August 24, 2012

Homework Help for Busy Parents



Parents can help their kids start the year off right by establishing a homework routine. Designate a space that is quiet, well lit and free from distractions, and use that same spot every day.

Claire Haas, Vice President of Education for Kiddie Academy (www.kiddieacademy.com) also recommends creating a Homework Bin to make sure all needed materials are always ready. The homework bin avoids interruptions to the routine - there will be no excuse to wander off, looking for a pencil or marker.

How to Create a Homework Bin

1. Designate a specific basket or tote as the Homework Bin
2. Label the bin so everyone knows what it's for
3. Keep it handy, near the designated homework spot
4. When homework is done, return all materials to the bin each day
5. Resist temptation to use these materials for other crafts - keep it ready
6. Explain the concept to your family
7. Restock the bin as necessary

To download a list of recommended items for your homework bin, as well as more homework tips, parents can visit the Kiddie Academy Family Essentials blog at www.kafamilyessentials.com .

August 23, 2012

5 tips to preempt a first haircut meltdown



Taking your tot to the salon? 5 tips to preempt a first haircut meltdown

by Nicole Fonovich, co-creator of the "Luca Lashes" app / eBook series


Will your toddler get hysterical at the hair salon? There are plenty of reasons kids fear the haircuts: sharp scissors, the buzzing of the clipper, the huge cape, and that big metal chair, for starters. So many new sights and sounds at once, and baby's first haircut can quickly turn south.


Getting a haircut shouldn't be a scary "first"—it should be fun! These five pointers will help you avoid a salon meltdown, so your little one can enjoy him/herself —and the new "do" too!


1. Find a salon that caters to children.

Hair salons can be intimidating places for children. Thankfully, the hairstyle industry has grown with the times and helped parents by designing kid-friendly, family salons. Children can sit in fun seats with special designs, even in racecar-style chairs. Waiting rooms at family salons usually have children’s toys and books or even a children’s movie playing. Finding a family salon, rather than relying on your own personal hairstylist, will make your life easier when it comes time for the first cut.


2. Be prepared.

Going to a salon a day early, and just walking around with your child can be a great experience to help prepare for the first haircut. This way, your child gets a chance to see what the salon looks like, what tools are being used, and what the person who will cut their hair looks and acts like. Going along ahead of time with family friends or relatives on their positive hair cut experience can also really help! There is nothing like seeing other kids they look up to having fun!


3. There’s an app for that!

Take an extra step in prepping for the first cut—enlist the help of an app, like Luca Lashes and his First Haircut. In this app/eBook, kids join Luca and his mom as they learn about the hair salon, meet the stylist, and see all the tools used in getting a haircut. Let your child interact with each illustration to become familiar with the sights and sounds they soon will see!


4. Time it right.

All parents can sense their child is crabby. Whether anxious, overtired, or hungry, there are specific times of the day that can be the best times to have a new experience. Haircuts are events that can be planned with appointments; just be careful to plan the times appropriately so your child is, hopefully, on their best behavior.


5. Make new memories.

First haircuts are a major life event for both parents and children. Make sure to have a digital camera or smartphone ready to snap "before" and "after" pictures, so you can show your child how awesome the new haircut looks right away. Kids love seeing themselves on camera! Remember to keep that first lock of hair for your “memories” book.


As with all of your child's "firsts," ask them how they feel about the new experience both before and after. These moments are great times to soothe your child and share the feelings and excitement that all childhood discoveries bring.


Remember to have as much fun as you can and revel in these moments together, before you know it, they grow up.


Nicole & Damir Fonovich are co-creators of "Luca Lashes," an eBook and app series that turns “fear of firsts” into fun. The series is aimed at kids ages 0–4 and is available in English, French, Italian, Spanish, and soon, Chinese. The first app, Luca Lashes: The Brown Eyed Boy with the Magic Eyelashes, is free on iTunes, and the other apps can be downloaded for $1.99 at all major marketplaces and at www.LucaLashes.com. Nicole and Damir both have backgrounds in teaching, writing and publishing. Together, they have 17 years of experience in the education field, in both teaching and administration. They have a 3-year-old son and live Chicago

Knot Genie Coupon and Contest


Are you ready to join the thousands and thousands of mamas who no longer dread the hair brushing drama? Then The Knot Genie Detangling Brush is for you! The Knot Genie and Teeny Genie were created to not only to make brushing of even the most unruly hair effortless, but to create peace in households around the world at bath time. Their unique bristles act like little "fingers" gently untangling knots and tangles. The amazing Knot Genie magically gets rid of knots. Not to mention complaining. Today you can get $4 Off Coupon off the Knot Genie. Just click on the highlighted area.

With the introduction of four new Knot Genie colors in their limited edition Back to School Collection, they are also running a fun contest. The contest is called, the Knot Genie Back to School Morning Meltdown contest. If you’re a parent, you’ve probably experienced a foot stomping-shrieking-morning meltdown at that critical time when you’re trying to get your child off to school. Recount (if it’s not to painful) your worst meltdown and how you diffused the situation and enter your story in our contest. Ask your friends and family to vote for your entry and you could win $500.00. The first 50 people to enter will get great prizes just for participating.

I am to receive a Knot Genie for sharing this with my readers.

August 13, 2012

Win a Beefeater Discovery Plus 4 Burner

Win a Beefeater Discovery Plus 4 Burner with Black and Stainless Steel Hood Grill (ARV $799). Click here to enter.

June 7, 2012

Garbage Disposal Problems


Fixing disposal problems is actually a simple job, if you’re equipped with the right knowledge. Nonetheless, a lot of people are still scared on dealing with garbage disposal problems, which usually lead to freaking out and calling a professional to get some help. To save you from this dilemma, here are some do it yourself solutions for you garbage disposal problems.

Noise Problems
One common problem encountered with garbage disposals is that they may produce too much noise when used. You might hear some rattling or grinding sounds, every time you turn it on. If noises like these are present, it is probably caused by an object, possibly a metal which was unintentionally dropped down your disposal. Having this kind of problem unattended can cause damage to your disposal blades. To fix it, turn off the electrical power for that area of your house. Then, get a flashlight and a needle nosed pliers. Using these, look for an item which causes the noise. Once you find the item that simply doesn’t belong inside your disposal, and then pull it by using your pliers. After this, the noise should be gone and your disposal will do just fine.

When Nothing Happens
Another commonly experienced problem is when nothing happens when you turn on the disposal. Generally, if this is the case and you can’t hear even a single hum, it means that power isn’t getting into the disposal unit. It could be that you have to reset your unit or your circuit breaker is tripped. First, you should look beneath your sink and take a look at your unit. You should find a small red button placed somewhere on the bottom side. Press the button and hold it for a number of seconds. After pressing, try to use your unit again. It should start normally, as if it is brand new. If it doesn’t start, then you have to do another trick. Find your electrical panel and see if you have a tripped circuit breaker. Try to reset the breaker that is in charge for that area. After resetting, go back to your drainage unit and do the first step all over again. This should fix the problem. If nothing still happens, then it’s about time that you call a professional, because it can be a sign of a bigger overall problem.

