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Smarty Pants Mama

Smarty Pants Mama: March 2008

Monday, March 31, 2008

Munchkin Monday! Meet Baby Isabella!

Smarty Pants Mama is pleased to annouce this week's Munchkin!

Name: Isabella Marie
Age: 17 months
Birthday: 10/25/06

Likes: building towers with her blocks and knocking them down, “reading” books, holding and playing with her dolls, playing with her grandfather (Lolo), watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, “splash-splash” (bathtime), applesauce, going “bye-bye”, climbing where she shouldn’t climb, Elmo, moo-ing like a cow and hiss-ing like a snake!

Dislikes: having her diaper changed, going to bed, having a toy taken away from her, watching her daddy go “bye-bye” (to work), waiting, having her hair washed

I know there is a special munchkin in your life! Maybe it's your daughter, your son, God-daughter/son, cousin or niece/nephew! Would you like your munchkin featured in Munchkin Monday? If so, please email photo of your Munchkin, name, birthday, likes, dislikes and any other funny/interesting information. Email: SmartyPantsMama at gmail dot com.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday!

Sorry for the no real post today! Had a doctor’s appointment for my knee, followed by physical therapy where I think they wanted to rip my knee out of its skin!

See you Monday for Munchkin Monday! Don’t forget to nominate your munchkin to be featured! To get the details of what to mail me, click here, to read last Monday’s post.

Smarty Pants Mama


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thursday Thirteen - This Stinkin' Knee!

So we all certainly have at least 1 thing in life that drives us bonkers! It may be a neighbor, an in-law, a disorganized garage. Bill Cosby once said, “You can turn painful situations around through laughter. If you can find humor in anything - even poverty - you can survive it.” Isn’t that the truth?? With that in mind, here are my thirteen things that I miss as I recuperate from knee surgery – in no particular order!

1. Walking – without crutches, without a walker, all I want is one leg after the other!
2. Curling up in bed – leg elevated with huge a brace to keep it straight stinks!
3. Standing up in the shower – sitting on the edge doesn’t really cut it!
4. Driving – although being chauffeured is nice, I’d rather be in control.
5. Carrying my daughter – I miss this so much!
6. Chasing after my daughter – For good (playing chase) or bad (putting leaves in her mouth)!
7. Sitting on the floor – although I could do it now, it takes me 10 minutes to get there – don’t even ask about getting up!
8. Having non-dry skin – the skin around my knee and my “bad leg” foot is SUPER dry – I’ve tried everything!
9. Sitting normally – I spend my day with my legs up on an ottoman! Sounds relaxing but all I want is to have both my feet flat on the floor!
10. Crossing my legs – to sit like a lady – what a dream!
11. Climbing into bed – currently a 3 step process.
12. Going shopping – although my online shopping is quite enjoyable!
13. Wearing normal clothes – Old Navy sweatpants with one leg cut off at the top of the knee, stylish but I don’t hear Project Runway calling!

Make yourself a Smart Mom promise to see the humor in more. When faced with a difficult situation, look at it in every angle possible until you can squeak out at least a smile.

I would love to hear how you have laughed your way through frustrating moments! Share a comment!


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Recall Wednesday - 4 Items - check the toy chest!!!!

I have received 4 recalls this week from the CPSC! Please be sure to read the description that I have taken from their site, as well as look at the pictures I have included. As a Smart Mom, it is very important that you remove all recalled toys so they don’t pose a hazard to your munchkins!

Item 1: Toy Puzzle Vehicle Sets Recalled Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard; Sold Exclusively by QVC
Hazard: Surface paints on the puzzle pieces and components contain excessive levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standard.
Description: The recall includes the 16 piece Puzzle Track Play sets also known as Battery Operated Puzzle Vehicle sets. QVC item number T16876 is printed on the exterior of the brown box packaging. The sets have plastic puzzle pieces that when put together form a track with a battery operated train, fire engine or school bus vehicle designed to run on the track. Miniature street signs, traffic cones, and a battery for the vehicle are also included in the sets.
To access the CPSC release on this item, click here.

