Thursday, September 30, 2010

Think Thursday! Fallen Heroes

Seems like everywhere you look there is something going on with a celebrity. Who is on drugs, who committed suicide, who is sleeping with who, etc...I found this article under the 7-9 years section of Ages & Stages in Parenting magazine, August 2010 issue. This may shed a little light on how to give an explanation to our kids who ask questions about their favorite stars.

Fallen Heroes

Sports stars, pop singers, movie and TV actors--the list of celebrity idols caught up in scandal seems to get longer every day. You can't hide the headlines anymore, but explaining infidelity or drug use at this age can be tricky. What to know.

Assess his knowledge: "Kids this age are starting to piece together information they get from friends and the Internet," explains Kristen Eastman, Psy.D., a child psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic. As a result, your child may have only a vague idea about Tiger's transgressions or Lilo's antics, so probe a little: "What did you hear about the baseball steroids scandal? Do you know what steroids do?"

Be straightforward: Try not to shirk his questions (or tell him to ask his father): instead, correct any misconceptions, while keeping things age-appropriate. For example, an 8-year-old is probably not prepared to hear what infidelity is, so you might say "It's when someone who's married falls in love with another person."

Seize the moment: Your child may be sad or even mad about what a beloved star has done. "Talking about this kind of public downfall gives you a chance to add your own family values into the mix," says Eastman. Whether to judge other people, give a second chance, or accept an apology for mistakes are topics that open the door to discussing fairness, generosity, and honesty.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wellness Wednesday! The Exercise Cure

Ever just feel blah over random things in your life? I found this small article in Parenting magazine that will help cure those here and there emotions.

The Exercise Cure

It's well known that exercise boosts the production of feel-good chemicals in your body called endorphins, but you can reap even more benefits by choosing the workout that can best "treat" your negative emotion, says Karol Ward, psychotherapist and author of Worried Sick.

If you're angry that your neighbor had the nerve to complain about your messy lawn, try kickboxing or a game of tennis. The physical act of hitting something will help you release energy and hostility.

If you're worried about your child starting a new school and can't stop ruminating over every little thing that might happen, try yoga or ballet. The slow, meditative movements help calm your mind.

If you feel powerless after losing your job, try strength or resistance training. Studies show that as you increase your physical strength, your confidence gets a lift as well.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tips Tuesday! It Worked For Me!

I found this random section of tips in the February 2010 issue of Parents magazine.

Work of Art: Have a child who loves to finger paint, but are overwhelmed on how to display the artwork? Decoupage your favorite paintings onto a four-foot canvas and hang it up in your living room for all to enjoy :)

In the Bag: To make packing the diaper bag easier, attach a luggage tag to the strap and insert a list of necessary items. It serves a great checklist before you head out!

Rest Stop: Using public restrooms can scare some kids due to the auto-flush toilets triggering before they are done. Stick one sheet of a self-stick note pad over the sensor before they get on the potty to keep it from flushing early.

Better Bandages: Licensed character bandages can be expensive so draw your own shapes and scenes on plain ones. Your kids may like them even more and it is a great way to distract them from their boo-boo!

Smart Cookie: Play-Doh is a great "kid's favorite" thing to play with, but preventing it from falling on the floor is often a problem. Give your child a metal cookie tray to build their Play-Doh projects on and the high edges keep everything contained.

Color Scheme: Do your kids enjoy coloring while eating out? Keep a few crayons in a travel soap dish in your diaper bag just in case the restaurant doesn't have any on hand.

Made for Shade: Instead of tossing the beautiful bumper that came with your child's bedding set, repurpose it as a matching valance if you have a window in the nursery. All you need to do is remove the stuffing.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Money Saving Monday! 33 Ways to Get a Great Deal!

I found this article, 33 ways to get a great deal, in Better Homes and Gardens July 2010 issue. I will be doing this one over a 3 week span. Here are the first 10 :)

We love a sale!

1. Get to know a clerk who can tell you when merchandise goes on clearance so you can mark your calendar.

2. When does it go on sale?

Appliances: Holiday Weekends
Cameras & Camcorders: February, March
Carpet & Flooring: January
China and Flatware: March, September
Computers: August, December
Cookware: May, June, December
Dining Furniture: October, November
Electronics: Spring and early summer, also Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Furniture: January, July, holiday weekends.
Holiday Decor: Day after the holiday
Linens: January
Mattresses: May through August
Paint: Summer
Patio Furniture: After Labor Day
Plants, Trees, and Shrubs: Fall
Small Appliances: December
Snow blowers: April
Televisions: Early spring, also six to 12 months after a particular model is launched
Vacuum Cleaners: April, May

3. Many online retailers offer a deal of the day, usually in limited quantities. Check for a listing of daily deals from around the Internet.

4. The longer an electronics product is on the market, the better your chance of finding it on sale. Check the date the first review appeared (search for "review" and the product name) or its "first available" date on If the model you're looking at was introduced more than six months ago, you can probably find it on sale.

We love the web!

5. Private, invitation-only online sales are the latest thing. For example, become a member at (it's free) and you could score high-end home decor items for up to 70% off retail prices. On Saturdays, check out their designer-curated online tag sales.

6. is like eBay only more addicting. It features a huge selection of artwork, decor items, and housewares for just a few bucks.

7. Find the best price using a shopping aggregator site like that does the work of comparison shopping for you. It samples prices at several different e-commerce sites and lead you to the best buy.

