24/7 MOMS

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mom Mission Statement

by: Susan Fox
24/7 MOMS Family Editor

You know how companies and corporations have mission statements? Well, as a mom, do you have a mission statement? Wikipedia defines a mission statement as: “a formal short written statement of the purpose of a company or organization.” The mission statement should guide the actions of the organization, spell out its overall goal, provide a sense of direction, and guide decision-making. It provides "the framework or context within which the company´s strategies are formulated."

Take a look at some of these famous mission statements used by these companies at one time or another. I think we as moms can relate.

"Our purpose is to ignite a passion for winning, to do the extraordinary, and to capture the customer’s heart and mind." Reebok

"To make people happy.” Walt Disney

"Bringing the best to everyone we touch." The Estee Lauder Company
“Our purpose is to enrich the lives of people we touch.” Guardian Life Insurance

“At Microsoft, we work to help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential. This is our mission. Everything we do reflects this mission and the values that make it possible.”

What is my “Mom Mission?” This is the question I have been pondering. Sometimes I feel like I am aimlessly wandering this mom-life doing laundry, searching for the perfect recipe, trying to remember if my kids are all up to date on their shots and so on and so on. Besides making sure that they grow, are fed, bathed, loved and healthy, what else should I be doing? Am I really doing what counts?

I remember that when I was in college as music major, I had very distinct goals for my life and for each day. I prioritized everything and I knew and conscientiously thought about how every day I needed to do assignments, read, and practice the piano and as a side note to my college life, exercise. I didn’t always do these things daily, but I knew that these were the top priorities. I knew that if I didn’t stay mindful of these things each and every day that it was too easy to get off track, way off track.

So, as a mom, what is important to you? What goals do you have with your children? Is it that they learn to swim? Or that they achieve high standards of academics? There are zillions of ways to spend our mom days. What needs to get done? What has to get done? What do we want to do? Besides just the daily duties that are involved with raising children, I’m asking myself, “What am I trying to accomplish here?” I don’t want to leave this parenting thing to chance and just hope that it turns out well. A major corporation does not run that way. And our family is just like a corporation and we are the CEO’s.

I want my children to succeed in school, to learn to read and study. I want them to learn and understand math so they can handle their finances when they are older. I want to pass on my faith to them. I want them to learn to consider others before themselves. I want to teach them to have a sense of gratitude. I want them to know how to swim and how to make friends. I want them to learn to eat healthy and I want to them to learn to play sports. I want them to know how to play and fight fairly. I want them to learn that saying “sorry” leads to lasting relationships. I want them to learn how to cook for themselves. I want them to know how to do laundry and clean a bathroom. Which makes me ask, should my goals for my son be the same as my daughters? Are there different things that are important to teach boys and girls? I’m getting worried just thinking about all the things that I have to teach them, and I feel like I am running out of time. I think it is time to get a “Mom Mission Statement.”

Maybe it would help me to break my goals down into categories. For me it might look like this.
1. Academic goals
2. Spiritual goals
3. Life skills goals
4. Friendship goals
5. Family fun goals.

What do your mom goals look like? What is your “Mom Mission?” I hope you take a moment to think about it. We as moms have the most important job on earth in teaching, training and loving a human being, but you already knew that!

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FREE Bounce Dryer Sheets and 21 Uses For Them

FREEbie- Grab your FREEbie sample of Bounce Dryer sheets from Sam's Club ( you do NOT need to be a member to get your freebie). Click here to sign-up today for your Free Bounce sample.

21 USES for Bounce Dryer Sheets

1. All this time you've just been putting Bounce in the dryer! It will chase ants away when you lay a sheet near them. It also repels mice.

2. Put Bounce around foundation areas, or in trailers, or cars that are parked for a time. Will keep mice from getting in.

3. It takes the odor out of books and photo albums that don't get opened too often.

4. It repels mosquitoes! Tie a sheet of Bounce through a belt loop when outdoors during mosquito season.

5. Eliminate static electricity from your television (or computer) screen.

6. Since Bounce is designed to help eliminate static cling, wipe your television screen with a used sheet of Bounce to keep dust from resettling.

