’ve stood the test of time. Check age gradings, but some suggestions are: Monopoly, Clue, Sorry, Othello, Battleship, Boggle, Parcheesi, Operation, Chutes and Ladders, Candyland, Trouble, Sorry, Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit. Many of these have special interest editions now.

Strategy Games These games are great for families that like a little more substance to their games. Often story-based, one of the best we’ve seen this year is Parthenon from Z-Man Games where players race to build their civilizations.


Multi-Faceted Games These are games that combine different kinds of skills. Great for diverse families where everyone gets a chance to shine. For older kids and adults, check out Cranium. Cranium Family Fun, Hoopla and Whonu? work for the whole family.


DVD Games Definitely one of the hottest trends in the whole game business Our favorite is Scene It? from Mattel in different versions that cover movies, TV, music, sports and Harry Potter. Pop in the DVD and you simply play along. Choose the version that’s right for the group you’re playing with.

Skill and Action Games For when you just want to have some silly fun. Try Captain Bones Gold from Spin Master, and Ker-Plunk from Mattel. These are great for kids with tons of energy, and the different outcomes keep families engaged.


Have a fun and relaxing time together!

Great Board Games for Family Night In!

I was in Target the other day in the game section and remembered all of the games I used to play when I was a child. This reemphasises the fact that families need to have a time when they can get together for "family time". In my opinion this is not just meal times! So many of us get bogged down with extracurricular activities, or just sit down and engross ourselves in television. I think if a family sets aside a time for the family to get together for "game night" or any other planned activity as a family unit, it can grow your family bond so much more! Gives each of you something to look forward to!

There are so many great games out there like Clue (they even have Clue, Jr), Scrabble and Scrabble for kids, Monopoly, Chutes and Ladders, Don't Spill the Beans just to name a few! What a great world we live in that we can show our kids and play with the games we used to play and share special moments!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Do you think sports builds character in kids?

I have added this poll to my blog and would love to get your views. I think most people have different views. My childhood did not consist of sports, in my later adult years I regret that sports was not a part of my life. However, my husband Allen participated in a lot of sports and still does. I do and have always believed that yes, sports does build character in kids AND playing sports promotes teamwork in kids. I believe teamwork is crucial in most organizations! If you have one bad seed trying to bring everyone down it can spread quickly. I have seen this many, many times! The more positive an individual can be, the more it can be contageous! In this encomomy with so many companies barely getting by, those organizations that are surviving need positive influences amongst the employees.

Get to know your neighbors

I was talking to a my friend Pam this morning, she was telling me there is a neighbor of hers that wanted to start a Bunko group for some girls in her neighborhood. I thought this was great!

This also prompted me to write something about it! :-) I believe it is so crucial to know your neighbors. So many times people can just stay to themselves and are fearful or just not willing to get out there. Our neighborhood has gone through a wonderful transformation! I have a 4 year old and 2 year old, a lot of the kids in our area vary in age (anywhere from 2 to 9 years old) but they all enjoy playing with each other. And, look out for each other! They make up games, ride their bikes, play all sorts of games and just enjoy each other. The adults just hang out at whoever's house and chat or just chill! My suggestion to you, organize a block party in your neighborhood, building, etc.... Get to know your neighbors, you'll be glad you did!

I blogged earlier also about Edy's Ice Cream and how they are having a contest giving away a free block party for up to 100 of your friends and neighbors, all you have to do is write 350 words about why your neighborhood is the best! I have to hand it to Edy's for coming up with such a great campaign! In these time of stress, it is nice to know you have friends and neighbors who care!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Longhorn Steakhouse offer

If there is a Longhorn Steakhouse in your area then you need to visit their website, www.longhornsteakhouse.com. They are offering $5.50 off your purchase of $25.00 or more. Visit the website to find your nearest location.

Why 2-year-olds throw tantrums

As I mentioned in a previous blog, I am trying to teach my 2 year old, Owen, sign language with Baby Signing Time. This is all in an effort to avoid tantrums. Below is an article I found on Babycenter.com regarding tantrums and why they happen.

A temper tantrum is the emotional equivalent of a summer storm — sudden and sometimes fierce, but often over as quickly as it starts. One minute you and your child are enjoying your dinner in a restaurant, the next she's whimpering, whining, and then screaming to go home. Two-year-olds are especially prone to such episodes.

Though you may worry that you're raising a tyrant, take heart — at this age, it's unlikely that your child is throwing a fit to be manipulative. More likely, she's having a meltdown in response to frustration. Often, your 2-year-old's language skills — or lack thereof — are to blame. "Two-year-olds are beginning to understand more and more of the words they hear, yet their ability to articulate their feelings and needs is limited," says Claire B. Kopp, professor of applied developmental psychology at California's Claremont Graduate University. As a result, frustration builds when your child can't express how she feels.