8. Search online liquidators such as site that sells returns and overstock from big retailers.

9. Make your purchase through to get cash back from more than 1,200 top retailers. Most stores offer between 2% and 7%, some more.

10. Become a Facebook fan or Twitter follower of your favorite stores and brands. Many of them announce exclusive offers this way.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Something you may not know Sunday! Your Curious Kid

I, for one have hundreds of questions asked of me all day everyday! It is enough to drive someone mad!! I found this article in the 5 to 6 years "Ages & Stages" section of parenting magazine, May 2010 issue.

Your Curious Kid

All those questions may try your patience, but they'll make your child smarter. "Curiosity is the driving force of intellect," notes Pam Schiller, author of Seven Skills for School Success. Kids' brains thrive on new experiences and activities, so shake things up with these ideas:

Break with tradition: Turn things upside down every so often: Have cereal for dinner or pizza for breakfast. Introducing novelty into your child's routine gives you a jumping-off point for conversation--does he know people eat miso soup and fish for breakfast in Japan?--and shows him there's more than one way to do things, says Schiller.

Change the Scene: Rearrange the toys in her room or the dolls on her bed, and then discuss the difference. Does it look better now? Is it less cluttered? Does this arrangement seem more inviting?

Rewrite the book: Mix up the characters and the scenery in the stories you read. Add a dragon to "Jack and the Beanstalk," for example. Ask "what if" and other open-ended questions, like "What if the wolf in 'Little Red Riding Hood' wasn't hungry? How would the tale be different?"

Make it kid-friendly: Create a special space--in his bedroom, the den, or the basement--where anything goes (finger painting, fort building, pillow fighting) and exploration is encouraged.

Ask away: Show her that you're curious about her interests by asking her to explain the difference between Ariel and Snow White, say, and getting just as excited about the dead beetle she found as she is (okay, you may have to fake it).

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Swap a Recipe Saturday! Cheesy Baked Ziti

I found this yummy looking recipe on Check it out!

Every time I make this recipe, I am pleasantly surprised since the results far exceed the effort. This casserole is perfect for a simple family meal, but also hearty enough to serve guests. This is fast comfort food that is sure to please everyone at your table. Tip: Just add a tossed salad for a complete meal in a snap. Also, leftovers will freeze well. Serves: 6 Preparation Time: 20 minutes Baking Time: 25 minutes


1/2 pound dried ziti
15 or 16 ounces ricotta cheese (part skim)
3 cups (or 12 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
3 cups (or a 26-ounce jar) spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add the ziti. Cook until tender, about 8 minutes, drain the pasta.

Place the ziti in a large bowl. Mix with the ricotta and half of the mozzarella. Grease a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish. Spread half of the spaghetti sauce on the bottom of the pan. Add the ziti mixture and cover with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan and the remaining mozzarella.

Bake uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes, until the casserole bubbles on the edges.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fun Crafts for Kids Friday! Decoupage Collage Box

Found this great craft on

Decoupage Collage Box
By: Amanda Formaro

Difficulty: Very Easy

Age: 5 and up

Parental supervision is recommended

With a few craft sticks, some paint, and a lot of imagination, your child can have a personalized door hanger to call his/her own. This project is simple and it’s fun to make.

Be sure to visit all of our classic crafts for more fun ideas!

What you'll need:Papier–mâché box with lid
Old magazines
White craft glue

How to make it:

Go through old magazines and cut out pictures, words and phrases of things that you like.

Mix 2 parts white glue and 1 part water, mix together. (Recommended amount: 2 tsp glue and 1 tsp water. You can always make more if you run short, rather than having too much and having to throw it away.) Mixture should be paintable but not too thick.

Paint mixture onto one side of the box.

Place pictures on glue and paint glue mixture over the top of the picture.

Cover all sides and lid with pictures, phrases and words.

As glue begins to dry pictures may bubble a little. Gently flatten with your fingers as it dries.

Tips:Travel magazines are perfect for making a vacation box. Look for advertisements with small pictures and fun phrases.

Try dirt bike and motorcycle magazines for the adventurous child.

Be sure to clean paintbrush out when you are finished or the glue will harden and ruin it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Think Thursday! Is it really an allergy?

I know a lot of moms out there who are always very quick to determine that their kids have food allergies. It seems nowadays, everyone has to have an illness or allergy! I found this small article in the September 2010 issue of Parenting magazine. Maybe it can clear up confusion for some.

Is it really an allergy?

May people who think they have a food allergy--or believe their child does--actually suffer from a food intolerance. Unlike an allergic reaction, an intolerance doesn't involve the immune system and can have several causes. People with lactose intolerance, for example, lack or have less of a digestive enzyme needed to properly break down dairy products. Here, some ways to tell the difference:

Signs your child likely has a food intolerance:

1. She can eat small amounts of the worrisome food without a problem.
2. Symptoms usually include nausea, belly pain, bloating, and diarrhea.
3. The reaction causes temporary discomfort.

Sign she may have a true allergy:

1. Often, even a small amount of the food can cause a reaction.
2. Symptoms include hives, swelling of the lips and face, difficulty breathing, and a severe drop in blood pressure.
3. The reaction can progress rapidly and be life-threatening.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wellness Wednesday! Hitting Your Stride

Learn how to burn more calories while walking. I found this article in Parenting magazine, September 2010 issue.

Hitting Your Stride

No matter how fit you are, walking is in your wheelhouse. Layrysa DiDio, Mom Squad fitness expert, tells you how to torch more calories and build more muscle with every walk you take. Find your level below and then, well, step to it!

