Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Managing your small business

Managing your small business
The article written by Alonso Kramer

When it comes to managing your small business have you thought about how you are going to do it? There are many small business that will start up this year but most of them will not still be around by Christmas. Part of the reason for that will be poor planning and bad management. I think that people think you can just up and start charging people for something with no plan or forethought whatsoever. The fact of the matter is that planning and management are two of the key things that you have to do when you start a business. One of the things that you will most definitely need no matter what kind of company it is will be internet connection. Most businesses will need a fast one. I recommend t1.xo.com. They have been great for my small business over the past year since I started using them and I would recommend them to any friend or family member. The next thing I would recommend that you do is make a business plan.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Gevalia Kaffe Review and Giveaway

About Gevalia Kaffe:

Gevalia Kaffe is much more than your average ‘cup of joe.’ It’s a Swedish-style break from the usual coffee grind. Perfected by the Swedes’ passion for quality coffee for more than 150 years, Gevalia is an exquisitely rich smooth coffee experience that is never bitter. Gevalia isn’t just coffee, it’s ‘Kaffe’ to savor.
  • The Swedes know a thing or two about coffee. They know quality coffee should be savored and enjoyed. They also know you deserve a more unique/special coffee experience than what you can pick up on every street corner.
  • Gevalia is a luxurious departure from the everyday, an escape from the routine cup of coffee. Whether it’s a morning ritual made just for you, or the finishing touch at a dinner party, it brings the taste of Swedish-style luxury into your home.
  • In Sweden, where the citizens drink more coffee than almost anywhere else in the world, Gevalia is their preferred brand.
    • In fact, Gevalia enjoys the honor of being an official coffee of the Swedish Royal Court.
Gevalia, now available at Safeway, brings unexpected Swedish-style luxury and rich, never bitter taste to the Safeway grocery aisle.
  • Gevalia has been refining the art of luxurious coffee since 1853 and has a deep history of finding and blending the finest Arabica coffee beans from locations around the world.
  • Gevalia is expertly made with carefully selected beans, ground extra fine, to produce a rich coffee experience.
  • Previously available online only, Gevaliais now offering its top-ten varieties in U.S. coffee supermarket aisles nationwide in 10 varieties, including roast and ground, whole bean, flavored and decaffeinated varieties:
    • Gevalia Traditional Roast (ground and whole bean):
      Gevalia Traditional Roast provides a perfectly balanced taste every time. Our most beloved blend – made of choice, mountain-grown Arabica beans – this coffee has a distinctive body and flavor with a lighter intensity. (Medium Roast).
    • Gevalia House Blend:
      A Gevalia favorite, House Blend is a robust yet never bitter coffee. This roast has a captivating aroma that is only matched by its exceptional flavor. (Medium/Dark Roast).
    • Gevalia House Blend Decaf :
      Delivering the same rich, never bitter flavor, House Blend Decaf has the same robust taste without all the caffeine. (Medium/Dark Roast).
    • Gevalia French Roast (ground and whole bean):
      Gevalia French Roast is a coffee of impressive richness and dimension, expertly crafted from prized Arabica beans grown in Colombia and Brazil. Hints of aromatic smoke give this dark-roasted French Roast blend an intense, yet uniquely satisfying flavor. (Dark Roast).
    • Gevalia Colombia:
      Grown high in the Colombian Andes, these beans produce a rich, bright and well-bodied Colombian coffee. This single origin classic is world-renowned, which is why we have sourced these beans for decades. (Medium Roast).
    • Gevalia Espresso Roast:
      Gevalia Espresso Roast is made of premium, mountain-grown Arabica beans from East Africa and Central and South America. This roast is bold and full-bodied with a hint of caramel undertones. (Dark Roast).
    • Gevalia Vanilla:
      This rich blend with vanilla flavor notes is crafted from choice mountain-grown Arabica beans, then roasted for exceptional body and flavor. GevaliaVanilla is a flavorful and balanced experience with a heavenly aroma.
    • Gevalia Chocolate Mocha:
      Gevalia Chocolate Mocha allows you to indulge your passion for decadent flavor. Rich, velvety chocolate flavor is blended with mountain-grown Arabica beans for a sweetly satisfying experience.
With its Swedish heritage and rich, never bitter taste, Gevalia is a premium coffee unlike any other.
  • Having Gevalia in your kitchen means you care about the quality of the coffee you consume and enjoy rich, authentic flavors.
  • Gevalia offers a variety of authentic rich flavors that are perfect for everything from a relaxing morning cup of coffee to an indulgent after dinner compliment.

