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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Going green, is gold.

Green living is as common as well, the common cold. Do you take your own reusable bags to the store with you? Do you recycle your junk mail, catalogs, papers and general recyclables? Sometimes it is easier to just throw it away and start later, but it’s a new year and I have the perfect way to get you off on that right foot.

Eco-Friendly Families is a lifestyle guide to help you explore ways to implement green into your families’ lifestyle. It takes small steps, I can’t lie to you there. We didn’t just do it over night and we have struggles daily. The funny thing for me was my kids were more interested in the environment and being committed to a new lifestyle.

In Eco-Friendly Families, Helen Coronato translates so many simplistic ideas that you may not always think of and makes it enjoyable for at least one family member hopefully.
One of the issues Helen tackles amongst the many is cleaning and how to do it efficiently and still be environmentally sound. Below are a simple list of household items that are readily available and eco-friendly.
• Baking soda
• Rags (instead of paper towels)
• Saltshaker
• Spray bottle
• Olive oil
• Bottle of vinegar
• Old toothbrush (soak in hydrogen peroxide to kill bacteria)
• Promotional or expired credit card
All of these items are listed and the uses for in her book, if I gave it away the purpose of me telling to buy you the book would be moot. It’s a great read and tool, so please pick it up.
Monday, January 26, 2009

Suck it up!


As the mother of two, so many options that are out there now weren’t out there when I was raising the little ones. My oldest who just turned nine yesterday, used a pacifier and my youngest would have nothing to do with one. We were forever losing them, looking for it in the car seat, under the couch, wherever she had last been seen with it.

Back then, there was a clip, but it wasn’t as sturdy as they are now and certainly not as creative as the one I’m about to introduce you to.

Thanks to BinkTees you can say goodbye to plastic clips. You wouldn’t have to worry about the binky getting lost or dirty when it falls out, which it always does. Talk about a new, fun, very creative and safe way to wear a binky as an accessory.

The ribbon can be removed and worn by itself, we as parents know that versatility is great.

BinkTees offers a variety of options for little boys and girls, long sleeve, short sleeve; you can always put a hoodie over anything!

It’s an amazing idea and created by a mom; as my faithful readers know my favorite kind of business to support.

Enjoy!
Thursday, January 22, 2009

Scholarship worries?

Upromise Doubles 2009 Scholarship Fund to Help More Students Attain a College Education

NEWTON, Mass., January 14, 2009 – At a time when an unprecedented number of Americans are struggling to save and pay for the ever-rising cost of college tuition, Upromise, a Sallie Mae company, is doubling financial support for its annual scholarship program. This year, the Upromise Scholarship will award a total of $500,000 in college aid to 200 students. Based on merit and need, the Upromise Scholarship was created to help Upromise members pursue a college education and is made possible by many of America’s leading brands, including lead sponsors, Bank of America and Bed Bath & Beyond®, and support from Canon U.S.A., Inc.’s eStore.com, Kaplan, Rewards NetworkSM and Sallie Mae.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the cost of college has more than doubled since 1990, with the average tuition, room and board at a four-year private college or university costing roughly $38,400 per academic year. With today’s economic challenges and more than 18.4 million students expected to attend the nation’s colleges and universities this fall, American demand for financial scholarships will be considerable.

“In these difficult economic times, Americans need all the help they can get to save and pay for college.” said David Rochon, president, Upromise. “This year, through the generosity of Upromise partners, we are delighted to double the Upromise Scholarship Fund and support twice as many students in their higher education dreams.”

“As Upromise members, my parents have received money for college tuition when they shop for groceries, clothing and even when they fill up on gas,” said Krista Grill, a senior at Baldwin Wallace College and recipient of the 2008 Upromise Scholarship. “Those savings combined with winning the scholarship made a big difference in helping my family and I pay for college this past year.”

To apply for this year’s Upromise Scholarship, students can visit upromise.com/scholarship and apply online by February 28, 2009. Applicants must meet the following requirements:
• Be a Upromise member or child of a Upromise member (joining is free at www.upromise.com)
• Have a household income of $65,000 or less
• Have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (or the equivalent)
• Be a high school senior or graduate who plans to enroll during the 2009-2010 academic year, or a student already enrolled in full-time undergraduate study at an accredited two-year or four-year college or university or vocational-technical school
• Be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident residing in one of the 50 U.S states or Washington, D.C.

Complete eligibility guidelines can be found at upromise.com/scholarship.
In addition, the U.S. Department of Education is currently accepting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov, which is crucial for students to complete to be eligible for federal financial aid for college. To help with college planning, Upromise.com offers free tools including links to Sallie Mae’s scholarship search, college savings plan options and tips on how to earn more Upromise college savings rewards.