What to do when your 2-year-old pitches a fit
Don't lose your cool. A tantrum isn't a pretty sight. In addition to kicking, screaming, or pounding the floor, your child's repertoire may include throwing things, hitting, and even holding her breath until she turns blue (don't worry; she'll eventually come up for air). When your child is swept up in a tantrum, she's unable to listen to reason, though she will respond — negatively — to your yelling or threatening. "The more I shouted at Brandon to stop, the wilder he would get," says one mother. What worked instead, she discovered, was to just sit down and be with him while he raged.

Stomping out of the room — tempting as that may be — can make your child feel abandoned. The storm of emotion she's feeling can be frightening to her, and she needs to know you're nearby. Rather than leave her thrashing on the floor, go to her. If she's not flailing too much, pick her up and hold her. Chances are she'll find your embrace comforting, and will calm down more quickly.

Remember that you're the adult. No matter how long the tantrum goes on, don't give in to unreasonable demands or negotiate with your screaming child. It's especially tempting in public to cave in as a way of ending the episode. Try not to worry about what others think — anyone who's a parent has been there before. By conceding, you'll only be teaching your child that pitching a fit is the way to get what she wants, and setting the stage for future behavior problems. What's more, a tantrum is frightening enough for your child without her feeling that you're not in control, either.

If your 2-year-old's outburst escalates to the point where she's hitting people or pets, throwing things, or screaming nonstop, pick her up and carry her to a safe place, such as her bedroom, where she can't harm herself. Tell her why she's there ("because you hit your sister"), and let her know that you'll stay with her until she calms down. If you're in a public place — a common breeding ground for tantrums — be prepared to leave with your child until she gets a grip.

"My daughter had an absolute fit at a restaurant because the plain spaghetti she ordered arrived with chopped parsley on it," another mother recalls. "Although I realized why she was upset, I wasn't about to let her disrupt everyone's dinner. I took her outside until she calmed down."

Talk it over afterward. When the storm subsides, hold your child close and talk about what happened. Acknowledge her frustration, and help her put her feelings into words, saying something like, "You were very angry because your food wasn't the way you wanted it," Kopp suggests. Let her see that once she expresses herself in words, she'll get better results. Say with a smile, "I'm sorry I didn't understand you. Now that you're not screaming, I can find out what you want."

Try to head off tantrum-triggering situations. Pay attention to what pushes your child's buttons and plan accordingly. If she falls apart when she's hungry, carry snacks with you. If she has trouble making a transition from one activity to the next, give her a gentle heads-up before a change. Alerting her to the fact that you're about to leave the playground or sit down to dinner ("We're going to eat when you and Daddy are done with your story") gives her a chance to adjust instead of react.

Your child is grappling with independence, so offer her choices when you can. No one likes being told what to do all the time. Saying, "Would you like corn or carrots?" rather than "Eat your corn!" will give her a sense of control. Monitor how often you're saying no, too. If you find you're rattling it off routinely, you're probably putting unnecessary stress on both of you. Ease up and choose your battles — after all, would it really wreck your schedule to spend an extra five minutes at the playground?

Watch for signs of overstress. Though daily tantrums are a perfectly normal part of the terrible twos, you do need to keep an eye out for possible problems brewing. Has there been upheaval in the family? An extremely busy or harried period? Tension between you and your partner? All of these can provoke tantrums. If after the age of 2 1/2 your child is still having major tantrums every day, talk to her pediatrician. If she's younger than 2 1/2 but has three or four tantrums a day and isn't cooperating with any routines, such as getting dressed or picking up toys, you also may want to seek help. The pediatrician can make sure that a physical or psychological condition isn't contributing to the problem, and suggest ways to deal with the outbursts

Inspirational quote

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."

Boomerang from Cartoon Network

I don't know if all cable companies subscribe to Boomerang from Cartoon Network, I have DirecTV, it comes with our basic cable. Anyway, I came upon this channel when my daughter, Phoebe and I were channel surfing one Saturday afternoon. Before we knew it we were watching old (original) episodes of The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Tom and Jerry, The Smurfs basically a lot of the old Hanna Barbera cartoons I grew up with. Phoebe loved all of them. Cartoons and a lot of the kids shows these days are so much different than shows we grew up with! My husband Allen, walked in and got a laugh out of it, before you knew it he was sitting down enjoying the shows as well. It turned out to be a new adventure for Phoebe and a stroll down memory lane for Allen and I.

