What We Love Right Now August 31, 2011: 10 Foods to Help You Stay Young

August 31, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Girl Talk

Age is just a number, right? As we get older we start to feel it and see it…all over. It’s just part of the aging process, right? We all wish we could turn back the clock at some point. Luckily, you can help improve your look by just adjusting some of the things in your diet. Revamp your skin (and waistline!) with these 10 anti-aging super foods!

1. Avocados: Did you know the oils in avocados help to hydrate your skin? Bring on the Guacamole! In small doses, of course ;-) .

2. Berries: Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries offer an abundance of antioxidants. They also help the body process collagen making your skin smooth and soft.

3. Water-Rich Foods: Try celery, watermelon, cucumber, or peaches because these foods are high in water and best for hydrating your skin.

4. Walnuts: Help build a healthy immune system with these nuts.

5. Oysters: Some people love ‘em, other hate ‘em, but they do have their benefits. Oysters have plenty of zinc and also serve as an antioxidant.

6. Tofu and Soymilk: These vegetarian delights help keep the skin resilient and have been shown to actually slow down the aging process.

7. Broccoli: This veggie helps you naturally detox. Eat up and start to regain your natural glow!

8. Kiwi: This fruit contains more vitamin C than the orange! It helps maintain clear skin and also promotes bone health.

9. Spinach: This veggie has many benefits. It’s full of folate and tons of other vitamins that help with cell production.

10. Sweet Potatoes: Everyone loves a good baked potato, but how about a sweet potato? Maybe we should all make the switch because the the beta-carotene in this spud is a powerful antioxidant and fat-soluble. The beta-carotene turns to Vitamin A, which then helps smooth our skin and prevent unwanted wrinkles!

End of Summer Shutterfly Photobook Giveaway

August 29, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Girl Talk

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School’s back in session and summer memories are fading away. Looking back at summertime fun so many happy thoughts come to mind. It’s hard to beat the perfect vacation souvenir, but one that tops our list are photos. There really is no better way to capture the beauty of a sunset, the sparkle in your child’s smile, or the drips coming off your dog’s mouth like you can in a picture. Like many moms we tried the traditional scrapbooking and, while it was fun, it was also extremely time consuming. Don’t get us wrong. We completely understand why some women like it. It was fun definitely fun to visit craft stores and pick out the pretty paper and stickers and work on where to place everything oh-so-perfectly on each page.

Once you have more than one child, get in to a hectic work schedule, etc. time becomes more precious. That’s when Shutterfly comes in to play. Their electronic scrapbooking makes creating the prefect scrapbook so easy! We especially love that you don”t have to drag yourself or the kids through the aisles of the any store. Best of all, your finished product is delivered right to your door! The options are endless and we’ve always so pleased with their  photobooks turn out.

So, are you interested in turning some of your summer memories into a beautiful photobook?

Here’s how you can win a code for a free Shutterfly 8×8 Hardcover Photobook (a $29.99 value):

1. Leave a comment below telling us what summer adventure you’d like to turn into a Shutterfly photobook. 1 entry

2. Like SharpMoms on Facebook, then tell us you did in the comments below. If you’re already a fan, do the same, just tell us in the comments below.  1 entry

3. Tweet to @Sharpmoms telling us what trip you would like to turn into a Shutterfly photobook and be sure to leave us a comment here that you tweeted. 1 entry

4. Add our sticker to your personal website or blog (grab our sticker here). Leave us a comment below linking to your site. 1 entry

The giveaway starts today August 29 and ends Friday, September 2  at 6:00 pm EST. A winner will be chosen at random and announced on the evening of  Friday, September 2, 2011.

*Shutterfly code will be sent via email, so please be sure you are a registered SharpMoms user with valid email address. Code expires 9-26-11

Tips for a Smooth Morning

August 22, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Girl Talk

Getting up and moving in the morning can be a hard thing to do, especially if you’re not a morning person and you’ve got kids to get ready too! But as we all know how we tackle our mornings can really set the tone for the rest of the day. To help you get up and on the right path to a perky morning, we’ve got a few tips that have worked for us:

Get Some Help Waking Up

Sometimes the alarm clock buzzing just doesn’t cut it. If your spouse or child is a morning person, see if they can jolt you awake by coming to your side of the bed and starting a little morning conversation. Chances are if you have children that are early risers, this is already happening! You could also try something a little more civilized like maybe getting a wake up call from a friend on your cell. If you see your bestie’s number show up at 6:30 a.m. you might just be guilt ridden enough to get up and answer it.

Keep Organized

One thing that definitely throw off your morning is disorder. If you’re already tired any kind of added chaos is going to throw off the morning even more. Decide what is going to be worn by yourself and your kids the night before so there are no hassles. This will cut down on a lot of back and forth and fuss. Another problem area might be the bathroom. Make sure it is somewhat organized. It is usually small and shared by lots of family members, so keeping it in order will cut down on the chaos during the morning.

