Saturday, March 28, 2009

Quick Tips for Hard-Boiled Eggs

Easter is around the corner, and so is the annual Easter egg decorating with the kids! I always used to have a problem with eggs cracking while they were cooking -- too many in the pot, rolling around... Well, I saw this tip on a cooking show once and I've tried it many times with great success. Next time you need to boil a large quantity of eggs, layer them in between a clean dish towel (preferably white or white-ish), fill the pot with water and let it boil. The towel cushions the eggs, they cook just as if the towel were not there, but they don't break as easily!

And "Gramby and Grandpa" always tell me (and I always need to ask -- now I can just read this post!) that for the perfect hard boiled eggs, you put the eggs into a pot of cold water, bring the pot to a boil, then turn the stove off, leave the pot's cover on, and let the eggs sit for 15 - 18 mins. Rinse the eggs in cold water immediately, and then you can put them in a container in the fridge until you are ready to use them.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mom's Microphones

My girls LOVE to perform -- if you've ever been to my house, you can vouch for this... They love to get up on the fireplace hearth and perform for an audience, they love to jump on my older daughter's bed and dance and sing, they love to get the step stool out of the bathroom and stand on it in the living room and sing. And their microphones? My older daughter grabs the Swiffer (mop) out of the closet and my little one grabs the (yuk!) fly swatter...

Recently though, my 8-year-old has been into using reusing materials -- boxes, bottles, toilet paper rolls, you name it -- and one night she showed me a microphone that she made out of stuffing a piece of paper towel into the end of an empty paper towel roll. She went off to school the next day, and I decided to surprise with my own version of a homemade microphone. I started by crumpling up a piece of paper towel and then wrapping that in a small piece of foil. I put that on one end of an empty paper towel roll, and and then I taped the bottom edges of the foil to the cardboard tube. Then, I covered the tube with a piece of black construction paper and taped that to hold it in place (this also covered and secured the bottom part of the foil). Voila! Very simple, very cute toy microphone -- and I made it all out of things that I had around the house.

I made 2 matching microphones -- one for each girl, of course -- and I surprised them with their microphones when my daughter got home from school that day, They just love them, and I haven't seen the fly swatter out of the closet since then -- yay!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Thinking Outside the Box!

My husband finally had time to put together my new treadmill yesterday, and I don't know who was more excited -- me about the treadmill, or my girls, about the big box that it came in! As soon as my husband took the lid off and flipped it over onto the floor, we both looked at the box top and saia, "Oh, THAT will be a boat!" And sure enough, within minutes the girls had claimed it for their own! At first, it was a big bed, then it was a fort, then a boat. They sat and had a snack in there, they played together, and for a little while they read together in there.

Honestly, we laugh about how when babies are little they are mostly interested in the tissue and the boxes as opposed to whatever gift might be inside. But, even as they get older, I find that my kids have a great time making all sorts of projects out of any box they can find. Shoeboxes become "Webkinz" condos, tissue boxes become mailboxes or cars -- my older daughter recently made quite the convertible for her dolls out of a tissue box. Looking for something to entertain the kids? Give them an empty box, some safety scissors, and some markers and let their imaginations run wild! And hey, it's a great lesson in the 3 "R's" -- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Update to Sobbing...

Hooray! As you can see, I have a new keyboard, so I am back in business! And, in addition to the new keyboard, we have some new (well not NEW, but newly reinforced!) rules for the computer desk -- no food, no drinks!! It was my girl's cup of water, but we all suffered together -- I could not get onto my blog or check my budget, and she could not get into Webkinz! $15 later at Staples, and we have a new (albeit Barbie-sized) Logitech keyboard. But we had not desire to spend a lot for a fancy keyboard -- just in case we forget the rules again...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sobbing Ov Spill'd H2O

OK, H2O spill'd on -- can U gu_ss? Missing half of m k_boad... B back soon!


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Safety First: Emergency Phone List

(Ok, so this picture doesn't have anything to do with this topic, but I was looking for a cute picture of my girlie on the phone - which I couldn't find - and I found this cute one instead!)

This is a simple thing to do and a great way to start preparing your children to handle emergency situations. As soon as your child is old enough to use the phone (i.e., the child can reach the phone, the child knows their numbers, etc.) make sure that you teach your child to use your phone! Back in the “olden days” when I was growing up, you picked up the handset of the phone and voila, it’s ready to go – just dial the number and your call goes through. Now, many of us probably have portable phones (I know we do) and you need to make sure that your child knows which button to press to get a dial tone on the phone. So, step one is to teach your child to use the phone.

Step two is to make an Emergency Phone List to post prominently in the house - near the phone, on the fridge, etc. - but post it somewhere that your child can easily find it and at their eye level so they can see it. You can do this by hand or I've done these on the computer, in a large, clear font that my child can read easily. Start with 911 and then list other important numbers like Mom and/or Dad's work numbers, cell phone numbers, Grandparents, Neighbor, Close Friend - anyone who would be available to help your child in an emergency.

