Monday, October 31, 2011

Rite Aid Voluntarily Recalls 12 oz. Tins of Rich Fields Butter Cookies


Rite Aid Voluntarily Recalls 12 oz. Tins of Rich Fields Butter Cookies

Rite Aid has initiated a voluntary chainwide recall of approximately 85,000 tins of butter cookies distributed by Rite Aid under the Rich Fields brand name because of the possibility of contamination with Bacillus cereus. This microorganism may cause diarrhea, nausea and/or vomiting; however, the possibility of serious adverse health consequences is remote.

This recall affects only 12 oz. tins featuring either a decorative castle or Christmas designs and sold exclusively in Rite Aid stores. Affected products can be identified by the UPC codes 01249596519 and 88411804619 located directly beneath the bar code on the bottom of each tin. No other Rich Fields or Rite Aid brand products are affected by this voluntary recall.

The recall was initiated after the company conducted quality testing on the affected product because of an uncharacteristic odor. Customers should not eat the cookies and can return them to any Rite Aid store for a full refund. Information regarding the recall is available online at www.RiteAid.com1 or by calling 1-800-RITE-AID Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST and Saturday from 9:30 to 6 p.m. EST.

Rite Aid also is contacting customers who purchased the affected products using their wellness+ loyalty card in order to inform them of the recall.

For photos of included products click here

Home Security Tips you Can Teach your Kids


Home Security Tips you Can Teach your Kids


Unfortunately we live in a world where security needs to be taken seriously. Our society is very security conscious and this is supported by the large quantities of security products that are sold throughout the world.
Making sure your children know basic home security tips and are aware of what to do in the case of an emergency is an area that no parent would like to think of, however, knowing that your children would know what to do in the case of an emergency can give you peace of mind. Home security tips such as who to ring in an emergency are just as important as teaching your children not to touch the hot stove or to play with the electrical points around the house. 

Preparation is an important part of prevention so take a moment to read through some home security tips that you should teach your kids.

Who you Gonna Call?
The most important security tip you can teach your kids is how to use the phone and also what number to call in the event of an emergency. There was a recent story in the papers the mother of a young boy of 6 collapsed in the hallway and the boy instinctively knew to ring the emergency services and explain the situation. It is a great example of how educating your kids can save people lives. Make sure you create a list of emergency contact numbers and place it within reach of each telephone in your house. 

2.       Knock Knock who is there?
“I shouldn’t talk to strangers” is a very popular phrase that is taught to children at a young age. You should inform your kids that this doesn’t just apply to people in public but also when in the home, for instance answering the door. Dependent on the age of your kids, they may or may not be old enough to open the door BUT those that are old enough should always remember to use the chain so that they remain safe. Make sure they ask who the person is if their face is not familiar and most importantly to never inform anyone that their parents are not in even if they are not. 

3.       Social Network Protection
Security in the home should also take into account protecting your family from threats online. More and   more young kids are taking to the internet to set up accounts on social networks and unfortunately there are many criminals who fraudulently try to befriend young children into giving up their personal details. You need to teach your children never meet anyone in person that they've communicated with online only and that they should only communicate with people they already know.

4.       Fire
Creating family plans can help kids remember what to do in the case of specific events. In the event of a fire it is always good to be prepared so that the kids know basic rules such as keep as low to the ground as possible and also the quickest and safest ways out of the home. Try and make the plan fun so that the kids are motivated to learn.

5.      Secure all Entry Points

This may seem dull but just like the fire drills you can make any chore exciting and fun for kids if you know how. You can set up a race to see who can check all windows; upstairs versus downstairs is always an event that brings a smile to a child’s face. Learning through play is a well-supported theory for educating kids and it is important for children to know just how important it is that all entry point in a home are secure. The most recent survey showed that the windows and doors of a home account for 25% and 73% of the entry point of all burglaries respectively.

This article was brought to you by Yale home alarm systems. Yale are committed to educating customers about how they can protect their home and take pride in being the world’s best known security company. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Student gift ideas


Student gift ideas

You’ve been dreading it since they were born; it just feels like yesterday that you were changing their nappy, but there comes the time when parents must let their children loose on the big bad world. When kids move out of the family home to move to university it’s can be difficult for a parent to let them go. Parents need to support and prepare them for their life journey and the best way to support a student (as most will tell you) is to buy them something that will be extremely useful. I have come up with a list of gifts that I either received or wished I had received when I was at university. I hope that this will give you ideas and inspiration when you’re thinking of what to get when shopping for the little darlings.


The first gift idea I want to mention was extremely loyal to me through my years at university and in fact is still going strong today, is the George Foreman lean mean grilling machine. Not only are these grills terrific for preparing fast, low-fat meals, you can also buy them in a range of sizes starting with single grills right up to grills that cater for up to a party of ten. The double-sided grilling plates heat in just five minutes which make the grill convenient to a student’s busy lifestyle. The grill’s high grooves allow the fat to drip off as the meat cooks and collect it in a plastic tray. A grooved spatula allows you to scrape off items of fat that get stuck on the surface of the grill. These grills are perfect for everyone as the can prepare anything from meat, vegetables to even deserts (try the grilled bananas filled with chocolate and honey). You can always make sure your children are well feed with the lean mean fat grilling machine. Even the most useless of cooks can whip themselves up something nutritious and just under a matter of minutes. The grill can also help save a fortune by saving on all those unhealthy takeouts that students tend to feed on.


Next on my list and one of the most important is the humble corkscrew. Many a night has been destroyed by the lack of this device in many student homes across the country. Shoes, screwdrivers, wooden spoons, pens, knives and anything that was long and skinny have all been used in a frantic effort to reach the goodness inside the bottle, leaving horrible bits of cork and worst case scenario glass floating around in your glass. There is a wide range of corkscrews out there, from the ridiculously cheap to the absolute absurdly over priced, traditional to the modern, comical to the sophisticated there’s a corkscrew out there for everyone.


I have never had one but was always jealous of my friends who did. Mini fridges can be one of the coolest gifts to give. Not only are these little machines extremely useful for storing food they also extremely important for chilling those all important beers, wines and spirits that are very much needed for those all important student parties. Mini fridges are one of the students must have luxury items. Another reason mini fridges are great is because let’s face it, at university food goes missing from the shared fridge all the time so mini fridges are great for keeping all the food and drink you want to keep for yourself safely and freshly locked in your bedroom.