10 Food Myths for Parents of Preschoolers

I found this on NickJr.com 10 Food Myths for Parent of Preschoolers, let me know what you think:

To help set the record straight about health and nutrition myths, NickJr.com turned to Lisa Sasson, M.S., R.D., clinical assistant professor at the New York University Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health. Here's the truth behind 10 common misconceptions.

MYTH #1
Sugary foods make kids hyperactive.

FALSE

Studies have consistently found no relationship between sugar and hyperactivity.
Children may become rowdy and uncontrollable due to lack of sleep, poor diets, inadequate iron in their diet, excessive television or computer games, too much caffeine, too little physical activity, and general excitement (such as at a birthday party).

Parent Tip: Try healthy snacks that give kids energy and nutrients, like low-fat popcorn, cheese and crackers, peanut butter or soy butter on whole-wheat crackers, or bean dip and crackers.

MYTH #2
Young children are more finicky than older kids.

FALSE

Surprisingly, it is easier to encourage young children to try new foods than older kids. Just keep in mind that children learn new food preferences through repeat exposure, and it could take 8 to 10 tries.
If your child doesn't like a food when he or she tries it for the first time, don't give up.

Parent Tip: Use cookie cutters to make eating vegetables more fun. Or make funny faces or designs on plates with a new vegetable, such as making corn or peas into a smiley face.

MYTH #3
Preschoolers should drink whole milk.

FALSE

Whole milk gives children under 2 increased energy and the fat they need for brain development. But after age 2, children can have low-fat milk because their diet is more varied and they get fats from other foods.

Parent Tip: Be sure your child is eating from all the major food groups and include nuts, nut butters, avocados, and fish in their diet.

MYTH #4
My preschooler will grow out of her food allergy.

FALSE

Luckily, by the age of 3, most young children do outgrow many common food allergies--like milk, soy, and eggs--but they may not outgrow other allergies, such as peanuts or other nuts. Always discuss your child's allergy with your pediatrician.

Parent Tip: Don't introduce two new foods on the same day. If your child has no reaction to a new food after eating it for a few days, then you can include it in your child's diet and offer another new food.

MYTH #5
Fruit drinks have vitamins and minerals, so preschoolers can drink all they want.

FALSE

Although many fruit drinks have added vitamins and minerals, they also contain a lot of calories, sugar (or other sweeteners), and they lack fiber.
The best way to get vitamins and minerals in your child's diet is with whole fruits and vegetables. Associating drinking with sweet beverages can become a very unhealthy habit for kids. The healthiest beverages for kids are water, low-fat milk, and limited amounts of 100% fruit.

Parent Tip: Cut juice's calories and sugar by watering it down (a 50:50 ratio), use seltzer for a fizzy treat, or freeze juice in ice-cube trays and add to water.

MYTH #6
To get enough iron, my preschooler needs red meat a few times a week.

FALSE

Iron is critical nutrient for your child's growth and development, and red meat is an excellent source, but your child can get adequate iron from many other foods: eggs, fish, poultry, beans, whole-grain or enriched cereal, bread, and dried fruit.

Parent Tip: Don't let kids fill up on milk before eating. Although an excellent source of many nutrients, milk does not contain iron, and the calcium and phosphorus in milk can impair iron absorption.

MYTH #7
Cavities from sweets don't matter, because preschoolers lose their teeth anyway.

FALSE

Cavities can cause baby teeth to rot and fall out, which may affect the placement of your child's permanent teeth. And because baby teeth have thinner enamel than permanent teeth, they are even more prone to cavities.

Your child's permanent teeth begin to mineralize (harden) as early as the first year of life, so good oral hygiene and a healthy diet are essential for healthy permanent teeth to develop.

Parent Tip: To help prevent cavities, never put your child to sleep with a bottle of juice or milk, brush your child's teeth after meals, have your child drink water after eating sweets, avoid sweet snacks, use fluoride toothpaste, and visit the dentist regularly.

MYTH #8
Children should be taught to clean their plates.

FALSE

Young children usually stop eating when they feel full, and parents shouldn't override these natural eating cues.

Encouraging children to eat more than they want can lead to negative eating behaviors in later years.

Provide healthy, nutritious meals and snacks, but allow your child to stop eating when satisfied.

Parent Tip: Adult-size portions can overwhelm a child, so try serving your child half of an adult-sized portion or (print a preschooler portion chart). Serve nutritious foods at the beginning of the meal and be sure your child doesn't fill up with beverages.

MYTH #9
An overweight preschooler needs to be on a diet.

FALSE

Overweight preschoolers should not be on diets. (But they should also be fed like preschoolers and not like teenagers!)

If your child is overweight, provide him or her with healthy, well-balanced meals and snacks, limit calorically dense foods, and provide lots of opportunities for physical activity.