7. Dissolve soap scum from shower doors. Clean with a sheet of Bounce.

8. To freshen the air in your home, place an individual sheet of Bounce in a drawer or hang in the closet.

9. Put a Bounce sheet in vacuum cleaner.

10. Prevent thread from tangling. Run a threaded needle through a sheet of Bounce before beginning to sew .

11. Prevent musty suitcases. Place an individual sheet of Bounce inside empty luggage before storing.

12. To freshen the air in your car, place a sheet of Bounce under the front seat.

13. Clean baked-on foods from a cooking pan. Put a sheet in a pan, fill with water, let sit overnight, and sponge clean. The anti-static agent apparently weakens the bond between the food and the pan.

14. Eliminate odors in wastebaskets. Place a sheet of Bounce at the bottom of the wastebasket.

15. Collect cat hair. Rubbing the area with a sheet of Bounce will magnetically attract all the loose hairs.

16. Eliminate static electricity from Venetian blinds. Wipe the blinds with a sheet of Bounce to prevent dust from resettling.

17. Wipe up sawdust from drilling or sand papering. A used sheet of Bounce will collect sawdust like a tack cloth.

18. Eliminate odors in dirty laundry. Place an individual sheet of Bounce at the bottom of a laundry bag or hamper.

19. Deodorize shoes or sneakers. Place a sheet of Bounce in your shoes or sneakers overnight.

20. Golfers put a Bounce sheet in your back pocket to keep the bees away.

21. Put a Bounce sheet in your sleeping bag and tent before folding and storing them. It will keep them smelling fresh.

Thanks to my Mom for these great Bounce tips. She always has great MOM stuff to share.

What MOM tips do you have to share? Email me at mailto:trisha@247moms.com and share your MOM tips with the 24/7 MOMS.

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WIN: Rich Whip

Since 1945, Rich’s has been known for high-quality food products. From coffee creamer in your morning cup to whipped topping on your dessert, it’s our goal to provide you rich and creamy products that you’ll always enjoy. It’s these little “extras” that make your food and drinks the best they can be!

Have certain dietary restrictions or concerns? They offer non-dairy, vegan, gluten-free, and kosher coffee creamers and whipped toppings.

Coffee Rich® Non-Dairy Creamer

For a tasty addition to your morning coffee, turn to Coffee Rich®, the only true non-dairy creamer. The rich, smooth creaminess of Coffee Rich® creamer mellows coffee, cutting its sharp edge and enhancing the flavor.

You can count on Coffee Rich® non-dairy coffee creamer to always be:

  • Cholesterol free
  • Lactose free
  • 100% milk free
  • Gluten free
  • Vegan (no animal-derived ingredients)
  • Kosher pareve
  • Low in sodium and saturated fats

Coffee Rich® non-dairy coffee creamer is easy and convenient – just thaw, pour, and enjoy! It stays fresh for 3 weeks in the refrigerator, though you’ll probably finish it before then!

RichWhip® Non-Dairy Whip Topping

RichWhip® Non-Dairy Whip Topping is easy and convenient – just thaw, pour, and whip in your mixer.

RichWhip® Non-Dairy Whip Topping is:

  • Lactose free
  • 100% milk free
  • Gluten free
  • Vegan (no animal-derived ingredients)
  • Kosher pareve

WIN: 24/7 MOMS and Rich's are giving away ONE coupon for a free Rich's Coffee Rich or a Rich whip topping

Enter for your chance to win:

1. Become a 24/7 MOMS Subscriber Enter your email address below then leave a comment that you subscribed along with your email address.

2. If you are already a subscriber just leave a comment that you are a subscriber along with your email address.

US entries only and one entry per person. Winner will be chosen on March 7, 2010.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by

*We received a complimentary coupon for Rich's Coffee rich for review no financial compensation was received.


Table Talk

Tonight's Table Talk
....to create conversation

Q: What are your favorite Girl Scout cookies?
Q: What kind of coat can be put on only when wet?
A: A coat of paint

(each day 24/7 MOMS posts a question and riddle to help you create dinner time conversation with your families)


Whats HOT this week at 24/7 MOMS!

French Toast - www.frenchtoast.com

With half the school year to go and our kids waring out and growing out of their school clothes Frecnh Toast is coming to the mom rescue.

French Toast Official School Wear is America's best selling brand of school uniforms, providing quality official school wear to our nation's schools for the past 10 years. French Toast School Uniforms offers thousands of different items in sizes 4 to young men's and juniors. French Toast is also available in thousands of stores nationwide.