Humming But Nothing
This is the last real possible problem that you can encounter with your disposal. Sometimes if you place wrong kinds of food in your unit, it gets jammed up. This can also happen if you put too much food down your disposal without running it. To fix this, turn off your unit’s the power and use pliers to reach into your unit and pull out whatever it is that is obstructing the blades and keeps it from spinning. After you have pulled the clog out, get an Allen wrench and use it to spin the blades manually. If the blades are now turning, then you are done with the problem. If it’s still not spinning, this means that there are still more that you should remove. Be sure that you remove everything out, so that you won’t encounter the same problem again in the near future. Once you got the blades spinning manually, try to turn on the power, reset your unit and see if it’s working. If it’s still humming, then check for more clogs. If you’re sure that there are no more obstructions and the problem is still there, then you’ve got the green light to call a professional.

May 17, 2012

Can You Help An Orphan?

Could you please help out one of my friends? (This is great for you too!)

Christine Steendahl “The Menu Mom”, is doing something special this summer. She is hosting an orphan from Ukraine for 5 weeks.  You can read all about it here:
www.themenumom.com/sergiy

She is doing this with a leap of faith, the problem is the financial cost is high.
To help her out, several friends have gathered together to run a “Fire Sale”.   Essentially they all donated products, combined them together and you can purchase them for one extremely low amazing price! The proceeds of the sale will help bring Sergiy to the U.S.

What’s included in the package?  Here’s What You Will Find:

From Christine – “The Menu Mom” - Kid Approved Meals
- Entertaining Made Easy
- Summer Fun Recipes
- Bread Machine Magic
- Christine's Favorite Forms & Checklists

From “Tech Based Training”
- Build Your Own Website with WordPress (a 2-day Web Class)

From Patti at “Remarkable Wrinklies”
- Memory Lane Meals - A Collection of Recipes Celebrating Cozy Meals From
Days Gone By

From "Just Add Sweat"
- How To Start a Recipe Blog fro Profit and Fun

From “The Hillbilly Housewife”
- Crockpot Cooking and Recipe Collection
- Summer Cooking
- Ice Cream and Other Frozen Treats

From Tracy at “Moms In A Blog”
- 30 Days To An Organized Home
- A Healthier You

From Angela at “Marketers Mojo”
- Gimp Graphics Mojo (a course on using Gimp to edit photos)

From Kelly at “Solo Smarts”
- Business Group Coaching

From Tawra and Jill at “Living On A Dime”
- Quick & Easy Menus on a Dime

Wow.... that's a lot of goodies for $15! (It’s a $482.62 Value to be
exact.) It's worth a look even if you own two or three of these products
already. Take a look at the page to learn more about each product.

FIRE SALE - 16 Great Products at an AMAZING Price (To Help Bring Sergiy to the U.S.)

But what I like best is that it is for a good cause. No matter how you can
help, either by buying the product bundle, making a small donation, or just
helping us spread the word about Sergiy's story and this sale, I appreciate
anything you can do.

This special "fire" sale will run through Tuesday May 22nd. Take a
look and see if there's something here you can use and help Christine and
Sergiy at the same time.

FIRE SALE - 16 Great Products at an AMAZING Price (To Help Bring Sergiy to the U.S.)

I posted my affiliate links, but please help even if you don't use my links.

Healthy Tips for a Longer Life

Body Hacks
Source: BestHealthDegrees.com

April 25, 2012

UPrinting Family Business Cards Giveaway Deadline Extended.

There were very few entries on the UPrinting Family Business Cards Giveaway, so I extended the deadline until midnight on 5/3.  It is a good prize, so I want to make sure more people know about it. Good luck!

April 21, 2012

Planter's Peanut Butter Challenge



Planters is launched “Peanut Butter Doug’s Peanut Butter Challenge” on Facebook, which called on consumers to enter a photo, video, recipe, or written entry that proves how much they love peanut butter. The top 16 submissions, as voted on by the fans, will win a case of Planters peanut butter. The grand prize winner will receive not one, but two lifetime supplies of Planters peanut butter.

           · Voting for Top 16 Finalists: 4/25-5/2

· Voting for Winner: 5/3-5/28

· Winners Notified: 5/29

  Vote for your favorite on Facebook.

Have you tried Planter's peanut butter?  It is really good!  It is available in crunchy, creamy and natural varieties. My children love the creamy, but my fave the crunchy.  The natural requires No Need to Stir which makes it much easier to use.

All 3 varieties:
Contain no cholesterol
Good source of Manesium and Vitamin E
Good source of protein with 7 or 8 grams per serving (depending on variety)

They are good for baking and cooking.  I mainly use it for sandwiches, but my daughter likes to snack with spoonfuls out if the jar.  I would recommend it.

I received samples for my review.  No compensation was received for this post.

April 17, 2012

The Clorox Lounge and the Last Comic Sitting Competition and sweepstakes


Well, it could be said that I am frugal.  I don't want to be cheap, but why pay more when you can get the same thing for less?  I love using coupons on items that are already on sale. I also enter sweepstakes and giveaways. Winning free coupons or gift cards can really help the weekly budget.

I believe it is important to teach our children about saving money. My kids say "Mom won't get it unless she has a coupon."  Now I don't know if I am that frugal, or maybe I am.   :) 

I was asked to tell you about a time when being frugal backfired.  I can't think of any frugal disasters, but sometimes different brands tastes different.  I remember buying generic cheese once.  That stuff was nasty!  That was many years ago, so hopefully they have improved the taste.  I don't know because I have been afraid to try it again.

I remember saving specially marked cans to save on theme park admission, then I left them home.  :(
Oh well, at least I tried.

We are all busy, but we need to remember to take a break occasionally.  The Clorox Lounge has several funny comics.  They are offering lots of ways to earn chances to win awesome prizes. You could win Clorox Products, coupons, rewards or $10,000!  Check out this video-

Sweepstakes
Could you use $10,000? Well, you could win the sweepstakes. It is easy to enter. Just by joining The Clorox Lounge and registering for the site, you will be entered for a chance to win $10,000.
You can earn two additional entries per day. To get more entries:
Log in daily
Leave a comment on one of the blog posts, stories or photos.

The Weekly Competition
You can earn great rewards by participating in weekly community contests. Sherri Shepherd will ask about a funny moment in your life every week. Share that story and you'll be entered to win a $100 gift card. Stories will be judged on relevancy to the topic, quality and creativity of your submission.
But even if your story isn't chosen, you still have a chance to win one of 10 Clorox Prize Packs given away every week. You will receive a $1 off coupon from the Clorox Family of Toilet Products the first time you share a story.

