Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bake Sale Mania Makes Me A Maniac

Bake sale in NYC. Not happy about that one either.
The Bake Sale mania at my kids' public school has made me a maniac. There is just no other word for it. Maniac.

Cue '80s Flashdance flashback, but with mom jeans, rage and cupcakes.

My kids' public school has had three bake sales in May. All right out side the front door of the school so there's no way for a bake sale Grinch like myself to avoid it.

The first bake sale was at the beginning of May. At the time I thought of it as the only bake so I not only let my kids buy something, but I baked something for it, too.

I haven't baked something for a bake sale in years, ever since I became thoroughly convinced bake sales are not the fundraising answer in the age of childhood obesity.

But I wanted my kids to feel part of the group, I wanted to give-up my bake sale Grinch ways. I tried not to be complain-y about the baked goods in lieu of healthier - and yet, still festive! - options.

Anyway, you can image my surprise when a mere 10 days later there was another bake sale. In front of the kids' school. And from which I felt compelled to let my kids buy something.

I was unhappy. But not a bake sale maniac.

And then came yesterday. A note came home announcing there would be a bake sale at school today.

Yes, that's right -  the third bake sale this month!

And who was holding it? Not even the school. The bake sale was to benefit the local Girl Scout Troop.

And I lost it.

That bake sale is the one that made me a maniac.

Is it not enough those cookie-pushers had already shown-up at my front door when my kids were home - and worse, my softie of a husband - resulting in us purchasing FIVE boxes of Girl Scout cookies?

I'm sorry, but if you need to have a bake sale in addition to your cookie conglomerate... it's time to find another fundraising answer.

I'm writing this on my blog because I promised my kids if they didn't bug me for anything at the bake sale today that I wouldn't write a letter complaining about the bake sale mania to their principal. I hope this counts as keeping my word. And kids, you made a wise choice today. That would've been some letter.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Nature Walk


My kids have grown bored with the walk home from school, but I have grown even more weary of the suburban game of chase it takes to get a parking space at their school, so unless it's over 90 degrees or raining really, really hard, we're walking home these last few weeks of school.


I discovered pretty quickly a camera in a kid's hands and the title "nature walk" makes a regular trip home from school something special.

What are our ideas for helping kids enjoy a walk?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Duane Reade: THE Place for Kids Snacks

Monday afternoon of this lazy holiday weekend, and I realized next week I needed snacks for the class and snacks for softball. Not to mention, the regular snacks I need for my own kids every day.

I will be so glad when the school year is over and I can welcome with open arms a big snack-less summer.

But until them, forward snack-making I will go.

So I entered Duane Reade with five items running through my head on an endless loop, because even though I desperately didn't want to forget anything, I was still too lazy to write it down.

The five things on my list were:

Three snack must-haves:
- Popcorn (which I had seen in The Duane Reader was a great deal - two boxes for $3!)


- Cheddar Penguins (because my children love these)
- Grapes (another kid favorite)

I also wanted to try a slow cooker Cheesecake recipe I had just seen, but these two items were less urgent, but still I wanted to remember :
- Cream cheese (3 packages) and
- Graham crackers

I had a few other things to do in Chelsea, so I did those before I went to the Duane Reade at Eighth Avenue and West 17th Street (131 Eighth Avenue), which if I was the kind of person to pick favorites, would be one of mine because it has a huge grocery selection and it's open 24/7.


Seriously, this location has everything. Like gluten free cookies. And Mint Chutney.


So of course I wasn't surprised to see they had the more basic items on my list like grapes, cream cheese and graham crackers:

Surprisingly, finding the Duane Reade brand Nice! Cheddar Penguins and Nice! Popcorn was more difficult, but within a few minutes I had those items checked off my list, too.

And I was glad to see The Duane Reader sale price I had seen online was also clearly marked in the store.

For those of you who aren't familiar with it, The Duane Reader is full of great deals (the current ones are good through June 2) that you can either view online or in the store.


There are also lots of signs throughout the store indicating items that are special Duane Reader deals.



I grabbed an Odwalla smoothie for the walk back to the train station, and spent the commute home applauding myself for remembering everything on my list and for being set for team snacks, class snacks and my own kids snacks for the week ahead.

When I got home, it only took me about five minutes to think of several things I needed, like now. So I'll be back to Duane Reade soon, possibly even with a written list instead of a mental one.

Also, when I got home my husband told me our A/C wasn't working (outdoor temp: a balmy 93). So, there's that.

In the meantime, at least we have snacks.
For how to make cute butterfly snacks (perfect for a class or a team) click here. You can make them with grapes and popcorn, or grapes and cheddar penguins.

For the slow cooker cheesecake recipe, click here.