French Toast School Uniforms is the place to buy French Toast Official School Wear, as well as the authoritative resource for school uniform information. They are A Class Ahead ® French Toast School Uniforms is a separate, privately-funded company with a mission to make it more convenient and faster for you to shop for school clothing.

DEAL : 20% OFF Polos, 10% OFF Sweaters/Outerwear

use code QEJBW4

offer valid 2/23/2010 to 3/1/2010

Bee Well Wishes www.beewellwishes.com

When someone you love is going through a
tough time, send comfort with a bee well wish.
It's comfy, soft things they actually need
that feel like a hug from you.

bee well wishes, LLC was created by a husband and wife team to fill the void of what to send people who are sick, recovering, or simply need support or a happy cheering up. After going through their own personal experience with a brain tumor during pregnancy and the long road to recovery afterward, they wanted to fill the void of truly useful gifts to send people in less than perfect health.

“We try hard to make sure everything from bee well wishes shows a true understanding of the recovery situation. This is not checking the box of sending a gift, but actually sending something that will help the recovery process or at least ease the burden of it. Our gifts are comfy and useful, made of soft fabrics, and have a generous fit.

bee well wishes are gifts of comfort people can really use that will stay with them, just like your thoughts do. It’s what you wish you could send--your best wishes, support, and, really, love.”

bee well products include sleep shirts, pillow cases, t-shirts , onsies and more

See the whole bee well story at www.beewellwishes.com

We Fit for 2 - www.wefitfor2.com

The evolution of fitness is here! WeFitFor2, the 3-disc DVD set that is sure to change the way you get into shape, is on sale now exclusively at www.wefitfor2.com. Fun and effective, WeFitFor2 combines a fully customizable strength training and cardio regimen with a new concept called “Partnering” – utilizing one’s own body weight and that of a workout companion to achieve maximum results. The system utilizes connection and commitment and shows that we all have access to one of the most challenging and efficient pieces of exercise equipment, the human body!

With WeFitFor2, there is no need to join an expensive gym or master complicated equipment. You and your partner can achieve a satisfying workout anytime, anywhere and with limited spatial requirements. You will become fit, healthy and happier in your relationships with this innovative new concept in fitness.

WeFitFor2 retails for $49.95 – significantly less than a gym membership or the average fitness apparatus. Stop working out alone with minimal results. You and your partner can transform “me time” into “we time” with WeFitFor2!

CitySlips is a new, patent-pending product designed especially for woman and has recently emerged to market. CitySlips are foldable ballet flats that come with their own protective carrying case. They can be stored in any standard bag, allowing women to switch easily into more comfortable footwear after any well-heeled event. The best part? The CitySlips pouch then converts into a larger tote bag to store those “killer” high heels. It is the total-package solution to your sore feet! 

Having lived in the city for three years as NYU students, the co-founders of the product, Susie Levitt and Katie Shea, were oh-so-familiar with the pain caused by pointy pumps and strappy stilettos. Their love/hate relationship with these fashion icons wasn’t helped by the fact that these petite powerhouses both stand no taller than 5’2”. Despite their suffering, they simply were unwilling to (totally) give up on these beloved wardrobe staples. And yet, corporate internships, subway dashes, dinner dates, the NYC social scene… all of the above led to too many moments of hobbling, near tears, back to their Union Square apartments. The front door never seemed to come soon enough.One too many encounters with shoeless socialites and barefooted babes led to their AH HA moment... and AfterSoles was born. These entrepreneurial sole-sisters came up with a concept and design that allowed women to carry back-up ballet flats comfortably, compactly, and conveniently. They’re confident that all of you well-heeded women on the go will enjoy these fabulous sole savers. 

CitySlips foldable ballet flats allow girls to carry portable “back-up” footwear easily and conveniently.

Retailing at an affordable $27.99, CitySlips have a durable, skid-resistant double-soled bottom, which is great for everyday use. Their PU upper material is constructed with a comfortable elastic backing to ensure the shoe fits comfortably and properly. CitySlips come in three classic colors: black, gold, and silver and are offered in sizes: Small (5-6), M (7-8), and L (9-10). The flats can be ordered at www.cityslips.com or www.aftersoles.com for their counter product!


Saturday, February 27, 2010

4 Giveaways ending Sunday February 28th 2010

4 Giveaways taking place at 24/7 MOMS. Hurry over and enter as these giveaways end on February 28th at midnight

WIN: California Pizza Kitchen is giving away $50.00 worth of dough dollars. Click here to enter.

