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Smarty Pants Mama

Smarty Pants Mama: September 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Recall Wednesday: Flame Guards on Clear-Vu® Torch Fuel Containers, Single and Double “Parachute” Hammocks & Wooden Bunk Beds

Below are the CPSC recalls that I have received this past week. All information below comes directly from the CPSC website.
Please see the CPSC website for more detailed information on the items.
Smiles :-)
Smarty Pants Mama
PS - Has Recall Wednesday ever alerted you of a product that you have had in your home? I want to hear about it!!! Please share!

Name of Product: Flame Guards on Clear-Vu® Torch Fuel Containers
Hazard: The flame guards on the recalled replacement torch fuel containers can malfunction and cause the containers to melt while the torch is in use, posing a fire hazard to consumers.
Description: The recall involves Clear-Vu® Torch Fuel Containers sold as replacements. “RC” is stamped on the underside of the flame guard. Clear-Vu® torch fuel containers that came with torches are not included in this recall.
Sold at: Discount, hardware, and home improvement stores nationwide from January 2008 through August 2009 for between $1 and $3.
To see more detailed information:

Name of Product: Single and Double “Parachute” Hammocks
Hazard: The hammock’s supporting hooks can fail, causing occupants to fall and suffer injuries.
Description: The recalled hammocks were sold in single and double versions and packaged in a nylon sack. The Grand Trunk logo is printed on the sack. The following models and colors are included in the recall: SH-01 (Single Olive/Khaki), SH-02 (Single Blue/Navy Blue), SH-06 (Single Royal/Khaki), DH-01 (Double Olive/Khaki), DH-02 (Double Lt. Blue/Yellow), DH-03(Double Navy/Silver), DH-04 (Double Navy/Red). The model number can be located on the product’s hang tag.
Sold at: Specialty outdoor retailers nationwide from July 2008 through June 2009 for between $50 and $60.
To see more detailed information:

Name of Product: Wooden Bunk Beds
Hazard: The bunk beds’ mattress support slats and side support railings can break, posing a risk of the bunk bed collapsing and a fall hazard to consumers.
Description: This recall includes wooden bunk beds with a three step ladder. Model numbers WP-9108-1 and WP-9108-2 are included in this recall. The model number is located on a sticker on the bunk bed’s interior panel of the headboard or the footboard.
Sold exclusively at: Big Lots stores nationwide from May 2008 through February 2009 for about $300.
To see more detailed information:


Monday, September 28, 2009

Book Review: Liking Myself; The Mouse, The Monster and Me

Wow, what a nice, enjoyable way to present conflict management skills to children and parents. If you have been looking for ways to reach your munchkin who is struggling with self-esteem or has shown aggressive behavior these two books are certainly worth your time!

Drs. Palmer and Hart have re-published Liking Myself and The Monster, The Mouse and Me. These are must-haves for parents, school counselors, therapists and teachers. The pages of each book are filled with activities, games and stories, each using unique, age appropriate ways of helping a child (ages 8+) become a more assertive person. The handwriting-type font, brings a more casual approach to this very important topic.

Don't just take my Smart Mama advice! These books have become international bestsellers in 6 languages, selling over half a million copies around the globe!

They are available online or from the publisher
You can also get mor einformation at and at


Friday, September 25, 2009

Bob Evans Sides and Emma!

Bob Evans will be joining Emma and her family!!! Emma is the lucky winner of the Bob Evans coupon to try a Bob Evans side! Congratulations Emma!

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Arrr! Pirate's Booty - A great treasure for pirates of all ages!

Ahoy! Did you know that Saturday, September 19th was 'Talk Like a Pirate Day'? Arrrrr!

I feel the need to celebrate! Where's my eye patch, hook and hat? Most importantly, where's my treasure!?

While I continue to search the high seas for my gold, I have a very special treasure for a special Smart Mama Pirate! A treasure chest full of so delicious Pirate's Booty!!! Can't get much more appropriate than that for a Pirate Celebration! (Ok, I guess a treasure chest of gold would out do that, maybe next year!)
Well mates, to capture this treasure, complete the entry form linked below! I will select one Smart Mama Pirate on Wednesday, September 30th!

The very special treasure chest (approx. $20 value) includes Pirate Booty flavors such as Aged White Cheddar, Barbecue, Veggie (vegan), Bermuda Onion and Sea Salt & Vinegar!

All Pirate’s Booty products are low in fat (130 calories per serving) gluten and trans-fat free as well as tree-nut free, so it’s perfect for the kiddies!

1. Click here to enter the giveaway!

2. To post an additional entry, follow SmartyPantsMama on Twitter then post the following on Twitter:
RT @SmartyPantsMama Arrr, Talk Like a Pirate Day continues with a Pirate's Booty Treasure Chest giveaway!

