How do you “unwind”?

June 29, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Girl Talk

Whether you work fulltime out of the house or battle the buckeroos at home day to day, being a Mom can be one tiring job! Rewarding as it may be, it  can still leave you drained at the end of most days. What is the best way to relax after a long day? SharpMoms share your thoughts with us!

SharpMoms is on Facebook

June 18, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Girl Talk

Check out our fan page http://www.facebook.com/pages/SharpMoms/92197698583?ref=ts and follow SharpMoms on facebook!

Pampers Points Codes

June 18, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Girl Talk

SharpMoms just found out these 4 codes can be used in your account for up a total of 5 added points! SharpMoms just used all four and they were active and worked. And, good news, shipping and handling for rewards is now FREE through December 09!! Here they are:

Happyfathersday

weappreciateu09

HAPPYMOTHERSDAY

STARTEARNINGNOW

Mommy Deals

June 16, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Deals & Steals

20% off photo books at Shutterfly and free shipping on orders of $40 or  more, offer ends July 13 enter code SUMMERSAVINGS

10 cent prints at Walgreens.com until July 11 enter code JULY4 at checkout

20% off your highest ticket item at www.thecompanystore.com, offer good until July 5 enter code T9EK20 at checkout

Summer Dresses starting at $29.50 Ann Taylor LOFT

Are you pregnant?

June 16, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Girl Talk, Pregnancy

Are you wondering if you could be expecting? There are many signs and symptoms of pregnancy. If you are hoping to be pregnant, unfortunately many signs can mimic PMS. It is very important that you know your body and it’s quirks. This can be key during the “two week wait” (the time between conception and your next expected period). Of course, we all know a home pregnancy test is the best way to find out. But, in the mean time, let your mind wonder with these symptoms and see if any of them match up to how you are feeling:

  1. Breast Tenderness: This is a tell-tale sign of pregnancy, however it can also be a PMS symptom for most women. Usually, most expectant mother’s don’t recognize this symptom until about 6-8 weeks into their pregnancy. So it may not be an early sign for everyone.
  2. Cramps: You may feel cramps that are very similar to your premenstrual cramping, however, this cramping is a a sign of implantation and uterine stretching.
  3. Spotting: This is not a symptom for all women, but some women will experience light spotting as if they were going to start a period. This is also a sign of implantation and can be as tiny as a needle point or larger. If you experience heavy bleeding is probably a sign that your period is going to start or a sign of something for serious if the bleeding occurs for longer than expected.
  4. Tiredness: Sure, every woman, working or not, experiences some fatigue during her cycle. But, if you can only think about the next time you get to take a nap while a work or can’t keep up with your daily activities, it could be a sign that there is a baby on board.
  5. Nausea: Most pregnant women do not feel morning sickness until 6 weeks of pregnancy or later. However, some women do get to feel the joys of this symptom early on.
  6. Bloating: Your increased hormones can cause a little extra pooch in your tummy. This can also happen with your period, but once your period begins, your notice your bloating decreases. Not the case with a bun in the oven!
  7. Frequent Urination: Getting up during the night to tinkle? This is your body’s way of kicking your kidneys into gear and is a sign that you might be pregnant.
  8. Headaches: These occur early on due to hormonal changes and increased blood flow. As you progress in your progress this symptom should disappear.
  9. Constipation: This potty problem can rear it’s ugly head even before you test positive. Your digestive track is slowing down, so you will have a decrease in your bowel movements. Try fiber supplements and a high fiber diet.
  10. Mood Swings: While a visit from Aunt Flo can trigger this symptom too, don’t be surprised if it is also a sign you are pregnant. Increased hormones, fatigue, bloating, cramping…You will have good reason to wake up on the wrong side of the bed some days!

Of course, these are not the only signs you could be expecting nor will all women have these symptoms. Signs and symptoms will vary. SharpMoms suggests testing with a home pregnancy test on or after Day 40 of your cycle if your period is not present by then. Still no period or positive test after Day 40? Check with your OBGYN for a blood pregnancy test and other testing to see why your period may be a no-show.

Finding the Right Babysitter

June 16, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Girl Talk

Choosing a sitter that is responsible can be a very hard decision as a parent. Finding a sitter in general can be even more difficult. What is the best way to find a reliable babysitter? SharpMoms thinks word of mouth is probably a good place to start. Check with your friends who have children, friends who have children of age to babysit, your church group, your child’s preschool teacher, etc.