Another little cool contraption that I always wanted but never actually managed to buy myself was a fondue set. They are amazing and extremely handy when trying to impress new flatmates, friends or potential partners. I was very impressed when a friend of mine had prepared it. The recipes are really cheap, easy to make and go down a treat. There’s nothing better than an intimate party and dipping tasty chunks into a communal pot of melted cheese or chocolate.




A gift idea which is also extremely thoughtful to buy a loved one is a digital photo frame. These are an excellent gift idea for students especially those who have had to move away from home. If you would like to make it a little bit extra special, I would suggest that you fill the frame with lots of photos of family and friends. That means then that the student can always see their family whenever they are feeling really homesick and lonely. Something tells me that your loved one will really appreciate this lovely little gesture.




There are hundreds of gift ideas out there that can make it difficult to choose something your kids will appreciate, but the best advice I can give you is try not to make it boring, buy them something unique, something that will maybe aid them to have a little more fun and allow then to share with others and help them over that first hurdle or moving out of the family home.

Darren is a freelance writer currently living in London and working with the great people at George Foreman lean mean grilling machine to help and promote health grills.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

LeapFrog Party Goers Leaping With Excitement


LeapFrog Party Goers Leaping With Excitement

I recently had the great pleasure of hosting a LeapFrog Learn, Create, and Share Party with my mom's group and their kids.

The Learn, Create and Share party included great LeapFrog products including the LeapFrog Tag Reader with corresponding Interactive World Map and Learn to Read Series 1 book set.  The new LeapPad Explorer Learning Tablet was also in the party kit.  The LeapPad was preloaded with Disney-Pixar Cars 2 Ultra eBook, Roly Poly Picnic game and Letter Factory video plus the included Art Studio, Story Studio and Pet Pad Apps.


It was like Christmas at our house when the LeapFrog party kit arrived.  I could not get the packages open fast enough.  Her eyes about popped out of her head.  I let her test drive the LeapPad (she calls it her iPad).  She picked up the LeapPad apps so quickly and was showing me how to use the LeapPad.
(photo includes items included in our party kit and some of our personal collection of LeapFrog products)

Bean received a Tag reader last year for Christmas and we use it on a regular basis.  Shhh, don't tell her but we have a Map already in the Christmas present stash, luckily the one that came with the party kit was a different one than we already have.  They are great learning tools.  My daughter recently started singing her days of the week and to my surprise she actually got them right (she learned them from the back of the Handy Manny Tag Reader book). 

We started the party off with with some color pages provided by LeapFrog and MomSelect.  This was a great way for the kids to start the fun while waiting for everyone to arrive.  Then we introduced the Tag Reader.  Many of the kids were already familiar with the reader but the World Map was a huge hit and the Learn to Read series was great for the younger guests.  The older kids enjoyed the fun Map Race Challenge.  We moved on to some fun games of Frog, Frog, Toad (otherwise known as Duck, Duck Goose) followed buy some crazy fun LeapFrog Limbo.  Next we brought out the big gun and hit of the party, the LeapFrog LeapPad.

The LeapPad explorer is a personalized learning table just for kids with a built-in camera and video recorder.  It offers a limitless learning and endless play through a library of 100+ cartridge games and activities with innovative creativity and reading apps.

Overall everyone at the party had a ton of fun.  I received many comments from the adult guests about how great LeapFrog products are and how wonderful it is that their children are having so much fun while learning. The kids, no surprise, had a blast at the Learn, Create, and Share Party.  The room was full of excited voices exclaiming "cool", "awesome", "wow", and "fun".  I might be over thirty but I am sure those are all still good things!

You can find out more about about all the great products mentioned above as well as many more by visiting the Leap Frog website, liking them on Facebook or following them on Twitter


**Disclosure: I received free LeapFrog products in order to host a Learn, create, and Share party.  LeapFrog did not influence my opinions expressed here as a result.**

Xia-Xia: Collectible Hermit Crabs Review and Giveaway


Xia-Xia: Collectible Hermit Crabs Review and Giveaway

From the makers of Zhu-Zhu pets and Dagedar come the next Hottest Holiday Toy!

About Xia-Xia
Welcome to a place where every day is Carnival with Xia-Xia (pronounced Shah-Shah), new colorful, collectible hermit crabs.  Xia-Xia combine the lovable charm of a real hermit crab but add a twist of imagination.  Each Xia-Xia comes with a candy colored shell in which kids can find a little friend hidden inside.  Additional shells can be purchased so children can style their Xia-Xia in their favorite fashions.  For an added bonus, each additional shell contains two little friends.  Xia-Xia have colorful playsets, bringing alive a world of color, magic and imagination for kids to enjoy.





Meet the Xia-Xia Crabs:
Turks~

She is sweet and bubbly, Turks has a red shell and girly pink bows, making her a cute companion!
Trinidad~
With his dazzling, bright orange and yellow swirled shell, Trinidad loves to dance. Press his claw and watch him skitter scatter in a fun parade! 
  
Bimini~
Her pink polka-dot and stripped shell, Bimini loves to strut her stuff in different shell fashions!
Tobago~
His rough-and-tumble blue exterior and happy grin, Tobago is always dancing to the Xia-Xia samba!

There are also 3 playsets available to round out the fun! 




 
Rio de Trio Village: With fun, colorful decor and a bonus of three rooms, Xia-Xia can skitter scatter back and forth through the set.









 Confetti Cottage: an adorable home for Xia-Xia, the confetti cottage even doubles as a carrier so kids can take Xia-Xia on the go, and it connects with the Copacabana playset.










 Copacabana Playset: A perfect place for Xia-Xia to scurry and slide, this playset even connects with the Confetti Cottage so kids can build their own Xia-Xia world.








Over Thirty Mommy's Thoughts

Wiggle Bean (she actually told me she is not a bean any more, I about cried) fell in love with Xia-Xia the moment it arrived.  She was jumping all over the room begging me to open up all the boxes.  Unfortunately for her it was getting close to nap time so she did not get to play with them just yet.  While she was napping I opened up everything and got it all ready for her to play with when she woke up.