About Upromise
Launched in April 2001, today Upromise is the largest private source of college funding contributions in America, with more than 9.5 million members and more than $450 million in member rewards. Membership is free and can help families save money for college while making everyday purchases of products and services at more than 22,000 grocery and drug stores, 14,000 gas stations, 8,000 restaurants, as well as thousands of retail stores, and more than 600 online shopping sites. Upromise partners include Bank of America, ExxonMobil Corporation, Bed Bath & Beyond®, McDonald’s®, JCPenney.com, LandsEnd.com, Sears.com, and hundreds of others. Upromise also makes it easy for families to start their own college savings strategy through tax-advantaged 529 college savings plans offered through Upromise Investments, Inc. or by using Upromise contributions to help pay down eligible student loans. Upromise is a wholly owned subsidiary of SLM Corporation (NYSE: SLM), commonly known as Sallie Mae, the nation’s leading provider of saving-and-paying-for-college programs. Upromise is headquartered in Newton, Mass., and has more than 350 employees. For additional information, visit upromise.com.
Monday, January 19, 2009

Shave the last ...

What do you shave with, lotion, moisturizer, shaving cream or soap? What do your legs feel like after that? Smooth or is there a tad bit of stubble left behind? Do you feel dry and scaly? It happens to the best of us.
EOS Shaving cream is one of the better ones out there to help prevent that; the best that I have found so far. The scents are refreshing and the cream goes on smooth.
How does it shave, great but you do have to use it lightly as it is quite thick and need to rinse the razor often.
Does it work on men, most definitely! Eos leaves the face feeling smooth and a lingering scent behind for you and even your kids to enjoy when you give ‘em a peck on the cheek.
I liked the pomegranate raspberry scent the most, as I have sensitive skin and I’m sensitive to scents. Eos comes in three unique scents Island blue and Vanilla Bliss are the other two and I’m sure you can find one just right for you.
Go to the site and look for a store near you!
Thursday, January 15, 2009

Balanced Water

The world is made of water. The vast majority of our environment and surroundings is comprised of or derived from water. It is the most vital of substances on the planet, an element that serves as the fuel of life for us all. As that world around us evolves, the water appears to be evolving with it. Energy drinks once loaded with sugars, preservatives, and various chemicals and additives have fallen as the beverages of choice return to basics, relying on the gifts of the world’s nature elixir and offering the enhanced benefits that can only be gained by featuring water as the primary ingredient of choice.
The trend is evident on the shelves as consumers are no longer lacking in options for beverages. The number of folks using carbonated offerings as their beverage of choice is dropping while sports drinks are starting to discover the power of natural ingredients. More of the bottles on the shelf are carrying words like “enriched” and “organic,” touting a new vision of healthy living that can be enhanced by the consumption of drinks engineered to increase your quality of life. The bulk of those companies are now peddling the most basic of nutrients but are doing what they can to turn that life staple into a more rewarding experience.
The members of the Mom in the Know family have tried a multitude of these drinks. Raising two young children to respect their bodies and minds is of top priority, but presenting a beverage that can do that while also offering desirable taste and satisfaction can be difficult. While the fine folks in the food and beverage industry are working hard to bring “health” and “flavor” to a healthy co-existence, the task is not easy. Add the elusive tastes of our young ones and the trials endured in keeping them happy in a world of too many choices and you have the perfect formula for frustration and indecision.
Fortunately, the folks at the Balance Water Company have us in mind.
Based in Australia, the world’s largest island, Balance Water is based on simple-yet-powerful ideals, seeking a balanced world steeped in environmental and social responsibility. While water is our greatest resource, the world has not given us license to act irresponsibly. Balance Water provides the well-being benefits of the world’s most precious nutrient with operations and motivations founded in communal goals.
At the center of Balance Water products are handpicked Australian Flower Essences, a natural additive used in small, highly concentrated doses. These essences have been used for centuries by local island inhabitants to reduce stress and enhance focus. Australians believe the positive effects of their flower essences are cumulative, meaning their power increases over time and with continued use, and now they are offering those benefits to the world.
They use eco-friendly practices, highlighted by an effort to produce and package their product around the world. To optimize the realization of global goals, Balance Water realized the dangers of shipping could only hamper their cause. The carbon footprint created by packing and delivering their products could be as detrimental for our environment as anything they do, thus Balance Water has devised a system of local “outlets” charged with the production and delivery of their products. The Australian Flower Essences are the only ingredient in these products that is shipped around the world, providing local operations for a global effort and minimizing the ecological damage such operations could create.
Balance Water has been in business for some time and has offered water-loving consumers some of the best beverages money can buy for many years. However, their most recent endeavor is devised to make the mothers of the world happy by offering a line of water beverages specifically engineered for the young body.
Balance for Children provides the young members of our world with an outstanding alternative to the typical, sugar-based, over-caffeinated options they find on the shelves for consideration. Like all Balance Water products, there are no flavors, no colors, no preservatives, no manufactured chemicals or additives, and no refined or natural sugars. It is water enhanced by the same Australian Flower Essences that have kept those island inhabitants healthy for centuries.
More specifically, Balance for Children features a unique mixture of four different Australian Flower Essences, including Bush Fuchsia, Crowea, Black-Eyed Susan, and Paw-Pay. Those essences promote increased focus for young minds while also enhancing calming emotions to restore emotional and physical balance for our youth. As you know, the children of our world contribute (and use) more energy than we can calculate. Balance for Children will keep their tanks hydrated and fueled while introducing natural ingredients proven to enhance their abilities to maintain focus and balance.
Our children spent several days drinking Balance for Children and the experience was refreshing. The highs and lows of the typical sugar-filled day were leveled. Our girls found reading and studies became easier and, as you might expect, more rewarding. There were no complaints of taste or texture (after all, they are used to water) yet the benefits of those Australian Flower Essences were impossible to ignore. There were noticeable increases in focus and, much to my own amazement, fewer trips to the fridge. It was clear the water was not only refreshing, but it helped our girls feel more energized while keeping them more hydrated with increased abilities to focus on task.
As a result, we have made Balance for Children a daily ritual in our household. While we continue to use the efficient and cost-effective filter for much of the water consumed in our house, we have also insured a regular dose of Balance for Children is included on the menu. As the Australians have learned, the effects improve with continued use and our children are enjoying those benefits with each and every cup of Balance for Children they get.
The folks at Balance Water have built a corporation we can support and commend, emphasizing the importance of community and wellness for all while maintaining their visions and goals. Now they have tailored their menu to include benefits for our young ones, and that has us feeling as balanced as ever.
To find a Balance Water vendor near you, visit their website at www.balancewater.com and hit their “Where to Buy” page. Enjoy and stay balanced.
Monday, January 12, 2009