WIN: Harman is giving away one set of AKG K 315 in-ear headphones. Click here to enter.

WIN: Mark Link is giving away one copy of 100+ No-Sew Fabric Crafts for Kids book. Click here to enter.

WIN: Casa Di Bertacchi© are giving away one Casa di Bertacchi: “101 Things to do with Meatballs” cookbook. click here to enter.


Celebrate Dr. Seuss With Fun

We have all grown up on Dr. Seuss books and now have raised our kids reading them. So why not have a little fun and celebrate Dr. Seuss day with a bit of fun.

Here are some simple ideas we found to help create a simple celebration:

Activity Sheets - Print fun activity sheets to use with one of the following ideas:

- Your meal time place mats.
- Lunch Box notes ( even my teen daughters like when I place things in their lunches).
- School fun, give to your child's teacher to use in the class room.

Click here to download and print your Dr. Seuss activity sheets.

Dr. Seuss inspired recipes -
Snacks and treats using Dr. Seuss story themes are fun to eat. Click here to find yummy recipes.

- Free fun on the web at Seussville - games, printable activities, local event listings and so much more. Click here to go to Seussville.

Dr. Seuss Crafts - Crafts, activities and other fun creative ideas . Click here

Dr. Seuss Cookbook - Filled with fun meal time recipes. Click here to purchase your copy.

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Freebie cookbook and WIN: Sea Pak Shrimp

According to a national study, 91% of American children are not eating the recommended amount of seafood.

"Seafood is one of the greatest super foods on the planet, and children should be eating more of it,” said Elizabeth Ward, nationally-recognized registered dietitian, mother and author of several books about nutrition for children. “Unfortunately, our generation of parents may be unaware of the incredible benefits seafood provides to children, and to the entire family, including protein and other essential nutrients."

Knowing our kids need more seafood how do we as moms find simple ways to prepare and feed it to our children?

I was introduced to a company called SeaPak shrimp Co. that gives you easy-to-prepare products, fun and unexpected recipes plus shrimp and seafood know-how from chefs and culinary experts around the country to make it easy to prepare spectacular seafood dishes every time. Stop by the SeaPak web site and see all of their great products and recipes including slider and wrap kid friendly recipes.

FREEbie: SeaPak's Ultimate Recipe Book Giveaway : Featuring 15 meals for $10 or less, Easy Seafood Meals - Inspired by the Coast, makes it easier than ever to experience unforgettable coastal flavor. With over 20 pages of recipes, articles and tips, SeaPak makes it easy to enjoy a true taste of the coast and love every bite. Click here for your free copy, while supplies last.

WIN: 24/7 MOMS and SeaPak are giving away a coupon for a FREE Seapak product to one mom

Enter for your chance to win:

1. Become a 24/7 MOMS Subscriber Enter your email address below then leave a comment that you subscribed along with your email address.

2. If you are already a subscriber just leave a comment that you are a subscriber along with your email address.

US entries only and one entry per person. Winner will be chosen on March 7, 2010.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by

*We received a complimentary Sea Pak Coupon for review no financial compensation was received.


Table Talk

Tonight's Table Talk
....to create conversation

Q: What is your favorite craft activity, such as painting, sewing, play-doh etc.?
Q: What has a foot on each side and one in the middle?
A: A Yardstick

(each day 24/7 MOMS posts a question and riddle to help you create dinner time conversation with your families)


Friday, February 26, 2010

Girl Scout Cookie Recipes

by: Trisha Novotny
Founder 24/7 MOMS

Rumor has it that My 5 boxes of Girl Scout cookies are about to arrive. If you are like my family you just can't get enough Girl Scout cookies and you might even be wondering how you could actually create recipes using these yummy cookies.

I went on the hunt for some yummy recipes and thought I would share what I found over on the Girl Scout web site. ( there are lots more there)

Rich and Famous Brownies

1 cup evaporated milk
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoons butter
3 cups Thin Mint cookies, crushed into crumbs
½ cup nuts, chopped

Mix together milk, marshmallows, chocolate chips, sugar and salt in microwaveable bowl. Bring to a boil in microwave. Stir well and cook in microwave an additional two minutes at medium high heat. Remove from microwave. Add butter, vanilla, and chopped nuts. Break Thin Mint cookies into crumbs and add to mixture. Pack into a 9-inch square pan. Refrigerate until hard. Cut into two-inch squares.