Gevalia Kaffee Prize Pack Giveaway

One lucky US reader will win
  • 1) sample of the House Blend from Gevalia Kaffe
  • (1) sample of the French Roast Blend from Gevalia Kaffe
  • A Gevalia Kaffe branded coffee mug

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

SleepBuddy Complete Sleep System (giveaway!)

SleepBuddy Complete Sleep System

If you want the short version of my review of the SleepBuddy Complete sleep system review here it is:

THANK YOU SleepBuddy!!!!

If you are interested in more details please continue reading!

My daughter just turned three (don't ask me where the time went, I am still trying to figure that out for myself) and we were still having trouble keeping her in her bed at night.

Getting to bed was not usually a problem, we have had a pretty consistent routine from early on but staying in our bed through the night and not getting up at the crack of dawn were another story.  She is usually in bed for reading time by 8:00 and ready for sleepy time by 8:30 but no matter what we did, she would get up in the night and was usually up and ready to go for the day by 6:00 and it seemed to be getting earlier and earlier every day.

Even when we would let her stay up a little later on Saturday nights, she was still up and ready to play by 6:00.  We usually get up around 6:30ish during the week to get ready for work/school so that was not a huge deal (although that last half hour of sleep seemed like 8 hours when she would get me up early day after day) but pre child, I enjoyed me some sleeping in on the weekends so it was tough to get up early on weekends and be ready to play what ever caught her eye at that awful time of morning.

I have tried (over and over) to encourage her to quietly read books in her room if she wakes up and it is still dark outside but that just has not worked for us yet.

When offered a change to try out the SleepBuddy system and get a consistent 8 hours of uninterrupted hours of sleep with a chance for a little extra on the weekends, I jumped on it.

 About the SleepBuddy Complete Sleep System
The SleepBuddy system is designed to teach health sleep habits to children ages 1 1/2 to 6 years old. The main feature of SleepBuddy is a soft blue light that sits on a table or dresser.  The light stays on when the child is to stay in bed.  When the light turns off, children know that they can get out of bed.  In addition to the light, the SleepBuddy system also includes:
  • A children's story to introduce the SleepBuddy System idea to kids, encourage quality interaction, and reinforce health sleep habits.
  • A rewards chart to track and reward progress
  • An easy-to-use parent's guide that provides a step-by-step approach towards sleep success.
How it works
Three simple steps towards sound, health sleep
1. Present and explain SleepBuddy to your child. The system includes an engaging children’s book to help your child understand the concept.
2. Program the soft blue light to turn on for scheduled nap time and when it is time for your child to go bed at night. Place the light in his/her room where it can be seen from the bed.
3. Record your child’s progress with the included incentive chart and smiley stickers. When a goal is reached, choose a reward that you feel is right for your child.

Over Thirty Mommy's Thoughts
My daughter is some how under the impression that everything that arrives at our  house is a present for her.  So when the SleepBuddy package arrived, she laid claim to it right away and upon opening the outer box to find a beautifully wrapped "gift" inside, that only cemented her belief that it was a present for her.  I did not even have time to take a picture of the wrapping before she ripped it open to reveal the SleepBuddy system inside.  She was fascinated by the pictures on the box asking what it was.  I explained that it was a special gift or her at bedtime.

