Friday, April 25, 2014

Favorite Things Friday: Funny Reviews on Amazon

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It truly amazes and delights me how many people are not only hilarious, but take the time to be hilarious and write incredibly funny product reviews on Amazon.

The first time I realized the funny faux review (or should that be faux-view?) was "a thing" was back when this review of Dora the Explorer - Dance to the Rescue was being shared around back in, can you believe it, 2005.

Then, in December I shared reviews of Haribo Sugarless Gummy Bears, followed in January by Wood Toilet Seats, both which are two of the most viewed posts ever on my blog.

Which tells me I'm not the only person who is a super-fan of the faux-view.
Today I share a favorite of my brother, the reviews of the AutoExec Wheelmate.

Not sure what this is exactly? It's nothing less than a spectacular invention that makes it possible to work while you drive with this convenient work tray that attaches to your steering wheel. Genius, right?

There are thousands of reviews discussing exactly how, uh, genius this product actually is, including a fantastic review by George Takei himself, which as you can imagine, is just perfect.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Passover Gefilte Fish Revisited

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about my kids and gefilte fish here.

Then, I did not serve gefilte fish at Passover because I didn't get around to getting any, and I'm very picky about where I like it from (i.e., not the grocery).

And then, I read that there was some massive gefilte fish shortage this year, and even people who did not forget to serve gefilte fish at their Passover dinner still couldn't serve gefilte fish because it could not be found anywhere, for love or money.

So of course now that I knew I couldn't have any, I needed to have some gefilte fish as if all my Passover happiness, and my family's Passover happiness, depended on it.

So with a bit of searching, I got some gefilte fish. From the local fish store, where I was told to my surprise that yes he was aware of the gefilte fish shortage, and yes, that in all his years in the business he had never, ever seen so many angry, sad, disappointed, unhappy, and just truly devastated customers as he had in those days leading up to Passover when he had to tell them he was out of gefilte fish.

But when I was there on the third night of Passover, some gefilte fish had returned to his ice covered shelves. So I purchased some of the now truly a miracle they're here! chopped fish, and brought it home and served it to my delighted children.

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And even more delicious, the gefilite fish was paired with homegrown, homemade horseradish made by Cousin Mary.

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And thus, the tradition of gefilte fish on the third night of Passover began.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Make A Matzoh House! Make A Mess! Make Memories!

I love doing craft projects with my kids.

I love asking my mom to help us with some inane part of these craft projects, like finding 82 silver triangle shaped buttons, or in this case, a cardboard model on which to build a matzoh house which I was sure would end up looking something like this:

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Alas, our matzoh house, it did not.

However what our matzoh house lacked in suitability as a Passover Seder centerpiece, it made up for as fodder for CraftFail. Read all about how not to make a matzoh house at Martha's Matzoh Mansion.

And many thanks to Robyn who not only described my ramshackle matzoh home as totally, utterly and completely Martha's fault, but created this as well:

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Happy Passover!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Favorite Things Friday: My Most Favorite Song Ever

I know lots of people couldn't possibly pick just one song as their most favorite song, but Bob Mould's "See a Little Light" is mine, and has been for about twenty years now.

The video above is from a performance of the song on the David Letterman Show on March 6, which was just re-released in Workbook 25, reissued to commemorate the album's 25th anniversary, and includes additional songs as well.

So I guess it's actually been my favorite song for about twenty-five years.

Time flies.

Just in case there's any question, this is totally not a sponsored post. It really is my favorite song.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easy Easter Craft Projects for Kids

Do you need some easy Easter craft projects for the kids?

I have several fun, simple and totally easy to complete craft projects just in time for Easter Sunday.

While my family celebrates Passover, since my "day job" (really usually" middle-of-the-night when the kids are asleep job") is to write about crafts, I found a few Easter crafts I couldn't not share.

These Easter crafts are great for kids of all ages - older kids will need less help, and younger kids will need more help. Also, babies love it when you just do the whole thing for them and sign their name and date it for their baby book.