Samoa Kiss Brownies

1 box Devil’s Food Cake Mix
1/3 cup evaporated milk
¾ cup melted butter
Mini Chocolate Kisses
¾ cup caramels, melted
½ package Samoas

Mix cake mix, evaporated milk and butter. Pour half of mixture into a 9" x 13" pan. Bake at 350° for six minutes. Sprinkle one cup Kisses on top. Spread melted caramel over Kisses. Add ½ box crushed Samoas and one tablespoon toasted coconut. Pour remaining cake batter on top and bake 10 minutes. Drizzle with melted Kisses and sprinkle with coconut.

Strawberry Angel Surprise

1 box Angel Food Cake Mix
2 cups whipping cream
½ cup powdered sugar
10 fresh whole strawberries
2 cups thawed, unsweetened strawberries (chopped)
1 tube of Trefoils (reserve 10 whole cookies – break the rest into small pieces)

Bake cake according to directions. Cool. Whip cream and powdered sugar. Mix in strawberries. Reserve 2 ½ cups of the whipped cream and mix with the broken cookies. Split cake into thirds. Spread half of the cookie/cream mixture onto bottom layer. Add next cake layer and spread remaining cookie/cream mixture on top. Place third cake layer on top. Spread top of cake and sides with remaining whipped cream. Cut five of the whole cookies in half, and alternate cookies and strawberries at bottom of the cake and on sides. Crush remaining cookies and sprinkle on top.

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4 Free Weekend Family Fun Activities

Lowes: Free Build and Grow Clinic for kids at Lowes this Saturday at 10am.
It’s a car! It’s a robot! It’s both! Bring your child to Lowe’s and they can build this cool Lowebot!
Click here to register.

Lakeshore Learning Store : Free crafts for kids Saturday 11:00 - 3:00, every store!
This weeks craft I Love To Read bookmark, kids get to use rainbow paper to making amazing bookmarks to keep them reading all year long. Click here for details.

Michaels Make-It Take- It - Fun free Maket-It Take- It Molecule project. Kids will use the periodic table to creat 3D molecule using Crayola Model Magic. While supplies last.

Target -
Stop in at Target for on Saturday February 27th 9am - 11am for storytime fun in honor of Dr. Seuss — free in all Target stores. The event will feature a reading of a Dr. Seuss classic, Families also will enjoy Dr. Seuss-inspired activities and a special giveaway. Click here for deatils


WIN: Sewing A Friendship Book

Ten-Year-Old Writes/Illustrates Book to Spread Message That Friendships Develop When You Have the Courage to Include Others

In Sewing a Friendship, four friends muster up the courage to include a fifth girl, one they don't think is very nice, with some very gratifying results

She's only ten years old, but California author and illustrator Natalie Tinti is wise beyond her years, as evidenced by her debut book Sewing a Friendship. Recently, Natalie's gorgeously illustrated book was awarded a Silver Medal hosted by the nationally recognized Readers Favorite Book Reviews and Award Contest. In Sewing a Friendship, five very different girls come to the conclusion that taking a chance on one another and working together can help all of them.

The four BFF's (best friends forever) in Sewing a Friendship have distinct personalities: Meeka, the science lover, likes to calculate the percentage of water in the air. Jonsy lives for gym class and hanging upside down on the bars. Nina likes to play the guitar and be noisy, and Sokron likes fashion magazines and designing girly-girl outfits. Then there's Dogon. This spy-dog who likes to eat cat food supplies the shenanigans that lure the girls outside, directly into the path of Kiki.

She's memorable too, but in a not-so-good way. As far as the four friends are concerned, she's the meanest girl on the planet. Little do they know, Kiki sleeps in an old broken gray coach in her aunt and uncle's living room, and she believes that those around her are always disappointed in her.

When the girls run into Kiki on the last day of school, she lives up to her reputation and brags that she's entering a fashion show on the very first day of summer vacation. Predictably, the girls are green with envy. But when they decide to enter the fashion show themselves, life gets pretty interesting. For one thing, the rules state that each team must have five people. Soon, the four friends take a chance on Kiki and she takes a chance on them and all five girls are on their way to sewing a friendship that will help them realize their dreams and have lots of good fun in the process.

Pink sleepover, anybody?