I took the light out of the box and programmed it while in the living room then took it to her room and realized that I had to reprogram it all over again (I should have read the instructions to see that there was no battery back up, maybe a good idea for the next generation SleepBuddy!).  After reprogramming the SleepBuddy light and getting it all set up in her room for bed time, I waited and watched the clock for the perfect timing to start out bedtime routine to time it just right.

We brushed our teeth, went potty, put on our jammies and climbed into bed to read the included SleepBuddy

We have been using the SleepBuddy for over a month now, since the first night we have read the book countless times and my sleep has improved immensely.  She rarely gets out of bed during the night.  I do still get the occasional "MOMMMMM" call during the night but it is usually because her light is on and she needs to go potty.  We had to adjust the story ending to include an exclusion clause to allow her out of bed when the light is on for potty trips but that she must get right back in bed afterwards.

Weekend sleeping in is still lacking but we are experimenting with adjusting the SleepBuddy wake-up time slightly for Saturday and Sunday mornings.  It could be just my but I do have a tough time programming the times into the light unit but if it gets me even 30 minutes of extra sleep on Saturday morning, I will struggle through.  Maybe for version 2.0 of the SleepBuddy system, they could make each day programmable separately so that you can have different wake up times for the weekend!

Here is your chance to win!

ONE lucky reader will win a SleepBuddy Complete Sleep System of their own!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Cost-effective Suggestions for a Child’s Party

Cost-effective Suggestions for a Child’s Party

All parents have a little bit of dread when it comes to children’s parties.  On top of worrying about the guest list, the expense and the thoughts of the other parents I have a terrible fear that I just won’t be cool enough. That the children will get bored. This is stupid, I know.  I manage to entertain my child just fine, and her friends when they’re round too.

But at parties there’s just so many of them. Thankfully you don’t have to splash out to create an entertaining and memorable party.
  •          If you feel like you have good creative or organisation skills but you’re less confident about looking after a large number of children, do something that can involve their parents too. Is there an open space nearby that you can use for a treasure hunt? You set up the hunt and the children and their parents go round, which takes the pressure off you but lets everyone socialise and get some fresh air and exercise.
  •         Do you have a Wii? A Wii party with competitions in singing, dancing, sports games and other events will keep both boys and girls entertained for hours. Having some little prizes will make it extra special, and you could even send out a list of events before if you want to make it really competitive. If you’re less into the competition aspect, letting them play in teams and just have fun with it will still provide ready-made entertainment.
  •         If you’ve got a little outside space, think about a camping party with a few select friends. They’ll find it really exciting and different, and you don’t have to do too much decorating or planning. Just pitch a tent and give them some snacks and hot chocolate and let them enjoy scaring each other in the dark.
  •          If you want something a little less hectic, some sort of craft party or anything that involves making things will create mess, but also give you automatic entertainment for the children, and they’ll have something they can take away with them. You can buy cheap craft supplies for parties online, or even improvise with string and beads for jewellery making for example.
  •          If you don’t want a theme and you’re just hosting a normal disco/party food party, think of little ways to make it personal. Buy cheap printed t shirts for the children, or make each one a little cake with their name iced on it.

It can seem like the pressure to have a glitzy party in a hired venue is huge, but remember that children are, in general, easily entertained and you don’t have to break the bank to create something personal and fun.

Katy is a blogger with a keen interest in tips and tricks for parents, and the power that blogging and social networking has in bringing parents together and sharing knowledge.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

How Changing Our Garden Was the Best Thing for our Family

How Changing Our Garden Was the Best Thing for our Family

Pre-baby, I was very very proud of my gardening. My lawn was manicured, with pretty neat flowerbeds with beautiful plants (including some “danger” plants such as foxgloves and berberis).

I had a pretty water feature and a couple of small modern, abstract statues balanced precariously on the edges of paths. It was beautiful, and controlled and oh so grown up.

