Category Archives: life

Fighting the Sugar Battle

bugsley_boxingThis week (January 18-24) is Sugar Awareness Week.  As a parent, I always feel like I’m fighting a losing battle with sugar.  I’ve heard all the advice about limiting sugar.  I’ve witnessed how sugar affects children from the crazy high to the inevitable crash.

Sugar can do so much damage to the human body – adult and child alike.  The following are truly just a few things:

  1. Impairs Memory and Learning Skills – Studies have shown that a diet high in sugar can slow down the brain hindering memory and learning skills. Sugary breakfast cereal may not be the best start for a child spending his day learning multiplication and division.  Or maybe this is the reason why I feel like a broken record in reminding my child to turn in his homework or remember his jacket, etc.
  2. Increases Tooth Decay and Cavities – Sugar is the most damaging substance for teeth that we are eating. When sugar sits on your teeth, it creates decay more efficiently than any other food.  This is because it provides easily digestible energy for all the bad bacteria living in the mouth.  And since we know that children sometimes are not the best brushers, it’s important to limit how much sugar is introduced to their teeth.
  3. Contributes to Malnutrition – Despite the fact that a high sugar diet contributes to obesity, children can still be malnourished. Sugar provides no nutritional value whatsoever, but just pure energy.  When children fill up on these “empty” calories, they are not likely to get all the important vitamins and minerals they need leading to nutrient deficiencies.
  4. Lowers Immunities – The body is made up of trillions of good bacteria, which help digest food, produce vitamins and protect the body from germs and diseases. But, consuming too much sugar can alter the balance between good and bad bacteria weakening the immune system.  For children, this can lead to chronic runny noses, excessive mucus, cough, sinus infections, croup and acid reflux.
  5. Causes Obesity – Sugar itself doesn’t cause children to become overweight, but they become overweight when they consume more calories than they burn. Sugary drinks and other high sugar treats usually supply more calories than children need to satisfy hunger.
  6. Effects Behavior – Many studies have shown that sugar does NOT cause hyperactivity overall. However, sugar meltdowns are real.  The post-birthday-cake meltdown is caused by the rapid increase in blood sugar, followed by the inevitable drop.

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There are several things that parents can do to help fight the sugar battle:

  1. Read food labels – Sometimes sugar is hidden in foods you wouldn’t think contain sugar like oatmeal and yogurt. Look for words and phrases that signal a food has added sugar, such as: “fruit juice concentrate”; “corn sweetener”; “corn syrup”; “high-fructose corn syrup”; “honey” and “dextrose”.  Avoid foods that have a long list of ingredients.
  2. Know the names of sugar – Food can be really sneaky with the words used to name sugar. Watch out for high fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, dextrose, lactose, sorbital, mannitol, malitol, xylitol, honey and sucrose.  All of these are sugar.
  3. Cut down on sugar beverages – Sodas, juices (even 100% juice), sports drinks and smoothies all contain high amounts of sugar. Have your child start with a glass of water before drinking something else, and try to avoid the high sugar drinks altogether.
  4. Be leery of healthy alternatives – Phrases like “sugar free”, “low calorie” and “all natural” can be misleading. These phrases don’t necessarily mean the food is healthier, but rather laden with additives.
  5. Make the change gradual – One way to make healthier changes easier on children is to do it gradually. Add in something healthy like blueberries into their weekly snacks.  Or try mixing their sugary cereal with a healthy cereal until they get used to the healthier option.
  6. Teach children about healthy foods – You’ll want to help your children develop healthy habits that they keep for life. Help your kids understand what good foods do to your body and what bad foods do.