Level 1: You already walk purposefully for exercise. Every five minutes on your route, do this drill:

Walking Lunges. Take a long stride forward and bend your front knee no more than 90F; drop your back knee to the ground. Switch and repeat 12 times.

Side Steps. Face sideways and sidestep for ten repetitions, turn and repeat, continuing forward on the path.

High Knees. Keeping your chest high, lift your knees up toward your chest as you step forward. Repeat 12 times.

Level 2: You walk as much as you can, but only as part of your lifestyle. Focus on increasing speed and power:

Pick a practiced partner. Walking with a buddy who is more in shape than you are will push you to work harder.

Push yourself. Time how long your usual treks take--then try to beat 'em!

Power walk. While walking, pitch your body forward slightly, clench your fists, and pump your arms, keeping your elbows close to your sides. Pull in your navel and tighten your abs.

Level 3: You only walk by necessity. (like to the bathroom or around the mall). Try to ramp up your motivation.

Keep it simple. Start with a doable goal of ten minutes per day, without worrying about pace or distance.

Buy a pedometer. You'll walk to best your previous day's steps--seriously, it's human nature.

Walk with a friend. Studies show that people who have support in their exercise goals are more likely to achieve them.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tips Tuesday! Organize your life for free (or close to it!)

In the "Live well for less" section of AllYou magazine, August 27, 2010 issue, there are tips on how to organize your lives very cheaply, or even free. Check it out!

Organize your life for free (or close to it!)

Try these no-cost ideas to say on top of cleaning, de-cluttering and maintaining your family's schedule.

Prevent Mail Madness: Taking care of the mail helps cut down on clutter, Keep a five-pocket sorter near your recycling bin, and as soon as the mail comes in, divide it into categories such as bills to pay, RSVPs and papers to file. Then, take all the extra envelopes and junk mail and toss them in the recycling.

Organize with Old Containers: Set aside empty spaghetti sauce and pickle jars to store small loose item such as ribbons, buttons and crayons. This keeps similar odds and ends together, and you can easily see inside the clear jars. Save money and recycle--it's a win-win!

Maintain Your Family Schedule Online: Use, a free site, to keep your schedule in order. It also has a shopping list tool, which is great because you can jot down products as you think of them.

Toss Items You Seldom Use: An important part of clearing messes is getting rid of stuff you don't need. Take two laundry baskets around the house. One is for stuff to throw away; one is for donations. Ask yourself, "Have I used this in the past year?" If the answer is no, put it in the basket.

Post Your Calendar in Plain Site: Highlight appointments in different colors for each family member on a calendar and then post it on the fridge. All of your information is in one location so you will never miss deadlines or engagements.

Simplify your Day With a Routine: Assigning tasks to certain days can help. Mondays do the kitchen, and Tuesdays and Wednesdays are bed and bath days. Thursdays do the floors and dusting and Friday is laundry day.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Myth Monday! 4 Lice Myths

With school in session, I think all mothers are at constant fear over lice. I found this article in Parenting magazine, Sept. 2010 issue that will calm those fears for us.

4 Lice Myths

Learn the truth about those little buggers (they're gross, but not as bad as you think!). Barbara Frankowski, M.D., a professor of pediatrics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, helps us bust common head-bug beliefs.

Myth 1: Lice are incredibly contagious.
Fact: It takes close, head-to-head contact for lice to spread, says Dr. Frankowski. Plus, lice can live on an object like a comb, hat, or pillow for only about 24 hours--a very small window of time.

Myth 2: Lice are resistant to the available treatments.
Fact: Many over-the-counter remedies usually work fine, insists Dr. Frankowski, as do homespun fixes. She recommends applying Cetaphil cleanser to the head and leaving it on overnight to suffocate the lice. Then shampoo, and comb out the dead pests. The key is to repeat whatever treatment you choose at least twice (a third time might be necessary), spaced a week apart, to ensure you get any eggs that may hatch in the interim.

Myth 3: If you child gets lice, you need to wash everything.
Fact: "It can't hurt to wash bedding and hats," says Dr. Frankowski, noting that one study found lice on only 4 percent of the pillowcases of infested people. "But you don't need to go to Herculean efforts to clean everything."

Myth 4: Lice are a sign of bad hygiene.
Fact: The tiny insects don't signal that your kid is "dirty," and they don't harm him in any way. Point is: Relax! If lice happen, you deal, and life goes on.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Something you may not know Sunday! "Um" Overload

Ever come across one of those kids who says the word "um" an awful lot? Thankfully, my kids do not do it because, to be quite honest, it drives me insane! Even worse when you have an adult who does it! I did come across this article under the "Ages & Stages" 10-12 year old section of Parenting magazine. Maybe this will explain why this happens so frequently for some and how it can be controlled.

"Um" Overload

It's like fingernails across a chalkboard: Every time your 10-year-old opens his mouth, he peppers his talk with "um," "uh," and other annoying fillers, Why does he, like do that? Because it's common among preteens, who, as they try out more sophisticated ways to communicate, use words like "um," "like," and "you know" while they figure out what to say next, says Joan Detz, author of Can You Say a Few Words? They also pick it up from other kids, of course.

There's nothing wrong with an occasional "um" or "you know," but if your child's speech is so overrun with such words that he's hard to understand, you'll want to help him cut down on them. That way, he'll express himself more confidently to teachers and other grown-ups, who'll be more likely to take what he says seriously. To help right speech wrongs:

Watch your own "ums". Kids pick up bad speech patterns from other kids-but your child could also be taking his cues from you. Let him hear you speak with clarity, confidence, and enthusiasm, and he'll more likely speak the same way.