Get Moving

If you can get the gumption try to wake up 15-20 minutes earlier than normal to exercise. Walk around your neighborhood, jump rope in your living room, or do some sit-ups. Wake up your body early in the day and you’ll feel great later-trust us!

Eat Your Wheaties

It sounds like a no brainer and something you hear from others all the time, but really: Don’t miss breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day. We know by the time you feed everyone else you probably forget about feeding yourself, but a quick shake, waffle, or granola bar will do until you can think or something more filling. Or you can try this great Baked French Toast that’s easy to make and freeze overnight, then serve in the morning.

What We Love Right Now August 17, 2011: Quick Decluttering Tips

August 17, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Girl Talk

School is back in session and things are about to get really busy with work, school, and extracurriculars. There is no better time to get organized! You may have clutter all around your home, or maybe you just have certain problem areas. Either way, we have some tips to help you get rid of the mess and stay clutter free!

1. Organize Your Entryway

This is a biggie. When people come to your house this is the first space they see. If you have kids, you’ve got shoes, backpacks, coats, books, and who knows what else being dropped off at the door. A wall system of some kind is a must! Hanging hooks as well as a bench with cubbies for shoes and bags will help tremendously to reduce the look of clutter.

2. Open Your Mail Immediately

If you do this daily, you will get rid of your junk mail right away. Tear it up over the trash can or recycling bin to keep your pile of bills and useful mail to a minimum.

3. Be Selective With Your Child’s Artwork

This is always tough. I always HATE throwing these things out, but with multiple children in the house the tests and artwork really pile up quickly. If you are unsure of what to keep or toss, use a large art box to store things (they are easy to keep on a closet shelf or under a bed). Then go over the box with your child at the end of the school year. You can then choose together what to get rid of.

4. Divide Up Your Goods

Check with your child’s school or your church to see if they are collecting any items for the needy. Send clothes you no longer want to local charities. Better yet, have a girl’s night at your house and let your friends pick over your unwanted shoes, clothes, and handbags (Hey, nothing is better than free and a glass of wine!).

5. Save the Date

I’m the queen of forgetting someone’s birthday in the family. Usually my mother-in-law’s. Keep track of all your important dates like birthdays and anniversaries with great sites like americangreetings.com. They’ll even send you a reminder when you’ve got a case of Mom-Brain!

6. Regift, really.

I firmly believe that regifting is okay. Just because someone you love gave you a gift does not mean you are obligated to keep it. You don’t have to wrap it up for someone else’s birthday, but you can offer it to someone else so that they can use it and appreciate it (and so it is not taking up space at the bottom of your closet anymore).

7. If You Were Moving Would You Keep It?

This is a tough, but if you always keep things clean like you’re moving tomorrow, you’d almost always be clutter free. Just think: Would you want to move that item to a new house?

Do you have a great organizational tip? Share them with us!

What We Love Right Now August 10, 2011: Back-to-School Style

August 10, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Girl Talk

Who says back-to-school time has to be drag? Sure leaving summer memories behind is never fun, but going back to school should be an exciting time-no matter your child’s age! We’ve found a few stylish items from pencils to the perfect jacket that are certain to get your child pumped about a new school year!

1. Cute Backpacks

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Backpacks don’t have to be plain and simple! We love the styles Target has to offer. From rolling packs to totes and messenger bags, they’ve got something to suit all ages!

2. Military Style Jacket

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Your tween or teen will add lots of style to their back-to-school outfit with this cute (and affordable!) military style jacket from Forever 21.

3. Lilly Pulitzer Pencils

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No. 2 pencils don’t have to be dull and boring! Liven up Alegbra and Chemistry homework with these cute Lilly Pulitzer pencils.

4. Pencil Pouch

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Carry your crayons, pencils, and highlighters in style with these super fun pencil pouches! For these ultra stylish Converse cases and more, click here.

5. Lunchboxes

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PBTeen has a great selection of lunchboxes for boys and girls in a variety of colors, patterns, and styles. They are currently on sale!

6. Cute Mini Coolers

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Every college Freshmen needs a little something of their own in their dorm room. These mini coolers from PBTeen come in 3 different colors and are perfect for a couple of snacks and sodas.

7. Greek Out!

Did you know Pottery Barn offers all kinds of dorm essentials including Greek Shop? To browse their selection of Greek gifts, click here.

Potty Training 101: Our Best Potty Training Tips

August 9, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Girl Talk, Kid Connection

pottytrainingIt’s probably one of the biggest challenges of motherhood: Potty Training. Most of us dread it, even if we’ve been through it before. Maybe you’ve already had a few failed attempts at potty training with your little one. Why do some children master it in a matter of days and others week or even months? We know one’s things for sure: Your child has to be ready and (mostly) willing. You can be sure your child is ready by looking for signs here and there like immediately wanting to be changed once they’ve dirtied their diaper or taking interest in the potty and what it’s for. If you’re just getting started on this adventurous journey or if you’re at a loss, don’t despair! We’ve got a list of tips to get you headed in the right direction.