** Disclaimer – Not to take the place of medical advice.  Always consult with your doctor about health concerns.

*** Sources: foxnews.com; parenting.com; healthyeating.sfgate.com; sheknows.com; huffingtonpost.com and centerforparentingeducation.org

Seam Haters Down Under

Hi Kids!  How is the summer going?  Great, I hope.  You know what summer makes me think of?  Socks, of course!  But not what you think.  I love pulling my socks off and dipping my toes in a cool lake or swimming pool!  Ahhhh!  You know what else summer makes me think of?  Our friends in Australia and New Zealand!  Why, you ask?  Let me tell you!

It has to do with something that makes Australia different from life here in the United States.  So, what’s Australia like?  Well, they have amazing wildlife.  Kangaroos, for one.

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And koalas!

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And emus!

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Some unique looking trees!

Baobab Trees

And a really, really, really big rock called Ayers or Uluru!

The Land Down Under is pretty amazing and beautiful.  But, do you know why summer REALLY reminds me of our friends Down Under?  Because while it’s summer up here on our side of the globe, it’s winter for them!  That’s right!  For our friends in Australia and New Zealand it’s feeling like January about now!  Brrr!

Winter

Well maybe it’s not the snowy paradise that we’re used to, even though it is winter.  But, the cooler temperatures do mean that Australian toes are pretty chilly right now.  And chilly toes mean snuggly socks!  Did you know that there are seam haters in Australia, too?  That’s right!  There are seam haters all over the world.  And our friends in Australia keep their toes warm and comfortable with SmartKnitKIDS seamless socks all during the long winter months of June, July and August!

Socks

 

Bugsette and I think it is awfully fun to think about our friends down under, and how they’ll be wearing their SmartKnitKIDS socks while we’re taking a dip in the pool.  Then, when it’s their turn for summer sunshine, our toes will be warm in our seam-free socks and snow boots!

Check out the link to our Retailer page to find SmartKnitKIDS socks in Australia and New Zealand!

Seamlessly,

Your Mate, Bugsley

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Father’s Day Coupon Book Download


Hi Kids!  Do you want a great way to show your dad how much you love him this Father’s Day?  Bugsley and the SmartKnitKIDS team made up some super cool Coupon Books that you can download, color and personalize, cut out and give to your dad!  And what dad wouldn’t love this great homemade gift from his kids?

It is very simple to put together.  Click on the link to download.  Print off the pages.  Let you child color and personalize them.  Cut out and staple together.

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Send us your photos of your dad cashing in those coupons.  We would love to share them with our SmartKnitKIDS family.

Happy Father’s Day from SmartKnitKIDS!

18 Fun and Creative Ideas for Old Socks

Old Socks
Now that Memorial Day is squarely in our rear-view mirrors, it’s safe to say that summer is upon us.  Here in the Midwest, the hot weather is getting a little bit of a late start, but we’re assured that it’s coming (it always does here).  As things begin to heat up for all of us, we’ll be trading in our warm, snuggly socks for the wonderful feeling of bare toes, sandal feet and flip flops.

At SmartKnitKIDS, we think this is the perfect time to tidy up our sock drawers!  I like to go through all my socks and weed out the ones that have worn out, have small (or even large) holes, or the ones that I just plain don’t like.  And since I really hate to be wasteful, I now have a pile of socks ready to be recycled into other things.  Our team came up with a great list of uses for old socks, which will totally keep us busy all summer.

Here are 18 Fun and Creative Ideas for Old Socks:

