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Tappin’ Away

I joined a site a few months back (hm, just about a year ago now!) that I’m *loving* – I’m not sure why I haven’t written about it before. The site is called Crowdtap, and it’s such a neat concept.You give your opinion to various brands – including Crowdtap itself – and just by giving your opinion, you have the chance to earn a little cash (via Amazon gift cards) and cash for your favorite charity! As of today, I’ve earned $323.75 for myself and $38.78 for my charity. (Pretty significant if you ask me!!)

My very favorite part of Crowdtap are the discussions. You are invited to discuss various things from “What did you do for Independence Day?” to “MSN Business on Main Street website design and user experience” to my favorite discussions: Fishful Thinking (which I’ve routinely written about here). I’ve loved the sense of community that the Fishful Thinking discussions have had and all of the ideas from other moms. Some of my favorite moments with the kids have come from ideas from those discussions.

I think the most significant experience I had was the Fight Back to Bounce Back discussion through Fishful Thinking. I even wrote about it. The discussion was about being your own biggest critic. Sometimes it takes someone mentioning a topic, and then you writing your own views out to realize what you’re actually DOING…and that was a huge “ah ha!” moment for me. I love most of the Fishful Thinking discussions because of these “ahha!” moments, but that one was by far the biggest. The other cool thing about the Fishful Thinking discussions is that there are articles and activities that go along with them – these are SO.HELPFUL when trying to figure out what the heck to do in such situations!

What else can you do with Crowdtap? Well, there are quick hits to rack up the points and there are sample shares that people get (based on demographics), like Old Navy and Adidas. There are also web shares (for more points). The site is just over a year old, so they’re still in their infancy … I can’t wait to see how far they go!

Time to Start Thinking About Holiday Cards

Shutterfly is giving bloggers 50 free cards simply for posting about this wonderful opportunity!

I don’t know about you, but 50 free cards is HUGE. It seems as though we add new people to our card list every year…and cards can get expensive!

I was browsing through their selection and the picture tree is the one that stood out for me. I like that you can put a whole bunch of different pictures in it! (Perfect for when your kids are at that age where they won’t sit still together.)

Now, I’m not sure if that’s the one I’ll use…but it is certainly super cute!

The decision I go through every year is that we have some non-Christian friends who get the cards as well. Typically, I end up with a “Happy Holidays!” message, but I’m wondering if people care if it says “Merry Christmas” instead. I mean, I’d still love to get a card even if it says “Happy Hanukkah” on it…it still means they remembered me and want me to share in their joy. (right?)

In year’s past, I’ve also put together calendars for family member Christmas gifts. I love that you can just select a picture (or a picture montage) and they’ll take care of the rest. Great quality too. I know my family really got a kick out of it – especially my step-grandmother who doesn’t get to see the kids very often.

So now that I know where I’ll be purchasing my holiday cards, I just need to snap some photos!

 

Help Support Children of All Abilities

CVS/PHARMACY AND BOUNDLESS PLAYGROUNDS JOIN THE PEPSI REFRESH CHALLENGE TO SUPPORT CHILDREN OF ALL ABILITIES

VOTE for your favorite Boundless playground!!  http://www.boundlessplay.refresheverything.com/

The winner Will Receive $70,000 to Build All-Inclusive Playground

The official stuff from CVS:

Woonsocket, RI – August 23, 2010 – CVS/pharmacy, Boundless Playgrounds, and Pepsi are inviting the public to join them as they work together to provide all children with the opportunity to play together in a truly inclusive environment.  The partnership is part of the Pepsi Refresh Project, a groundbreaking effort that funds ideas, big and small, that can refresh the world.

From now until September 28 at noon ET, the public is asked to visit http://www.boundlessplay.refresheverything.com/ and vote on which playground idea should receive $70,000 in funding to build a Boundless Playground.  Voting is limited to one vote, per person, per day.  The website will announce the winning idea on September 28, 2010.

On a Boundless Playground children of all abilities can gain the important developmental and physical benefits of unstructured play.  They also learn to appreciate the unique capabilities of others, regardless of any perceived ability, and are able to grow together while playing side-by-side in a safe environment.

The partnership with the Pepsi Refresh Project is made possible through CVS Caremark All Kids Can, a 5-year, $25 million commitment to support children with disabilities.  Since 2006, CVS Caremark All Kids Can has supported Boundless Playgrounds and donated more than $4 million which has resulted in the building of more than 50 Boundless Playgrounds nationwide.

