Monday, March 10, 2008

Some Ideas From Your Friendly Neighborhood Mom

When I have the time, I like to read up on my Parents and Parenting Magazines. I always find good advice or some great ideas that I would like to use one of these days. Since my motto is, "Less is More", I tear out the page that the idea is on and make a nice little pile, discarding of the magazine itself. Well, my pile has gotten a little big, so I need to purge. I thought of no better place to "store" all of these thoughts and ideas, than my weblog. Who knows, maybe someone out there can find some of these same ideas beneficial to their everyday living.

  • Make a photocopy of the fronts and backs of all your credit/debit cards and IDs. Keep the photocopies in a safe place in case you lose your wallet. You'll know your account numbers so you can cancel easily.
  • Turn recycling into a fun family project. (Our house is all about trying to "go green" this year!) Teach the basics, and then put the kids in charge of the items that are not breakable. Leave the glass to the grownups! Label the bins with a photo of the item so it will be easier for your child to know where to put certain items.
  • Speaking of recycling, here is a list of the items that can usually be recycled: aluminum cans, most plastic bottles, papers (magazines, newspapers, junk mail), glass bottles and jars, paper bags. These items can almost never be recycled: plastic wrap, styrofoam, items with food residue, and paper with glue or adhesive.
  • Weekly Allowance - 50 cents to $1.00 times the child's age.
  • Pizza Squares - 1 tube (13.8 oz) refrigerated pizza dough, 1 pint grape tomatoes (cut in halves), 1 garlic clove (minced), 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Unroll and slightly stretch dough onto a greased baking pan. Combine the next four ingredients in a bowl. Cover and microwave for 3 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes and drain. Sprinkle dough with Parmesan. Top with tomato mixture. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until crisp and browned. Let cool 5 minutes, then cut into squares and serve.
  • Best Books Ever - For Babies: Pat the Bunny, Go, Dog Go!, Good Night, Gorilla, Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?, Goodnight Moon. For Toddlers: We're Going on a Bear Hunt, Freight Train, The Napping House, The Happy Egg, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. For Preschoolers: Where the Wild Things Are, The Snowy Day, Harold and the Purple Crayon, Jamberry, Harry the Dirty Dog. For Kindergartners: Bread and Jam, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, Make Way for Ducklings, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, The Little Engine That Could.
  • To Leave With Your Babysitter: Your cell phone number and the address of where you will be. Your home phone number and address. Your pediatrician's number. The number for Poison Control (800-222-1222). The number of a neighbor to call in an emergency. Your kid's medical info. Important house rules.
  • 4'8" is the height that kids have to be before you get rid of the booster seat.
  • Healthy Travel Snacks - Frosted Mini-Wheats, Reduced-Fat Triscuits, No-Sugar Added Applesauce, Kashi TLC Granola Bars, Carrots, Celery, Cherry Tomatoes, Part-Skim String Cheese, Danimals Drinkables, and Bottles of Water.
  • Make a shopping cart cover out of a burp cloth. Simply sew a Velcro strip along each edge and snap around the bar to keep it germ-free.
  • Place all of your baby's bibs in a netted, zippered bag. This will keep the Velcro tabs from snagging and damaging all of your other clothes in the wash.
  • Double-Dipped Strawberries - 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, 1/4 cup white chocolate chips, 1 1b. strawberries. In separate bowls, heat chocolate chips in a microwave on medium, stirring every 20 seconds until chocolate is melted. Dunk strawberries in semisweet chocolate. Shake off any excess back into bowl and place on a wax-paper-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate 5 minutes. Place berries in mini cupcake liners. Using the tines of a fort, drizzle melted white chocolate over berries. Refrigerate 5 minutes and serve. Makes about 8 servings.
  • "Snacks to serve on a playdate that kids will like and that won't make moms roll their eyes" - Bite-size muffins, individual baggies of trail mix, portable bites of string cheese, yogurt sticks, and cereal bars, and fruit kabobs.
  • Cinnamon applesauce - 2 1/1 lbs (7-8) apples (recommend McIntosh), 1/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, or to taste. Peel, core, and quarter apples. Place apples in a heavy saucepan with 1/4 cup water. Add the sugar and cinnamon. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, or until very soft. If the apples start to dry out, ad a little more water. Spoon the mixture into a food processor or blender and blend until fairly smooth but still a little chunky. Stir in lemon juice. Taste, adding additional lemon juice or sugar, if desired.
  • Rent special dresses and suits for the kids at The prices are great on a 3 week rental for a special outfit.
  • Disney Done Right - Buy your tickets before you go ( Know height requirements. Visit during the off-season - September and October are usually the slowest months. Do it in reverse - Head to the back of the park first and then work your way forward. Go on the most popular rides at lunchtime or when others are watching the parade. If you can't wait until the off-season, plan your trip for the first two weeks in June or the last two in August. This is the least crowded time during the warm-weather months. Call the hotel directly and ask about any discounts or special offers available - Use the local number and not the "800" reservation number. Stay for four nights and five days (at least) - this is enough time to see all of the parks and still have some "down time" at the pool. Choose a Disney resort if possible - This makes it easier to go back and forth from the hotel to the parks. There is usually only a $20 a day difference between the Disney value properties and some off-site hotels. (I have not checked that out. I'm merely believing what they told the readers of their magazine.) See the fireworks from the top - Make reservations at the California Grill (407-939-3463). Plan your itinerary online - you can type in your kids' ages and what they like to do. The Website will give you a customized plan of action. Use a Rider Switch Pass - You and your kid can go first and request a rider-switch pass from one of the employees when they're about to get on. After their done, the other parent can skip the line with the pass. For autographs, meet the characters in front of the Magic Kingdom at the end of the day to avoid the rush when the parks open. Eat right - Grab lunch early (11 and 11:30), the lines usually don't get better until after 2. Make lunch your "big" meal for the day. The rates are cheaper than at dinnertime. Bring your own snacks and bottled water. Take a midday break - the crowds start to thin out around 6:30. Fit in a nice afternoon nap before heading back to the park.


kyllie said...

Those are all great ideas, thanks for sharing them Sunny! I really like the one about the netted zippered bag for bibs, I've had a couple of pairs of Sara's tights ruined by the velcro sticking to them in the dryer. Anyone know where I can get one those bags!?!

Tracy said...

I love this collection of tips!

I do something similar w/ my mags. I tear out what I want to keep and then file them in a little plastic expandable file organizer thing. I think my headers are 'around the house, raising kids, recipes, going green' or something like that.

Thanks for sharing!

TARA said...



Great ideas, Sunny! Thanks for sharing. I know it took you awhile to get that all typed out. One day, I might use some of them...when I have some "free" time. (Like you said.) :) Just saying "free" time right now makes me laugh...I don't have too much of that. Thanks, though, for the ideas.

Sunny said...

Anna - it did take awhile, but it was well worth seeing all of those pages in the trash! :)

chesley said...

Great tips. I do the exact same thing. I used to keep the entire magazines, but my house was being over taken by them.

To Kyllie above, I found those netted bags at Kroger on the cleaning aisle.