The American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines state that the goal for all children ages 2 to 7 should be weight maintenance, not weight loss.

Parent Tip: Portion out foods before serving. Serve fresh salads, vegetables, and soups first, so your family fills up on these. Serve everyone in the family the same healthy meals and snacks: you never want an overweight child to feel denied any foods others in the family can eat.

MYTH #10
Children have different tastes from adults and need kid-type foods.

FALSE

Children have no predetermined "tastes," but this is the time when they are developing preferences for certain foods. If your child is offered mostly sweet, salty, bland, or fatty foods, then he or she will grow up with a taste for those foods.

Parent Tip: Introduce your child to different foods, tastes, and textures early, and you'll increase the variety and nutrients in your child's diet and start them off in life with positive eating habits.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Inspirational Quote

Don't rely on someone else for your happiness and self worth. Only you can be responsible for that. If you can't love and respect yourself - no one else will be able to make that happen. Accept who you are - completely; the good and the bad - and make changes as YOU see fit - not because you think someone else wants you to be different

Nominate your neighborhood as the best neighborhood and you could win a party compliments of Edy's Ice Cream!

Edy's Ice Cream is giving away neighborhood ice cream parties!! Check it out at http://edys.neighborhoodsalute.com/

Here is a brief overview:

Tell us why YOUR neighborhood deserves an Edy's Slow Churned Neighborhood Salute ice cream block party and you could be one of 1,500 winners to scoop up enough FREE Edy's Slow Churned® light ice cream to feed up to 100 guests, plus a FREE party-in-a-box.

The ballot asks all entrants in 350 words or less, tell us why your neighborhood deserves an Edy's Slow Churned Neighborhood Salute ice cream block party.

The party-in-a-box consists of:
•100 bowls/cups
•100 plastic spoons
•10 plastic scoops
•200 napkins
•1 disposable camera
•1 yard sign
•1 marker
•100 name tags
•2 table covers
•25 door hanger invitations
•20 $1.00 off coupons for Edy's
Slow Churned® light ice cream
•2 gift certificates for Edy's
Slow Churned® light ice cream
•Commemorative ice cream scoop
engraved with the Edy's
Slow Churned Neighborhood
SaluteSM logo
•Wipes for sticky fingers
•Apron

I know we all enjoy getting together for block parties in our neighborhood. What better way to enjoy time together than with some great ice cream?

Choose five preferred weekends for your ice cream block party:
July 11
July 18
July 25
August 1
August 8
August 15
August 22
August 29
September 5
September 12

Friday, May 22, 2009

Birthdays without Pressure!!


My girlfriend, Karri, told me about this website. It's a good reference for not letting your kids birthday party get out of control! The website is birthdayswithoutpressure.com. Here's just a snipet:

If you think children’s birthday parties are getting out of control, you’ve come to the right place. We want to raise awareness of this problem and offer alternatives for parents and kids who want birthdays without pressure. We are a small group of parents and professionals in St. Paul, Minnesota with a vision to launch a local and national conversation about:

What is out of control about birthday parties?
Why they have gotten out of control?
What are the consequences for kids and parents?
What can parents do about it?

We also have questions you can ask your child to find out what he or she really likes, and does not like, about birthday parties. Come and browse our website, share your stories take the quizzes, and spread the word that birthday parties can be fun and enjoyed without pressure.

Also, enjoy the cute pic of my little Owen when he turned 1!! Love the party hat! It barely fit his head! :-0

Memorial Day is Upon Us!! Practice Sun Safety


Memorial Day is upon us and that means the start of Summer. Please take care to give you and your child lots of sunblock (at least 30 SPF) when they are playing outside (whether swimming or just at the playground) AND make sure you wash it off after play! And bug repellant, like Off!. Bugs love the heat!

We live in the South and the heat can sometimes take it's toll. Keep hydrated with plenty of water (not too sugary drinks) and good fruits and veggies.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Teaching Your Kids and/or Toddler Sign Language


When my daughter Phoebe was a baby I invested in a great DVD - "Baby Signing Time!" This is a great tool to use for your baby, the DVD was created for babies age 3-36 months. Visit their website at www.babysigningtime.com. After viewing the DVD a few times we would go over the signs they taught for instance, eat, drink, cat, dog, horse, Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, Grandpa, and potty just to name a few.

"Baby Signing Time" and signing:

Will allow baby to commuicate long before they can speak.
Reduces tantrums and frustration, and increases bonding between parent and child.
Exposes baby to a real second language - American Sign Language (ASL).
Increases baby's vocabulary and may even increase IQ.