“Our goal with All Kids Can is to help all children succeed in life.  A Boundless Playground has a real impact on a child’s physical and emotional development and we’re thrilled to be a part of creating an environment that encourages all children to learn and play with one another,” said Eileen Howard Dunn, Senior Vice President of Community Relations for CVS Caremark.  “We are excited to be part of the Pepsi Refresh Project and to give people the opportunity to support organizations like Boundless Playgrounds in their commitment to making local communities a better place for all children.”

“We are proud to partner with CVS/pharmacy and Boundless Playgrounds and support their mission to give children of all abilities the opportunity to play together in a fun and welcoming environment. The Pepsi Refresh Project supports powerful, creative and fun ideas that encourage positive change and we’re thrilled to be part of an initiative that has and continues to make a difference in the lives of children with all abilities in communities throughout the country,” said David Regine, Pepsi National Account Manager, CVS/pharmacy Team.

Through the Pepsi Refresh Project, Pepsi is awarding more than $20 million in 2010 to fund ideas that move the world forward.  At www.refresheverything.com, anyone can submit an idea and each month the public votes to determine which ideas get funded.

The Pepsi Refresh Project is an evolution of the Refresh Everything initiative Pepsi launched in 2009, which showed the brand as a catalyst for optimism.  In 2010, Pepsi is funding ideas that will move the world forward in six categories: Health, Arts & Culture, Food & Shelter, The Planet, Neighborhoods and Education.   The Pepsi Refresh Project features significant social engagement around people and the power of ideas.

Boundless Playgrounds

Boundless Playgrounds is the leading nonprofit developer of truly inclusive playgrounds where children of all abilities gain the important developmental and physical benefits of unstructured play.  On a Boundless Playground all children can be in the middle of the fun. There are nearly 200 Boundless Playgrounds in 31 states and Canada, with over 100 under development. For more information about Boundless Playgrounds, visit www.boundlessplaygrounds.org.

About PepsiCo

PepsiCo offers the world’s largest portfolio of billion-dollar food and beverage brands, including 19 different product lines that each generate more than $1 billion in annual retail sales. Our main businesses – Frito-Lay, Quaker, Pepsi-Cola, Tropicana and Gatorade – also make hundreds of other nourishing, tasty foods and drinks that bring joy to our consumers in over 200 countries. With more than $60 billion in revenue, PepsiCo’s people are united by our unique commitment to sustainable growth, called Performance with Purpose. By dedicating ourselves to offering a broad array of choices for healthy, convenient and fun nourishment, reducing our environmental impact, and fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace culture, PepsiCo balances strong financial returns with giving back to our communities worldwide. For more information, please visit www.pepsico.com.

About CVS Caremark All Kids Can

All Kids Can, a program of the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust and CVS Caremark, is a five-year, $25 million commitment to support children with disabilities. The goals of All Kids Can are to support children with disabilities by raising awareness in schools and in local communities about the importance of inclusion, creating greater opportunities for physical activity and play, and providing access to medical rehabilitation and related services. CVS Caremark and its more than 211,000 employees help children with disabilities learn, play and succeed through partnerships with leading local and national nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit http://www.cvsallkidscan.com.

About CVS/pharmacy

CVS/pharmacy, the retail division of CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE: CVS), is America’s leading retail pharmacy with more than 7,100 CVS/pharmacy and Longs Drug stores. CVS/pharmacy is committed to improving the lives of those we serve by making innovative and high-quality health and pharmacy services safe, affordable and easy to access, both in its stores and online at CVS.com. General information about CVS/pharmacy and CVS Caremark is available at info.cvscaremark.com.

Who Powers Your Summer?

If you have kids, you need batteries. No question. You may also need some innovative ideas for how to “power” your summer…leave it to Rayovac and 5MinutesForMom to bring us the Rayovac Powers Your Summer Promotion!

30 summertime prizes in 30 days!

Moms, kids and families just want to have fun this summer and Rayovac has the power to make it happen!

From June 21st through July 20th, Rayovac is empowering families to have fun through the Rayovac Powers Your Summer Giveaway!

We have great daily summertime family tips and a chance to win great prizes. Simply tell us how you’ll power your fun this summer each day for a chance to win prizes ranging from cameras and bikes to camping supplies and a summer supply of Rayovac batteries!

No trick questions here! There is no correct answer to how you and your family add the Power of Fun to your summer! Must be 18 or older to enter.

Rayovac Powers Your Summer Twitter Event

Join Rayovac and 5MinutesForMom for a Twitter Event to support the exciting Rayovac Powers Your Summer Promotion. The Twitter Event will feature more than 20 fun giveaways from Rayovac ranging from a summer supply of Rayovac Batteries to $50 Target Gift Cards.

