Monday, August 25, 2008

*NEW* Mom Squad Review

The Mom Squad panel is excited to introduce a new feature! Each week we will discuss a topic via video and bring you the latest information, links, and advice on that subject. This week we discuss: Back to School. If you would like us to research an area of interest to you, or even offer advice on a personal issue, let us know! Send an e-mail to: Enjoy!

Here is our first Mom Squad Round table.

Here are the links to items we recommend this week:
Laptop Lunches
Land's End Backpacks

Saturday, August 16, 2008

School Bus Safety Tips

Here are general child safety tips concerning school buses:

1. When a school bus stops and flashes red lights, traffic approaching from either direction must stop before reaching the bus.

2. Motorists should stop at least 20 feet from the bus. Buses can easily be identified by the signage indicating "SCHOOL BUS," the unique yellow/orange paint color, and the red lights on top. Remember that school buses come in many lengths and sizes. Daycare buses may also be in the vicinity of schools and areas for drop-off and pick-up and motorist caution must be observed around them as well.

3. Be prepared to slow down and possibly stop whenever you see a school bus. Also know that school buses stop prior to entering any railroad track, so be sure to to follow too closely.

4. Know that you must remain stopped for a school bus until the red lights stop flashing, or until the bus driver or police officer/traffic director directs you to proceed.

5. In most cases, motorists must stop for a school bus even if it is on the opposite side of a divided highway. Check your state's motorist regulations to be certain of the laws governing school buses.

6. Before proceeding, watch carefully for children on the side of the road and drive very cautiously until you are out of the drop-off area. Children have been known to dart across a street or not realize motorists are nearby in their excitement to go home.

7. Become familiar with your neighborhood or community bus routes. Don't assume the routes and times will remain the same from last year. Because of student ages and needs, it is likely that the routes will be changed every year. If possible, avoid those routes at the time of day of pick up or drop off of students. This will lessen your irritation from the constant stopping and starting, but not having a trail of cars behind a school bus add to the safety of the children as well.

8. Remember who is on board a school bus. Police and school officials report absolutely crazy and irresponsible driving behavior on the part of some motorists in their quest to pass a school bus. Those passengers are precious children, and it's a high likelihood that bus routes and drop-off and pick-up zones are being monitored by law enforcement officials for any violators as well. So, when you're behind a school bus, take a deep breath, be patient, and appreciate that the children are being transported safely to school or child care settings.

/a/schoolsafety_2.htm for more helpful information.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Recipe Of The Week - Zucchini Walnut Bread

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups brown sugar packed
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 cups unsifted unbleached flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon each baking powder and salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups grated zucchini, unpeeled
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat eggs. Gradually beat in sugar, then oil. Combine dry ingredients. Add to egg mixture alternating with zucchini. Stir in walnuts and vanilla. Turn into a greased and floured 9 inch tube pan. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes.

This is a great way to use those numerous zuchinnis we all get and to get your kids to eat some vegetables without realizing they are.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

An Allowance that Really Works


Figuring out (and being consistent) with an allowance can be a challenge. We found a great article about how to implement an effective, fair allowance for each child. Based on Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace Junior Kit, one mom found the solution! Here is what she did:

1. We sat down with each child and established “jobs” that the child was capable of completing easily. For my son, his jobs include gathering soda cans around the house; clearing the backyard of “puppy presents;” cleaning out the minivan; wiping down the bathroom counter; and taking out the trash. Notice I didn’t include keeping his room clean here. Later for that.

2. Next, we established a daily pay rate for each job. Most of his jobs will earn him 10 cents per day, but the puppy present job earns more, because, well it’s a gross job, no one wants to do it, and it has to be done. So we pay him a whopping $1 each day he cleans the backyard.

3. Finally, according the Financial Peace Junior, there should also be financial penalties, so to speak. So we established that not keeping his room clean, not completing his homework daily and fighting with his sisters were all penalties. He will have to pay us $1 for each penalty. Now, my son is a neat freak, so his room cleaning is not a problem for him, but sometimes he’ll try to slack on his homework and fighting is a daily problem in our house. Since we have instituted this plan, homework is no longer a problem and the peace has been kept, for the most part.