For more photos from my trip to Duane Reade, visit my Google+ story, Duane Reade: THE Place for Kids Snacks.

Visit The Duane Reader online for a good read and to find great deals

You can also like Duane Reade on Facebook, follow them on Twitter @DuaneReade as well as at the hashtags #DReade and #DreadeVIP.

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias. All opinions are my own.

I am also part of the Duane Reade VIP blogger team (follow along on Twitter at #DreadeVIP).

Monday, May 28, 2012

Saturday, May 26, 2012

JoShu Launches New Line of Baby and Toddler Tees


Looking for a cool tee for your baby or toddler, or for a gift? JoShu tees are a brand-new line of baby and toddler tees by a New Jersey mom and designer.

The tees are currently available in three fun graphic designs, all which are good for both boys and girls.


Pollito Chicken:



and Osone, which I love for both for it's vibrant design and it's eco-friendly message:



JoShu tees are available in 12 month and 2T sizes ($14.99) and are printed on 100% cotton Rabbit Skins tees - which if you don't know them, are the most comfy tees ever.

To learn more, visit JoShu on Facebook and on Twitter.

JoShu tees can be purchased online, from Etsy as well as via your mobile device.

So buy a tee and support a mom-owned business and an artist, as well as the idea that we shouldn't all just be wearing the same t-shirt from the Gap.

We received a Pollito Chicken tee for review, and my toddler son loves it. All opinions are my own.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Old Photo Friday: The Memorial Day Beach Special

I will admit: I do love digging around the old photos on Fridays.

Tonight, I found this gem.

Me, around age 6, wearing a red, white and blue bathing suit.  How perfect for Memorial Day weekend!

This awesome, arty photo was taken by my brother who was all of about eight at the time.



And here we are, enjoying a nice summer day at the beach.

Nice visor, bro.

__________________________

I post old photos on Fridays. I'm not quite sure why. Happy Weekend everyone!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Red, White & Blue Muffins for July 4th, Memorial Day or Any Day You're Feeling Patriotic

My kids and I are having so fun making red, white and blue treats for Memorial Day that I got inspired to bake one more thing, so I made muffins with strawberries, blueberries and white chocolate chips. And they turned out really yummy.


Here's the recipe if you're planning to do some patriotic baking yourself over the long weekend!


Muffins for July 4th or Memorial Day

Ingredients:
2 cups white flour
1 tablespoon baking power
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1/3 cup blueberries
1/3 cup cut-up strawberries
1/3 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 F and butter muffin tins.
2. Mix together 1 3/4 cups flour, baking powder and sugar.
3. Add the egg, milk and melted butter to the flour mixture, stirring until just combined.
4. Combine strawberries, blueberries and white chocolate chips together, and sprinkle the last 1/4 cup of flour on top. Stir them gently into the batter.
5. Spoon batter into muffin tins, filling each one about 2/3 of the way-up.
6. Bake 20 to 25 minutes.


Once baked, the muffins didn't come out as red, white and blue as I had hoped (in fact, the white chocolate chips had melted completely) so I topped them with an American Flag motif using cream cheese, whole blueberries, and strawberry jelly for stripes.

My oldest daughter pronounced that the muffins "looked odd," but she ate two so I'm still going to count this recipe as a success. And yes, I can admit they aren't quite Pinterest-perfect. But odd?

Happy July Fourth!
Happy Memorial Day!

For more ideas for celebrating the Memorial Day holiday, check out Memorial Day Breakfast: Three Easy Ideas in Red, White and Blue and Memorial Day: A Day of Remembrance.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Red, White and Blue Breakfast: Three Easy Ideas for July Fourth or Memorial Day

I thought it would be fun to make a red, white and blue breakfast for my kids in honor of Memorial Day on the last morning of school before the long weekend. These red, white and blue ideas would also work great for July Fourth!

My two-year-old and I hit up the grocery store and returned with blueberries, strawberries and these funky flat marshallows, ready to see what we could create.



Here are three easy red, white and blue July Fourth or Memorial Day breakfast ideas - all that can be made with just strawberries, blueberries and whatever else you have in the house - we had white chocolate chips just asking to be used up, and sweetened condensed milk. Both worked great for the "white."


1. Pancakes topped with a kabob made from strawberries, blueberries and marshmallows.



2. Pancakes cut-out in star shapes and topped with strawberries, blueberries and a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk. My kids loved this one so much they insisted on having it again for their after-school snack.


3. Oatmeal topped with strawberries, blueberries and white chocolate chips. I threw a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk on this too, because honestly, that stuff tastes good in and on everything.


I also made red, white and blue muffins, which turned out really yummy. I'll post photos and the recipe tomorrow.