Practice, practice, practice. Set a timer for one minute and ask him to tell you about his day, using as few crutch words as possible until the timer goes off. Tell him "Great job!" if he uses few or no fillers; try expanding the time as he improves.

Let him say it again. When you hear crutch words, wait until your child stops speaking, then gently ask him to start over, without the "ums." Explain that you'll understand him better. It'll help him focus on his thoughts and choose the right words.

Be his echo. Kids don't hear what they're saying wrong, so repeat it back. Say "Did you say 'Mom, I, um, want to, like, go to Paul's house?" This will help him become more aware of his speech.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Swap a Recipe Saturday! Apple Blossom Tart

I found this recipe on and am so anxious to try it! With the overabundance of apples still growing in the orchard, I am always looking for new apple recipes. Enjoy!

This tempting apple tart is a reminder that pie isn't the only way to showcase the best fruits of the season. Just think of a tart as pie's slimmer cousin. Both start with a rich pastry dough, but fruit tarts typically have less filling and no top crust. Some, such as this one, are made free-form and baked on a cookie sheet. To make a couple of smaller tarts like the one shown, simply divide the dough in half and split the filling between the two shells.



1 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup ice-cold water
2 tablespoons cold sour cream


5 large juicy apples, such as Fuji or Braeburn, peeled
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup apricot preserves
1 1/2 tablespoons plain bread crumbs
3 tablespoons apple jelly


First, make the dough: combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor, then scatter the butter pieces over the top. Pulse the machine 8 or 9 times, just until the butter is broken into fine pieces. Do not over-blend it.

In a measuring cup with a spout, stir together the water and sour cream. Drizzle the liquid evenly over the flour mixture. Pulse the dough for about 8 short bursts, just until large, packable crumbs form.

Dust your hands with flour. Turn the crumbs onto the counter and pack the dough together as you would a snowball.

Place the dough onto a large sheet of plastic wrap and flatten it into a 3/4-inch-thick disk. Wrap it in the plastic and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour

Get out a large, heavy cookie sheet, preferably one that's shiny and at least 14 by 16 inches in size. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit it and set the paper aside. Put the cookie sheet in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and place it on the parchment. Dust your rolling pin and the dough with flour as needed to prevent sticking, then roll the pastry into a circle roughly 13 1/2 inches across

Place the dough and parchment onto the sheet, and place the sheet back in the refrigerator. Move an oven shelf into the center position and heat the oven to 375°.

Make the filling: quarter and core 3 of the peeled apples. With a sharp knife, slice the apples thinly -- 1/8-inch thick or so. If a child is helping with this step, supervise her closely. Put the slices into a bowl and sprinkle them with the lemon juice. Toss the slices so they're coated and set them aside.

Quarter and core the remaining 2 apples. Cut them into1/4-inch-thick slices, then cut up the slices into fairly uniform 1/4-inch cubes. Place 2 1/2 cups of diced apples in a mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup of the sugar, the cornstarch, and the cinnamon, and stir well.

Put the apricot preserves in a small bowl and stir them briskly with a spoon to smooth out any lumps. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and dot it with the preserves. Use the back of a spoon to gently spread the preserves over the dough, being careful not to tear it. Sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly over the preserves.

Pour the diced apples onto the center of the pastry and spread them very evenly across the surface, leaving about a 1 1.2-inch margin of dough at the edge.

On top of the diced apples, arrange an overlapping row of apple slices in a circle, making sure the circle isn't as wide as the diced apples. (This way, the slices won't poke through the pastry when you fold it up.) Arrange a second circle of slices inside the first, then a third circle for the center of the blossom. Put the tart back in the fridge for 10 minutes to re-firm the pastry.

Remove the tart from the refrigerator and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly over the apples. Using the parchment to help you handle the dough, fold the dough in sections up and over the edge of the filling. The dough will form pleats naturally as you make the folds. If the dough tears, just pinch it back together.

Bake the tart on the center oven rack until it's golden brown and bubbly, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. At the 30-minute mark, turn the sheet 180 degrees so that the tart bakes evenly.

Remove the tart from the oven. Heat the apple jelly in a microwave until it melts, about 40 seconds. Use a pastry brush to paint the top of the apples with the jelly. Cool the tart on the sheet for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Makes 12 servings.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Freebie Friday! Pick up samples on the fly!

I love my freebies as I have said more than once in blogs. I found this small article on where to look for those freebies that are not out advertising themselves in the April 27, 2010 issue of AllYou magazine.

Not all freebies require signing up in advance. Remember these likely locales for on-the-spot handouts.

The Dentist's Office: If you hygienist or dentist doesn't offer you a free toothbrush, toothpaste or floss, there's no harm in asking.

At Games: Before planning a trip to the ballpark or ice rink, look up the schedule online. Many venues give away caps or other souvenirs on specified dates.

In Department Stores: Cosmetics and fragrance counters always let you sample products.

At the Doctor's Office: When your physician writes you a prescription, ask for a free sample of the medication. Doctors often have extras.

At Ice Cream Shops: Can't decide between strawberry or chocolate? Simply request a couple of itty-bitty bites to sway your choice.

In Cosmetic Stores: Sephora and the Body Shop have been known to offer a free lip gloss or lotion sample. There's no guarantee, but it's worth a shot to inquire.

