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Smarty Pants Mama

Smarty Pants Mama: July 2009

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Attention Coke & Diet Coke Drinkers!!!

Do you save your soda bottle caps with the Coke Rewards number? If not, start doing so! On MyCokeRewards.com you can enter the reward number and watch your Coke points accumulate! The points can be redeemed for a variety of different sweepstakes and products!

Right now, MyCokeRewards.com is holding, what I believe, an excellent opportunity for Coke drinkers to help their local schools! Your points can be donated to schools to then be redeemed for materials and athletic supplies! So essentially, you can be a SMART MAMA by drinking Coke! How great is that!

As an added bonus, fabulous Coke drinkers who donate their points to schools will be entered into a sweepstakes to win free tickets to see NBA All Star LeBron James' film More Than a Game! One winning family of four will also get the opportunity to attend the movie's premiere on Sept. 22 in New York City. All points have to be entered on MyCokeRewards.com by August 31, 2009.

Smiles,
Caroline

SmartyPantsMama.com

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cleanliness at Camp - ACA Tips

I was lucky enough to spend two great summers at a sleep away camp, Camp Bernadette, in New Hampshire. The summers were a blast, filled with nightly pranks, fun sports, funny camp songs and more. I left on the long bus ride back to NY with fond memories and millions of lessons learned - sharing a cabin, bathroom and mess hall with hundreds of others, taught me not only patience but offered a great reminder of the importance of cleanliness.

Recently the American Camp Association has released excellent "lessons learned" by campers this summer as our society continues to face a flu outbreak. Enjoy the fantastic tips:
  • You can never have enough soap – Campers are practicing advanced and proper hand washing at camp this summer. They are learning to wash their hands in between activities, and not just before they eat. They are learning important lessons in personal sanitation. The camp experience is providing lots of practice and developing a habit of healthy hand washing.
  • You can't lick your elbow, but you can sneeze in it – Camp is teaching millions of children how to practice "safe sneezing." By learning to sneeze into their sleeves, they are learning to keep germs away from their hands and out of the air. Many influenza-like illnesses are spread by contact with infected droplets. Keeping a sneeze to oneself teaches campers to avoid sharing unwanted germs with cabin-mates, classmates, and families.
  • Looking for germs in all the right places – Campers are learning to think outside of the box when it comes to sanitizing and staying as germ free as possible. Some of the creative lessons learned at camp include using personal salad tongs and serving utensils and using alcohol wipes to sanitize high-contact activity areas. By identifying these "touch zones," campers are learning valuable lessons in how influenza-like illnesses spread and how they can be avoided.
  • Everyone else is doing it, why can't I – Campers aren't the only ones getting an education in precautionary practices – their parents are, too. When families see the difference these health and wellness habits make, they begin to implement them as well.

Smiles,

Caroline

SmartyPantsMama.com

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Monday, July 27, 2009

UPromise Back to School Savings!!! Win $10,000!

UPromise College Dream Sweepstakes

Yes, Back to School time is around the corner, I can hear the celebrations already!

With this challenging time Smart Mamas need to find a variety of ways to save all the pennies possible. Beginning July 26th, UPromise is doing their part to help Smart Mama families by providing 1 - 25% cashback on back to school purchases! That's sounds FANTASTIC to me! Wait, it gets better! Also beginning July 26, 10 current or new UPromise members can win $10,000!!! Can you imagine the endless ways you and your Smart Mama family could use that! Join today!!! Save today!!!

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Friday, July 24, 2009

FrumUs.com - The Online Collection Envelope!

Class gift for the teacher, gift for your parents from all the kids, a friends birthday or retirement....think of all those times where a group gift is appropriate yet always such a pain to organize! I recently learned about FrumUs.com (yes, it's a u NOT an o in their spelling of from.)



Starting a collection is very easy on FrumUs.com. Some basic steps are outlined, including the recipients name, adding your PayPal account info, collection end date and more. In no time you'll be ready to "promote the envelope". Promoting the envelope is the electronic way of passing the envelope around the office to collect money for a baby shower gift, retirement gift, etc, except, it is done for you online! How awesome is that?!?! A message in your colleagues email inbox will alert them of how and where to contribute to the gift. When you reach your collection end date you can easily transfer the money into your bank account and use it as needed!! No more cashing random checks, counting change or feeling awkward asking the janitor for a few bucks!


Go try it out and let me know what you think!!!



Smiles,
Caroline

SmartyPantsMama.com

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

ThinkFirst Safety Tips from the Kessler Foundation!

As we're just about midway through the summer it's a great SMART MAMA move to be reminded of some life saving safety tips for our munchkins. Thank you to the Kessler Foundation, http://www.kesslerfoundation.org/, one of the largest nonprofits serving people with physical disabilities, for providing these great reminders!




