Sunday, November 29, 2009

Scientific Link to Autism Identified

Wendy asked me to post this on the CMOTC blog, as it might be relevant to many of us twin moms. I found this article fascinating and scary at the same time:

This article gave me the chills. Seriously. I would like to find more info out about this group and their work. Thought I'd share.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mixing up some fun and creativity

And maybe some fine motor skills too!

Here are some great recipes for creative (but non-edible) fun!

1 tsp. Borax powder
1 c. water
1/2 c. Elmer's glue
1/2 c. water
food coloring

Mix all together; remove from liquid and form with hands.

Sidewalk chalk*
1/3 c. quick setting plaster of Paris
1 Tbsp. powdered tempera paint
3 Tbsp. water
Glitter (if you want)

You can use toilet paper tubes or muffin pans. Mix everything together. If using toilet paper tubes, tape the end of the tubes. Spoon mixture into the tube or muffin pan; let sit for 45 minutes. Pop out of muffin pan or peel toilet paper tube away. Have fun coloring!

Gooey Goop*
1/2 c. water
2 c. cornstarch
food coloring

In a large bowl, mix together water and cornstarch until smooth. Add food coloring and stir. Play with goop on a plastic covered surface or on a newspaper.

Play dough*
4 c. flour
1 c. salt
4 c. water
4 Tbsp. oil
1/2 c. cream of tarter
Food coloring (optional)

Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan. Once thoroughly mixed, you can add food coloring if desired. Cook and stir over low to medium heat until play dough is completely formed and no longer sticky. Allow to cool slightly before playing with it. Store in an airtight container or ziploc bag.

Variations: You can add one package of unsweetened powdered Kool-Aid to the play dough to give it color and make it smell delicious (but don't eat it).

Moon Sand*
9 c. colored sand
3 c. cornstarch
2 1/2 c. water

Mix sand and cornstarch. Add water, start with 2 1/4 cups then mix. Continue adding more until your desired consistency. Store in a sealed container and add a few drops of water when you use it again.

Please share some of your favorite crafty recipes!

*obligatory fine print: all recipes are non-edible.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ways To Save

Here are just a few ways to save in case you plan to do some online Christmas shopping.

Love a Freebie?

Check out

This is a great company! It's word of mouth marketing and they send out FREE samples. Sometimes these free samples are full size products such as a recent "Bzzcampaign" featuring full sized bottles of AVEENO NOURISH + Hair Care Shampoo and Conditioner.

It's free to sign up and the only obligation is that you agree to pass out samples and coupons to friends.

I've been a BzzAgent for 3 years now and I love it!

Calling All Frugalistas

A fellow club member asked me to post regarding all the deals and such that abound. Many months ago I discovered a few awesome websites that have enabled me to cut my grocery bill by 1/3. I supposed I could save more than half but because of these sites, I'm now purchasing a few luxuries (ie. Starbucks Frappaccinos in bottles) that weren't in the budget before.

The beauty of these websites is that these lovely women do all the work for you so all you do is cut the coupons and reap the savings. I would suggest that you start with one website. Read all of her tips regarding each store and then choose one store that you would like to master. Example: Walgreens. "Wags" as the couponers like to call it, is a GREAT way to save money on things like toothpaste, deoderant, razors, and tampons. In many cases you can get these things for free by watching for sales and the pairing your coupons with sales. It may seem silly to save just $1 here or a $1 there but honestly, if you are saving in all parts of your life, it adds up.
So, pick a store and figure out how it works. You might want to spend the next few weeks stocking up on items like the ones listed above. Once you feel like you've mastered the drugstores, move on to groceries.

I've found that Kroger seems to give the best deals if you learn to stock up when the sales are good. Last week I bought about 10 boxes of Zesta Saltine crackers. That sounds like a lot of crackers but at .99 a box, I won't be buying them at their regular price which is closer to $2. Along with stockpiling, Kroger doubles manufactuer's coupons up to .99 cents which leads to greater savings. Although Kroger's gas program isn't as good as Giant Eagle, I still save .10 cents per gallon each month and I feel like Kroger is MUCH cheaper than GE.

I remember trying coupons in the past and thinking it was silly to take .35 cents off when I could just buy the store brand for $1 less. What I am finding is that if you wait for a good sale, use the coupon at the best time, and get the coupon doubled (like at Kroger) you can buy your favorite brand at a much lower rate than the store brand. Now that my kids are in school this is paying off in several ways. I am cutting box tops so that's .10 cents per box to my childrens' elementary school. Also, I'm signed up for UPromise so often money goes into their college savings account as a result of my name brand purchases. Go to for info on that one.

Here are my top 5 faves. If you have others I didn't list, please comment below and make our members aware of other great sites. Also, another hint, if you are on Facebook, become a fan of these sites. That way you will be getting up to the minute posts on the best deals out there. Example, one member Marcie, got a Tag Reading System for $2.48 as a result of one of these great sites. She saved over $38 dollars and her twins are loving her for it! (this is a Central Ohio woman) (also local)

There are millions of these sites out there and many are quite similar to each other. Instead of trying to track all of them, I'd pick one or two and see what you find. Often they expose toy coupons (or other great items) out there where you can get a deal.

The key is to simplify your system so that it works for you and to not get too caught up in it. Be careful because you might find yourself buying denture cream at Walgreens because you're getting Register Rewards (Walgreens Bucks) for it. My advice is to buy only what you need, do it as inexpensively as possible, and have some fun while you are doing it.

The other key is to ask around. There is an amazing amount of wisdom out there and the more you network, the better deals you can find.

Hope this was helpful!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Recall information

By now everyone has probably seen the massive Maclaren Stroller recalls.

Unfortunately, recalls of children's products are not uncommon. There are several sites that provide daily recall information, some of which are listed below. Also included are toy safety sites. On most of these sites, you can sign up to receive email notifications so you will never be out of the loop on any recalls or safety issues.

Toy safety and recall sites:

500 Toys Not Made in China
CPSC Toy Hazard Recalls
Healthy Stuff - Children's Products
Mattel Toy Recall Info
My Things Product Recall Database & Tracking Tool
Recalled Toy Alert
Toy Industry Association, Inc.

Please feel free to comment and add any others you like.
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