She was so excited when she got up and saw it all laid out in the living room waiting for her (she was still a little groggy, hence the sleepy eyes).  She loved every little thing about the Xia-Xia's.  I let her play with the little friends that come with each crab and shell for the first day but then put them away since she is a little young for them and I wanted to make sure to have them available for the party.

Bean played with the little crabs for well over an hour before I pulled her away for other activities.  Her favorite play set is the Confetti Cottage, she loves toting around a crab or two and even took it to share day at her preschool.

The Xia-Xia  set remains set up right in the middle of the living room because she play with it every day and shows off her crabbies to everyone that visits us.  

Overall I think these are great toys.  They are brightly colored and exciting for children.  There are some small pieces that are not suitable for really young children but you can easily put those up out of the way and play with the crabs and playsets.

We received 4 crabs, two each of Turks and Tobago, four extra Shells, and the three playsets.  The extra shells are a great way to make the same crab look different so she thinks she has 4 different crabs.  

There will definitely be more Xia-Xia crabs on her stocking stuffer wish list this year.


Xia-Xia Giveaway!

PRIZE:  One winner will receive a Xia-Xia Crab and a Xia-Xia Shell

How to Enter:
  • This giveaway is open to U.S. Residents, 18 years or older.
  • GIVEAWAY ENDS 11/13/11 at 12:01 AM EST






Disclosure:  I was provided with free product as part of a promotional program with Xia-Xia and MomSelect.  As always, this review contains my hones opinions.

How to Keep the Kids Entertained While Outdoors


How to Keep the Kids Entertained While Outdoors


You really should encourage your children to play outside, even if it is raining.  Not only is the fresh air good for them they should get plenty of Vitamin D, which they get from sunlight, which can help stop from them from getting sick.  During summer when it is really hot make sure they have somewhere shaded to play, and even on rainy days there is a retractable awning that they can shelter under.  Finish off your outdoor area with some attractive stone tiles.

Riding Bikes

If you have a large enough garden you can make a track that your children can ride around and even make a jump out of dirt, boys in particular will love this.  Kids are happy to ride their bikes anywhere and if you live in a quiet street or court then they can ride out the front of the house.  Make sure they wear their helmet.

Sand Pit

Sand pits are great to play in outdoors and young children especially enjoy getting covered in sand.  Give them buckets and spades to make sand castles and also encourage them to make roads where they can drive their toy cars and trucks.  During summer add a bit of water.

Finger Painting

Children love getting dirty and finger painting is a great way of doing this as well as being creative.  You can buy child size easels and then you can peg up some large pieces of butchers paper for them to paint on. Give them water based paint which is easy to wash off and it is also non toxic.  They will also need an art smock or an oversized shirt to keep their clothes clean.

Gardening

Teach your children about where their food comes from by planting a vegetable garden.  You don't need to have a big garden or dig a large plot for your children to have fun.  You can plant a few tomato plants, some corn which grows tall quickly and other things like zucchini, pumpkin and carrots.  They can also plant colourful flowers or bulbs before spring which product a gorgeous array of flowers.

Water Play

Set your kids up with buckets and saucepans full of water or you can buy specific water play tables that will hold both water and sand and come with lots of fun gadgets and toys to keep kids amused.  Toddlers enjoy playing with water but make sure that you always supervise children when they are around water.

Blowing Bubbles


This is a good activity for younger children, although you may have to blow the bubbles for them.  Toddlers will love chasing them and watching them float away, as well as trying to pop them.  If you have older children get them to blow them for the little ones.  You can buy bubble mixture otherwise you can make it from dish washing detergent. 

Author Bio: Tom Mallet is an Australian freelance writer and journalist. He writes extensively in Australia, Canada, Europe, and the US. He’s published more than 500 articles about various topics, including retractable awning and stone tiles.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Toddler Toys that Teach


Toddler Toys that Teach

At the young ages, children are sponges that learn everything around them. It is our job as parents to nourish that learning and provide the tools they need to excel later in life. In the busy world we live in, not every parent has the time or opportunity to teach their children the basics needed to prepare them for pre-school and the world ahead. Luckily the child toy industry has provided us with toys that teach. By choosing the proper toys while your child is young, you can effortlessly provide them with a fun tool to prepare them for what’s to come. Whether you are a parent on the go or a stay at home mom looking for fun and educational toys to share with your toddler, these suggestions may give you and your child what they need.

 Pattern Blocks and Boards:
These fun little puzzles are more than a toy. Children build patterns and shapes based on the pre-cut boards using shapes and colors. The interior of the shape is completely hollowed, allowing kids to figure out how to fill it in with the different shapes. Each time they may choose a different pattern or way to fill it in. This is a great toy to teach colors, shapes, spatial recognition and problem solving. With over 100 blocks in 6 different shapes and colors, the combinations and patterns are endless.



Wooden Building Blocks:
I am a child of the 80’s where Lincoln Logs reigned supreme. Today wooden building blocks help children learn about construction and destruction. Kits usually include 60 pieces of varying shapes and sizes, allowing the child’s creativity to take over. Whether they build moderate buildings or extravagant skyscrapers, there are no limits to the architectural designs. This toy is great for teaching building structure, balance, and gravity.

Kids Abacus:
This variation of the classic abacus of the ancient times teaches more than just counting. With different options you can get wooden letter blocks or the classic color beads. The two sided blocks teach children the alphabet, counting, and picture recognition. The classic abacus will teach your child how to count and color recognition.

Doorbell House Play Set:
This cute little house is more than a place to live for the wooden people included. The play set also includes 4 doors, 4 doorbells, and 4 keys. Kids can ring the bells, lock, and unlock each door. This special little house teaches children about fine motor skills, memory and matching. The people included also teach kids about family dynamics and safety as they lock them behind the doors.



 

Pretend and Play Calculator and Cash Register:
With the economy the way it is, you are never too early to learn how to manage money. Giving your child a head start at smart financing is a great way to prepare them for a future of monetary exchange. This cash register comes with a solar powered calculator, life sized dollar bills, plastic coins and even a credit card. It is a great way to teach the young ones about how money and credit works.