You can also check the phone book for local babysitting and nanny agencies. Who remembers the episode of Jon and Kate Plus 8 where Kate interviews several nannies through a local company? You can always meet up with a few and give them a “test drive” by letting them come over and play with the kids while you are home.

Know a college gal? Ask her to give the names of some reliable friends. Better yet, go check out the bulletin board at the dorm. Ask a sorority alumna to give you the names of some girls she would recommend for hire. Most girls in college that are willing to sit love kids and are looking for a few extra buck to pay off that Coach Bag they have been eying.

Once your find your sitter, how do you know they are doing a good job? Here are some red flags when looking for signs of a bad babysitter or nanny:
~Your child looks unkept or dirty.
~Your child avoids the sitter when he/she shows up (crying, clingy, etc.)
~Your nanny or sitter shows up late.
~The stories just don’t make sense. If she is lying or stealing most likely some storytelling will come into play. Don’t be fooled!
~Too many mishaps have occurred. If your child has had one to many “close calls” perhaps you should look into finding a new nanny or sitter.

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

June 16, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Girl Talk

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Father’s Day is fast approaching. Whether it’s his first Father’s Day or twentieth, here are some unique ideas the Dad in your life will be sure to love!

* Something from the kids: Take your kids on a scavenger hunt for the perfect rock from your garden or local park. Wash it well to remove all the dirt. Then let your child decorate it! Use acrylic paint to create a work of art Dad will be sure to love!
* JCR-650 Digital Photo Frame FM Stereo Tri-Alarm Clock Radio with Digital Audio Player: What better way for a Dad on the go to be reminded of his loved ones? This alarm clock is great for travel or home use. The best part? He can upload his favorite pictures to view any place he may be!
* DIY Handprint Frame: Find a frame with a large mat and have all the family members finger paint a handprint and sign it for Dad.
* NFL Licensed Grill Covers: If he is an avid football fan, he will love having his favorite team logo protecting his precious grill. SharpMoms suggests the grill covers available at www.gifts.com.
* Portable Hammock: Is your Dad the outdoorsy type? He will love this hammock-on-the-go that’s perfect for his next fishing or camping trip. Not sure where to find one? SharpMoms likes the Discover Channel Store.
* Jolly Gorillapod Tripod: This is the newest, lightweight, compact, portable tripod on the market. It will securely fasten to any surface, giving your camera a sturdy base. Check them out at www.altrec.com.

Share your favorite Father’s Day gift ideas with us!

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June 16, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Girl Talk

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Easy and Appealing Appetizers

June 15, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Meals In Minutes

Throwing a football pregame party? Having a movie night with friends in the comfort of your theater room? Enjoying a birthday celebration? These appetizers will be a big hit no matter the occassion, and, the best part, they are SharpMoms simply delicious picks!

Asparagus Wraps

If you like the classic pigs in a blanket, you’ll be a fan of these scrumptious wraps!

What you need:

1/2 pound uncooked, chilled pizza dough or Pillsbury cresent rolls dough 
8 to12 asparagus stalks, trimmed and cooked*
1 small tomato, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 ounces cheddar or mozzarella cheese, sliced

Make it fast:

  1.  Heat oven to 375.
  2. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces.
  3. On a lightly floured surface with lightly floured hands, flatten the 4 pieces of dough to about 1/4 inch thick, approximately 2 by 5 inches.
  4. Bundle 3-4 sticks of asparagus. Then cut in half lengthwise.
  5. Lay each asparagus bundle along one side of a piece of dough.
  6. Cover asparagus with a tomato slice, then layer cheese over it.
  7. Roll dough, starting with side closest to fillings, to form the blanket, ending seam side down.
  8. Line a baking sheet with foil lightly coated with olive oil or cooking spray.
  9. Let blankets sit on baking sheet about 15 minutes, or until they’re room temperature.
  10. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  11. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Outstanding Onion Dip

What you need

2 cups sweet onion, peeled and chopped
2 cups mayonnaise
2 cups Parmesan cheese

Make it fast:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. .
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, onions and cheese.
  3. Pour the mixture into a 2 quart, sprayed, baking dish and bake for approximately 45 minutes, until the top is slightly brown.
  4. Serve hot with buttery, round crackers or pita chips. SharpMoms likes Spicy French Rounds available at most fine markets.

Ravioli Dippers

We know ravioli is usually a dinner entree, but why not mix it up a little with this fun appetizer. SharpMoms things it’s great for kids too!

