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How do you encourage your kids when society tells them they aren’t supposed to be good at something or even take an interest in it?
Nana is my 9 year old, she hasn’t been very confident in her math or science skills even though her lowest grade in either subject is a B. Maybe this is because her grandma constantly says she is not good at math or the general perception that it’s not girly to be strong in math and science. I hate that thinking!
To create change, start at home.
Tell your girls they can take an interest in math, science, and programming and the problems they solve are so cool! The first step to practice what I preach, was taking Nana to Junior Lego League to prepare her for the competition in September. This Lego league teaches the kids to build different bodies for their robots, what the different bodies are capable of, and how to program the robots.
At the monthly gatherings, she is one of two girls with about a dozen kids in attendance. She’s gained confidence in building the chassis for these robots and is beginning to understand the building blocks of programming them, my parents thought she was just playing with Legos until I shared the video. She is now asking me to teach her how to program video games. We will be learning how to do that over the summer and I’ll blog about it from my perspective. She might even author a guest post on her experience.
On June 15th, she saw the latest Google Doodle about the lunar eclipse. She went to search what time it would happen, learned about eclipses on Wikipedia and asked me if I would sit outside and watch it with her.
To be perfectly honest, I couldn’t remember the differences and this was a great opportunity to brush up on that knowledge. We both learned about the near perfect alignment required on the night of a full moon to achieve a lunar eclipse. We also found out the next one is in 11 years.
While we were outside snacking and waiting for the moon to turn blood red, I tweeted out a picture of the moon using Instagram. Someone @ replied to tell me, it wouldn’t be visible for us in North America because the eclipse was going to end at 7 pm EST.
We were bummed to miss it, yet grateful to chat under a bright, beautiful, full moon. I’m also happy to see my daughter take an interest in programming and astronomy, look forward to encouraging and participating the curiosities of my kids.
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Whether you went away for the long weekend or decided a staycation was better for the budget this weekend, it’s likely you and your kids might have indulged in too much sun and paying for it today. My family decided to stay home this weekend with the ridiculous gas prices and the kids were water babies. They were asking to go to the pool as soon as they opened their eyes and it took a lot of creativity to keep them in the house until the hottest part of the day passed. Even with slathering the kids with tons of sunblock at least 30 minutes before going into the pool and reapplying, it’s inevitable some spots were missed.
Here are some tips from the Mayo Clinic to ease sunburn discomfort:
- Keep skin cool by wetting a towel with cool water or letting the kids play in a cool bath.
- Keep the sunburned area moist with aloe vera or moisturizing cream, taking care to avoid products containing alcohol which can dry out the skin.
- Don’t pop blisters, popping blisters will slow healing and increase the risk of infection. You can cover the blisters with gauze so the kids don’t pick at it.
- Treat peeling skin by applying moisturizing cream. Peeling skin is the body’s way of getting rid of the top layer of damaged skin.
The Mayo Clinic recommends that you consult a doctor for sunburn treatment if:
Severe sunburn covers a large portion of the body with blisters.
Sunburn is accompanied by high fever or severe pain.
Severe sunburn doesn’t begin to improve within a few days.
Tips to avoid future sunburn:
- Select sunscreen that blocks both UVA & UVB rays with sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.
- Use sunscreen frequently and liberally, use a shotglass full to make sure you applied enough.
Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alenastrizh/1475887972/sizes/s/in/photostream/
Permanent link to this article: https://handthingsdown.com/treating-sunburn/
This recipe uses the same basic ingredients as the easy chicken chilaquiles recipe. You can substitute red enchilada sauce or even mole to add variety. If you don’t have chicken, make cheese enchiladas.
Lazy Chicken Enchiladas
1 rotisserie chicken
16 oz can Las Palmas Green Chile Enchilada Sauce (medium)
1 package Mexican blend cheese
1 package of corn tortillas
9″ x 13″ pan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Shred the rotisserie chicken. Layer corn tortillas on the bottom of the pan, layer chicken over the tortillas, sprinkle cheese over this, then pour the green chile enchilada sauce. Repeat the layers again, finishing with a layer of corn tortillas and cheese. Pour the rest of the sauce over the top.
Cover the pan with foil and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Take the foil off and bake another 5 minutes to make sure all the cheese on top is all melty.
I used to warm the tortillas, then roll the chicken and cheese inside each tortilla. I realized the dish tasted and looked the same when I did it lasagna style. Plus the kids didn’t care because I was done cooking 20 minutes earlier.
Let me know if you’ve made this dish and how you liked it!
