Monday, September 17, 2012

Favorite Fall Foods

Autumn brings the changing colors of leaves as well as pumpkins, apples, and butternut squash.


Pumpkin is orange which tells us it's high in beta carotene which helps keep eyesight sharp. It's also heart healthy because it's full of potassium. One cup of pumpkin has 30 calories.

Apples are a crisp, white-fleshed fruit with a red, yellow or green skin. Apples have a moderately sweet, refreshing flavor and a tartness that is present to greater or lesser degree depending on the variety. They are a good source of fiber and Vitamin C. One serving contains 81 calories.

Butternut squash gets its name because it's sweet, flavorful and rich. It is full of fiber, beta carotene, and Vitamins A and C as well as manganese and potassium. One cup of butternut squash has 63 calories. The following recipe is a great way to serve butternut squash.

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Finding a Trusted Caretaker

I’ve alternated between being a stay at home mom and a working mom throughout different stages of my son’s life.  For the first five year of his life I was mostly home, working in a restaurant on the weekend nights so I could be home with him the rest of the week.  Then I was a preschool teacher from his kindergarten year until he was about ten years old.  Those hours were perfect because I would work while he was at school and get out right as he got off the bus, if I had to work while he was off of school he could just come to work with me.  Then I was a stay at home mom for two years before returning to work full time this past October.   Although I absolutely love my job, finding care has been very stressful.  I’ve been pretty lucky so far because my son played on his middle school soccer and then basketball team and would have practices and games after school most of the time HOWEVER the days he didn’t have practice I would almost have a nervous breakdown trying to find someone to get him after school.  Plus he’s decided he doesn’t want o play baseball anymore so I now have zero after school care for him.  He is old enough to stay at home sometimes but I really don’t think he’s ready to be home alone after school for three hours every day.  Plus summer is coming up and I have no idea what I’m going to do with him for 60 hours a week (fulltime job plus commute time).  I have literally been PRAYING for an answer. 
Then I lucked out and came across which is basically a website that brings babysitters and parents together.  There are lists of babysitters and nannies so you can browse and look who you think would be right for you.  The part I loved is that you can see background checks as well as recommendations from other parents.  You can also see pictures, ages, experience, education, and hourly pay as well as a little area where they can tell about themselves.  I liked that because I know the mother of a quiet baby girl would be looking for something totally different than a mom like me who is looking for someone to care for her wild sporty older boy.
A few other benefits include being able to see which days and times each babysitter is available, which extra duties they are willing to offer such as light housekeeping, meal preparation, errands, grocery shopping, travel, crafts, swimming supervision, and carpooling.  They also include if they are trained in first aid, CPR, CRN, Doula, Special Needs Care, and Trustline Certified.
I’m going to be reviewing these profiles to find someone parttime now so that my son will be used to his caregiver by the time summer rolls around and they have to spend more time together.  I may even find someone he likes enough to spend a Friday night with so that I can have a date night!  I’ll let you know how it goes!

If you want to check it out for yourself just enter your zip code above to start searching!

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Friday, June 29, 2012

Italian Chicken Dish

Chicken thigh & breast cut into 1/4 pieces (about 20 pieces)
1 pound Sicilian green olives-crack them
3/4 full small bottle of Capers
1 pound Italian black olives
1 bulb of garlic peeled and squeezed
Fresh parsley
Oregano to taste
1 cup wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup cut up onions

Fry chicken in olive oil enough to brown surface.  Put in roasting pan.
Blanch celery, carrots, and onions.  Put into roasting pan.
Combine olive oil, wine vinegar, parsley, garlic and pour over chicken.  Must be enough at the bottom of pan to cook through the chicken.

Cook at 325 degrees for approximately 1/2 hour uncovered.  Mix every so often.  The longer the chicken is cooked, the crunchier it is.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Best Friends Help Improve Your Child's Health, Researchers Say

While you may be concerned about cutting out overly processed foods in your child's diet and making sure that he or she stays active to promote overall good health, what you may be needing to do is make sure that your child spends quality time with his or her best friend, especially when your child is down in the dumps. This is because according to a new study, having a bestie around when something "stressful" or "unpleasant" happens to your child can actually positively affect your child's mental and physical state.
A team of Canadian researchers from Concordia University tested more than 100 fifth and sixth graders, evenly divided by gender. What they discovered was that when a child was scolded by a teacher or got into a disagreement with a fellow classmate, the test subjects were less likely to release cortisol if they're best friend was near them. Cortisol is a stress hormone that while typically associated with health complications in adults (makes sense— adults are the ones to get stressed out more often) an excess of cortisol in children has staggering long-lasting effects: it can ultimately stunt development and growth as well as weaken the immune system.
The stress hormone is also linked to low self-esteem—too much can make children have a lower sense of self-worth, according to researchers. And naturally, low-self esteem can lead to more severe disorders like depression and eating disorders in the future.  So it's important to have a balanced level of cortisol as a child.
An earlier Concordia study even linked higher levels of cortisol to behavioral issues in young children. Those with too much cortisol were more likely to disrupt classrooms and be mischievous.
So if you have some bad news to tell your child or if he or she comes home upset because they didn't have a valentine this year, it might be best to invite his or her best friend over to cheer him or her up—their health depends on it. Not to mention that having friends can help children become more sociable (which can help them later on in life) and can even help them deal with bullies, some studies say.
The study, which is officially titled "The Presence of a Best Friend Buffers the Effects of Negative Experiences," is published in the journal of Developmental Psychology.
This guest post is contributed by Katheryn Rivas, who writes on the topics of online universities advice.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id:

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Keep Your Kids Safe

One of the things we worry about the most as parents is keep our kids safe. We see so many instances in the news of the kidnappings and killings of children, of serial molesters and rapists, and of the rampant use of child porn.