The first changes started when baby came and I didn’t have time to be trimming borders and deadheading shrubs – that really was the least of my worries! The little one was born in late October so I didn’t really care either, the garden wasn’t somewhere I wanted to be and I totally lost interest. The following spring and summer I did a few basic things, token gestures to stop it becoming a complete mess, but I’d started to resent it a little with its reminders of a former life in which I had time to be obsessive over what size the plants were and whether the colours matched.

Then for mini-me’s first birthday, hubby’s side of the family clubbed together to buy her a wooden climbing frame. She wasn’t big enough to fully use it – it was more a case of us sitting her at the top of the slide and pulling her down it, but I knew she’d grow into it, and over time I began to see how silly I’d been to neglect my garden, I needed to share it with her.

I took out although unsuitable, un-child friendly plants and planted a lot of big, colourful shrubs which needed little tending. I planted a little herb garden and when she could toddle enough I showed her how to pick basil and mint leaves, letting her smell them and see me put them straight into food. I replaced the water feature with a little sandbox, and got rid of the stupid pretentious statues. Putting up a wind chime gave the garden an amazing sensory dimension which she loves – and I love too. Being out there while she’s playing is a joy. Letting the lawn grow a little bit means that it’s got dandelions and other little wildflowers in it which makes it look so much prettier but also encourages butterflies and bumble bees, which she finds fascinating! (although it does mean I make her wear shoes a lot. Oh well.)

The best thing though is that now she’s old enough to use a little spade we’ve started planting things together. As well as playing on her climbing frame and on the grass she’s able to learn about nature, how to nurture and care for things and the wonder of seeing something grow and develop. It’s teaching her patience and, I think, empathy.

Katy is a blogger with a keen interest in tips and tricks for parents, and the power that blogging and social networking has in bringing parents together and sharing knowledge.

Friday, February 10, 2012

$19 for 2 Any Showing Tickets and One Large Popcorn at Cinetopia - 2 locations (up to $50 value)

$19 for 2 Any Showing Tickets and One Large Popcorn at Cinetopia - 2 locations (up to $50 value)


We are so excited about this exclusive Spree and we know you will be too.  Tell your friends, tell your family, share it on Facebook, Tweet it, just whatever you do, don't miss this deal while it lasts!  Today's Sharing Spree to Cinetopia is one we know you'll be talking about - $19 gets you 2 Any Showing Movie Tickets AND One Large Popcorn with access to the gourmet butter bar AND a 10% discount off your total bill at Vinotopia (this deal has a value of up to $50).

You may purchase up to 4 vouchers per Sharing Spree customer and additionals as gifts!

Please select carefully when checking out, as your voucher will be valid only at the Cinetopia location you have chosen at checkout.
If you’re new to Sharing Spree, go here to create an account and purchase the deal
If you already have a Sharing Spree account, go here to log in and purchase the deal.

Fine Print:

May purchase up to 4 vouchers per person and additionals as gifts. May purchase for Vancouver and Progress Ridge locations. Must choose location for voucher at check out. 10% discount when dining inside Vinotopia Restaurant on the same day as voucher use. 10% discount when dining inside Vinotopia Restaurant excludes alcohol and happy hour. Limit one voucher per visit. Not valid for tickets purchased for screenings after 5/16/12. Not valid for tickets purchased by phone. Must be 21 or older with valid ID for Living Room Theaters and Movie Parlor 12 & 14. Valid for all show times and 3D movies. Seating is first come, first served. Not valid with any other offers or discounts. No cash value. Entire voucher must be used in one visit. Expiration dates subject to state laws and regulations.