Embellished Duck Tape Easter Eggs - I've written about making Duck Tape Easter Eggs before, but then I couldn't leave those eggs alone, so I used Mod Podge and added sequins. The eggs turned out really cute - and even better, the sequins didn't fall right off - yay.

Decoupage Easter Eggs - I had been wanting to do this since I saw some way better versions on Pinterest, and while mine may not be total Pin-fection, I was also pretty happy with how these eggs came out. To make decoupage Easter eggs, just cover a plastic egg with Mod Podge, then cover with tissue paper or a decorative napkin of your choice (I used a translucent flower cupcake wrappers, and then cover the whole thing again with Mod Podge to ensure the paper stays down and also to give the egg a nice glossy cover.

And here are the sequin and decoupage eggs hanging out together:

Rhinestone Easter Eggs - We had a lot of sticky rhinestones from some other craft project, and I thought they would be perfect to bling out some Easter Eggs. The advantage to these eggs, unlike the ones above, is that you can still open the plastic eggs and fill with Rainbow Loom bracelets, Littlest Pet Shop guys, and various other trinkets.
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Ice Easter Eggs - This was my "brilliant" idea based on someone else's actually brilliant idea on Pinterest. I thought it would be really cool to freeze stuff (sequins, Squinkies, little toys, etc.) in plastic Easter Eggs and then the kids could crack 'em open and discover and play with the little treasures that ha d been frozen inside. The problem, however, was that Easter Eggs divide in the middle so there's no way to put an egg-shaped amount of water into the egg (actually, I'm sure there is a way, but I don't know it).

I went ahead and froze the half-empty (or is it half-full?) eggs:

And then I had the kids open them up outside, because I have learned the hard way the simple equation of kids+ice = MESS:

And there you see, our blob-shaped ice. Not the Pinterest-perfect egg-shaped ices I had so longed for. (Those were actually created by pouring water and trinkets into a balloon, and then cutting away the balloon after it's frozen, to reveal perfect egg shapes. You can see them here.)

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

{GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED} Amazing Giveaway for RoC Brand Eye Cream and Night Cream Products!

The Giveaway is now closed. Congrats to the winner, Ellen of the Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms!

I am a member of the Collective Bias® (#collectivebias) Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser. #Eyes4NYC #ad

I'm so excited to be working with RoC® Eye Care and Duane Reade to host a giveaway for one lucky reader to win an amazing prize pack of RoC eye cream and night cream products valued at more than $100.

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Prize pack includes the following RoC® skincare products:
  • RoC® RETINOL CORREXION® Sensitive Eye Cream
  • RoC® MULTI CORREXION® 5 in 1 Eye Cream
  • RoC® RETINOL CORREXION® Deep Wrinkle Night Cream
  • RoC® RETINOL CORREXION® Deep Wrinkle Daily Moisturizer with Sunscreen BROAD SPECTRUM SPF 30
  • RoC® RETINOL CORREXION® Deep Wrinkle Serum

a Rafflecopter giveaway

To learn more about RoC® eye care and skin care products visit them online and join the fun on Thursday, April 24, for a Twitter party from 12:00 to 1:00pm, EST - no need to RSVP just search for the hashtag #EyeHeartNY.

And if you're in the New York City area, join us on Thursday, May 1 from 6:00 to 7:00pm at the Duane Reade at 44th Street and Fifth Avenue for a great event that includes a "Walk the Aisle" with prominent NYC dermatologists and health experts who will discuss RoC® product benefits and anti-aging/skin care in general, a well as answer questions.  Hope to see you there!

The Ten Modern Plagues from Midrash Manicures

Part of  the Passover seder is going over the ten plagues that were said to befall the pharaoh when he refused to free the Jewish people from slavery all those many years ago. Some of the plagues, like lice, are relatable, maybe even a little too relatable. Others, like boils, seem very antiquated.

I love that Midrash Manicures updated the ten plagues to reflect the modern scourges of our time, and especially of this particular year when both Snow Days and the Polar Vortex get, rightfully so, a shout-out:

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To this list of modern plagues I would also add lines at the Post Office, bank and DMV and the carpool pick-up system at just about every school my kids have ever attended.

