Friday, April 30, 2010

Mother’s Day Giveaway! Amazing Anti-Aging Skincare Package from Janson Beckett -- Value $500+!

I recently had the opportunity to try some incredible anti-aging skincare products from Janson Beckett. They’re designed to give you many of the benefits of BOTOX® without the needles and high prices. For example, their AlphaDerma CE product “is an intensive anti-wrinkle remedy containing unique peptides that reduce muscle contractions directly related to aging such as frowning, squinting, and even smiling.”

I must tell you that I have been so impressed with these products! I was sent the Facial Skin Prep, the OkuSil Intensive Eye Rejuvenating Serum, and the AlphaDerma CE. After washing my face each morning and evening, I applied the Facial Skin Prep, followed by the Eye Serum on my eyes and the AlphaDerma CE on my face and neck. I’ve been using these products for about a month now, and my skin has never looked better! It feels smoother and firmer (but not tight), and really looks terrific. I’m going to re-order these products when I run out.

The bottles are compact, so you can even take them with you to apply throughout the day if you want to use these products more often. And a little bit really goes a long way! For example, I just use a small drop of the Eye Serum for each eye, and that’s more than enough to cover all around the eye. The Skin Prep and AlphaDerma CE also take just a little amount to cover my face and neck. So, even though the initial investment for this premium line may be higher than some products, the cost is actually spread out over multiple months because they last a long time.

If you’re starting to see the effects of aging on your face, perhaps some crow’s feet or smile lines, give the Janson Beckett products a try. I hope you’ll be as thrilled with them as I am and experience beautiful, more younger-looking skin!







LINKS

Janson Beckett website: http://www.janson-beckett.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/JansonBeckett
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JansonBeckett

GIVEAWAY

Now Janson Beckett is generously offering one reader of this blog this incredible deluxe Mother’s Day package (worth more than $500), which includes the following products. You can click on each of them to learn more about it.

- Cleansing and Toning Duo

- Alpha Lipoic Acid Vitamin C ester & DMAE Night Cream

- OkuSil Intensive Eye Rejuvenating Serum

- DermaPlexEP Gentle Exfoliating Peel

- AlphaDermaCE

- Facial Skin Prep

- DermaExcel7

- Alpha Lipoic Acid Vitamin C Ester & DMAE Moisturizing Day Cream

- BeautiFULL Lips Peppermint

I wish I could enter this giveaway myself because I would love to win these products! Here’s how to enter: Go to www.janson-beckett.com and then return here to leave a comment about something you learned on the site or tell me what product you’re really anxious to try and why. You must do this to enter the giveaway or your other entries won’t count.

You can earn optional, additional entries by (leave a separate comment for each):

- Following Janson Beckett (@JansonBeckett) and Susan Heim on Parenting (@ParentingAuthor) on Twitter and tweeting about this giveaway. You may tweet this giveaway up to twice a day. Leave a separate comment with the URL of each tweet. (It’s easy to tweet this giveaway by using the Bookmark button at the bottom of this post. 1 entry per tweet.)

- Becoming a fan of Janson Beckett on Facebook (1 entry)

- Subscribing to Susan Heim on Parenting via email and/or RSS feed (see sign-up options on left sidebar). Leave a comment for each subscription method. (1 entry for email; 1 entry for RSS feed)

- Following Susan Heim on Parenting through Google Friend Connect. Click on the “Follow” button on the left sidebar. Leave a comment. (1 entry)

- Putting a button for Susan Heim on Parenting on your blog (the code is in the upper right-hand column of this site) and/or a text link on your blog roll. Post a comment with your blog’s URL. (1 entry for button; 1 entry for text link)

- Posting this giveaway on your blog with a link to this page. Leave a comment with a direct link to the post. (3 entries; leave a separate comment for each)

One winner will be randomly selected from the qualified comments received by Friday, May 14, 2010, at midnight ET. Please leave an email address on one of your comments if it’s not available on your Blogger profile. Winners must respond within 72 hours or another winner will be drawn.

CONTEST CLOSED.
Congratulations to the winner: hbbs55!