There is no doubt we want our children to be prepared for the future. The younger they start the better their chances of getting ahead will be. By choosing the proper toys for your toddler you can assure a future that is brighter, smarter and successful. With Christmas on the approach, now is a great time to get your child on the fast track to learning the skills needed to be a successful adult.

Writer Angie Pomilia is also a content contributor for Brainz, a topical website urging us to learn something new and share it with others -- whether it's a list of the best dollhouses for girls or 14 easy meals every guy should know how to make.

Monday, October 24, 2011

overhead


overhead
Guest post written by my buddy Franklin Davenport

When I decided to cut back my hours at work and work only part-time so that I could spend more time with the children at home, I looked around at our monthly bills to see if I could cut our overhead. There were a few things that I felt that we were over paying for, and I was right. I looked into home security providers and found a provider that offered a much better monitoring rate than the company that we were with. I also looked into our cell phone bill. I put us on a family plan and streamlined the bill. I got unlimited text messaging and data plans and even saved money when I did that! Lastly, I revamped our cable package. I felt like the biggest dummy because I realized that I had been over paying for a lot of things for years. I guess I just never really had the time to notice. I wish that I had caught these things sooner, but now I am sure glad that I did!

Keeping Our Children Safe in the Car


Keeping Our Children Safe in the Car

We would all like to think we are the best parents that we can be. But when I read a blog post some time back it was surprising how it stuck with me longer than most I have read. I thought since it has stuck, it would be a good idea to share it with you.


The topic of the post was something that is important to us all, our children’s safety, specifically while traveling in the car. Traveling can be by car or by plane and the use of proper child restraints. Child restraints while traveling is something that we all know we need, but are we using diligent care? 

The child safety post summarized C-Span forum that he had watched that included experts from major agencies such as the Center for Disease Control, Highway Safety Research, National Transportation Safety Bureau as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics. And we know these folks can back up what their saying. 

The opening statement in the forum was, “If common sense were a reliable guide we wouldn’t need science.”
The video went on to say that even though the number of child deaths in accidents has dropped over the past twenty years, largely due to the work of the NTSB, we still have one child a week, every week, every year that dies in an auto accident. This is not counting those children who are permanently injured. The topic moved to booster seats and how many parents believe they have the use guidelines right and they do not. The author went into something just as terrible, brain damage. I personally had to check his statistics on this because I found it so heart wrenching. 

Here are a few of the things we learned from the video:
·         Our personal choice of what type and how we use child restraints may determine how our children survive an automobile accident. 

·         Vigilant  100% use of child restraints would have saved the 63 children that lost their lives in 2009.
·         Automobiles are the major source of brain injuries right next to falls.

·         Our government has the statistics that prove our babies and toddlers have a higher rate of surviving than our preteens, of course we just put the younger ones right into their child restraints. 

Think about this, the babies survive but the older ones don’t. The reason why is because the most traumatic brain injury is caused by violent contact with doorposts, windshields and windows. A pre-teen that is not wearing a seatbelt or is sitting with a seatbelt that is not properly adjusted is at risk.

How many arguments have you had with your children about staying in a booster seat after they began school?

“Safety is not negotiable”- this is one of the threads on the forum that I watched myself. The discussion was on how parents become educated on the proper use of the child restraints and how to deal with stubborn pre-teens. “Safety is not negotiable,” is a phrase that parents use when dealing with children who try to negotiate their way out of things. 

The Association of American Pediatrics released their updated recommendations for child auto safety. Here are a few pointers I consider important.

·         The Association of American Pediatrics (April 2009) states that babies and toddlers should remain in rear facing seats until they are two years old or until they have reached the maximum weight and height for the child seat.

·         Older children may need to stay in a belt-positioning booster seat until they are between 8 and 12 years old or 4 feet 9 inches tall.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Purchase A Glow Crazy Distance Doodler Get A FREE Glow Glove


glow crazy free toy offer
Buy a Glow Crazy Distance Doodler from Walmart, Toys R Us or any local retailer on Saturday Oct 22nd or Sunday Oct 23rd and send in your receipt, UPC from the box and the shipping form to Glow Crazy, 150 Elm Street, East Aurora, NY 14052. Once we have received those items we will send you the incredible Glow Glove absolutely free!!!



I received no compensation for this post. I will, however, have the opportunity in the future to check out a new Glow Crazy product.

Keeping Up With The Daily Deal Craze


Keeping Up With The Daily Deal Craze

I love deals!  I hate paying retail for anything. I use coupons every chance I get.  I am a member of no less that a dozen online sample sale sites and I have gone crazy for all of the Daily deal sites that keep popping up.  One might say I have an addiction to saving money. 

Honestly, who doesn't love saving 50-90% on everything from shopping, to food, to entertainment, and even travel.

I can not count the number of daily deal sites that I follow. The number of daily emails that I get from all of these sites can be overwhelming at times.  I do not have the time to read them all to make sure I am not missing out on a great deal.  I get alot of junk mail and the 10, 15 sometimes 20  emails that I get every day from my daily deal sites is compounding the problem.  I need fewer emails coming in every day.  I need to get off of all these mailing lists but is seems when I "unsubscribe" I just get more junk mail.

Sometimes I get so tired of scouring email upon email for a great deal and I just delete all them with out opening them.  Other times I open an email, see a deal I like but want to talk to the husband about it later so I delete the email and make a mental note to check it out at home only to forget which site it was for never to see it again.  I have found a few sites like Yipit where you can see the current deals from all of the top daily deal sites in one place. 

I need a way to see all the deals in one place with just one email a day!   I am also tired of getting deal notices for things I am just not interested in.  I only want to see deals for subjects that I am interested in!  I am a busy working mother and rarely have the time or energy to hit the bar/club scene or the gym for that matter, I do not care to see the mass of daily deals for gym memberships and drinks at the local bar but I do want to see the deals for restaurants, kids items and even the occasional discounted massage in case I happen to find a rare minute to pamper myself. 

Honestly, how does one keep up with all these deals.  Is it worth ones time to try to sort through the hundreds of emails and sites to find one deal that is too good to miss?  It is if you can get them all organized in to one stop shopping and reduce the time and energy that it takes to find that great deal.