UPDATE: Entries will be accepted until 11:59 PM EST, October 29th! I will announce the winner on Thursday, October 30th!

This giveaway is open to readers 18+, in the US and Canada. One entry per reader. Winner will be announced within 48 hours of giveaway closing. The winner will have 72 hours to respond. If no response is made, another winner will be selected.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Recall Wednesday: Trudeau Garlic Duo Slicers and Clarks® children’s shoes

Below are the CPSC recalls that I have received this past week. All information below comes directly from the CPSC website.Please see the CPSC website for more detailed information on the items.
Smiles :-)
Smarty Pants Mama
PS - Has Recall Wednesday ever alerted you of a product that you have had in your home? I want to hear about it!!! Please share!

Name of Product: Trudeau Garlic Duo Slicers
Hazard: The garlic duo’s slicer blades can break during use, posing a laceration hazard to users.
Description: This product is a combination garlic press and slicer. Recalled model numbers 998009, 998010 or 998010CB were printed on the product’s packing card, hang tag, or UPC label, but not on the product. The units have "Trudeau" embossed on the handle.
Sold at: Department and retail stores nationwide for about $20.
To see more detailed information:

Name of Product: Children’s Shoes
Hazard: Molded rubber pieces on the sole of the recalled shoes can detach, posing a choking hazard to infants and young children.
Description: This recall involves Clarks® children’s shoes sold under the “crawlers” and “hazy daze” style names. The crawlers were sold in infant sizes 2 to 3 1/2; and the hazy daze in sizes 4 to 6 1/2. “Clarks” is printed on the sole underneath the heel and the words “Clarks First Shoes” is printed on a multi-colored label inside the shoe’s heel area. Names and model numbers are included on the CPSC recall listing.
Sold at: Clarks® retail stores nationwide from February 2009 through July 2009 for between $35 and $40.
To see more detailed information:


Tuesday, September 22, 2009 before it...can't even imagine!

Good Morning Smart Mamas!
I'm awaking on this 3rd day of some sort of nasty cold, virus thing. Yuck! I'm enjoying a cocktail of Chloraseptic, TheraFlu and Mucinex...oh joy!

Yesterday, in my poor sick me slump, I very much, thanks to DVR, enjoyed my own Project Runway marathon! It was great! I had 5 episodes to entertain me, one right after the other! I was interrupted a few times with my husband (who worked from home to be my wonderful caretaker) asking to watch a little Sports Center, every hour or so! I would let him steal the remote, just for a few minutes!

So life before you remember it?? I can't even fathom it at this point. If you were to look at my Recorded Programs, you would find everything from a number of Ghost Hunters episodes to the news clips from my Grocery Game TV debut in the spring! I also think the TV shows must love it too. Now instead of just watching one program last night at 8 PM. We watched How I Met Your Mother, and then House, all along also taping Heroes and Big Bang Theory to watch on a later date! I love it!
Now let's talk about how DVR has become a must-have tool for Smart Mamas!!! Is your box filled with episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, SuperWhy! or Dora?? Mine sure is! I try to sneak in a SuperWhy! episode whenever possible, and as it normally comes on when my munchkin is already at preschool, the DVR is perfect! I play the prior day's episode during breakfast, ensuring that she gets a little extra educational TV time to start her day ;-) Can you tell that I use to be a teacher!!!?? ;-)


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bob Evans Sides - a Smart Mama Time Saver!

Last week I was June Cleaver...made a nice turkey breast and delicious salad for the fam. In my crazy Smart Mama schedule, I barely had time for all the trimmings, so, I saved tons of time and stress by warming up Bob Evans Garlic Mashed Potatoes. Yes, Bob Evans, maker of the oh so yummy breakfast sausage, now makes sides that are housed in the refridgerted area of your super market. In just minutes I was able to heat up the potatoes! No peeling potatoes, no dry potato mix...just simple, tasty mashed potatoes to compliment, my delicious turkey ;-)

Want to try them out? Bob Evans has provided 3 coupons to try out a side for FREE!
Visit Twitter and post the following to earn a chance to win:

RT @SmartyPantsMama Bob Evans Sides, easy and delicious! Win a coupon for a FREE side!

3 entries will be selected via on Wednesday, September 23.
This is not an advertisement of the product, it is an honest review made by an honest Smart Mama!

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Hotel Reviews .... to believe or not beleive!