So check out the The Clorox Lounge and have some fun.

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and The Clorox Lounge blogging program, to earn My SocialMoms Rewards Points. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.

April 11, 2012

UPrinting Family Business Cards Giveaway


Have you hear about Uprinting? They sell a variety of customized items such as address labels, postcards, business cards, and many more things. I have ordered from them several times. I am a happy customer.

Great news! I have been allowed to host a giveaway for UPrinting Family Business Cards.

One winner will receive this:
250pcs Customizable Die-cut Business Cards
Choice of: 2x3.5" Rounded Corners, 2x2" Rounded Corners, 1.75x3.5" Rounded Corners, 2x3.5" Leaf, 2x3.5 Rounded one corner, 2x3.5" Half Circle Side, 2x3.5" Oval, 2.5" Circle
14pt Cardstock Gloss / Matte / High Gloss (UV), or 13pt Cardstock Uncoated
6 Business Days Turnaround time
Free US shipping only

April 10, 2012

Annies Homegrown Cheddar Bunnies Sale at GoPicnic

Annie's Homegrown Cheddar Bunnies: 36 Pack (36 - 1oz. packages)

"Baked with organic wheat flour and real Wisconsin cheddar, Annie's Cheddar Bunnies Baked Snack Crackers are great tasting and wholesome because they contain absolutely no hydrogenated oils, saturated fats, or trans-fatty acids. Annie's Snack Crackers are ideal for toddler-sized hands, but their crispy crunch and real cheesy flavor will tempt snackers of all ages to eat them by the handful."

At GoPicnic use the coupon code Bunny40 for 40 percent off a 36-pack of Annies Homegrown Cheddar Bunnies.  You can get them for a great price. 

GoPicnic is the leader in great-tasting, ready-to-eat meals. Last year they launched five all-natural and three deli meals that are pre-packaged, ready-to-eat and require no refrigeration or preparation for $4.99 each. Six of the eight are gluten-free meals, making it easy for consumers with gluten sensitivity to eat the foods they enjoy in one great-tasting package. Each meal contains a well-balanced meal that includes a protein, whole grains, fruit and sweet treat for dessert.

I have ordered the meals several times, and we love them!  We had the cheddar bunnies in the meals, and they tasted great. Remember to use the coupon code Bunny40 for 40 percent off through April 30 at GoPicnic.

I did not receive any compensation for this post.

April 8, 2012

Spice Up Your Parties

This month is my birthday month, and it is a big one! - Don't ask :) My youngest sister and my best friend were born in April also. I have been planning my birthday party, and trying to come up with some cool ideas.

I would love to have a cookout for a party. I prefer an open fire to cook hot dogs and marshmallows, but I like grilling out also. Another option is to have a variety of foods or maybe even a potluck. I don't think I will decorate, or I would have to use black balloons!

Those are some of the ideas I am considering. Do you have any ideas for a memorable birthday party? I was thinking about how to spice up parties.

Tips to Spice Up your Parties
1. Have a theme - It could be an occasion or location. For example, I have seen many interesting decorations for a luau or an island type party.

2. Have easy to prepare foods - You don't want to spend your time cooking while you should be partying!

3. Prepare as much of the food as possible before the event - For example, if you are having a fresh fruit or veggie tray, you can cut the items and arrange them on the tray early in the day before the party.

4. Play games at the party - Games aren't necessarily only for kids. You could play Jenga, Pictionary, charades, or many others.

5. Consider having music - It could be as simple as a radio/CD player. Or for a more fancy affair consider a DJ or a band.
I wanted to share the news about the new Farm Rich Queso Cheese Bites. They are available at Walmart and other grocery retailers for an average retail price of $6.99. Each bag of Farm Rich Queso Cheese Bites contains 53-56 pieces. The bite-sized snacks come out of the oven or fryer in just minutes, crisp and toasty on the outside, meltingly tender on the inside, and ready to serve for an after-school snack, party appetizer, or just any time hunger calls. The wholesome snacks also are a good source of calcium, and each portion contains just 180 calories and 0 grams trans fat per serving. To learn more, visit www.farmrich.com.
Farm Rich as haveing a Pesos 4 Quesos sweepstakes that continues through May 5, 2012 . You could win a $200 American Express Gift Card or even $3,500 toward a large party thrown by winner. To enter the Sweepstakes, access the entry form through the Pesos for Quesos tab on Facebook.com/FarmRich

Follow Farm Rich on Twitter: @farmrichsnacks

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Farm Rich blogging program, to earn My SocialMoms Rewards Points. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own. To read more posts on this topic, click here.

April 4, 2012

Top Ten Power Packed Foods

What is the secret to a long and healthy life?  It is in the food that we eat.  As you well know, all foods are not created equal.  Choosing and eating the right foods may help increase your life expectancy as well as the quality of your life.

Here are ten of the top power packed foods designed to give you energy, vitality and all around good health!

1. Beans – If they give you gas, take precautions before you eat them.  Soaking them first can help.  Beans of all kinds (kidney, navy, lentils, chickpeas, Northern) are high in protein.  This is plant protein so it contains very little fat, carbs and calories.  If fiber is a problem in your diet, eating a healthy portion of beans each day can keep your digestive system healthy.

2. Oatmeal – Oatmeal is coming into popularity as a food that lowers blood cholesterol.  You can make it yourself with rolled oats or eat the instant kind if you are in a hurry.  Oatmeal is a filling grain that also provides much needed fiber to keep hunger at bay and your blood sugar constant.

3. Fruits – Fruits are filled with antioxidants such as Vitamin C and A.  Antioxidants fight free radical damage in the body and reduce the risk of cancer.  Berries such as blueberries and grapes have the highest amount of antioxidants.  But choose an array of fruits in a wide variety of colors for maximum health.  The antioxidants in fruit boost the immune system to fight the effects of aging in the body.

4. Allium foods – This class of foods includes garlic, onions, leeks and shallots.  Garlic is known for lowering cholesterol.  Allium vegetables help guard the body against the risk of cancer and many other ailments.  They also help lower blood pressure and prevent blood clots.  Eating these power packed vegetables in their natural state especially garlic increases their health benefits. 

5. Salmon – Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids reduces the risk of heart disease and other conditions like atherosclerosis.  Wild salmon is a fatty fish but it contains good fats that has been proven to improve health in children and adults.  Salmon is rich in protein which is of great use after an exercise session to build muscle tissue.

6. Flax seed – Like salmon it contains omega-3 fatty acids.  These seeds also contain omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids.  You get a lot of power to fight high cholesterol, heart disease and diabetes with this seed.  Ground flax seed can be added to fruit smoothies, sprinkled in yogurt, eaten with cereal or added to pancake mix to name a few.

