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Smarty Pants Mama

Smarty Pants Mama: February 2010

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The way the donut crumbled.....and the way Smart Mama came to the rescue!

Sure you can sit on the couch to eat your donut...wait, NOOOOO!!!!!! What was I thinking? You know what I'm talking about. You're in the midst of something (Tweeting, cooking, on the phone) and the munchkin starts to pester you about something. You, in ways annoyingly say sure, sure, sure without realizing what you're agreeing to. Well below is a prime example of that.

Smart Mamas, I think we have 2 lessons here. #1 Attempt to realize what you agree to before you agree (good luck with that one!) #2 Get a little vacuum to have on hand just in case (an easier solution!)

I think you can clearly see my obsession with my little Dirt Devil Gator 10.8V-
this is a little vacuum purchased with my own money for around $30. Sooooooo awesome and very Smart Mama friendly!

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Antibiotics - We made it to 39 months!

Well we made it until she was 39 months for her 1st dose of antibiotics. She had a nasty ear infection last month that actually came back (or maybe never went away) this month with the added bonus of some sort of respiratory infection. So now not only are we on antibiotics AGAIN, but the poor thing is on steroids and using a nebulizer 3x a day. My poor baby.

I think that 39 months antibiotic free is really good. What do you think? I'm not a health nut, although my recent postings about produce might convince you otherwise. We watch what we eat but we did finish a bag of Doritos yesterday. So how has she maintained this great immune system (obviously, up until now?) My guess: she has a vitamin a day, loves blueberries and devoured 3 months of my breastmilk (Thank you very much to the Medela Pump that made it possible - she wouldn't latch.) - of course the Doritos are an added bonus ;0)

They really scare you these days about the overuse of antibiotics. My cardiologist (I have MVP) now only wants me using them for serious dental work. They fear superbugs? First off, what exactly is a superbug? Are you envisioning a huge bug the size of a softball flying around like me?

What's your though on antibiotics and kids? Are your kids still antibiotic-free?

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Friday Follow - Woo Hoo!

Happy Friday!!!
So happy to have you here! Please look around! Check out this week's CPSC product recalls on Recall Wednesday or learn how I unearthed the George Foreman after oh so many years!


I look forward to following you too!

MckLinky Blog Hop


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Out of the graveyard - the George Foreman!!!!

Look what was unearthed tonight? The ridiculously large and PAIN to clean George Foreman Grill! I know you have one too. Who doesn't? This isn't my first. I originally owned, during my bachlorette days the more standard size. But the moment I was let loose with the bridal registry gun in hand I was certain to include the "FAMILY" size George Foreman Grill. Yes, we did use it, maybe a dozen times during the 1st 6 months or so. The annoyance of cleaning it is what tucked it away to gather dust for years now. Well, with the desire for grilled chicken and severe thunderstorm warning in effect, I grabbed the tot-lock to open that cabinet that holds the George Foreman!

Well, 8 minutes on medium produced absolutely scrumptious, moist grilled chicken! Cleaning it wasn't too bad. Maybe now in Smart Mama-hood, you quickly learn that a few more minutes of cleaning for the fam is well worth it!
I think I may take it out again to make Rachael Ray's Grilled Chicken and Eggplant Parm Stacks that she had on her show on Wednesday.
Would love to learn how other Smart Mamas use their George Foreman!

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Recall Wednesday: Martha Stewart Collection® Enameled Steel Kettle, Hooded Sweatshirts w/ Drawstrings, Pumptec Electric Motor Controllers Submersible

Below are the CPSC recalls that I have received since Wednesday, February 17, 2010. Again I'm seeing recalls for hooded sweatshirts. At least once a month childrens' hooded sweatshirts are recalled due to drawstrings around the neck. The drawstring poses a tremendous strangulation risk to children.

In February 1996, CPSC issued guidelines (pdf) (which were incorporated into an industry voluntary standard in 1997) to help prevent children from strangling or getting entangled in the neck and waist drawstrings in upper garments, such as jackets or sweatshirts. Be sure to check old hand-me-downs for this!
You can find even more detailed information on all recalled products mentioned below on All information below comes directly from the CPSC website.
Smiles :-)
Smarty Pants Mama
PS - Has Recall Wednesday ever alerted you of a product that you actually have had in your home? I want to hear about it!!! Please share!

