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Published on January 23, 2013, by in Au Pair.

Leaving your child in the hands of another for the majority of his day requires a healthy measure of trust if you’re going to be able to have any peace of mind at all as you go about your own day. With your child’s health, safety and education all resting squarely in the hands of his teacher during the week, how can you be sure that he’s getting the attention he needs from an educator you can trust? While the only way that you’ll ever truly know what goes on in the classroom is to sit in yourself, there are a few methods of finding out enough to decide whether or not you actually trust your child’s teacher.

Get – and Stay – Involved

If you’re a stay-at-home parent or your work schedule is flexible enough to allow you some freedom during the school week, you can use that time to volunteer with your child’s class or get involved with programs that will give you a bit more insight into the day-to-day routines of your child, his classmates and their teacher. An involved parent will have more firsthand knowledge of the curriculum and the school’s routine, and will have the chance to observe teachers in action. By watching how your child’s teacher acts when she thinks you’re otherwise occupied, you will be able to get at least a basic idea of how the classroom operates under her direction.

Talk to Other Parents

When a child who’s normally happy and eager to go to school starts finding excuses to miss class or begins feigning illness to get out of attending, it can be one of the more reliable indicators that there’s trouble. If your child is exhibiting this behavior or is outright stating that he doesn’t want to go to school, it’s a good idea to get in touch with other parents in his class. If other kids are behaving similarly, it could be a sign that there’s something going on in the classroom that’s less than ideal.

Visit the School

Parents who drop by their kids’ school unannounced will almost invariably have to check in at the front office, but they’re usually still granted access to their child’s classroom. Stopping by without an appointment will allow you to get a peek at what’s going on before the teacher has a chance to change the mood in the room or the course of the lesson, giving you a more realistic view than you’d have during a scheduled visit. Though you probably won’t want to make a habit of coming into your child’s classroom with no prior warning, it can be a valuable and effective tactic if you suspect a problem.

Follow Your Parental Instincts

There’s a lot to be said for old-fashioned parental intuition, and it’s something you should follow if you have a hunch that there’s trouble afoot. You know your child better than anyone else, so if his behavior is off and everything seems to be pointing at the teacher, there’s no harm in investigating a bit. Schedule a meeting with his teacher if necessary, or be extra-observant at an upcoming parent-teacher conference. It’s okay to be suspicious, as long as you behave reasonably and make an unbiased attempt to discover the truth. While you’re more likely to find that your child is struggling for other reasons or having difficulty with his peers, it’s not worth the risk you’d be taking to avoid a few sideways looks if you truly suspect that he’s having trouble with his teacher.

Realize that Even “Nice” Teachers Can Be Problematic

In a perfect world, your child’s teacher would be sweet, affectionate, charming and a top-notch educator to boot. In the real world, however, that just isn’t always the case. It’s important to keep in mind that, first and foremost, your child’s teacher is responsible for providing him with the knowledge he needs to be educated and successful in adulthood. Even a cheerful, welcoming teacher with a big heart and open arms can be a lackluster educator, leaving your child with what is essentially a very nice babysitter. You have to take the quality of his education into account as well. Even if he’s never uttered a single complaint about the way his teacher treats him, you need to know you can trust her with his future. If grades are slipping or he seems to me missing out on key aspects of his education, it is worth exploring the root of the problem.

Published on January 15, 2013, by in Au Pair.

Saving money becomes even more important in a struggling economic climate than in less troubling times, and managing the expenses of running a household while making sure that everyone has everything they need can be a major challenge, even for thrifty moms. The tips, hints and advice in these 30 blog entries is designed to help you retain or earn the title of Frugal Mom, saving money while making sure that the needs of each and every member of your family are met.


While taking the time to clip coupons and scour weekly papers, print ads and websites for the best deals may seem more time-consuming than the payoff warrants, you may be surprised at just how much money you’re able to save on food and personal care products by using coupons to your advantage. These five blogs give you some insight into how coupon-savvy moms manage to save so much money, helping you fill your pantry without emptying your bank account.

Utility Bill Savings

While it’s certainly important to help your family do their part in making a positive impact on the environment by saving energy, the savings that a few small changes can generate is another motivating incentive. These five bloggers talk about the best ways to make your home more energy-efficient, and how to make sure that your energy costs aren’t higher than is strictly necessary.

