Archive for June, 2009

Who You Are…

June 29th, 2009 11:40pm
There's no one else like you

There's no one else like you

I was given this amazing poem (I actually think they may be lyrics) as a handout and was buoyed up by the message. I wish I knew who to attribute it to. Unfortunately, I have since lost that information. But in finding it again, I feel impressed to share it with other busy moms that struggle with balance in their lives and hope you gain some inspiration from it too…

“I know you wonder if you’ll ever have a day,
When the kids stay calm, the laundry’s done
and the dishes put away,
And sometimes you feel like your days are spent and gone
And the question running through your mind
is what have I gotten done?

“At the end of your day
I know Father would say:
Believe in what you’re doing
Believe in who you are
Hold tight to the truth that you’re a
daughter of God
Believe in who you’re becoming
Believe in who you are

“It may seem simple – all the little things you do
But the lives you touch matter so much
And there’s no one else like you
And Father needs you to stand tall and faithful
To be all you can be
Oh, if you could see what He sees…

“When it’s hard to believe in yourself
And you feel like you’re beginning to
doubt, Remember…

“He believes in what you’re doing
He believes in who you are
Don’t lose sight of the truth that you’re
a daughter of God
That He believes in who you’re becoming
He believes in who you are.”

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Water Safety Tips

June 28th, 2009 12:41am
Remember to stay hydrated, wear sunscreen and UV protected swimwear, and don't forget to keep those eyes shaded protected too!

Remember to stay hydrated, wear sunscreen and UV protected swimwear, and don't forget to keep those eyes shaded protected too!

Summer heat is upon us and has finally struck with a vengeance! Families are heading to the pools and lakes in droves to seek refuge from the onslaught of summer heat. In our stampede to our phoenician sanctuaries of water this Fourth of July weekend, I hope we can all accept another reminder about water safety. With over 3,582 fatal unintentional drownings in the United States during 2005 (more than one in four were children 14 and younger), this is an epidemic we cannot afford to take lightly. As we march off to our water related 4th of July festivities, please keep these tips and suggestions in mind.

  1. Barriers: Most small children who drown in pools are only out of sight for less than 5 minutes and usually one the watch of one or more parents. A simple barrier can help slow down a curious child and even help alert the caregiver to the imminent emergency. In 1991, Arizona passed the pool barrier law, Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 33-1681, requiring an enclosure surrounding the pool area. Each city has their own ordinance governing the specific application of this law so check your cities website for details.
  2. Alcohol and Water Don’t Mix: Alcohol is responsible for nearly half of adolescent and adult deaths dealing with water recreation. It influences balance, coordination, judgement and its effects are heightened by sun exposure and heat (two things Arizona has an abundance of in the summer).
  3. Designated Eyes: Decide ahead of time who is in charge of which children and make certain that adult is not involved or distracted by any other activity (such as reading, phone conversation, yard work, etc.). Always swim with a buddy. Mothers should never swim alone with multiple small children.
  4. Learn to Swim: Although the American Academy of Pediatrics cautions against swimming lessons as a drowning prevention for children under the age of 4, small children can learn to float on their backs or even tread water. These skills could provide the addition of a few seconds and possibly mean the difference between life and death.
  5. Learn CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation): Average response time for emergency assistance was 5:04 for 2005 (http://www.ci.phoenix.az.us/FIRE/fireinfo.html). Drowning occurs within 20 seconds to 1 minute. if a person can be resuscitated within the next 4-6 minutes, they can be saved from most permanent forms of brain damage.
  6. Respect the Difference Between Toys and Life Saving Devices: Do not use air-filled foam toys, such as “water wings”, “noodles”, or inner-tubes in place of life jackets. These toys are meant for supervised recreation, not as life-saving or drowning-prevention devices. Once your swimming activities are over, be certain that all floats, balls and any other toys are removed from the pool area so they will not be an attraction to young children to re-enter.
  7. Weather: Pay attention to the weather and the forecasts for the day. Here in Arizona we have entered the monsoon season where weather conditions can change rapidly and become dangerous very quickly. Be aware of your surroundings, pay attention to warning signs and notices and respect the power of our unpredictable Arizona weather systems.
  8. Stay Hydrated: Just because you’re in the water, doesn’t mean you are getting enough fluids. Our bodies are two thirds water and when you lose large amounts of water through physical exertion and sweat, you could become very sick, lethargic and dizzy. As of 2004, the Institute of Medicine recommends of 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of total water for women and 3.7 liters (125 ounces) for men. This includes water from all sources (foods and drinks). Drink from measured containers (if you’re drinking from an 8oz bottle, it’s not hard to figured out how many bottles you should drink to stay hydrated). Remember that caffeine is a diuretic (meaning it makes you urinate more frequently) so it would be wise to steer clear of caffeinated drinks during any exercise but especially when out in the heat and water.
  9. Wear Sunscreen: Don’t forget to lather up your families! The Arizona sun can be a harsh companion in the summer heat. Remember, a tan is the body’s desperate attempt to protect itself from the powerful UVA and UVB rays of the sun as they damage the skin. Wear clothes made from tight-woven cloth or even UV protection. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect face, neck and ears. Remember that clouds don’t block UV rays and won’t protect you and there is no cure for sun damage. Regardless of the SPF rating, sun screen should be reapplied every 2 hours, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Enjoy your Fourth of July weekend and keep your families safe around water throughout this summer. I hope this information has been helpful and will be taken to heart as we all work together to protect our children and each other from the dangers of water activities. We would love to hear your own safety suggestions and product recommendations so please follow up in our forums!