5 Top Family Camping Activities


5 Top Family Camping Activities

Family camping is a fun and budget-friendly way to spend quality time together, whether taking a lengthy vacation or just spending the weekend at a local campground. Family-friendly campgrounds abound in state and national parks, scenic and recreation areas, and near most towns and cities. For time-tested enjoyment, try these top 5 family camping activities, which have provided pleasure during vacations time and time again.

• Hiking. Some of the best times while camping can be found while hiking together as a family. Families can have fun just walking short trails in the woods or nature area and taking time to experience the outdoors. If you want more of a challenge, many parks and recreation areas have longer trails that are more difficult. Sometimes the best scenic views are accessed only by hiking. Check out the area ahead of time online, or talk to the campground staff to find out about nearby trails.

• Campfires. No family camping trip seems complete without a campfire. If you haven’t had childhood experience in scouting or been taught how to build a campfire, you can easily Google the topic and find out. Campfires offer great opportunities for family fun, whether it’s toasting marshmallows, telling ghost stories, or singing camp songs. The whole family can participate in building the campfire and keeping it up. Just make sure that the fire and the kids are closely supervised!

• Night-time Star Gazing. Being away from city lights is the perfect way to enjoy the beauty and awe of the night time sky. Finding constellations like the Big Dipper or the Milky Way galaxy is fun, especially if you lay on the ground on sleeping bags after dark. You might even see a shooting star! There are many online resources to help you learn the most common constellations so you can help your kids identify them.

• Exploring. From your campsite, spend time exploring the surroundings and learning about the area. Help your kids look for various kinds of birds, insects and wildlife, notice different trees and plants, and find unusual rocks and other interesting things. You could even turn it into a game by planning a scavenger hunt. Many parks offer free hand-outs or guides for nature and wildlife identification.

• Playing Games. Going on a camping trip is a great time to play games together as a family. You can bring your own games from home, or play outdoor games as you go. Outdoor games like Frisbee, flag football, and hide and seek offer an active outlet to run off energy. Younger kids enjoy games like Duck Duck Goose (great for around the campfire) or I Spy.

Whether camping in a tent, camper, or an RV, there are countless ways to make your family camping trip memorable and fun. Make the most of your trip by taking advantage of your surroundings and incorporating them into fun family activities. Taking the family on a camping trip is a great way to spend your vacation, and will build family unity and make wonderful memories.

Sarah writes on behalf of Campers In Cornwall who can help you with Volkswagen camper van hire. If your looking for VW camper van hire check Campers In Cornwall for great deals.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Prepare Yourself for the Halloween with Funny Costumes


Prepare Yourself for the Halloween with Funny Costumes

Time flies really fast. You wouldn’t realize it but one day you would wake up and it’s already Halloween. Would you let yourself be caught off guard without an epic costume to wear? Of course, costume is one of the most fun highlights of the Halloween season and you cannot fully enjoy it without participating in costume parties. So as early as now, you can try getting your eyes on and start looking for the best cheap Halloween costumes that you can use in this year’s event. 

There are a lot of costume ideas that you can get, the more creative and unique, the more chance for you to stand out. A lot of people are trying on new things and shifting from the traditional creepy costumes of creatures of the dark like vampires, monsters, and witches and trying on different kinds of funny costumes

There are a variety of ideas for funny costumes that you can get. Everything depends upon your imagination and of course, your confidence to wear it. There are a lot of brilliant costumes out there that aren’t fully noticed because no one would be brave enough to wear it. 

There are some people who wear great costumes but are too shy to show it off so it doesn’t give the same impact to the people. If you want to wear the best costume, especially funny costumes to parties, be sure that you would be confident in wearing it. 

To add more fun to the costume, you can also try wearing it with your friends. There are a lot of funny group costume ideas that can be adopted by your peer. You can try to get the one that would mostly suit the personality of your group or you can decide on the one that would mostly fit in the kind of group that you have. 

If you are opting for cheaper but great costumes, you can also try to make your own. There are a lot of people who make their own costumes because aside from it is incredibly cheaper than buying from stores; they are also free to express their imagination and creativity freely. 

 You can use the things that are already available in your house and come up with something that would reflect your wide imagination and creativity. Do it with your friends and you would surely come up with the most exciting and the most unique costume ever. 

This article was provided to Over Thirty Mommy by Ann Smith, a freelance writer. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

It's Not To Late to Order Your Halloween Costume



 It's Not To Late to Order Your Halloween Costume 

Halloween is right around the corner and with Wholesale Halloween Costumes, it is not to late to order yours!

There are so many online Halloween costume shops and it would take forever to research which on has the best prices but Wholesale Halloween Costumes is among the top contenders with their extensive line of reasonably priced Disney Costumes.

Wiggle Bean is all about everything Princess right now so it was a no brainier that she would want to be a Disney Princess this year for Halloween.  Originally she was going to be Princess Aurora from Sleeping Beauty but when that costume arrived (from another online costume retailer) it was not the right size.  It was supposed to be a 3T-4T and was labeled as such but it did not fit at all like the other Princess dress that we have even though they were the same brand.  I had grand plans of attempting to alter the costume to fit her but it would need some major adjustments and like most other 2 year old girls, she changed her mind after watching Cinderella and decided that was who she wanted to be this year.

So off I went in search of the Disney Prestige Cinderella Costume and I found it at a fantastic price at WholesaleHalloweenCostumes.com.  Since I already have two of these gowns, I knew that the quality would be high and that the dress would be adorable.

She loves how the gown twirls when she spins and the glitter princess scenes imprinted on the skirt.  She was practicing her best princess walk down the hallway by holding up the bottom of her skirt so that it did not drag on the ground as she walked. It was so cute.

I love that they are durable and long lasting we have had our Disney Prestige Belle costume for well over a year and it still looks new.  I also like the great attention to detail and extra touches put into the Prestige gowns.

I am a HUGE Walt Disney fan (Tigger is my favorite) and I am thrilled that my daughter is taking such a liking to Disney as she gets older.

Someday I might even share my Disney collection with her but that is a big MIGHT.  For now she is thrilled to be adding more Princess costumes and accessories to her ever growing collection of gowns, crowns, wands and glass slippers.

Disclaimer: I was not paid any form of cash for this posting. I received received a costume for the purpose of this review. This is solely the opinion of Over Thirty Mommy. Other people may have different experiences with the products.

