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My Son Is Nuts

OK not really. But at the age of 4 1/2, he can use a nutcracker as well as an adult.


"Boy" strength showing up early, I guess. I think part of it might be that he applies all of his wee brute strength with no regard to where the pieces fly, whereas when I crack a nut I try to be tidy and hold back a bit.

The end result is that lately he's been eating lots and lots and lots of nuts, which leaves him open to the inevitable comments of "hey, you are what you eat, you know!".

On the plus side, nuts are pretty darn good for you, and while I've been munching on my secret stash of leftover chocolate covered almonds, he's been eating them sans-crap, right out of the shell.

Mommy approved!!
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My First Blog Award!

I've been awarded the Fabulous Blog award by Lady Banana (awesome - thanks!!)

So now it's my turn to list five of my addictions, and pass this award along to five other awesome blogs. Here goes:


1) Chocolate!!!
2) Sushi
3) Twitter
4) Blogging
5) Good coffee

Five more fabulous blogs:

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Family Organizer Calendar

Last year, a friend of mine gave me a calendar made by It was a "family" calendar, and on each month it contained a separate column for each member of the family (it had five blank columns).

We love it! It hangs on the side of the fridge, and we can all see at a glance, all four schedules and how they overlap and interact. I went to the website of the publisher today and couldn't find the 2009 version - I guess they've stopped making it.

Well! That didn't stop me ;-) I made one myself, and here's how:

1) Using Excel, I created a spread sheet with 33 rows and 7 columns.

2) Down the first column, starting on the third row, I numbered 1 through 31.

3) On the left side of the top row, I typed "Month:" and left the space after it blank (to create a perpetual template - after I printed it, I had Alyssa write the months at the top of each sheet in the blank space).

4) Across the second row, I entered column headers as follows:
Date, Day, Name1, Name2, Name3, Name4, Other.
(Under the "date" header are the numbers 1-31; under the "day" column are blank spaces to insert the days of the week).

5) I adjust the column widths and row heights so that the document would fill two pages when printed, and then printed using 8 1/2 x 11 card stock.

6) I printed 12 copies (24 sheets), and trimmed the bottom of the page 1's and taped them to the top of the page 2's.

7) I used a hole punch and three key rings to fasten them together at the top.

Now I have an 8 1/2 x 22 family calendar for 2009. It may not look quite as slick as last year's, but I know it will be a scheduling life saver.
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Parenting Tip #3,482

Never (unless you have money to throw away), leave your pump dispenser of Joico K-Pak Leave-In Protectant on the counter, or your four-year-old could mistake it for hand soap, and decide to clean the sink for you.


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Wart Removal With Nail Polish

Interesting... watching The Doctors, and there was a Mom on the show who used nail polish to get rid of her son's wart.

She used an old bottle that she didn't want anymore (I don't think you'd want to use it on your nails after applying it to a wart), and she covered the wart on her son's foot. A few days later she picked the nail polish off and the wart came off with it - painlessly and effectively.

I think it probably works on the same principal as duct tape, in that it triggers an immune system response. When I used the duct tape it took several weeks, whereas the nail polish supposedly works much faster.

I think this is a remedy I'm going to try if we ever have another wart appear.
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So Busy Lately!!!

A quick post for today as I continue my running like a headless chicken...

A & J are on their way to the bathroom to brush their teeth before school. The family dog is devouring A's leftover breakfast.

A: "Mommy! Can you please save my peanut butter toast? I want to eat it after school."

(oops ;-)
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School Lunch Ideas

Just discovered these the other day: Mini Honey Mandarin Oranges.

Yum! They're sweeter than larger Mandarins, and they fit in the palm of your hand - perfect for little fingers (the pic below is Joseph peeling one of them).

Even picky Alyssa agreed to take one in her school lunch, along with the following comment: "Mommy you know that's a language too, right?"

Too cute ;-)

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How Do You Remove Play Doh From Carpet?

Ohhhhh.... just figured this one out!!

Let it dry, then use the narrow plastic vacuum attachment to "scrape" it off. The dried Play Doh gets flaked off the carpet fibres and then sucked up into the vacuum (wahoo!!).

This is the best method I've found so far (and believe me, I'm pretty sure I've tried almost everything).

Re: staining - I haven't noticed any, and our carpet is light grey. Not sure about cream or white carpets - I have no idea if Play Doh stains or not.

(Of course you can always do what a good friend of mine does - keeps the Play Doh in the basement where they have laminate flooring ;-)
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lol Here's One More:

Just now:

Me: Hey! Get out from behind the TV, please.

J: But Mommy!!! I can do anyfing I want!! And you always can't!!

Glad we got that straight ;-)
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Coversation With Lil' J

Yesterday, walking to school to pick up Alyssa, talking to himself:

Normal voice: Hi Grass!!

Squeaky voice: Hi Joe!!

Normal voice: Grass, why are you so slippery?

Squeaky voice: Because of da snow!

Normal voice: Can I walk on you?

Squeaky voice: OK! It doesn't hurt!

(Well that's good at least...)

Riding Smart Cycle, with the dinosaurs cartridge:

J: "Mama look!!! Look at da Dinosaur!!!"

Me: "Oh, it's so big!"

J: "Ya!! Isso big it can even fit in my tummy!!!"

(Hmmm. Maybe he needs breakfast).
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Getting Grains In Little Tummies

My son loves this porridge recipe, so I thought I'd pass it on:

1 1/3 cup water
2/3 cups rolled oats
1 tbsp ground flax
1 tbsp wheat germ
1 tsp honey

Heat ingredients above, stirring until porridge thickens, then remove from heat.