Name of Product: Hooded Sweatshirts with Drawstrings
Hazard: The sweatshirts have drawstrings through the hood which poses a strangulation hazard to children. Description: This recall involves girl’s sweatshirts sold under the Candy Queen and Akademiks brand names. Sweatshirts included in this recall have style numbers Q37519, A22090, A393343-3, A79405-226 and A79462-1. The sweatshirts were sold in sizes 2T through 16.
Sold at: Small retail stores nationwide from February 2008 through November 2008 for between $5 and $22.
Find more detailed information at:

Name of Product: Children’s Hooded Jackets
Hazard: The jackets have drawstrings through the hood which can pose a strangulation hazard to young children.
Incidents/Injuries: None reported.
This recall involves Blue Heart and Just a Girl brand children’s sweatshirts. The Blue Heart sweatshirts are olive and pink, and have style number 48052. The Just a Girl sweatshirts were sold in light blue, and have style number 48052. RN 87888 is printed in the center of the back neck. The sweatshirts were sold in sizes 4 to 6X.
Sold exclusively at: Burlington Coat Factory stores nationwide from September 2006 through September 2009 for about $10.
Find more detailed information at:

Name of Product: Hooded Sweatshirts
Hazard: The sweatshirts have a drawstring through the hood which can pose a strangulation hazard to children.
Description: This recall involves Attitude Gold children’s hooded sweatshirts in sizes small, medium, large and extra large. The sweatshirts were sold in beige, blue, charcoal gray and black and have a random distress designs. Style number ZZJ-2J, ZZJ-01J, ZZJ-04J or ZZJ-5J is printed on the hangtag.
Sold at: Burlington Coat Factory and Modecraft Fashions stores nationwide from October 2008 through June 2009 for about $25.
Find more detailed information at:

Name of Product: Pumptec Electric Motor Controllers for Submersible Pump Systems
Hazard: The product label can lose adhesion, exposing the circuitry. This could pose a shock hazard to consumers.
Description: This recall involves the Pumptec electronic motor controller for 115v/230v submersible motors rated 1/3 to 1 1/2 HP with model number 5800020600 and date codes of 06F45 through 09L45. The model number and date code can be found on the nameplate label located on the right-hand side of the enclosure.
Sold at: Dealers nationwide from June 2006 through November 2009 for about $245.
Find more detailed information at:

Name of Product: Copco and Wild Leaf Tea Co. Bristol model and Martha Stewart Collection® Enameled Steel Tea Kettles
Hazard: The handle on the tea kettle can come loose, posing a burn hazard to the consumer.
Incidents/Injuries: The firm has received eight reports of the handle becoming loose or deformed. One minor burn to hands has been reported.
Description: This recall involves Copco and Wild Leaf Tea Co. Bristol model and Martha Stewart Collection® Enameled Steel Tea Kettles with enamel finishes in white, crème, blue, cobalt, sand, red and green.
Sold by: Mail order, online and by retailers nationwide, including Macy’s and Linens ‘n Things from October 2005 through January 2010 for about $35.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

This Week's Produce and Some Yummy Recipes

My produce of the week:
· Strawberries
· Blueberries
· Mangos
· Bananas
· Spinach
· Broccolini - Baby Broccoli
· Eggplant
· Rainbow Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes
· Onions
· Garlic
· Green Leaf Lettuce
· Avocados
· Beet Roots
· Cucumbers
· Broccoli
How would you use these? I'm especially interested in the beets. You can't see them too well in this photograph but there are 3 large beet roots - something I have never cooked before! Annie has a recipe for Can't Beet Red Velvet Cupcakes that I might try! I just can't even fathom the idea of beets in cupcake batter!
Last night I made two fantastic side dishes using produce from last week that must share!
Using the kale that I recently received I made Sauteed Kale by Bobby Flay, as listed on
1 1/2 pounds young kale, stems and leaves coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1/2 cup vegetable stock or water (I actually used chicken stock b/c that's what I had on hand)
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (ever added this b/c I forgot to)
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until soft, but not colored. Raise heat to high, add the stock and kale and toss to combine. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove cover and continue to cook, stirring until all the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add vinegar.
Next, I made Perfect Fingerling Potatoes by Alton Brown, as listed on
1 1/4 pounds kosher or rock salt
2 quarts water
2 pounds small fingerling potatoes, cleaned
4 tablespoons butter, optional
Freshly ground black pepper, optional
1 tablespoon freshly chopped chives, optional
In a large pot, combine the salt, water, and potatoes and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, approximately 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the pot to a cooling rack and let stand for 5 to 7 minutes. Serve as is or with butter, pepper, or chives.
I was very convinced that the potatoes were going to be ridiculously salty, but they weren't. I mean, yes, they were salty, but tasty, salty. Like a good potato chip. We didn't add anything to them as we ate (no butter or anything!)
Hope you get the chance to try out these recipes. They were such a hit!