10 easy Halloween decorations to make with your kids


10 easy Halloween decorations to make with your kids

Halloween is right around the corner, and it is certainly one of the most festive seasons of the year. There aren't many holidays that lend themselves to such creative and fun decorating ideas. You can use Halloween as a way to spend more time with your children and make fun decorations for the season with them. There are several unique Halloween decorations that are available to be made and displayed by you and your children. Some of these decorations can go inside the home, some of them are better suited for the porch or patio area, and still others would look great on the lawn.

- The first idea is the classic Jack-o'-lantern. If you get some pumpkins, a small candle and a sharp knife, you and your kids can create these vintage Halloween icons. There are few more enjoyable aspects of Halloween than having the family sitting around and carving pumpkins. These cool-look Jack-o'-Lanterns can be displayed on the porch area. Be careful with the sharp knives, though, as it's easy for kids to cut themselves with them.

- Paper plate scarecrows are another interesting and enjoyable Halloween decorating project. With scissors, construction paper, acrylic paint, a paper plate and a glue stick, you can create Halloween decorations that can be put on the refrigerator or on doors of the home.

- Scary bushes offer a spooky, cool and fun decoration idea. All that you and your kids need to complete this simple project is some white bed sheets, black fabric pain and newspaper. Your bushes will scare off everyone in the neighbourhood.

- A tin can black cat can give a desk area a Halloween spark. All that is needed is a tin can, a paintbrush, black acrylic paint, felt material, scissors and a hot glue gun. The tin can black cat is something everyone in the family can make and enjoy.

- A ghost antenna buddy can provide your vehicle with a fun, festive decoration for the Halloween season. With some white craft foam, scissors, a hot glue gun and a hole puncher, your children will be able to make cool ornaments for the family car.

- Juice box mummies are a creative, inexpensive way to use old juice containers as Halloween decorations. All that needs to be done is taking the juice boxes and covering them with rice, white glue, white and black construction paper, and white medical tape.

- Lollipop ghosts are very easy creations for the whole family. Using lollipops, tissues, white yard and glue, you can dress lollipops up as ghosts and lay them around the house.

- Cardboard graveyards offer another scary, easy and fun Halloween decoration that the whole family can enjoy. Just take old appliance boxes, but them in the shape of tombstones, and paint "R.I.P" on them. Then, place them in your yard to create a spooky Halloween effect.

- Simple cut out construction paper designs can be great indoor decorations. paper pumpkins, bats, vampires and witches make great, traditional decorations that everyone can make.

- Balloon ghosts are another cool, crazy Halloween decoration that the kids can partake in. Just blow up some balloons, place white material over them, and draw faces on them with black markers.

Halloween can be a fun, creative time for everyone in the home. Kids and adults alike can create these easy Halloween decorations, and everyone will enjoy Halloween more because of them. These ten Halloween decorations will make your house flair with Halloween spirit.

Isaac writes on for St Martins Chalets a business based in the St Martins, Austria specialising in Holidays to Austria, St Martins are a great choice for a ski holiday in Austria.

She Used To Be So Sweet


She Used To Be So Sweet

Guest Blog by Rosa Ziv on Over 30 Mommy
Author of “A Farewell to Horizontal Stripes” a personal blog about being over 50, divorced and independent and still looking for Mr. Right in the back of the fridge.
Just when you thought life was easy, your daughter hits adolescence. 

You survived the boys. They were either great kids or great liars. They dealt with voice changes and scraggly mustaches without requiring anything of you.

So while they are both in the throes of their adolescence, their hormonal torment is so uneventful that you decide to have another - at age 38.

What could possibly be different this time? After all, you are so mature now, experienced, laid back; you know how to choose your battles. You let the unimportant things slide.

And so it goes for the early years. You don't need any books to guide you. You don't care if she sleeps in your bed -you know she won't be there forever. You don't care if she sleeps through a
meal - you know that if she is hungry she will wake up. You pick her up every time she cries -.she won’t get spoiled, she’ll know you are there for her.

And it continues through the kindergarten and elementary school years. You guiltlessly throw out "artwork." You doubt it will be missed down the line. You develop a loving, supportive relationship with your daughter. You know that you will be best friends forever. 

And then she turns 14. 
And then life as you knew it is no more. 

Everything you say results in an audible exhale.
Everything you do results in a door slamming.
Everything you suggest results in a silent tirade.
Everything you require of her results in the end of all hope for peace on earth and it is all your fault.

You implore her to tell you what is bothering her, but “nothing” is the answer, except when it is, “I told you already… nothing.”

For lack of all other ideas, you give her space. You watch her from afar, admiring her graceful movements as you remember your own awkward adolescence. And yet, as it turns out, you are still invading her personal space – defined in the world of 14 year olds to include ear shot and field of vision.

You practice different tones of voice to accompany “How was school?” hoping not to upset the cosmos. And with every “FINE” you are pushed out of her life a little farther.

So you choose to wait out the next few years like a labor pain, not because you want to, but because you have no choice. You choose to be patient for you know that as much as the pain of delivery is yours, it’s probably no picnic to make the trip down the birth canal, either.; all in all, you know it is harder on her than it is on you.

You know deep down that this whole experience is not a personal affront; after all, didn’t you do the same to your mother?

So you look for perspective. You recall that when your boys finished high school you said to yourself, “no broken bones, only a few chipped teeth, no drugs or alcohol. Count yourself lucky. Amen.”

And now that you are a grownup mother this time around you should have it all together for the rocky journey ahead. But you don’t. You take it all so personally; maybe because it is a girl, maybe because you are forced to remember your own struggle. 

You put your plans to be the cool mom on a back burner as you shake yourself one more time and remind yourself that it is not about you.

You remind yourself that she needs to find her way on her own. And you rest assured that, despite the monosyllabic responses and the silent tantrums, she knows if she stumbles you will rush in to pick her up.



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

No Need for Coupons & Vouchers with these Useful Home Remedies


No Need for Coupons and Vouchers with these Useful Home Remedies

When was the last time you felt so unwell? Have you had episodes of extreme fatigue and exhaustion? Are you always worrying about your health? How healthy is your lifestyle? Theses questions are simple enough, but the answers to them will reveal a number of things worthy of our time. Just when you thought that you are completely in control, something comes up and has flipped you over.