Item 2: The Camouflage Easter Egg Treat Containers
Hazard: The paint on the toys contains excessive levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standard.
Description: The Camouflage Easter Egg Treat Containers have Item #1031 printed on the front of the packaging and are white, brown and green camouflage colors, sold in a package of eight eggs. “Made in China for Tony Development and Mfg Ltd; TST, Kin, HK” and UPC code number 43078 01031 are printed on the back of the packing.
To access the CPSC release on this item, click here.

Item 3: Toy Penguin Figures
Hazard: The head of the penguin toy can detach, exposing connectors with sharp points, presenting a laceration hazard to consumers.
Description: The wood penguin-shaped toy has a black head with rubber fins, a yellow nose and a white body with red on the base. The toy is round-shaped and creates a soft bell jingle when spun. The toy measures about 3 ¾ inches in height and about 3 inches in diameter. "PLAN TOYS" and UPC number 084543521109 or EAN number 8854740052117 are printed on the outside of the packaging of the toy.
To access the CPSC release on this item, click here.

Item 4: Backyard and Beyond Metal Water Bottles

Hazard: Surface paint on the metal water bottles contains excessive levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standard.
Description: Backyard and Beyond brand water bottles with model numbers 67402, 67404, 67442, 67444, 67742, 60442, 67744, 67746, 67748 and 60448 printed on the hang tag. The metal water bottles have a black plastic sip-top and were sold in green, pink or blue with assorted animal or insect graphics on the exterior.
To access the CPSC release on this item, click here.

Be a Smart Mom - visit this blog often to learn of the latest and greatest recalls, and of course to enjoy my postings!

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tackle It Tuesday - 3 months later.....

Tackle It Tuesday Meme
Okay, it’s now been 3 full months since Christmas morning! Yes, I’ve put away the lights, the tree and the way too many decorations. However, what still lingers in a pile, a pile that has moved from room to room, is the adorable photo Christmas cards we received. I have a thing for these cards. I can’t throw them away – I just won’t let myself.

Typically, I arrange the photos in the over 20 frames in my family room and the 10 plus in the living room, swapping the previous year photo with the current. Now there are quite a number of obstacles I face in this swap. Is the previous year photo for the cousins in Massachusetts the same size as this year’s? If yes, great! If not, well then where will they go? Whose spot will they take? What about if we didn’t receive new photos from the cousins in New Jersey? Do I keep the old photo hanging? What about the “new” families, who have sent us a photo card for the very first time? Can I use their photos to replace a family who seemed to have forgotten us this year?

Another obstacle is this desire of Snapfish and Shutterfly to create photo cards of 10 tiny photos. What am I suppose to do with that? I try not to buy those tiny little frames that I can never imagine when on Earth am I going to come across a photo that will actually fit in that thumb size slot!! Of course this year I have about 4!
I vow today to at last tackle the Christmas photo swap! Wish me luck!

What do you do with the cards? Share!!!!!

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Munchkin Monday! Meet Baby Robert!

Smart Pants Mama is pleased to present this week's Munchkin Monday!

Name: Robert
Age: Almost 9 months
Birthday: 06/27/07

Likes: sleeping in bed with mommy, playing with his favorite toy - a spoon, playing with things he’s not supposed to: pulling on wires, ripping paper, pulling the curtains, hitting the guinea pigs water while he’s drinking so he squeaks, being “up high” like at the top of the stairs and looking down on people, bath time, sipping water out of plastic cups, looking at & trying to grab the lighthouse sun catchers @ Nanny & Pop’s, playing with my cousin Skyler, remote controls, pulling on necklaces, standing & walking while mommy holds my hands!

Dislikes: # 1 all-time dislike is sleeping in crib by himself, getting diaper changed, getting dressed, when mommy takes away things that aren’t safe to play with (wires, paper, curtains), the wind, a mechanical singing plastic turtle toy that walks towards him – eeek!! Wearing his snowsuit – thank God winter is over!

Would you like your munchkin featured in Munchkin Monday? If so, please email you’re a photo of your Munchkin, name (first name only) , birthday, likes, dislikes and any other funny/interesting information. Email:


Friday, March 21, 2008

Free for Me Friday - Dad Confessions!?!?!?!

For this week’s Free for Me Friday, I wanted to share a very random and strange website I came across. It’s called The intent of the site is to allow husbands/dads a place to get things off their chest. They can post whatever they would like, about whomever they would like. Most if the confessions are left anonymously. I consider this site one of those train wreck sites, where you don’t want to look, but for some reason you keep doing so!
There are actually other confessions sites:

I can’t say that it’s a Smart Mom idea to check out these confessions, but I have a feeling a few of you will! No worries, no one will ask how long you looked – or if you post a confession!