At Events: Sign up for tastings at a local wine shop, or swing by an art gallery opening for a little culture along with some light appetizers and drinks.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wellness Wednesday! Eat Your Water!

It is so hard sometimes to get your kids to drink enough water. I always worry when they are outside for long periods of time that they are sweating it all out, but not taking nearly enough in. I found this article in the August 2010 issue of Parening magazine that gives you a few more "exciting" ideas on how to up your child's water intake.

Eat your water!

How do you keep your tag-playing, tree-climbing, cartwheeling little monkey hydrated on hot days if she's not keen on water? Offer her these foods, says Houston dietitian Roberta Anding, R.D..

Fruits and veggies: They contain 70 to 95 percent water, Try watermelon, strawberries, lettuce and cucumbers.

Make it fun! Freeze cups of applesauce for an icy summer treat.

Yogurt: Whether plain or fruity, it's 80 percent water.

Make it fun! Blend some frozen berries with plain yogurt for 10 seconds in a processor for a sorbetlike snack.

Oatmeal, beans, couscous, & pasta: These foods absorb more than 50 percent of their weight in water as they cook.

Make it fun! Serve cute pasta shapes--bow ties, wagon wheels, shells.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday! Reasons You're the World's Best Mom

I found this quirky little "Top Ten" list in Parenting magazine, May 2010.

Reasons you're the world's best mom

1. Just look at those gorgeous kids you made. And besides...

2. The necklace says so.

3. The mug says so.

4. The T-shirt says so.

5. The key chain says so.

6. The baseball hat says so.

7. Your kids say so--when they want something.

8. Your husband says so--when he wants you.

9. You mother-in-law doesn't say so, but what does she know?

10. Because we said so.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Giving Money Monday! 5 Reasons to Give your Kids an Allowance.

What are the rules when it comes to an allowance? Why should you start your kids on an allowance? These questions can be quickly answered in two articles that I read in Woman's Day magazine, September 2010 issue.

5 reasons to give your kids an allowance

If you're not already doing it, you may want to reconsider. An allowance can:

...teach them bout real life. Nothing beats an allowance for a hands-on course in values. Having their own money teaches them about responsibility, consequences, saving and charity.

...distinguish needs from wants. Do they really need that new PlayStation game or peace sign earrings? Having their own money makes them think harder about what to spend it on.

...put and end to the nickel-and-diming. You create a set budget item for yourself and stop that constant drip, drip, drip of money flowing from your pocket to random stuff for them. trustworthiness. By giving kids money to manage, you demonstrate that you trust them. And they soon learn that to keep the money coming, they need to become trustworthy.

...promote self-confidence. Just as it does for you, managing money has a magical result on their self-esteem. Teaching them how to give some of their own allowance to charity, save some for a long-term goal and spend some now gives them the tools of self reliance.

The other article is "What About the Kids?

When to start: There are no set rules. However, Janet Bodnar, author of Raising Money Smart Kids, suggests waiting until kids are old enough to manage their money and understand the concept, which is around the age of 6.

How Much?: Though many families use age to determine amount ($10 per week or month for a 10-year-old, for example), Bodnar suggests you think about how much money your child needs. A 6-year-old might only use a few dollars a week for ice cream or toys, while a 12-year-old will probably use more things like movies, snacks and games. According to a 2010 study by American Express, the average allowance is $12 a week, or $48 a month.

How Often?: Whether it's weekly or monthly, kids do better when you stick to a schedule. Younger kids tend to manage their money more effectively when they get it weekly, since out of sight often means out of mind, says Bodnar. For older kids, consider paying monthly so they can learn about budgeting.

Work for Pay?: Think about your goals when it comes to the allowance-for-chores quandary. "If your main goal is to teach your kids to manage money, give them a basic allowance with financial 'chores' attached, such as paying for their own collectibles," Bodnar says. If you also want to teach kids the value of working for pay, pay them for extra chores on a job-by-job basis.

What About Saving?: No matter what the amount, encourage kids to save a percentage (having their own bank account is empowering for them), set aside a percentage for charity (they'll learn the value of giving back), and spend the rest.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Something you may not know Sunday! Can kids be a little autistic?

There can always be a little confusion when it comes to your child's personality. Are they just shy? Backward? Could there be something else? I found this article in Parenting magazine, August 2010 issue.

Can kids be a little autistic?

If you've ever checked one or two of the boxes on your autism red-flag list, but then never bothered to speak to your pediatrician about it because your child didn't seem to exhibit any of the other symptoms, read on...

Recent research shows that for every kid who receives an actual autism diagnosis, there's another who has autistic traits--including repetitive behaviors and communication problems--but is not found to have the disorder. For a diagnosis to be made, a child must exhibit a certain number and severity level of these characteristics. "But lots of kids suffer from impairing autistic traits, even though they may not meet the full criteria," says Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D., chief science officer for the national advocacy group Autism Speaks. The good new is that there are excellent new treatment options for these kids. Follow your instincts, says Dawson, and talk to your pediatrician if you think your child has trouble in even just one of the following areas: "Parents are really good at recognizing symptoms early on. They just need to act on that gut feeling."


___Difficulty forming relationships with peers

___Doesn't show empathy toward others

___Inability to understand and participate in give-and-take activities like sharing toys.

___Trouble reading and responding to social cues

___Exhibits extreme distress over minor changes in routine

___Has an overly narrow area of focus when playing or a very restricted range of interests

___is significantly verbally or developmentally behind for his age

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Solutions Saturday! It Worked for Me!

