Trying to get organized for 2010, be a little more green and save money? Get in line and get online. While some mamas have family and friends to hand down used baby items, excess toys or kid gear, others can unload their goods and possibly pick up a few bucks while they are at it. Here is a handy guide to using some of our fave websites and services for testing, selling and sharing your old and new items.
A baby changes everything — even your bank balance! While some mamas have family and friends to hand down used baby items, others are looking for a place to unload their goods and possibly pick up a few bucks while they are at it.Like other online classified sites, Googooswap allows mothers to post ads for the stuff their babes have outgrown or never really took to in the first place. Unlike Craigslist and Freecycle, which also feature ads for used goods, the site only allows baby and maternity products, helping moms reduce the amount of time they spend searching for the products they need. Currently the site is focused on the Southern California region, but it is expanding its reach on a daily basis.
Any woman who has gone to the store in search of a home pregnancy test — even if it came from the dollar store — has encountered an aisle filled with different brands claiming to provide the earliest, most accurate results. If you've ever wondered which tests truly were the most sensitive and how the sticks differ, be sure to check out Pee on a Stick, a comprehensive look at the sensitivity and accuracy of virtually every home pregnancy test on the market.
Using anecdotal evidence from women around the world, the site offers advice on everything from when to take each test to what odd looking results could actually mean. While the site is in no way an alternative to a doctor-ordered blood test, it may help potential mamas-to-be understand why the plus or minus sign doesn't look like it does on the package.
Rachael Ray claims that a meal only takes 30 minutes, but she doesn't have a toddler running into the kitchen and latching onto her leg or a preschooler who needs help reaching the scissors. That half hour easily grows into three-quarters of one.
"I really hope to inspire moms to make delicious, healthy meals for their families. I always wanted to put a camera in a woman's hand, now with my passion for children's health issues I want to put a pan in her hand too."
The benefits of reading with children are beyond debate. It helps teach them letter and word recognition, engages them in conversation, and introduces them to new concepts. Transferring those benefits to the online world is not easy, but Speakaboos tries to do just that. The site offers online storytelling of classic fables and fairy tales — as well as stories involving newer popular characters — by big name celebrities such as Kevin Bacon, Clay Aiken, Kelly Ripa, and John Krasinski. As the stories are told, and the words appear on the screen, the books come to life with beautiful animation.
There are worksheets, games, and e-cards accompanying the various tales and eventually, visitors will have the ability to create their own stories online, including doing their own voice-overs. Watching the tales is free, but there is also an option to download them for $1, and purchase albums with multiple stories for $9 each with 15 percent of the revenue donated to the National Education Association and The Creative Coalition.
We've taught our lil ones to separate the recycling from the trash and why we shop at the natural foods market rather than the chain grocery store. Now it's time to expand their horizons to see just what an impact their actions have on the earth as a whole. Sammy & Sue Go Green Too ($14) is the first in a new series of books based on a mother/daughter team out to educate their neighbors about the importance of leading an Eco-friendly life. Through their journey, they learn firsthand about organic farming, hybrid cars, earth-friendly cleaning products and all natural ice cream and share their discoveries in a way that even the youngest tots in your household will understand.
Along with their new book, Sammy & Sue are introducing an Online Virtual World for Kids. The site is divided into several "villages" each representing different environments in which kids can play a variety of games to learn how the areas are affected by environmental toxins and what they can do to save them. Among the Eco-environments visited are the seashore, the forest, a desert and an urban/suburban area.
Email trumps school fliers and phone trees these days, but it's not always the fastest way to make contact. Some parents only check their personal email a few times a day or week, or don't sit at the computer. Schoohoo offers the technology for schools to send free messages and alerts to parents, students and faculty via free text messages and email, so the community stays in-the-know whether they sit behind a desk or at a phone.
The alerts are ideal for letting parents know about early dismissals, school closings, emergencies or even PTA meetings. The system is free of charge for schools and supported local and national sponsors. Think it would work for your child's school? Talk to the administration!
The days and weeks after welcoming a new baby into your home are like a dream. The sleep deprivation and round the clock feedings often mean that homemade meals are sparse and takeout becomes the norm. MealBaby is an online meal registry where family and friends can sign up to make and deliver meals to new parents. For loved ones who live too far away to deliver a homemade meal, the site offers up the opportunity to purchase gift cards to national chain restaurants as well as the opportunity to donate money to Feed The Children, a non-profit organization that provides food for hungry families around the world. If you're too busy to set up the registry on your own, friends can do so for you — which might make a fun addition to a baby shower!