DISCLOSURE: I received some complimentary Janson Beckett skincare products to facilitate this review. No financial compensation was provided.

Do You Have a Calling Card? NextDayFlyers.com Services … and a Winner!

My parents travel in their RV for five months out of the year, and they often meet people with whom they’d like to stay in touch. As a gift, I had business/calling cards made up for them with their current address, phone number and email printed on them. Now, whenever they want to connect with someone again, they just hand them their card!

This is just one idea for using the services of a printer. Most of us think of printers as business-related, but more and more people are using them for calling cards, invitations, announcements, and posters. A great place to have this done is at NextDayFlyers.com.

I recently ran a giveaway for a $25 printing credit to NextDayFlyers.com, and here’s what the winner, Merrie L., is going to do with her prize:
Merrie L. said...

If I won, I'd get the 4x6 full color postcards [14 PT Ultra-thick Cardstock] with the kids/family pictures on them! (If possible, use them for Christmas mailings.)
I love Merrie’s idea, and I’m sure you can think of many others. Thanks to NextDayFlyers.com for hosting a giveaway. Please check them out for your printing needs!





DISCLOSURE: No compensation was provided. This is NOT a sponsored post.

U by Kotex: New Feminine Protection for Girls (Free Sample, Too)

Do you remember talking to your mother about your period? I don’t! I’m sure she probably said something to me about what to expect, but it wasn’t a topic that we felt comfortable discussing openly. In fact, it’s still difficult to talk about! Recently, I was at the store buying some feminine products. I accidentally dropped the box on the floor, and a guy next to me reached over and picked it up. I was so embarrassed! I’m sure my face turned about ten shades of red. Obviously, I still haven’t gotten over my hang-up about all things period-related.

Now Walmart and Kotex have set out to help girls feel more confident about discussing women’s health issues, like menstruation. On their new website at www.walmart.com/ubykotex, girls can test their “period know-how,” get a free and fun Daily Journal app for the iPhone and iPod Touch, and even request a sample of the new U by Kotex line of feminine products that are specifically designed for teenage girls.

Check out this hilarious commercial about the new U by Kotex products:



[Email subscribers may need to click on the title of this post to access the video directly on the blog.]

The U by Kotex products -- a line of pads, liners, and tampons -- have a slimmer design so they’re more comfortable for girls. And I love the great youth-friendly packaging. The black package with bright color accents makes it easy for girls to know exactly what to buy. The sample tampons I received were very small and compact so girls can easily tuck them into their purse or backpack.

In fact, these products would be a great way to open a dialogue with your daughter about her period. Purchase a package of U feminine products made by Kotex and give them to your daughter along with some words of advice about what to do when she gets her period. Or if she’s already menstruating, ask if she has any questions and/or encourage her to visit www.walmart.com/ubykotex. (Send her an email with the link!)

Having periods shouldn’t be embarrassing. The next time I purchase feminine products at the store, I’m going to challenge myself not to hide the box under the other items in my cart and not to pray for a female cashier. (Do you do that, too?) Being open about my use of feminine products will set a great example for the next generation of girls!





DISCLOSURE: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Kotex and received products necessary to facilitate my candid review. In addition, Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Honor Women Who Are Bringing About Change in Their Communities Through the Pine-Sol Powerful Difference Program!

Do you remember your mother using Pine-Sol Brand Cleaner when you were a kid? You probably even remember your grandmother using it! That’s because Pine-Sol Brand Cleaner has been around for eighty years! That’s pretty impressive. Now, Pine-Sol is not only helping you make a difference inside your home, but they’re encouraging women to make a difference outside the home!

Pine-Sol’s Powerful Difference program awards dozens of grants to women who are bringing about positive change in their communities. This program also provides tools, resources and inspiration to encourage other women to start creating change in their own communities.

Pine-Sol’s Powerful Difference Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/PowerfulDifference enables people to connect with and get inspired by other difference makers. On their Facebook site, you’ll find an easy-to-use Facebook application that allows you to display on your Wall the five women who have made a powerful difference in your life. Hopefully, this will inspire others to do the same!