I am now using the DVD on my son Owen, who is 2 (unfortunately, I wish I had started earlier with him, but he is really picking it up now!) I can see how frustrated he gets when he can't tell us what he wants, he just points and tries to say what he wants. This has created a couple of TIME BOMB temper tantrums, this along with the fact that my son is a redhead is no help either :-).

Stinky Shoes

Your kids have now been wearing the same sandals for days at home, on the playground, at the beach, in puddles and rivers and streams and God-knows-what-else. And now you’re afraid to remove them for fear of being rendered unconscious by the smell. Remedy: Place the offending footwear in a ziploc bag along with a dryer sheet. Seal it up, let them sit overnight, and: Voila! No more stink! (note: technique is equally as effective on husband’s gym shoes)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bubbles, Bubbles, Everywhere!!!!


Children love blowing! Adding bubbles to the equation doubles the fun! Bubbles are fascinating, festive and free-floating wonders that bring a smile to everyone's faces.

Chasing and catching bubbles is a great way to stimulate eye-hand coordination, and popping them offers them an introduction to physics. Blowing bubbles also helps strengthen mouth muscles, which aids in speech development. Best of all, bubbles are bliss for little ones.

Step-by-Step:
1. Let your toddler practice blowing air through a straw into a large cup or bowl of water.
2. Add bubble solution and have your toddler blow again. Recite the rhyme: "Bubbles, bubbles, everywhere. See them blow into the air."
3. Use a bubble wand to make bubbles, blowing and waving the wand through the air.
4. See how many bubbles your child can catch on the wand.
5. Try counting the bubbles and catching them before they touch the ground.
6. Show how to keep a bubble in the air by blowing it from underneath.

Materials:
Water
Large plastic bowl
Straws
Bubble solution - store-bought or Mommy-made (add about 2 tablespoons of liquid soap to a cup of water)
Bubble wands

Monday, May 18, 2009

Kitchen Gadgets your kids will love!


Most kids love cooking gadgets, and the right kitchen tools can make cooking with kids more fun and much safer. Here are a few gadgets and gizmos that will have your kids begging to cook up a storm with you, along with some safety tips that keep the fun going.

Great Gadgets for Your Kitchen

Step stool. Waist-level is the best height for most cooking tasks. Bring your youngster up to the right height with a sturdy step stool. Choose a model that puts your child's belt buckle 30 to 36 inches above floor level, and look for one with a non-slip step and rubber floor pads.
Appropriate age range: 4-8, or up to about 54 inches tall.

Mini scoop. These pint-sized versions of ice cream scoops are perfect for making chocolate chip cookies and drop cookies. The bowl is about an inch across and holds two tablespoons. Kids just scoop the dough and, with one squeeze of the handle, deliver a little dollop that will bake up into a perfectly round treat.
Appropriate age range: 4 and up (with a little help from Mom or Dad for younger kids).

Nonskid mixing bowls. Many stores now sell bowls that refuse to scoot off the counter. The most common type has a large rubber bottom that extends a couple of inches up the side so even if the bowl tips it won't slip. Housewares company Stixx takes the concept up a notch with bowls that include a suction base to keep them firmly planted. Find them at larger kitchenware stores or at major online retailers like Amazon.com
Appropriate age range: 4 and up.

Shape shifters. Kids get a real kick out of food that takes on a fun shape. Cookie cutters are time-tested favorite that can also be used on sandwiches and firm vegetables (think mini-star carrot slices). For a 3-D look, look for cookie molds or stamps; most come with recipes and complete instructions. Other shapely favorites: character cake pans, castle or flower-shaped muffin pans, and plastic molds for making freezer pops.
Appropriate age range: 4 and up.

Apple peeler. Many kitchen gadgets aren't worth the space they take up. An exception is the traditional crank-operated apple peeler, especially if your kids like homemade apple sauce or pie. Just slip the apple onto the spindle, turn the crank, and watch the peel slip off like ribbon from a spool.
Appropriate age range: 6 and up.

Hand chopper. Kids under age 12 shouldn't be using sharp knives, but they can still chop foods for soups and toppings with this easy-to-use device, which looks like a hand bell. Pieces of firm food (carrots, celery, onion, nuts, and so on) are placed under the clear "bell" and the knob on top is repeatedly pushed down to lower the cutting blades. A few quick swats and the food is chopped; a few more swats and it's minced.
Appropriate age range: 8 and up

Bagel slicer. Mmmmm . . . warm toasted bagels topped with peanut butter and raisins! However, slicing the bagel with a regular kitchen knife sends thousands of bagel lovers to the emergency room each year. Enter the bagel slicer, which comes in two basic forms. For kids, avoid the bagel holders that require the use of a separate knife. Instead, look for the "guillotine-style" slicers with the cutting blade surrounded by a clear plastic guard.
Appropriate age range: 8 and up, with help from Mom.