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I’m always looking for new ways to save money and stretch our family budget, only try as I might, I’m never organized enough to bring all the coupons I’ve clipped to the grocery store. Some of you are probably in the same boat, you’re busy, beyond stressed and scrambling to come up with new meals to keep your little ones fed and healthy. I’ve read articles about how you can save money if you plan your meals around the meats that go on sale at your local grocery store for the week. Only every time, I look at the various circulars, I lose track of what is at which stores, much less match that with what I know how to make (limited).
I found an answer to my coupon clipping and weekly meal planning dilemma. I was participating in a tech conference yesterday and a new startup has an app called Food on the Table is making easy to do these things from iPhone and Android phones. I just got an Android phone from Virgin Mobile and I’m still learning how to use it. When I turn my phone on it says “Android” before going to the main screen.
- Install the app.
- iPhone users: Go to iTunes, search for Food on the Table and tap Install.
- Android users: Go to Market and tap on the magnifying glass to search for Food on the Table, tap Install.
- Once the app is installed, tap on the icon to launch Food on the Table.
- Login to the app with your Facebook account or create an account.
- Once you create an account or login with Facebook, you can access the app from the web and any changes you make will sync with the app on your cell phone.
- Give the app permission to use your location to find the grocery stores around you.
- Select local grocery stores.
- My app has Safeway as the primary grocery store.
- Tap on Grocery List and see what is on sale at your primary grocery store.
- I selected Chicken Tenders, since meals made with chicken tenders usually have a higher chance of being eaten by the kids without a fight.
- Tap on Meal Plan and select the recipes you want to make. The free version is limited to 3 meals.
- Here I selected Chicken & Steak Fajitas.
- The app then added the steak to my grocery list along with all the other items I need to buy to make sure everything for the recipe is included in the grocery list.
For the planners, you can add the recipes to your phone, then look through the pantry to check off the ingredients that you have. If you’re like me, you’re probably sitting in the car waiting to pick up the kids from school and adding recipes to your plan before heading to the grocery store. What I like about the app is I can check which meats are on sale at my local stores so I can plan recipes around what is on sale. Bonus that recipes and the grocery list are contained within the app because I can come up with new meals without any added stress.
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I watched The Real World with Jellie during our weekly bonding session (don’t judge, it reminds me how lucky I am to have such a good kid). Its our ritual to bond while watching a reality show and since controversial topics usually pop-up, it’s a way to talk to her about difficult subjects. I mean I can’t just plop myself into her room and randomly bring up alcohol, teen pregnancy, etc.
On the episode we watched, one of the girls hired a private detective to search for her dad. So during the commercial, I turn to her and ask, “Do you ever think of your dad?” In typical teen fashion, she said, “No.” Of course I had to probe, then she replied with, “You can’t miss something you never had.” Then I asked, when you’re older, would you hire a private investigator to look for him? Jellie said, “No, if he was worth knowing, he would have stepped up and stuck around.” I don’t know if this is incredibly mature of her or if she’s suppressing any feelings of abandonment.
As a single mom, I worry my kids are deprived of normal family life because their dad is absent. I haven’t introduced them to anyone because it’s been a long time since I’ve been in a serious relationship.
Jellie never met her dad. She was spared disappointment if he missed a birthday or any other holidays, since she never expected it. As one of the first grandkids in my family, she’s been showered with love from my parents, my sisters, my cousins, and me. We also shower her with advice and guidance, sometimes it’s welcome and since she’s a teen sometimes unwelcome. I feel terrible she got the mom and not a dad too. I’m amazed at how mature and well-adjusted she appears to be, yet I worry it’s a façade. How do you know if your child is really ok?
Any thoughts on how to raise confident, independent teens or how to deal as a single parent?
Permanent link to this article: https://handthingsdown.com/living-without-a-dad/
If you’re like me, you either have no time to cook or have run out of ideas for meals with minimal prep. Yet you want to create yummy dishes your family will love, so what do you do? I learned to cook Mexican food from my ex’s family. Over the years, I experimented with shortcuts to see if I could save time and still make it taste authentic.
Here’s my recipe for quick chicken chilaquiles, this can be done with leftover chicken.
Chicken Chilaquiles Recipe
1 package of fried tortilla chips from the Mexican grocery
1 rotisserie chicken
16 oz can Las Palmas Green Chile Enchilada Sauce
1/2 package of Cotija cheese crumbled
Shred the rotisserie chicken.
Dice the onion.