7. Peppers – Peppers are colorful.  They contain antioxidants like beta-carotene and Vitamin C.  Peppers range from mild and sweet to so hot you’ll be calling the fire department.  All peppers contain a substance called capsaicin.  Capsaicin has the properties of an anti-inflammatory, a pain reliever, lowers cancer risk and heart disease.  They are good in salads, salsa and all sorts of dishes.

8. Nuts and seeds – Nuts are high in fat but those fats are the good kind.  Peanuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts and pistachios are all providers of good fats and protein.  Crush them into a fine powder and use as a coating instead of higher carb bread crumbs.  Nuts help to lower cholesterol.  Eat them right out of the shell with no additives.

9. Açai – This berry has been in the news lately.  It is rich in antioxidants and increases energy.  You can get more done and look better while doing it.  You can get Acai juice and supplements in your health food store.

10. Yogurt – The fat free variety is good for you.  Yogurt contains calcium, Vitamin B, and protein.  If you don’t drink milk, yogurt is an alternative to get your calcium in to build strong bones and teeth.  Live yogurt also contains friendly bacteria to help promote a healthy digestive system.

Building a better healthier body begins with what you eat.  Try these super foods to get started on the right foot. 

April 2, 2012

Effective Steps for Managing Anxiety

Have you ever been in a situation that brought on sweats, rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath? You probably weren’t having a heart attack but an anxiety attack.  If you suffer from anxiety disorders, learning to manage it is the first step to overcoming it.

Anxiety is characterized as extreme reactions to fearful situations.  When someone follows you into a dark alley, those anxious feelings of a racing heartbeat and sweaty palms gives way to heightened senses and a rush of adrenalin that can save your life.  This is the fight or flight syndrome. 

In the case of frequent anxiety, the fearful feelings are dread of a particular situation and not the situation itself.  Getting caught in traffic can cause an anxiety attack over what might happen when you get to work late.  Starting a new job can bring on anxiety attacks.  You don’t know anyone and fear of that unknown can send you into a panic.

Everyone experiences panic or anxiety in small ways.  Like the fight or flight example, it can save your life.  In new situations, we get panicky but when the outcome we fear fails to materialize, the anxiety stops.  For someone with chronic anxiety, this is not the case.

Every situation that brings anxiety is not life-threatening.  More than likely it is an extremely stressful situation that has brought on the anxiety as a way of dealing with it.  Unchecked anxiety of this type can lead to depression.

If you suffer from anxiety attacks on occasion or a more frequent anxiety disorder, there are steps you can take to keep your anxiety under control. 

1. Pray and read the Bible. God doesn't want us to be anxious, and spending time with Him really helps.
2. Get a good night’s sleep.  During the sleep cycle, your body repairs itself.  You feel more rested after several hours of restorative sleep, reaching the REM stage.  Most people need eight hours a night which varies within an hour or two each way.
3. Exercise.  Exercise helps you to use oxygen more efficiently.  It helps to get more oxygen to the brain.  It also increases focus which may help you see solutions to problems rather than simply worrying about them. 
4. Manage the worry.  When you feel your pulse start to quicken, count backwards from ten.  As you count, focus on the situation.  What has actually happened? Resist the urge to read anything more into the situation. 
7. Don’t use alcohol or drugs.  You might think that the glass of wine is relaxing your tension but alcohol is a depressant.  In anxious situations you could rely too heavily on it and gain another problem in the process.
7. Find some relaxing activities.  Stress can rob you of your energy.  On a regular basis, do something you like such as gardening, painting, reading or listening to music.  
8. See a professional if needed.  Talk to your pastor.  See a doctor if these methods don't control the symptoms since occasionally medications may be needed.

Anxiety can come into your life at any time.  It’s normal.  When the anxiety becomes frequent you could be at risk for more serious conditions.  If you feel your anxiety is starting to take over your life or increasingly causing you problems, seek professional help immediately.  There is no need to suffer this terrible condition in silence.

March 31, 2012

Tropicana Pure Premium 100% Pure Florida Orange Juice and Sweepstakes


There are many concerns today about our food supply. You might remember when there was a problem with some things that were produced in China that killed some dogs. Also there have been a variety of outbreaks of food poisoning. For many reasons I purchase food grown in the USA. It makes me feel safer with the protections the USDA puts on the food. Given the depressed economy, it is important to support business in the US whenever possible.

My family loves orange juice. We love to eat either bacon and eggs or waffles with an ice cold glass of orange juice. It is a great way to start the day. Each 59oz container of Tropicana Pure Premium® has 16 fresh-picked Florida oranges squeezed into it and an 8oz glass gives you 100% vitamin C to help you maintain a healthy immune system.

Did you know that Tropicana Pure Premium is 100% Pure Florida Orange Juice? It is the single largest buyer of Florida fruit, purchasing approximately 11.6 billion oranges from Florida each year. They use groves in 22 different Florida counties, primarily in central and southern Florida. Oranges have been grown in Florida since the 1560s, approximately 147 years before any other U.S. state. Tropicana’s roots in Florida go back a long way with some of its current grower relationships dating back to the 1960s.
Because of the different microclimates and soil types the fruit reaches peak maturity at different times. Tropicana can harvest ripe fruit throughout the entire growing season.
I learned that there are two major orange types in Tropicana Pure Premium - Valencia and Hamlin. Valencias typically have more intense color and flavor, while Hamlins can be sweeter. Many Florida growers sample oranges by cutting them into a cup shape, allowing for drinking juice directly from the fruit.


I wanted to tell you about a great sweepstakes. You can enter the Tropicana sweepstakes for a chance to win 100 Florida prizes, including one-year-supplies of Tropicana (in the form of twelve 59 oz Tropicana Pure Premium containers) and a trip to Florida to visit an orange grove. Ninety-nine winners will get a one-year supply of orange juice in the form of twelve coupons for (12) 59 oz Tropicana Pure Premium® containers. One winner will get a trip to a Florida orange grove and invite three (3) guests for: Round-trip airfare for four (4) to Florida, three (3) night stay at a Florida hotel.The winner will have an exclusive experience at experience at a Florida orange grove. For official rules and regulations, visit the “sweeps” tab on Tropicana’s Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/Tropicana


I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Tropicana blogging program, to earn My SocialMoms Rewards Points. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own. To read more posts on this topic, click here.

March 18, 2012

Home Organization


Do you have trouble with organization?  As the years pass, you might find yourself becoming a pack rat.  What are you going to do with all the stuff you have accumulated?  Perhaps it’s time to weed out the unnecessary items and organize your home.

Home organization is a step-by-step process.  It will take more than a day or even a week to get everything to a manageable level, but once you do staying organized is an easier task.  If you have a family, enlist their help.  They can pitch in and learn a thing or two about controlling clutter in their life. 