Have a great weekend!

PS – This Monday will be the 1st Munchkin Monday! Stop by on Monday to find out who will hold the crown as the Munchkin!

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sing & Read Thursday! The Cow That Went Oink!

The Cow That Went Oink! by Bernard Most has become a favorite in our home! We currently own and enjoy the Spanish version, La Vaca Que Decia Oink! It’s such a cute story of a cow and a pig that have confused their sounds. The cow spends his time ‘oinking’ while the pig is a ‘moo-er.’ The two animals learn from each other the appropriate sounds, while the other animals from the farm laugh at them. This story teaches the reader/listener how to deal with criticism from your peers (ignoring the animals laughing), it also shows how determination and hard work pay off (the cow learns to moo and the pig oinks). For the younger listeners provides a chance to review animals found on a farm and their sounds – discriminating with correct and incorrect sounds.

This is a certainly a book to add to your Smart Mama collection! Enjoy with your little one, 6 months - 9 years.

You can find a link to purchase The Cow That Went Oink/La Vaca Que Decia Oink by Bernard Most on the right.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Recall Wednesday!!!

Last week I recommended the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSV) listserv ( to receive current recall information on the products in your home. As a current subscriber of this listserv, I will post any recall information I receive on this blog on Wednesdays - hence Recall Wednesday! On the right sidebar of this page I have included a photo, when available, of the product or products recalled within the past week.

Today I have posted the recall for Wire-O Bound Journals and Calendars, made by Galison/Mudpuppy, of New York, N.Y. The notebooks were sold at specialty and gift stores nationwide and on-line from August 2003 through December 2007 for between $7 and $10. I received an email about this recall yesterday, 3/18. To learn more about this specific recall: Click Here.

Be a Smart Mom - visit this blog often to learn of the latest and greatest recalls, and of course to enjoy my postings!


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Fishful Thinking!

My daughter is beginning her toddler years and her personality is really starting to shine through. She has a great sense of humor, finding everyone and everything hysterical! She is pretty even tempered, although at times she does have a tiny temper tantrum when she has to wait for a certain toy or a cookie. I want to approach the next few years prepared. I want to be chock-full of knowledge of manners and skills to provide her. I want her to be well mannered but not hammered down with rules.

Recently I came across a very creative and fitting website. Fishful Thinking,, made by Pepperidge Farm, makers of my daughter’s favorite snack, Goldfish! (See previous posting about her love of Goldfish!) Fishful Thinking provides parents with creative and useful resources on using Goldfish, or other similar type snacks, to teach optimistic behaviors and activities. The site is maintained by Dr. Karen Reivich, co-director of the Penn Resiliency Project and a research associate in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

An activity that drew my attention, asks parents to identify an emotion with each color of the rainbow Goldfish. For example, red = anger, blue = happy, green = sad. A child picks a goldfish out of the bag and tells a story of when they felt the emotion. Parents can tweak the activity based on the age and needs. While this activity isn’t so out of the box, it is a creative way to use something familiar and popular among children. Some of the other activities are reminiscent of my childhood – leap frog/fish and Five Things/scavenger hunt.

Fishful Thinking is a great Smart Mom resource! Be a Smart Mom and check it out! Let me know what you think by posting a comment or emailing me at

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Crib Climber - AHHHHHH

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

So my munchkin will turn 17 months in 10 days, yet on Saturday she reached a milestone that the majority of toddlers don’t reach until well into 2 years – she climbed out of her crib!!! As a parent, this is a very terrifying moment. A child’s size and strength with give them the ability to get out of the crib, but what happens when the reach the other side? Will they jump over the edge, or slowly inch down? What happens when they are “free” in their room, while all along mommy and daddy are thinking they are nestled in their crib asleep?

