Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Ghosts and goblins will be out tonight. Here are some last minute tips on trick-or-treating with your little ones...

  • Wear bright colors - Both parents and kids should wear brightly colored clothing. If you are wearing a costume that is dark in color, apply reflective tape to parts of your clothes or shoes. (Many communities now enforce a trick-or-treating curfew to prevent children from roaming after dark. Be sure to check for any curfew rules that may apply to your community.)

  • Be sure your child can see - Smaller children love store-bought costumes that come complete with a facemask. Before you leave the house, double-check to make sure your child can see through the eyeholes of the mask. This will help to prevent them from tripping, falling or running into something while they trick-or-treat.

  • Obey the rules - If you are trick-or-treating in a city, remember to follow traffic safety rules. Always look both ways before crossing the street. Stay on the sidewalks and walk at a normal pace.

  • Visit familiar places ONLY! - Take your children to trick-or-treat at places where you know people. Try not to take them to strange houses or places that look unsafe. Remember the “never talk to strangers,” rule!

  • Inspect all candy - This is a commonly known rule of trick-or-treating, and yet so many parents don’t follow it. Parents should remove all unwrapped candy from buckets (cupcakes, homemade candy, etc.). There are just too many dangers to eating unwrapped candy or treats to take a chance with your child. Look for holes in plastic wrappers as well.

Remember...be safe...and HAVE FUN!!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Read to Your Child...It's So Important!

I love to read to my kids. My 2-1/2 yr old is SO into books. I couldn't be happier!

This summer, we went to the library every week and checked out 3 or 4 books. By the 2nd day, she would have most of them memorized and then she would "read" to me before nap and bedtime.

Here are some of our favorites from the summer:

Green Eggs and Ham

The Foot Book

Dr. Suess's ABC

Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?

The Cat in the Hat

You'll notice that all of these are Dr. Suess books. I loved most of them as a child and found a couple in the last 10 years when my older kids were that age. The rhyming and sing-songy lyrics are great for this age kid.

Tell me some of your favs - we're always looking for new books to conquer!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Cool Halloween Recipes

I found a few cool last minute Halloween recipes for that party you might be having this weekend or for the special day on Tuesday!

Pond Worms
4 serving package green jello
4 plastic clear plastic cups Jelly worms or snakes

Prepare jello according to package instructions and leave to cool in refrigeration for approximately 1 hour. You need the jello to slightly thicken so “worms” don’t sink but not fully set. Insert gummy worms into jello and place back in refrigerator to finish setting.

Spooky Graveyard:
1 package instant pudding (vanilla or banana) and/or vanilla ice cream
1 pack of oreo cookies (crushed)
Milano or graveyard shaped cookies
Assortment of Halloween candies

Prepare pudding according to package instructions and place in serving bowl. Alternatively you can use vanilla ice cream. We used both a mixture of pudding and vanilla ice cream. Place crushed oreo or other chocolate cookies over pudding/ice cream and insert graveyard shaped cookies and candies to make a spooky graveyard. There are tons of different ways to make this look cute the kids will really enjoy decorating it. Really easy and tasty.

Devil Eggs
Hard boiled eggs
Cream cheese
Sliced olives
Place eggs in large pot of water and boil until fully cooked (it’s best to let them really set, about 12 minutes). Slice the eggs in half and scoop out the yolk, place in a small bowl. Mash all the yolks with a little cream cheese. Carefully place cream cheese and yolk mixture back into egg and decorate with an olive slice and ketchup for a blood shot effect. Gross but fun.

Scary Eyes
Cream Cheese
Wash and peel carrots. Cut into rounds for eyes. Place a little cream cheese in the center of each carrot and top with a raisin. Super easy and healthy.