1. Start with the high traffic areas.  The living room and kitchen are usually the two most used rooms in the house.  Everything gets dropped on a counter or the couch in these two places.  Concentrate on getting everything set up the way that you like it before moving on to another room.

2. Use storage containers.  Over the years, the style of storage containers has upgraded to be pretty as well as functional.  Instead of storing containers in stacks in the garage, purchase ones that match your décor in each room and integrate them so that no one would even notice they were being used for storage.

3. Divide items into categories.  You can use heavy duty trash bags for this part.  Everything that you find can go into a pile: KEEP, THROW AWAY, GIVE AWAY, and RELOCATE.  Items that will stay in that room are to keep.  Things that you don’t need or are broken can be thrown away.  Clothes or furniture still in great condition can be donated and scheduled for pickup by the Salvation Army or Goodwill.  Anything that definitely belongs in another room can be labeled for relocation when you get to that room.

4. Remove everything from drawers and cabinets.  This is a time-consuming process but it is easier to start with an empty space and fill it instead of simply pushing things around.  If you line things up on the counter, someone else can help by putting the items in some type of order.

5. Make use of all of your available space.  In the kitchen, for example, appliances or extra containers can be stored on top of the cabinets provided they don’t extend all the way to the ceiling.  That’s extra storage space without benefit of a storage container.  Also use the top of the refrigerator for cereal boxes and breakfast food like boxes of instant oatmeal or grits.  In the bedroom, shoes and winter clothes can go into flat storage bins that slide easily under the bed or the dresser.

6. Label your containers.  Use tape and a permanent marker to identify the contents of your storage containers.  Avoid writing on the actual container in case they are reused and the contents are changed.  Labeling also makes for easy identification if you decide to sell or give away a container of books or something.  You won’t have to open each container to locate them.

Organizing your entire house takes time.  But, once it is done, returning everything you use to its proper place will maintain that same level of organization.  Now I have to get busy following my own advice!

I found that picture being circulated on Facebook, but no author or owner was listed.

March 15, 2012

Del Monte Fresh Produce Great Giveaway

In an effort to motivate people to get healthy by exercising and eating more fruits and vegetables, Del Monte Fresh Produce will give away 500 pairs of sneakers and 10 Nintendo Wii New Super Mario Bros. Pack game consoles and Wii Zumba Fitness during March to Del Monte Fresh Produce Facebook fans.

The "500 Sneaker March Giveaway," hosted on the Del Monte Fresh Produce Facebook page, will randomly award 500 sneakers to Del Monte Facebook fans who enter the contest and ten (10) Wii packages to people who get two (2) of their friends to sign up.

To Win Sneakers:
Step 1: “Like” Del Monte Fresh Produce by visiting www.facebook/delmontefreshproduce

Step 2: Enter sweepstakes and sign the pledge to make at least half your plate fruits and vegetables and exercise more frequently. You will automatically be entered to win one of 500 pairs of sneakers.

To Win the Nintendo Wii New Super Mario Bros. Pack game console and Wii Zumba Fitness

Step 3: Click on the “Sneaker Giveaway” tab then the “Invite Friends” to share news about the giveaway with your friends.

Step 4: Get just two (2) friends to enter the sweepstakes and you will be automatically entered to win the Nintendo Wii New Super Mario Bros. Pack game console and Wii Zumba Fitness

All entrants will be encouraged to sign a pledge to exercise at least three times a week for thirty minutes and, as the USDA recommends, make half their plate fruits and vegetables.

Del Monte Fresh Produce is committed to providing consumers with quality fresh fruits and vegetables, which are key components in leading a healthy lifestyle. The "500 Sneaker March Giveaway" was created as a way to encourage Del Monte Fresh Produce fans to exercise as well.

For more information, please visit: www.facebook.com/delmontefreshproduce

This was posted to notify you of a great giveaway. I am to receive some coupons for posting this.

March 12, 2012

What Shelter Dog Is Right For You



What Shelter Dog Is Right For You
Guest Post by Rob Toledo

So you have done it. You have made the decision to add a member to your family by adopting a shelter dog. Not only will you gain ‘man’s best friend’, you will also be saving a dog by giving them a loving and caring family. Almost all puppies are as cute as they can be making it tempting to take one home on impulse. It is important to consider the various personalities that dogs are likely to take on and how those personalities will fit in your home.

Dog shelters have a somewhat random selection of breeds making it difficult to find a specific breed on any given day. It is important to consider the variety of aspects of each individual breed. We highly recommend reading up on specific breeds you are interested in, considering dog insurance for to ensure quality veterinary care, and doing several visits to get a good feel for each individual dog’s personality. But with that in mind, here are some tips on selecting the perfect lovable breed to fit your personality.

The Fun Stuff
There are many things to consider when picking the right dog. Here are some fun personality traits and breeds that have them to help you pick your ideal pet from the shelter.

Playfulness - You can have a lot of fun with pets, but some are more playful than others. Here are 3 top playful breeds.
• Labradors
• Golden Retrievers
• Boxer

Fast Learner - Having an intelligent dog can take out a lot of the stress of training a dog. Not to mention, you can teach them all kinds of cool tricks!
• German Shepherd
• Collie
• Toy Poodle

Affection - If you love the cute cuddly dogs, then consider a breed that is known for being friendly and affectionate. Some breeds just typically won’t work as lap dogs.
• Brittany
• Beagle
• Cocker Spaniel


Type of Home
Where you live and what type of home you own or rent will have a big impact on your new best friend. If you are living in an apartment, the types of breeds that will flourish and be happy are very different from those that have access to a back yard. Here are a few tips on picking the right dog for your house.

Apartment - If you live in an apartment, consider adopting a smaller breed of dog that doesn’t typically require as much exercise.
• Basset Hound
• Chihuahua
• English Bulldog

House - Houses with backyards are great for larger dogs and those that need a large open area to run around and explore.
• Bloodhound
• Greyhound
• Pointer

Other pets or family
Some dogs play well with others, some are more reclusive. If you have children, roommates, other pets, or other family living with you, consider what types of breeds will fit best living with all of those people. It might be your puppy, but it will still interact with everyone in the house.

Good with children - If you have children, picking a dog that is child-friendly is important to ensure that you don’t run into any problems. Here are some breeds that play well with children.
• Miniature Schnauzer
• Irish Setter
• Pointer

Friendly with other animals - If you have other pets of any kind, or neighbors and family members with pets, consider breeds that are good at socializing. Here are a few good ones that you can find at a shelter.
• American Foxhound
• Basset Hound
• Cockapoo

Finding the right dog for you can be a challenging process, but adopting from a shelter is one of the best decisions you can make. Don’t get discouraged, there are plenty of lovable dogs that all have a unique personality just waiting for an owner like you.

