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Archive for December, 2008

This year I told myself, no resolutions. But then I saw this post on Motherlode Blog on the New York Times, and thought it is a great idea. I’m always trying to be the best parent I can be and Parents.com has a list of 50 Easy Way to Be a Fantastic Parent. Here are a few of my favorite ways:

Remember that discipline is not punishment. Enforcing limits is really about teaching kids how to behave in the world and helping them to become competent, caring, and in control.

Read books together every day. Get started when he’s a newborn; babies love listening to the sound of their parents’ voices. Cuddling up with your child and a book is a great bonding experience that will set him up for a lifetime of reading.

Make warm memories. Your children will probably not remember anything that you say to them, but they will recall the family rituals — like bedtimes and game night — that you do together.

Be the role model your children deserve. Kids learn by watching their parents. Modeling appropriate, respectful, good behavior works much better than telling them what to do.

Live a little greener. Show your kids how easy it is to care for the environment. Waste less, recycle, reuse, and conserve each day. Spend an afternoon picking up trash around the neighborhood.

Always tell the truth. It’s how you want your child to behave, right?

Kiss and hug your spouse in front of the kids. Your marriage is the only example your child has of what an intimate relationship looks, feels, and sounds like. So it’s your job to set a great standard.

Don’t accept disrespect from your child. Never allow her to be rude or say hurtful things to you or anyone else. If she does, tell her firmly that you will not tolerate any form of disrespect.

Serve a food again and again. If your child rejects a new dish, don’t give up hope. You may have to offer it another six, eight, or even 10 times before he eats it and decides he likes it.

Avoid food fights. A healthy child instinctively knows how much to eat. If he refuses to finish whatever food is on his plate, just let it go. He won’t starve.

Say “I love you” whenever you feel it, even if it’s 743 times a day.You simply can not spoil a child with too many mushy words of affection and too many smooches. Not possible.

Keep in mind what grandmoms always say. Children are not yours, they are only lent to you for a time. In those fleeting years, do your best to help them grow up to be good people.

And my favorite:

Savor the moments. Yes, parenthood is the most exhausting job on the planet. Yes, your house is a mess, the laundry’s piled up, and the dog needs to be walked. But your kid just laughed. Enjoy it now — it will be over far too fast.

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Ring out the old, ring in the new, 
Ring, happy bells, across the snow: 
The year is going, let him go; 
Ring out the false, ring in the true

    —from “In Memoriam” by Lord Alfred Tennyson

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strata

My mom made Apple Raisin French Toast Strata (it sounds fancier than it is) over the weekend while my family celebrated Christmas, and it was awesome!

Everyone in my family loved it, even our picky two-year-olds. (Of course they liked eating Christmas cookies more, but who wouldn’t?) It is the perfect breakfast casserole to make the night before then throw in the oven Christmas morning. We have tried a couple different breakfast french toast casseroles, and this is our favorite. 

Apple Raisin French Toast Strata 
Ingredients:

1 (1 pound) loaf cinnamon raisin bread, cubed
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, diced
1 cup diced peeled apples    
8 eggs
2 1/2 cups half-and-half cream
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup maple syrup   

1. Coat a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange 1/2 of the cubed raisin bread in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle the cream cheese evenly over the bread, and top with the apples. Top with remaining bread.

2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the cream, butter, and maple syrup. Pour over the bread mixture. Cover with plastic wrap, and press down so that all bread pieces are soaked. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

4. Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes: We used lite cream cheese and egg beaters instead of whole eggs. It tasted great.

[Photo Credit: Strata]

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giant_monster

[Photo Credit: Cartoon]

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mainpage

I wish I was crafty and able to make Christmas presents for my family and friends. But I’m not. I don’t have the skills or the patience. So instead, I buy local products or presents that benefit others. 

One of my favorite local products to buy is candles from The Candle Lab. I love candles, and I only burn soy-based candles.

Most stores whose shelves are lined with glass jars would cringe when they see a mom walking in with an almost 2-year-old who loves smelling candles. But not the people at The Candle Lab. Instead, they are offer help and even let the pumpkin smell the candles. 

The Candle Lab has a great variety of scents, about 120 different ones.  My favorite scents include Malabar Peppercorn and Incense. The store also has seasonal scents, such as Winter Romance and Christmas Tree, which I love.

Another unique feature of The Candle Lab is if you buy a membership, which is about $30, you can pour your own candles and create personal scents. You can also pour candles using your own containers.  

The Candle Lab has three locations around Columbus: Grandview, Worthington, and Gahanna, and their candles make great presents. 

[Photo Credit: Store]

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The Snowman

snowman4

My mom just gave the munchkin the cutest Christmas movie – The Snowman.

So far this Christmas season I have watched The Grinch that Stole Christmas, Frosty the SnowmanOlive the Other Reindeer and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with her. I use the word “watched” in the loosest possible sense. She watch each of those movies for about five minutes and then was off doing stuff. But she watched 15 minutes of the The Snowman tonight. 

The movie is based a children’s book by Raymond Briggs. It is a beautiful movie. There are no words in the movie, and the soundtrack is lovely. So far, this is the munchkin’s favorite Christmas movie.

[Photo Credit: Snowman]

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Calvin and Hobbes snowmen cartoons are my favorite cartoons in the entire world. They always make me smile. 

calvin-and-hobbes-snowmen

[Photo Credit: Cartoon]

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