  1. Dust Cloths – No need to buy expensive microfiber dusting cloths when an old sock works just as well. Better yet, it’s a perfect way to get your kids to help out with the chores around the house.  Just put some socks on their hands and put them to work dusting!  The best thing is you can throw them in the wash for easy clean up.
  2. Hard-to-Reach Cleaning Stick – On the dusting note, you can use a ruler or yard stick and slip a sock over one end. Secure it with a rubber band and you’re in business.  This handy tool can clean under stoves and refrigerator.  Or ceiling fans!
  3. Vacuum Tool – Another great cleaning tip is to slip a sock on the end of a vacuum hose. Attach a rubber band to keep it in place.  This works great for picking up dropped items like screws, bolts or thumb tacks.
  4. Garden Soap – Slide a bar of soap into the bottom of an old sock. Tie a knot to keep the soap in place.  Tie the long end to a garden faucet.  Now you have easy soap and water for washing your hands out in the garden.
  5. Windshield Wiper Covers – Hopefully, the snow and ice are a long way off, but you can be ready for when Old Man Winter reappears. Keep a pair of old socks in your glove box.  Whenever you’re parked outside and the forecast calls for ice or frost, slip the socks over your windshield wipers.  It will keep the ice off the wipers and you’ll have an easier time getting your car ready to drive.
  6. Packing Materials – You can use your old socks to help pack breakables for a move. They work well for drinking glasses by putting a glass inside the sock and stuffing the excess inside the glass.
  7. Potpourri Bundle – Stuff potpourri inside a sock and secure with a rubber band. They can be used in your drawers to keep your clothes smelling fresh or put them inside stinky shoes when not wearing them.
  8. Crafts for Kids and Adults – The possibilities are endless here. They make great sock puppets, for one.  Pinterest is chalk full of great ideas for sock crafting.
  9. First Aid Pack – Slide an ice pack inside a sock. This will make using an ice pack on sore muscles or bruises more comfortable.
  10. Hot Pack – Fill an old sock with dried beans or rice and tie the end. Microwave for 30 seconds and use on sore muscles for pain relief.
  11. Hair Curlers – I remember doing this as a little girl! Roll your damp hair up in old socks and tie them in a knot to secure.  After your hair dries, you’ll have a head full of beautiful curls.
  12. Hair Ponytail Bands – Cut across the sock to make a ring of fabric. Each sock will make several fabric hair bands.
  13. Ball Storage – Use old socks to store golf or tennis balls. They can be tied to your golf or tennis bag for easy access.
  14. Golf Club Covers – Slip a sock over your golf clubs to keep them protected during travel.
  15. Cat Nip Toy – Fill an old sock with catnip, secure with a rubber band and let your cats go wild!
  16. Dog Tug o’War Toy – Tie knots in a sock and you instantly have hours of entertainment for you dog. Just let him grab on and pull!
  17. Pet Leg Warmers – Keep some socks around for next winter. Slip them on your dog’s feet for walking your dog in the snow and ice.  They also keep dogs’ and cats’ legs warm inside if your house is a little drafty.
  18. Bird Feeders – Cut a sock in half so that it makes one long piece of fabric. Sew the end together in a hammock shape and fill with birdseed.  Hang it from a tree in your yard and watch the birds flock to it.

Do you have any other ideas for old socks?  We encourage you to clear out your drawers and get creative.  In the meantime, it’s the perfect time to stock up for next fall with your SmartKnitKIDS socks.  We’re running a three-day sale – 20% off all SmartKnitKIDS and BigKids socks.  Use coupon code Kickoff20.  Sale ends Friday, May 29th at 11:59 p.m. CDT.

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Bugsley’s Summer Adventure

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Hi SmartKnitKIDS Friends!

School is almost out and summer is about to get started!  Bugsley has been working so hard here at SmartKnitKIDS that we have decided he’s ready for a vacation!  But, not just any vacation.  We want to send Bugsley around the country to enjoy summer with our SmartKnitKIDS friends.

We’re asking you to invite Bugsley along for any or all of your summer fun adventures.  There are lots of ways to do this.  You can print out one of our Vacation Bugsley downloads.  Color and cut him out and take him with you.  You can bring one of the plastic Bugsleys from your SmartKnitKIDS sock orders.  Or you can even use this picture of Bugsley.  Just pull him up on your smartphone!

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The important thing is that you take a photo of you and Bugsley doing whatever your summer has in store for you.  Send them to us via Facebook or Twitter so we can all see what Bugsley has been up to.  We’re hoping that by the end of the summer, Bugsley will have been on quite the adventure!

