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A Story About Expectations and Being A Kid

17 Oct

My son is playing on a travel ice hockey team.  Most of the time my husband and I are split up managing the kids and the activities and I’m not able to see him play. But last month I was excited that we “traveled” as a family to nearby Queens to watch him play.

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I actually felt a bit anxious as the moments got closer to the game, and busied myself snapping away photos…what I do always!

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When we got home I was taken by one photo in particular and asked my son about it.

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“This was right before you went on the ice” I said to him, “were you nervous about the game?”  He said, “No mommy, I was just staring at the Zamboni.”

He wasn’t nervous!  I was nervous!  Hockey is his passion.  It’s about having fun.  So here I was projecting my adult feelings about the game onto him when he was just being a child, being mystified about the big truck on the ice. :)

What a great lesson for me!  I want to look at this photo forever, slow down time, and remember that he’s still my little boy. :)

 

Microwave Fudge

9 Jun

Need a quick dessert?

My buddy posted this recipe on Facebook last night and it was perfect timing.  I have to bring a dessert to work and it’s pouring out so I don’t feel like shopping.  But with this easy and simple recipe I already have all of the ingredients…total prep and cook time is 5 minutes and it is ready in 15 minutes!!!

I cut the pieces nice and small because the fudge is sooo rich!

I cut the pieces nice and small because the fudge is sooo rich!

Ingredients:
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:  In a microwave safe bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar and cocoa. Pour milk over mixture and place butter in bowl. Do not mix. Microwave until butter is melted, 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla and stir vigorously until smooth. Pour into prepared 9×9 dish. Chill in freezer 10 minutes before cutting into squares.

Tips: Mix up the sugar and cocoa well to avoid lumps. I lined the prepared dish with aluminum foil to make it easier to remove the fudge.  I also kept it in longer than 10 minutes!

This recipe could not be easier! It’s a keeper :)

Kiss My Face New Sun Care for 2014

22 Apr

I’ve been posting about the fact that we just got back from Florida where, though, I LOVE it, I’m always concerned about how to protect my little fair-haired beauties from the sun!!!

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I had an opportunity to test out some of the sun care products from Kiss My Face and was pleased! First off we’ve hit a milestone in this family because the kids are able to pretty much apply their own sunblock and then help one another.

Kiss My Face has introduced a new any angle Air Powered Spray™ that delivers sunscreen without the use of chemical propellants…ideal for hard to reach areas, like behind the legs.  With the new Kiss My Face Kids Sun Care Collection, kids can protect their skin all summer long with formulas that effectively block harmful UV rays with the use of Antioxidant Defenders™ that are free of parabens, oxybenzone and artificial fragrances.  Whether mastering the biggest cannonball or setting up shops for the best lemonade stand, summer’s possibilities are endless thanks to Kiss My Face.

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Kiss My Face Kids Defense™ with Air Powered Spray™ SPF 50

  • Quick and easy application for hard to reach places with any angle Air Powered Spray™
  • Formulated with a unique blend of Antioxidant Defenders™ for advanced protection
  • $16.99 for 6 oz

 Kiss My Face Kids Defense™ Mineral SPF 30

  • Natural mineral sunscreen with Antioxidant Defenders™ for extra fun in the sun
  • Gluten free and biodegradable
  • $14.99 for 4 oz

 Cool Sport™ with Any Angle Air Powered Spray™ SPF 50

  • Provides fast drying, any angle  Air Powered Spray™ protection
  • Combines a blend of Antioxidant Defenders™ including chamomile, Vitamins C and E, with aloe and cucumber to instantly hydrate and cool skin
  • $16.99 for 6 oz

I was surprised at the ease at which the kids were able to apply the sunblock and the protection in the hot Florida sun was great.  And I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for products with more protection and fewer chemicals!

Kiss My Face products are available at Whole Foods, Natural Supermarkets, KissMyFace.com and natural thinking retailers nationwide. 

Samples provided for review

 

Do You Coupon?

19 Jan

I love the idea of saving money but couponing is not entirely appealing to me because I lack the time, patience and organization. So to make it doable I have a low-key way if couponing. Essentially I coupon only at CVS and occasionally Target when I see a deal I can’t pass up.*

I’ve been running to CVS every Sunday after I get the coupons from the paper and I shop solely based on the ECB (extra care bucks) specials of the week. When I get home my husband gets so excited with the stash. And yes we now have quite the stash of shampoo, cold medicine, deodorant, lotion, Chapstick, and feminine products! He has it all organized in our basement in preparation for the apocalypse 😉.  Seriously though, he thinks it is amazing and urged me to blog about it.