Put a pan on medium high heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onions. To check if the oil is hot, put the end of a wooden spoon into the oil and if the oil bubbles around the wood, then the oil is hot enough. Cook the onions until they are translucent, then add the shredded chicken. Sauté for about 3 minutes.
Next move the chicken and onions to one side of the pan. Crack the 4 eggs into the cleared area in the pan. Once the eggs are completely cooked, mix it with the chicken, then pour the green enchilada sauce over everything and simmer for about 5 – 10 minutes.
Place chips on the center of the plate, then layer the chicken mixture over, layer more chips, then more chicken. Sprinkle the crumbled cheese over everything and serve.
Making the chips yourself
Cut the corn tortillas into chip sized triangles and fry them into chips. Using a slotted spoon or spatula take the chips out and drain in bowl lined with paper towels. If you have a deep fryer, it’s easier to fry the chips in batches.
I wrote out all the steps because when I first started cooking I missed key information that people assumed you knew, like boil the lasagna noodles before putting them between layers of meat and cheese.
Let me know if you tried this and alternate versions, I would love to try it out!
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Young & Naive
When I got pregnant with my oldest, I was too young and naive to understand that being a mom was more than a full-time job, it was the chance to shape a life. I didn’t know the first thing about babies or what they needed, all I knew was no matter what; my family was there to help and guide me.
On the eve of Mother’s Day, I was fortunate to attend the 2nd Annual Mom Entrepreneur Conference in Mesa, Arizona. During the keynote speech, the theme was “KNOW YOUR WORTH”. The 2010 winner talked about how all these amazing entrepreneurial women were afraid to submit their videos to be in the running for the Momentrepreneur of the Year for various reasons. Either they felt they weren’t in business long enough or they didn’t think they were good enough. What struck me about their stories was that these women started their own businesses to make ends meet for their families, to fulfill a need, to do something they were good at, and they became successful at it.
Then I got back to thinking, what is our most important jobs as moms and as leaders of our families? Now older and somewhat wiser, I realized it’s to pass on positive self-esteem and confidence to our kids. Have you ever marveled at the fearlessness in your toddler? At their boundless curiosity to learn what they can about their world with their endless questions? Sometimes these questions may drive you bananas until one day the questions stop and your teenager won’t talk to you at all. You think, what happened? Their self-esteem flickers and wanes each time we tell them we’re too busy or simply ignore them because we’re exhausted trying to make ends meet. Sometimes in anger, one might say hurtful things and unfortunately, these things stick with the kids and your once fearless toddler grows into an insecure teenager.
How can I build strong self-esteem in my kids?
The answer is to support their enthusiasm. Remember, the times when your kids were excited to show you something and you were too busy to see what they wanted? That’s exactly when you should look at what they want to show you because it shows they are WORTH your time. It tells them that what they do matters no matter how insignificant it may be in the big world. Their world is you, your spouse, your friends/relatives and everything you say to them matters.
Helping your kids build confidence can be as simple as talking to them. Telling them how proud you are of their accomplishments or acknowledging their efforts to clean up after themselves. Lastly, if you’re in the middle of making dinner and one of your kids wants to tell you a story about their day, take a moment to listen. As far as I know, no one has ever starved to death because a busy mom put dinner on hold for a few minutes to listen.
What do you think your job is as a mom? What are your tips to other moms? Leave them in the comments.
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Like most parents, each crazy week is programmed from the minute they wake up, until it’s time for bed. After work, time is filled shuttling kids between school and activities, all this madness needs to be balanced. It would be great if weekend recreation with the kids was free or low-cost. I remember when I was a kid, my parents would take my sisters and I to the Exploratorium or the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. As an adult, I am always looking to see if I can take my kids to the museum to expose them to science or the arts.
If you’re a mom in Bellevue, Madrona, or even Queen Anne, you might want to check out KidsQuest Children’s Museum. For families on a budget, the first Friday of each month is free starting at 5 pm. Tip: Get there early, it gets a little crazy.
KidsQuest is interactive, geared for kids from birth to age 10 and they really encourage learning through play. You can explain how things work to your kids. It’s also a great time to stop being a parent and express your inner child. This week is recycled art week, so you can be green while you craft with your kids.
The museum has different exhibits for the kids to explore: the backyard, the tree house, the garage, and waterways.
When: Friday, April 1, 2011
Time: 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM
KidsQuest Children’s Museum
4089 Factoria Blvd. S.E., Bellevue, WA 98006
First Friday of the Month, 5-8pm: Free
Under 1 Year of Age: Free
Ages 1-59: $7.50
Ages 60-100: $6.50
Thanks to Allison Wallin for the tip about KidsQuest.
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