Hand juicer. Even kids who turn their nose up at orange juice will line up to fresh-squeeze it themselves. Hand juicers include the basic reamers — where you press and turn the fruit over a ribbed bulb — and the more effective heavy-duty metal presses that apply lever power to the orange halves. Older kids can negotiate the first type, which should have a rubber ring on the bottom to prevent slipping. Even the youngest kids can work the lever of the press-type, provided a parent is on hand to keep fingers away from the business end of the press.
Appropriate age range: 4 and up (for presses); 6 and up (for reamers).

Blender. Though not exactly a gadget, a countertop power blender makes cooking with kids fun and safe. Most of us associate blenders with milk shakes and smoothies, but these versatile appliances can also be used to whip up pancake batter, soups, sauces, and dessert toppings. The youngest kids will enjoy pressing the buttons at Mom's direction. Older children, particularly those ready to follow simple recipes, can go from start to finish.
Appropriate age range: 4 and up.

Say Thanks to your kids Teachers with Crunchy Sesame Candy!

The school year is coming to a close soon. Here is a great little recipe for you and your kids to make to say thanks!!

Brown sugar and honey make these Asian candies an irresistibly sweet gift, especially when they're tucked into small, colorful boxes (sold in most craft stores) or paper jewelry boxes.

RECIPE INGREDIENTS:
1 cup sesame seeds (about 6 ounces)
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons honey

1. Generously coat two large sheets of waxed paper with cooking spray. In a medium skillet, toast the sesame seeds over medium-low heat, stirring often, until they're fragrant and golden, 5 to 7 minutes.

2. In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar and honey. Cook over low heat, stirring often, until the sugar is melted and the mixture is thick, about 5 minutes (because melted sugar can get quite hot, this is a step best left to parents). Add the sesame seeds to the sugar and stir well with a wooden spoon.

3. Place one sheet of the waxed paper on a work surface, greased-side up. Scrape the mixture onto the paper and top it with the remaining sheet of waxed paper, greased-side down. Using a rolling pin, roll the mixture into a square about 1/4 inch thick (a great job for kids).

4. Remove the top sheet of paper and cut the candy into 1-inch squares with a sharp knife. Let the candy cool completely. Break apart the pieces and store them in an airtight container at room temperature until you're ready to package them. Makes about twenty-four 1-inch squares.

Sugar Cookies! Yummy!!

Make this fun recipe and let your kids cut out shapes and decorate. It is a great family activity and a way to get your kids excited about cooking and creating.

Prep time: 30 Min. Cook time: 8 Min. Serves: 24

Ingredients

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1 egg

2 tablespoons milk

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Instructions

Blend the first three ingredients together. Beat in the egg and milk. Stir in dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Roll out dough with rolling pin to about 1/4? thickness. Use different cookie cutters and cut out shapes. Decorate with colored sugars and other candies

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Herb Garden Kit for Mom or Dad

Found this cute gift idea on National Geographic Kids website. Would make a cute gift! I think a lot of American's are creating their own gardens. This would make a great start!

Herb Garden Kit

Give a "green" gift to a friend or family member. These cool kits are great for every occasion!

YOU WILL NEED:
Small herb plants such as thyme, basil, and rosemary
Sandwich bag full of small stones
Potting soil
Trowel or large spoon
Homemade labels for herbs (we made them by gluing craft foam onto wooden skewers)
Gardening gloves
Large flower pot to display all the items

HOW TO PLANT YOUR HERB GARDEN

Cover the bottom of the flowerpot with stones for drainage.
Fill the pot partway with soil.
Carefully remove plants from their containers and position them in the larger pot, leaving some space between each plant.
Water until the soil is damp, then place the flowerpot in a sunny spot.
Water the herbs when the soil dries out—about once a week. Then watch your garden grow.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Apple Ladybugs Recipe

Here's a cute recipe you can make with your little one! It's a healthy one too! :-)

Apple Ladybugs

Ingredients
2 red apples
1/4 cup raisins
1 tablespoon peanut butter
8 thin pretzel sticks

Cooking Instructions
Slice apples in half from top to bottom, and scoop out the cores using a knife or melon baller. If you have an apple corer, core them first, then slice. Place each apple half flat side down on a small plate.

Dab peanut butter on to the back of the 'lady bug', then stick raisins onto the dabs for spots. Use this method to make eyes too. Stick one end of each pretzel stick into a raisin, then press the other end into the apples to make antennae.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I love being a Mommy!

