Monday, June 27, 2011

Cucumber Sandwich

The cucumber sandwich is of British origin.  There are many different variation of this sandwich but this is the traditional way taught to me by my English grandmother.
1.      Slice two pieces from a loaf of homemade white bread.  The slices should be so thin that you can see through the pores of the bread.

2.      Lightly butter each slice bread.  Make sure the butter is spread right to the edges of the bread.  This is done to prevent the bread from getting soggy.

3.      Either peel or score the cucumber.

4.      Slice the cucumber as thin as you can (paper thin if possible).

5.      Sprinkle lemon juice and salt onto the cucumber and place on the bread right before serving.

6.      Cut the crust off the bread.

7.      Cut the sandwich into four triangles

Remember these sandwiches were delicacies of the British upper class so they should be delicate and light. 

Do you have a favorite version of the cucumber sandwich? 

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Beach Bag Checklist

There is nothing worse than all the work it takes to get on the beach with kids and then realizing you forgot something vitally important.  I put together this handy little checklist of everything I bring to make beach time less stressful and more fun and relaxing.

1.     SUNSCREEN-My son is a fair skinned, blue eyed, red head so it’s extra important.  I usually bring the regular rub on kind but I also pack the spray on kind for two purposes.  First, so I can spray on areas that are difficult to rub lotion onto such as the hairline where there’s hair but where he can still get sunburned.  Second, if he’s being difficult it’s easier to spray while he plays than make him stop and rub it on.

2.     A couple of plastic bags.  Plastic bags are great for putting wet bathing suits into so they don’t get everything else wet.  I also have one in case anything disgusting needs to be put away.  You’d be surprised how often that has happened as a mother.

3.     Wet wipes.  For if the ice cream man comes and for any million of other ways my son could get sticky.  Sand and stickiness do NOT mix well.

4.     A bunch of dollar bills.  Sometimes there’s a vending machine and sometimes the ice cream man comes.  I hate turning down the ice cream man.

5.     Hat.  A hat is good to protect heads from midday sun.  There is no possible way to protect a child’s head from the sun on the beach all day without a hat.  I know there are hats with SPF but my son’s baseball cap seems to work well.

6.       A long sleeved shirt or sweat shirt for if there’s a chill.

7.     A change of clothes.  To change after the beach so there’s no ride home with sand in our pants.

8.     A fresh towel.  I usually wrap this in the plastic bags mentioned above so they’re not sandy.  I only bring a fresh towel if I’m planning to shower at the beach.  There’s nothing worse than taking a shower and having to dry with a sandy towel you’ve had on the beach all day.

9.     A small first aid kit.  I know the lifeguard has one but I bring mine just to have band aids and stuff like that for small cuts.  If anything major happened I’d call for help.

10. Books.  My son brings his own bag of toys but I like him to have a book if he needs to chill out under our umbrella.  This works well if a child is tired, needs a break from the sun, or is not getting along with his friends.

11.   Deodorant.  I hate being smelly.

12. Comb and detangler.  My hair gets so tangled at the beach and this makes it easier to comb through so I don’t look like a total mess.

13.   Lip gloss.  No reason to be totally barefaced on the beach.

14.   Magazines.  For meJ

15. Dry snacks.  The rest of the food such as sandwiches, drinks, watermelon, etc. are kept in the cooler.

What are your must-haves for the beach?

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Instill a Love of Reading In Your Child

"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends: they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers."
~Charles W. Eliot

Teaching your child the joys of reading is a gift that will last a lifetime.  Here are some ideas on how to instill a love of reading in your child:
1.   Read to them-When they’re young use different voices and get excited about the book you’re sharing with them. The more fun you make it the more they’ll associate good feelings with reading. Reading to an older child will enable you to expose them to books and words that may be a little too hard for them on their own. This is great for bonding as well as increasing vocabulary.

2.   Go to the library-My son could not believe we could just take whatever books we wanted for free! Also if your children know they will be spending an hour there and there’s nothing else to do but read then they quickly get used to finding a book right away so they don’t have to sit there bored.

3.   Give books as gifts-Unwrapping a present is so fun and exciting! Getting a book as a gift makes books fun and exciting too!

4.   Try some books on tape-This is great because it helps make the book come alive. Each character has a different voice and sometimes there are sound affects. This is good for books that are a little more advanced too because you child will hear bigger words being pronounced correctly as they are reading.

5.   Read books that are about to become movies-My son read the Guardians of Ga'hoole and then we went to see the movie in the theater. He said the book was mostly the same but we discussed the differences and he felt he understood the movie better because there were so many more details in the book.

6.   Let them read what they want (within reason of course)-Sometimes kids want to read comics or books well below their reading level. That’s okay as long as they’re enjoying it.

7.   Figure out their interests-Find books for them that will get them excited. If they’re resistant try reading a chapter or two to them. If it’s a good book they’ll get sucked in.

8.   Model-As with everything what you do your kids will copy. So pick up a good book and show your kids you value reading.

9.   Unplug-Watching television is a much easier way to be entertained than reading a book so if given the choice many kids will pick television or video games. Take that choice away! It’s fine to veg out and enjoy a movie or show sometimes but if a child is exposed to loud noises and flashing lights in their face all the time a simple book that forces them to use their imagination is much less appealing.

10.Do some activities to make books fun and to extend what your child is learning. Here is just an example of some activities for Green Eggs and Ham. If you do an internet search you can find activities for many books.

11.Take it slow-if you have a child who is already turned off to reading just spend 5 minutes a day to start. Read a silly book below their reading level so they think of books as fun and easy instead of a huge undertaking. My son went through a stage where he hated reading. I told him he didn’t have to read anymore but I would continue reading to him. He eventually started to love reading again and is now an avid reader.

12.RELAX! If you’re forcing them to read and making it miserable for both of you them you’re only teaching your child that reading is not enjoyable.

What reading activities do you do with your child?

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Black and White Bathing Suits

Sooooo ladies, it’s THAT time of year…shopping for a bathing suit season.  I will admit nothing sends me into a depression spiral faster than slapping the latest skimpy bikini fashion onto my pasty white fat.  However, I started looking for something that would make me feel great to wear and I found so many things!  I stuck with black and white because I love the simplicity and it’s easy to match.



So what do you think?  Which one of these is your favorite and most importantly, are you ready for bathing suit season?

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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Newborn Clothes

When my son outgrew his clothes I meticulously put away the few of his baby and toddler clothes that he hadn’t destroyed.  He is about as boyish as a boy can get and would run outside and immediately throw himself in the mud and stain his clothes.  He would get grass stains, blood stains, mud stains, and rips in all of his clothes.  I still have a few things in the attic just to keep as a memory but I just donated the rest of them about a month ago.  I was hoping I’d have another child and would be able to use them again but now that my son is eleven I’ve given up on a second child.  HOWEVER everyone tells me that now that I’ve given his baby clothes away I’m certain to get pregnant!  I don’t know if I believe those old wives tales but I’ll keep you posted. 

What have you guys done with your baby clothes?  I've heard of people doing all kinds of crafty stuff like make a baby blanket, stuff a pillow, and make curtains.  I'd love to hear some new ideas!

I've written this for a chance to win a ticket to Blissdom '12.  Happy Mama Gifts is the sponsor so stop over there for baby shower gifts and the chance to win this prize.  The winner will be announced on Labor Day, 2011.  So head on over there to enter to win tickets yourself or just browse her online shop for some great gifts for your next baby shower!

“It was the tiniest thing I ever decided to put my whole life into.”
--Terri Guillemets