Here is Sundays’s haul.

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I purchased all of this for around 7 bucks.  Wanna know how?

First you’ll have to get yourself a free ExtraCare card at CVS and delivery of your Sunday paper for coupons.  On your first shopping trip you’ll make an initial investment of about 20 bucks or so because you won’t have any ECBs to spend.  Moving forward you will have them for each trip.  Before you head out you’ll want to check out the CVS circular, your Sunday coupons AND sites that can help you cheat like Living Rich with Coupons and Passion for Savings. These sites literally zero in on the best deals and can generate a list that you take right to the store.  And they do these for every store that exists if you really want to go crazy!

Only purchase items that are on sale and which will generate ECBs.  All of the above items did and I had coupons for all of them except the lip balm and milk.  I also used  ECBs from last weeks trip.  Though I spent around 7 bucks I made 11 ECBs so really you can’t go wrong!

Do you think I’m absolutely nuts at this point or are you a crazy couponer too?!

*Target deal from last week was 2 Children’s Triaminic cold medicines for 10 dollars.  I had 2 coupons…one for 5 off and one for 3 off two bottles and then Target was running a promotion for 5 dollar gift card when you buy 2 bottles.  It was a money-maker for me!

New Year Means New Goals–Some Tips

8 Jan

resolutions
It’s that annoying time of year for us regular gym goers when the parking lot becomes mobbed and the gym gets a little more crowded. By February the crowds seem to wane, with resolutions already falling to the wayside.

It’s gotten me thinking a lot about this whole resolution thing which is really goal setting in general. There’s my husband, who when I asked him on New Year’s what his resolutions were, said, “I don’t need a special day to make resolutions!”

I have a lot of limitations, but once I set my goals I’m pretty good at getting them done. For me, it’s the setting part that’s the hardest. Take the gym for example. I wouldn’t even go tour the one I was going to join (I could barely even think about it either) until I felt I was READY to join because I have the personality that is once I start something I MUST FINISH (or I simply don’t start).

I went to grad school right after college while some of my friends took a break before going to grad school. I did it this way because I knew that if I didn’t go straight through I never would go at all.

Where am I going with this?

When YOU think about setting goals for yourself consider who you are and what is really attainable for YOU.

In terms of the goal you set, make it: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, trackable.

Think about: WHAT you want to accomplish, WHEN you want to accomplish it, WHERE you want to accomplish it, WHO may be involved in helping you, HOW you are going to reach it, WHY you want to accomplish it.

As an example…we all hear people say “I’m going to get healthier in the new year.”  This is a wish.  Some goals based on this wish could look something like this:

I am going to eliminate all soda from my diet and replace it with water.  I am going to walk 20 minutes/day 2-3 week and I’ll ask my buddy to join me.  I’m going to fully commit to this for one month because my health is most important.  I’m setting a great example for my children.  At the end of the month I will evaluate my progress and set new goals for February.

What are YOU hoping to accomplish this year?

Reading Time

29 Sep

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Over the past couple of weeks I attended all three kids back to school nights.  One of the messages that came across loudly is how important and how much reading needs to be happening on a regular basis.  So, we’ve really been trying to make it a daily routine in the house…after homework, after dinner, after all activities and sometime before bed.  It’s almost a bigger challenge to accomplish than homework, but once the kids settle into it, they look so cute!

Do you have any tricks to get your kids reading on a regular basis?

Entertaining Kids (and Eating) in Boca Raton, Florida

7 Apr

We just completed our annual trip to Boca Raton for Easter to visit with my in-laws and to enjoy some spring break time away.  I just love it.

First you all know I am such a warm weather loving person and that the beach IS my place of utter peace and harmony.  This is our one yearly getaway so we really all look forward to it and hate when it flies by all too quickly.  And really what was once a really tough travel trip has turned out to be doable now that I have two 7-year-old and one 5 year old…a big difference from two 3 year olds and one 2-year-old!!!

So obviously we spent tons and tons of time at the beach in Boca.  We pretty much had one all to ourselves…

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The next best thing to the beach is the pool!

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As much as the kids love the beach and the pool,  (and literally had to be dragged in by their fair-haired ears each day) they all insist that we visit some of their favorite spots while we are in Boca.