Have you ever use to help decide which hotel to stay at for your next vacation? I have. Tons of times. Actually just this summer we were planning a summer getaway with my parents to Boca Raton. My mother, a corporate travel agent, had wanted to stay a the Boca Raton Resort and Club. I, the tech-savvy family member, went online to see what what others thought of it. Throughout the website I read dozens and dozens of review, great, good and even some bad. Some where so good that I started wondering who wrote it, others were so bad that I started thinking if the reviewer just was in a bad mood or maybe even the hotel's competitor faking a review. Well, we took our chances and enjoyed 4 wonderful days. The hotel was great, although we did encounter an inconvenience or two that the bad reviewer had mentioned. Ironic.

Here's a great article that I recently came across on AOL Travel, written by Carrie Nieman Culpepper, that offers some great tips for you and me on how to discern which reviews are real and which may be fake. Great article!


Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Northeast - The College Savers; The Midwest - Not so much!

What are your college saving plans for your munchkin(s)? Do you even have one?

In this house we started saving with the 1st monetary gift that she received. I don't think the money is in the best place for long term educational savings so it is something that we still need to research.

I have found it quite interesting that a recent Sallie Mae Gallup study has found that: Families in the Northeast have saved the most with an average savings of $15,846 closely followed by the West with $15,589. The South has an average savings of $13,722 and the Midwest has the lowest with an average of $9,693.

What does geography have to do with savings? Does the percentage of college grad parents...or maybe...the cost of living impact the percentage of college saving accounts? I'm not sure.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Finding the Cure - Dedicated to Jen McHugh Evans

Jennifer Michelle McHugh Evans
12/29/75 - 9/15/09

I dedicate today's posting to a HS classmate who lost her courageous battle with breast cancer at the much too young age of 33 yesterday.

Please keep her family (3 young boys and husband) and extended family in your prayers.

You may remember learning of her last month when I shared One-a-Day's Take a Stand promotion , to raise money for breast cancer research. Now, more than ever, I can clearly see the tremendous need dedicate time and money to find a cure!

God bless the McHugh and Evans families.



Thursday, September 10, 2009

Disney on Budget Ideas!

Well the bags are nearly packed, the portable DVD player is charging and the juice boxes are lined up! Thank you Smart Mamas for some great ideas about staying on a super tight budget on my next Disney trip!

Here are some tips I you have shared:

- look into the FREE Disney Dining Plan - unfortunatly we do not qualify for 2 reasons - #1 we are not purchasing tickets as we have season passes and #2 we are getting a discounted room

- have our munchkin eat from our plates rather than ordering a separate kid meal - Great idea!

- BYOB - Love it, bottle of wine now packed!

- use the microwave in the hotel "food court" to heat up meals, pop popcorn... - packing microwaveable meals!

- eat a BIG breakfast - Did you say extra bacon? ;-) LOL

- go off Disney to save big $$$ - Good idea, but we tend to be soooo darn tired after a day at the park that we rather take the bus to a park - sounds silly, I know!

Thank you all for the great tips! Keep them coming! I am certain that there are tons of Smart Mamas planning there next Disney trip soon!

I'll let you know how it goes! Wish me luck!
PS - That's a picture of my little munchkin, Isa, coming home from her 1st Disney trip in August 2007!


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Recall Wednesday: Children’s Animal Masks and Pendants, & 10 Speed SRAM Bicycle Chains with PowerLock connector links

Below are the CPSC recalls that I have received this past week. All information below comes directly from the CPSC website. Please see the CPSC website for more detailed information on the items.
Smiles :-)
Smarty Pants Mama

PS - Has Recall Wednesday ever alerted you of a product that you have had in your home? I want to hear about it!!! Please share!

Name of Product: Children’s Animal Masks and Pendants
Hazard: The recalled children’s animal masks and pendants contain high levels of lead. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health effects.
Description: This recall involves a children’s animal mask and four styles of metal pendants. The mask resembles the face of a cat. The pendants have various animated symbols including a dog tag with fire symbol (Bleach), knife and lion symbol (Final Fantasy), Mickey Mouse symbol (Kingdom of Hearts), and a burning sun symbol (Naruto). The pendants were sold with silver-colored chains.
Sold at: Gift shop and modeling stores nationwide, and the Team Work Trading store from November 2008 through March 2009 for between $4 and $8.