Read more at the website:

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Exciting News!


Trish Berg is the author of "The Great American Supper Swap" and "Rattled". She is an Ohio mom who has appeared on "World News Tonight" and offers help, tips, and inspiration to moms at all stages! Find our more by visiting her website at:

Join Trish and 95.5 The Fish's Brooke Taylor for a day of fun, fellowship, and celebration of motherhood. It's the 2008 Rootstown MOPS conference on September 13, and the theme is "The Ultimate Roller Coaster Ride: A Conference for Moms"! Both Trish and Brooke will speak on the challenges, and joys in the ultimate roller coaster ride of motherhood. Here is the promotional video! To order your tickets and find out more, visit the official site at We'll see you there!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Recipe Of The Week - Roasted Garlic & Peppers on Parmesan Rounds

These delectable snacks make a great appetizer. Try them alongside a mixed greens salad for a light group lunch.

Serving: 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Total Time: 70 minutes

1 whole garlic bulb
1 7.5 oz jar roasted red peppers, cut into chunks or strips
1 small loaf French bread
olive oil
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Place the garlic bulb root side down. Slice off the very top of the bulb so that the garlic just peeps out. Cover the whole bulb with aluminum foil and place in a small baking pan. Bake until the cloves are soft (about 40 minutes depending on the size of the bulb).

3. Slice the bread into 1-inch rounds and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with parmesan and place in the warm oven until the bread turns golden brown (5-10 minutes).

4. A few minutes before serving, place the peppers in an oven proof bowl and warm gently in the oven.

5. While the bread and peppers are baking, gently squeeze the garlic out of each clove and mash gently in a small bowl. Serve the toasts on a plate, with the peppers and garlic nearby to spread on the toast.

Based on individual serving.
Calories: 245
Total Fat: 10 g
Carbohydrates: 32 g
Protein: 8 g

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Back to School on a Budget


It's time to gear up! We all like to save money and this year is no exception. With finances being tight for many families, we all want great bargains! Check out these tips from to stretch your buck for back-to-school clothes.

Hit the clearances!
The end of summer is the best time to pick up warm weather clothing for dirt cheap. Here in the Midwest, the kids will generally wear summer clothes for at least the first and last 2 months of school. Remember to buy winter clothing in February, and all of your summer items in July/August.

Yard sales & thrift stores.
Plan ahead by going to yard sales during the summer. Keep a list of your children's sizes in your purse. It also helps to go through their clothes and make a list of what they need the most.

Take advantage of replacement policies.
Sears and Kmart. Both stores will replace worn out items with new items if the child wears them out before they outgrow them.

Stick to the basic colors.
Mix and match colors to make your child's wardrobe go farther. This is really easy to do with younger children. Buy primary colors for boys, with black and blue jeans and shorts to go with everything.

Vintage clothing.
With the retro clothing fashions of today, your kids may take a liking to some of the older items from the 60s and 70s. Dig out those old bell bottoms and let your teen go wild!

Give older kids a budget to work with.
You may be surprised at what they come up with. And if they manage their own clothing budget, they may have a better understanding of why you are always saying, "that's too expensive". Let them know that whatever they buy has to last them an entire school year, and that they are stuck with their choices.

Make them pay for extravagant things that they just "have to have". You may have to clothe them till they're 18, but that doesn't mean you have to pay for the $100 pair of Nike tennis shoes or the starter jacket that you kids wants because everyone else has them. If they are over 16, they can get a part time job and spend their own money on these things. Perhaps they will think twice about buying the shoes if they realize how much effort goes into affording them. If you teen is too young to work, he or she could try earning money through chores, baby-sitting, mowing neighbor's lawns, and shoveling snow. Kids need to learn these life lessons. You teen still may decide to go ahead and buy the expensive item, but at least he or she earned it on their own.