Rob Toledo is a shelter advocate, urges dog owners consider pet insurance and hopes to one day have at least ten dogs in his family. Marty, the dog in the picture, was one of the shelter dogs who has been placed in an amazing home with three kids who have plenty of time to play with him out in their big yard. =)

March 6, 2012

Crayola "Inside the Crayon Box" Live Facebook Chat


The first "Inside the Crayon Box" live chat is Wednesday, March 7 at 9 p.m. EST. Join Crayola and musician, children´s author and mom, Lisa Loeb for a 45-minute live streaming video chat on the Crayola Facebook Page. Lisa, best-known for her number one hit "Stay (I Missed You)," will share as personal stories, practical advice and ways she brings a little creative play into every day for her daughter. We want to hear from you - participants can ask Lisa questions during the event, too!
Interested in the topics to be covered during the chat?
  • Why Does Creativity Matter? Creativity is not about who´s the best artists or becoming an architect. It´s a way of thinking that encourages kids´ original ideas and develops their confidence.
  • Growing Up Creative. Lisa will share stories about growing up in a home where creativity was encouraged.
  • Simple Tips. Easy Ideas. Like most moms, Lisa juggles a lot. She´ll share simple, easy ways she sparks her daughter´s creativity as part of their daily routine
  • Creativity matters: It´s a skill that all children can learn and when it´s practiced every day, kids become the critical thinkers, problem solvers, and leaders in the classroom, and they´re better prepared for professions of the 21st century.
    Crayola wants every child to be creatively alive, so they´re inviting parents "Inside the Crayon Box," for a special live chat with celebrities and trusted parenting experts that will inspire and spark ideas to expand your child´s creative thinking. If you find yourself looking for new ways to inspire your children to express their ideas and build their creativity, you´ll want to join us to learn and share!

Also, be sure to check out Lisa´s book Lisa Loeb´s Silly Sing-Along: The Disappointing Pancake and Other Zany Songs (Sterling Children´s Books, 2011) available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Sing, laugh, and play with pop Lisa in this fabulous collection of ten of the silliest songs ever. Fun activities, games, and recipes accompany whimsical songs. Take Lisa's Silly Sing-Along with you wherever you go and get the high-spirited good times started. Includes a 10-song CD recorded by Lisa!

This information was provided by Crayola through MyBlogSpark. I did not receive any reimbersement for posting this.

March 5, 2012

Dining on a Dime Recipes and Sale



Homemade Baking Mix Recipes
by Tawra Kellam
http://www.LivingOnADime.com

Baking Mix
9 cups flour
2/3 cup dry milk
3 Tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
1 cup shortening or 1/2 shortening and 1/2 butter*
Mix flour and other dry ingredients. Cut in shortening. Use a mixer on low to cut in the shortening to save time. Store in an airtight container up to 6 months. This recipe uses a 5-pound sack of flour when doubled.
*Refrigerate if using butter.


Baking Mix Pancakes
2 1/4 cups baking mix
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups water
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Mix ingredients until moist. The batter should be lumpy. Cook on a hot greased griddle. Flip when bubbles break on the surface and the edges begin to dry. Makes 15-18 medium pancakes.

Baking Mix Biscuits
2 1/4 cups baking mix
2/3 cup water or milk
Mix lightly until dough forms a ball. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead 10-12 times. Roll dough about 1/2 inch thick. Cut with a 2-inch cutter or the rim of a glass dipped in flour. Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes on an ungreased cookie sheet. For drop biscuits, use 1 cup water and drop by tablespoonfuls onto a baking sheet. Makes one dozen.
*For cheese biscuits, add 1/4 cup cheddar cheese.

Baking Mix Muffins
2 1/4 cup baking mix
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Mix dry baking mix and sugar. Add egg, water and vegetable oil to dry ingredients. Mix only enough to moisten flour. The batter will be lumpy. Fill greased muffin tins two-thirds full. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
*For an added surprise fill muffin cup halfway and then add a spoonful of jelly. Top with more batter. Add raisins, cinnamon or nuts for gourmet muffins. Makes 12-15 muffins.

Butterfly Ring
2 1/2 cups baking mix
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
Grease a jellyroll sheet and preheat over to 375. Mix first four ingredients until well blended. Dough will be sticky. Knead on a lightly floured surface 18 times. Roll out into an 11x14 inch rectangle. Spread butter on the dough, then the filling on the dough. Serves 12.

Filling
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup nuts (optional)
1/2 cup cherry jelly (raspberry, strawberry or any other jam or jelly will work)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. flour
Add the ingredients to the melted butter. Blend until smooth. If necessary, heat jelly 30 seconds in the microwave if you need to make it smooth. Spread filling onto dough. Roll the dough lengthwise and seal the edges by pinching them together. Form into a circle on the jellyroll pan. Cut 4 to 5 slits in the top to release steam. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool and frost with butter cream frosting.

Breakfast Puffs
2 cups baking mix
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 24 mini muffin cups. Mix baking mix, sugar, nutmeg, margarine, milk and egg. Beat vigorously for 30 seconds. Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full. Bake 10 minutes. Mix sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Quickly roll the puffs in melted margarine, then in the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Makes 24 puffs.


Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will help you save money on groceries and get out of debt by cooking quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips and recipes visit http://www.LivingOnADime.com, sign up for the free Living On A Dime Newsletter and learn to save more!

Living On A Dime is having a sale with 50% off of Dining On A Dime and Keeping it Clean! The sale lasts through Monday, March 12. I have been a happy customer, and I love their books, so I became an affiliate. The article and recipes were reprinted with permission.

March 3, 2012

Preparing for Tornados



Our hearts go out to everyone affected in the recent tornado outbreaks. We aren't even in what is the usual "tornado season" which is from March to May here in Indiana. I wanted to review preparation for tornados.
First thing is to Be Aware.
Do you have a weather radio? I have the MIDLAND WR300 Weather Radio. It has worked well for me, and the alarm goes off when severe weather is expected in my area. You could also listen to a local radio station or television channel.

Tornado Watch - means tornadoes are possible. Remain alert, watch the sky, and listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.

Tornado Warning - means a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately!

According to ready.gov you should look for the following danger signs:
•Dark, often greenish sky
•Large hail
•A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
•Loud roar, similar to a freight train.
•If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared take shelter immediately.

The next thing is to Be Prepared.
Have your emergency kit and a family communications plan. You can build your own emergency kit, or get one of the commercially available kits. Know where to go in case of a tornado warning.

The following recommendations are from ready.gov.
If you are in:
A structure (e.g. residence, small building, school, nursing home, hospital, factory, shopping center, high-rise building)
•Go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck.
•In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
•Do not open windows.

A vehicle, trailer, or mobile home
•Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.

Outside with no shelter
•Lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential for flooding.
•Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
•Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
•Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.

I hope this info was helpful. I did enclose some affiliate links if you need to purchase some supplies.