Here’s a little note from Bugsley about things he’s excited to do:

Bugsley Letter

PicMonkey Collage

Lost Sock Memorial Day

Lost Sock Memorial DayWhat to do when you lose one sock to a matched pair?  Such a common problem, right?!  Did you know there is a Lost Sock Memorial Day?  On Saturday, May 9th, the SmartKnitKIDS team will observe Lost Sock Memorial Day.  We thought a Eulogy to the Lost Sock would be appropriate.

 

Eulogy to the Lost Sock

One lone sock was lost today in the same horrifying way that socks are lost every day across this country and the world: the dryer.  

 

This sock started out being perfectly knit with its “sole” mate.  After an adventurous beginning that included being the center of attention through processing and packaging at the production plant, a wild ride across the country on a delivery truck and a brief stay on a local store peg, this pair settled into a quiet life warming the feet of their owner.  

 

They enjoyed being part of their owner’s everyday activities from school to sports and just plain fun outside.  Each week, the sock pair would participate in the laundry cycle – usually such a fun experience.  Imagine a roller coaster ride through a car wash.  

 

It was during one of these weekly laundry trips that the tragedy occurred.  Upon being tossed around in the hot air of the dryer, one sock then searched out its mate.  And that mate was missing.  Vents were checked.  The insides of other clothes were checked.  Nowhere to be found.  After all the weekly laundry loads were complete, the sock was declared MIA.

 

The sock is survived by its loving mate, as well as many friends at the resident sock drawer at the owner’s house.  Its mate requests that in lieu of flowers, memorials be sent to the Lost Sock Memorial Fund.

 

But, dry your tears SmartKnitKIDS fans!!  You can always order more socks from us!  We’ll keep makin’ ’em!

Winter doldrums? Try these indoor activities

Brrrrr! Bugsley, it’s cold outside! We’re not done with winter yet, so it’s time to get creative with the indoor activities – especially for the kiddos! Here are some of our favorite ideas to beat back the winter doldrums.

Marshmallow Pretzel Tinker Toys – Grab a bag of mini marshmallows and a bag of pretzel sticks and see how many great creations you can make by connecting the pretzels with marshmallows. They make a yummy afternoon snack, too.

Baking Project – Let the kiddos help with a baking project. I find that making muffins out of a box is an easy task for little ones. They’ll feel helpful stirring and filling up the muffin cups. And, they’ll enjoy eating something they helped to make for breakfast the next morning. Blueberry muffins are Bugsley’s favorites. What are yours?

Shape Matching – Hold two craft sticks together on a hard surface and help your child to draw different shapes evenly over the two sticks. Make several sets each one with a different shape. Then mix them up and let your child work to match up the shapes.

Bingo – Make a Bingo game using fun things that your child relates to. Put pictures in each of the squares and put the same pictures on pieces of cardstock. Take turns drawing the cardstock pieces out of a bowl and working toward a bingo. Ideas for pictures can be anything, such as family member photos, animals, characters from your child’s favorite movie, colors, etc.

Sensory Learning Stations – Set up several bowls along a table. Fill each bowl with a different item (rice, dried beans, macaroni noodles, smooth beads, fuzzy craft pompons, play sand, buttons, etc.) Bury some coins in each of the bowls and let kids dig through the different textured items to find them.

I Spy – Play I Spy with the kiddos. Mix it up by moving around from room to room. Or even better, use pages out of your child’s favorite books.

Have an Indoor Picnic – Make a few sandwiches and package them up. Lay them out, along with picnic friendly foods like fruit cups, juice pouches, raisins, string cheese, cracker packages, etc. Let the kids pack the picnic basket with your picnic lunch. Don’t forget the blanket! Then let the kids choose the “perfect” spot to set up the picnic blanket.

