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February 23, 2012

Special News over at SMD-- Every Sprout item sold = Donation to Life Town Columbus

 From now through April 15th, $1 of EVERY Sprout item sold will go to Life Town Columbus, a realistic indoor "city" where kids with special needs can work on life skills, socialize, and gain confidence in real-world situations through role play.  It's complete with a kid-focused library, pet "store", bank, hair salon, medical center, and more!  I'm really impressed with how much detail has gone into this volunteer-driven endeavor.  For more info, including how you can be a supporter or volunteer, just stop by their fantastic site:

Check out more info:  http://www.lifetowncolumbus.org/about_lifetown.php

And if you're into business networking, the Herbert Weyl Jewish Business Network is hosting a networking and luncheon event March 2nd, which will feature "speed networking" and guest speaker and Treasurer of Ohio, Josh Mandel, as well as a Kosher lunch, included.  Tickets are $25 and all proceeds benefit Life Town Columbus as well.  I'll be there!

For more info on this event, including to register and get tickets, visit here
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Our new line Sprout, eco-friendly goodies designed around the principles of:  Reduce, Reuse Recycle... Rethink.  We incorporate recycling and "upcycling" concepts to product design, materials and packaging, and actively seek out new methods and materials which reduce consumer waste.  Our clean burning soy wax candles are already starting to catch on-- freshly scented ONLY with pure essential oils and organic botanicals, and recycled packaging. these dye-free chemical-free candles are a real treat!  Get yours in tempting earthy scents such as Eucalyptus Rosemary, Tea Tree & Ginger, Cedarwood & Clove, Cedar, Balsam Peru & Saffron, and more!  GO HERE NOW!

February 15, 2012

$1000 PayPal CASH giveaway sponsored by a boatload of bloggers...

I wanted to pass along a rather hefty PayPal cash giveaway going on from TODAY until the end of February.  The giveaway is sponsored by over 100 bloggers chipping in for the jackpot.  An easy Rafflecopter entry form gives you your choice of 167 possible entries for doing things like "liking" sponsor Facebook pages, following on Google Plus or Twitter, leaving a blog comment etc. You can enter a little or a lot, but by the looks of it participation is going to be super high-- over 90,000 entries already as I write, and the giveaway just opened today!

So get in on the action HERE to pad your account (or recover from holiday spending!)

February 6, 2012

Guilt-Free Jewish Snacking... Rosemary Sea Salt Latke "Pizzelles" with Snap Peas.

I just stumbled upon the most delicious quick, light snack, any Jewish mom would be proud of:

Rosemary Sea Salt Latke "Pizzelles" with Snap Peas

I must admit the latkes are from a package, , the kind that get reconstituted in water.  To the mix I added organic rosemary, pinch of sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.  Then I fired up the sandwich press, and just for fun, I swapped out the press plates for the Pizzelle plates.  Pizzelles are round, flat, pressed cookie-like wafers that require a special decorative press.  You'll know it if you have that option on your maker.

I rolled a ball of about a tablespoon of latke mixture, sprayed both top and bottom of the pizzelle press, placed the ball in the center and closed the lid, squishing the balls into a thin flat pancake, thinner than your regular latke.

You'll want to keep an eye on the latke-pizzelles to achieve a light golden brown color, but they will easily over-cook and become stiff.  You want them to be pliable, like a potato soft taco shell.  When they're done, gently lift them off, and stuff them with some cold, clean, raw sugar snap peas.

According to the nutrition label, three one-Tbsp latkes are 90 calories and a cup of snap peas is 40 calories.  So THREE of these yummy, crunchy, warm and satisfying latke wraps is about 100 calories total.  And three is all you need when you stuff them with veggies (I would have added grated carrot and red cabbage if I had it on hand).  You can add a little salad dressing if you need, but that will add calories & fat.

I think these would make excellent side dishes or hors d'oeuvres, or, most importantly, an easy, quick, lightweight snack!

February 5, 2012

Toddler Daily "Grade Card"

Avigael, my 4 year old has the budding attitude of a pre-teen in full talk-back glory.  I find it extraordinarily frustrating when we go 'round and 'round about the same things over and over.  I ask her to do something, she either flat out refuses or ignores me until I'm ready to bark out orders dill Sergeant style.  She takes time-outs like a pro, and it doesn't seem to interrupt her all that much. If I raise my voice, so does she, so that's not an effective method either.  She may shape up for Daddy, but the "wait til' daddy gets home" doesn't work here.

I've tried the sticker chart thing before, and it always seems to fizzle out.  She looses interest, and the rows of mini smileys seem to captivate her less and less after the initial enthusiasm.  So what's an underslept mom with a business to run to do?  I waste so much time harping, pleading, begging and bribing her to refrain from destroying the house in the first place, and helping pick up what she has messed up.

I'm a creative chick, I can sympathize with her desire to get elbow-deep in the Play Doh.  It doesn't even bother me when she stacks her giant cardboard blocks as high as she can and karate chop them into a block explosion.  But WOW do I wish she'd help pick up after herself.  I don't mind giving a warning, but not 20. We've got to figure out a way to get stuff done when I ask, after all, she's a big sister now!

I think I'm equally part of the problem.  I'm overly easy going, and typically distracted or exhausted so sometimes I lack the focus or energy to see an instruction through to the end.  I'll give an order, forget about it, and then remind her every time I become aware that it STILL hasn't been done again..and again.  I often forget to follow through with my threats of time outs or loss of toy or TV privileges.  And most of the time, I just clean things up to be done with it.

She likes the visual cues of the sticker charts, especially when they contain pictures so she can "read" what she gets rewarded for.  But after so many stickers she doesn't seem to care if she gets anymore or not.  So, to help us BOTH be consistent, I'm going to try a variation of a concept we did with the kids at the preschool program I assisted with, and introduce a "daily grade card."

Each day we'd give the parents a slip of paper highlighting the good things and the not so good things to work on.  So on this new experimental daily sheet, I picked the four things we struggle with the most:  cleaning up her room at the end of the day, picking up toys from activities throughout the day, putting away clothes (from laundry and from her randomly changing her outfits a dozen times a day), and going to bed.  I have smiley faces ranging from Smiling, to Uh Oh, to Sad.  Uh Oh represents the warning.  Sad represents a consequence.  Smiling means a reward, like a sticker, or choosing what's for lunch, or something else she wants.  That means it got done with one or two requests at the most.  If she ignores the warning, she gets the consequence.

We'll try it for a week or two and see if it helps or is a realistic tool for our family.  Maybe the visual cues of seeing when she's about to get a consequence for ignoring me (and my reminder of following through with a consequence after a warning) will help us both get on the same "page."  As an added bonus, I'm hoping she'll take pride in being held accountable for some responsibility, AND she can show daddy just how good she was at the end of the day, and get another verbal 'attagirl' positive reinforcement.

I'll keep you posted!