For more info: Center for Disease Control, Kids Health, Kids Safety Products 101.

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Arizona Science Center Review

June 25th, 2009 1:12am

We have wanted to visit the Arizona Science Center for several years but have always had difficulty with the pricing. With 5 of us (and sometimes 6 if my husband can get off work!), paying for parking, admission, special exhibits, lunch and gas (we live in Mesa) it quickly becomes a very expensive adventure…especially if we want to add on any other activities like the planetarium or the imax movies. But after an hour of waiting in line, we were fortunate enough to get a “Culture Pass” through the Mesa Public Library and were very excited to be able to use it! (Word to the Wise: if you want a culture pass, be at the library an hour before they open and park yourself right in front of the door…the Mesa Public Library puts out 14 passes every morning from Tuesday through Friday and it’s first come, first serve)

Normally, I would have packed lunches for my kids but I read that food was not allowed  inside the museum but there was a cafe for lunch (I didn’t learn until after our visit that they allow food and drink as long as it’s not eaten within the museum – a fact I will remember for our next visit!). So we determined to eat at the cafe. But I was very surprised by the prices and was not quite prepared for it. With the cheapest sandwich being around $9.00 and the cheapest kids meal is around $6.00, it is definitely wise to brown bag it. They have a nice patio outside for us brown baggers.
Because of the pricing, we were hesitant to buy passes to the extra exhibits like the planetarium or the IMAX theater. But I assure you, although we were there from 10:30am to 5:00pm, we were not bored for even a minute! Here’s a run down of some of our favorite exhibits…
The Home Building Exhibit
My 6 year old really loved this exhbit because he is my probable engineer! He loved watching the video of the house being built in accelerated time. We’ve had a lot of development going on around us near our home and he is constantly asking me how it’s done…it was fun to be able to say “well, son, here’s how it’s done!”. :) My toddler really loved the little play area here and it was a really nice place to let her run around and explore without worrying too much about what she’s up to. She loved the oversized soft lego’s since legos are a very popular toy at my house but her brothers and sisters don’t always want to share!

The Lego Exhibit

Life sized dragon made completely out of legos!

Life sized dragon made completely out of legos!

Legos! Need we say more? My kids absolutely loved this one! I have two boys (ages 4 and 6) and they thought this was just amazing! They both came home inspired and ready to build their own “master” lego creations! My 8 year old daughter had a wonderful time play acting in the castle and trying on the dress up with her brothers. She also thought the craft activities were fun and encouraged her brothers to build crowns and shields with her! They still have

Kids can make their own crowns and shields at the Lego Exhibit

them and have been playing with them all weekend! Even my 1 year old had a great time on the little toddler slide…she played there the whole time her brothers and sister were building their lego creations!