The first one is Gumbo Limbo Nature Center which is right down the road from us.  Kids learn about endangered plants and animals and get to see turtles and other sea creatures.  It is a huge property where we hike around and they love to climb to the top of a structure each year where we try to spot their grandparents home.

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me out of breath!

I have photos of them as babies on these turtles!

I have photos of them as babies on these turtles!

I love it because we can still be outside while visiting Gumbo Limbo and you know I don’t want to step one foot out of that gorgeous Florida sunshine.  Similarly, we can be outside while visiting another spot, Sugar Sand Park. This is a vast park with many amenities.  We explore only a few, like the carousel…

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They all meet the height restrictions this year which means they can go on adult free…happy news for someone like me who tends to get dizzy while standing still!

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There is also a fabulous playground with structures the kids can climb through and areas where they can get can wet.  They love the playground and talk about it throughout the year.

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As if all that isn’t enough, just a few steps away and we enter a FABULOUS children’s museum that’s as great as any we’ve been to…there are two large fully interactive rooms that the kids could literally be entertained in all day long.

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Because this museum satiates our museum needs we’ve never visited but I’ve heard there’s the Boca Raton Children’s Museum as well.

As for eating, oh man, I ate way too much and went way too long without kick boxing!  A few of our favorites include Pizza Time.  You know as New Yorker’s we are very snobby about our pizza, but our visiting Boca tradition is to stop at Pizza Time right after we arrive because the pizza is that good.  There is something about the sauce and the thin crust that has us all loving it (and believe me we are all pizzaed out after eating it two weeks straight during Hurricane Sandy so that’s saying a lot!)

We tried Matteo’s for the first time which was a bit fancy for the kids but they did great.  And, my son has realized his newfound love for fried calamari which he has asked me to pack it for his lunch tomorrow (“Squidward tastes good mom!”) :)

We always go to Duffy’s because it’s very kid friendly and on Wednesdays kids eat free and they have a balloon guy roaming around.

My husband salivates all year for the place we go to the day after we arrive for lunch which is Baja Cafe.  It is the best Mexican food we eat anywhere and we wish we could find a place like this in NY.  Seriously I drool as I type!!!

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On our last night my in-laws sent me and the hubs to dinner without kids to New York Prime.  I’m not a steak eater but my husband enjoyed his and my salmon was great….place was very expensive though…we would have been just as happy going out in flip-flops to Baja Cafe again :).

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Have you ever been to Boca Raton, Florida?  What have I left out?

Daisy Darling

13 Feb

It wasn’t too long ago that my big girl was in kindergarten and starting Girl Scouts as a Daisy.

Well the little one seems to be enjoying it as much (AND is donning the SAME vest because I’m a cheap mom).
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When I came to pick her up this week she was having a Valentine’s cookie snack and letting her Valentine’s craft dry. She had that look on her face that always makes me wonder what’s going on inside and on the outside I was smitten with her whole look which of course always includes rainbow attire!

I am pleased that my girls enjoy the Girls Scouts as I think it’s a great way for them to connect with friends and community within an educational, fun and charitable context.  (That Valentine’s craft was also a lesson on recycling!)  Boy Scouts was a little more intense and my son is no longer participating.

What kid extracurricular activities do you love?

Successfully Coping With an Egg Allergy

10 Jan

In the roughly 7 years since I became a mother I have been to the emergency room 7 times with the children coping with various afflictions, some minor and some major.  But my 7-year-old daughter, god bless her, is probably the one who has had to deal with the most, out of the three, pertaining to her health.

I told you about her febrile seizure.  She also received eye care at a very early age, and continues to,  for strabismus.  But the medical issue she deals with on a daily basis is her allergy to eggs.

When she was a toddler she vomited frequently.  Doctors surmised it was viral but my gut told me differently.  She also was often congested and developed eczema so at her 2-year-old physical I asked the pediatrician to run some allergy blood work.  I have terrible allergies and asthma for which I receive allergy shots so I thought her congestion was related to dust or other environmental allergens.

I was completely shocked when her blood work came back positive for an egg allergy (egg white to be specific) but at the same time it all clicked.  My twins ate waffles every day for breakfast.  I felt like the worst mother.

After shock I felt overwhelmed.  We had to eradicate eggs from her diet!  What would she eat!?