My daughter, Phoebe (who is going to be 4 in June), is always trying to be such a little helper! Especially when it comes to her little brother, Owen (2). She loves to help me with the laundry, prepare meals, clean up after meals and make her bed. It's a great thing to encourage this in your house, this teaches responsibility. When she was in daycare the teachers had days when each child was a "helper bear", Phoebe couldn't wait until it was her turn. When we are in the car we always play games like "I spy", she loves this game! She already knows her colors, shapes (like the stop sign is shaped like an octogon and it has 8 sides and is red) and numbers, playing I spy I try to encourage this as well. We talk about the days of the week as well. Also, when we are in the supermarket we talk about what we are going to buy before we go, she helps remind me of what we need.

Phoebe has always been a social butterfly as well. When I take her to the park, she loves to play with other kids. She will approach the child she wants to play with and say, "hi, I'm Phoebe, would you like to play?" This is so cute to me!

Owen is growing by leaps and bounds! He was a preemie, he was born 6 weeks early. Weighed in at almost 4 pounds. At his birth it was discovered that he had a knot in his umbillical cord so he was not always getting proper nutrition, which was not allowing him to develop. Ever since he has been out of the womb he has been catching up! He is now 2, he went for his2 year old wellness visit and the doctor feels that he has slowly been growing into his body. They think he will be tall, over 6 foot! I have heard this about a lot of preemies, they tend to be taller in their adult life.

He loves to dance! Anytime he hears music his little but just starts wiggling!

I love being a Mommy!! :-)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Free Chocolate Fridays!!!

Free Chocolate Fridays !!!!!

Mars is giving away 250,000 free real chocolate coupons, up to $1 value. M&M, Snickers, Twix, Dove, 3 Musketeers, & Milky Way.

You can go to www.realchocolate.com each Friday morning from 9 am – 12 pm EST (now through September) to get a free coupon.

Restrictions apply, of course. Check out the site for more details

Honey Mustard Turkey Wrap

Here's a turkey wrap recipe I thought I would try for my family, I found it on Discovery Health's website. I guess you can add your own variations.

Honey Mustard Turkey Wrap

prep time: catagory: 15 minutes

Ingredients

1 whole wheat tortilla

3 slices turkey breast

1 cup fresh spinach

1/2 red bell pepper, sliced

1 oz reduced fat cheddar cheese

2 TBS fat free honey mustard dressing

Instructions

Place turkey inside of tortilla. Add fresh spinach, peppers and cheese to tortilla.
Top tortilla filling with honey mustard dressing. Fold tortilla and contents into a wrap.
Prepare vegetable soup according to package directions.

Shopping List:

Fat free honey mustard dressing
fresh spinach red bell pepper
reduced fat cheddar cheese
turkey breast
vegetable soup
whole wheat tortillas

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It's Tuesday night! That means kids eat free at Moe's!

If there is a Moe's Southwest Grill in your town Tuesday night kids eat free with the purchase of an adult meal.

I found a great website that lists several other restaurants across the country that offer special deals to families (Coupondiva.com). Check it out!

Fruity Oatmeal


Fruity Oatmeal good news, moms!


Instant oatmeal counts as a whole grain and has all the health benefits of steel-cut and old-fashioned varieties—it’s high in cancer-fighting antioxidants and also lowers the risk of heart disease.


Make this in a jiffy: mix 1/4 cup one-minute oats or one packet instant oatmeal with bananas, raisins, or coconut flakes.


Let your preschooler choose the fruits so she feels like she has control over her breakfast.


My daughter, Phoebe, who is 4, loves this! She loves being the little expert these days! She also loves to help me out in the kitchen! :-)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Rice Krispies Treats

Here's an old favorite!!

Servings 12

3 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 (10 ounce) package regular marshmallows
6 cups Kellogg's® Rice Krispies® cereal

DIRECTIONS
Melt margarine in large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Add Kellogg's® Rice Krispies® cereal. Stir until well coated.
Using buttered spatula or waxed paper, press mixture evenly into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cut into 2-inch squares when cool. Best if served the same day.

MICROWAVE DIRECTIONS
In a large microwave safe bowl, heat margarine and marshmallows at HIGH for 3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Follow steps 2 and 3 above. Microwave cooking times may vary. For best results, use fresh marshmallows.
1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow creme can be substituted for regular marshmallows.
Diet, reduced calorie or tub margarine is not recommended.
Store no more than two days in airtight container.

Plan a family game night with your family

I've recently seen commercials promoting family game nights. The commercial depicts parents getting excited during the day stating that night is their family's game night. I love this idea because I believe togetherness is so crucial for families. As your kids get older and make plans to leave the nest headed for college this can provide such a bonding experience. Start a tradition with your family, head to Target or WalMart and pick up some fun games, or make up your own! The more fun you and your family make of it the better the time will be! Do you have a game night?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Happy Mothers Day

Happy Mother's Day to all of your wonderful Mothers out there! I hope your day is spectacular!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

National Prayer Day - May 7

Today is National Prayer Day. Please remember those you who have been in your thoughts today in your prayers! Is there someone you would others to keep in their prayers?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Perfect Recipe for Cinco De Mayo!! How 'bout Tamale Pie?