Name of Product: 10 Speed SRAM Bicycle Chains with PowerLock connector links
Hazard: The recalled PowerLock connector links, used on bicycle chains, are brittle and can crack, allowing the chain to separate from the bicycle and posing a fall hazard to the rider.
Description: The recall involves SRAM PowerLock connector links, which are sold individually, on 10-speed bicycle chains and as original equipment on some bicycles. The recalled PowerLock connector links are identified by a date code of M or N, which is located on the side of the PowerLock connector link. 10-speed SRAM chains that were equipped with recalled PowerLock connector links include the following chain model numbers: PC-1030, PC-1050, PC-1070, PC-1090 and PC-1090R. The recalled chains were also installed on some Guru, Surly, Salsa, BMC, Serotta, Seven, and Ridley brand complete bicycles. The individual PowerLock connectors and bike chains with these connectors were sold from January 2009 through August 2009; bicycles with affected chains were sold from April 2009 through August 2009.
Sold at: Specialty bicycle retailer stores nationwide from January 2009 through August 2009. PowerLock connector links were sold separately for about $5 or as part of 10-speed chains for between $35 and $85.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Disney World on a Food Budget!

We are season passholders and Florida residents, so we tend to do a number of Walt Disney World trips each year. Our trips have been both on a budget and extravagent.

We're gearing up for a Disney trip soon! We'll be there for 3 nights/4 days. Our tickets are paid (season passholders) and our French Quarter rooms are under $100/night (superb passholder rate!) so that leaves just the food to be budgeted!

My food budget is $120 for the entire trip! I know that sounds crazy for one person, let alone 2 adults and 2 year old! But, I really want to make an honest effort.

Here are some of the ways I plan on staying within the budget:
  • bringing breakfast (cereal and milk), sandwich making ingredients and tons of snacks
  • going out to dinner at places that offer a passholder discount and have good size portions (i.e. the Wolfgang Puck Express in Downtown Disney or Earl of Sandwich)
  • using my refillable mug

I know that there must be more ways!!! Help! I would love to learn from other Smart Mamas who have been-there, done-that on a budget at Disney!



Friday, September 4, 2009

Coupon Codes - Now Organized

Ever spend a ridiculous amount of time searching for that online coupon code for Kodak to use for your Holiday cards or are just curious if there are any discounts out there to use at before you make your purchase? I'm sure! With the tight budgets we Smart Mamas are attempting to stick to, it is essential to find ways to save any dollar possible. I recently came across and it has helped me! I hope it can help you! is a directory, organized alphabetically and by merchant, listing of current coupon codes that can be used for online purchases. The codes are current and include additional information, such as stipulations and expiration date. Check it out.

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Congratulations to Rita A! Food to Live By Cookbook Winner!

Rita A. is the winner of the Earthbound Farms Food to Live By cookbook!

Her Twitter entry was the 21st entry!

Congrats to Rita A.!


A Little HINT for Labor Day Drinks!

Ok, I couldn't resist this! Here are some Labor Day cocktail recipes that sound exactly what every Smart Mama needs after such a hot and gruling summer! Each recipe uses HINT Essence Water, a product I have not yet tried, but is right up my alley- with no carbs, calories, sugar or sodium like other mixers, our Smart Mama cocktails will have a delicious taste without adding on extra pounds. You can find HINT at Whole Foods and at for just $1.79 a bottle. Here are cocktail recipes using HINT.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Recall Wedneday: Durabrand DVD Players and Office Max Task Chairs

Below are the CPSC recalls that I have received this past week. All information below comes directly from the CPSC website.
Please see the CPSC website for more detailed information on the items. Smiles :-)
Smarty Pants Mama
PS - Has Recall Wednesday ever alerted you of a product that you have had in your home? I want to hear about it!!! Please share!

Name of Product: Durabrand DVD Players. (The August 20 recall of the silver Durabrand DVD player has been expanded to include the pink and purple-colored versions of the same DVD player.)
Hazard: The DVD player’s circuit board can overheat, posing a fire and burn hazard to consumers.
Description: This recall involves a single DVD player with a remote control. The device was sold in three colors—silver, pink and purple and has a U-shaped opening at the top to insert the DVD. The DVD players were sold under the following UPC codes and model numbers:
Silver: UPC 1799901002, Model No. 1002
Pink: UPC 1799934100, Model No. 1002 PINK
Purple: UPC 1799932100, Model No. 1002 PUR
Sold exclusively at: Wal-Mart stores nationwide from January 2006 through July 2009 for
about $29.

Name of Product: Office Max Task Chairs
Hazard: The back and the base post of the chair can break while in use, posing a fall hazard to consumers.
Description: The recall involves OfficeMax Task Chairs with model numbers OM182 and OM96614. The model number is located under the chair’s seat on a white UPC label. The chairs are charcoal or dark charcoal in color and have black plastic arms and a rolling plastic and metal base.
Sold at: OfficeMax stores nationwide, on the firm’s Web site, in OfficeMax catalogs, and through direct commercial sales to businesses from September 2003 through July 2008 for between $40 and $65.

Please be aware that did not publish recalls issued May 27, 2009 - August 27, 2009.