Find Cinetopia at:

Cinetopia - Progress Ridge 14 (Beaverton)
12345 SW Horizon Road
Suite 231
Beaverton OR 97007
Map it
Cinetopia - Mill Plain 8 (Vancouver)
11700 SE 7th Street
Vancouver WA 98683
Map it

This purchase will benefit:

University of Oregon Alumni Association

The University of Oregon's Alumni Association exists to foster lifelong connections with the University of Oregon.  Learn More

If you’re new to Sharing Spree, go here to create an account and purchase the deal
If you already have a Sharing Spree account, go here to log in and purchase the deal.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Outdoor Games For Kids

Outdoor Games For Kids

Kids are spending more and more time inside playing computer games and watching TV on average 6 hours a day, compared to generations before them, who spent the majority of their free time playing outside often in large groups. Some of the best outdoor games were created by children and passed down throughout the ages. These games are now in danger of being forgotten. However, even modern kids would not only benefit from the lessons taught within these games, but the social interaction and simple fun that these games provide. This article serves as a reminder of some of the great outdoor games that can be passed down to your own children. 

Have your children invite some of their friends over. A group of 4 to 8 children or more if you’re feeling up to it, creates more fun for these games. Go through the rules of the games with them and supervise for the first 2 or 3 rounds. Once they have understood the rules, and have no more questions, leave them to play alone, and just stay within earshot. Rules being broken and arguments during play are part of learning to get on each other, so give them the chance to resolve their differences alone. Only intervene if it is truly necessary. Children enjoy new games and ideas, and it’s even better if there is an emotional connection to it, so teach them some of your favourites from childhood. 

The games below are some of my own childhood favourites with their rules: 

1.    1. Red Rover
Personally, I recommend starting with this game, as it’s a good way to get the children to all        interact with each other, and gets them used to the different style of play that outdoor games require. The rules are simple: Divide everyone into two teams, each forming a long line, holding hands, and facing the other team. The distance between the teams should be around 20 feet, or simply enough space to be able to run from team to team without it being too easy. The teams take turns calling out, “Red Rover, Red Rover, let ‘insert child’s name’ come over!” The child called leaves their team’s line, runs as fast as they can toward the other line and tries to break through the held hands. If they break through the opposing team’s line, they get to take someone back to their team. If they don’t, they join the new team. When a team only has one person left, that person tries to break through the other team. If they do not, then their team loses. If they do, they gain a player and play continues.

2.   2. Freeze Tag
Freeze tag is just like your traditional tag, except that when someone is caught, they’re not ‘It’. Instead they have to freeze where they are. They can be unfrozen by another player, but whoever is ‘It’ can also catch the player trying to free the frozen one. This game requires a lot of tactics for the one being ‘It’, and team work for the players, otherwise they will find themselves being outsmarted by the one who is ‘It’. 

3. 3. Pirate Ship
This game is different to the others, and needn’t necessarily be a pirate ship. The idea is to have a calmer game in between the games, which promotes social interaction between the children and which needs them to be creative. Pirate ship is an imagination game wherein the children pretend to be pirates. They decide who the Captain is and who the first mate is etc., and act out a typical pirate adventure of finding treasure or fighting other pirates. To give them an authentic setting for this game, why not let them take over your garden shed for a while. If you clear it out a bit beforehand and give them some wooden crates and some old bed sheets to use in their play, they could soon create their very own pirate ship.

4.   4. Wolf’s Dinner Time
This game requires both speed and patience, as timing the key to this game. One player is Mr Wolf, and the rest of the group faces him from a distance of about 15 feet. Mr Wolf has his back to the group. The group shouts ‘What’s the time Mr Wolf?’, and the Mr Wolf turns to the group and must answer with a time. If Mr Wolf says ‘6 o’clock’, the group takes six steps toward him. The wolf then turns his back on the group again. He may only face them when answering. Once the wolf believes the group to be close enough, without looking, his answer becomes ‘Dinnertime!’ and he chases the group. The idea is that whoever is caught gets ‘eaten’ by the wolf. The next player to be Mr Wolf is whoever gets eaten by the current wolf. 