What you need:

1 pound frozen cheese ravioli, thawed
cooking oil
salt (to taste)
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce

Make it fast:

  1. Pat dry thawed ravioli with a paper towel.
  2. Heat oil on medium heat in a large, heavy skillet to a depth of one inch.
  3. Fry in batches until golden brown, with a fry-time of about 5 minutes per batch.
  4. Drain well on paper toweling, salt as desired, and serve with warm marinara sauce.

You can also choose raviolis with different filling and mix up the sauces. SharpMoms likes butter garlic sauce, alfredo sauce, or spicy ranch.

Sensational Summer Recipes

June 15, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Meals In Minutes

Summertime seems to bring out the cook in all of us. Crisp air, sunshine, and good meals can all make summertime a little more enjoyable. Here are a few SharpMoms recipes we think your family will love.

Easy Pea-sy Pea Salad

Perfect side salad to with your grilled steaks. Makes 6 servings.

What you need:

  • 1 (17 ounce) can English peas
  • 2 tablespoons chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green pepper
  • 1 teaspoon pimento, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
  • 2 tablespoons sharp cheddar cheese, diced
  • 1 egg, hard boiled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon mayonnaise

Make it fast:

  1. Drain peas.
  2. Then, combine the next 6 ingredients on the list and mix well.
  3. Add peas, eggs, and mayo and mix gently.
  4. Chill throughly.

Super Simple Snack Quesadilla

This is a summertime snack that will have your kids begging “more please!” (and Moms will love it too).

What you need:

  • 1 flour tortilla
  • 1 cup sliced apple
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Fix it fast:

  1. Place a layer of apple slices on tortilla. Sprinkle with cheese. Fold in half.
  2. Microwave 15-20 seconds, or until cheese melts.

Grilled Talapia with Tomatos

You’ll love this recipe for talapia that you can grill, or bake in the oven.

What you need:

  •  4 (6 oz. size) tilapia, whitefish or halibut fillets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large chopped seeded tomato
  • 1/3 cup sliced pimento-stuffed olives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers

Make it fast:

  1. Prepare grill or heat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Tear 4 large sheets of aluminum foil.
  3. Put each fillet on one half of each sheet.
  4. Brush 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the lemon juice evenly over fillets; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold half the foil over each fish fillet to make rectangular packets. Fold the remaining 3 edges over several times to seal.
  5. For relish, mix together the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, tomatoes, olives, basil and capers; set aside. Place packets on grill over medium hot coals or on a baking sheet in the oven. Grill, covered, or bake 6 to 10 minutes, or until fish is opaque in center. Carefully open packets; transfer to plates and top with relish.

Baby and Children Deals

June 15, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Deals & Steals

Old Navy Shorts for girls, sizes 0-5T,  starting at $5.00

Registry Checklist

June 15, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Pregnancy

Going through pregnancy can be a very exciting, yet overwhelming experience.  Every new mother has worries and one thing that shouldn’t be a stress is registering for baby items. Whether you choose a large store such as Target or Babies R Us or a local boutique, registering for your baby should be a fun, carefree experience. SharpMoms suggests taking a good friend (maybe one with a little expertise) or your own Mother to help you on your registering journey. To help you out, we’ve created a no-nonsense list of baby essentials. Be sure to print it out before you hit the stores!

Baby Care/Diapering

  • Lotions and Baby Wash
  • Diapers (newborns and Size 1)
  • Wipes
  • Safety Swabs
  • Alcohol Swabs
  • Cotton Swabs
  • First Aid Kit to-go
  • Pacifiers

Baby Gear

  • Most new parents choose an infant travel system. This works well because you recieve a stroller, carseat, and base all in one package. However, some carseats and strollers are sold seperately. In that case you will need to register for a base, carseat (they come with one base already), and stroller.
  • Umbrella stroller-for quick outings and vacations
  • Car Seat Savers/Grabbers-These are like mats that fit under the carseat to protect your actual car seat.
  • Play Yard or Pack N Play
  • Playmat or Playgym
  • Bumbo seat and playtray
  • Exersaucer or entertainer
  • High Chair

Bath and Potty

  • Hooded towel
  • Washcloths
  • Infant bathtub or seat/sling
  • Bath thermometer
  • Spout cover
  • Bath toys
  • Burp Cloths-SharpMoms suggests using Gerber Pre-folded cloth diapers

Clothing

  • Kiddopatamus SwaddleMe (small and large)
  • Halo SleepSack (small, medium, and large)
  • Pack of long-sleeved onsies with turn-cuff sleeve
  • 1-2 Sleepers
  • Pack of newborn socks