If your child cannot read the names on the list, try posting pictures of the people next to their phone numbers.

And finally, practice using the phone with your child - have them call Grandma or Grandpa from time to time - it will be good practice for your child to ensure that they are able to use the phone in the event of an emergency. And I'm sure their grandparents will love to hear from the kids!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Safety First: Introduction

I once said to one of my family members, “I feel like I am a pessimist, constantly looking around and anticipating impending danger!” She replied, “You’re not a pessimist, you’re a MOM!”

As a parent, it is part of our “job description” to keep our children safe. And that’s a huge job! Keeping them safe can include anything and everything from dressing weather appropriately to putting plug covers in the electrical sockets to teaching them to look both ways before crossing a street. And those are just three examples out of at least 100! Some days I feel as though I am almost sheltering my children – not only do I want to protect them, but I also don’t want to scare them about possible dangers. Over the past couple of years though, I have had a shift in my thoughts about this. As my daughter gets older, instead of always sheltering her from danger, I am now trying to educate her and prepare her for handling dangerous situations.

Since this is such a huge topic, as well as such an important one, I am not going to try to limit myself to one post (and you know how long-winded I can be – whoa, would that be a long one!). Instead I am going to add this as a new topic and write posts about “Safety First” as things come up in my own children’s lives. And I hope that you will write comments and share your own experiences and what has and has not worked with your children. We can all learn together to find the best ways to keep our kids safe!

Monday, March 9, 2009

All Aboard!

I checked in on a blog that I enjoy (Cherry Hill Cottage), and the woman that does the blog posts nearly every day of the week. Well, checking in today, I noticed that her post (from yesterday?) was a picture of bananas on her counter. I told my husband, "Geez, I could post every day if I put things like that on my blog!" So, today's post is a picture of three monkeys ;) in the little caboose of the train at the Strong Museum. Nana treated us to a year's membership for Christmas this year (thanks, Nana!!) and when she was in town a couple of weeks ago she and I took the kids to play. Thought I'd use this excuse to post this picture of my girlies and I on the train.

Have a great day!

Friday, March 6, 2009

She Called!

Guess what? My girl just called! It sounded super loud on her end -- three Brownie troops in the background -- and she could hardly hear me, but she told me that she went on a trail hike and that she loved me -- what more could a mom ask for?

First "Big Girl" Sleepover!

Ugh... My 8 year old is on her first overnight away from home, and away from family! She's slept at Nana's, Grandpa & Gramby's, and on our last trip to Long Island, she had a sleepover with her cousin Julie over at Grandma's house. But those are all family -- tonight is the real deal! Her Brownie troop is having an overnight at the zoo and she has been so excited about this! Originally, I was supposed to go with her, but my husband is working late and I would have had to get a babysitter for my younger daughter. My girl and I talked about it and she was ok with me missing the "camp-out" -- her very good friend from school was going and her mom would be chaperoning. That made my girl feel comfortable and made me feel much better as well.

My little one and I went to drop her off at the zoo tonight around 5:30 and as I was saying goodbye and hugging her tight, I found that I was getting choked up and had tears in my eyes. It was hard to hand my girl over, even though I know she'll be safe and well taken care of. I had tried over the past few days to make myself feel better about not going, by telling myself, "She'll get there, she'll be with her friend, she won't notice that I'm not there!" Well, just as I predicted, she and her friend were running around and around, super excited and it was definitely, "Mom, who?" And you would think that that would be a relief -- you know, that she'll have a great time and not be missing me like crazy? Yeah, no. (There's just no pleasing me, I tell you!) :)

But before the tears could roll out of my own eyes, my littlest girlie started sobbing for her sister and saying, "I want my Lulu back!" I felt terrible for her, but on the plus side, it stopped ME from crying -- I think the other parents and kids would have thought I was a nut! And "Lulu's" friend's mother who was braving the sleepover came over and asked to put my phone number in her cell phone in case my girl wanted to call me later, which was really thoughtful! I won't be disappointed if she doesn't call tonight -- they had an incredibly busy schedule for a camp-out that lasts from 5:30pm to 9:00am -- REALLY, I won't be disappointed! ;)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Little Daredevil

My sweet baby is a little angelface masking a daredevil! She really has shown that she has quite her own daring (albeit entertaining) personality, but today she tried to elevate daring to a whole new level! We were buzzing about doing our own things this morning, getting ready to go and visit family and run some errands, and my littlest girlie was entertaining herself quietly - or so it seemed! I believe she was actually formulating a plan to have some fun of her own... She took the lid off of a faux-leather storage ottoman that we have in the living room (filled with toys, of course) and carried it to the top of the family room stairs. Mommy caught her as she set it down at the top of the stairs (slippery side down, of course!) and she was just starting to climb on top of it when I caught her in the act. She was about to go sledding down the stairs!! I may have to put a bell on her, so she can't sneak around so quietly! ;)