Children’s spending more time indoors is often due to the fact that our lives are changing, and these games aren’t being passed on as naturally as they used to be. We have to make the time to teach them to our children. These classic outdoor games are not only great fun, but teach social skills through play, too, and can strengthen friendships between the children. 

this article was written by Sarah Oxley on behalf of Tiger Sheds.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Family Game Nights: The Family That Plays Together, Stays Together

Family Game Nights: The Family That Plays Together, Stays Together

Too quickly, family time is fading into the pages of history, a quaint term from long ago. Modern families gather in their living rooms not to engage with each other, but to engage with laptops, cellular phones and blaring television sets. It doesn’t have to be this way. Many families are resisting the trend towards disconnection. They are finding ways to enjoy each other’s company by basing their interactions around fun activities. An example of these activities is family game night.

Trivia games are a particularly fun and educational way to bring the family together. Knowledge-based games challenge and excite people of all ages. They give parents a sense of what their kids are learning in school, and they make the best of sibling rivalry by pitting children against each other in a constructive competition. The following are just a few more of the benefits of family game nights:

Games Encourage Families to Unplug:
Until a family has gotten used to their game night ritual, it may take some work to focus everybody’s attention. Phones are always ringing; somebody’s favorite TV show will always be on. On game night, be sure that all non-essential electronic devices are turned off. There may be resistance at first, but when the fun starts, nobody will miss them anymore.

Games Give Families a Common Hobby:
Trivia games have come a long way in recent years. No longer demanding the dry regurgitation of tiresome factoids, today’s trivia games inspire creativity with innovative ways of asking and answering questions. Families will enjoy working together to find new and fun trivia games to play together.

A few of these popular games can form the basis of a well-rounded trivia game collection: Cranium Family Edition, Trivial Pursuits Family, and Pictionary Junior. These games are all designed for players of multiple ages. Questions are asked and answered in unique ways, using mediums such as clay or music.

Families can also work together to create their own trivia games. They can personalize their games by composing questions based on family history. For example, “When did Johnny lose his first tooth,” will make Johnny feel special, and will help families bond over shared memories.

Games Make Learning Fun:
Trivia games are educational. Kids don’t need to know that. Just as parents slip vegetables into their child’s favorite food, they can also slip teaching moments into game night. Not only will trivia games teach facts and other bits of information to younger family members, they will also impart fundamental life lessons about patience, sportsmanship, pride, and competition.

Today’s educational institutions are suffering. We see it on the news every night, and we see it in teachers’ weary faces every day. Our schools are stretched to the limit. While changing the state of education is beyond the immediate reach of a typical family, extending their child’s education to the home is not. Learning through play comes naturally to children, and parents should work hard to exploit this natural tendency. They may even rediscover their own innate affinity for playing!

Games Keep Kids At Home:
Parents enjoy a limited amount of time in their child’s limelight. Soon, their influence wanes and is eclipsed by the looming shadow of peer pressure. The longer a parent is able to exert a positive influence in their children’s lives, the better. Family game nights are one example of something parents can do to improve home life and make the home inviting for their children.

It is never too soon to bring a family together. Tight-knit families can institute a family trivia game night as just one more form of family bonding. Families that have drifted apart might use game night as the first step towards reestablishing fading connections. In the end, no one will care why game night started. They will be having too much fun!

Author Dena Fisher is an avid fan of trivia games and activities, such as movie quizzes and music trivia questions.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Kids and College? You Can Do It!

Kids and College? You Can Do It!

Working and going to school can be difficult; never mind raising kids and going to college! Parenting while attending school can necessitate learning a new skill: juggling. While it can seem a bit overwhelming at first, balancing your parenting responsibilities with your role as a student can easily be done. Follow these tips and you’ll find that you have enough time for both your kids and your homework!