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Monday, February 22, 2010

South Florida Weather - 78 and Sunny in February! Love it!

Living in South Florida sure has its perks. A day like yesterday, in the middle of February, is certainly one of them! Words don't give this beautiful day justice, but, these pictures might help. We spent the better part of the day outside - lunch at Big Pink ( in South Beach (de-li-cious!!!!) a walk on the beach and then a Chinese New Years festival at the community college near by (Miami-Dade.)
So South Florida has the weather perk, and also the weather annoyances - just ask me in the middle of August when it's 90 with 100% humidity as I'm boarding my house up for a hurricane!
PS - Today it's 70 and rainy :-( I think I jinxed the weather!


Saturday, February 20, 2010

CoolWhip won the challenge...what to do with over 2lbs of strawberries!

Thanks for the great encouragement to do something yummy with the lot of strawberries we picked earlier in the week. I had really wanted to make jam, however, the CoolWhip container won! Yes, we enjoyed nearly every last strawberry dunked into CoolWhip. Oh, how yummy!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Follow - Welcome, Welcome, Welcome!

Thanks for stopping by!

I welcome you to follow via Twitter, Networked Blog, RSS Feed or Google Connect!

So happy to have you become a Smart Mama with me!

MckLinky Blog Hop


Thursday, February 18, 2010

February Resolution: Organization - The JUNK Drawer!

Oh yes, February Resolution: Organization continues!!!! Another kitchen drawer was tackled! This is the infamous junk drawer. I know you have one too! It has everything imaginable. I found 2 screwdrivers, an emery board, dozen of pens, markers, crayons, expired coupons, paper clips and 7 phone/USB type cords! I even found a Mexican peso! Well THANK YOU to the inventor of Ziploc, because that's what saved me with this challenge! I organized the "junk" into 5 different categories and viola the drawer is organized. I also tossed sooooo much! It felt soooo good! Only one more drawer to go!!!!

I know I'm not the only Smart Mama out there with drawers in need of a little reorganization!!! Who's on my team?!?!?!?

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

National PTA Founders' Day

Bet you didn't know that today is National PTA Founders' Day? On this day in 1897 Phoebe Apperson Hearst and Alice McLellan Birney began their mission to see how teachers, parents and community members together can provide support, information and resources to the families of the school. I'm reminded of the ancient African proverb, it takes a village to raise child.

PTA (Parent Teachers Association) in schools are so valuable. I spent 8 years in the public schools, beginning as a classroom teacher, so I saw 1st hand how an active PTA provides such an asset to the school, while an inactive PTA is a real detriment. The schools really have such a great resource of parents who truly have a vested interest in the school. The parents who volunteer their time show a true commitment to their students.
Did you know that the National PTA has helped lead the way to...

  • the creation of kindergarten classes,

  • child labor laws,

  • a public health service,

  • hot lunch programs,

  • a juvenile justice system,

  • mandatory immunization

Are you involved? How?
Be a SMART MAMA and learn how you can be a more active member of the PTA!
I found much of the information above at

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Produce Pick Up - The Inventory

Picked up my Annie's Produce yesterday! I really just get so excited!
Here's my loot:
Kent Mangos
Valencia Oranges
Crimini Mushrooms
Fingerling Potatoes
Romaine Lettuce
Slicing Tomatoes
Yes, that makes the strawberry section of this house over done! I wonder if I can freeze the strawberries? Does anyone know?
Annie posted a fantastic sounding recipe for Asparagus and Lemon Chicken over Rice! I still have a few lemons left over from last week so I think this may be dinner tonight! I'll let you know how it tastes!
@Stacie - Apple picking is certainly something I haven't done since I lived up north. There aren't many apple trees down this way! Thanks for the comment
@Leticia - You have already given me an idea as to what to do with my ridiculous amount of strawberries! Strawberry Jam!!!
@Shell - NC in May must be beautiful!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Strawberry Picking - seasons switched!

Strawberry picking is a memory many have from childhood. Growing up in the northeast, strawberry picking correlated to the start of summer, with orchards open mid-June through August. Things are certainly different in South Florida. The thought of walking around outside in the middle of the summer, in a field in looking for strawberries puts me in a overheated panic. Clearly, as my adventure today can attest, strawberry picking is a middle of the winter activity down here! The milder weather and limited rains make it ideal strawberry season in this area.