Here are some scary facts:

· Over 2,100 children go missing every day, that’s one child every 40 seconds.

· 1 in 6 boys is sexually abused before the age of 16.

· There are 728,345 registered sex offenders in the United State.

· The re-arrest rate of convicted child molesters is 52%

Now I don’t think we need to live in constant fear because that would not allow our children to develop properly but I do think that we, as parents, need to be aware. One great tool to help with that is to sign up at

If you sign up you will be able to:

1. Search, map, and view complete sex offender profiles.

2. Receive an instant email alert when a sex offender moves into your monitored area.

3. Safely monitor your children online.

4. Use their Emergency Response Profiles if your child is lost or abducted.

5. Learn your city’s true crime rate.

6. Use their learning center to stay up to date with critical child care information and resources.


Empower yourself to protect your children!

*I am a Kids Live Safe affiliate. 

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Fun Food

When you have a picky eater you’ll do ANYTHING to get them to try something new. One fun way to get kids interested in unfamiliar foods is by making the presentation exciting. If they are marveling at the creative design you made out of their meal they are more likely to try some, even if it’s just a bite or two. It many cases it’s a breakthrough if they even allow a new food on their plate. The point isn’t to get them to chow down on the new food; it’s just to acquaint them with it. The next time you serve that food it will be a little more familiar. The more familiar and nonthreatening a new food it the more likely your picky eater will take a nibble, or at least let it within arm’s length of their mouths.

Do you ever create designs out of food for your kids?

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Paint Swatch Calendar

One day I was browsing through Pinterest, when a picture of a paint swatch calendar caught my attention. Although I never actually ended up looking at the blog to see how it was done, I winged it and came out with this guy instead!

What You’ll Need:
-          Paper cutter (scissors work fine but the cutter speeds up the process)
-          X-acto knife (if you don’t have the paper cutter)
-          Ruler, pencil, scrap paper (for calculating measurements)
-          Paint swatches of your favorite colors
You’ll be cutting the swatches into 35- 2” x 2” squares, plus 7- 1” x 2” rectangles, so make sure you get enough!
-          Rubber cement or glue stick
-          A 16’ x 20” frame
-          1 piece of poster board (I stuck with a neutral – very light beige – it’ll be your calendar’s background)
-          Acrylic paint for the frame

-          First I ended up painting my frame. I chose a dark espresso brown that would blend with the swatch colors. This is the frame before it was painted.

-          Paint swatches - I ended up getting my colors at a local Wal-Mart (the Glidden paint brand). These swatches were on the large size, and when I got them I knew I could get two squares out of each one. I kept my color scheme rather neutral, and settled with three shades of three different colors – beige, pink, and blue.

   -  I cut off each of the color names first, which let me know exactly how much of the remaining swatch I was dealing with. It was over 4 inches, so I proceeded to measure out the first 2 inches, slice it, and then another 2 inches, and slice it. Then I picked up those pieces, turned them, and cut them.

-          Lay out your colors in whatever pattern you choose. I stuck with a repeated fading look, and spaced each swatch ¼” .

-          After this was finished I realized I still had some extra swatches, and decided to make seven 2” x 1” rectangles where I could write the days of the week. This is completely optional, but it was real quick and makes for a nice addition to the calendar.

-          To make the background of the calendar, use the frame’s glass to trace. Cut it out.

-          Before we can go ahead and glue on the swatches, we have to do some math to make sure the calendar will be centered:
o   Your frame is 20” wide
o   There will be seven columns of 2” x 2” swatches, altogether 14”.
o   There will be six gaps that are each ¼”. .25 * 6 = 1.5”
o   So lengthwise, you will be using (14 + 1.5) = 15.5” of space.
o   20” – 15.5” = 4.5”
o   4.5” / 2 = 2.25”, the amount of space that will be on either end of the frame. Lightly mark two lines, both 2.25” from the sides of the paper

-          The last bit will tell us how much space for the top and bottom of the frame:
o   Your frame is 16” high
o   There will be five columns of 2” x 2” swatches, altogether 10”
o   There will be four gaps that are each ¼”. .25 * 4 = 1”
o   If you choose to add the swatch for the days of the week, I gave a ½” gap between that and the 2” x 2” swatch. Add that to the 1” height, and you get an additional 1.5”.
o   Height-wise, the calendar will take up 10 + 1 + 1.5 = 12.5” of space.
o   16 – 12.5 = 3.5” of leftover space.

-          You want more space at the top of the calendar to write the month. With your pencil, lightly mark a line that’s 2.5” from the top, and another that is 1” from the bottom.

-          Now you’ll be able to see you have a faint (centered!) border for your calendar. Using rubber cement or glue stick, begin to lay each swatch just how you had it on your draft. Make sure the gaps are ¼“ on the sides of the swatches, and you’ll start seeing your calendar take form.

-          After you’ve glued everything down on the poster board and the pieces are dry, dust it off (I’m static-y lately so I was cleaning it for a while!!) I Windex-ed the glass probably three times before I mounted it, and voila! The only thing that’s left is to expo that calendar up and put it to use!

Before Writing

Paint Swatch Calendar

Now it's an official calendar!

By Danielle Lamoureaux
Follow Danielle on twitter!

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