Frugal Meal Ideas

Feeding your family on a budget doesn’t have to mean that you’re resorting to cheap, pre-packaged foods that are long on the preservatives and short on quality. These five food bloggers understand the importance of striking a balance between high quality and low cost, providing great meal ideas that won’t break the bank.

Savings at the Pump

Gasoline prices might fluctuate slightly from time to time, but they’re almost always more expensive than is manageable for many families. Saving fuel is not only good for the environment, but also good for the family budget. That’s why these five bloggers are offering their sage advice on how to save at the gas pumps, so that you are able to reduce your footprint while increasing your budget.

Saving on School Supplies

Back-to-school shopping is a lucrative season for retailers, coming in second only to the winter holidays in terms of revenue. Whether you’re purchasing supplies for one child or several, it’s easy to overspend when autumn rolls around each year. These five bloggers understand the struggle of keeping your children well-stocked and set up for academic success without draining your wallet in the process.

Saving on Kids’ Clothing

Shopping for kids’ clothing can be one of the most stressful and upsetting situations for families on a tight budget, as kids are anxious to have the name-brand duds of their peers despite the fact that the family budget doesn’t quite have room for a pair of designer jeans. These five blogs tackle the sensitive and often complicated subject of shopping for kids’ clothes on a tight budget.

How to Save Money on Baby Clothes

Published on January 14, 2013, by in Au Pair.

Traveling with kids can get a bit stressful when the kids become bored, and what can start out as a fun trip quickly turns dismal when fighting breaks out in the backseat. In these instances it can be more appealing to turn the car around than deal with screaming kids for the rest of the day.  The trick to making traveling fun is to not let the kids get bored, which isn’t necessarily as hard as it sounds.  Bring a variety of things for them to do and they should be set.  Here are 30 bloggers that have given this dilemma some thought and have a few solutions to share.

Overall Tips

Here are some general tips for making traveling with kids a fun experience.  These five bloggers will give you a combination of ideas to keep your little travelers happy.

Car Games

You remember car games from when you were a kid, don’t you?  Some popular games include license plate bingo, I Spy, and the alphabet game.  Here are both updated and original versions of games to play while riding in a car.


Sometimes mom and dad require a little quiet time in the car, so when that time comes here are some solo activities that the kids can do to keep them busy and quiet.  Check out these five blog posts for ideas.


There are some great educational worksheets and games that will keep the kids occupied and entertained, and they won’t even realize they’re also learning.  Check out these five blog entries to get plenty of ideas that will keep the kids busy in a productive way.  You never know, they just might learn something.


Traveling by airplane is a little different because you can’t bring a ton of stuff with you to keep the kids busy.  Here are five suggestions for how to travel with your kids by plane and have fun while you do it.


Technology is one of the easiest ways to keep kids occupied, so you won’t want to forget to bring along some tech toys. These bloggers have found a bunch of games that are perfect for car rides and apps that take old car games and jazz them up with some fun graphics.  Check out these five blog posts.

Published on January 8, 2013, by in Au Pair.

The often-unspoken rules that dictate and guide social interaction can be complex and often difficult to remember, but are essential to those who wish to present a polite, polished face to the public. From the elaborate rules of wedding and formal dinner etiquette to common workplace courtesy, these 30 blogs are filled with advice, tips, hints and rules for how to behave in a variety of situations, settings and occasions. By following this advice, you’ll be able to attend the swankiest soirées with no compunction or concerns about inadvertently behaving improperly.

Dining Etiquette

It isn’t difficult to remember to place your napkin in your lap before a meal, but what about the mysterious and elaborate rules that govern a formal dining experience? These five bloggers offer their advice and share the rules of polite dining, providing you with the knowledge you need to confidently navigate the treacherous waters of flatware and proper glass placement.

Phone Etiquette

When landline telephones in homes were the norm, telephone etiquette was a standard skill taught to children. As modern society moves away from landline phones in favor of mobile devices, however, a generation of teenagers and young adults are coming of age with a decided lack of telephone skills. These five blogs are dedicated to phone etiquette, both mobile and landline.

Workplace Etiquette

Business etiquette is less formal than the rules that formal dinners follow, but no less essential for properly and confidently interacting with those around you. These five bloggers explain the why’s and how’s behind many unspoken workplace behavioral rules, as well as why following them is essential.