Do you know someone who is making a powerful difference in their community? Honor her today at http://apps.facebook.com/powerfuldifference/. You can also learn more about the program and get ideas on how to take action by visiting www.PowerfulDifference.com.





DISCLOSURE: I was entered for a chance to win a gift card in exchange for this post. No monetary exchange took place.

10 Little Things That Lead to a Happier, Healthier You

TwitterMoms and Tropicana Trop50 have a new program called “Spring Renewal” in which they’re asking bloggers to talk about the “10 Little Things that Lead to a Happier, Healthier You.” The point behind the campaign is that you don’t have to make major overhauls in your life to begin living a healthier and happier lifestyle. Little steps really add up! So, here are 10 things that I try to do to lead a healthier, happier life:

1. Eat smaller portions. I don’t believe in depriving myself. If I’m craving some chocolate, I’m going to have some! But one piece of chocolate satisfies my craving. Eating the whole bag of candy just heads straight for my thighs.

2. Get outside. I always feel better when I head out into the sunshine! Take a quick walk during your lunch break or toss a ball with the kids in the yard. (And don’t forget the sunscreen!)

3. Read something inspirational. This might be a daily devotion, the Bible, a self-help book, your favorite quotes or mantras, or a positive magazine you enjoy. The point is to read something that gives you encouragement and lifts your spirits.

4. Laugh often. Almost all of the movies and TV shows I watch are comedies. They just make me feel good! A good cry once in a while is also cleansing, but laughter is the best medicine.

5. Get unplugged. Turn off your computer, cell phone, game system and TV set and get addicted to reading a good book. Get caught up in a good mystery or love story. Learn about history or other cultures! Grow your mind.

6. Take time for yourself. Don’t feel guilty about doing something you enjoy -- alone. This might be heading to the beach, doing a little shopping or taking a class. Rediscover what you liked to do before you had children.

7. Smile. Have you ever had someone smile at you unexpectedly or give you a compliment? I bet it felt great! The next time you’re out and about, try flashing someone a huge smile. You’re almost sure to get a smile in return, and you can feel good about making somebody’s day!

8. Say something positive to yourself. Let’s face it: We can’t always count on other people to make us feel good about ourselves or to point out our talents. So, don’t be shy about tooting your own horn! Instead of beating yourself up for not being good at certain things, focus on those things that you do excel in.

9. Do something you fear. Have you ever kept putting off a call you had to make because you dreaded it? But then, when you actually made the call, it wasn’t as bad as you thought, and you felt tremendous relief afterward for taking the plunge. If there’s something on your list today that you’ve been putting off, just do it. (Or break it into smaller steps and get started on Step 1.) You’ll feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment.

10. Drop the soda; pick up the juice or water. Most soft drinks have absolutely no nutritional value. The next time you’re feeling thirsty, reach for a Tropicana juice or a glass of water! Your body will thank you.

So, what little things can you do today to become happier and healthier? For more ideas, read what other moms are doing at http://littlethings.twittermoms.com/. Feel free to tweet your own ideas on Twitter with the hashtag #Trop50 and/or leave them in a comment below!

About the Tropicana Trop50 and Juicy Rewards Program
Tropicana Trop50 provides the goodness of juice with 50 percent less calories and sugars, and no artificial sweeteners. Trop50 is a part of Tropicana’s Juicy Rewards program, which gives consumers more from their juice by offering 20,000 ways to save on fun, healthy pursuits. With Juicy Rewards, the savings come easily -- up to $15 for one carton of Tropicana Pure Premium and up to $30 in savings for one carton of Trop50! It takes just three simple steps to participate and save with Juicy Rewards: 1. Buy Tropicana, find the unique code on the package -- either under the cap or on the back of specially marked Tropicana Pure Premium and Trop50 products. 2. Register at Tropicana.com, enter the codes to get points. 3. Redeem points for incredible savings on healthy fun.

Here’s a special, exclusive TwitterMoms Juicy Rewards code just for you! Use TWMOM-READR to earn one Juicy Rewards point -- that’s up to $5 in savings! This one-time use code is valid for new accounts ONLY. Must be entered within 6 hours of creating your account. Limit one new account bonus code per new account. All accounts must be created and all codes entered by May 7, 2010 at 11:59 PM EST.