Rayovac Powers Your Vacation Summer Promotion Twitter Event
Date: Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Time: 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. CST
Location: #rayovac
Follow: @Rayovac_Battery, @5minutesformom, @CirclePRMary

Disclaimer: The first 99 bloggers to promote the Rayovac Powers Your Summer Promotion win a prize package from Rayovac…and since I can always use batteries, I have to give it a try. 🙂

All Kids Can

CVS Caremark All Kids Can Baseball Camps is trying to find teams made up of kids with disabilities (physical and/or intellectual) to take part in one of nine free camps being offered this baseball season at Fenway Park!

The CVS Caremark All Kids Can Baseball Camps at Fenway Park provide New England children with disabilities an action-packed, dream-fulfilling experience playing ball and getting batting tips from Batting Coach Dave Magadan. The camps are part of CVS Caremark’s national philanthropic All Kids Can program, which focuses on helping children with disabilities learn, play and succeed in life.

HOW COOL IS THAT?! Do you know a New England based kid with disabilities who loves baseball? Spread the word!

Disclaimer: I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and CVS Caremark blogging program to be eligible to win a $50 gift card. I’d put it up anyway though because it’s an AWESOME  opportunity!!

For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Who Doesn’t Love Disney?

I’ve been talking about wanting to take the kids to Disney … Maggie seeing Cinderella? Burke seeing the Cars cars? Logan seeing Mickey Mouse?? I’m excited for how excited THEY are going to be.

Alas, this will have to wait until we save up the funds to go. Unless. Unless! I win 🙂

Rayovac batteries and Disney have partnered to give us
Rayovac Powers Your Vacation— Magic Wand Sweepstakes
.  AND a Twitter event! Sign up for the sweepstakes and take part in the Twitter party to win some cool stuff.

Unlock your imagination and celebrate the chance to win a celebration vacation for four to “Disney World®” or “Disneyland®” by entering the Magic Wand Sweepstakes. In addition to the Grand Prize, there’s also the chance to win a lifetime supply of Rayovac batteries or a Disney Gift Card from Rayovac. Enter the sweepstakes from now until 11:59 p.m. (CT) on July 31, 2010 at www.rayovac.com/disneyvacation (eligibility to enter the sweepstakes subject to the official rules found on the website).

There’s a cute video that reminds me of what Maggie would do if she had Molly’s Magic Wand…

Vodpod videos no longer available.
(1 minute)
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Twitter Event
Join Rayovac and MomSelect for a Twitter Event to support the exciting Rayovac Powers Your Vacation— Magic Wand Sweepstakes. The evening will feature more than 20 fun giveaways from Rayovac ranging from a summer supply of Rayovac Batteries to Disney Gift Cards.
Date: Wednesday, May 19th
Time: 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. CST
Location: #rayovac
Follow: @Rayovac_Battery, @MomTalkRadio, @CirclePRMary

Saturday Snapshot: Swag Bags

I’m starting to put together the Swag Bags for the MNO on Thursday. 150 bags. I’m about 1/6th of the way there…

These things are gonna be awesome though!!

The pictures show the boxes upon boxes that have shown up at my door (13 boxes just for the totes!), my “stations” for putting the bags together, all of the stuff that goes into the totes (note: you won’t get an entire bag of Dove chocolates, but you will get a few 🙂 ), and the stack o’ bags I’ve been able to put together so far.

Cheryl over at Twinfatuation hosts this one. Go over and have a look at what others are doing on this lovely Saturday.

One Week To Go!

I am Celebrating National Mom’s Nite Out: the Ultimate Celebration of MotherhoodHave you heard?? May 6th is
National Mom’s Night Out!!

I’m so excited because I’m helping out at one of the ones in my area. I’m putting together 150 Swag Bags…and let me tell you…holy SWAG!! (I’m secretly hoping that I’ll be able to keep one of them LOL!) Oh hey – as I’m typing, yet another box has been dropped off at my front door…wonder what will be in this package…It’s like Christmas around here! I think I’m helping out that night as well, but I’m not sure what I’ll be doing yet.

I’m also excited because…it’s a mom’s NIGHT  OUT!! 🙂

The one I’m attending is sponsored by Land’s End and boasts (at least) the following:

  • FREE swimsuit fittings
  • Mini Manis
  • Mini Make-overs
  • Swag bags
  • Refreshments
  • Drawings every 1/2 hour

Where: Lands’ End Shop at Sears in Natick Collection Mall, Natick MA
When: 6-9 pm

Are you in the Natick, MA area? Come find me!!