Sewing a Friendship is available at www.tintinatie.com, www.amazon.com, www.alibris.com, and www.borders.com.

WIN: 24/7 MOMS and Sewing A Friendship are giving away one book.
Enter for your chance to win:

1. Become a 24/7 MOMS Subscriber Enter your email address below then leave a comment that you subscribed along with your email address.

2. If you are already a subscriber just leave a comment that you are a subscriber along with your email address.

US entries only and one entry per person. Winner will be chosen on March 7, 2010.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by

*We received a complimentary copy of Sewing A Friendship for review no financial compensation was received.


Kid Cleaning Fun with the Black and Decker Flex

Can cleaning really be FUN? Yes, according to Caleb my 10 year old son who thinks it is a blast to use the new Black and Decker Flex mini canister vac. He recently discovered the fun when he was sneaking a bag of Oreo cookies upstairs to our bonus room and well let's just say 1/2 the bag made it as far the stair case.

With lots of cookies now covering the stairs Caleb was in need of a tool to help him clean up the mess he had made. I introduced him to my new little friend the Flex mini canister vac by Black and Decker. His eyes lit up at the idea of being able to use the cute little machine all by himself and that he could now clean up his messes any time he was in need.

I too have enjoyed the fun I am having cleaning with my new Flex mini vac. Why? because its cordless, has a 4foot hose, it is great for cleaning behind my furniture, window blinds and hard to reach spaces, along with those kid messes that seem to happen daily in my home it is definitely small in size but big in flexibility.

Details of the FLEX mini canister vac:

The FLEX comes with a 4-foot flexible hose and high-performance motor with 40% more suction power than a 12V Dustbuster®. It has the versatility of a full-size or canister vac, but in an ultra compact and portable design that makes it easy to carry throughout the home or car. The 2-in-1 brush/nozzle attachment is ideal for quick clean-ups, or you can flip the brush up for dusting blinds, baseboards, and more. The FLEX also comes with an innovative pet hair cleaning tool with rubber bristles that help remove stubborn pet hair from couches, stairs, upholstery and more.

So, if you want to create kid cleaning fun in your home pick up a FLEX mini canister vac the next time you are out running errands or you can order one online today at the 24/7 MOMS Amazon store.
*We received a complimentary FLEX mini canister vac for review no financial compensation was received.

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Table Talk

Tonight's Table Talk
....to create conversation

Q: What is your favorite thing to do on Saturdays ( No school days)?
Q: What goes up and down stairs without moving?

A: Carpet

(each day 24/7 MOMS posts a question and riddle to help you create dinner time conversation with your families)


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Let The Manner Games Begin- Fun Ways To Teach Manners

Yesterday we talked about the Parent Musts and Elbows off the table rules for teaching our kids table manners. Today I have three fun game ideas to assist you in teaching your kids table manners.

Oink Oink - This s a fun table manner reminder game. You will need some sort of pig either stuffed, plastic or a picture you have printed off the computer of a pig.

To Play -
If someone breaks a table manner rule that is on the list 2 or 3 of the ones you are working on and another family member squeals on him by saying "Oink, Oink " the pig is then placed in front of the table manner breakers plate and they are informed as to what manner rule was broken.

Through out the meal the pig will travel to person to person as rules are broken. The last person with the little pig during the diner meal is the Oink , Oink helper of the night and given a kitchen duty such as clearing the table, sweeping the floor etc.

* A variation of the game would be to keep score and wait till the end of the week and decide who is the Oink, Oink helper.

Manners B-I-N-G-O - Using manners bingo cards with various table manners written in each square to play Bingo. You can download FREE manners bingo cards .

To Play:
If one of the table guest ( family members) is seen doing a great job on one or more of their table manners they get to put a "X" on that square. The first one to get a bingo wins.

* From moreofamom.com

Table Manner QUIZ -
Give a pop quiz to your family members (and Mom and Dad too!) on what kinds of things you should and shouldn't do at the dinner table. The winner gets to pick who washes the dishes that evening. Click here to get your FREE pop quiz.

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Getting Organized Makes Cents,

by: Amy Hannold
247Moms Frugal Living Editor

How many times have I said, “When I get the time, I’ll get organized?” If you’re anything like me, many times over. I’m here to tell you that small changes can save us big – in time and money. Think of the little, often repeated “back step” tasks you do as a part of your daily routine. Have you stopped to count up the time, money and/or energy you’ve wasted on these counter-productive steps?