Trop50 Little Things for Happy, Healthy Living
1000 Little Things for Moms from Trop50






DISCLOSURE: I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Tropicana Trop50 blogging program to be eligible to win 6 free Juicy Rewards points and a $30 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

My Hubby Would Adore Me if I Won an iPad

My husband has been looking at tablet PCs for ages, so when the launch of the iPad was announced, I knew that would be the perfect gift for him! He has a birthday coming up, and Father’s Day will soon be here. Unfortunately, though, the cost of an iPad is a little more than I had planned to spend. So, I have a new strategy: I’m participating in a contest at Best Kids Apps, a blog about iPhone apps for kids, for a chance to win an iPad!

So, this post is my entry. And if I win, we’ll definitely be shopping at Best Kids Apps because they already have some really cool apps for the iPad, such as Air Hockey (my boys AND my hockey-loving husband would love that), Chuzzle (that’s one of my favorites), Scrabble, PacMan, Monopoly, and more! And they’ll be adding to their selection. Some of them are as low as 99 cents!

If you’ve got an iPad or plan to get one, I suggest you visit Best Kids Apps. And don’t forget to check out their apps for your iPhone. You can also follow them on Twitter at http://twitter.com/bestkidsapps. I’d like to thank them for sponsoring this incredible giveaway!




Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The NOOK from Barnes & Noble Is Better Than Ever!

Not long ago, I was privileged to be able to host a giveaway on this blog for Barnes & Noble’s new nook eReader. I’m completely smitten with my nook. It makes it easy to get a book whenever I want it. It’s extremely portable. It makes me look cool. And it’s fun to use! Best of all, Barnes & Noble is continuing to evolve the nook with fantastic new features. For instance, they just updated my nook software with the following:

• Breakthrough Read In Store experience (in beta) to browse complete eBooks in Barnes & Noble stores for free, like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Lost Symbol!

• Connect to Wi-Fi in more places like coffee shops and hotels

• Sudoku and Chess -- the first apps on the device (I can’t wait for more games to be added, too!)

• A basic web browser (in beta; this is totally awesome)

• An enhanced reading experience with faster page turns and accessing previously opened eBooks

• Updated home screen with direct access to Wi-Fi settings and Audio

This is the second time so far that Barnes & Noble has updated my nook with enhanced features. More updates are in the works, and they’re adding more and more books to their eBook library all the time.

Have you seen the nook yet? The next time you’re at Barnes & Noble, check out the nook on display and ask for a demo of its features. Also, check out the following video from Barnes & Noble’s brand-new TV campaign for the nook.

[Email subscribers may need to click on the title of this article to access this video on my blog.]



More good news: The nook is now available at Best Buy stores! And if you order online from Barnes & Noble or Best Buy, you get FREE shipping. Mother’s Day is coming up. Order now or head out to the store for the perfect gift for Mom!

To learn more and experience the nook, visit www.nook.com. Follow Barnes & Noble’s eBooks and other updates on www.twitter.com/NOOKBN and www.facebook.com/NOOKBN for information on NOOK updates, new eBook releases, Free Friday eBooks and more. To learn more about the free BN eReader software, visit www.bn.com/ebooks.





DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary nook when I hosted the giveaway on this blog. No further compensation has been provided. I’m just really excited to share my enthusiasm for the nook!

Mom Central’s Mother’s Day Gift Guide and Giveaways!

Hurray, it’s almost Mother’s Day! And that means it’s also time for Mom Central’s annual Mother’s Day Gift Guide and Giveaways! They always have great products and contests for gifts that moms will love. For example, three of the exciting giveaways this year include:

See’s Candies: See’s Candies’ variety of mouth-watering sweets will satisfy any taste preference. Give Mom the gift of indulgence with the new line of chocolates from the Keepsake Collection. Featuring both classic flavors as well as the new Strawberry Truffle, this line perfectly coincides with Mother’s Day with pink, yellow and orange designs brightening up the boxes.