Ghostly hands
Rubber/latex gloves
Cranberry juice or fruit punch
If you’re going to drink from this bowl please make sure you turn latex gloves inside out and thoroughly wash before filling with water. Alternatively you can just use this for decorative purposes.
Fill bowl a half and half mixture of fruit punch or cranberry juice and sparkling soda or water. Cut latex glove from around icy hand (you may need to place under running water for a second or two) and add to bowl. Kind of morbid but a big hit with the kids.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

New Classified Ad Website

I discovered this new website this evening. I've joined and already placed my first ad! It's fun, easy and a good way to get your products out there! See the info below:

There's a new classified ads website in town, and it's purpose is to help you SELL MORE and KEEP MORE of your profit! Booster's Classifieds features a colorful, animated canine mascot named Booster. The fun and family-friendly marketplace offers free membership and absolutely NO listing fees and NO commissions for its members. The free flyer and sign-making feature is an added time and money-saver for those who want to promote their ads offline. Try it out today at www.boostersclassifieds.com.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

This Will Bring a Tear to Your Eye and a Smile To Your Face

My middle child - Grayson, the only boy - is 9 years old and in the 4th grade. He had his book fair yesterday at school. Now he knows that I really don't like to spend the kind of money they charge at the book fair and I usually opt to purchase books elsewhere. I had no idea that he even had his book fair until he got off the bus yesterday.

"Mom, I had book fair today."

"Oh, that's nice...did you take some money?"

"Yes, I grabbed some of my money on the way out this morning."
I must interject with this note - he is a SAVER of money. Anything he makes for doing chores or gets for birthdays and holidays goes right in his piggy bank. We are often borrowing $20 when our till runs dry.

"Did you find anything good?"

"Yeah, I got a computer game and this other book that looked pretty good. Oh, and I got a Diego book for Livvie."
Livvie is his 2-1/2 yr old sister (half-sister) whom he adores.

"Wow, that was nice!"

"Yeah, I figured she would like it. When can I give it to her?"

"How about later when it's a special time?"


Later on in the evening we're all getting ready for bed and Livvie asks to read a book. I asked Grayson if maybe he had something special to read to Livvie. He had forgotten all about it. He jumped up off of the couch and said "C'mon Livvie, let me go read you a story." She gave hugs and kisses to everyone and toddled up the steps after him.

He preceded to read her the Diego story PLUS another book, tuck her in and kiss her goodnight. I was so touched by his generosity and his eagerness to make his little sister happy and help me out by putting her to bed for the night.

It's the little things in life...

Monday, October 23, 2006

[bump] Maternity Clothing

Expectant moms will appreciate this. I ran across a great giveaway for trendy new maternity clothing.

[bump] provides maternity clothing with cute sayings. [bump] being a clever anagram for baby under manufacturing process.

GIVEAWAY CONTEST: Every item of [bump] apparel has a creative saying on it. You can be entered to win the above shown [bump]-tee this week by submitting your own creative [bump] shirt saying in the form on the main page of Baby Talk Radio. Enter at: http://www.babytalkradio.com/

Shop at http://www.bumpbabies.com/ for a great Christmas gift! Use the special coupon code and get 10% off any purchase: BTR10.

That's cute - too bad it wasn't around when I was pregnant...

My Special "Pick Me Up"

Coffee...the nectar of the Gods. Well, most days it feels like that - I can't wait to get that first cup of coffee and the first jolt of energy that comes from it.

There are those days, however, when I don't even feel like even MAKING coffee. It's on those particular days that I fill the pot with water, put in the filter, measure out 6 heaping teaspoons of those little brown granules and Grab My Favorite Mug! This is no ordinary mug. This is a special mug!

About 7 or 8 years ago, I got my hands on this mug from work. We do imprinted promotional items and had an overrun of mugs sitting in the office. I thought the artwork on it was particularly cool, so I grabbed one and took it home. Little did I know that this mug with the "cool artwork" would bring me so much joy.

There is an artist in our town who specializes in murals. He goes by Happy the Artist. He has been painting for over 50 years and his work can be seen all over the country. This mug that I love so much has Happy's artwork on it. Whenever I wake up in a questionable mood or am feeling especially tired, I make sure to grab the "Happy the Artist" mug, pour that cup of coffee and find my mood suddenly transforming.

It's funny how one little thing can make such a difference in your day, but it does! I swear by it!

Tell me what your special "thing" is that picks up your mood. It could be an inanimate object (like me), a phrase, a perfume, a bath...anything at all.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Old Music - Rediscovered

Today, I rediscovered The Corrs. A wonderful Irish family band (3 sisters and a brother) who have the smoothest sound and draw you in as you listen. I originally discovered them back in 2000(?) when their single Breathless came out. They even had a special concert from Dublin on VH1 a couple of years later. I remember laying on my bed with my son (he was right around 5) and just drifting away in their wonderful voices.