Wedding Etiquette

From determining who is supposed to throw a bridal shower to where responsibility for hosting the rehearsal dinner lies, the world of planning, participating in or even attending a wedding can be a veritable minefield of potential social faux pas. These five blog entries are all dedicated to wedding etiquette for the happy couple, wedding party, families and wedding attendees.

Party Etiquette

While most people equate a good party with letting their hair down, even those less formal gatherings have a social code that others expect their peers to adhere to. From the office holiday party to engagement parties, party etiquette is carefully explained in these five blog entries.

Entertaining Etiquette

Hosting guests, throwing parties, and entertaining loved ones can be an exciting and rewarding experience. It can also be a fairly stressful one if you’re not quite sure of the rules that society dictates in such situations. These five blogs are all centered on helping hosts and hostesses carry their events off with style and ease, taking careful consideration of the proper etiquette of doing so.

Published on December 10, 2012, by in Au Pair.

According to reports by the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, there are over 12 million Americans who are afflicted with some sort of food allergy. Peanuts are among the food allergies most likely to cause a life-threatening reaction, and because of this more than 30,000 U.S. schools have adopted a “peanut-free” policy for all students. While these rules are sometimes met with contempt or outright backlash from parents whose children do not suffer from any potentially deadly food allergies, compliance is not optional. If your child attends a peanut-free school, here are ten sandwiches that you can pack for them in lieu of the forbidden kid-favorite PB & J:

  1. Soy-nut Butter and Jelly – Soy-nut butter is a great substitute to the traditional peanut butter spread, and is available under several brand names and easily found in most major grocery stores. Because it’s such a close alternative, it can be used in place of peanut butter for the traditional PB & J, Ants on a Log and a variety of other classic kid dishes.
  2. Sunbutter and Honey – While it’s less common than peanut allergies and not as likely to cause life-threatening anaphylactic shock, soy allergies do exist. For those kids, soy-nut butter isn’t a viable peanut-butter substitute. Thankfully, Sunbutter, which is made from roasted sunflower kernels and carefully controlled in order to minimize any risk of allergen contamination, is available in most grocery stores. Because both soy-nut butter and sunbutter both bear a striking resemblance to peanut butter in color and texture, it might be wise to include a note with your child’s lunch explaining that the questionable-looking sandwiches are compliant with the peanut-free policy.
  3. Cream Cheese and Jam – It’s difficult to go wrong with cream cheese, especially when it’s paired with the fruity sweetness of jelly. Parents with concerns about fat content can opt for the light variety, but kids who have a reasonably active lifestyle and participate in athletic play should be fine with regular cream cheese.
  4. Hummus Wrap – There’s very little that’s new or exciting about the same square sandwiches that everyone else packs for lunch; parents with budding non-conformists might find that the unique rolled-up shape of a wrap can help up its attractiveness to notoriously picky kids, while the nutritious value of hummus endears it to parents.
  5. Yogurt Parfait – Parfaits need not be the pain that you think; just snag some pre-diced fruit and hulled, sliced strawberries from the produce section of your local market, along with vanilla yogurt and nut-free granola. Layer the yogurt and fruit in a container, leaving the granola separate to avoid sogginess. Remember that the sweetness of the fruit will boost the sugar content, so avoid the sweetener-laden brands directed at kids in favor of the less expensive, healthier “adult” variety.
  6. Cucumber and Cream Cheese – Spreading cream cheese and tossing cucumber slices on two slices of bread is so simple it almost feels criminal, but it’s a great lunch option for kids in peanut-free schools. Opting for flavored cream cheese can give taste buds a punch if your youngster feels that plain is too bland.
  7. Mini-Bagels – Even half of a full-sized bagel might be too cumbersome for a kid, especially one with a smaller appetite. Because mini-anything tends to be a hit with the smaller set, packing a few sliced mini-bagels and your child’s favorite topping is a great way to keep both her and the school district happy.
  8. Pita Pockets – The great thing about a pita pocket is that it can be stuffed with just about anything. This no-fuss lunch also comes with the added bonus of being sealed along the sides and bottom, which can help to prevent stains from dropped food.
  9. Cold-Cuts – Unless your family is vegetarian or vegan, there’s no rule stating that you have to forgo protein-rich deli cold cuts. Packaged luncheon meats due tend to be laden with sodium and preservatives, however, so it might be wise to stock up at the deli counter instead.
  10. English Muffin Pizzas – A dollop of tomato sauce, a sprinkling of cheese and a few pieces of pepperoni on an English muffin “crust” make for quick, unique pizzas that your kids will love. Fortunately, they only require a brief stint under the broiler to melt the cheese, making them a snap to prepare.