Sugar Cookie Art Palettes – Buy a tube of sugar cookie dough and make to package instructions. Then let the kids decorate the cookies with colorful toppings. You can use frosting or jam as a base to help everything stick to the cookies. Let the kids “paint” the cookies with the frosting, jam, peanut butter or Nutella. Then they can decorate with dyed coconut, candy pieces, raisins, cheerios, Chinese noodles, fruit snacks, dried fruit, etc. Voila!

Remember, that all kids are different. Choose indoor activities that you know your child will tolerate and enjoy!

Tips for a Seamless New Year: 4 Ways to Help Your Child Get A Good Night’s Sleep

4 Ways to Help Your Child (And You) Get a Good Night's Sleep

1)       Make sure the bedroom environment encourages sleep.

Remove TVs, radios and anything with an LED light. Research suggests that prolonged exposure to LED lights can affect serotonin levels (a hormone that regulates your body’s internal clock) and make it difficult to for you to fall asleep. Additionally, during the day if your child is able to listen to music or watch TV in his/her bedroom it makes it easier to associate the bedroom with lively or loud activity making it more difficult to get him/her to sleep.

Consider having a separate room for loud or lively engagement. Check out these neat activity room ideas to get you started!

2)       Establish a bedtime routine.

By implementing a consistent routine every evening, your child quickly understands the activities which mean “it’s time for bed” and they’ll be more prepared to wind down. Some activities might include 1) reading a bed time story, 2) dimming the lights 3) brushing teeth and 4) having an evening snack that’s high in tryptophan (increases sleepiness) like turkey, peanut butter, banana slices or cheese and crackers.

3)       Consider using a white noise machine.

For children with a higher auditory sensitivity, it can be difficult getting to sleep with all of the noises they might hear at night – i.e., house creaking or a dog barking outside. There are several white noise machines on the market that offer a variety of different sounds to choose from. Some white machines even have a customizable sound feature which allow you to create your own. (Where to start: Which white noise machine should I get?)

4)       Consider sleepwear.

Perfect for any time of day, our SmartKnitKIDS seamless sensitivity products provide pressure in all the right places, helping your child feel safe and comfortable. Our super soft socks, undies, under-tees and bralettes for sensitive skin don’t wrinkle or bunch and are proven to reduce irritation. Our products have no padding, lining or underwires and our moisture-wicking technology guarantees to keep your child odorless and dry.

For more information or to browse SmartKnitKIDS seamless sensitivity products, visit http://smartknitkids.com!


By Jenna Baker. Jenna on Google+

My Almost Famous, Crazy Life

Now that I have introduced myself, I want to introduce you to my crazy life. I briefly mentioned before that I am the face of SmartKnitKIDS and my scheduled is riddled with guest appearances. Although I am currently not on the talk show circuit, I do make some headlines. (If anyone has an in with the talk show circuit, please let me know. I dream of seeing my name in lights! I would also settle for the name of a movie producer) I like to think of myself as a young Jodi Foster, except that I am a bug and not on the Coppertone bottle, but that’s beside the point. I plan on launching my career with SmartKnitKIDS, but I may stay there forever; I love socks.

SmartKnitKIDS Seamless Socks are great. I know that you’re thinking I’m just a little, tiny bit biased, but they are good socks. They’re completely seamless. 100% totally seam-free and they gently hug your foot so you don’t have wrinkles or bunches in your sock. They’re great for kids who hate socks seams, have Sensory Processing Disorder or Autism. I love that about the socks; they help kids and that makes me smile. If you don’t believe me, that’s understandable so see what other Moms are saying.

I love my life as a spokesman. I think it would be dull otherwise. Talking to therapists, moms, and anyone else who will listen to my rantings is exciting and always changing. My life isn’t wholly about socks though. I spend much of my time with family and friends. I am also in the process of knitting the world’s biggest sock (ok, my life might be all about socks). I’ll keep everyone updated on its progression.

Well, I’m late for a photo shoot and have to ska-doodle, but I’ll be sure to find pictures of my giant sock!

Bugsley