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Friday, July 30, 2010

Saving Money on Textbooks

College textbooks are a racket. You all know it's true. But they are often vital to successfully move forward towards your career. (My first semester of nursing school I paid over $800 (and that was several years ago) for textbooks from my campus bookstore and I got most of them used. And then I didn't even use about half of them. Murg. Like I said, it's a racket.) Despite what some college bookstores would like you to think, buying online is a FANTASTIC option. This fall my husband is going back to school. He ordered all of his textbooks from Amazon charged $102 for used textbooks vs. $220 for used textbooks from our local college bookstore, and he got all of them  delivered within one week. When I was in college my campus bookstore really like to push the idea that getting your textbooks online would prevent you from being successful in your classes, you'd get the wrong book, it would be late, or other such problems. Not if you're smart about it. (Then when their scare tactics didn't work, they just wouldn't release the textbook lists until after school had already started, so then you really were more likely to get your books late. :S)  Don't fall for those tactics. College is expensive enough. Here are some helpful tips to make sure you get what you are looking for and save some money too.
  1. Shop by the ISBN number! It will be a 13 digit number located above the bar code of the book. Every book has one. Often classes will provide this number in your syllabus or in some correspondence to you before class starts. Remember there are numerous books with the same title, and multiple editions, especially with textbooks. Searching by the ISBN helps you to make sure you are getting the correct book and edition.
  2. Give yourself time.-Order your books as soon as you can, to make sure you get what you need by the time you need. Usually you want to give yourself two weeks for delivery.
  3. Look at the ratings of the seller. Amazon Marketplace is a great place to purchase used textbooks. But look at the feedback that previous customers give on the seller. They can usually tell you if the seller follows through and ships their items in a timely manner. Happy customers like to tell other people about their good experience. Also take into account that there are people out there who like to complain instead of take responsibility for their own stupidity. 'This seller gets a 1-star rating because this is not the book I wanted.' Even if it was the correct book for the ISBN #.  Angry costumers are even more likely to let people know how they feel. Many good sellers may still have a few 1 or 2 star ratings. Look at their overall ratings over time or their percentage of positive feedback.
  4. You can trust Amazon proper. Although they have a smaller selection of used textbooks. I have on rare occasion known people who have had problems with something they ordered from Amazon, wrong item, it was damaged in shipping, etc. But everyone who contacted Amazon had the problem fixed, either Amazon replaced the item or gave the customer a large discount. I have used other textbook websites with mixed results. Amazon takes away so much hassle.
  5. And of course, buy used when you can.
  Between my husband's and my own time in college using these tips has saved us thousands of dollars.

And right now Amazon is offering a great deal to college students. If you go to the Amazon Student page, you can get a free membership to Amazon Prime for one year. Amazon Prime gives you free unlimited 2-day shipping with no minimum order size. Amazon is also offering deals on many back to school essentials beyond the books. Check out their savings on clothes, school supplies and stuff for the dorm.

Disclaimer- Yes, Amazon does give me a very small fee for putting their banner on this post. But I wouldn't promote them if what I said weren't true. I love Amazon. I have snagged many great deals there, they sell quality products and they are reliable. Shopping through Amazon makes my life easier.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Smith's Mega Coupon Days

Ok, friends. This is where couponing pays off. All coupons valued at under a dollar are rounded up to a dollar. The event goes from July 28th- 31st. This morning I got 26 items for $11.23 with a total savings of 88% (that included a few nonpromotional items). I also will get a free movie ticket for purchasing my 4 packages of Cache Valley Cheese. :) I referred to the list at Savvy Shopper Deals for some great deal scenarios. There are some very hot deals out there. If you need toiletry items, now is the time to stock up.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Book Review: How Children Learn

How Children Learn (Classics in Child Development)How Children Learn by John Holt was recommended to me by my husband, a former school teacher.The author, was originally a math and french teacher, but after spending a lot time studying children and education and writing a couple of books went on contribute a great deal to the home school movement. Between reading this and How Children Fail, homeschooling is something that I am contemplating. And if nothing else I will very closely monitor what and how my children are learning.  I strongly recommend this book to parents teachers and anyone who works with children. It is longer than How Children Fail, slow to get into, and a lot to digest, but it has so many enlightening points. I feel like this quote from the book summarizes Holt's philosophy pretty well:
             The child is curious. He wants to make sense out of things, find out how things work, gain competence and control over himself and his environment, do what he can see other people doing. He is open, receptive, and perceptive. He does not shut himself off from the strange, confused, complicated world around him. He observes it closely and sharply, tries to take it all in. He is experimental. He does not merely observe the world around him, but tastes it, touches it, hefts it, bends it, breaks it. To find out how reality works, he works on it. He is bold. He is not afraid of making mistakes. And he is patient. He can tolerate an extraordinary amount of uncertainty, confusion, ignorance and suspense. He does not have to have instant meaning in any new situation. He is willing and able to wait for meaning to come to him- even if it comes slowly, which it usually does.
 Children are smart. They often know more than we give them credit for. And they can often handle more than we give them credit for too. Imagine the world from the eyes of a child. There is so much that doesn't make sense to one so new to the world, yet despite the confusion they move on mastering one thing at a time. As they do and try they notice their own mistakes and eventually fix them. To learn and to grow children have to trust and they have to feel accepted. They have to know that the mistakes that they make, don't matter. That they are loved and valued regardless, that someone believes that they can grow and learn anyway. And it is important that we play games with them, not because we believe it will develop their mind and get them into college, but because we love them.
  Children have to learn things in an order that is relevant to them if they are going to hold on to it. We can support and encourage this, but not force. If we let them study dinosaurs because that is what interests them, from there they will improve reading skills, learn earth science, biology and history and may very well branch to other fields of study as their interests take them that way. If we force them to learn what we feel is important they will learn and quiz and test them along the way, they will often become defensive. Even if they don't instead of thinking that learning is about how things work they think that learning is about finding answers to please grown-ups. As children learn, we must talk to them like regular people, not stupid midgets or minions. Children can tell the difference. If we think that every time we talk to a child we must teach her something, our talk may become calculated and fake and may lead children to think, like so many of today's young people, that all talk is a lie and a cheat. If we show children sincere love and interest their confidence will grow, as will their love of learning. There is no time in all of a child's growing up, when he will not be seriously hurt if he feels that we adults are not interested in what he is trying to say.
 One slow afternoon, I was reading this book at work. One of the pediatricians asked me "So how do children learn?" "They learn by doing and trying and failing and trying again. They don't learn by being corrected and humiliated, tested and forced." "Funny, that's exactly how God is with us. He lets us grow by trying, failing and trying again. And he doesn't force us to do or be anything." There's a lot of truth in that. Can you imagine that if every time we made a mistake an all-powerful God came down to tell us we were wrong? Would we be afraid to try, afraid to learn? Absolutely. I imagine that to some small children their parents and teachers seem very much like that. Someone very powerful and intimidating telling them that they are wrong. But God doesn't work like that. He's loving and patient and usually lets us learn from our own mistakes.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Few Thoughts on Coupons and Organizing

I have a love/hate relationship with coupons. I love saving money on my groceries. There's something very satisfying about looking at my grocery receipt and consistently saving between 50-60% on the things that my family uses anyway. However, I hate clipping coupons. There are so many other things that I would rather be doing. It's so tedious and seems like huge waste of time to cut out all of those coupons and use less than half of them.  I've heard people say that clipping coupons at all is a waste of time, that their time is more valuable that the 35 cents that is potentially saved.  To those people I say "You should see all of the stuff I get for free when double coupon days comes around." (A pic of one trip with double coupons is above. Not all of it was free, but I saved about $70.)  And I don't consider myself a hard-core couponer. There are some coupon clippers out there who have some mad saving skills. An hour or two of organizing, searching and clipping generally saves me $50 a week. To me that's worth it. Beyond that there's a point of diminishing returns. Here's the coupon methods I've tried and what has and hasn't worked for me:
Coupon File Folder: Fine for beginners, but if you take more than one newspaper, this quickly becomes insufficient to hold all of your coupons. It is nice to have it all with you in one place and it easily fits in your purse. I used to take 3 newspapers, but I decided that 2 provided more than enough coupons for my family of four. Even with cutting back to 2, that's a large amount of coupons.
Drawer/Box o' Inserts: When my newspapers arrive I write the date on the front of the insert, skimmed through the contents and dropped in my kitchen drawer, which eventually was transferred to a large shoe box. Yes, I wasn't clipping coupons I wouldn't use, but I did spend hours digging through the drawer/box trying to find the inserts that I was looking for. I hated the mess I made every time I was looking for a coupon.
Coupon File Box: I actually didn't do this, but I do like the idea. I bought the box, the index cards and the envelopes and decided that although it would make me very well organized, I just don't want to spend that much time clipping coupons. If you do want to be that organized, go for it. You will probably always be prepared with any coupon that you need.
Coupon Binder: I used to see some women with coupon binders with baseball card page protectors full of coupons and was somewhat in awe. Not enough to do that myself. It seemed like more work than it was worth. Recently on PYP blog, one of the writers demonstrated the method that she uses for organizing coupons. She has a 5" 3-ring zipper binder that she puts all of her inserts in. She staples the multiple sheets together and puts them in plastic page protectors. I bought the 3" zipper binder and a new stapler and then decided I didn't want to do that. If I ever am cooking and shopping for 8, I will probably re-examine that method, but for now I don't need that many coupons. But it is nice to be more organized than the Box o' Inserts method.  I put every dated insert in its own page protector. I also have a small coupon file which holds various coupons from stores and the mail. My binder was $18 on Amazon, has plenty of room for inserts, my coupon file and has a few more files on the left where I store receipts, coupon booklets and restaurant coupons. When I make my grocery list I cut out what I need and put those in an envelope, with my list written on the outside. (I always refer to the grocery lists at PYP when making my own, it saves me a whole lot of time and money. They're fantastic.) I leave the binder in the car, in case I really need it, but frankly juggling my kids in the grocery store is challenging enough without searching for coupons too.

What have you found to be the best way to organize your coupons? Do you find coupons to be worth your time?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

This is what happens when the computer is left alone while the 2 year old is awake. I have no idea how he did this.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me! I hate you DMV

I am writing this in hopes that it will save someone else in the state of Utah a lot of wasted time and frustration. This morning my eyes popped open and I thought "Oh blast, it's my birthday and I need to renew my driver's license!" So I got up, got dressed and looked quickly online. Nope, you can't renew online in the state of Utah. (Lame, my husband didn't go through any of this when he renewed a few years ago. He didn't pay or do anything. They just sent him a renewal sticker in the mail. But then he'll have an under 21 license until he's 30. hehe) Now you need to be there in person with positive ID (birth certificate), social security card, and 2 proofs of address. I searched, but couldn't find my birth certificate. My license is positive ID is it not? So I hurried because I wanted to be there before it got busy. I got there and they said I can't even start my application without a birth certificate. The DMV is 40 minutes from my house. At least the scenery is nice on the way there and back.
 Hurricane, UT is gorgeous.
 If you pass this rock you have gone too far.

I went home did some more digging through boxes and found my birth certificate. (I really need to be more organized. :S) Drove back to the DMV, where I  stood in line again. Then they told me that my birth certificate wasn't valid because my name isn't spelled correctly on it. In the area where I was born, English was not the predominant language. So a French spelling does not even compute. Someone at the county clerk's office christened me with a Hispanic name.  My parents filled out the paperwork to get my name changed, but instead of changing the actual document, they stapled a little piece of paper to it saying that the spelling was incorrect. Over time this piece of paper fell off and was lost. When I needed my passport I requested a new copy. Again, official certificate with a post-it stapled to it.  The DMV told me that this was not valid.  My birth certificate is not valid? That's great. What in the free world am I supposed to do about this? It took me three months to get my invalid one last time. I might have gotten really frustrated, except I had brought my passport, RN and marriage licenses as back up. I promise I am who I say I am. I would not spend my birthday at the DMV otherwise. Then I waited for an hour and a half. When they called my number I stood up and said "I won!" like I got a prize or something. A few people around me laughed. The employees probably have heard that a thousand times. Or maybe not. It seems that the only people who even pretend to be happy to be at the DMV are those getting their license for the first time.

So I got up to the desk and my forms of address are not sufficient. One of them is a magazine, and that is not valid.(I was in a hurry.) My vehicle registration perhaps? Nope, old address. Auto insurance? Nope, doesn't have my address printed on it. I went out to my car where I found some junk mail and another magazine. No good. So I have to go back. If I go back today I don't have to wait in line again. I don't know if I can bring myself to go to the DMV for a third time on my birthday. At least they gave me a temporary license that's valid for awhile. The people there are nice, they just have to enforce some stupid rules, and I suppose it's not their fault that the county DMV office is located miles from anything. And on the bright side I think it's the best driver's license picture I've ever taken. And I had a couple of hours going back and forth that I could rock out to the radio instead of to something toddler-oriented. And I have some lemon Cheesecake Factory cheesecake to console me. :) Painful lesson learned: Rushing does not save time.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Book Review: 101 Things to Do With Yogurt

101 Things Things to Do With Yogurt by Geneva Stringham is another fun book that I snagged a deal on recently. I honestly had no idea that there were so many things that you could do with yogurt. This book also teaches you how to make your own yogurt, if you're feeling ambitious. I would say this is a new favorite and I will be using it again. Eating yogurt on a regular basis improves your digestive health and helps to prevent illness. It has a fish taco recipe that doesn't involve frying, so I thought I would give it a try. I had family visiting a few weeks ago and served it to them. It was such a big hit that we made it again the next weekend when the other side of the family came to visit. Even some family members who don't like fish, liked these tacos. And they're so easy to make! (Another helpful hint I've discovered that frozen tilapia fillets are normally cheaper at Smith's than at Costco, and right now they're on sale, so it's an even better deal.)

Fish Tacos Baja Style
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup Miracle Whip
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro

1 pound mahimahi or tilapia
lime pepper
12 fresh corn tortillas
1 ripe avocado, chopped
lime wedges
grated Mexican blend cheese
fresh salsa (mango-peach works particularly well)

Combine sauce ingredients and refrigerate. Sprinkle each side of fish fillets with lime pepper and grill until thoroughly cooked. Wrap tortillas in a clean dish towel and steam for 30 seconds in the microwave. For each taco spread a teaspoon of yogurt sauce in a tortilla, add several bite-size pieces of grilled fish and remaining taco toppings as desired. Serves 6

I served this with Baked Chile Relleno and Cafe Rio Style Cilantro Lime Rice.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

CSN Giveaway Winner

Congrats to Kristine Michelle! You won the $40 CSN Stores giftcard.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Giveaway Scout

Recently I discovered a site that I thought was pretty cool: Giveaway Scout. Thousands of bloggers and businesses link their giveaways on this search engine. Bloggers and businesses get more traffic and people looking for free stuff can go to one location to easily browse through giveaways to find one that is of interest to them. Everybody wins.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Chicago- Part 2: The Field Museum of Natural History