“L’Occitane Experience” Vivabox: Luckily for gift-givers (and receivers!) everywhere, Vivabox has revamped the traditional gift card with their gift box packages. Packaged by theme, each Vivabox includes gift items to use or taste as well as a gift card. With themes ranging from “Spa Beauty” to “Gourmet to your Door” and “Bar-B-Que,” Vivabox offers gift card packages catering to the hobbies and interests of both men and women.

Shark Cordless: Sometimes pulling out the big vacuum can be a pain in the neck … literally. Not only does carrying the weight cause stress on your body, but the constant bending and pushing to get into nooks and crannies can be time-consuming. Help make cleaning easier for Mom with the Shark Cordless Floor and Carpet Cleaner, or better yet, offer to help with the chores yourself!

And those items are just a few among many that are available this week. The Mom Central Mother’s Day Gift Guide and Giveaways runs from April 26 through May 9, so you’ll want to check back next week, too, for your chance to win one (or all!) of the products they’ve reviewed.

Click HERE to get started!





DISCLOSURE: I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central. Mom Central entered my name in a random drawing to win a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Like Wine? “Good, Better, Best Wines” Tells You How to Enjoy a Great-Tasting Wine for $15 or Less!

My husband and I enjoy a nice bottle of wine on occasion (although he prefers white and I like red), but I’m always intimidated by the huge selection of wines. Naturally, I assume that if a wine costs more, it must taste better, but now I know that’s not necessarily the case. According to Carolyn Evans Hammond, author of Good, Better, Best Wines: A No-Nonsense Guide to Popular Wines, you don’t have to spend a lot to get a good-tasting wine. You just have to know what you’re looking for.

In Good, Better, Best Wines, she ranks a wide variety of big brand wines that cost no more than $15 a bottle! After all, more than 90% of the wines sold in the United States cost less than $15. And, according to The International Wine and Spirit Record, the United States is poised to become the world’s biggest wine consumer by 2012.

I love Good, Better, Best Wines because it’s very clear. The five parts of the book include Wine Basics; White Wines; Red Wines; Rose and Sparkling Wines; and, Bargain Wines, Dessert Wines and Party Wines. And then each part is broken down into kinds of wine, such as Chardonnay, Merlot, etc. Within each category, the author shows several wines and labels them as being “good,” “better” or “best.” A clear picture of each wine is shown so it’s easy to recognize in the store, and the flavor of each wine is described. Sprinkled throughout the book are fascinating facts about wines and food pairings. This book is so user-friendly. And the smaller size makes it easily portable so you can take it with you to the wine store.

Good, Better, Best Wines makes a wonderful hostess, couples or wedding gift. Include a bottle or two of recommended wine, and your recipients will love it! In fact, we’re going to do exactly that for the holidays. But the book I received for review is staying at my house. I know it’s going to get plenty of use!

Visit www.wine-tribune.com to learn more about Good, Better, Best Wines and author Carolyn Evans Hammond, and even view a trailer about the book. Click below to order a copy for yourself and every one on your gift list. Cheers!







DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of this book to facilitate this review. No other compensation was provided.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Growing Grateful Kids: Interview with Susie Larson


NOTE FROM SUSAN: Today, I’d like to welcome author and speaker, Susie Larson. Susie’s new book, Growing Grateful Kids, was published recently, and Susie shares a little bit about this great resource in this interview.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

My husband and I have been married 25 years and have three grown sons (all in their early twenties). Our oldest son, Jake, works on the business side of the Christian music industry. Our middle son, Luke, is married to his beautiful wife, Kristen. He works full-time at a bank and part-time as a worship pastor. Our youngest son, Jordan, is studying to become a surgical nurse. My husband, Kevin, is a commercial construction manager by day and manages my ministry by night (and weekends). Bless his heart. I am an author, speaker, and an on-call radio host for Christian talk radio. Together, Kevin and I serve as advocates for justice on behalf of modern-day slaves and human-trafficking victims.