While it can be tempting to rally against a peanut-free policy, remember that these rules tend to be most common in preschools, kindergarten and early elementary school, when children who suffer from these dangerous allergies are least likely to grasp the full importance of avoiding peanut products and lack the self-restraint to turn them down. Your compliance, while inconvenient, could be saving a child’s life.

Published on December 2, 2012, by in Au Pair.

Usually found in barley, rye and wheat, gluten is an almost ubiquitous protein that’s come under fire recently, being blamed for everything from constipation to failure to thrive. As gluten-free products become more common and gluten-free diets for kids and adults alike rise in popularity, it’s important for nannies and childcare providers to have a basic understanding of why some parents opt to remove it from their kids’ diets, and the best ways to avoid foods containing gluten.

Celiac Disease

Approximately one in every 133 people suffers from celiac disease, which causes an immune system reaction when those who have the condition consume foods containing gluten. As the body negatively reacts to the protein, the villi that help the body absorb nutrients and vitamins are damaged, manifesting through a variety of symptoms. In children, one of the most common and worrying side effects is a failure to thrive, as the absence of vital nutrients will cause youngsters to lose weight and, in some cases, to develop anemia. A child’s chances of developing celiac disease are between 5% and 10% higher if a family member also suffers from the condition, as there seems to be a strong hereditary link. As a result, nannies may find that more than one of their charges within a particular family has celiac disease. The most common and effective treatment for celiac disease is to avoid any and all food products containing gluten, so it’s important that nannies working for families with celiac disease sufferers understand the best methods for managing a gluten-free diet.

Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

When kids exhibit symptoms of gluten intolerance, but test negative for celiac disease, there’s a possibility that they’re suffering from non-celiac gluten sensitivity. The condition is still relatively new to researchers, and comparatively little information about it exists, but there are some things that nannies should keep in mind when caring for a child with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. The most common symptoms include those that mimic irritable bowel syndrome, what’s described as a “foggy mind,” fatigue and headaches. According to researchers at Celiac Central, those who suffer from non-celiac gluten sensitivity struggle with unfavorable physical responses to gluten, but are not subject to the same intestinal damage that gluten causes those with celiac disease.


While it’s becoming more and more common for parents of children suffering from ADHD to supplement treatment with a switch to a gluten-free diet, the actual science surrounding the connection between symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and a diet that contains gluten can be a bit misleading. The anecdotal evidence supporting these claims stems from the fact that children who have been diagnosed with both celiac disease and ADHD seem to exhibit fewer symptoms of ADHD when placed on a gluten-free diet. A November 2006 study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders showed a correlation between an increased likelihood of ADHD symptoms in those suffering from celiac disease, and that those patients did improve after eliminating gluten from their diet. Removing gluten from the diet of non-intolerant ADHD sufferers, however, may not have the same results.

The Autism Spectrum

While some parents of children on the autism spectrum swear by a gluten-free diet in terms of symptom reduction and increased socialization, the evidence supporting the link between a gluten and casein-free diet and improvements in autistic children’s condition is purely anecdotal. Very little research has been conducted on the subject, leaving most of the prevailing wisdom soundly in the realm of theory. Provided that an autistic charge is receiving the vitamins, minerals and fiber he needs, it’s best for childcare providers to comply with an employer’s insistence on a gluten-free diet for their autistic child, even if the scientific link between the condition and a gluten-rich diet is tenuous.

Lifestyle and Dietary Choices

Profits from the sale of gluten-free foods are up 33% since 2009, at an estimated 6.3 billion dollars annually. Because only 1% of the population suffers from celiac disease, the numbers indicate that the vast majority of gluten-free foods buyers have no medically sound reason for cutting the protein out of their diet. Working for a family that’s voluntarily eliminated gluten from their collective diets will require that childcare providers spend a bit of extra time ensuring that kids’ fiber and vitamin requirements are met.

Misconceptions and Myths

Because so many people instinctively associate the “gluten-free” label with the removal of something that’s inherently unhealthy, the idea that gluten is a nutritional no-no has begun to take hold. While nannies and childcare providers are in no position to challenge their employers on the subject, it is important to note that a “gluten-free” label does not automatically make a food item healthy. Many processed gluten-free products are just as high in sugar and lacking in fiber as their mainstream counterparts, which makes this misconception potentially dangerous.

