This page has moved to a new address.

Smarty Pants Mama

Smarty Pants Mama: August 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009

Smart Mama Savings - 56% at Publix

This week's savings at Publix....
Spent: $38.98
Saved: $50.72

That's a 56% savings!!! I think that may be my best yet!
I love saving more than I spend! It's such a great feeling!
If you want to learn more how The Grocery Game has saved me well over $2000 in the last 12 months see some on my past postings!
Also, please email or comment with any additional question you may have! I've turned into a bit of a Grocery Game Pro recently!

Labels: ,

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Teachers Collection: Miss Mingo and the First Day of School

Smart Mama Teachers: Here's another book to add to your collection for the 1st days of school!

This story is a sure way to add some smiles and laughs in your classroom! Miss Mingo, the flamingo teacher, is faced with a class of animals (alligators to pandas) who, at first, are a bit shy. Doesn't that already remind you of the 1st days in your classroom!? The animal students quickly open up as they begin to share interesting facts of themselves. The book is filled with tons of information to especially grab the attention of the animal lovers in class!

I recommend this book as a read aloud for grades K - 3.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Smarty Pants Product of the Week - Earthbound Farms snacks

I'm the lunchbox packer in this house, like many other Smart Mamas. We fill lunchboxes for the young and old (maybe I should have said middle-aged) with favorites like PB&J sandwiches to bags of chips.

A healthy item, fruit or veggie, is something I like to include, much to the complaints from the little and big. I've purchased apples, sliced and bagged them to put in the brown bag, but I'm sorely disappointed at the times the lunchbox returns with the now uneaten browned apples. I've recently started using the Eartbound Farm line instead. The individual packages of fresh, crunchy apple slices are perfect! The apples stay fresh and best of all they are very much enjoyed by munchkin and daddy!
Here are some items Earthbound Farms has all ready for you to throw in tomorrow's lunchbox:
  • Organic Apple Slices – These fresh, crunchy apple slices are the perfect size and ready to eat. (5 2oz bags for $3.99)
  • Organic Mini-Peeled Carrots snack pack – (10 2oz bags for $2.99)
  • Organic Carrot Dippers with Ranch Dressing – This perfect combination will help sneak in that serving of veggies at lunch (3 packs for $2.89)
  • Grab & Go Salads: Caesar Salad, Mixed Baby Greens or Baby Spinach Kits ($3.69 a box and includes salad, dressing, topping, fork and the clamshell package can be used as a bowl
  • Organic Raisin snack packs – A sweet treat in a little box (6 1.5oz boxes for $2.99)
PS - Already today I have munched on two bags of the Earthbound Farms Mini-Peeled Carrots snack pack en route to pick up my daughter from pre-school. They were crunchy and yummy and made the perfect snack!

As a special thank you to the wonderful readers of, Earthbound Farms will provide one super lucky reader their full color cookbook, Food to Live By, with dozens of organic food recipes. To have a chance to win this special prize, simply follow the directions below! Giveaway will be held on Thursday, September 3rd.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Science for Kids! Great TV Programming!

The slow push of science and social studies out of the curriculum is something teachers have witnessed for the last 10 years. I have often wondered if the world won't have any use of scientist in the future, if this is the direction the chaotic land of US education has gone. Thankfully, in the recent years someone has been listening, because there has been a great emphasis on QUALITY science-based TV programming for students. One of my favorites is Sid the Science Kid on PBS Kids. Have you seen it? It's fantastic! Sid, the main character, faces a different scientific problem each episode. With the help of his classmates and teacher, he enthusiastically faces the science!!! Sid the Science Kid is one of those shows that makes me think of my former 3rd grade students...I know they would have learned scientific concepts and equally as important LOVED it!

Do you watch the show? What do you think?

Also, keep a look out for Dinosaur Train, a new PBS Kids program that will debut this fall that will encourage basic scientific thinking.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Want to be a School Volunteer this Year? 20% Increase!

Did you know that the desire to volunteer in a child's classroom has increased by 20%? According to a groundbreaking new study titled "The Economy's Impact on Back to School," GreatSchools and Harris Interactive have discovered this tremendous gain in desire to volunteer. (To see report: )

With the challenges of today's economy parents are looking for ways to make this school year the most productive and affordable. While this increased desire, I wonder if the data will transfer to actual volunteer hours. I imagine that with job security never so fragile, parents may feel apprehensive asking for a few hours to dedicate to their munchkin's classroom. At the same time, with the increase in unemployment, more parents may be available.

I can honestly tell you that in my years of being a classroom teacher I cherished the times a parent was able to offer a helping hand. I hope each Smart Mama will be able to find the time to support their munchkin's or local school this year. Wondering how you can help a classroom teacher this year? Here are some ideas!

Try offering to...