Let’s take care of a few of those right now. Now, yes – believe me, you’ll reach those bigger goals much faster if you follow along with this today.

Maintain a positive attitude. Look for the “right” and “accomplished” in your life, no matter how small or mundane. At the beginning and at the end of your day, count your blessings and small steps in the right direction. You’ll survive life’s little off-tracks and sleep better when you choose a “glass half full” mentality. Keep a list of the prayers answered and needs met, as well as the deficits in your time or money. Realizing that things have worked out in the past will keep hope alive.

Be your own coach. Remember, science tells us that it takes 21 days to make a new habit. Just as you might for your kids, mark your own milestones in some encouraging way. Reward yourself at “quarter” marks along your journey. “Think 21”, and you’ll get there. Don’t quit. If you do stumble, pick yourself back up, refocus and move forward.

Write your goals and plans on paper. People who succeed write down their goals and plans. It’s one thing to think about it, it’s another to see it in writing. Plus, writing your goals in a notebook begins your new habit of putting your plans on paper – in one place, where you can refer to them for focus and reflection.

Now that you’re better motivated, let’s take a few affordable steps towards saving time and money.

Get a “go-to” notebook. A small, spiral notebook is the simplest form, or there are day planner notebooks and larger spiral notebooks. For those with technology at hand, become familiar with the organizing features of your smart phone or similar.

Devote a beginning page to your goals and your action steps towards success. Break your goals down into reasonable, inspiring steps. Don’t tackle “Organize my House”. Instead, go for “clean the coat closet” or “organize the freezer”. Give yourself a deadline, again reasonable and fair to your daily routine. Back pages of your notebook or planner can be the place to put your “2010 Goals”. Remember, your new habit of notebook life-planning will get you there!

Your “go-to” notebook replaces all those small, misplaced and left along the way lists. You’re saving time, saving money by putting your thoughts and plans all in one place. No searching, no starting over – and the best part is that you’ll have something to mark your progress at you get these things done. Keep your traveling calendar updated, including special days of yours and others. Integrate these details into your “to-do” list for each new week. Be ready for those days and have time to celebrate!

Once planning/daily task notebooks are full, remove irrelevant pages, keeping those of later-reference significance. Date the notebooks and file away.

A “Home Notebook” is the home-version of your “go-to” portable notebook. In this notebook, we are going to keep pages for website usernames/passwords, a list of our favorite breakfasts, school calendars/contact lists, and action forms for other major categories in our lives. Completed forms, as well as blank forms of the same, will de-clutter counters and increase free time.
Other life-changing organizational tips:

In the kitchen: gather appliance manuals into 3-ring notebooks. Gather all of those magazine and pamphlet recipes into one notebook. When you’re menu-planning, you’ll have one organized place to peruse through, instead of an avalanche. Once every week or two weeks, sit down to go over the recipes you’ve collected, making a grocery list (in your “go-to” notebook) to ensure you have the ingredients. Make a designated space for keys, phones, lunchboxes and library books. Toss duplicate kitchen tools and organize drawers – you’ll save time and angst when cooking.
Motivate the Team: Get your kids (and everyone else) a notebook – make getting organized on paper a team effort. Keep larger home projects in their own notebook. Each child could have a 3-ring notebook to hold their school and extra-curricular activities. Place their returned work in the back for mailing to relatives or using for wrapping paper.

Purses, Un-Cluttered: Multi-task and clean out your purse while on the phone, watching tv, etc. Find individual pouches for coins, makeup, first-aid/grooming tools, and snacks. In the car, keep a lidded box to toss unnecessary portions of your purse to alleviate weight and chaos when possible. (Your lidded box is a great place to store emergency extras of snacks, coins, kid-needs, etc.). Expensive convenience stores and labor-intensive “quick trips” to the store will become a thing of the past.

Magazines, Mail and Papers: Sort your mail once. Place “To-Reads” and short “To-Dos” in an accordion file meant for the car. Utilize a maintained counter file (or filing cabinet) for the “To-Files” and “To-Pays”. Shred and recycle the rest, now. When your kids bring home papers, follow the same sorting routine. Don’t let counter clutter accumulate.