Published on November 27, 2012, by in Au Pair.

Even though no two kids are alike, there are some things that are fairly predictable with most kids. For example, most girls don’t like squirmy things like worms whereas most boys are fascinated with creepy crawly critters. It’s a stereotype, but it also happens to be pretty accurate. Some kids tend to be sensitive to certain things and other kids, maybe not so much. Here are 10 things that most kids are normally very sensitive to.

  1. Yelling in a negative way – Unless a child is brought up in a home where yelling is the norm, young kids have a tendency to be sensitive to this kind of yelling; particularly if it is harsh and directed at them.
  2. Mean expressions – It’s interesting to note that babies will often cry if someone looks at them in a mean way. Kids in general react to negative facial expressions.
  3. Another child in need – When kids see another child who needs help, they will often try to help the other child. Toddlers will try to comfort babies who are crying, and older kids will often try to assist a toddler who is having difficulty with something. Kids can be selfish and bossy, but they can also be compassionate toward one another.
  4. Their mother’s moods – Most moms will agree that their kids will react to their moods with predictability. When Mom needs alone time, that’s when the kids will cling to her even more. When she’s sad, they will get quiet and try to cheer her up. When she’s happy, they are happy too. And when she’s tired, they will drive her bonkers!
  5. Harsh words – Kids can be very sensitive to harsh words, especially when they come from their parents. Kids like to please adults and want to know that they are loved and accepted. Harsh words can leave them feeling rejected and worthless.
  6. Kind words – Just as kids can be sensitive to harsh words, kind words can have the opposite effect. A few kind words spoken to a kid can make all the difference in the world. Many kids don’t get to hear kind things spoken to them on a regular basis, so when they do hear them, oftentimes, they will treasure those words like precious gems.
  7. Clothing tags – Fortunately, many companies have stopped putting tags on clothing and imprint the information directly on garments instead. Many kids can’t tolerate the tags rubbing against their necks and have to have the tags cut out prior to wearing.
  8. Over stimulation – Most kids can handle only so much stimulation. When there is too much going on – when all the senses are assaulted at once – many kids will go into sensory overload. Then they will act out, cry, and get cranky or hyper.
  9. Loose teeth – When kids begin to lose their baby teeth, they can get sensitive about the prospect of the tooth coming out. Some kids get worried about the blood they will lose, others worry about whether or not it will hurt and how much; some even worry about needing to wear false teeth! Assuring the child that losing teeth is part of growing up might help to quell some of their fears.
  10. Food preferences – Food can be a very touchy subject for some youngsters. They can get very particular and very vocal about their likes and dislikes, and even joking around with them about it can get a rise out of them. As kids grow, their taste buds mature, so rest assured that their tastes will change as time goes on.

Kids can get sensitive about so many things that sometimes parents are in a quandary as to what to do. Just be patient and try to help your child deal with their sensitivities. Realizing that certain sensitivities are perfectly normal and will be resolved as your kid gets older can give you some peace of mind.

Published on November 20, 2012, by in Au Pair.

Struggling with schoolwork can leave kids feeling stripped of their self-esteem and convinced that they aren’t as intelligent as their peers. Hearing your child speak about themselves so negatively can be very upsetting to parents, but there are ways to help them get back on track and feeling better about themselves again. Here are 10 ways that you can help your struggling child to get back to feeling normal.