  1. read a book aloud to the class- once a week, month, semester...
  2. organize the class library
  3. purchase additional supplies (you would be shocked if you knew the amount of personal money that a teacher devotes to her classroom)
  4. put up/down a bulletin board
  5. make file folder games
  6. join the PTA/PTO
  7. tutor a student
  8. help out at recess/lunch
  9. share your career for Career Day
  10. photo copying
  11. laminating
  12. organizing worksheets

The list goes on and on and on. Just ask! I'm certain your munchkin's teacher will think of something! :-)

Check out for more ideas!


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Economical & Budget-minded Paper Bag Lunches

We've been cutting coupons, scaling back vacations and big buys. Now with the school year on the horizon, we need to consider ways to keep our kids paper bag lunches yummy and economical! Below are some great tips from the Grocery Outlet:
  • Plan ahead. Shop from a list so you're less inclined to impulse spend on packaged junk food. Shop your cupboards and leftovers first to avoid duplicate purchases and be ready to change menu plans according to sales items.
  • Involve the kids. They're more likely to eat a lunch they helped prepare. Create a weekly lunch menu and let them circle their choices. Place healthy menu items (i.e. orange slices, carrot sticks, string cheese, etc.) in the refrigerator produce drawer and let kids choose two or three the night before.
  • Single servings are expensive and waste packaging. Buy items such as yogurt and soup in large containers.
  • Avoid sandwich burn-out. Swap the bread for a tortilla/wrap to make a fun-to-eat pinwheel. Let kids make cracker sandwiches with pre-cut meat and cheese. A hearty cereal packed in a plastic container with milk from a thermos will be a welcome change. And leftover pizza doesn't require a microwave.
  • Try “extreme value” food outlets – such as Grocery Outlet. These outlets purchase overstocks and closeouts directly from manufacturers resulting in prices up to 50% cheaper than conventional retailers. (For locations – visit
  • Make it fun. Use cookie cutters (animal, holiday, etc.) for fun-to-eat sandwiches. Stickers always brighten up a plastic bag. You can even write a love note on the banana peel.

Thank you Grocery Outlet for these great tips!!


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Childrens' Book Review: Messing Around the Monkey Bars

I get this feeling in August each year. I hear the teacher chatter, the excitement of the new school year. Getting the classroom ready, from bulletin boards to desk arrangement, putting together new lessons and finding new books and materials that could make all the difference this year! In my 8 years as a teacher, most of them as a 3rd grade teacher, I was a regular at the local bookstore, teacher store and library, always wanting to find the latest and greatest resources for my kids!
I've realized that once a teacher, always a teacher, as I still find myself looking out for the best teacher materials, 4 years since my departure from classroom days!
One of my new must-haves for this year is Messing Around on the Monkey Bars by Betsy Franco, illustrated by Jessie Hartland. This book, as tested by a rising 2nd grader who I work with a few times a week, is fantastic and FUN! The book of poems includes over a dozen poems to demonstrate the art of voice in writing. The print
alternates between bold and not bold, with the author's intent of a different student assigned to each. Essentially, two students alternate lines through the poem, bringing life and humor to the poem.
I recommend this book for 3 - 6 grade readers.
Stay tuned for more teacher must haves for the 09-10 school year!

Labels: , ,

Monday, August 17, 2009

Munchkin Monday - Meet Cotie!

First Name
Cotie, affectionately referred to as CJ2
May 18
3 yrs
loves anything related to Cars (the movie), trains (especially Thomas the Tank Engine), puzzles, & riding his tricycle
waiting for anything & breaks in his breakfast routine (he has to have cereal & toast or oatmeal & toast every morning)


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hyundai Summer Sales Event - Great for Clunkers!

Have a clunker? If so, I'm sure you are anxious to head into a dealer to get yourself a non-clunker of a car!!!

Hyundai is offering a pretty interesting sales event that I thought my Smart Mama readers might be interested in as you get your clunker rebate.

Hyundai recently launched their summer sales event offering new customers $1.49/Gallon gas for 12 months from date of purchase on select models (“Hyundai Gaslock”).· Hyundai's summer sales event also includes a sweepstakes launching on July 22nd ( which includes a grand prize of $1492 and twenty instant $149 cash prizes. Not bad!

They have also snazzed up their Facebook page with some fun apps! Check it out.
Check it ot!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Super Grocery Game Savings! B1G1 Free Using 2 Coupons!

I must share my ridiculous savings at Publix this week!!! On Monday I went to Publix with my Grocery Game list and coupons. I walked out with $126 worth of groceries that I paid $56 for!!! Isn't that just unreal.???
Just last week I spoke with the store manager of my Publix to confirm that 2 coupons can be used in Buy One Get One Free promotions. I often get harassed by cashiers who try to claim that you can't use a coupon for something you get for free. Most times I am able to convince them that I'm right. Anyway, I sent Publix an email asking for clarification of their coupon policies and with a week the manger called. I was impressed. He confirmed that 2 coupons can certainly be used and he also mentioned that I can use competitor coupons. So, with all my new and confirmed knowledge I marched into Publix with my coupons, Grocery Game list AND a $10 off coupon from Winn-Dixie!