Check them out!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

39...and Counting

I turned 39 two weeks ago today. Not a big deal really. I'm definitely not feeling 39. Sometimes I feel like a kid!

I've been reflecting on my last 39 years and reveling in the fact that this is, in fact, my 40th year of life! I know that probably makes my parents feel old, but it just makes me feel happy. I've accomplished a lot so far: bachelor's degree, master's degree, three kids, great marriage, lovely home, some great learning experiences with my professional career - I'm so lucky! I really don't want for anything in my life...or do I?

There's always something unfinished...something that you still want to do with your life before you die. Here's a list of mine:

  • learn to play the fiddle
  • travel to Greece
  • learn to ballroom dance
  • learn...really LEARN about different wines
  • break 100 on the golf course (no mulligans)
  • get in the car and travel across the country without an agenda or hotel reservations (better take a map, though...just in case!)
  • travel to the South of France
  • read War and Peace

There are a lot of things I didn't list (only because they didn't jump out at me right this second). I realize that many of these things can't or won't happen until the kids are grown and my husband and I are looking at our retirement years. That's okay. Looking at that list makes me feel younger. It makes me feel like I still have a bunch to do before it's all over.

I'll just take one day at a time and one thing on the list at a time... for now I'm working on the golf one - once I break 100, then I can change that to "break 90 on the golf course (no mulligans)."

Monday, October 16, 2006

Back to the "Old Grind"

My husband and I just came off of a wonderful weekend...sans kids! That doesn't happen very often - at least in this household.

We actually left Friday to a RESORT to play GOLF with two other ADULT couples. We stayed in a great house. The weather was fantastic! The golfing left a bit to be desired, but who cares when you're having so much fun? All of us were sad to leave the house of fun and get back to reality...back to the "old grind." We had a 2-1/2 hour drive back still reliving the wonderful memories of the weekend and vowing to make it an annual event.

It was actually good to have that drive back to sort of get my bearings and start preparing for the drudgery that lay ahead - the cooking, the laundry, the picking up after the kids, the fighting...

You may ask yourself..."what happened when you walked through that door?...dishes piled in the sink?...dirty clothes piled up?...toys lying all over the place?" I'm glad you asked :) What happened was my 2-1/2 year old angel came running at me with arms stretch wide and yelled "Mommy's home!"

Grind? What grind? I am the luckiest woman I know!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Picky Eater? Some Tips to Help...

I have been blessed with 3 GREAT eaters. Only this year has my 11 year old (girl) begun to turn her nose up at certain foods - personally, I think they're becoming "uncool." If you have not been as blessed and mealtime has turned into a fight every night, read on for some helpful tips to prevent your young ones from becoming picky eaters.

1. Make mealtime a family affair. Today’s families are so busy; you can rarely find a day when everyone is home at the same time. It’s often difficult to sit down at the dining table and eat a meal together. Challenge yourself to start eating dinner together at least three days each week. When your toddler sees his siblings, or parents, eating their veggies and meat, they will be more likely to try what’s on their plate, too. (See a Family Dinner Video here)

2. Don’t offer alternatives. It’s too easy to walk into the trap of cooking two or more meals. Some mothers with two or three children fix something special for each child. Stop the cafĂ©-mentality in your family. Cook one healthy meal for everyone in the family to enjoy. Your toddler will fight with you at first, but eventually will realize that you are not a short-order cook anymore.

3. Introduce one new food at a time. Don’t try to overload your toddler’s palate with too many new foods at once. Present your toddler with one new vegetable for one week. He may not even try it for several days, but continue to offer it to him each time you cook it anyway. If you offer him too many new foods at once, he may feel overwhelmed and not attempt to try anything new at all.

4. Fewer or no more snacks. Don’t offer your toddler snacks or drinks throughout the day. Give her one snack at the same time each day. Instead of sweetened drinks, let your toddler drink water. By eliminating snacks throughout the day, your toddler will most likely be hungrier at mealtime.

5. Make mealtime fun. If your toddler plays with the food on her plate, don’t make a big deal about it. Instead, focus your toddler’s attention on something else. Engage your family in conversation about everyone’s day. Share your toddler’s accomplishment that day, like learning a new color or talking about a special activity. Draw your toddler’s attention away from the plate, and she is likely to eat her food before she even realizes it.