Camping out

RESEARCHING THE RIGHT CAMP FOR YOUR CHILD
A Timeline for the Year

By Eve Eifler, Co-Director, Tips on Trips and Camps, Baltimore, MD

Often times, parents start researching the perfect summer experience for their child too late in the season. In many cases, the only session in which their child can participate – nestled between baseball season, the family vacation and the start of school - is already filled up. The best way to avoid this situation is to plan your summer early. Done right, the process of finding the right camp can take an entire year’s worth of research, but the reward is great.

If you are trying to decide on a traditional camp experience, here’s a timetable:

DO THE RESEARCH (Now, fall and winter)

With over 11,000 camps in the United States, it is important to come up with a list of questions to guide you. By doing so, you can narrow the possibilities to a manageable few.

What do I want in a camp?
Single sex or co-ed?
Religious or non-denominational?
Sports-oriented, nature-oriented or a mixture of both?
Close-by camp within driving distance or am I comfortable with a plane flight?
Do I want lakes or mountains (or will just a river do)?
1, 2 or 4 weeks in length?
Is the culture or personality of the camp competitive or nurturing?
Are activities required or is there free choice by interest?

To do this research, it is helpful to –

• Talk to other children and parents. Referrals from other families with camp experience are a great way to get the real scoop. Remember it is sometimes difficult to recognize when your child may need a different program than his or her best buddy.

• Watch DVDs & talk to your children. DVDs are especially helpful for children to learn what camp is all about and can easily enable you to discuss camp with your child in order to assess their readiness. Children enjoy seeing the campers and the activities. When talking to your child about their interests, be open to the unexpected.




• Search the Internet. The Internet is full of “Yellow Pages” that offer links to a camp’s web site. You can search by region or camp focus. If using this method, it is a good idea to use additional references from the camps, as well as an independent advisory service.

• Attend a camp fair. Schools, malls, and community centers sponsor annual fairs to allow parents to see many programs in a central venue. Usually present are directors of overnight camps, day camps and teen programs. Check your local parenting publications.

• Talk to camp directors. Each director should have a clear sense of what children should gain from their experiences and how to go about teaching these skills. If the director cannot adequately answer your questions about camp philosophy, home communication or supervision, then it is probably not the right camp for you.

• In-person meetings. Many camps host slide shows, gatherings or reunions where you have an opportunity to meet the directors and speak with current campers. Some offer visiting days in the spring when you can go and see the camp facility.