1. Schedule Time To Study

At the beginning of every new class you’ll be given a syllabus. Sit down with your syllabus, your kids’ schedule and a blank calendar. Studying doesn’t have to be done at the same time on the same day of every week, but it does need to be done. By scheduling specific time to study, you’re more likely to actually get it done.
Ross' Homework
2. Do Your Homework Together

When you attend school, you’ll have homework; just like your kids do! Sit down with your kids and do your homework together. Not only will it give you a chance to get your work done but you may just find that your kids are more apt to complete their work if they see you doing yours. You obviously aren’t going to write a five page paper in the short time it takes your child to write out ten spelling words, but you can get an outline done!

3. Keep Them in the Loop

Once you’ve created your schedule, be sure that your kids know what that schedule is. If your children know that Friday night, at 7pm, is your studying time, they are less likely to bother you with silly questions. You may have to be rather firm at first, but your children will soon learn to give you the space you need for an hour or two.
4. Pack a Bag

Your kids have doctor’s appointments, sports practice, and music lessons. Rather than scatter your notes and textbooks around the house, keep them in a bag that you can quickly grab and toss in the car. Sneak a study break whenever the opportunity arises: waiting at the doctor’s office, while your child has a dance lesson or whenever you have ten minutes while waiting for your children. You’ll be surprised at how quickly this time adds up!
Summer Reading 5
5. Make Time for the Kids

Don’t let school take away from quality time with your children. Just as you’ll need to schedule study time, you may need to schedule kid time. Pick a day and time of the week, for instance, Saturdays from noon to 2pm, when all of your attention will be focused on your children. If your kids aren’t made to feel like they are taking a backseat to your studies, they are more likely to be supportive and less likely to be disrespectful of your need to study or complete assignments.

Parenting your children while attending college can be done; you just have to be organized. Don’t wait until you’ve started school to begin! Come up with a game plan well ahead of time, talk to your kids about why you are going back to school and explain your plan for attending school and meeting their needs at the same time. You may be pleasantly surprised at how excited your children are that mom or dad is going to school too!
Peter Harrington is a career counselor and content contributor for Top Online Colleges, a great source for information on expanding your education, from veterinary and pharmacy degrees to listings of the top online schools and their rankings.

Friday, February 3, 2012

SportsGuard Protective Sports Gear for Baseball

My daughter is only three and she does not play baseball but I have multiple nephews that are into baseball.  So when I was offered a chance to review products from SportsGuard, I was thrilled to be able to not only check out the latest products in baseball safety but to give my siblings and myself a little piece of mind by increasing the protection of standard issues youth sports apparel.

About SportsGuard
SportsGuard started in November 2007 out of the concern parents and coaches expressed for the safety of youth baseball players.  As some towns and baseball leagues began to mandate the use of heart guards, the founders of SportsGuard recognized a need that current products were not meeting -- effective protection for non-helmeted players pitching and fielding.  SportsGuard founders drew upon their expertise in biophysics and engineering to design HeadGuard™, a smart-fitting product that provides discrete and effective head protection.  Located in central New Jersey, just a few miles from Rutgers University, SportsGuard also offers other breakthrough sports protection products, including the StealthGuard™ heart protector and the XGrip™ cushioned bat grip. 
A portion of each SportsGuard product sale benefits Eden Autism Services, a national center of excellence serving children and adults with autism, headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey. www.edenautismservices.org.

The SportsGuard Triple Play includes the SportsGuard HeadGuard, StealthGuard and XGrip.

HeadGuard: SportsGuard is the first and only company to offers sports head protection for baseball pitchers and infielders.  HeadGuard is the product of over four years of research and development. HeadGuard’s patented design and unique shock-absorbing material reduces the force of impact of a baseball striking a player’s head. It is easily inserted into the interior sweatband of a baseball cap, which holds it in place, while also taking advantage of the cap’s existing holes for ventilation. Weighing less than two ounces, it is extremely lightweight, breathable, moisture resistant, latex-free, soft, and comfortable for players of all ages.