Kids can make their own crowns and shields at the Lego Exhibit

The Nature Exhibit

A Science Center employee shares a demonstration on volcanoes

A Science Center employee shares a demonstration on volcanoes

My daughter especially loved this exhibit…she loved the simulation platform and talked about it all weekend! Very amazing stuff. They recreate a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, monsoon storm and volcanic eruptions…complete with the heat sensations, ground vibrations, wind and even rain!

My boys liked the water erosion activity and loved to change the path of the water by building the “sand traps”. The only issue we had here was a couple of older boys that were bullying the little kids. They went so far as to steal the plastic pieces they were using to move the sand right out of their hands and throwing them underneath the plastic covering so the kids couldn’t get at them (It makes me angry when parents are not watching their children…having older kids only makes them more obnoxious and should not be an excuse to let them roam unsupervised). The demonstrations on different kinds of volcanoes as well as the liquid nitrogen demo had my kids completely enthralled the whole time! My daughter brought her camera and proudly talks about her “volcano pictures”! I have to say, the nitrogen demo even had me amazed!

The 2nd Floor Exhibit
I think this was probably my kids favorite. They loved all the hands on activities there were to do here. It was really fun explaining to them why the fulcrum works as we battled it out in a massive tug-o-war!  Learning with them about all the different kinds of energy and how it works was fascinating for all of us. The boys loved trying out the bed of nails and decided they were pretty brave fellows! We really had fun exploring this area and luckily, my toddler was asleep for most of it so I got to play some too! 😉 Don’t overlook the boxes of brain teaser puzzles against the wall either…when I finally figured one out, my kids thought I was a pretty cool magician!

These were by no means the only exhibits we enjoyed (making the giant nose sneeze in the Life Exhibit was a favorite of my boys!) but these were definitely our favorites! We were all very impressed with the wonderful staff and how friendly, informative, and indulgent these staff members are towards the kids. They really helped to make it a special day.

Definitely worth attending, especially through the Library Culture Pass. It can be a little expensive if you’re not prepared. The parking garage for the museum will cost you $12 before validation and the special exhibits are priced per person, per exhibit. But there is definitely enough to keep everyone busy without the special exhibits if your on a budgetary diet!

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Chuck E. Cheese free tokens!

June 25th, 2009 12:49am

If you’re like many of us looking for fun things to do with our kids this summer that don’t break the bank, Chuck E. Cheese has come up with some fun rewards charts that when completed, can be brought to a Chuck E. Cheese location for free game tokens! Some of the charts include the following:

Each completed rewards poster will earn your child 10 free tokens as a reward! What a fun way to encourage good habits in your children.

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iPhone Apps for Toddlers?!

June 24th, 2009 8:07pm

Ok, now I know that kids are getting more computer savvy at a much earlier age, but seriously…iPhone Applications for toddlers? Yes, I did roll my eyes when I first discovered these games after purchasing my iPhone. But I have to give it up for the genius application designers that came up with these little gems! I tried out a few of these “preschool apps” and have found them an absoluetly indespensible addition to my iPhone repertoire!

From long lines to even longer waits at doctors offices, these little iPhone apps have created happy, busy children who would otherwise have been devoting their efforts to a well orchestrated tantrum performance. I’ve reviewed a few of these favored applications in our forum area of the website so make sure you stop and take a look at some of our product reviews in our parent forum.

Several applications that I would whole heartedly recommend are listed below with age recommendations…

  • For Toddler to 4 or 5 years old: Preschool Adventures, Bubble Wrap, TicTacFree, Scribble Lite, XmasPuzzle, Christmas Tree Decoration
  • For 4 or 5 to 8 (and even older): Glyder (although the controls definitely take some practice before you can really enjoy this one), Everest: Hidden Expedition, FastLane Street Racing, TanZen, Word Scramble, WordsWorth, Brain Tuner and Booty Blocks.