Both those health conscious and otherwise, are at a health risk at a certain point in their life. Sometimes age is a function of health, but surprisingly nowadays, it is no longer that absolute. Genetics could be the primary reason for whatever unwanted physiological make up we may have but studies show that at larger scale of things, external factors even dictate the state of our health. You may have a lovely DNA make up but you are also highly exposed to the perils of everyday living. And it is all the more that bothersome if you have taken a conscious effort of taking great care of the state of your health and suddenly being afflicted with the most unimaginable illness. We will not delve into the medical and technical stuff of countless health issues but will just focus on the simple things affecting us as each day passes.

The stress level of our present day living is so high that many doctors attribute about every medical condition to this factor. A person need not wait for health coupons before consulting a specialist. There are a lot of promotional deals that are easy on our budget. More so, the common home remedies enumerated below are cost-free and are most of the times found in our kitchen. Read through the items to gather more interesting tips.

1. Common colds – Did you know that even the lowly chicken soup can ease up your clogged nasal passageways? No wonder most have considered this as their ultimate comfort food.

2. Green tea – This eases digestion and promotes a healthy colon. This is an excellent way to start your morning or revive your senses as the work day takes it toll. Don’t you just love to get your hands on aromatic green teas on discount?

3. Flatulence – Although this can be caused by many factors, amongst which are lactose or fructose intolerance, this condition can be prevented or remedied by trying to take your meals sitting straight. Do you need a credit voucher for this kind of remedy? Your good sense will do!

4. Motion sickness - Did you ever dread taking that long drive or boarding a plane or sailing on a boat? Fear no more, because not only the anti-emetics can provide relief and restore your comfort en route, but ginger candies can too! This treat is an acquired liking to most but is really effective and is always on discount or even free at some drugstores.

5. Dandruff – At some point, we are plagued with the nuisance of flakes on our shoulders or the persistent scalp itchiness. Inch your way towards relief with the use of a teaspoon of fresh lime juice for the last rinse. Good thing that limes are always sold on discount!

6. Hydrate yourself with water – This not only keeps our skin supple and moisturized, it also aids digestion and release of toxins through perspiration or urine.

Remember that it is difficult to achieve the power of health and wellness. Learn more about this useful home remedies and be on the look out for great discounts so you can stock up your kitchen with theses armours of protection. You need not pay the price of your incessant disregard of your health. Consider the examples listed above because health is wealth.

AbieL is a content writer for You Love Coupons, a new discount shopping site where you can get coupons and vouchers for different shopping sites like ebags and shoebuy. Her newest article write up shares information on how to maximize the use of ebags coupon codes and shoebuy.com coupons.

Searching Online for Vintage Kitchen Accessories


Searching Online for Vintage Kitchen Accessories

Searching online for vintage accessories can be a snap. The World Wide Web has expanded consumers’ ability to shop and access the items that they want instantly. All you need is access to a computer that has an Internet connection and you are all set! However, there are a few things that you should keep in mind while searching for vintage kitchen accessories online.

1. Be Prepared. All you need is a computer with Internet connection and you will able to shop for vintage items online. However, you will need a means of payment. Don’t want to use your credit card on a random website? Get a PayPal account. It is linked to your checking account and it is a fast, easy way to pay for online products without having to give out any of your confidential information. Once you have this all in order, you are ready to really dive into the world of online shopping.

2. Do your Research. The great thing about the Internet is that you can find unique pieces to add to your kitchen collection at equally great prices. Try searching on big name selling outlets online, like Ebay and Amazon. However, there are a lot of bloggers and independent websites that sell items that are equally awesome. Just make sure that the sites are legitimate.

3. Checking out a Site. Do you want to make sure that a site is a legitimate seller? This is pretty simple. First, check and see if they have a working “contact us” page and accurate information. Call their number to see if it’s real. Also, they should be licensed as a private business from the state. If they are in affiliation with a big name like Amazon, they should be able to prove it, too. Also, most legitimate websites will take a PayPal account. If they seem too interested in getting all of your credit card information, it might be a good idea to pass them up.

4. Shopping. Once you’ve found a site that you love, just search the different virtual “aisles” for the stuff you’re looking for. In the upper right hand corner of your screen you will have virtual shopping cart. It will tell you how many items you have picked up, and most sites will give you a subtotal. If you want to put some items back, make sure you do it before you click on the “check out” link.

5. Checking Out. The most important part of the entire shopping experience is paying! It is probably a good idea to use a form of payment that has a direct connection to your checking account; you will be able to track your order and get refunds later on if you do. Also, make sure that you never click on the “purchase now” link more than once. If the page isn’t loading or you are having trouble, just stop clicking the link. For every click, you could be charged the entire

Isaac writes on behalf of Cliq Studios a home improvements business who design, manufacture and sell quality kitchen cabinets, which come with a lifetime warranty. Use the Cliq Studios website to visualise your new kitchen, request free kitchen samples or work out the cost of kitchen cabinets. Whatever your requirement – trust Cliq Studios' Kitchen Cabinets to exceed expectations.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Don’t Let Loans and Mortgages Stress You Out


Don’t Let Loans and Mortgages Stress You Out

As an insurance advisor and financial planner, I meet many people, plenty of whom let me peek at their income and expenses and ask me for improvement ideas. Over the years, I started recognizing certain patterns in the way we earn and spend. I would like to share with you my list of financial savers people overlook, and I explain how easy it is to make them work in your favour.
It’s important to note that you don’t have to exert significant mental effort to “adhere to a financial diet.” My advice will help you make the right decisions ahead of time so that you can benefit from it without keeping it in mind forever.
Today, my tips relate to mortgages. If you like them, I’ll be happy to bring you my insurance tips as well. I am, after all, predominantly an insurance broker.

Mortgage Compounding

When you’re shopping for a mortgage, make sure that you know how often your principal is compounded. Some lenders compound semi-annually and some compound monthly. The higher the frequency of compounding, the higher the total interest you pay.
Although you would think that the difference is minimal, different compounding schedules can amount to a significant sum over the lifetime of a mortgage or another large, long-term loan.
Learn more about the effect of interest rate compounding here.