While my peanut was napping on Saturday, we heard a thump (not too loud or heavy, but certainly a thump) followed by a cry. Tom, my husband (a.k.a. SmartyPantsDada), ran upstairs to check on the little one. As he reached the top of the stairs he found her standing at her door! Obviously this is not where he left her to nap! He was very surprised to find his little one out of her crib and so he brought her back to the crib, laid her down and left the room, peeking through the entryway to see what would happen. He then witnessed how she got out of the crib. He ran over and caught her as she attempted her acrobatic manner of getting onto the floor. At that point he brought her downstairs to strategize with me on what on earth to do. Note: I recently had major knee surgery that keeps me from climbing the stairs, or pretty much doing anything on my feet.

After some research online, I learned that as soon as a toddler can climb out of their crib the 1st time, they will continue to do so. Essentially, placing your child to sleep in a crib when they know how to climb out, poses a huge risk that they may injure themselves. So what now? Luckily, the crib we purchased is a conversion crib that easily converts into a toddler bed, with railings and all. Tom and my mom, converted the bed, and baby proofed her room to the max – assuming that she would climb out of the bed, we wanted to be sure that what she played with was safe. What’s super important to understand is that the use of a toddler bed does not mean that the baby won’t climb out; it simply lessens the chance that she’ll injure herself when she does! My munchkin climbed out of her new bed at the end of her 1st nap in it!

There are quite a number of things I learned this weekend on being a Smart Mama when transitioning to a toddler bed.
1. Always keep a gate locked at the top of your stairs.
2. Place a gate at the door of her room. For the likely chance that she climbs out of the bed, she can’t get too far!
3. Re-baby proof her room. Anticipate that she will be playing unsupervised in her room if she were to climb out in the middle of the night.
4. Place books or other quite toys in her bed after she falls asleep. This will give her something to entertain herself with when she awakes, lessening that desire to climb out of the bed.
5. Have a plan in place for when this milestone is hit. Does the crib convert into a toddler bed? If not, it is recommended that you place the mattress on the floor and have the munchkin sleep on it.
6. Be prepared for some sleepless nights as your little one gets to know her new surroundings.
7. Smile that a new milestone has been achieved, even if it is way too soon for your liking!

Be a Smart Mama this week and prepare!

I am anxious to learn when your munchkin(s) climbed out of the crib! Please participate in the poll and leave a comment. The poll will be open until Tuesday, March 18th at 10 AM EST.

Friday, March 14, 2008

What’s in your playroom? Is it recall time?

So these toy recalls don’t want to stop. It feels like every week we’re hearing about lead paint on a toy that was made in China. I get nervous when I read about these. Does my daughter have one of these toys on her play shelf, at Nana’s or at her cousin’s house?

Rather than waiting for your local news station to have a huge news story on your little one’s favorite train set, I recommend some other options. One option is to subscribe to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSV) listserv to receive timely announcements in your inbox of which toys to toss. You may also want to subscribe to the FDA’s listserv to learn what should be going in the trash from your fridge or pantry! You can access the subscription for both government agencies on recalls at

Another site I have found very helpful is GeoParent. On this site they have a very easy to read listing on the latest recalls, organized in 4 categories: Children’s Products, Outdoor Products, Household Products and Recreational Products. Clicking on the product description will bring you directly to the CPSV’s official announcement.

Be a smart mama this week and become better informed on dangers that may lie in your playroom or kitchen!

PS - Cheers to toys made in the USA!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Better TV

My husband swore that Barney would never play at our house – this was obviously before our little one was born and he became the biggest mush for her. With nearly a dozen “kid” channels available, we’ve found that Sprout TV, the PBS Kids, toddler version, to be the best. It plays favorites such as Thomas & Friends, Angelina Ballerina, Kipper, Fireman Sam, Sagwa, Sesame Street and of course Barney! They also have three main shows a day, The Sunny Side Up Show, The Let’s Go Show and The Good Night Show. In each of these three programs, the host sings, dances and introduces the different episodes that are shown during the show. There is very much a routine involved; the same programs are played in a specific order. For example, Kipper always comes on around 6:20 PM after Nina and Star, hosts of The Good Night Show, sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. This is my daughter’s favorite! We do change the channel on occasion to catch a Wonder Pets or Backyardigans episode!

What are your, and of course your little one’s, favorite TV shows and channels?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ready for College?

Sitting up, crawling, walking, and first words are mighty milestones, however the inevitable still lingers, your little one will grow and have her first day of kindergarten, join a soccer team, go on 1st dates, drive a car, and begin the college days.