For a review of each of these games, check out our forum area for parents under “Product Reviews” and you can see individual reviews for each of these games. Keep your eyes on this forum for new product reviews to come!

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A tribute to all the amazing Father’s in my life!…

“My Father”

My father’s feet will lead me
in paths I know are right.

My father’s knees will bend with mine
as we say prayers at night.

My father’s lap will hold me
when I need a place to rest.

And when I’m sad, I like to lay
my head upon his chest.

My father’s hands are big and strong,
and they work hard for me.

My father’s arms can lift me up
so I may better see.

My father’s lips will speak to me
with words of truth each day.

My father’s ears will listen
to the things I have to say.

I like to sit so very still
and look into his eyes.

I know he understands me,
and he is good and wise.

I’m glad I have a father
who guides me with his love.

He helps me better understand
my Father up above.

– The Friend Magazine

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Eating out with kids can be an expensive venture and very
frustrating when you know they may have more fun playing
with the food you purchase than eating it.

Dining out with the family can be an expensive venture, especially in today’s economically stressed times. But who wants to cook EVERY night?! Salvation is here! Several valley restaurants have come to the rescue to provide kid friendly menus with parent friendly pricing. Take a look at some of these available options…there are price ranges to cover everyone’s taste. Menu’s, promotions and restaurant locations are subject to change so it is advised that you contact the individual location  you wish to visit to verify their promotion before arrival.

In the mood for Mexican? Try these locations…

  • Arriba Mexican Grill…on Sunday’s kids eat free from the kid’s menu when accompanied by and adult ordering an entrée. One child per adult
  • Chevy’s Fresh Mex…kids 12 and under eat free all day Tuesday excluding holidays, one child per regular priced adult entree purchased. Glendale, Mesa and Phoenix participating locations.
  • El Torito…Saturdays until 3pm children under 12 eat free. one free kids meal from kids menu for each regular adult entree purchased. Phoenix and Scottsdale participating locations.
  • Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant…Kids eat free on Mondays, all day, for each kid accompanied by a payting adult. Chandler, Glendale and Tempe participate.
  • Manuel’s Fine Mexican Food…on Wednesdays, after 4pm one child for each accompanying paying adult eats free. Adult entrée muct be more than $7. All locations participate.
  • Taco del Mar…Maricopa location only. On Mondays kids eat free with each adult din-in entrée purchase. Kids can sit at a surfboard table with crayons and a TV for watching movies.

    How about good old fashion American cuisine…

    • 5 & Diner…Burgers, fries, milkshakes. There are various locations in the Valley and many of them offer a Kids Eat Free deal. They have different offers however, so you have to call and check on the deal at the one that you’re interested in.
    • Bill Johnson’s Big Apple…One child under 1 eats free with a paying adult after 3pm on Wednesdays. Locations in Phoneix, Mesa, Goodyear and Glendale.
    • Charleston’s…American grill, with steaks, ribs, fish and burgers. On Sundays, one child per adult ordering an entrée eats free if they choose one of the first 3 items on the kids menu.
    • Chick-Fil-A…Free kids meal with an adult meal purchase. Nine locations int he Valley. Day of the week for kids eat free promotion varies by location. Hours vary, too, but are generally evening only.
    • Denny’s…Breakfast, sandwiches, burgers and salads. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, 2 kids per adult eat free when they order from the Kids’ Menu. drinks and dessert not included. (Not all Denny’s participate)
    • IHOP…67th Avenue and Peoria location. Kids eat free all day Monday and Tuesday, one child per paying adult.
    • Rainforest Cafe…Each child accompanied by a paying adult gets a kids meal for $1.99 after 5pm on Wednesdays.
    • TGI Fridays…Each child 12 and under accompanied by a paying adult eats free. Mondays and Tuesdays, all day. Not available at the Chase Field location.

    For those interested in Italian fair…

    • Arizona Pizza…on Mondays, kids eat free. One child meal from kids menu per paid adult meal.
    • Fazoli’s…offers a $.99 meal on Tuesdays. More than 10 locations in greater Phoenix. They even have activities and arts and crafts for the kids.
    • NYPD PIzza…Pizza, pasta, subs. Every Wenesday after 4, kids (10 and under) receive a Kids’ Meal with the purchase of a 14′ pizza, pasta entrée, hero or large salad.
    • RigaTony’s…Southern Italian food. On Wendesdays, kids eat free with each adult dine-in entrée pruchase. One child per adult.

    Hope this helps give everyone some great dining out ideas for their family. With Father’s Day upon us, there is something for everyone! Make sure you call ahead to the location you want to visit and ask about their “kids eat free” promotions. Have a happy Father’s Day weekend!


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    t-ball
    What do we teach our children when we push them too far in sports? What principles of sportsmanship and athleticism do we really want to impact them the most?

    I watched as my 8 year old daughter once again was relegated to outfield. She stood, bored and disinterested as she once again was given no choice. Her once bubbly attitude upon arriving at her first softball practice had been replaced with bored indifference as she accepted the inevitable…she wasn’t going to get to try anything new. That was only for the potential “all stars” of the team.

    Flash to a similar scene of 4 and 5 year old basketball. All the boys on the team watch with unsurprised expressions on their faces as their one “all star” player once again gets control of the ball and runs up the court to make a basket. The coach cheers and the rest of the team slowly walk back to their positions…places where their main purpose is to stand and watch their one teammate dominate the game.

    These are familiar scenes to most parents with young children in sports. If your child is not an “all star” potential, they oftentimes don’t get much playing experience. Of course, you pay the same price for them to play as the “all star” players parents do but your child will not get near the playing time. Parents of these child protege’s often push their kids to the breaking point to make sure they shine. Oftentimes, these are the parents you hear from the sidelines swearing at the referees or issuing profanities at the poor coach who is adamantely wishing he never volunteered for this job.

    If you are tired of these repeated scenarios, then there is a place for you and your children. A new program has emereged called i9Sports to answer this call from parents everywhere to encourage healthy competition while making sure everyone gets a chance to play equally. According to their website, i9Sports advocate 5 principles of sportsmanship which are…

    • Funthe primary reason children play sports is to have fun. They love mastering new skills, developing friendships, and healthy competition
    • Inclusivityeveryone’s right to play and have fun. Our program is for everyone, regardless of race, gender, religion, or ability level. No child will ever be excluded by a tryout, be made to feel like they aren’t good enough because of a league draft, or be cut from a team. We do our best to ensure that each child gets equal playing time.
    • safetya child’s safety is paramount. As such, we background check each of the adults supervising your children and hire trained officials for each game to ensure that “safe play” is enforced.
    • good sportsmanshiplearning to play the game is only half the equation. Helping children develop character is the other half. The value of teaching children teamwork, fair play and good sportsmanship goes far beyond the game.
    • everyone is a winnerHealthy competition is a natural instinct. However, the “win-at-all-costs” mentality so prevalent in youth sports today is not only destructive to team morale, it severely undermines individual self-esteem. We believe in a healthy competitive enviornment that allows everyone an opportunity to make the most of their abilities.

    According to Jill Phillips of Fishman Public Relations, “Every i9 Sports parent signs a Parental Pledge, which commits them to be positive and encourage good sideline behavior. Parents also attend an orientation meeting where the program director discusses the i9 Sports Parental Pledge, league philosophy and expectations.” Jill further added that “most games and practices are only held on weekends, so children can focus on academics and spending time with their family during the week.”

    If you are as intrigued by this new wave of sportsmanship oriented athletics as I was, than you too should contact them for more information. The program originated in Tampa Bay, Fl but has since established franchises all across the country in over 25 states with over 100,000 participants since 2003. You can visit their website at http://www.i9sports.com for more information and to find the location nearest you. You can also contact James Smith, owner of i9 Sports in Chandler, at 480-726-1613.