February 28, 2012

Udi’s Gluten Free Product Review

I was recently sent a box of Udi's products for review. I was so excited because there were many delicious looking products in the box. I don't think my kids ever looked in the box. :) In case you had not heard of them previously, Udi’s Gluten Free Foods is the #1 gluten free baked goods brand. They revolutionized the category when it introduced the first gluten-free bread that tastes and looks like “real” bread.

Gluten is a found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species (ex: barley and rye). Between 0.5 and 1.0 percent of people in the United States are sensitive to gluten due to Celiac disease, and many other people are sensitive to gluten. Because of that many people are on gluten free
diets. Can you imagine not being able to eat bread or muffins? Perish the thought!
My favorite were the blueberry muffins. They had a wonderful blueberry taste and were just the right texture. I really could not tell that they were gluten free. Definitely the blueberry muffins are one to try even if you are not on a gluten free diet.
I was also sent these 2 different types of their granola: Gluten Free Cranberry Granola and Gluten Free Au Naturel Granola. They were made with certified gluten free oats. Both of the granola mixes were tasty. It was crunchy with just the right amount of sweetness.

Udi's
is available at Kroger, Publix, Whole Foods, and other stores including 150 WalMarts. Walmart will carry 5 of Udi’s best-selling products (soft white bread, soft whole grain bread, plain bagels, chocolate chip cookies, and pizza crust) in the bakery department. To find Udi's products at a store near you, you can use their Store Locator.

I received the products as noted for review. My opinions are my own. I did not receive any compensation for this post.

February 23, 2012

Clorox Clean-Up Recipes for Fun

Can you believe it is already the end of February?  Where does the time go?  Next month will be Spring Break, then before long it will be summer.   My kids love days off school, but then they complain “I’m bored!”   Sometimes I struggle with ideas to keep them busy and not sitting in front of the television.

I wanted to tell you about a fun site called Clorox Clean-Up Recipes for Fun.   They have many cute ideas for fun in the following categories:   Wacky Science, Arts and Crafts, Kiddie Cooking, and Creative Cooking. There are many ideas I want to try.

These are some of the Recipes for Fun I saw:

Wacky Science:  Volcanic Eruption, Bouncing Eggs, Bending Straws, and Disappearing Ink.
Have fun and learn about science at the same time.

Arts and Crafts:   Awesome Play Dough, Homemade Cards, Candy Necklace, and Pinecone Birdfeeders.
Let them express their artistic sides!

Kiddie Cooking:   Crescent Dogs, Going bananas, Easy Tortilla Pizza, and Kids Trail Mix.
Foods kids will love to make and eat!

Creative Cooking:   Egg in a Hole, Crystal String, No Bake Cookies, and Quick Peach Cobbler. Mostly Mom Made treats for kids. (mmm…..)

I remember making No Bake Cookies the first time in Home Ec class. Do they even teach that in schools anymore? My kids haven’t had a Home Ec class yet, but they are learning about ionic bonds! At school they didn’t learn how to sew on a button or cook an egg, but they can multiply fractions. But I digress….
I have a very easy recipe that kids love:

Pigs in a Blanket
Wrap hot dogs or Vienna sausages in Pillsbury roll dough and bake as listed on the dough package.
I told you it was easy!

Also Clorox is having an Ultimate Mess Party Sweepstakes. You can sign up for a chance to win $10,000 toward an Ultimate Mess Party. You could win just by registering or sharing a recipe. You can get a coupon for $1.00 off Clorox® Clean-Up®. If you share a recipe you will receive 10 extra grand prize entries. Also, you have a chance to win instantly everyday. You could instantly win a FREE Clorox® Clean-Up® coupon or a $100 gift card by just viewing recipes. “NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.) 18 years and older. Ends 3/27/12.”

Check out all the fun ideas and enter the sweepstakes on Clorox Clean-Up Recipes for Fun. Now my kids won’t have a reason to complain about how “bored’ they are.


I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Clorox Clean-Up Recipes for Fun blogging program, for 8,000 My SocialMoms Rewards Points. For more information on this program, click here and see the Terms link.

February 20, 2012

Progresso Souper You Contest and Giveaway


My New Year's resolution was to lose 20 pounds. I haven't been working on it much, but I really want to lose the 20 pounds. I was given the opportunity to try Progresso Soup. The soups are really tasty and low calorie to get me working on my weight loss goals.

They have 40 delicious soups with 100 calories or less per serving. Progresso soups are packed with hearty ingredients like pasta, beans, rice, meat and vegetables that suit your taste buds and make you feel good about including it in your meal choices.

I wanted to let you know about this great contest to win a makeover.

Progresso® is excited to announce the return of their Souper You® Contest giving you the chance to win an incredible makeover! By telling Progresso why you deserve a makeover and what you love about their soup, you could have the chance to win an ultimate makeover experience in Hollywood this Spring! That sounds wonderful!

You could win:
an ultimate makeover experience in Hollywood; this includes a trip for 2 to Los Angeles, California where the winner will receive a head-to-toe makeover including hair and makeup, guided shopping spree with a $1,000 fashion retailer gift card, $1,000 spending money and 2 tickets to this season´s live finale of NBC´s The Biggest Loser

To enter visit http://www.souperyou.com/ and submit your photo with a brief essay about why you love Progresso soups and why you deserve a makeover, by no later than February 22nd.Fans can check back on March 12th for the announcement of the top ten finalists, and to vote for their favorite finalist until March 25th .Also, tune into The Biggest Loser on NBC Tuesdays at 8/7c.


Progresso and MyBlogSpark have given me the opportunity to host a giveaway.
The winner´s Progresso "Souper You" prize pack will contain:
(2) VIP Coupons for Progresso Soup
(1) copy of "The Biggest Loser" Workout DVD



February 19, 2012

How to Build Communication Bridges with Your Teen

Raising a child doesn’t come with a book of instructions. If it did, the task would be much easier. Facing the teenage years with your son or daughter is not something most parents look forward to. This article will help you take the experience one day at a time and learn how to bridge the communication gap.

As your child goes from toddler to youngster to tween to teenager, something in what you say gets lost in translation. They can give you that blank stare as if the words that are coming out of your mouth sound like the unseen teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoons. "Wha, wha, wha, wha, wha"

It’s not easy to improve the communication bridges with a teen but it’s important to try to get through as these years and the choices they make now will have a vital impact on their future.

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

1. Watch your body language. How you move says a lot about you. When a person is tired, they tend to slump. When angered, your jaw muscles tighten and your eyes narrow into slits. Believe it or not, teenagers are good at interpreting body language. Yours will betray you when you are talking to them. Keep it open and honest. Avoid sitting with your arms crossed, eyes looking away from them or squirming in your seat.

2. Make eye contact. When you don’t look at the person you are talking to it says that you are either hiding something or you are not at all interested in what they have to say. Your teenager will shut down emotionally when they suspect that you are not “tuned in” to them. Sit comfortably and give your teen undivided attention with consistent eye contact. It lets them know that you care.

3. Keep your emotions in check. Remember back to when you were a teenager. Some of the things you said to your parents were aimed at freaking them out. Teenagers will push your buttons if they can. Don’t go overboard and get upset. Their target is the situations they know make you mad. Instead, take a deep breath and ignore the taunt. Do the opposite of what they expect because really, they want you to see through their ploy and find out the real problem.

4. Ask them about their day. This technique works with spouses also. Even if your teen only grunts or says the obligatory, “It was okay,” ask anyway. Your show of caring will go a long way to convince them that you are interested in the things that they do and how they feel.

5. Be honest with them. If you don’t understand the situation they are talking about then say so. Kids know when you are being insincere. Discuss the situation until you get an idea of where they are coming from. Your teen won’t mind explaining as long as they know you are listening.

6. Allow them their privacy. This one is tricky and since you know your child better than anyone else, you can draw the line. Teens value their time alone. While the policy in your home may be that there are no locks on the doors, always show respect by knocking before entering. If they don’t want to be pressed about a situation in school, wait until they are ready (if it’s not urgent) and then talk about it.

Parenting a teenager takes a tough skin, a willingness to be vulnerable and lots of love. You will make mistakes but whatever you do, don’t ever stop talking.

February 18, 2012

Zenni Optical Buy 2 Pairs Get 1 Free


Zenni Optical is running a great promotion. Buy 2 pairs get the 3rd pair free! Can you believe you can get $6.95 prescription eyeglasses? The regular prices are very good, but now this deal can't be beat!

All glasses include the following for FREE!:
Anti-scratch Coating
Full UV Protection
Protective Case
Microfiber Cleaning Cloth
Thin and Light 1.57 Index Single Vision Lens

They have many cute, affordable eyeglasses. They have full rim, half rim, even rimless frame eyeglasses. You can get most any eyeglasses including those with bifocal or progressive lenses. They can be tinted to suit your style for only $4.95. I really like these:

They have a unique way to virtually "try on" the glasses before you buy using their Zenni Frame Fit™. It was easy to upload my photo and see how I looked in different pairs of glasses. You can compare up to four frames at once with the Zenni Frame Fit™ compare tool.

My picture was not centered, but you get the idea. :)

Check out this great deal at Zenni Optical.
You can also connect with them on social media.
Follow Zenni Optical on Facebook
Follow Zenni Optical on twitter

This post was sponsored, but all opinions are my own.

February 8, 2012

Cooking with Kids and Uncle Ben


Like most mothers, I am always looking for ways to get my kids to eat healthier. They would go to McD's every day if I let them. I know it is important for the family to eat meals together. Luckily, none of us have any food allergies. My kids are just picky eaters. I was asked to share my tips for cooking healthy meals with kids.

Well, that was easier said than done. My kids won't eat casseroles, but that can be a great way to get some veggies in their diets. The 2 veggies I can get them to eat are green beans and corn. I found out recently that studies show that when you begin preparing your meal with rice, you end up with a meal that's better for you. That is great because we love rice.

Letting the children help with meal preparation makes it more likely they will eat the meal. They can measure items, stir the bowl, toss the salad, etc. Some families have a "One Spoon Rule" where they have to at least try one spoonful of everything that is served. I wish I would have done that when my kids were younger. Do you have any tips about how to get kids to eat healthier? I need more ideas.

I wanted to tell you about a contest by Uncle Ben. "We all have busy schedules, and families are constantly challenged to find enough quality time to spend together. Uncle Ben’s is encouraging families to get in the kitchen to cook and eat together to connect, one meal at a time. As a strong supporter of healthy eating and family togetherness, Uncle Ben’s is also helping parents establish healthy beginnings in their children’s lives."

Uncle Ben’s has launched an exciting national contest called Ben’s Beginners! By entering the contest, you could win $20,000, along with a $50,000 grant towards a cafeteria makeover for your child’s school!!! Also, you will have a chance to appear on The Rachael Ray show! Do you have children ages 5-12? To enter you need to submit a 2-3 minute video of you cooking a rice-based dish with your children. For more info on the contest, please check out Ben’s Beginners on Facebook.


I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Uncle Ben’s blogging program, for 6,000 My SocialMoms Rewards Points. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

February 3, 2012

Swagbucks Collector's Bills



Swagbucks is releasing a new set of Collector's Bills just in time for Valentine's Day - 5 romantic reminders worth different amounts of reward points. Collect them all and get 14 Bonus Swag Bucks to use towards your free stuff! The bills come out at midnight PT on Monday and will be available only through Search until 11:59pm PT on Valentine's Day. Good luck!

February 2, 2012

February 1, 2012

Tips for Potty Training Boys

Do you think boys are harder to potty train? That is the theory. My nephew, who is 2 years and 4 months, doesn't have any interest in the potty yet.

I saw a good post on Social Moms that I wanted to share about potty training boys. There are many good tips.

Ten Tips for Potty Training Boys

January 31, 2012

Planning and Creating your Garden

Planning and Creating your Garden


Author: Cristian Stan


We all love to have a creative and personalized atmosphere outside. If you have a patio or courtyard perhaps you are trying to find creative decorating ideas to give it a more relaxed and comfortable feeling. Regardless of the size of your home you can give it a high quality and look design to it while being within a budget.

Planning Your Garden
One of the first things you need to do is plan your garden. What do you want to get from your garden? Are you interested in growing fruits or vegetables or just having a flower garden? There are a number of options and you can even opt for growing herbs. Consider the space you are going to have set aside for your garden as this plays a huge role in what you grow or create.

Make sure it’s not going to be cluttered and free from things being in the way. You want it to be a garden and a centerpiece as well as a conversation piece. Consider sitting down in the area to see what kind of feel it gives and determine if you want it to be a place for dining as well as entertaining.

Are you interested in placing a fountain in your garden? If you do, you are going to need to get a professional involved for the plumbing of your fountain. Do you want wind chimes as well for light music when the wind blows?

Creating Your Small Garden
Once you have taken the time to think about what you want from your garden as well as the purpose it will have, it’s time to start building it. You need to consider what you are going to use to hold your plants in. Are you going to use porcelain or plastic pots? There are wooden ones as well as clay o cast iron planters to choose from to fit your garden’s appearance.

You want to determine the location for your plants as well as what plants you want. Make sure they are going to be in ideal growing conditions as some plants require more sun and others are not going to require much at all.

Consider the type of soil you want to have in your garden as well. You should use a soil that is going to provide for your plants. You need to keep your plants watered as well. There are some soils that help retain moisture and these are often better for those who have hectic lifestyles. Having your own garden can take a lot of work and if done properly, can become a focal point of your yard. Consider adding in some color to your garden and try to steer clear of same colored flowers. This can add more volume and can allow you to have a garden that is unique and truly your very own.