StealthGuard: The StealthGuard heart protector comes with TWO iron on velcro fabric fusion patches and attaches to any TWO OF YOUR SHIRTS.  The StealthGuard is comfortable, priced with parents in mind and machine washable and dryable.  The StealthGuard's unique pod-design and specific density materials distribute energy from the impact-zone to maximize protection and performance.

XGrip: XGrip is a cushioned grip with a unique tread and pod-design with high-tech materials that gives Extreme Performance and Comfort.  It Xtinguishes the sting from aluminum and composite bats and cold weather.

Where to Purchase
SportsGuard products are “available at Ripken Baseball” facilities in Aberdeen, Maryland and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina as well as on SportsGuard’s website www.sportsguardinc.com. Discounts are also available for Teams, Leagues, and Tournament Fundraising. 

Over Thirty Mommy's Thoughts
I am a mother to a young girl but I am also an aunt.  Finding great gear that makes sports safer for my nephews is a priority for my siblings and myself.    I love that the SportsGuard product are easily incorporated into their current sports apparel, are easy to use and washable.  Comfort is a big thing for athletes, so it is great that the HeadGuard and StealthGuard are comfortable to wear and essentially unnoticeable once installed.   I am all for any products that will protect my nephews and some day my daughter while they are playing sports!

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

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Taking Perfect Pictures of Your Kids

Taking Perfect Pictures of Your Kids

Every mother thinks her kids are the cutest and most beautiful, and would love to capture their innocent beauty for eternity. Which mother doesn’t dream of portraits of her children that are dreamy and sweet? Taking professional pictures can be expensive and come with aggravation, as the kids don’t always cooperate, and they may act up during the costly photo shoot. There are some tips and tricks that can transform simple home-shot photos into masterpieces.

The Right Camera for the Job

Different cameras have various specifications that make them specialized for certain situations. Before purchasing a camera, do the research necessary to help you get a camera to fit your needs. The average novice mommy should consider point-and-shoot cameras from leading brands such as Canon and Sony. Online forums such as the Sony camera forum provide a wealth of information on Sony cameras, lenses, and accessories. Point and shoot cameras today come in compact versions that will fit into any handbag. Unless you’re a professional photographer you don’t need an expensive camera, like the Sony Alpha. You want a camera that will offer options to suit different lighting and settings, but still simple enough that you don’t have to set everything manually.

Go get the Camera!

This is certainly a catchphrase for every mother; your child is suddenly taking his first step or being incredibly cute and everyone scrambles to find the camera. With kids, you never know when the perfect candid shot will present itself. Keep your camera always charged, with an empty SD card inside, and the right settings programmed. Keep it in a designated spot so it’s easy to find, and throw it into the diaper bag when leaving the house so it’s always on hand.

Monthly Montage

A great way to keep track of your child’s growth is by designating a specific day of every month as photo day for the first year of your child’s life. Choose a designated teddy bear or toy and on that day, dress your baby in a cute outfit and snap some pictures of him in relation to the teddy bear. The theory of relativity is very popular in photography. By taking pictures of your child and the same toy this theory comes in to play. By your baby’s first birthday you’ll have an adorable montage of photos in which your baby develops, first sitting next to the teddy bear, then holding it, crawling over it, etc.

Black and White

Newborn babies are often unattractive little creatures any way you slice it. They may have red skin, bumps and bruises and strange hair. Taking black and white photos will naturally smooth out some of the blemishes and soften the photo altogether. The black and white effect also serves to make the baby appear cuddlier. When editing the photos you may also elect to soften the color somewhat, rather than making it entire grayscale. Softening the saturation and hues will give the image a softer look, with more pastel colors.

Obtaining perfect pictures of your kids doesn’t have to be the result of a tearful photo shoot with cranky kids. Keep your camera on hand and snap enough pictures, and you’ll end up with masterpieces of your own making.

Bio: Penny Talbot is a mother and lover of great baby pictures who recommends the Sony camera forum for excellent information on Sony cameras. She has a collection of monthly pictures of her son that are dear to her heart.

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