Tell us about your new book, Growing Grateful Kids: Teaching Them to Appreciate an Extraordinary God in Ordinary Places.
Even when economic times are tight, our children enjoy an abundance of material possessions. Yet, amidst all this wealth, discontentment and competition seem to be on the rise. Instead of teaching children virtues such as gratefulness and patience, many parents are bending over backward to get their children the latest and greatest item -- or feeling guilty when they can’t. In spite of the currents of materialism and entitlement that flow so strong, it is possible to raise children who are simply grateful. Though teaching perspective and gratitude to our children is critical, it is not difficult.


Why did you want to write this book?

To be completely honest, I never wanted to write a book on parenting. I wanted to protect my kids’ privacy and give them time and space to become the men God wants them to be. But in the last few years, I have been especially burdened with the level of selfishness, entitlement and disrespect I see among children today. Furthermore, moms seem more stressed than ever. When I asked my sons their thoughts on writing this book, without pausing they all said, “Do it, Mom; that book needs to be written!” I think I wrote a book that not only equips young moms to raise humble, grateful world-changers, but also one that nourishes the soul of the reader and encourages her personally.

Throughout the book you remind the reader that we cannot impart what we do not possess. Can you explain?

If we never deal with our own fears, insecurities, and hang-ups, but we try to teach our children to believe in their divine value, over time, our words will not ring true to them. First, God wants to do His work in us before He does it through us. They say that lessons are more often caught than taught. If we parent from a place of conviction and real freedom, our children will be affected by what we teach them.

One of your chapters is titled, “Take Time to Play.” How does taking time to play teach our kids to be grateful?

To me, taking time to play says a lot about the level of faith we possess. If our children hear us confess that we love and serve a BIG God and yet they see us striving and straining through life, they will come to believe that more is on our shoulders than on God’s. If we can trust God enough to step away from our busy-important lives, to make a fort in the basement, or play a game with our children -- even in the most desperate of economic situations -- we will give our children a sense of much-needed security and that all is well in their world.

What do you want readers to take away from this book?

To answer this question (I hope you don’t mind), I would like to share an endorsement from one of my sample readers. She expressed my deepest desire for my readers:

Growing Grateful Kids is such a great source of conviction, encouragement, and inspiration to spur me on to finishing this parenting race well and not sputter out along the way. This book compels me to submit my own character to the refining of the Holy Spirit that I may be equipped to impart those lessons onto my children. Thank you, Susie, for taking the time, for submitting in obedience, and writing this down for a generation in desperate need of this kind of parenting book!” -- Gail Miller

This is a Hearts at Home book. What is Hearts at Home?

Hearts at Home is an organization that encourages, educates, and equips women in the profession of motherhood. Hearts at Home encourages moms through annual conferences, our extensive website (www.hearts-at-home.org), a free bi-weekly electronic newsletter, a radio program, and an entire line of books designed to meet the needs of moms all over the world!

Any closing thoughts?

I am very excited about the message in this book. It is my prayer that everyone who reads it will be nourished, encouraged, and equipped to parent from a place of fullness, conviction, and confidence. Raising grateful, confident kids will be one of the most heroic, important things you do in your lifetime. God’s blessings to you!





DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of this book. No other compensation was provided.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Happy 40th Anniversary, Little Tikes! Celebrate with This Giveaway for a 30th Anniversary Cozy Coupe!

Little Tikes products have been a staple of backyards and playgrounds for forty years! When my boys were younger, they had a Little Tikes playhouse, a slide and a picnic table, plus several little trucks. They were definitely some of their favorite toys. And I loved the high quality of Little Tikes toys. They lasted a lot longer than many of the other toys we bought.

At my kids’ former preschool, they loved to ride around in the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe! This classic toy is recognized by everyone!


Can you believe it’s been around for thirty years? Every time I see one on a playground, there’s always a child scooting around in it. Kids love it! And the 30th anniversary edition of the Cozy Coupe is better than ever, with new redesigns and interactive features.