  1. Put the Emphasis on Effort – Instead of focusing solely on the grade a struggling child brings home, emphasize the fact that he or she tried their very best and put a lot of effort into their attempt.
  2. Offer Extra Help – When one bombed test is just a bump in the road for an otherwise good student, the situation may only require a little bit of extra attention and help from a parent. Set aside a portion of each evening to dedicate to your child’s homework or study time, and help them with concepts that they’re having trouble grasping.
  3. Hire a Tutor – If your child is starting to struggle regularly in a particular area, it might be a good idea to hire a tutor or look into the learning assistance programs in your city. Sometimes a problem can be corrected with a bit of one-on-one attention.
  4. Watch What You Say About Yourself – Kids that overhear their parents speaking poorly of themselves also tend to exhibit more self-esteem issues than their peers. If you have a habit of criticizing your own intelligence or merits aloud, your child may learn to mimic that behavior.
  5. Be Gentle, But Honest – Instead of filling kids with unrealistic expectations, it’s best to be honest while focusing on the positives. Rather than saying, “I’m sure you’ll make a 100 on that test!” it’s better for your child’s self-esteem to share a positive but more realistic, “You’ve been studying really hard for this test, and I’m proud of the effort you’re making.”
  6. Correct Inaccurate Statements – When your child says things like, “I’m so dumb, I can’t even pass this spelling test!” it’s important to correct them immediately with an explanation that they’re not “so dumb,” just that their strengths are in other areas.
  7. Keep Feedback Positive – Using phrases like “you always…” and “you never…” only puts more pressure on your child to perform in a way that they feel is acceptable to you. Instead of using these loaded terms, try to keep your feedback both relevant and positive.
  8. Get Involved With an Activity in Which Your Child Excels – Kids can get a major confidence boost by becoming involved in an activity in which they’re strong performers. When they experience a degree of success in another area, their confidence level will rise and their grades may follow.
  9. Don’t Get Frustrated – It can be difficult to keep your composure when your child is berating herself, and even more so when she’s doing it after you’ve explained the same concept several times. It’s of the utmost importance that you don’t show that frustration, as it will only upset her more and make focusing that much more difficult.
  10. Talk to the Teacher – Should academic problems become a cause for concern, it’s best to set up a meeting with your child’s teacher to determine what their strengths and weaknesses are and if there’s any possibility of a learning disability that would require special attention.

It can certainly be heartbreaking to hear your child say that he or she feels unworthy in any way; assuring them that they are loved and valued regardless of their grades is one of the most important things you can do for a struggling child.

Published on November 14, 2012, by in Au Pair.

There’s something about the art of preparing meals and snacks for your family that warms the very cockles of a foodie mom’s heart, whether she’s a master chef or a relative beginner to cooking. It wasn’t so very long ago that cooking required a shelf full of clunky recipe books and charts, but as technology has progressed, so has the way that we access recipes. Apple’s iPhone device and a selection of useful apps created by the talented developers that stock the App Store have all but eliminated the need for those books and various tools. These 10 apps are among the best for moms that have a fondness for cooking and baking, and go a long way towards cutting some of that physical-copy clutter.

  1. Dinner Spinner Pro – Accessing the number one recipe site on the Internet through your iPhone is a snap with this $2.99 app, which allows users to filter recipes by ingredient, share a particular favorite with friends and contacts, and even manage  grocery lists from within the application.
  2. Must-Have Recipes from Better Homes and Gardens – The Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks are famed for their delicious recipes, insider tips, and the best-kept secrets in food preparation. Now, there are more than 460 recipes with accompanying photos that are available right on your iPhone for free through the App Store. Access how-to videos and add notes and substitution information for dishes from within the app and organize your favorites in a virtual recipe box!
  3. What’s for Dinner? Recipe Cookbook and Shopping List – Answering this age-old question is a breeze with a free app from Snazzy Software, which allows you to import family recipes, build a shopping list, and browse multiple recipe websites with one consolidated search. Upgrade to a more powerful version with added functionality for $2.99
  4. Sara’s Kitchen – Television host and food celebrity Sara Moulton’s namesake app is $2.99 in the App Store, and encourages everyday moms to make healthy, simple, home-made meals with wholesome ingredients. Recipe photographs and instructional videos provide visual aids, while meals are categorized to facilitate easy searching and browsing.
  5. How to Cook Everything for iPhone – A columnist for the New York Times and the author of a best-selling cookbook, Mark Bittman’s a food celebrity in his own right. Now, you can access all 2,000 of the recipes in a format optimized for mobile users, along with plenty of illustrations and how-to’s.
  6. KitchenMath – For some food-loving moms, math simply isn’t a strong suit. If you’re among the many people who aren’t overly fond of numbers, this app is a must-have addition to your App Library. Only $0.99 in the App Store, KitchenMath will help you convert units almost effortlessly, calculate both Fahrenheit and Celsius temperatures, and determine the proper serving temperatures for a variety of meats.
  7. Harvest – Learning to balance a vegetarian diet can be complicated, especially if you’re making that transition as a family. Harvest is a practical and useful $1.99 app that helps users access a variety of tasty and healthy, animal-friendly dishes. Each recipe is also egg-free, a boon to those with egg allergies.
  8. Ratio – According to food expert Michael Ruhlman, all you really need to do to master cooking is master the art of ratios. When you understand the symbiotic relationship of various ingredients, you’ll be on your way to creating your own custom meals, free from the constraints of the cookbook.
  9. Appetites® – Beginners will benefit greatly from this $4.99 app, which provides users with detailed, step-by-step instructional videos for reference along the way. When the 54 included recipes are mastered, there are a variety of specialty upgrade packs to choose from, ensuring that you’ll be great in the kitchen in no time.
  10. Kitchen Timer – The simple interface of the free Kitchen Timer makes it easy to keep track of how long you’ve been cooking a particular item. No frills, no superfluous features that ultimately prove worthless, and no complicated extras, Kitchen Timer has only one job, which it performs very well.