Here is a great recipe my kids like, Tamale Pie:

Shopping List:

1/2 lb. superlean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper (this is what the recipe calls for, however, I usually use a red bell pepper)
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
15 oz. can tomato sauce
16 oz. can kidney beans
3/4 cup corn kernels, drained
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
4 low fat corn tortillas
3/4 cup nonfat shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray, add beef, onions, bell pepper, and garlic powder to skillet and mix lightly. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until beef is browned and cooked through. Drain liquid from skillet and remove from burner. Add tomato sauce, beans, corn, chili powder, cumin and cayenne pepper to skillet and mix well. Spray 1 1/2 quart casserole with cooking spray. Spread one quarter beef mixture over bottom of casserole; top with corn tortilla or tortillas to cover. Repeat process, ending with beef and bean mixture on top. Sprinkle cheese over top and bake 40 to 45 minutes until bubbly and hot.

It's Cinco De Mayo

Happy Cinco De Mayo!! How will you and your family celebrate?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Crock Pot Chicken Sandwiches

Here's a great recipe my mother in law gave me for crock pot chicken sandwiches:

64 oz. of canned chunk chicken (or you can also use fresh chicken and cut it up yourself, whatever you like) break up and cut to make it less chunky
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 can chicken broth
1 cup crushed Stove Top Stuffing
1 egg

Mix together the soup, chicken broth, egg and stuffing. Place chicken in crock pot, add mixture and mix together. Dot with butter on top and cook for 4 hours on high. You can also cook this in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Add chicken broth if needed during cooking - tends to get dry.

My kids love these on sesame seed sandwich buns.

Add a side of potato salad or fruit alongside.

Try it, you will love it!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Discussing difficult issues with your child

Sometimes it is difficult to leave your problems off the table. When it comes to your children it is important to be honest with your child, tell them as much as you think they can handle. Children are resilient, yet they can be keenly aware of tension in the household.

While open communication between parents and their children is the foundation of a healthy relationship, parents should not overburden their children. Instead, address problems at age-appropriate levels. For example, what a parent might tell a younger child about the family’s financial situation is different then what they might tell an adolescent; young children may interpret the situation as more dire than it actually is. Older children and teens will be more exposed to the news--discussing their understanding of the economy and its implication on the family can be reassuring. How parents phrase their worries about the financial situation influences a child’s interpretation. Younger children may take overheard statements such as “we’re going to the poor house” literally and thus internalize fears about losing their home. Talking to your children and asking them their thoughts and ideas will help clear up any misunderstandings, ease their anxieties, and reduce their stress.

Families can also use their financial situation as an opportunity to manage their children’s expectations for material goods. Teaching your children about budgeting, perhaps by setting up a “savings account” for their pocket money, or by allocating a certain amount for charity, will help them better understand that an Xbox or an iPod might not be feasible for the holidays this year. Furthermore, these times offer an opportunity to focus on the positive aspects, and prioritizing what’s important—relationships with loved ones and friends, the family’s health—can lessen children’s fears and reinforce family values.

How are you handling your conversation?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Coupon Websites

I found 3 great websites for money savings! Go to Coupondivas.com, Moneysavingmom.com, and couponmom.com. They all offer great deals at the grocery stores. The coupondivas.com lists kids eat free restaurant deals as well. Don't miss out!

Mark your calendar!

Just found out, after the fact, April 29 is .31 cent scoop night at Baskin Robbins! Happens once a year!

Take your kids to the library!!

My kids are 2 and 3 1/2 and are at home with me now before my daughter starts pre-k in August. One thing we are planning to do is spend time at the local library. There are storytime programs for both age groups. Check out what your library has to offer. They have online services for users to search for books. Whether it's for your kids or maybe a book club for yourself, check out what your library has to offer!! :-)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Your favorite restaurant?

Which restaurants are your family's favorites? Click on comments and share your faves!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Meal Planning & Tips for Today's Family

With American's facing tough economic times it is important to keep the famly unit together. Obtaining relationships with your children is crucial, children can feel a lot of the stress parents may be facing. After all, they are a part of you! It seems a lot of the problems that American's ARE facing right now is economic hardship, but, it doesn't have to be the end, having a positive outlook really helps. I have put this website together to help parents and kids start OR continue the positive reinforcement that is needed.

Did you have a happy childhood?

Is your child a picky eater?