• Talk to a Camp Advisor. Tips on Trips and Camps is one of the many wonderful resources to use in locating the perfect program for your child. Camp advisors can help a family compare programs, obtain references, determine the right questions to ask directors, and, ultimately, find the program that suits each child. They have seen the camp and share their first hand observations.

Early Bird Discounts (Now)
Once you have determined which camp suits your child, you can take advantage of early bird discounts. These discounts usually hold the cost of camp down to the previous year’s tuition or take a few hundred dollars off the price of residential camping. And, when your neighbors are stressing out about what their child will be doing in the coming summer, you will be sitting pretty with your child already enrolled.

Camp provides an opportunity for growth that should not be underestimated. It is an integral part of a child’s educational and social development, providing a haven from our technologically and academically driven society. It certainly is not a vacation in the strictest sense of the word. Since there are programs to fit the needs of any child, I encourage you to explore the range of options available to you. The camp experience is an opportunity that cannot be replicated elsewhere. And you might want to make appointments to visit a few camps that could be of interest for next summer.

Happy camping!
•••••••

Tips on Trips and Camps is one of the oldest and largest camp advisory services. Established in 1971, “Tips” has advisors in 16 cities, relationships with over 600 sleep away camps and programs, and each year provides advice and guidance to thousands of families. The service is provided by phone, email and the website, which makes it available to anyone virtually anywhere. For more information and advice, to request brochures and DVDs, or to speak to a knowledgeable consultant, visit www.TipsonTripsandCamps.com.
Thursday, January 8, 2009

Write here!







I like to send a note to school with my girls in their lunches, just so they know that I’m thinking of them even if I’m not with them. I sometimes get stuck on what to say, how to say it. All the “love you” get old for them after a bit I think; they want new jokes, facts and “flair”.
Kids Lunch Box Cards has filled that niche for me and many of us now. They are cards that are filled with fun facts, riddles, gross but true facts, looney laws, and mystical people.


The riddles have scratch off answers, makes it even a little more fun for the kids to enjoy their surprise. They can play at lunch with their friends or keep it for themselves.


The Looney Laws, you can share those with your class and see what ones you have in your state!
Gross but true, perfect for that little boy who loves the gross but true things in life!


Mystical people, I have a seven year old daughter who loves fairies and I have a feeling all her little Tinkerbelle loving friends will like this set just as much as she does.


I don’t want to tell you a lot about the cards, you have to look at the site and order them for yourself!
Keep in mind, you can give them as gifts, even to teachers who may like to give them to students for a bit of fun. Enjoy!



Do you have something you want to promote, something you think I should promote? Is there something you just want to tell me about? Contact me at the email on the right side bar, or email momintheknow at gmail dot com.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A note from The Mom in the Know

Welcome back to The Mom in the Know for 2009. It certainly brought a bunch of changes here for me (a lot of my friends call me momo just so you all know) and our family. I had one daughter, Adison start second grade and the oldest daughter, Payton start third grade. They both had the same teachers from the prior year so the transition was easier and it makes it easier in the MITK or MOMO depending on who knows me. Yeah, I’m trying to make it a tad more personal this year for my faithful readers, getting to know the softer side of me.
I plan to ask you all to start to contribute a bit this year, too! That’s coming so keep on reading.
My 2008 was alright had its ebbs and flows. Payton has Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and she has some serious bouts this year. She is playing basketball to help build some strength
I hope to implement fundraising links this year on the site, submit me ideas of charities you support. I’d love to hear more about causes we can get together for. I do but the site on the back burner when the kids are ill. Even if I have posts in queue I put them in hold at times because I will want to be available in case the vendor, clients, or my readers need me. My family is first, I know you guys get that!
Adison was in the hospital then home care with her bout of pneumonia. That was another setback but she is better 99% of the time. Cold and coughs for the rest of the year are risky, but again it’s all part of life. Both of my girls are tough as nails and I can’t even imagine having their strength.
As many of you have seen the site went through drastic changes. I bought the domain name and space in January of 2008 and it didn’t roll out until August 2008. For that I apologize. I had been working with someone and been promised many dates, then promised all of you those same dates and I looked foolish. I had to end a long standing business relationship and within a week I had the site you see now. Much cleaner looking and functioning as I dreamed. Okay, well I still have ideas I send in all the time but I don’t know for sure what features I want still. No, we aren’t going to have a chat room anytime soon.
One resolution I do have for 2009 is for tweet it for readers and clients, to make it accessible and the tools you want. Tell me! Email and let me know. The email is always on the right tool bar.
Please contact me if you have sent something in for review and it has not posted. I have to check the status. I have several reviewers.
On that note we are always looking for new products and new clients, since the testing/review period does take a bit. Please contact me (email is on the side bar) if you are a vendor, PR firm or the actual designer. I would love to discuss your product.
Do you design business cards? I need them! I’d love to feature you if you could design them for me!
I hope Mom in the Know has a fantastic 2009 and share your ideas with me!