Also, on my list would have to be low signal on my phone or, even worse, no WiFi.

And last but not least, clearly Martha Stewart's Matzoh House is a modern plague of the worst kind, it doesn't even think it is one - but more on that tomorrow.

What would be on your list of modern plagues?

Not a sponsored post, just think these are soo cool as is all of the Passover Nail Art available at Midrash Manicures.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Seasonal Allergy Sufferers: Duane Reade and the Poncho Weather Service are to the Rescue!

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

Did you know I am kind of, sorta, maybe possibly a weather geek? No? I admit it, I am. I follow the Twitter and Facebook accounts of several independent meteorologists. And I also follow the official reports from the National Weather Service, both New York City and Mount Holly, just in case they're different. So you can imagine my interest when I heard about a new app, the Poncho Weather Service, and about their partnership with Duane Reade (you can read more about it on Mashable) to help with seasonal allergies by alerting users which days have a high pollen count and offering a coupon for allergy relief products.

Poncho is my new weather best friend. When I signed-up for the service I picked-out a Manhattan Zip Code and provided the times of day that I wanted updates based on when I wake-up as well as when I leave work. I also chose how I wanted the updates (email or text, or both), and now I get my latest weather forecast right on my phone via text as well as in my email. It's awesome.

One of the many reasons I love Poncho is that the weather forecasts are so fun. One day last week I got an all caps directive to "GET OUTSIDE NOW!"

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Another day it was "You guys, I've met someone new. Their name is Spring, & I think it's love."

In addition to personalized weather reports, Poncho has subway and train delays based on the  commuting information provided, and if you choose, allergy alerts. As I am one of the many who suffer from seasonal allergy symptoms, I'm glad to be alerted on days when the pollen count is low, moderate or high. And, Poncho goes one stop further and even has coupons to save on allergy relief products at Duane Reade.

My favorite text so far: "Ain't no party like an allergy party cuz an allergy party means a Duane Reade trip," with a link for $4 off Non-Drowsy Claritin.

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A few days later I also got a text reminding me to make sure to redeem the coupon, as it expires soon.
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When Poncho sent me an email informing it was a high pollen day today, tomorrow and the next day I knew I should stock up with some allergy relief stuff, as I always suffer from seasonal allergies this time of year.

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Apparently I'm not alone, because when I got to the top of the escalator at Duane Reade there was a huge display that included a variety of allergy medications and the always necessary, tissues.

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There was also a separate Claritin display, and a huge aisle of allergy relief products. In addition to allergy relief medications, there were also cough drops and saline solutions, really everything you could need to feel better.

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On my way to pay, I also stopped and got some peppermint tea as I've recently heard it can help allergy sufferers, and I'm always up for trying a new solution.

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Back home with my Duane Reade supplies, I'm ready to face allergy season and with Poncho weather service, at least I'll know I'll be as prepared as I can be for days with high pollen counts.

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To stay up to date with all things Duane Reade join them on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias (#collectivebias) and its advertiser (#DRAllargy).

Friday, April 11, 2014

It wouldn't be Passover without gefilite fish

Passover two years ago, kids and gefilte fish:

Some people say the major difference between the generations before and young people today is that they don't eat gefilite fish, but my kids are keeping the traditions of their ancestors alive and well.

Chag Sameach!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

More Photos of People Eating Matzoh

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Apparently I like to take lots of photos of people, and stuffed animal ducks, eating matzoh.

I like that Mario got some matzoh, too.

Happy Passover!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Matzoh: A Passover Love-Hate Story

Last year when Passover began, Kay made a super-fun photo montage of how much she loves matzoh. Loves it.

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Then, by the middle of the eight day holiday -- during which no bread or leavened foods of any kind can be eaten -- Kay's matzoh eating photo collage looked like this:

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Not surprisingly, this is the photo compilation from the last day of Passover:

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I think I sorta agree! After all, Passover is an Endurance Event.