Dealing with a toddler who is a fussy eater isn’t fun or easy. Try these five tips on your fussy eater, and then implement your own ideas. Many parents deal with picky eaters, so remember that you are not alone!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

What's Important in Life? Family and FRIENDS!

A very special girlfriend took me out to lunch today for a belated birthday celebration. We aren't able to get together as much as we used to, so we spent an hour and a half catching up, talking, laughing, breaking our diets and having a great time!

We all have daily responsibilities that keep us busy...and then BUSY takes over!

Just remember, family and FRIENDS are especially important in your life. Take the time to talk, laugh and re-connect with them.

Thanks Sandy!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Stuff To Hold Your Stuff - a Review

Lisa Barker of jellymom.com, a friend and contributing writer to Mom's Niche News - our biweekly newsletter - has graciously sent me a book review for the 9-12 "tween" age group. Read on...

Rating: ** (Highly Recommended)
Title: Stuff To Hold Your Stuff by Ellen Warwick
Illustrated by Bernice Lum.
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Spiral-bound: 80 pages
Publisher: Kids Can Press
ISBN: 1553377451
Review by: Lisa Barker of

Make your own tote bags, wallets, purses, handy bags and more. A "you-can-do-it" book with detailed, but easy to follow instructions with great illustrations and plenty of creative room for each girl to craft and show off her own unique style. A great book for girls aged 9 -12...and hapless homemakers. Girls will love making "stuff to hold your stuff" for themselves and friends as gifts or just for fun. You don't need to be a super-seamstress; you'll be sure to find something in this book that you can make...and with a little help from mom (for those who need it), there's no limit! The book itself makes a GREAT gift.

Something to think about for the upcoming gift-giving holidays?

Halloween Costume Dilemma

Aaahhh...Halloween. I love this time of year - mainly because I love the cooler weather, the falling leaves, and switching over to my fall/winter wardrobe!

The eternal question around our house this time of year is "what are you going to be for Halloween?" Our tradition every Halloween is to dress up as a family (mom and dad too) and trick-or-treat around the neighborhood. I keep all of the old costumes upstairs in a trunk that we recycle in some form or fashion every year.

My 2 year old is forever changing her mind on what she wants to be. First it's a dragon, then a "treasure chest," then a butterfly and on and on until I get blue in the face. Her decision was made last night - Tigger!!! We found a great costume on sale (60% off) and couldn't resist. We got home and she immediately tried it on and bounced around the house :)

Now for the other two...what will they be? Same goes for me...I'm getting tired of the same clown, spider witch and pirate wench costumes. I think we're going to make them - yes, make them. Me...who doesn't sew. I ran across this great book of NO-SEW homemade costumes. You can find it here: ILoveHalloweenCostumes.com. There are so many great ideas - from a soda can to a tube of toothpaste to a kitten and a ball of yarn! I think I might choose those last two for me and the hubby :)

Same dilemma at your house? Let me know what creative ideas you've come up with for this year's trick-or-treat fest.

Monday, October 09, 2006

What's For Dinner...Hello? Is Anybody HERE For Dinner?

I have 3 children - ages 11, 9 and 2-1/2. They keep me busy...REALLY BUSY! Soccer practice...homework...dance class...the list goes on and on.

What has happened to "dinnertime" in our society? I remember when I was young, we sat down to a homecooked meal every night of the week - all of us. Even when we got older and had basketball, softball, volleyball and football practices and games...we still somehow found the time to sit down as a family and eat dinner together.

Society has become so fast-paced that life begins to fly right by us and we tend to forget the IMPORTANT things...talking with our children for starters. What better place to find out what's going on in our children's lives than at the dinner table?

I'm just as guilty as the next mom...practices, games, dad works late, I don't feel like cooking...all of those things tend to get in the way of family time. My goal every week is to sit down to a meal as a family 3 nights during the work/school week. This might not sound like a lot, but it works for us right now. It's a great time to talk about the highs and lows of the day. It's also a great place to hash out problems with homework that may not have been resolved yet. I find out A LOT about my kids' thoughts, fears and dreams just sitting down at the table together.

A colleague of mine has just produced a touching video - you can find it here:
The Family Dinner Video
You might want to get out the tissues :)

Here's a challenge for you: sit down to dinner as a whole family at least 2 times this week. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, just "be" together. Let me know how it goes...