In the little more than 10 years that I graduated college, my school has already nearly doubled in tuition and room and board costs. To think that in about 16 years my peanut will be completing applications for her favorite schools! Will we have the financing in place to support her dreams?

I’ve come across a great website,, that will undoubtedly assist you, and me, in finding exactly what's needed to take advantage of state and national programs to save for the little one’s future education. The 529 programs allow you to save today, at the prices of today for the anticipated high costs of the future. Make this your promise to be a SmartyPantsMama this month – get the college funds in place!

I would love to learn of success you have had with college investment plans. Please share a comment and respond to the poll right!!!


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Let's Get This Party Started!

It's PARTY TIME!!!! I have been invited to participate in this year's Ultimate Blog Party, sponsored by 5 Minutes for Mom! ! It's a great opportunity to learn about mommy-made blogs and blog readers! That means you too! Check out the site and see the over 1000 blogs listed and maybe even win a prize!

PS- Thank you TechSavvyMama for sharing the party news!

Ok, so I’ve caved a little …I promise I’ll change!

Have you noticed that your viewpoint on child rearing has undoubtedly changed since you’ve began rearing your own? Were you one of those who muttered under their breath when you saw a mom feed their child a candy bar just before dinner time, or let their child run a circus show at a restaurant? I was! Now, I don’t necessarily agree with these mom’s choices on rearing, but I understand much more their situation.

Every trip to Publix with my peanut includes her tote bag with emergency items: GoldFish, Maria Cookies and water. If she gets feisty, the water comes out. If that doesn’t do the trick, the GoldFish come swimming out into her belly! The last resort, and typically the cure-all is the cookie! Rarely do I even consider the time of day – eating a ½ cup of GoldFish just before lunch may just spoil her appetite!!

Maybe I should consider buying some stock in Pepperidge Farm, makers of the cheezy GoldFish!

I would love to you hear that I’m not alone! Have you bended your rules when you became a mom? Share a comment!

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Sunday, March 9, 2008

Be a cheapskate!!!

Ok, so we hear over and over again that kids are expensive. However, not until you begin to experience the near daily trips to Publix or Target, do you see how the cost of diapers, averaging 20 cents a piece or wipes for $5.00 a box, adds up so quickly!

Diapers – did you ever think that a human being could dirty a diaper with the frequency of your new little munchkin?? Are you using formula – averaging $25 per container!? There has to be – and there is – ways to use cost saving tips and coupons that will save you TONS as you adventure to properly dress, feed and clean your peanut!

This week I want to HIGHLY recommend This site provides frequent, near daily, updates on the latest and greatest deals for moms.

Real Story: Last summer I visited the site, based on a friend’s recommendation. One of the 1st reviews I read was about saving TONS on Gerber Baby Food. At the time, we were spending about $0.80 for a 2 pack of food for the baby. The coupon that recommended allowed to me spend $0.02 per 2 pack!!!! Isn’t that crazy! That’s a 98% savings!!! My husband and I went to Target, where the coupon was accepted, and bought nearly their entire food supply! Our cupboards were full for some time! It was great. Rumor has it that Target caught on to this ridiculous deal and pulled the coupon!

I recommend that you tag as a favorite and visit it frequently to learn the latest and greatest deals. Who knows, maybe you’ll be able to buy diapers for less than $0.17 a piece (that’s the best deal we’ve found for size 5 diapers.)

Friday, March 7, 2008

And we're running....

I’m super excited to begin sharing with you my many different experiences and successes I’ve had with my beautiful daughter. Experiences make us smarter moms. Think of those 1st few days with your little one. Remember how clueless and nervous you were with that 1st bath. You sweated over if the water was warm enough, or if the washcloth was the soapy one or the one to water rinse your bundle of joy. At last you were done and considered yourself an ole pro! I like to think that we, as moms, become smarter and smarter with each and every experience. Think about everything you did with your children yesterday, you became knowledgeable – smarter- on being a mom!

With each post, I will share a website or other resource that has proven to be super helpful in making me a smart mom! Websites on all things baby/toddlers/kiddies, including where to find the best prices on diapers, formula and even baby shoes, will be shared! You will soon rely on SmartyPantsMama as your go-to for the latest and greatest resources to make you the smartest mom!

I am always looking to expand my bag of tricks, please email me: