Friday, October 31, 2014

Parenting Pointers: STEAM vs. STEM

STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) has been a hot topic in recent years. Now there's a push to add A for Arts/Humanities to make it STEAM. 

Eric Klopfer is Professor and the Director of the MIT Scheller Teacher Education Program and the Director of the The Education Arcade. He provided some insight into the value of the arts and humanities and tips to encourage STEAM in your kids.

Contest: Del Fratelli Ripened Recipe Contest

Dei Fratelli, is having its Seventh Annual Ripened Recipe Contest as a way to celebrate National Tomato Month. This national cooking competition will take place through November 15. Home chefs are encouraged to create an original recipe using at least one Dei Fratelli tomato product, including the Dei Fratelli Truly Tomatoes that launched last year. The grand prize winner will receive a $250 VISA gift card, free Dei Fratelli products for a year, their recipe shared on the Dei Fratelli website, E-newsletter and social media pages, along with a YouTube video showcasing how to make the recipe for viewers.

The Seventh Annual Dei Fratelli Ripened Recipe campaign is being held to not only celebrate National Tomato Month this October, but also to inspire a healthy curiosity among consumers for new ways to enjoy tomatoes. Tomato enthusiasts are encouraged to get creative and submit an original recipe using any Dei Fratelli products. Recipes using six ingredients or less and/or that can be prepared in under 45 minutes will receive a bonus from the judges as consumers are looking for simple and quick meals that are flavorful. Individuals may enter online at, at, on or via U.S. Mail.

The top 10 recipes will be judged based on flavor, appeal and creativity. In addition to the grand prize winner, three runners up will be chosen to receive free Dei Fratelli product for a year and six honorable mention winners will be chosen to receive one month of free Dei Fratelli product and a Dei Fratelli home chef apron. All winners will be announced on December 15. New this year, a People’s Choice winner will be selected by the Dei Fratelli consumers in January. An additional six recipes will be posted on our website where consumers can vote for their favorite recipe from January 1st through January 18th with the winner being announced January 21st.  The People’s Choice winner will also receive a Dei Fratelli gift box of assorted tomato products. 

About Dei Fratelli

Dei Fratelli is manufactured by Hirzel Canning Company & Farms in Toledo, Ohio. A fourth-generation, family-owned and operated company founded in 1923, Hirzel Canning Company & Farms produces canned tomatoes, tomato products and sauerkraut in three processing locations. The company owns extensive greenhouses and farms in northwest Ohio.

Healthy Habits: Trick or Treat

It’s no coincidence that our Halloween tradition is to walk up to a stranger’s door asking for sugar with the phrase “trick or treat.” Ironically, it is a trick AND a treat - the trick is that we think it’s actually treats.
Between passing out candy to trick-or-treaters to attending treat-filled Halloween parties to facing all the leftover candy your coworkers bring to the office next week, it can be easy to justify a few extra treats here and there. But neurologically, sugar is a stimulant that keeps us craving it the more it is eaten, says Andrea Szebeni, a registered nutritionist and dietician with the Lighthouse Recovery Institute.  
Szebeni, who helps young women overcome eating disorders, provides these four tips for enjoying your favorite treats without going overboard:
·         Be realistic - Telling yourself you will never have another Twix when it has been your favorite Halloween chocolate for the last 15 years is probably not realistic, Szebeni says. The key is setting guidelines. For example, if you have three Halloween parties in two days, don’t try every dish and nibble on bite-size candy bars at each party - 6 small bites are the same as eating a king-size candy bar.
·         Plan ahead - Have a light snack before you leave the house so you are not hungry, which could make it easier to justify bad choices.
·         Make things easier for yourself - Instead bringing wine or more sweets, bring a dish that’s healthy and delicious and can be the perfect choice for you, Szebeni suggests. Be the hit of the party by bringing a pumpkin dip with vegetables or freshly baked parmesan kale chips with apples, cheese squares and blackberries.
·         Detox your taste buds - Over time we adapt to eating hyperpalatable foods that are high fat, high salt or high sugar. By eating these foods regularly we literally erode our taste buds. The good news is that you can renew your taste buds. Try abstaining from processed foods and hyperpalatable choices even for just one week. “As you begin to incorporate back certain foods that you enjoy but know should be limited, you’ll see that by only eating them periodically you will still enjoy them without feeling the need to overindulge,” Szebeni says.
Inconsistent nutritional habits also contribute to sugar cravings, Szebeni says. Not eating small balanced meals consistently throughout the day will make it much harder to stop eating. “Begin eating every 4 to 4½ hours and watch those cravings go away,” Szebeni says.
About Lighthouse Recovery Institute
Lighthouse Recovery Institute is a licensed drug, alcohol and eating disorder treatment center in Delray Beach, Fla., specializing in recovery for women. At the Lighthouse Recovery Institute, our mission is to help each client attain peace, happiness and permanent sobriety. With more than 30 years of experience in the treatment of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, eating disorders and trauma, our passionate team of doctors, therapists, and specialists provide nothing but the highest quality of care for every woman who walks through our doors.

Parenting Pointers: Love is Respect

Did you know that 70% of dating college age youth surveyed have reported experiencing emotional abuse in their romantic relationships? For many teens and young adults finding themselves in an abusive relationship (be it physical, emotional, sexual, verbal, tech or controlling situation) can feel like an inescapable trap.
In partnership with, Mary Kay’s 2014 Truth About Abuse Survey aimed to understand how long teens and young adults wait before they reach out for help and gauge what type of abuse is most prevalent among those who seek help.  
Olympic gold medal gymnast Jordyn Wieber has partnered with Mary Kay to help empower teens and young adults in abusive relationships, help them discover resources available to them and help them realize they are not alone. I'm able to post an interview with her and Brian Pinero, Director of Digital Services for the National Domestic Violence Hotline and loveisrespect.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Shopping Savings: Halloween Beauty Deals

All deals valid through November 1st.

Treat your skin with hydration and protection with Karin Herzog’s Day Protection and Oxygen Body 1%. Regularly priced at $55 each, the world leader in oxygen skincare is now offering these two favorites at $30 apiece. The Day Protection moisturizer minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while providing light skin protection with SPF 10. Vitamin A helps to boost collagen, while vitamin E soothes inflamed, overactive skin. The dual action Oxygen Body 1% moisturizer contains active oxygen and mild fruit acids to effectively remove dull skin cells while hydrating, softening and toning the skin. To save 40% on the Day Protection and Oxygen Body 1%, please visit

Providing fast to flawless finish in seconds, Miracle Skin Transformer is a leader in multifunctional, results oriented beauty products. Fusing science with beauty to deliver multi-tasking, high-performance skin solutions, Miracle Skin Transformer's goal is to help revolutionize your routine with breakthrough products designed to enhance the health of your skin. To save 10%, use promo code "FBHearts10" at Deal excludes kits and trials.

Fun Freetime: Dove Theater

The Dove Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to family-friendly entertainment, has partnered with YEKRA, a versatile digital film distribution platform, to launch The DOVE THEATER, using YEKRA’s custom digital theater platform. DOVE now offers a curated collection of films suitable for family audiences. 

The DOVE THEATER, comprised only of films marked with DOVE’s highly-respected Seal of Approval, launches today with recent hits and fan favorites such as Dolphin Tale, Happy Feet, Where the Wild Things Are, and Gone with the Wind

This partnership between The Dove Foundation and YEKRA provides a destination for the millions of families that rely on The Dove Foundation’s rating system to access family- friendly and safe content. Titles are available for streaming and download (UltraViolet), with an accompanying in-theater store that offers physical merchandise like DVDs, Blu-rays, and product bundles.
The Dove Foundation allows other faith- and family-friendly organizations to host the DOVE THEATER on their own websites. By signing up via YEKRA’s AffiliateConnect program, interested companies, groups, and organizations will receive a short code to embed on their website. They’ll also receive a percentage of every sale through their theaters. 

The Dove FoundationTM is a nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging the entertainment industry to create, produce and distribute a greater proportion of movies that are appropriate for family viewing; and to seeing the public better equipped to identify family-friendly movies and more deeply committed to support
YEKRA is a revolutionary digital distribution and marketing engine for films that’s rethinking the way we connect content with audience. YEKRA was founded as the nexus
for millions of viewers and promoters rallying behind the cerebral documentary Thrive: What
On Earth Will It Take? in 2011 by Lee and Sonya Waterworth. The company is based in Los
Angeles, CA.

Fun Freetime: Niya

Disclosure: I received complimentary products to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own.

I recently gave my daughter the game Niya for her birthday. It's a really unique game from Blue Orange Games - a company that I love. Blue Orange makes games that are fun and also encourage critical thinking and strategy, with games that appeal to young and old at the same time. Niya is no different. My daughter just turned seven, and is able to grasp the basic game play. She also loves the Japanese art.

Even though I'm more able to see the strategy, and often win, she is clever enough to manage to beat me occasionally too. A game only takes about 10-15 minutes, so it's not longer than her attention span, or too long for her sister to wait for us to play.

You can find Niya - and other Blue Orange games - at a variety of specialty game shops and bookstores.

Thrifty Thinking: A Winner's Guide to Negotiating

Disclosure: I received complimentary products to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own.

Molly Fletcher has been compared to Jerry Maguire, with experience working with big names in sports - Izzo, John Smoltz, and more. She's written a book,  A Winner’s Guide to Negotiating: How Conversation Gets Deals Done.

Here are the five big steps for successful negotiating:
  • Set the stage
  • Find common ground
  • Ask with confidence
  • Embrace the pause
  • Know when to leave
The great thing is, elements of these techniques can be used in many different ways. You might want to negotiate job conditions at work, like benefits or salary. Or you might just be looking for a way to allocate work and get others to shoulder part of the burden. You can even use these tips on your own kids for things that are negotiable (obviously not every parenting thing is).

Molly does a great job going into depth with each of these steps. The "find common ground" is, I think, an often overlooked step, but important. By finding common ground, you can establish a bit of relationship and trust, and come at the negotiation from a collaborative, win-win approach, instead of a competitive winner-take-all approach, which can be much more successful in the long run.

If you want to learn more, download the intro chapter for free.

Consumer Critique: Blind Ambition

Disclosure: I received complimentary products to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own.

Patricia Walsh is an award-winning computer engineer and record-breaking four-time national-champion paratriathlete who refused to be defined by any limits. She's the founder of Blind Ambition LLC, inspiring others through seminars and keynotes on goals, obstacles, and team building.

The book takes from her challenges and success to provide a method for setting personal and professional goals, and then creating daily tasks to help achieve them. The book is both inspiring in a lofty way, and helpful in a specific way.

Patricia doesn't let anything stand in her way. After a pediatric brain tumor and surgery complications left her blind, she struggled with depression in her teen years. But then, she turned it around, jumping into giant goals like running marathons and ultramarathons or completing in triathlons - setting the record for blind athletes by 50 minutes.

If you like reading inspirational stories, this is a great book for you. And it's even better, because it provides a roadmap for achieving your own goals, no matter how big.

Parenting Pointers: Protecting Your Identity

Infographic courtesy of Choice Loans.
Visit the full interactive version to learn more!

View Interactive Version (via Choice Loans).