Friends and I headed to Knaus Berry Farm in Homestead, FL today to pick strawberries. We, particularly the kids, had a blast. With 5 girls between 4 1/2 and nearly 3, we picked lbs and lbs of strawberries, enjoyed the most delicious milkshakes and stood in a well deserved line to purchase homemade sticky buns to bring home to the daddies!

Now I need to retrain the brain: Valentine's time of year = strawberry picking! Can't wait to go again!

Do you vegetable or fruit pick where you live? What time of year?


Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Follow

Dear Smarty Pants Mama READER,

Welcome to the Friday Follow celebration hosted by One 2 Try, Hearts Make Families and Midday Escapades! We invite you to join us every Friday to get more blog followers and to follow other interesting blogs. It is all about sharing and having fun.

Here's how YOU can join the celebration:
•* Link up your blog name and URL using the MckLinky below. Only need to add to one blog linky.
•* Follow the Friday Follow hostesses listed in the first 3 slots. We will follow you back.
•* Follow as many blogs as you like
•* Comment on the blogs telling them you're from Friday Follow
•* Follow back when you get a new follower through Friday Follow

MckLinky Blog Hop


Smart Pants Product of the Week: Annie's Organic Produce Buying Club

Did you watch the CBS video I posted, Chemicals That Make You Fat? Were you as disgusted as me? I've never really bought into the organic crunchy lifestyle, but in recent years it's becoming more evident that the hormone filled steak may not be the best thing for you!

With this new realization I now look forward to Mondays around noon when I receive a wonderful phone call...."You can pick up after 1:30." No, not my munchkin, my produce! For nearly 2 months I have subscribed to Annie's Organic Produce Buying Club ( here in South Florida. For less than $40 a week I receive a tremendous box full of organic, and often local, produce. The box typically contains the staples of what we would normally buy, lettuce, tomatoes and bananas. But, every week there are items new and unique to me, my hubby and especially my little one.

Look at this week's items:
Yummy, right? Did you notice that beautiful artichoke or the yellow, yes I said yellow, mini carrots?? Annie's Club really gets me eating things I would have NEVER even thought of placing in my cart at Publix. I made collard green with leeks a few weeks ago, and have you ever had a saucer squash, well I had it sauteed with onions last month!

Each week not only am I provided with a bounty of produce, thankfully I receive a great resource of recipes that correspond with the produce of the week! It doesn't get much better than that! Actually, it does!!! With Annie's Club there are...
NO Start Up Costs
NO Dues or Membership Fees
NO Long-Term Commitments
NO Big Obligation for Your Valuable Time
NO more Paying Retail
NO excuse not to offer your family the freshest available organic produce!

I LOVE it! Can you tell!?!?!??!

As a Smart Mama, I have to say that the excitement of the week's produce is wonderful to see on my daughter's face! Hearing her ask if we'll be getting blueberries or strawberries is music to my ears? It sure beats hearing her ask for fast food!

I would love to hear from other Smart Mamas who belong to a similar buying club!!

No compensation was received for this post. All opinions are my own.


Thursday, February 11, 2010


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This blog abides by word of mouth marketing standards. We believe in honesty of relationship, opinion and identity. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post will be clearly identified as paid or sponsored content.

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Chemical That Make You Fat - CBS Video

You may want to think twice before you bite into that non-organic apple or the hormone fille steak?

Watch CBS News Videos Online

February Resolution: Organization - Another random kitchen drawer!

Yes, the February Resolution: Organization continues! I've been focusing on my crazy kitchen drawers, you may have noticed. Here's another random drawer, full of measuring cups, spoons and other nonsense. The after picture doesn't really give my honest organization justice though!



Sunday, February 7, 2010

SUPER a theater near you!

Looking for a great Smart Mama activity for your pre-schooler??? I found it! With ZERO good G or even PG movies out there for the under 7 crew, Kid Toon Films has come to the rescue, a la SUPER WHY style! Two SUPER WHY episodes, Comic Book: Attack of the Eraser and The Big Game, will be in movie theaters on weekends in February as part of the Kidtoons program.