If you’re not in the area, I bet there’s one in your area.

From the MNO website (www.momsniteout.com):

The National Mom’s Nite Out is the first nationally organized
celebration of motherhood Intended to bring together today’s moms,
physically and virtually, The National Mom’s Nite Out will unite over
150 social media groups, companies, local playgroups, mommy bloggers and mother social networks in giving moms a well deserved night off.

The evening will consist of local events held across the country, as well as mom-organized parties and virtual activities. To allow moms
everywhere to join in on the fun, mothers will be invited to throw their own mom’s nite out event by downloading party ideas and elements from The National Mom’s Nite Out Website. The night of the event moms can join in the fun through online chats, Skype, and Twitter tweet-ups.

Better Behavior

On Monday, my Twins Club had a speaker from The Better Behavior Bureau come talk with us.

It.Was.FANTASTIC.

Jeanine Fitzgerald was conversational, funny, and highly informative. She didn’t mind “interruptions” and answered every single question we all threw at her. We weren’t talked at, we were talked with. And her daughter is now working with her…so I’m thinking that means she’s doing/she did something right with her own kids 🙂

She went over a graph of child temperament, describing where kids might fit in – but making sure we all knew that they probably cross more than one quadrant. She also described the needs for each quadrant and effective positive disciplinary techniques for kids who fall in each quadrant. Holy eye opener!! I wish I had been exposed to this about 3 years ago when we were going through major screaming/anger fits with Burke. We eventually figured out how to better deal with him; but it would have been a lot quicker if I’d known all of this stuff at that point!!

One of the things Jeanine said that made me sit up and take notice was along the lines of “fair does not mean equal.” Kids are different. The needs of one child can be completely different than another. A high-level, material example is just because one kid needs shoes, doesn’t mean the other one does – so the other one shouldn’t necessarily get them. I wish I could remember her exact, complete phrasing….but she basically said that she always told her kids that she’d be fair to them by always providing what they need. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’d always get the same things (typically when they’re older) or be disciplined the same way for doing the same thing (typically when they’re younger).

One other thing Jeanine talked about was the fact that playgrounds used to have activities to help kids to self-regulate. Much of these things are disappearing because they’ve been deemed unsafe…which means that we, as parents, need to provide these “actions” for our kids. Stuff like…spinning (those awesome merry-go-rounds), hanging up-side-down (monkey bars), swinging and going up and down (see-saws), and crashing. There’s more, but I can’t remember all of them. I think I’m going to look into the book she recommended, Take Five by Mary Sue Williams, to find out more about helping kids self-regulate.

Jeanine has a book out too, The Dance of Interaction. I haven’t read it yet, but I’ve ordered it and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

Breakfast

What do your kids typically eat for breakfast? Mine like pancakes, waffles, cinnamon toast, and French toast. No – I don’t make those every morning, but they do eat at least one of those each morning…gotta love Eggo 😉

So when I read about the benefits of cereal for kids, I was momentarily upset with myself that we’d gotten into the frozen-toasted breakfasts. Until I remembered that the kids eat cereal as a snack pretty much all day. Fruity Cheerios (known by Burke as Rainbow Cheerios – formerly known as All Colors Cheerios) are a favorite in our house. Gotta love Cheerios!!

I received the following information (and vouchers for 4 boxes of free cereal – woot!) from MyBlogSpark and General Mills.

Did you know that ready-to-eat cereal eaters consume less fat, less cholesterol and more fiber than non-cereal eaters? Cereals also deliver important vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients, making cereal a top source of key nutrients in children’s diets.

Other cereal benefits:

  • Ready-to-eat cereals, including pre-sweetened cereals, account for only 5% of sugar in children’s diets.
  • Ready-to-eat cereal is the No. 1 source of whole grains in a child’s diet today.
  • More frequent cereal eaters tend to have healthier body weights and lower Body Mass Index measures.

Studies also demonstrate the benefits of eating breakfast. A 1998 study showed that children who eat breakfast tend to perform better at school. Compared to children who skip breakfast, children who eat breakfast score higher on tests, are less likely to miss class or be tardy, have fewer reported discipline problems, and make fewer trips to the office.

For more information about kids and cereals, visit Cereal Health and Wellness.

Did you know that General Mills announced a commitment to further reduce sugar in cereals advertised to kids under 12 to single digit grams of sugar per serving? They’ve already been reducing sugar in cereals while increasing key nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D, and providing whole grain.

Pretty cool, right?

Even better? A coupon for $1 off cereal from MyBlogSpark and General Mills.