Links


Little Tikes website: www.littletikes.com
Little Tikes on Twitter: www.twitter.com/littletikes
Little Tikes on Facebook: www.facebook.com/littletikes

GIVEAWAY

One lucky reader of this blog will win his or her very own Little Tikes 30th Anniversary edition Cozy Coupe, valued at $49.99! To enter, visit the Little Tikes website and look around at their terrific products. Leave a comment on this post with your child’s favorite Little Tikes toy! It can be a toy you already have or something on your wish list. You must do this to enter the giveaway.

You can earn optional additional entries by:

- Signing up for the Little Tikes newsletter at www.littletikes.com to learn all about their specials! Leave a comment here with the email address you used to sign up.

- Becoming a fan of Little Tikes on Facebook at www.facebook.com/littletikes. Leave a comment with your Facebook name.

- Following Little Tikes (@LittleTikes) and me (@ParentingAuthor) on Twitter and tweeting about this giveaway. You may tweet this giveaway twice a day. Leave a separate comment with the URL of each tweet. (It’s easy to tweet this giveaway by using the Bookmark button at the bottom of this post. 1 entry per tweet.)

- Subscribing to Susan Heim on Parenting via email, RSS and/or Kindle (see sign-up options on left sidebar). Leave a comment for each subscription method. (up to 3 entries)

- Following Susan Heim on Parenting through Google Friend Connect. Click on the “Follow” button on the left sidebar. Leave a comment. (1 entry)

- Putting a button for Susan Heim on Parenting on your blog (the code is in the upper right-hand column of this site) and/or a text link on your blog roll. Post a comment with your blog’s URL. (1 entry for button; 1 entry for text link)

- Posting this giveaway on your blog with a link to this page. Leave a comment with a direct link to the post. (3 entries; leave a separate comment for each)

One winner will be randomly selected from the qualified comments received by Sunday, May 9, 2010, at midnight ET. Please leave an email address on one of your comments if it’s not available on your Blogger profile. Winners must respond within 72 hours or another winner will be drawn. Contest is open only to US residents.

CONTEST CLOSED. Congratulations to the winner, fancygrlnancy!





DISCLOSURE: No compensation or products were provided in exchange for this post.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tips for Hiring a Babysitter

NOTE FROM SUSAN: I still remember the day we went to interview the woman who would become my two oldest boys’ babysitter. I worked in an office back then, and I really wanted someone who could care for my oldest son (and my second son after his birth) in a loving home environment. When we walked in, her whole family was there to greet us! Her husband and two school-aged children were so engaging and warm. Her home was clean and bright. She just melted with love when she saw my little son. I knew right away that we had found the right person. Sure enough, she remained our babysitter until both my boys went to all-day kindergarten. She loved my boys so much that she’d offer to keep them some weekends for free, just to give me some time to myself (when I became a single mom). She was like my boys’ second mother, and I felt so much less stress about not being home with them when I knew they were with a loving caregiver. I was truly blessed because I know that finding a great babysitter or other childcare arrangement can be difficult. To help in the search, Candi Wingate, President of Care4Hire.com, has some terrific tips to offer.

Choosing who will care for your child when you are away is one of the most important decisions we make as parents, and peace of mind that your child is safe and happy is top priority. Long gone are the days when finding a babysitter was dependent on word of mouth. Today, services like Care4Hire.com provide a massive database for everyone to find their perfect child care match with just the click of a mouse. With such a vast array of qualified candidates at your fingertips, here are a few tips to help make the process easier.

Make a list of your requirements.
Before you start the interview process, it’s a good idea to figure out what you’re looking for in a babysitter. Think about the hours you require, the amount of experience you’re looking for, the type of childcare philosophy, and whether any household duties will be involved.

Do your homework.
Your child’s safety is top priority. Conduct background checks and thoroughly check references.

Ask the right questions.
These could include things like the number of years she has had as a childcare provider, what type of training has she had, what ages has she dealt with, and what her ideas are on childrearing.

Include your child.
It is best to conduct initial interviews without your child present. There is no need to confuse your son or daughter by introducing him or her to multiple caregivers who they will likely never see again. Introduce your best candidate to your child and observe how they interact together. Does the babysitter actively engage him or her? Is she keeping your child entertained?