Kessler Foundation ThinkFirst Safety Tips:




  1. Check all outdoor toys that have been stored during the winter to insure no wheels are lose, no pieces are missing and there is no other wear that would make it unsafe for children.

  2. Children should wear a helmet every time they ride their bike, skateboard or rollerblade. Studies have shown wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of a head injuries by as much as 85 percent.

  3. When purchasing a helmet insure that it fits properly and meets or exceeds the safety standards developed by American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and/or the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).

  4. It is recommended that young children do not dive. Older children should do so in at least eight feet of water with arms extended out in front.

  5. Always require children to wear a seatbelt while riding in a car and check to insure the belt is snug across their hips.

Thank you to the Kessler Foundation for providing these great, useful tips for Smart Mamas!

Smiles,
Caroline

SmartyPantsMama.com

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

PBSParents.org - Great tips!

Driving to Grandma’s house? Or have an exciting getaway in store? Here are some great FREE ideas courtesy of PBSParents.org to keep kids of all ages engaged during family trips!

  • Have a sing-a-long! Sing your favorite tunes from SeLinksame Street along with other songs…

  • Take turns playing games with your child. Find something inside or outside the car and have your children guess what you see by giving hints. Explore the world like Sid the Science Kid

  • Invite your child to be an "alphabet detective" by finding all the letters around them. Players might find an "a" in a road sign and a "b" on a license plate and more – take a page from the Super WHY gang and have fun with the alphabet.

  • Use "car time" to talk to your child about everyday activities and events, whether it's how leaves change color in the fall or what makes a great friend. Maya and Miguel know that happiness is the greatest when it’s shared!

Thanks PBSParents.org for sharing those fantastic tips!

Smiles,
Caroline

SmartyPantsMama.com

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Kideos.com - Online Video Catalog - Just for Kids!

I've found just what you need for quick, easy entertainment for your little one! Kideos.com! It's the one stop shop for all your child video needs! Kideos.com provides dozens of videos, organized in a kid and adult-friendly format! All videos are kid-loved and parent approved.
Categories range from Baby Einstein to Wiggles and everything in between!
Yes, we are each capable of Googling or searching through YouTube for similar videos, but why spend the time when Kideos has done it for you for free! By becoming a registered user, at no charge, you can organize the video choices for your munchkin based on their interest.
Check it out! Let me know what you think!
Smiles,
Caroline
SmartyPantsMama.com

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Monday, July 20, 2009

ShopSmart Magazine - Great for Product Reviews!

As my husband can attest, I ALWAYS second guess a purchase, UNLESS I have thoroughly researched it ahead of time to be certain its the best price and the best one out there. I have recently come across a new tool to help my thorough decision making...ShopSmart magazine.

Have you noticed it on newsstands? It's the latest magazine written by Consumer Reports. It offers HONEST advice on products. They are not persuaded by any one product, as they do not receive a dime in advertising $$$. Their tag line, no hype + no ads + just great buys, says it all!

I've been thumbing through the July 2009 issue and have really been impressed. For each product type they review, they will suggest Smart Picks - the best buys. In the case of the play yards this month, the tested 6 but only selected 3 as Smart Picks. I've also enjoyed the splurge vs. save recommendations for products such as lawn mowers, as we typically are on the 'save' category!

Here's their website:


Check it out and let me know what you think!

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Worth a laugh!!! I'll pay you.....to.....

So what are you willing to pay for your husband to tell 10 random strangers that his wife is always right?? :-) What are you willing to pay to have your neighbor cut is overgrown grass? What are you willing to pay to have....

Get the point???

PayPal has launched a rather humorous new "service", Do Stuff for Money! On the site you can wage a challenge to a friend or stranger to do something for money. It could get hysterical with the right participants, expensive with others and I'm guessing annoying with a few.

Check it out! Let me know what you think!

https://www.paypal-dostuffformoney.com/

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Yummy, yummy frozen yogurt!!

My watering taste buds couldn't resist sharing this!!! This, perfect for summer, treat has super is very kind to the waist line! Let me know what you think!

Driscoll’s Berries, the nation’s leading provider of fresh and organic berries, would like to help your family celebrate National Berry Month and National Ice Cream Month this July with a healthy helping of Blackberry Chocolate Frozen Yogurt. This easy to prepare, refreshing summer treat offers a healthy, low fat alternative to ice cream with the same great taste. Help your family beat the heat sans the calories – we promise your kids will be begging for more!