Nursery Gear

  • Crib (you may also need teething rails if the crib you select does not come with them)
  • Rocker or Glider
  • Changing Table
  • Bookshelf
  • Toy Box
  • Dresser
  • Nightstand
  • Curtains
  • Diaper Stacker
  • Diaper Pail or Diaper Genie
  • Changing Pad
  • Changing Pad Covers
  • Mattress
  • 1-2 Fitted Sheets
  • Crib Bedding Sets (don’t forget accessories such as a wastebasket or picture frames)
  • Mobile
  • Ultimate sheet saver
  • Recieving blankets
  • Plush blanket
  • Baby monitor

Feeding

  • Many expectant mother’s opt to breastfeed as long as possible. You may want to register for a breast pump, nursing bra pads, breastmilk storage containers as well as drop in bags for bottles. If you choose to bottlefeed there are many brands to choose from. SharpMoms sugggests Avent or Dr. Brown’s. Don’t forget to register for a starter kit as well as extra nipples in various sizes.
  • Infant and toddler spoons
  • Sippy Cups
  • Plates
  • Bowls

This is SharpMoms essential list to get you started on your registering adventure. Don’t forget to add on things that you like and a few toys for baby as well! Many stores have a lot of choose from, so don’t let this list restrict you!

Diaper Deal

June 13, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Deals & Steals

Shop Diapers.com Semi-Annual Sale — with 40+ offers and over $800 in savings, it’s a great way to save on everything baby. Below are just a few of the great deals you’ll find. Plus, new Diapers.com customers can earn 50 bonus Pampers Gifts to Grow points! Simply click on this email and purchase any Pampers diapers. You’ll receive your Gifts to Grow code on your order confirmation page.* offer expires 7/31/09

Looking for great deals on diapers? SharpMoms suggests www.diapers.com where you can get $10 off and free shipping on your first order of diapers. Just enter code PTGJUN09 at checkout (exp. 11/30/09).

Terrific Toys

June 12, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Kid Connection

Wondering what toys are developmentally appropriate for your child? We have a list that won’t dissapoint!

Top 10 Toys for Infants and Toddlers:

  1. Rock-A-Stack by Fisher Price
  2. Babies Learn with Me ABC, 123 Ball available at www.amazon.com
  3. Karen Katz Peek and Play Cubes by Small World Toys
  4. Fold Away Playground by Little Tikes
  5. Pop Tunes Big Rockers Guitar by Little Tikes
  6. Grow N Go Bike by Radio Flyer
  7. Kota the Triceratops by PlaySkool
  8. Sing Along Stage by Fisher Price
  9. The Farmer Says by Fisther Price
  10. Cozy Coupe by Little Tikes

Top Toys for PreSchool Children:

  1. CandyLand Castle Game by Hasbro
  2. Smart Cycle by Fisher Price
  3. LEGO Duplo Circus by LEGO
  4. LeapFrog ClickStart My First Computer by LeapFrog
  5. Elmo’s Restaurant by Fisher Price

Toy Picks for Girls:

  1. PowerWheels Barbie Ford Mustang by Fisher Price
  2. FurReal Friends Biscuit My Luvin Puppy by Hasbro
  3. Rose Petal Cottage by Hasbro
  4. Deluxe Art Easel by Melissa and Doug
  5. Littliest PetShop Play Set by Hasbro

Top Picks for Boys:

  1. U Command WallE by MPA Sales
  2. Elmo LIVE by Fisher Price
  3. PowerWheels Lil Quad by Fisher Price
  4. VTech KiddiZoom Digital Camera by VTech
  5. Dinosaur Bin by NEAT OH
  6.  

Book Nook

June 12, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Kid Connection

It is never too early to open a good book and read with your child. Even in the early stages of infancy, bright colored pages can catch the eye of your baby and engage your child. For infants 0-6 months, SharpMoms reccommends touch and feel books like Touch and Feel Farm by DK Publishing. Infants love to look at themselves in the mirror. Bring that joy to them with a book like Baby Einstein: Mirror Me! By Julie Aigner-Clark. Lift the flap books are a great way to engage your child in reading and are best suited for children 9 months-3 years. SharpMoms likes Baby Einstein: Jane’s Animal Expedition by Julie Aigner-Clark, My First Word: Lift the Flap Book by DK Publishing, and The Cat in The Hat’s Great Big Flap Book by Aristides Ruiz . As your child grows, so will their habits. SharpMoms likes Excuse Me! A Little Book of Manners by Karen Katz. Does your little one have the first-day-of-school-jitters? Try easing their fears with this wonderfully animated story, Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes. As your child becomes older, and a more avid reader, you can choose books that fit their interests. Some great book series for early readers that SharpMoms likes are The Berenstain Bears by Stan and Jan Berenstain, Clifford by Norman Birdwell, and Henry and Mudge by Cynthia Rylant. More experienced readers can begin chapter books. SharpMoms likes Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Clearly, The Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne, and Horrible Harry Series by Suzy Kline.