The Field Museum of Natural History
The Field Museum was our second stop on our trip to Chicago was the Field Museum. I didn't plan on spending as much time there because a family member who had been there told me that they didn't think my children would like it. That was a mistake. They loved it and we stayed until it closed. (Hours are 9-5) As mentioned previously, you can get a good deal on tickets through the Chicago CityPass. The Field Museum offers 52 Free Days here. Admission at the door for non-residents is $29 for adults and $20 for children. Adult tickets bought online ahead of time are $22 each. You can find a BOGO in the Chicago South Entertainment Book. Parking is between $16-19. If you park at Soldier Field you can pay with credit card and it is $16 for the first four hours, and $19 if you park for longer than that. If you park in the Adler lot, it is $16 cash for all day. Also, make sure that you never go on a day that the Chicago Bears are playing at Soldier Field, because there is no parking anywhere.
 The first thing that you see after the ticket entrance is Sue. Sue is the largest complete Tyrannosaurus Rex in the world. Sue is on the main floor, while the rest of the large prehistoric exhibit is on the second floor. My kids loved this part, loved the videos and would have spent many more hours there if we let them.
Another area that my kids loved was the Nature Walk. For those you from the Provo, UT area, it reminds me of the Bean Museum, except many of the animals are in dioramas and for every case there is a list of things to find. (butterflies, lizards, etc.) My four-year old loved this and if we weren't trying to get through as much as possible, we could have spent a lot more time there. They have numerous other animal exhibits that my kids loved. Her favorite exhibit was "What is an animal?" She loved learning about long tongues that can grab things and different parts that animals have adapted for survival.
 Then my kids tolerated a quick trip through "Inside Ancient Egypt". I wish I had more time to spend there. Some of the other great exhibits they have include Underground Adventure, Hall of Gems, Moving Earth and many cultural exhibits. My family and I loved this place and really, really wished we had more time there. If you have the chance I highly recommend that you take your family.
 A few more hints: tours are offered daily, and the staff can give you great stories and insight. Also if you're going to grab food at the museum, make sure you do it before 11 am or after 1:30 pm to avoid the crowds.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Anti-Itching Bath

This weekend my daughter woke up with itching bumps from head to toe. Chicken pox? It looked close, but not quite. She'd had the vaccine, but it is possible to still get the illness if you have had vaccine, the chances are just much lower. So we went to the doctor, just to see. (For the next few weeks we happen to be double covered on our insurance, so luckily it didn't cost anything.) As it turns out it's not chicken pox, but had an allergic reaction to her antibiotic. I swear I heard a dozen times in nursing school that antibiotic reactions usually happen in the first 24 hours, but as it turns out it is fairly common for children to develop an allergic reaction to amoxicillan 8-10 days after they start taking it. Sometimes even 3-4 days after they finish a 10 day course. Chicken pox or allergic reaction, the itchy bumps have to take their course and the best thing to do is ease the itching. I found this effective and simple recipe for a bath that eases the itching. (Some Benedryl helped too.) Supposedly it works for poison ivy, poison oak and any kind of itchy rash. I don't remember where I got it to give credit to.

Anti-Itching Bath
For each tub of water add
2 cups of oat flour
1 cup of baking soda

If you don't have oat flour handy, just throw some rolled oats in the blender or food processor and grind until powdered. I will warn you that this stuff makes a yucky film in the bath tub.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Ways to Save Money On Your Utility Bills In The Summer