Here's the recipe:

BLACKBERRY-CHOCOLATE FROZEN YOGURT
Makes 1 ½ Quarts

2 (16-ounce) cartons vanilla low fat yogurt
2 ½ cups Driscoll’s Blackberries
½ cup light-colored corn syrup
¼ cup sugar
½ cup coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate (3 ounces)

In a blender container or food processor bowl, combine half of the yogurt, ½ cup of the berries, half of the corn syrup and half of the sugar. Cover and blend or process until almost smooth. Pour mixture into ice cream freezer container. Repeat. Freeze mixture in an electric ice cream freezer according to manufacturer’s directions. Remove dasher from freezer. Add remaining 1½ cups berries and the chopped chocolate; stir to distribute. Ripen*.

*Note: To ripen frozen yogurt or ice cream, after stirring in berries and chocolate, cover top of freezer can with waxed paper or foil. Plug hole in lid and replace lid. Pack outer freezer bucket with enough ice and rock salt to cover top of freezer can, using about 4 cups ice and 1 cup salt. Ripen about 4 hours.

Nutritional Information
Blackberry-Chocolate Frozen Yogurt - Per ½ Cup Serving
175 calories, 3g total fat (2g saturated fat), 5mg cholesterol, 70mg sodium, 32g carbohydrate, 3g dietary fiber, 4g protein.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Buy a bookcase at IKEA!!!

Starting Monday, July 13th through Thursday, August 31st, 2009 for every EXPEDIT bookcase sold at all IKEA stores nationwide, a $5 donation will be made to Save the Children’s Early Steps to School Success program.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Does stress have to equal added pounds? NO! Dr. Erika Schwartz provides useful ideas to stay fit in times of stress!

Have you noticed that in times of stress (current state of the economy, days of exams, before a big surgery, or illness in the family) food is so easily our comfort? Recently a story ran in USA Today that wasn't necessarily surprising but an important reminder of how vulnerable overweight people are in times of stress to pack on additional pounds.
Full USA Today Story: http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/weightloss/2009-07-08-obesity-stress_N.htm

With this story at the front of my mind, I asked a leading expert in the field of health, Dr. Erika Schwartz, Medical Director of Cinergy Health, www.cinergyhealth.com, a few questions on behalf of our Smart Mama Community.

Question 1
With many readers constantly on the go, rarely finding time to sit relax and eat a healthy lunch, how do you prepare for the unexpected day as a "soccer mom?"
Dr. Erika Schwartz: Make your own trail mix and carry a zip lock sandwich baggie in your bag. Mix roasted not salted almonds with dry blueberries, sour cherries and a few hazelnuts. Also, make sure you carry a bottle of water or make your own iced green tea.
Question 2
An afternoon run to de-stress doesn't always fit into a mom’s day. What other ways can a mom de-stress that doesn't involve a babysitter or a pint of ice cream?
Dr. Erika Schwartz: 5 pound dumbbells in your home. Pick them up every few hours and pump them up and down from the elbow, back and forth, above your head and behind your back ten times each. Breathe while you are doing this exercise. Watch your arms turn into buff, beautiful arms and feel like a million bucks without going to the gym.
Question 3
What family friendly de-stressing activities do you recommend?
Dr. Erika Schwartz: Take an hour and read. Create a family book club. Share the books regardless of age.

Thank you so much to Dr. Schwartz for these fantastic ideas!

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Smart Mama Advice Needed - Hershey's Chocolate Syrup, Carnation Instant Breakfast or Ovaltine??

Based on some advice from a pediatrician friend, I'm going to begin limiting her milk consumption. Maybe the obscene amounts of milk she was drinking (5 + glass a day) had something to do with her irregular bowels!

My munchkin LOVES chocolate milk. I'm just not such a fan of giving her chocolate milk. I'm not sure why. I was thinking about letting her have one of serving of milk with either good old standard Hershey's Chocolate Syrup, Carnation Instant Breakfast or Ovaltine. I thought it would be a nice treat for her. I'm leaning towards Ovaltine, but I'm not even sure why.

Advice needed!

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Monday, July 6, 2009

A Constipated Munchkin!

Looking for Smart Mama advice!!!!

We've had some bouts of constipation with my 2 1/2 year old. I'm not sure if its her diet or since she's just recently potty trained, she would rather not deal with pooping - she would rather continue playing instead. She'll end up going 2 or more days without pooping before I end up giving her Myralax in her milk which pretty much insures that she'll be pooping in hours.

Have you experienced this with your munchkin? Did you alter his/her diet? My munchkin is a picky - I should actually say stubborn - eater so getting her to eat new things often requires lots of energy and patience!

Please share!!!

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

My little munchkin celebrating the 4th of July with sparklers for the very first time!!!

video