I love reading about random solutions that people have figured out for everyday things in life. I found this article of great solutions in Parents magazine, December 2009 issue.

Paint Job: Children tend to draw on walls. For quick touch-ups, pour a small amount of paint from each room into the sections of a pill case. When you need to cover up your child's "art," you don't have to dig around for cans of paint.

Main Squeeze: Kids love to eat squeezable yogurt but struggle to get it all out. Put toothpaste squeezers on the tubes so they can push yogurt up by themselves and so they don't waste any of the yummy snack.

Band Together: To store your daughter's tiny hair accessories, buy bead boxes with safety locks so you don't have to worry about her getting inside.

Tooth Tip: Reuse small zip-top bags that house extra buttons on new garments for your kids' baby teeth. Date each bag and tuck it into a memory box.

Waiting Game: When you go to your pediatrician's office, you can often sit in the exam room for up to 15 minutes. To keep your kids busy, give them stickers to put on the exam-table paper, which they throw away.

Milk Believe: Some kids put up a fight when you try to get them to drink their milk so draw a picture of Frosty the Snowman, a child's favorite character, on the jug and call it "Frosty Milk." Now they'll drink it right away because they see Frosty on the container.

Take Cover: Carry along a silicone baking sheet to use as a place mat whenever you go out to eat. Because it's sticky, it stays in place on the restaurant table, and keeps your child's eating space clean especially if you have a toddler that eats straight off of the table. Plus you can roll it up quickly and stash in your bag.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Feel Good Friday! You've Got a Friend

There are so many things going on in every one's lives especially this time of the year. Do we pay enough attention to what is going on in our friends' lives? Are they in need of a pick me up or something just to say, "I'm thinking of you". I have some wonderful friends who do this for me :) I found this tiny article in the March 2010 issue of Parenting magazine.

Between the economy and, well, life, there's a good chance you've got a friend going through a rough time--a job loss, a divorce, a tough kid. But knowing how to help (and when to step back) isn't always easy. Consider these simple ways to offer support.

1. Bring coffee--and yummy doughnuts--in the morning.

2. Leave an encouraging note in her mailbox.

3. Take her kids for the day.

4. Squeeze her hand. Some moments need no words.

5. Go over just to gossip.

6. Burn a CD of her favorite tunes (or yours!)

7. E-mail an upbeat horoscope.

8. Rent funny movies to watch together.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Think Thursday! Copycat Cures

With 6 kids, I deal with a lot of tormenting from each child to another quite often. One of the very worst is the copycat game because it is just plain annoying! I found this article under the ages & stages: 5 to 6 years section of Parenting magazine, August 2010 issue. Check it out and do it quick because they are ready to start it up again!!

"Chandler, stop copying me," Taylor, 9, begged. "Chandler, stop copying me," chandler, 5 responded. The copycat game is a classic way for sibs to torment each other, says Debbie Glasser, Ph.D., founder of Finally, how to stop the parroting.

Tune it out: Kids this age realize they can use words to get a strong reaction from people and give themselves the upper hand. But if you ignore the behavior and the complaints, they'll lose steam fast. (Be sure to tell the child who's being copied to ignore his sibling, too, It may not be what he wants to hear, but it's still good advice.)

Look for patterns: Do they start up when they're bored before dinner? Stock up on joke books so they can play more productive word games instead.

Put it in perspective: Sibling fights are inevitable, and they're not always a bad thing: Your kids get a chance to practice resolving differences on their own.

Keep a sense of humor: If you can laugh about it later, laugh about it now.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wellness Wednesday! Exercise? When?!

I have heard it, you have heard it. Exercise! With so much going on in our lives, how do we have time to fit it all in? I found this small article in Parenting magazine, March 2010 issue that will tell us just how :)

We've heard the advice--just squeeze in bits of exercise throughout the day to see results. Um, when exactly is that supposed to happen? Parenting senior editor Deborah Skolnik put Mom Squad fitness expert Sharon Monplaisir to the test.

6:45 AM: Wake up, shower, get dressed for work. Work your arms and shoulders post shower, when muscles are loosened up from the hot water. Do two sets of five to ten standard full-body push ups (put your knees down if you're not quite there yet).

7:30 AM: Wake the kids and help them get dressed.

8 AM: Commute to work. Ab time: Pull your belly toward your spine; hold for 10 to 20 seconds (keep breathing!) Repeat four times.

9 AM to 6 PM: Work. Stretch your hips and legs while stuck at our desk. From a seated position, put your right ankle on top of your left knee and learn forward toward your legs. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds, then switch. Do three sets.

7 PM: Arrive home, make dinner. Got Milk? Grab one-gallon jugs and do two sets of bicep curls, 10 to 15 reps.

7:30 PM to 10 PM: Help kids with homework, put them to bed, watch TV. Do commercial-break cardio: Jump imaginary rope for one to two minutes. Next break, try lunges for at least one minute.

10:30 PM: Bedtime. Phew!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tips Tuesday! Sew A Button

Who can't sew a button?! Believe it or not, I have come across some who cannot! I learned in the 8th grade when I took Home Ec knowing that one day I would find use. Having 6 kids and a husband, I have found that I have sewn many a button! I found this "Everyday Things You Need To Know" article in Woman's Day magazine, April 17, 2010 issue.

Sew A Button

Step 1: Gather your supplies--the button, a needle, about 2 feet of matching thread and a pair of scissors. (Tip: To make needle-threading easier, cut the thread at an angle.)

Step 2: Thread the needle. Knot the ends together by making a loop and pulling the ends through. Knot once more.

