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Navigating the thorny social scene of elementary and middle school can be a daunting task for any child – particularly one who feels unpopular.  As a parent, it’s hard to stand helplessly by and watch your child experience bullying or social alienation.
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Disclosure: Developed under the direction and sponsorship of Merck. With the start of school just around the corner, one ever-present item on Mom’s endless to-do list includes scheduling school and sports health physicals. For Moms of pre-teens and teens, this appointment can also become a real opportunity for their kids to learn more about important health-related issues that can affect them. With young children, we Moms knew previously that the responsibility of directing the flow of the annual appointment would fall on us – for example, we would arrive with a list of questions, give the health care professional a heads up that our youngest loathes getting ear exams, and take notes on the latest height and weight statistics. But as our kids grow up, we realize that this yearly appointment can be so much more. In particular, it is an opportunity for teens to become aware of the changing nature of health care issues as they mature. This can be challenging, as teens often feel invincible when it comes to their health and well-being.
Disclosure: Developed under the direction and sponsorship of Merck. As Moms, we spend more years than we care to remember traveling in a continuous loop from the doctor’s office to home and back again to the doctor’s office. Along the way, we find our kids combating illnesses ranging from strep throat to ear infections to multi-day fevers. In the midst of frequent visits to quell coughs or soothe sore throats, we also schedule yearly pediatric wellness checks. There, we touch base on emotional and behavioral issues, stay up-to-date on recommendations for keeping healthy, and ensure our kids’ growth and development stay on track. Then, gradually, it often winds down. Kids’ noses cease to run continuously and they don’t always pick up every virus running through the elementary school. When our kids do get sick, it’s not often the down-for-the-count illnesses that characterize young childhood.
Finding a snack that satisfies your sweet cravings while still offering some nutritional value presents a daily challenge for many of us. Known for their expansive line of pudding and gelatin options, Jell-O is adding two new flavors to their line of guilt-free pudding snacks. Comprised of dual layers of varying texture, the new S’more and Strawberry Sundae pudding snacks from Jell-O both live up to their namesakes. Made from real milk and no artificial sweeteners, these snacks from Jell-O offer a healthier alternative to the desserts they are derived from. Both new flavors contain fewer than 3 grams of fat and only 110 calories per serving. With a marshmallow-flavored top layer and sweet chocolate layer below, the S’more pudding tastes just like the real deal. Light and airy, the top layer captures the texture of mousse, while the bottom layer has thicker, pudding-like consistency. The distinct flavor of graham crackers also comes through strongly, despite the lack of actual graham cracker bits.
Friends of mine would probably select the word “crafty” if given a list of adjectives to describe me. I can wield a glue gun with the best of them, have an entire section of a closet devoted to my craft supplies, and can wire a bow like a pro. My sons, however, aren’t charged up by the idea of crafts. They would rather build with LEGOs or Tinkertoys or run around outside. They just don’t usually gravitate to craft projects.   In the middle of a rainy day this weekend, when train tracks were laid all over the family room floor and our playroom needed a serious ten-minute-tidy-up, I called my boys to the kitchen table. “Boys! Come and decorate these ears with me!”  
My husband and I have different ideas of what defines a great movie. He just enjoys a different genre than I do. When "The Muppets" came to theaters I felt thrilled to see it and waited for the release with anticipation like I was eight years old again. My husband is a long-time Muppets fan like I am and I was excited to see a movie we were both sure to enjoy! Well, it turns out this movie fell into the category of ones we couldn’t agree on.   When I got the chance to review this film, I jumped at the chance –I wanted to see it again and thought a he said/she said review would be fun. I also wanted to give the movie a second chance since I wasn’t a huge fan when I first saw it. HE SAID
Finding stylish and flattering clothes remains a constant battle for new Moms and Moms to be. The new Molly Ades Maternity collection provides Moms with flattering and comfortable clothing for their changing bodies during pregnancy, nursing, and the months following. Read more about the collection, and enter to win one of the pieces for yourself!
photo credit: teacollection.com
When it comes to children’s clothing, I am always torn between dressing my two kids in stylish and fun outfits, yet keeping them comfortable. And, like many Moms with young ones in daycare or preschool, my kids come home covered in paint, glitter and food from their daily activities. Yet, the inner fashionista in me always obsesses about their outfits, making sure they match (as much as I can with my stubborn four-year old that is!) and look cute. You never know who you’re going to run into while out and about with your kids, right?
SIGG specializes in aluminum water bottles made from of 100% recyclable material.  They can help reduce your carbon footprint and quit spending money on plastic bottles.   Additionally, with sizes ranging from 0.25L to 1.5L, you can find the perfect fit for each member of your family. Originally a favorite of hikers and mountain climbers, these bottles have continually proven lightweight and durable for all users. SIGG bottles have become a huge success due to their unique shape and design.  Some collections have even been featured in the Museum of Modern Art for their innovative color creations. You can choose from classic solids, bright theme designs, or fun cartoon images for kids. SIGG products serve as a great fashion accessory for any occasion thanks to hundreds of design choices.
Hand out crayons, markers and painting supplies to toddlers, and what do you get? Coloring and drawing provide creative outlets for our kids, but the messy aftermath they inadvertently leave behind is far from a masterpiece. One of B. toy’s latest products, the H2-Whoa! drawing board offers budding Picassos a new means to express themselves while making messy clean up a thing of the past. This two sided, reversible drawing board comes with four drawing pens that fill up with water, allowing your child to doodle to his heart’s content. As the picture dries on the H2-Whoa! board, it will begin to fade away and will leave your child with a clean slate for his next creation. Voted a Dr. Toy “Best Pick,” this easy to use drawing boards offers both you and your child a fun and mess free alternative to paint and paper.
photo credit: CraftIdeas.info
I love hanging my kids’ holiday art projects throughout the house so I can smile at their young creative spirit.  They may find it embarrassing as they grow up, but I could never part with their tiny handprint turkeys or cotton-ball snowmen.  With St. Patrick’ day approaching, I decided to take the chance and arrange our own family craft time.   This tissue paper collage project caught my eye because it keeps kids entertained while letting them use their imagination and be unique. You may even be surprised at how different each child’s masterpiece comes out. The requirements are simple: Parents: Provide tissue paper in each color: red, orange, yellow, dark green, light green, blue, brown, and purple. You will also need liquid craft glue, and a sheet of white cardstock or think white paper for each person making a collage.  
One lucky Mom Central reader will win a Smucker's gift basket containing a variety of Smucker's fruit spreads, recipe book, and set of gingham-printed set of spreaders. Take a look at these Smucker's-inspired recipes and enter to win your own gift basket!