Happy Passover! Chag Sameach!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My Mom's Recipe for the World's Best Passover Macaroons

For Passover, my family always has macaroons. This is the traditional dessert for many celebrating the holiday,as these tasty cookies do not require flour, which is forbidden over the eight day festival.

This year, my mom brought her recipe as well as the four required ingredients, to my house and made these easy, and delicious, cookies with her delighted granddaughters. They were the best macaroons I had ever eaten, so Grandma kindly gave us her “secret” recipe so we could make them again.

Here’s the recipe:

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P.S. My mom’s secret recipe is actually Mark Bittman’s Ultimate Minimalist Macaroons. But shhh, don’t tell her I know the truth.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Best Passover Matzo Balls - My Recipe for Homemade Matzo Balls

Making homemade matzo balls is really easy. Here's how:

Yield: 8 regular size or 6 big matzo balls

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup Manischewitz® Matzo Meal
2 tablespoons seltzer water
Itty-bitty pinch of salt

1. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs.

2. Add the vegetable oil, matzo meal and seltzer water and then mix all of the ingredients together at once - not one at a time.

3. Cover and put in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. A real 30 minutes.

4. While your matzo ball mix is chillin' in the fridge, boil about 8 to 10 cups of water (approx. 2 quarts), or of chicken stock/soup/broth if that's how you'll be serving the matzo balls.

5. When the water (or chicken stock/soup/broth) is at a full rolling boil - a real rolling boil - it's ready for your matzo balls. Wet your hands with a little water and form your chilled matzo batter into balls, about the size of a walnut or a little larger.

6. Reduce the heat on the stove and gently plop the matzo balls into the pot. If you did not let the water truly boil first, your matzo balls will not poof correctly, so much sure you are patient and don't add them to the pot too soon.

7. Cover the pot tightly and let the matzo balls lull around in the water for at least 40 minutes - a real 40 minutes. You can't really over-cook matzo balls, but I've learned the hard way you can under-cook them. So be patient!

8. That's it! If you're serving the matzo balls in soup, which I think is pretty much the only way to eat matzo balls, either heat them in chicken soup/stock/broth instead of water in the initial preparation in Steps 4 and 5 above, or reheat them by simmering in soup before serving.

A few hints:
1. Do not double the recipe. I'm not sure why you can't but it doesn't work. If you need to make lotsa matzo balls, just make it twice using two separate bowls, than boil in two separate pots.

2. While you can make matzo balls ahead of time and freeze, I don't. Too many issues, and too complicated to do it right. Instead, I make the matzo balls up to two days before I want to eat them, and just store them in liquid (chicken stock or broth works best) in the refrigerator.

3. Make sure you use plain seltzer, flavored seltzer doesn't work. Also, plain seltzer sells-out all the time before Passover - so buy it early!

4. I make my matzo balls with just a tiny pinch of salt because that's how I roll. You may want to add more than that when you're making them if you are a more salty kinda person.

5. This recipe is for fluffy matzo balls, not the dense "golf ball" ones.

Note: This version is adapted from the recipe on the side of the Manischewitz® Matzo Meal canister.

I was not compensated for this post, just sharing my love of a good matzo ball.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Passover will be here in just eight days!

Did you know that in exactly eight days the Passover holiday begins? I know this because that is also the day my children start their extended vacation from school - yay!

To celebrate the coming holiday I'll be sharing our favorite Passover recipes, crafts and books all week starting tomorrow.

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And if you're in New Jersey or New York City, check out all the great Passover goings-on at Celebrate Passover with Great Events, Recipes, Books and More.

Chag Pesach Sameach!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Prestigious Sal Gosse Academe to Open in Montclair

I recently covered an amazing new preschool that is scheduled to open this fall in Montclair.

Click here to read more about the Sal Gosse Academe on BaristaKids, but I'll warn you now, you will wish you could go there, too when you read about all the incredible amenities at the school.

Sal Gosse Academe

{Keep Reading}

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