Happy Memorial Day! For ways to celebrate the holiday with children in a meaningful way, including a few patriotic flag crafts, visit Memorial Day: A Day of Remembrance.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Old Photo Friday: At the Zoo

Here's a photo from three years ago, when Kay was almost four and Magpie was six.

I remember the day fondly. I had made sure the kids looked their super-cute best because we were meeting friends at the zoo, and we didn't see them very often.

Don't the kids look super-cute?


Now, look a little closer.

Kay is wearing tights, just tights - we had completely forgotten to put a skirt on her.

I decided there was something sort-of edgy and punk rock about her outfit.

But of course I also knew she was a toddler wearing tights, just tights.

I like to dig around my old photos on Fridays. If you have an old photo post, please share in the comments. Old Photo Friday loves company!

I linked-up this old post to this week's Nov. 28 Finding the Funny. Check it out at Kelley's Breakroom and My Life and Kids for lots o'funny!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Six Fabulous Posts (Plus One More) from Finding the Funny



Every week, I link-up with Finding the Funny.

If you don't know what it is, it's a hilarious party hosted by Kelley (of Kelley's Breakroom) and Anna (of My Life and Kids) every Wednesday morning.

Because all the best parties take place on Wednesday mornings. What, you didn't know that? Well, all the best Internet parties that is.

This week, I had the most excellent task of reading all of the posts that were linked-up last week to Finding the Funny #16 and picking my favorites.

There were 69 entries in all, and there wasn't a one that wasn't seriously funny.

And yet, I did manage to pick just six favorites - all which truly made me LOL - to share with all of you (in the order I think you would most enjoy reading them - because yes, I do like to micro-manage, but don't tell my husband I said that).

Five for Five: The Wisdom of the Birds in Pictures from Melissa Camara Williams

Teacher Gifts from Kirb Appeal

Banned from Piperloo

I'll Just Watch You Eat Your Cheese, Thanks. from Mama Mzungu

Martyr's Day from Ninja Mom
Pre-School is the New Ph.D from The Fordeville Diaries

Also? I am totally breaking the rules and adding one more post that wasn't from last week, but was linked-up to a previous Finding the Funny. Because everyone must read it.

Whatever side you are on in the Momming Warring, this post is for you. Because it is on the side of... SANITY.

The Mommy Games: Let's Tally Our Points from Michelle Mossey

Also? For any of you who are wondering what complex scoring criteria I used, it went like this. No points for style, writing, or photography. 100% was based on Was it funny? Because this is after all, Finding the Funny. If I ever felt like wavering from my stated criteria, I simply played a tape in my head of Kevin Malone from The Office saying "It's is she hot, not would you do her. Respect the game."

Thank you so much Kelley and Anna for having me be part of Finding the Funny, and if there's someone out there reading this who hasn't joined in yet, go visit this week's Finding the Funny!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Handprint Craft for Mother's Day

My daughter Kay was nice enough to let me trace her hands to make this easy Mother's Day craft.

To make it, all you have to do is fold a sheet of paper in half, and trace one hand with the thumb and second finger handing over the side of the crease a little:


Then, when you cut out the hand, you get two hands and a bonus heart between them.

Kay added the little hearts and the precious words.


And the truly best part, Kay let me have her creation early so I could use it for my post on New Jersey Family about how to make this very craft.

And if that isn't the true spirit of Mother's Day, I don't know what is.

Read the full instructions at Handprints and Hearts Craft for Mother's Day.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Instructions for My Husband: The Differences Between Lavender and Rosemary Plants


We don't have a rosemary plant in our garden.

We have a lavender plant.

I know this because I bought it.

I know this because I planted it.

And, I know this because our plant looks like this:

Image from our garden

And a rosemary plant looks like this:

Image from Pinterest
And here is a handy side-by-side, which shows that while similar, the Lavender plant (in my garden) has many differences from the Rosemary plant (on the Internet):



As you can see, Lavender is a "smoky green grey color" whereas Rosemary is a more waxy green.

And if computers were equipped with smell-o-vision these days - which clearly, they should be - it would make the lavender obviousness that much more, uh, obvious.

This is the twenty-eighth instruction in my ongoing series of Instructions for My Husband.

Update: my kids just saw this post and said, "Uncle thinks it's a Rosemary plant, too!" Really, Uncle?Is this true?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: How to eat a piece of cake, by Ziggy, age 2

How to eat a piece of cake:

Step 1: Insert fork into cake.


Step 2: Eat cake.



Now tell the truth, don't you kinda wish you could eat cake that way too. Or is that just me?

Linking-up to Finding the Funny with My Life and Kids and Kelley's Breakroom, lots of fun (and funny) every Wednesday.

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