Mortgage/Loan Prepayment

Loan prepayment is essentially sending more money to the lender than they ask for (per month). You know that every instalment that you pay back consists of an interest portion and a principal portion. It’s only the principal portion that actually decreases your indebtedness. If you pay back more than you have to, this amount will be discounted from the principal.
As you probably anticipate at this point, decreasing your principal results in a (slightly) decreased interest. Decreased interest in turn means that your next instalment will offset more principal and will thus speed up the complete repayment of your loan. This is how you can make the complexities of loan repayment work in your favour.
Because of the mechanics of loans (and mortgages are also a form of secured loan), prepaying at the beginning of the loan’s lifetime has an exponentially larger effect on the total cost of your loan than accelerating your payments at the end of the loan’s lifetime.
The effectiveness of early prepayments in turn suggests that any time you have excess cash, you should put it into the freshest loan you have (or alternatively to the loan with the highest interest rate), as opposed to trying to finish off an old loan that’s almost paid up. I know it feels good to kill off a liability like this, but trust me: it feels much better to save plenty of money by virtue of a simple decision instead.
Of course, you need to make sure that prepayment is an option with your lender. Some lenders may charge you a penalty if you try to prepay your loans. Yes, it is a rather silly practice, but it’s stipulated in many credit agreements. Make sure to check whether prepayment is an option with your lender and shop around for a contract that does allow you to prepay if you can.
Learn more about prepaying your mortgage effectively here.

Use Extended Amortization to Ensure Mortgage Approval

This is a handy trick that works in Canada. Please let us know in the comments if it works elsewhere as well!
In some cases, you may want to take out your mortgage with an extended amortization period. This means that your term will be more than 30 years; in fact, it can be up to 40 years. In order to qualify for an extended amortization, you have to be able to provide more than 20% down payment on the property that you’re buying. If you can do that, read on.
If you spread out your instalments across a longer period, you’ll effectively pay less each month, thus freeing up some of your cash flow. What’s more, the lower resulting monthly payments may help you to qualify for a higher loan amount in the first place.
This means that if you apply for an extended amortization mortgage, you can apply for higher face amounts, and you increase the likelihood of approval. And higher mortgage face amounts mean better and larger houses.
And now comes the best part: after you’ve been approved for the prolonged amortization, you can set your payment schedule up shorter so that your mortgage will in fact only last for 30 years (or less).
If you shorten your schedule, you will of course have to pay higher monthly premiums, but you will also be saving substantially on interest and will be done with your mortgage sooner. This is, by the way, a brilliant way of applying the principle of Loan Prepayment that I described above.
If you want to make use of this trick, you should be confident that you’ll maintain the income necessary to support this accelerated schedule. The good news is, however, that you can always return to the extended period later if need be.

Read more on extended amortization in Canada here.

This article was brought to you by Lorne S. Marr, an independent life insurance broker from Toronto, Canada. Lorne has been in the life insurance business for almost 19 years and is sure he can help you get the best deal no matter what your medical history.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Renuzit Fresh Accents Holiday Air Freshener Review and Giveaway


Renuzit Fresh Accents Holiday Air Freshener Review and Giveaway



Normally I have a moratorium on anything Christmas until after Thanksgiving but I couldn't pass up the chance to try out the new Renuzit Fresh Accents Holiday Air Freshener with the new Holiday scent and decorative holders.

The Renuzit Fresh Accents blend with any home decor.They are easy to use, simply remove the gel from the packaging and insert it into the decorative holder for 30 days of continuous fragrance.

I placed  the Winter Berry scented freshener on to the mantle in the morning before I left for work and when I returned home, the entire living room was full of wonderful smells.   My husband did not visually notice it when he came home but he did smell it and asked me what the sweet scent was.   I pointed him towards the snowflake holder and he replied "I like it".


Renuzit Giveaway!

PRIZE:  Three winners will receive FREE Product Coupon for Renuzit Fresh Accents Holiday Air Freshener

How to Enter:
  • This giveaway is open to U.S. Residents, 18 years or older.
  • GIVEAWAY ENDS 10/30/11 at 12:01 AM EST




*** Disclosure: Renuzit brand provided free samples of Fresh Accents
air freshener for this post. My participation is voluntary and my
opinions, as always, are my own.

**

Friday, October 14, 2011

How to Pack Healthy Lunches


How to Pack Healthy Lunches 
by Janice Planet

While most kids dread it, parents seem to love back to school time. Back to school means scheduled routines, family sit-down dinners and earlier bedtimes. The beginning of this exciting time can often mean hectic mornings, rushed breakfasts and handfuls of lunch money instead of healthy, homemade lunches. As working parents, it is difficult to find the time to make lunches, as well as to know just exactly what to put in their lunch boxes!

While it is totally fine to let your kids buy lunch every once in awhile, it can quickly turn into a very unhealthy habit. Before our children went to a college prep boarding school, I was dedicated to packing healthy lunches that would fuel and energize them for their long day at school. I know it can be difficult to pack lunches that the kids love and that are good for them, so here are some good ideas on how to pack the perfect, healthy lunches!

The first and most important step in building a better lunch box is to make a big grocery shopping trip and do some prep work! Start by making a list of the basic components of each lunch. Stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables, lean deli meats, whole wheat bread and pitas, condiments, healthy dips like hummus and peanut butter, etc. Buying in bulk will save you a lot of money and extra trips to the grocery store, so it is very smart to do that whenever possible! Once you have all of your groceries, start your prep work. Begin by washing all the fruits and vegetables so that they’re ready to go, and slice vegetables like bell peppers and broccoli into bite size chunks and put them into baggies for easy packing.

When it comes time to pack the lunch, get creative! Instead of packing just an ordinary apple, slice an apple and pack some plain, low-fat yogurt mixed with honey as a sweet dipping sauce. Jazz up cucumber slices and hummus by cutting the cucumber slices with small cookie cutters to make fun shapes, which will make kids excited to eat healthy and fun food!  Whatever you do, each lunch should include fruit, vegetables, a protein source (such as deli meat or peanut butter) and a complex carbohydrate for energy (like whole wheat bread). Packing lunches with creativity in mind will make eating healthy foods a fun activity that kids will enjoy…and actually eat!

Janice might be described as a stay at home mom, but with her family, that is anything but boring! She loves to write about what she knows best, her children and family life.
 

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