Top with:

1/3 cup frozen blueberries

It's nice if the blueberries are still frozen because they help to cool the porridge.

This is a quick easy way to get some healthy grains and blueberries into little picky eaters :-)
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Birthday Party Idea

Here's an idea that a friend of mine just did at her daughter's first birthday: a time capsule!!

LOVE it. She just had all her guests write notes to her daughter to put it in the time capsule, but I think it would have been neat to take it a step further: tell your guests about it in advance to give them the opportunity to bring in something to add.

Soooo cool.... !!! My kids are past their first birthdays, but I may still consider this for another milestone birthday (such as ten).
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Try Bingo To Help Reading Skills

Here's an idea for a custom Bingo game that reinforces early reading skills:


  • Card stock paper
  • Scissors
  • Pen

To make:

  • Use two (or more) sheets of card stock as your Bingo cards.
  • On these cards, draw a grid of squares (4x4 or 5x5 works well).
  • In each square, write simple words that you think your child will be able to read.
  • Cut more card stock into small squares that will fit in the squares drawn on the cards (these are your Bingo chips).
  • Copy the words that are on the cards onto the chips as well, making sure that there are the same number of word chips as there are cards (so each player has the same word chips).
  • Make an extra set of word chips - these are your "caller" cards.

To Play:

Turn a caller card over to reveal a word. Each player finds their matching word card and places it on its spot on their Bingo card. The first player to make a line wins.

My daughter and I play this all the time, and her four year old brother plays as well. He is actually able to match up the words based on the letters they contain, even though he can't yet read them all (he can sound out some simple three letter words). Because this reading practice is presented in the form of a Bingo game, they have fun without realizing they're "doing homework" ;-)

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How I Taught My Son Our Address

I made it into a song.

I used a random melody that begins and ends on the same note (so it makes sense to your ear) and sung the address over and over. He loved hearing it, and asked me to "sing it again, mama!! sing it again!!". Tonight as I was tucking him in for bed, out of nowhere he sang it, with the address correct.


I don't think he'd be able to recite the address without the melody, but that doesn't matter. What does matter (lol) is that I don't think he knows it's his "address"; as in, if someone asked him for his address, he wouldn't know to sing the song.

LOL, oh well, one thing at a time, right?
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Bratz Dolls Will No Longer Be Sold In 2009

Have you heard? This was news to me but here's a link from a CNN site:

Apparently Barbie and Bratz (or the makers of ;-) have been in a legal dispute and the Barbie side has won. After the current holiday season, Bratz dolls will be pulled from store shelves and no longer available for sale.

LOL If you were a collector/investor, wouldn't now be a good time to stock up?

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Treating A Child's Fever

I am not a nurse or a doctor, just a Mom trying to figure out what the right thing to do is.

J has had a fever for a couple of days, and has not had his usual energy level (when he voluntarily lies down on his bed instead of playing, you know something's amiss!). He's still a happy little guy, talkative and smiley, and there's been no vomiting - just coughing and a "sniffy" nose. And the fever.

Last year when this happened (it usually does about once or twice a year for him - Alyssa is not as prone to fevers but Joseph usually gets them), I gave him ice packs to cool him down. This made him shiver, and yet he got hotter! Once I did a bit of research I understood why:

Fever helps the body fight off in infection of course. What I didn't know is that if you ice a fever, you actually cause the body temperature to increase.

We all have an internal thermostat that keeps our body temperature around 98.6F. Unfortunately this is an optimal temp for bad bugs to thrive, so when we get sick the internal thermostat resets to a higher temp, and the body works to maintain that new setting (a. to help kill the bug, and b. to optimize our immune system's performance).

So when you ice a fever, you're fighting against the body's natural immune system response, requiring that even more heat be generated to try and reach that new internal thermostat setting.

Here's a link from a Nursing forum with a conversation specifically about icing kids' fevers:

Bottom line, I've discovered, is that you're better off leaving the fever alone (assuming it's not too high, of course - then you may want to see your Doc) and focusing on making your child comfy. Lots of fluids, comfy PJ's, favourite show on tv, and naps if they're willing.

There goes my timer again - I have to get A up for school. I'll be back!
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5 Steps To Using Words, Not Fists

My son (the lil' hammer dude) is like most kids - impressionable and teachable. (I see this as an upside to having kids, because if you don't censor your own bad behaviour, they pick it up!!).

note to self - hide the candy wrappers better so my six year old doesn't see them in the garbage and get upset when I won't let her have any

Anyway, more about Lil' J. He has learned to talk about his anger, rather than hitting. Here's what worked for us:

Step 1) Intervene if he is hitting, pushing, or otherwise being physical with his anger.

Step 2) Sit down at his level and wait for him to calm down.

Step 3) Ask him why he is angry, listen to what he has to say.

Step 4) Tell him that it is OK to be angry, but that it is NOT OK to use his hands to show anger.

Step 5) Show him another way to express his anger: for example, by using words.

Steps 4 and 5 are particularly important. I truly believe that kids are not born wanting to hit or be violent - they just don't know how to express themselves. I also think it's important that he deal with anger, so that it's not bottled up inside.

This morning, for example, he didn't get to play in the school playground like he usually does because of the rain. He was very upset, but because we've been through the five steps listed above, he walked nicely with me, holding my hand, and talked about how angry he was. I told him that I understood, I'd be angry too, it's OK to feel that way, and I was very proud of how he uses his words to tell me.

Because he had been taught how to express himself without getting in trouble (which would have made him angrier), he got over it in about two or three minutes, and started laughing talking about something else entirely.

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