Inventory, Inventory – and Record: Parents can best instill good organizational and money habits by modeling that we own what’s important to us, and we take care of what we own. Buy what you can reasonably store, use and enjoy. Remove those things gone unused, donating to fill a need. Inventory gift closets, freezers, clothes closets, food pantries, and supplies areas. When you’re short on something, add it to your shopping lists. When a need arises, go to your inventory lists instead of searching and re-purchasing. Kids will begin to do the same, and you’ll have less of their needs to find and re-buy time and again.

Add up all that time and money saved. You’ve created less stress, more accomplishment and “earned” a whole lot of resources you’d otherwise waste by neglecting your goals. Congratulations, go and celebrate with some much earned family or “Mom-time”.

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WIN: Slob Proof Book

Ready to get organized even if you have a sloppy ,slobby family? Meet Debbie Wiener, the Jewish mother you never had, found her niche in the design world when she married a self-proclaimed slob who challenged her to design a home that he couldn’t destroy. Years later, with two kids and various pets, Debbie’s no-nonsense approach to pet-friendly, family -friendly home décor has made her the go-to expert for living with, dealing with and fixing up slob households.

Debbie is a strong advocate for the cleaning-impaired and the decorating-challenged, encouraging them to save for their future, not their furniture! With a busy interior design firm in the Washington DC area, a top-selling book that flies off the virtual shelves of Amazon.com.Slob-Proof: Real Life Design Solutions - and a new slob-friendly seating line, Debbie’s on a mission to restore sanity and common sense in the home.

Slobproof!: The Book
Debbie’s book, Slob-Proof: Real-life Design Solutions, provides hilarious insights into decorating your home with style, comfort and lasting value. She teaches you that real life design isn’t art, it’s smart, with lessons for picking out vomit-proof flooring, damage-proof window coverings and
seating that will look and feel good till your kids leave for college. Mixed with family stories and exclusive, to-the-trade shopping sources, Debbie’s book is both engaging and informative. A top seller.

WIN: 24/7 MOMS and Debbie Wiener are giving away one copy of the book Slobproof.

Enter for your chance to win:

1. Become a 24/7 MOMS Subscriber Enter your email address below then leave a comment that you subscribed along with your email address.

2. If you are already a subscriber just leave a comment that you are a subscriber along with your email address.

US entries only and one entry per person. Winner will be chosen on March 7, 2010.

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*We received a complimentary copy of the Slob proof book for review no financial compensation was received.


Table Talk

Tonight's Table Talk
....to create conversation

Q: Do you know how much your family loves you? How do you know?
Q: What is a volcano?

A: A mountain with hiccups!

(each day 24/7 MOMS posts a question and riddle to help you create dinner time conversation with your families)


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Elbows Off The Table Manners

My favorite scene in the movie cheaper by the dozen is the crazy breakfast scene where the missing frog reappears and creates complete mayhem.

This scene reminds me of the continued need for table manner training in my home.

I admit my children are not perfectly mannered at the dinner table and I'm sure if you were a mouse hiding in my kitchen you would hear many elbows off the table reminders during our family meal time - " Sit up" , "chew with your mouth closed" , " Stop making those noises", " wait your turn to talk", " Stay seated" and the list goes on. I remind myself that one day the training will pay off and there will be far less reminders during our family meal time. But, for now I am just trying to keep the scene in Cheaper by the dozen from breaking out in my home.

Here are the guidelines for table manner training that the Novotny family is working on: ( notice I said working on)

Manner training MUSTS for Parent :

1. Teach by example - be the manner model.

2. Be patient - it takes time to teach manners.

3. Eat meals together as a family - great place to learn and practice manners added bonus it creates family bonding.

4. Choose 2 - 3 manners at a time to work on.

Rules for Elbows off the table:

1. Wash hands and face prior to coming to the table.

2. Place Napkin on your lap.

3. Bow your head and close your eyes during prayer ( grace).

4. Do not begin eating until given the OK to start by adult.

5. Remain at the table until excused.

6. Keep elbows and other body parts off the table while eating .

7. Chew with your mouth closed and don’t talk until your mouth is empty.

8. If you don't like the food you have been served do not make comments about it.

9. No reaching across the table, instead ask by saying "please pass the......".

10. Enter into the conversation with those at the table.

11. No burping, slurping or other inappropriate sounds at the table.

12. Ask permission to be excused from table when finished.

13. Tell whom ever provided the meal Thank You.

14. Offer to help with after meal clean-up.

Your Turn: What are your Table manner rules or training methods?

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