Looking to add an extra touch to that special baby shower gift? A book is a great “extra” to any gift basket and can help an expectant mother grow her child’s library. Some SharpMom favorites are Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, Guess How Much I Love You? by Sam McBratney, and Hickory, Dickory, Dock and Other Favorite Nursery Rhymes by Sanja Rescek.

Simple Scrapbook

June 10, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Arts & Crafts

This is a great gift idea for Father’s Day or Mother’s Day or just for fun!

Sharp Mom Supplies:

  • 8×8 Scrap Book Pages
  • yarn
  • scissors
  • glue
  • decorations such as stickers, ribbons, etc.
  • copies of favorite family photos
  • Black Marker
  • hole punch

Sharp Mom Steps:

  1. Stack scrapbook pages so that each page is lined up.
  2. Punch two wholes near the top and bottom of one edge of the paper.
  3. Lace yarn through wholes and tie to keep the pages together.
  4. Let your child decorate each page and caption the pictures.

3D Drawings

June 10, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Arts & Crafts

Sharp Mom Supplies:

  • Crayons or Markers
  • paper
  • glue
  • scissors
  • misc. art decorations (fabric, buttons, scrap paper, etc.)

Sharp Mom Steps

  1. First let your child draw the picture.
  2. Use embellishments to bring the picture to life (use real fabric for clothes, blue buttons for raindrops). Let your child’s imagination run the project!

Sparkling Art

June 10, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Arts & Crafts

Sharp Mom Supplies:

  • Sturdy tag board or poster board
  • permanent markers
  • tin foil
  • saran wrap
  • an easy picture to trace (from a favorite coloring book or story book)
  • tape

Sharp Mom Steps:

  1. Cut board into 9×9 squares and cover with foil so that one side is completely smooth.
  2. Tape picture down to work surface so it can not moved.
  3. Tape saran wrap over the picture.
  4. Let your child use the markers to trace and color the picture.
  5. Lift saran wrap and place over tin foiled board. The foil will give your child’s artwork a sparkling look!

Decorative Mint Tins

June 10, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Arts & Crafts

Sharp Mom Supplies:

  • Empty mint tin
  • acrylic paint
  • paint brushes, sponges
  • decorative items such as buttons, ribbons, pom-poms, glitter glue, family photos, scraps of wrapping paper…the list could go on and on!

Sharp Mom Steps:

  1. First coat the tin with acrylic paint.
  2. Next, begin decorating your tin with your decorative items. Moms, you may want to use a glue gun, but kids can apply the decorations using craft clue or glue dots.
  3. Once your tin is decorated, you can use it for a first aid kit, gift card box, barrette holder, etc. Use your creativity and imagination!

Adult Age Party Ideas

June 9, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Party Planning

Here are ideas for parties that will satisfy the young, as well as the young at heart!

MEXICAN AND MARGARITAS

This party theme is great way to celebrate a birthday, retirement or anniversary. Load up on chips, salsa, taco fixings and margarita mix. Invite guests to wear sombreros and join the food and fun.

THIS IS YOUR LIFE PARTY

This theme is geared more towards that 40 or 50 year old you may know. Decorate with pictures documenting the honoree’s life. Showcase awards and trophies. Play games from the high school era and you can even ask guests to dress like they were in the birthday person’s high school class.

FAVORITE RESTAURANT

Does your birthday guy or gal have an absolute favorite restaurant? Maybe it is a swanky restaurant that requires an excuse to get all dressed up. It could be a small cafe down the street. Whatever the place may be, a friendly birthday get together is a great way to commemorate a milestone 30th, 40th, or 50th birthday. This kind of party can be as big or as small as you like. For a more intimate event, invite close friends to join you for a night out of the town. For larger parties, reserve a few tables, bring some decorations, place cards, framed pictures of the birthday person, and encourage guests to bring a small birthday treat for the honoree. Sharp Moms likes this theme because it leaves the mess and cleaning up out of the house and at the restaurant!

DANCING THROUGH THE DECADES

What is your favorite era? The 50s, 60s or 70s? This party theme can be used for any kind of celebration. Your guests can dress according to the decade and join your honoree for a night of dancing, food, and laughs.

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