But when the dust settled, I realized there are many worse food allergies and I became thankful it was just eggs.  If you think about it, eggs are really only prevalent in breakfast and dessert foods.  Pasta and breads for the most part are egg free (except challah, egg bagels, egg noodles and some homemade fresh pastas).  Most boxed cookies are okay.  It’s the fancy bakery ones that contain eggs.

Here is an official listing of examples of egg products or foods that contain eggs:

Egg Products Egg-Containing Ingredients Egg-Containing Foods
EggsEgg whites

Egg yolks

Dried eggs or egg powder

Egg solids

AlbuminGlobumin

Livetin

Ovalbumin

Ovomucin

Ovomucoid

Ovovitellin

Phosvitin

EggnogBavarian creams

Breaded foods (some)

Cake

Candy (some)

Caesar salad dressing

Cookies (especially chocolate chip)

Creamed foods

Cream pies

Cream puffs

Crepes

Custard

Doughnuts

Egg rolls

Egg noodles

Frosting

Hollandaise sauce

Ice cream

Mayonnaise

Marshmallows

Meat or fish cooked in batter

Meringue

Muffins

Pretzels (some)

Pudding

Simplesse (fat substitute)

Soufflés

Tartar sauce

Waffles

Some wines

Anything fried or batter-fried

The allergist when my daughter was 2, told me she would likely outgrow the allergy by age 5.  Unfortunately she hasn’t.  So we just continue to eradicate eggs from her diet.  This is no longer really a challenge because she has a natural aversion to foods with eggs which fascinates me.  She is not interested in egg free waffles, egg free cakes, etc.

She has adjusted beautifully and doesn’t consider her allergy an impediment at all.  What I thought was going to be very challenging was not because my daughter is such a trooper.  I bought Ener-G egg replacer initially but later learned that I could substitute 1/4 cup of applesauce for each egg required while baking cakes, cookies and cupcakes.  (nothing, however, worked well replacing eggs in brownies so she doesn’t eat them.)  I used to carry around a handy egg allergy diet list like this in my wallet.

I keep a stash of egg free cupcakes in my freezer which my daughter used take to parties (um that is when her mother could remember!).  She also used to have a supply at school. She doesn’t care so much anymore.

I began writing this post in 2010 (!) to help support and educate others who may be as overwhelmed as I initially was…are you dealing with any food allergies in your home?

How I Spoke to My Children About the Sandy Hook Tragedy

16 Dec

sandy hook

Like so many, I’ve hard time processing the horrific events of this past Friday. 26 people gunned down, 20 of whom are children (around my children’s ages) is so hard to comprehend. One of the first questions I grappled with was how to communicate with my children.

For me, it wasn’t a choice of whether or not to tell them.

They are bright and inquisitive 7, 7 and 5 year olds who are very tuned into the world. Children are a lot more aware than we perceive them to be. I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep them from hearing about the horror so I wanted it to come from me. Experts will say to start this conversation by finding out what the kids have heard. It was too early for mine to have heard. Here’s how it went for us.

I decided to talk to them while we were in the car en route to an activity. Car rides are an excellent time to speak with kids. There are fewer distractions and sharper attentions.

I used simple language without too many details. Along the lines of…”a very bad person did something terrible…”

I told them the truth without over sharing. They had a lot of questions…some I answered and others I didn’t.

I reinforced that they are safe and that this kind of thing doesn’t happen very often. I didn’t tell them this wouldn’t ever happen. I told them I felt confident in their schools keeping them safe. They shared that they participate in “lockdown drills” and that was good reinforcement of some of the safety measures in places in their lives.

I encouraged them to tell me if they have questions or feelings about the information I presented, whether in the moment or anytime. You’ll read a lot about kids feeling stressed and scared. Some kids may be more vulnerable, others might just seem to move on. Remember most kids are self-centered. Whatever the feelings are that are presented to you the parent, it is important to acknowledge them and reassure your child.

On Saturday my kids saw me watching the news about it. I let them watch for a minute then decided to turn it off as the news about this is very overwhelming. My daughter said she heard some info on her radio that morning so I was glad that we had already spoken about it.

You may have seen this wisdom being passed around from an icon in my childhood, Mr. Rogers. I think it’s great advice:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”

It’s also important to empower your kids to feel useful during trying times. In our case, my daughter came up with a brilliant idea on her own. She wants to write a letter to the students at Sandy Hook (912 Dickinson Dr., Sandy Hook, CT 06482). I’m very proud of her. :)

Did you speak to your children, and if so, how did it go?

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