It really feels so good to save money, doesn't it?!!

If you're not a member of The Grocery Game ( yet, please be sure to try it out! It is worth every penny! They offer a FREE month so you really have nothing to lose!

Please include my email address when you join so I can receive referral credit: cubtie @ aol. com



Monday, August 10, 2009

Winner: Tech Savvy Mama

Congratulations to TechSavvyMama from!!!
She is the very lucky winner of the Soy Delicious Candle from the Smarty Pants Product of the Week Giveaway!
Thank you to the dozens of readers who entered the giveaway! Here are just of few of the favorite scents...
Roxy - Harvest Spice
Prissy - I would love to try the Lemongrass!
Dana - i love the scent Tahitian Orchid
Caro - My favorite scent is the lemon grass!
Melissa - My favorite scent would have to be....GARDENIA!
Carmen - My favorite - Lotus it!
Leticia/Tech Savvy Mama - The Island Mango candle sounds delicious! What a great giveaway!
Thank you for providing such a fantastic treat for readers!
Smiles :-)


Yes, we can all get along! Kimberly Clark & Greenpeace make amends!

Being "green" with cloth towels and napkins is a bit of a challenge, especially with the convenience of paper products. Do understand that I honestly try to be as green as possible but I really just prefer a tissue to a hankie! I'm sure I'm no alone!

Well, I recently read some great "green" news that helps lift the spirits of us "really wish we could be green-er" moms! "Kimberly Clark, maker of Kleenex, Scott and Cottonelle brands, today announced stronger fiber sourcing standards that will increase conservation of forests globally and will make the company a leader for sustainably produced tissue products. In turn, Greenpeace, which worked with Kimberly-Clark on its revised standards, announced that it will end its “Kleercut” campaign, which focused on the company and its brands."

I guess now we can reach for the Kleenex and not feel so snotty =)! Way to go Kimberly Clark and Greenpeace!


Friday, August 7, 2009

Happy 20th Birthday Jell-O Jigglers!

Happy Birthday to Jell-O Jigglers! This year the fun time treat turns 20!

Are you a Jell-O Jiggler family? We are! Jell-O Jigglers are a fun, play with your food, treat!
Here's a fun, yummy Jell-O Jigglers recipe to try out:


Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Special Cookie Monster Cupcake!

Recently my cousin's son celebrated his 3rd birthday! As a special treat Isa and I made him a cupcake of his favorite character! Guess who it is!!??

Not too shabby for a non-artistic Smart Mama and her munchkin!!


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

One-a-Day - Take a Stand! Breast Cancer Awareness!

Looking to have some fun and support a great cause??? I thought so! Check out One-a-Day's new online breast cancer awareness program TAKE A STAND at! On the site you get to create your own "character" by uploading your picture, adding hair, clothing and skin tone, and lastly having the opportunity to make it in honor or someone. I chose to dedicate it to a classmate from HS who is showing fascinating strength in her battle with breast cancer. Also for each character you make, One-a-Day will donate $0.10 to either The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the American Cancer Society or Breast Cancer Network of Strength. You get to pick which one!
Here's my character!


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Fresh Air Fund - Vacation for the Inner City

I spent a summer in college as a camp counselor for the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Baltimore County, MD. Baltimore City children were invited to attend this camp abut 20 miles north of downtown Baltimore. It was fantastic. For many, if not most, it was their very 1st time leaving the city, seeing nature and seeing farm animals. I remember one little boys words of amazement when, at the age of 11, saw a horse for the 1st time.

Currently there is a unbelievable organization who is allowing experiences such as that for children of NYC. The Fresh Air Fund ( a not-for-profit organization helps to provide a real summer vacation for the children. The kids are hosted by generous families all over the country who invite them to their home to spend part of their summer vacation. How wonderful!

As a Smart Mama there are a number of ways you can support this great cause.
1. Host a child for some time this summer. Click here to learn more about hosting!
2. Donate a few dollars to support the program.
Click to learn more about donating.

I would love what you think of this program! Please share a comment!



Monday, August 3, 2009

Smarty Pants Product of the Week - Soy Delicious Candle

Soy Delicious Candle
Smarty Pants Review
Are you a tremendous fan of all-in-one products like me? I love them! Soy Delicious Candles is that, and more! Over the last several weeks I have enjoyed the Island Mango aroma from my Soy Delicious candle. The scent is great, especially in the summer! As the candle burns the unique soy "wax" softens. Carefully using your finger or the provided little spoon, you can scoop out a little softened soy to use as a moisturizer - soy with its Vitamin E antioxidant properties, becomes a soft and luxurious moisturizer! So it's a candle AND a moisturizer! Wait, it gets even better!!! When you have burned out the candle (used up all the soy), wash the glass and you have a 14 oz tumbler for your next cocktail!
Why is it a Smarty Pants of Product?
Great value...candle, moisturizer and tumbler in one all natural soy candle! Makes a perfect gift!
Retail Value