It is July and I live in St George. In case you haven't ever been here, it's hot. Not as bad as Phoenix, but close. Most days I hide in my house between noon and six pm. Sometimes after dinner I may run errands and it's still 107 degrees. And this has been a mild summer compared to most. Next week it's supposed to get up to 114. I am not looking forward to what that will do to my power bill. With the AC running all the time, it gets expensive. Here's a some things you can do, some are simple every day things, others require a little investment of time and money, which can pay off in the long-run.
  1. Have a home inspection. We had to do this anyway when we bought the place six months ago. This can help you find trouble spots that are costing you money. Like for us, our attic should have a few more vents than it does to adequately circulate air. In Utah you can have one done for $25 and reimbursed on your gas bill if you follow the recommendations. Or you can get a do-it-yourself-audit form here.
  2. Clean your fridge. Your fridge sucks a lot of power, but there's something you can do to make it run more efficiently.The coils behind the fridge tend to attract dust, which coat the coil, making it work harder to maintain fridge temp. Unplug the fridge, pull it away from the wall and vacuum off the dust. You should do this about every 3 months.
  3. Keep vents and temperature registers unobstructed. If air flows freely, your furnace/AC can maintain temperature more efficiently.
  4. Clean your lint screen between every load of laundry. It may not look like it needs it that often, but without the lint, your dryer can work more efficiently.
  5. Eliminate air leaks.
  6. Close vents and doors to unused rooms.
  7. Add things to block the heat. Drapes, shutters, awnings, shade trees, glass with reflective film and/or solar screens can help keep your house cooler. 
  8. Solar Power Prices have really come down on this and it is something we are strongly considering installing.
  9. Check rebates and tax credits that are available for improving the energy efficiency of your home, here.
  10. Close the blinds and drapes on the sunny side of the house to keep the house cooler.
  11. Keep closet doors closed so you're not spending money cooling space that you don't "live" in.
  12. Regularly change air filters in your air conditioning. If they're clogged with dust they won't run as efficiently. In the summer you should clean or change them once a month.
  13. Use a microwave whenever you can. It uses far less power than a conventional oven, plus it doesn't heat the house up.
  14. Stock your fridge. Even if only with water bottles or pitchers. If your fridge is mostly empty it has to work harder to keep the inside cold.
  15. Smart house features Automated home features have the potential to save you a fair amount of money. Plus they're just wicked awesome. You can start with smart surge protectors that are only slightly more than standard ones. (My husband has all kinds of plans and dreams about automating our house to make it more efficient. Someday.)
  16. Take cold showers. They require less energy and can be rejuvenating in the summer heat.
I've also mentioned a few other money saving/power conserving ideas here and here.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Butter-Free Breakfast Buckle

Recently I saw my friend Lisa make some blueberry buckle with beans instead of butter and I had to give it a try. Except I used strawberries because I prefer them. I found the recipe on Recipezaar, but made a few changes. As I was putting it in the oven the first time I had a great idea that I could use orange juice concentrate in the topping instead of butter. It seemed appropriate for breakfast. My family loved this. I had extended family visiting and they loved it too, and no one could tell that there were beans instead of butter.

Strawberry Buckle

1/4 cup cooked and mashed white beans
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1 cup oat flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced

1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup oat flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
dash of nutmeg

1. "Cream" beans and sugar. (Just like you would butter.) 2. Mix dry cake ingredients in a separate bowl. 3. Blend egg and vanilla into bean and sugar mixture. 4. Add milk to wet ingredients. 5. Mix dry and wet mixtures together. 6. Gently fold in strawberries. 7. Pour into a greased 9x9 or round cake pan. 8. "Cream" oj concentrate and brown sugar. 9. Mix in remaining topping ingredients. 10. Drizzle topping over cake. (Using the orange juice concentrate, the topping doesn't crumble as well, but it's delicious, cheaper and better for you too.) 11. Bake @ 375 for 50 minutes.