Happy 2009 to you and yours!
Sunday, January 4, 2009

It's all about the Dogs!




(This particular review has been provided by Bryan Douglass, husband and faithful servant of Mom In the Know. Keep that in mind as you read the review below. Enjoy.)
During the holidays, one particular point of comfort for me is knowing that I will have multiple opportunities to hunker down with the kids (and maybe even once or twice with the wife) and watch a movie. We are all movie junkies and enjoy the comforts of our own living room to share a few laughs… and to be honest, with them at 8 and 7 and me at 35, we share similar definitions of “funny” and reside on the same humor wavelength.


This particular Christmas, we were blessed with an early delivery from the fine folks at Universal Studios, sending us a copy of the latest in a long-standing series of family comedies centered around life with a canine. If you are a dog lover, chances are you have seen at least one of the series titled after the famous Saint Bernard known as Beethoven. The first edition of the series hit theaters back in 1992, and 16 years later, the formula still works.



This year’s offering is titled “Beethoven’s Big Break” and offers a cast full of stars most parents will recognize. Those that grew up in the ‘80s (like myself) will recognize Jonathan Silverman with ease – remember Weekend at Bernie’s? – as well as the great Rhea Perlman, famous from her days on the small screen as the belligerent waitress in Cheers. Those of us who tend to prefer our comedy done blue will recognize comedian Eddie Griffin as well. Your young ones will recognize the others, including Moises Arias from Hannah Montana as well as Stephen Tobolowsky from Heroes. And of course, no canine flick from this era would be complete without a cameo from the Dog Whisperer himself, Mr. Cesar Milan.


Together the crew launches into life with the oversized Bernard as he attempts to survive the world of Hollywood fame. As luck would have it, Eddie (played by Silverman) is a struggling animal trainer but is also struggling to maintain sanity as a single father. His son Billy (played by Arias) is attempting to con his father – holding a strict NO PETS policy – into letting him keep the St. Bernard and his three puppies, all strays found on the street. In an amazing plot twist (at least for my girls), the dog in the move Eddie is currently working on is kidnapped! In a mad rush to find a replacement to keep production moving during the pending investigation, the studio casts (who else) Beethoven to fill the role, and antics ensue.


While Eddie and Bill begin guiding Beethoven through the rigorous work of movie production, the beefy vagabond is attempt the solve and case, and in the process, he becomes the biggest canine star the world has seen since Rin Tin Tin laid paws on the Walk of Fame. Eddie (again, as you might have guessed) begins to recognize the redeeming qualities over the beast and takes a shine to the dog and his family. By the end (that’s right, SPOILER ALERT), his career has been catapulted thanks to Beethoven’s performance, the case is solved, and the next great movie is ready to hit the silver screen.


For parents, we will admit the plot is somewhat predictable, but in keeping perspective (this is a family movie, largely aimed at getting the interest of your children, the forces that truly pull you to the ticket office, and as such the plot needs to be a bit remedial and easy to follow), the overall experience is rewarding. The story touches the heart and the dogs are rather loveable, but the humor is done well and will keep the kids laughing without coming off as corny. The humor can border on definition as rude but is mild in his worst case, and in the end, the kids are left with positive messages. The continued support for love of all creatures is something far too many kids miss these days, and the rewards of compassion and teamwork are always a lesson of great importance. The music is upbeat and fresh, the acting is professional and polished, and the results speak for themselves.


My girls and I have watched it a couple of times since, and while I tend to work while the television is being watched during the day, this movie has drawn my attention on several occasions and continues to stand as a choice we can rely on when compromised viewing choices are needed.


If you like movies and enjoy watching movies with your family, it’s hard to go wrong with Beethoven’s Big Break, and we want to thank Universal for their continued efforts to keep movies like this on the shelves and in our hearts.

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Mom in the Know
Location: Golden, CO, USA
Who am I?

Well, aside from a mom and a wife, I'm a person who wants the best for all of us. I have two daughters, two dogs, and a husband – all of whom I wanted to be at home for – so I put my talents to use, looking out for my family. Shopping (well, kinda you send me the products!). Surfing the Internet. Meeting new people. Recommending products to friends, after I fall in love with them. And figuring out how to make products better.

Enjoy.

If you want to submit a product for review, just contact me.
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