Be clear about discipline.
The babysitter must be able to relate with your family and administer discipline to your children in a manner that is appropriate and consistent with your family’s boundaries. You and your babysitter should discuss, prior to hiring, the discipline style that your family would like the babysitter to use.

Explain boundaries.
The babysitter should be capable of handling small “crises” on his/her own. You and your babysitter should come to an agreement about what issues may warrant a call to you and what issues the babysitter is authorized to handle on his/her own. Your babysitter should be able to act comfortably within the boundaries you have provided.

Finding the right babysitter for your child is a critical decision. Take your time and be picky in your choice. Ideally, this babysitter will be in your child’s life for as long as possible so they can form a long-lasting relationship and truly enjoy their time together.

Candi Wingate is an expert in the child care industry with over 20 years experience. She is the founder of Nannies4Hire.com and Care4Hire.com, and author of 100 Tips for Nannies & Families and mother of two.



Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Join the Elmer’s Glue Crew in Celebrating 40 Days of Earth-Friendly Living! (Giveaway)

It’s hard to believe that we’ve already been celebrating Earth Day for forty years! To celebrate, Elmer’s is kicking off its “40 Days of Earth-Friendly Living”! What does that involve? Plenty!

On the Elmer’s Glue Crew website, they’ve posted a 40-day calendar of eco-friendly tips and ideas that kids and parents can do together. It includes easy-to-do items like: Turn off the lights when you leave the room to conserve energy. And more challenging ideas, such as: Leave the car at home and walk everywhere today. Work together as a family to see how many things you can accomplish on the calendar!

Also on the Elmer’s Glue Crew site, you can also read about how students and teachers can get involved in recycling their glue bottles at Walmart. Teachers can download an academic planning calendar, lesson plans and other recycling-related materials. There’s even the opportunity to win great prizes for the classroom!

Links

Elmer’s Glue Crew website:
www.elmersgluecrew.com

Elmer’s Glue Crew on Twitter:
www.twitter.com/elmersgluecrew

Elmer’s Glue Crew on Facebook:
www.facebook.com/GlueCrew

Finally, Elmer’s is also celebrating 40 Days of Earth-Friendly Living by generously offering one lucky reader of this blog a fabulous prize!

GIVEAWAY


One winner will receive an Elmer’s bookbag filled with Elmer’s supplies (school glue, glue sticks, etc.)! (The other items in the picture are not included.) I received one of these prize bags from Elmer’s last year, and I was amazed at all of the products inside! We still have some left after using them throughout the school year. To enter, visit the Elmer’s Glue Crew 40-day calendar and leave a comment here with one activity from the calendar that you and your family will be doing (besides the two I mentioned above). This first entry is mandatory.

You can earn optional, additional entries by:

- Following Elmer’s Glue Crew (@ElmersGlueCrew) and me (@ParentingAuthor) on Twitter and tweeting about this giveaway. You may tweet this giveaway twice a day. Leave a separate comment with the URL of each tweet. (It’s easy to tweet this giveaway by using the Bookmark button at the bottom of this post. 1 entry per tweet.)

- Subscribing to Susan Heim on Parenting via email, RSS and/or Kindle (see sign-up options on left sidebar). Leave a comment for each subscription method. (up to 3 entries)

- Following Susan Heim on Parenting through Google Friend Connect. Click on the “Follow” button on the left sidebar. Leave a comment. (1 entry)

- Putting a button for Susan Heim on Parenting on your blog (the code is in the upper right-hand column of this site) and/or a text link on your blog roll. Post a comment with your blog’s URL. (1 entry for button; 1 entry for text link)

- Posting this giveaway on your blog with a link to this page. Leave a comment with a direct link to the post. (3 entries; leave a separate comment for each)

One winner will be randomly selected from the qualified comments received by Wednesday, May 5, 2010, at midnight ET. Please leave an email address on one of your comments if it’s not available on your Blogger profile. Winners must respond within 72 hours or another winner will be drawn. Contest is open only to US residents.

CONTEST CLOSED. Congratulations to the winner, sweetsue!





DISCLOSURE: No compensation was provided for this post.