Step 3: Locate your button's proper spot. Push the needle through the back of the fabric to the front, pulling the thread all the way. Slide the button down the thread to meet the fabric.

Step 4: Once your button is in place and the holes lined up, push your needle down through the opposite hole and out the back of the fabric. Repeat four times. Four-hole button? Use either the adjacent or diagonal hole (check to see how the other buttons were done). Move on to the next hole pair and repeat.

Step 5: Push needle up through the back of the fabric to the front, but not through any buttonholes. Pull button away from the fabric and wrap thread tightly around shank (the thread between button and fabric) six times.

Step 6: Push your needle through the shank twice; snip thread. Your button is repaired!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Money Saving Monday! Save Money on Canine Care

Having an animal can be very costly sometimes, especially if you choose to take in more than one of them! I, for one, am always trying to come up with ways to save on the little guys that are always a loyal best friend :) I found this great article in AllYou magazine, issue Aug 27, 2010.

Save Money on Canine Care

Spend less cash on your dog with these five tips

Go online for prescriptions: Pet-supply websites such as 1800petmeds. com buy medications in bulk from suppliers (vets usually purchase only enough to stock their office). That significantly lowers the cost of many medications.

Care for your pet's teeth: If you do regular dental care at home, you can stretch out the time between costly professional vet cleanings. Wrap some gauze around your finger and swipe your pet's teeth every day. And be sure to ask your vet if your pet needs a professional cleaning; gingivitis can damage the animal's kidneys, requiring expensive treatment.

Cut your pet food bill: Many owners overfeed their animals, leading to obesity. Consult with your vet about how much food your dog really needs. Feeding a smaller amount can improve your pet's health and save you money.

Don't skimp on prevention: You might think you're conserving cash by not giving your dog preventive medications such as heart worm tablets, but if you pup gets sick, you'll end up paying a considerable amount for treatment. Heart worm disease, for example, costs about $1,000 to treat.

Think about insurance: You can save a lot of money with pet insurance--the majority of companies cover 50 percent of your total vet bill (both procedures and medications). But more insurers won't cover a pet with a preexisting condition, so it's important to sign up your dog when it's still young and healthy.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Something you may not know Sunday! Smile!

After taking my kids to the dentist most recently, I always have questions when it comes to the health of their teeth. I found this article in Parenting magazine, August 2010 issue that may give any mom some insight on how to do it all right :)


Now that your kid has some permanent teeth, you really want to get serious about caring for them. Deborah Steden-Pavlovich, DMD, chair of pediatric dentistry at the University of Pittsburgh, tells how you can keep tooth decay at bay.

Spin It: Get her a battery-operated spin brush for more effective plaque-and bacteria-removing motion (a cheap model is just fine).

Brush to the Beat: Have your kid scrub along to her favorite song to get her to hang in there for the recommended two minutes.

Finish Up: If you child is younger than 8, do a final sweep with the brush after she's done to hit all the nooks and crannies--and especially the back molars.

Floss: Give your child a batch of colorful plastic flossers to encourage her to clean between her teeth. Even if she does only a few teeth a night it will help.

Say Cheese And Eat Some Too: The protein in it--casein--helps prevent tooth decay, so pass the cheese sticks. Another tasty idea: lollipops with xylitol, a natural sweetener that prevents plaque buildup. Try Dr. John's Candies ($8.50 a pound:

Be Snack Savvy: It's not just sugary foods you have to watch out for. Any starchy or processed high-carb food can get stuck in the crevices of teeth. Some surprising offenders: potato chips, whole-wheat bread, crackers, and cereal bars. Follow with a glass of water to rinse them out.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Swap a Recipe Saturday! Classic Apple Pie Recipe

I still have a tree producing apples in my yard and am very excited to try this recipe. Make some for yourself, take some to work...just don't let all those apples go to waste!

This recipe shows kids how to make a sweet cinnamon pie filling with a creative upper crust.

6 to 8 apples, such as Granny Smith, Cortland, Rome, or a local variety of tart apples
Juice of half a lemon
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
Flaky Piecrust
2 tbsp. butter, cut into chunks
Milk (for glaze)

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Meanwhile, show your child how to use a vegetable peeler to peel the apples. An adult (or older child who can handle a paring knife) can then core and slice the apples into 1/4-inch pieces. Place the apples (about 6 cups) in a large mixing bowl.

Next, pour the lemon juice over the apples and add the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour. Toss well. Spoon the spiced apples into the lined piecrust and dot with the butter.

A pie's top crust is as much art as food. For a lattice style, roll out the second disk of dough, cut it into 14 strips about 1/2 inch wide, and lay 7 of the strips across the pie, 1/2 inch apart. Working from the middle of the pie toward one side, fold back every other strip, then lay a cross strip across the remaining flat strips. Return the folded strips, then fold back the alternate strips and lay in the next crosspiece. Continue, creating a weave pattern. When one half of the crust is woven, repeat with the other side. Finally, use your thumb and index finger to crimp the edges. For a top crust, place the rolled-out dough loosely on top of the apple mixture. With the tines of a fork, make a decorative pattern around the edges. Next, cut pie dough ornaments, place on top of the pie, and cut slits in the dough to allow the steam to escape. Brush the top with milk for a glaze.

Place the pie in the preheated oven (lay a sheet of aluminum foil on the rack below to catch any juices). Bake for 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and you can see the juices bubbling. If the crust begins to brown before the pie is fully baked, cover it with foil.