    For more info: contact James Smith, owner of i9 Sports in Chandler, at 480-726-1613 or visit their website at http://www.i9sports.com.

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    gardening-with-kidsSchools out, no more homework, no more after school activities to run to…it’s smooth sailing from here, right? Unfortunately for most, with that freedom also comes boredom and the ever constant question of “so what are we doing today?”. What do we do with our children when the economy has basically shot down our summertime plans for classes, schools, travel and activities in general? It’s tough to find productive activities for our kids to participate in and enjoy at the same time.

    But all hope is not lost! Summertime can be a wonderful time to introduce your kids to gardening techniques that can allow them to be creative, productive, outdoors and contribute to something that will generally improve both the health and quality of the food they eat. Sweltering Arizona heat can make summertime a difficult time to start a garden. But there are some wonderful foods that can be grown here in the Phoenix summer, for instance Beans, Sweet Corn, Mexican June Corn, Muskmelon, Pumpkins, and Winter Squash. Sunflowers are also very popular with kids.

    Gardening with small children can sometimes be very challenging but the benefits far outway the difficulties. The important thing to keep in mind if you want to minimize the frustration, is to pick jobs that are age appropriate when including smaller children in your gardening efforts. Each age group has something they can contribute to the gardening process which makes gardening a great activity for the whole family.

    If you’ve ever chased your 2 or 3 year old out of a mud hole or caught them making that mudhole with the hose or other means of hauling large amounts of water, then you know very well the fascination that this age group has with water in general. They rarely miss an opportunity to play with water in any form whether that be the toilet or a puddle in the gutter. But gardening can allow you to channel this fascination and direct it to a more productive activity. Let your toddler be in charge of watering your garden! They also love to be helpful picking things up. Show them what a weed looks like and help them pull all the weeds from the garden. But be sure to keep a close eye on these little helpers…they can often get a little over ambitious and start pulling everything from the ground, including what you just finished planting!

    4-5 year olds have a great curiosity about how the world works. This is a wonderful opportunity to give them their own little “garden” by designating a small area of your garden for a “surprise” plant that they can nuture from a seedling. Help them plant it and let them tend it. Don’t tell them what it is and let them anticipate it’s growth. They will be all the more interested in tending to it if they are trying to solve the mystery of what it could be. This is a great time to help them understand the process of a plants growth…they will see it’s daily progress and be able to share that excitement with you.

    6-7 year olds are adept enough with their motor skills to contribute in more ways to the gardening process. Give them the job of creating a scarecrow for the garden. Give them some basic materials (straw, sticks, twine, burlap bag, old clothes, etc.) and let them use their very inventive minds to create something really special for their garden. You may have to relax your expectations just a bit but remember that whatever they come up with, it is sure to scare something away! Another fun project is to allow them to create the signs for each of your plants to help everyone remember what you are growing. They will love drawing pictures of what they think the plant will look like. You can also begin to talk to them about bugs and other creatures that contribute to the growth or demise of a garden. Here in Arizona, we have a few more critters to worry about than most (watch out for those snakes, ground squirrels and birds!).

    Helping your kids understand that contributing to gardening as a family also benefits the entire family will help them feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. Everyone gets something fun out of the activity whether as a part of the process or as a part of the result. Consider keeping a calendar or chore chart for little ones that reflect what part of the gardening they are responsible for. Print these for your kids and post them where they can see them each morning. You could even create monthly calendars that chart the types of things you can grow in your garden each part of the year. For a list of foods that grow well in the Phoenix climate, check out http://ag.arizona.edu/pubs/garden/mg/vegetable/regions13.html#1-3. Kids will have a great time anticipating the yummy foods that will be coming from their gardens! You will truly be amazed at how much fun they will have!

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    Congratulations to Meggin Portenier!

    June 5th, 2009 6:50pm

    Thank you for your subscription to MyTime Calendars and congratulations on being one of our winners today! There are a few prizes left for those of you still trying to decide on your membership options…don’t delay and sign up today! Meggin, we hope you and your kids enjoy your new activity books from GrokQuest!

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