1. Introduce It a Little at a Time

Most children won’t be ready to begin training until after age 2, and really closer to 3, but some children will take well to at least sitting on the potty before or around age 2. “We started training our daughter fairly early (around 18 mths.)”, says Melanie, a mom of two from Texas. “I didn’t want to push her, but sat her on the potty once a day before her night time bath and that got the ball rolling.” We love this idea! Of course, if your child freaks out don’t push it, but even just sitting on the potty for a few minutes a day (nothing has to “happen”) is a great start.

2. Start a Routine

Once you’ve had a day or two of practice (or accidents–we think straight to undies works best) you’ll want to start a routine. If you have a small portable potty seat keep it nearby. After your child has had something to drink remind them frequently that it will be time to use the potty soon. You will probably want to sit your child on the potty in regular intervals-perhaps every 15-30 minutes. This will establish a good routine and get your child used to sitting on the potty.

3. Praise, Praise, and More Praise

Once you’ve sat and sat and sat on the potty several times there will be success eventually! Don’t forget to praise your child. We’ve all seen the commercial for the “potty dance”, but try to keep in mind what will work for your child. “I loved using a sticker chart with small smiley stickers. Then at the end of the day (with no accidents) Katie could pick a big sticker of her choice,” says Alison, a Mom of one, from Cincinnati, Ohio.

4. Be a Good Model

Your child might be awfully curious about the bathroom and big toilet. Let them venture with you or an older sibling to the bathroom so they’ll learn there is nothing to be afraid of.

5. Don’t Push It

Whatever you do, if you sense some resistance, don’t push it. Let it go and try again in another few weeks. If after a week or two of accidents and frustration, take break too. Don’t keep trying just because you think your child HAS to be trained because of certain standards. Most importantly remember that your child won’t leave for college in diapers! When toddlers finally realize they are ready the process can be rather quick for some.

All content here is advice only. For professional opinions please seek the advice of your medical provider.

Do you have a great potty training tip? Share it with us in the comments below!

Back to School Deals 2011

August 8, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Deals & Steals, Girl Talk

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It’s hard to believe that summer vacation is coming to an end, but for some of us it already has! We’ve been scouring stores and internet deals to try to find some hot back to school deals. Here’s what we’ve found!

Walgreens Deals (Good Thru 8/13/11)

Expo Dry Erase Markers 4 pk. $1.99
Sharpie Permanent Markers 12 pk. Fine Tip $4.99
Crayola Watercolors 8 pack 2/$3 (with insert coupon, limit 4)
Crayola Colored Pencils 12 pack 2/$3 (with insert coupon, limit 4)
Penway or Wexford Pencil Sharpeners $0.39 (with insert coupon, limit 3)

$0.99 Deals
Expo Markers 2-pk
Designer Themebook 70 sheets
Penway or Wexford Filler Paper 280 sheets
3 Subject Composition or Notebook 120 sheets
PaperMate Erasermate Pens 4 pk.
Sharpie Gel 2pk. or Accent Highlighters 4pk.

**You may want to double check and price match your local insert**

Target (In-Store Deals-Good Thru 8/13/11)

Pencil Toppers 15 pk. $0.99
2 pk. Mini Composition Notebook $0.99
The Board Dudes Corkboard w/Frame $6.67
BIC Cristal Ballpoint Pens 10-pk.- Black $0.99
90 ct. 3×3 Post-Its $1
Five Star 1 Subject Notebooks $1
Sharpie 3 ct. Highligthers $1
Sharpie 2pk. Marker-Black $1
FREE RoseArt 24 ct. Crayons with Purchase of RoseArt 10 pk. Markers
2 ct. Up and Up Scissors $0.90
RoseArt Glue $0.20
Standard Size Book Covers $0.50
Character Licensed Backpack $9-$13

Old Navy (Online)

Boys and Girls Graphic Tees $6.00
Kids Jeans $12 (and up)
Boys Rugby Polos $10.00
Girls Dresses $10.00

Don’t forget they have great sale and clearance items online and in stores, so be sure to check those out as well.

**25% OFF TODAY ONLY 8/8/11 with code ONSCHOOL at Checkout**

Piperlime

We love Piperlime.com. They have great deals on shoes for the whole family and their shipping AND returns are FREE (no minimum required!).

Check out Boy Sale Shoes Here and Girl Sale Shoes Here

Gymboree

Sometimes this store can be way over-priced BUT if you’re in need of some basic items, especially if your kids need uniform attire, they have some great pieces on sale right now. Prices start at $5.99 and you can choose from solid color leggings, polos and more!

For Girl Deals Click Here and Boy Deals Click Here

Pottery Barn Kids

Boys’ Fairfax Large Backpack-Chocolate Brown, Red Trim $19.99