Let the pie cool, then slice it into wedges. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a slice of Cheddar cheese. Serves 8.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Fun Idea Friday! 10 More Great Ideas for Great Summer Get-Togethers

Continuing on with #21-#30 of the 40 Fun Ideas for Great Summer Get-Togethers which I have been posting all summer. Still some summer left so take advantage :)

21. You don't need a pool or a fountain for have a water feature. Galvanized drink buckets with floating candles, flower head, or glass balls do the trick--a lot of impact for a little money.

22. Pack madeleine cookies, which are shaped like seashells, in cellophane bags, or fill votive candle holders with saltwater taffy or jelly beans in tropical flavors. Set one at each place setting as dessert or a sweet take-home gift.

23. For each table setting, cut the stem entirely off a huge mum and center the flower on the dining plate. Stand a place card up within the petals.

24. For some good old-fashioned fun, break out the lawn games. Croquet, horseshoes, and lawn bowling are good no-sweat options. Award prizes to the winners.

25. Load dog and burger fixings in a tote that goes from fridge to table and back again. Extra credit: Decant ketchup, mustard, mayo, and BBQ sauce into clear squeeze bottles.

26. For a no-stress centerpiece that looks good all season long, pot warm-season annuals in a low colorful bowl (6 inches tall or less that has drainage holes. I recommend a combo of geraniums and spotted deadnettle--the nettle for its chartreuse leaves and the geraniums because they're long bloomers.

27. Even dessert can take a turn on the grill. Place whole or sliced bananas, some butter, brown sugar and a splash of rum on large individual squares of foil. Fold and seal into packets and drill until bananas are soft and caramelized; serve with ice cream.

28. Upgrade a plain patio umbrella. Stencil on a random design using different colors of outdoor paint (find it at crafts stores). The same trick works on canvas director's chair covers and outdoor pillow covers.

29. Forgot to chill the wine? Try this new gadget: Ravi wine chiller ( It fits into the neck of the bottle and chills as you pour. PS: When stocking the wine bar, estimate about two glasses for each guest.

30. Instead of place mats, put each place setting on its own tray. It looks great, plus it makes cleanup so much easier. When dinner is done, just carry the whole tray from the patio table to the kitchen.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Think Thursday! When to Test for ADHD

I have had a number of mothers talking to me recently about wondering if their children are just really active or if there could be something else to it. Though I am not big on diagnosing everything in life, I came across this article in my Parenting magazine, Aug 2010 issue under the 5 to 6 year old column. Thought I would share it for those who are questionable.

When to Test for ADHD

You kid has a classic case of ants in the pants. And he never seems to listen or follow directions. You've been hoping he'll outgrow it, but you have a nagging suspicion that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be to blame. is it time to find out for sure? Consider these factors from Baltimore pediatrician Lawrence Pakula, M.D.

How many red flags do you see?
Hyperactivity and impulsivity are two signs of ADHD (although not all children with ADHD are hyperactive). But other symptoms include difficulty in paying attention, completing tasks, following directions, taking turns, remembering things, or sitting still (all of which can apply to most any kid). The key: Are they interfering with his ability to function?

Does he have other developmental issues?
If he's generally immature, he may grow out of his antsiness at his own pace, But if he has marked delays in motor, language, or other skills, you may not want to wait. Those delays may be tied to ADHD, but they also can be a sign of learning disabilities, and the earlier those are diagnosed, the better for your child. If ADHD runs in your immediate family, that's another good reason to test your child earlier.

What kind of school is he going to?
There's a stronger argument to wait on testing if you child is going to a low-key kindergarten rather than a highly structured environment. But either way, consider giving him three to six months to adjust. And try simple changes, too: An assigned seat at the front of the classroom or a behavior-intervention program may be all he really needs.

Is he falling behind? If he's lagging socially or academically, is constantly being reprimanded, or his behavior is unsafe (regular ER visits are a big clue), don't wait. Yorba Linda, CA, mom Debra Ann Afarian helf off on getting her son evaluated until fourth grade; by then, he was suffering from intense anxiety from ADHD-related school problems. Looking back, she says, "I wish we would have tested earlier."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What to do Wednesday? Get Wet!

Though we are moving into fall, we still have some really nice weather left to take advantage of! I found this nice family play article in the August 2010 issue of Parenting magazine.

Get Wet! Make a splash with these fun activities

Ball Blast: Use ropes to create a circle or square on your lawn. Place balls of varying sizes and weights inside. Give your child a hose and challenge her to push the balls out with the water in less than a minute.

Pool Ping-Pong: Float an inner tube in the center of the pool, then toss a bunch of ping-pong balls in the water. Kids who know how to swim unassisted can jump in, retrieve the balls, and try to toss them in the tube.

Balloon Babies: Fill up a water balloon and draw a face on it with a dark marker. Wrap it in a paper towel, then hand your kid (4 and up) his new "baby." See how long he can take care of it before it breaks.

Backyard Bath: Take advantage of a warm summer evening by bathing your baby (and older siblings if they're game!) outdoors. Fill a kiddie pool with water, bath toys, and bubbles, and turn a chore into a delight.

Spray of Light: Little Tykes can help you garden by watering plants with a spray bottle: give bigger guys the while hose (and expect them to get wet!). If it's a sunny day, show them how they can spot a rainbow in the mist.

Freeze!: Place plastic bugs, toy cars, or other small treasures in your cube tray, add water, and freeze. Then hand a piece of ice to your child (age 3 and up) and have her melt it in her hands until the prize emerges.