The official blah, blah...
The Kidtoons program is dedicated to helping parents connect with their kids by bringing family friendly animated movies to the big screen every weekend at participating theatres across the country. Participating Kidtoons theatres showcase a fun, affordable family friendly matinee movie and provide a family experience filled with entertaining, kid-friendly characters, as well as cartoon shorts, music videos and sing-alongs before each movie. We even have fun giveaways for the kids, such as stickers, temporary tattoos, activity books or toys after every film.
Visit for more information and to find SUPER WHY in a movie theater near you! Super Duper!
Pretty cool, right? Let me know if you go!


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Converting the entertainment center into.....I don't know!!!

I've been having that urge to get something new for the house...know that feeling?! Along came my mom with an opportunity to furniture swap! We swapped my Crate and Barrel Wine Bar for her Pier 1 entertainment center/armoire. My parents finally got a flat screen TV for their family room so they were ready to ditch the 'in great condition' armoire when I chimed in! We could take it! However, we don't have room for it. I offered her the wine chest, to make room, and it was a deal!

Ok, so here's the dilemma...WHAT DO I DO WITH THE ARMOIRE??? We put it in our dining room, right next to the kitchen with the original idea of converting it into a bar - I do need a place to put my wine glasses now that my Crate and Barrel bar is gone.

But, the need of an "office space" is really up there! I need a good resting spot for my laptop, printer and 17" monitor, as well as bills and random paperwork; a kitchen counter area is the current home . I've googled around and have found a great blog My Sweet Savannah - her posting back in June 2009 - ~armoires, they're not just for storing clothes~ has tons of ideas. Of course, it was like a Cheesecake Factory menu - too many ideas for me that I'm left clueless!

So what do you think I should do???


Friday, February 5, 2010

February Resolution: Organization - Next to the Cutlery Drawer

February Resolution: Organization #2
This is the drawer right next to the cutlery. It holds larger serving ware and lots of other miscellaneous stuff. One challenge I had was to incorporate the stuff from the cutlery drawer that I took out yesterday! I also found a ridiculous number of chopsticks from PF Changs to Asian Station, our decent Chineese/Japaneese delivery! I opted to put the chopsticks in Isa's arts and crafts bin since I don't see us using 15 sets of chopsticks in the near future!

Patting my back!!!! Now I need to start thinking of the next nook!!! Will it be nightstand drawer or the linen closet...I'll take a suggestion because honestly, I don't want to do either! =)

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

February Resolution: Organization - Cutlery Drawer

I've made a resolution with myself - I guess I can't call it a New Year's resolution since I really didn't start it until February. We can call it the February resolution - the February Resolution: Organization!

I have nooks and crannies around the house, some larger than others, that are in desperate need of organization. Some are drawers, closets, under beds, pantries and the like. I'm taking a guess that I'm not the only Smart Mama with this going on! Well, I hereby promise to clean/organize a nook every day. The nooks will vary in size, from one shelf in the pantry to my daughter's closet (I made need extra help here!) My daily clean out will range in time to complete - with areas like my medicine cabinet just minutes and the garage, well I won't even go there yet!

February Resolution: Organization - Day 1 - My Cutlery Drawer

Woo Hoo!!! That felt great!!! Tomorrow's plan is the drawer alongside with all the large spoons and random kitchen gadgets!!! Good luck to me!


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Reader Mail: Etiquette for Birthday Party Invites!

Reader Mail! Reader Mail!

Oh the tales of child birthday party invites...or adult for that matter!!! Who do we invite? Who do we not invite? Are you annoyed that you didn't make the list or relieved for a classmate's birthday party at the park that is just at a bad time?

Reader DebbieF wrote:

What do you think etiquette is on your child being invited to a birthday party for a classmate that was not invited to your child's party? if you don't know...maybe you'll consider starting discussions on mommy questions some how through the blog? I don't know...just a thought- hope all is well. debbie

Great question/dilemma! I just went through this last fall with Isa's birthday. Parties come in different sizes. We all can't have a party of 100 with circus acts and popcorn. We each do what's best for our child and family. Sometimes that means a small party with the closest of friends and sometimes that means every child in the class, even if your child doesn't stand them or barely knows their name! In your case I think you should accept and appreciate the invitation, plus look forward to a fun time for your little one!
In my case, after Isa being invited to numerous birthday parties by classmates, I unfortunately wasn't able to return the invite for her birthday to everyone. We held her party at a bounce house party place and had a limited number of guests allowed. I decided to just invite the girls, rather than pick and choose those who thought she liked the most.

Anyone have a different idea? Comments? Thoughts?
PS - Thanks DebbieF for coming to for advice on this relevant issue mamas face!

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