In addition to being useful options for experienced moms who hope to get rid of a few recipe books, some of these apps can also serve as worthwhile educational tools. Learning to prepare meals, whether you’re fixing the simplest offering to the most complex cuisine, starts with being able to master fundamental skills and perfect the art of reading a recipe carefully. Don’t be discouraged if some of the more complex dishes don’t turn out exactly how you planned; just learn from your mistakes so that you’re able to avoid repeating them in the future.

Published on November 5, 2012, by in Au Pair.

Making a shopping list before heading to the market can not only save you time by eliminating the necessity for several return trips to fetch forgotten items, but it can also save you money by controlling any impulse spending temptations you may have when you don’t have a list to adhere to. Organizing your lists, however, isn’t always easy. Thankfully, the iPhone in your pocket is more than up to the task, especially when coupled with the power of the App Store and the talented developers that contribute to it. These 10 apps are great ways to make and maintain your shopping list, saving you time and money in the long run.

  1. Groceries – With beautiful graphics and an intuitive interface, this $1.99 app is a great way to build your grocery list before you leave the house, share it with others via email to delegate shopping duties, keep track of favorite items, and maintain several separate lists. Organize your list by aisle and enter the amount you need to help prevent purchases of incorrect package sizes, thus streamlining your shopping process and helping you get in and out of the store as quickly as possible.
  2. GroceryList Choose from hundreds of items built in to this $1.99 app’s database or add your own, setting favorites and managing multiple lists as you go. The app starts up and scrolls quickly, allowing you to move through the list and the grocery store in record time.
  3. Grocery iQ – Scan the barcodes of the packages in your cupboard to add them to your grocery list when you’re running low with this free app, which you can sync and share with other devices and the dedicated website. Grocery iQ also helps you find coupons related to your frequent purchases, helping you save money as you make your list.
  4. Shopping List (Grocery List) – Sort the products you need to purchase into categories, quick-select them from the built-in database, and even calculate the total before you reach the register with local taxes included with the $2.99 Shopping List app. Add notes to your items if needed, then filter the list by things you’ve checked off versus things you have yet to purchase.
  5. Grocery Gadget – Shopping List – Arrange the products on your list by the space they inhabit in your home, such as “pantry,” “refrigerator” or “laundry room” to ensure that you’re well-stocked when it comes to staple items. Stop scribbling your lists on scraps of paper that are easily lost, and make the switch to this intuitive $3.99 app.
  6. Shopper – Pro – When you build your grocery list with this $0.99 app, you can immediately access FDA and USDA alerts or recalls to make sure that you’re only purchasing the safest items before you even arrive at the store. Shopper also isn’t limited to groceries; use it for electronic equipment needs, home improvement lists, health and beauty items or baby needs. The versatility of this app also makes it a great choice for managing holiday gift shopping lists.
  7. ShoppingList – Very simple and easy to use, the $1.99 ShoppingList app lets you customize the amount you need of a specific item, group and arrange the entries in the way that makes most sense to you, and sync your list with Dropbox.
  8. ShopShop – Shopping List – Billed as simple, easy and free by the developer, this app is designed to build and review your shopping lists, with no bells or potentially confusing whistles.
  9. Simple Grocery List – While it’s nice to have an app loaded with features in some cases, some of them also happen to be completely unnecessary. Simple Grocery List is light on the features, but heavy on functionality. Best of all, it’s free in the App Store.
  10. Grocery List – Buy Me a Pie! – The $2.99 Grocery List automatically synchronizes with other devices, allows you to update and modify either on your mobile device or the website, and sends your created lists via email or text.

Pairing your favorite shopping list app with a few that give you access to local deals, specials, sales and discounts is a very effective method of boosting your saving power at the places where you shop most. Let your iPhone pay for itself by putting it to work at helping to save you money.