Monday, July 5, 2010

How to Get Your Children to Take Their Medicine

Last week my son came down with a nasty case of tonsillitis. A few days later my daughter started with a cough and sore throat. We went back to the doctor and she had tonsillitis, a respiratory infection and and ear infection. This means lots of medicine for the little people at my house. Getting small children to take medicine is easier said than done, but entirely necessary. I can't tell you how many time I've had patients admitted to the hospital because their parents couldn't/wouldn't make them take their medicine. I know that forcing your children to take their medicine can be unpleasant, but I can promise that it's not as traumatic as their condition worsening and then requiring blood draws and IV starts. Here are some tips for getting the job done.
  1. Have a good attitude. You are the parent, not the punisher, and children will respond to your approach. Smile and use a happy voice.
  2. Explain to your child in simple terms that they need to take their medicine so they can get better. Sometimes if you let them know what's going on they will cooperate.
  3. Don't back down. This is not up for negotiation. Some battles are worth fighting and this is one of them.
  4. Model with a toy or a doll first. Talk about how taking the medicine helps dolly to feel better.
  5. Let them do it themselves. Some children will take their medicine with little fuss if they get to feel like they are somewhat in control of the process. (Many kids love to push the stopper on the back of the syringe themselves.) If they can't do it themselves, let them pick which spoon or what to drink it with.
  6. Add food coloring. It can be fun if your child gets to pick what color the medicine is.
  7. Bribery. Yes, this is not the best answer to every problem, but taking medicine can be unpleasant and sometimes they need a little incentive. Pick something that appeals to them, stickers, candy, an extra half hour of TV, a prize, whatever it takes to get the job done. (Whether we admit it or not, as adults we take bribes too. Like when I go into work extra when I'm exhausted and my house is a mess because they offer me money.) However, if they won't take the bait, don't give up.
  8. Threats (valid and relevant ones, mind you) "If you don't take your medicine you won't get better, and if you're sick we can't play with friends or go to fun places." This generally won't work on 2 (and sometimes 3) and under. They have to be to the point that they're thinking about things past the here and now and making connections between cause and effect.
  9. Hide it in food. Chocolate pudding, juice, smoothies and apple sauce are good mediums. Just make sure that you mix the medicine in a small quantity (but big enough to hide it) so you can know that they got the whole thing. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if your particular med is ok to mix with food, and it's generally not a good idea if it is something that they need to take long-term.
  10. Hide it in syrup. FlavoRx is product found in many pharmacies, grocery and drug stores. It comes in 42 flavors and is specifically for hiding medicine. Just remember that, it means that much more quantity that you have to get your child to swallow.
  11. Less is more. If you do have to hide it, it's often easier to do so if your doctor prescribes the concentrated pill form that can be crushed and mixed versus the less-concentrated quantity (less potential for overdose) that comes with a children's elixir.
  12. Offer a chaser. Something they like to wash it down with and get rid of the medicine aftertaste.
  13. Distraction. I use this one a lot at work. Children can sometimes be fairly compliant when in a "TV trance" or watching bubbles. If they are distracted their mouth will usually drop open, offering "a window".
  14. Have back-up available. Either to distract or hold resistant hands out of the way.
  15. Use a small syringe. If the syringe is too big for your child's mouth, it is easier to shove it out of the way with their tongue. If your pharmacist didn't include a plastic syringe, ask for one. They're generally free with a medication purchase.
  16. Aim for the back of their cheek and squirt so they don't taste it as much and it is difficult to spit out. If you squirt the medicine straight towards the back of their throat it can cause them to gag, cough and sometimes vomit. That's exactly what you don't need.
  17. Pinch their cheeks right behind their molars with your thumb on one cheek and your middle finger on the other. Not my favorite method because it's uncomfortable for the child, but sometimes necessary and very effective. This will pry open clinched teeth and make it difficult for them to spit.
  18. Small quantities at a time. If you put too much in their mouth at once it will come right back at you, making all previous efforts futile. Plus then you're sticky and smell like medicine.
  19. Blow between their eyes. This usually works if they have it in their mouth, but are refusing to swallow. This method triggers a reflex that will get them to swallow. (This works best in the 3 and under population.)
  20. Try something else. Perhaps you need another flavor, another brand, another route. Keep trying until the job gets done. Let your doctor know that what you're trying isn't working and s/he may have other suggestions.
  21. Have a routine. This is especially important if it is a medication that they have to take long-term. 

    Friday, July 2, 2010

    CSN Stores Giveaway

    Hey everyone, I'm excited to announce another giveaway! is giving away a $40 gift certificate that can be used at any of their 200+ websites. To enter you must do three things: 1. Become a follower of this blog 2. Browse through their site(s) 3. Post a comment mentioning one thing that you would spend your gift certificate on. The possibilities here are pretty endless. You can get anything from a bed to medical equipment to shoes. Here are just a few things that sparked my interest:  The South Shore Lily Rose Mates Bed and Bookcase set, 2-in-1 Lego & Train Table, the KidKraft Personalized Pastel Sling Bookshelf, the Cadac Safari Chef Camping Stove, and the Rachel Ray 10-piece Cookware Set. What would you buy? (P.S. I noticed that most of their furniture includes free shipping, but if you live outside the United States, international rates apply.)

    For an additional entry, you can blog about this giveaway and leave another comment with a link to your blogpost. The best of luck to you. This giveaway ends July 16th, 2010 at midnight. The winner will be announced July 17th.