Saturday, August 27, 2011

Back To School Behavioral Guide For Elementary School

By now your child is either back in school or on his way to school. There are a slew of new kindergartners and 1st graders that are coming from some sort of daycare or preschool. If you have always been a working mom before now you and your child will be hopelessly conformed to the ways of your daycare provider. But now that your child is in elementary school, things are definitely different. If your child is entering elementary school or switching to a new elementary school this guide is for you.

Attendance- Daycare and preschools aren't sticklers for time unless you are late picking up your child. At elementary school, it is mandatory to drop off and pick up your child on time. If you leave your child on school grounds there is no guarantee that he will be supervised until you break through traffic. If your child is late, there is no late fee. You are negatively impacting his education and disrupting the education process of the other students in class. Be on time. Rearrange your schedule if necessary.

Dress code- At preschool and daycare it was a matter of safety. No sandals, or socks must be worn at all times, or no jewelry. At elementary school there is an actual dress code. No shorts after the last Friday in October, or something else to that effect. When you register your child for school there will be information available in the front office on the dress code. Make sure you acquire this document before you go back to school shopping.

Diet- In preschool you can give specifics about what and when your child eats a meal. But this is elementary school. Your child's teacher will walk your child to the lunch room and divide the hot lunchers from the brown baggers to ensure everyone is receiving lunch. Then, they take their own lunches. Don't bother your child's teacher with anything other than a food allergy. Your teacher will not be available to monitor sugar intake or lunch box temperature. You will need to take care of this on your own. Don't stress over the nutrition of the food offered at school. If you give your child a healthy breakfast and a healthy dinner and after school snack, that one unhealthy lunch won't harm them.

Homework- Your child won't be used to having homework. Make sure that when you meet your child's teacher to ask about the delivery of homework assignments. You don't want to find out after the fact that you were supposed to be reading a board on the classroom wall for the assignment instead of looking in your child's backpack. Don't count on your child to remember he has homework.

Bus stops- It's so easy to feel that your child is safe because there are other parents at the bus stop as well as other children. But consider this, if someone snatches your child, do you really expect a stranger to leave his child behind to chase down your own? Stay at the bus stop with your child until they are 13 or older. They may not like it, but most bus stop kidnappings are of elementary and middle school children. The more parents standing at a bus stop in the morning the less likely a kidnapping or assault will be.

Lefty- Make sure to tell your child's teacher that you want him to stay left handed before his first class. Most teachers will work with you. Help your teacher out by reinforcing the left hand at home with worksheets.

For more back to school tips, contact or Like me on Facebook.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Everything Housewives Need To Know About Wine

Here are some quick tips and easy guides to wines and their pairings. My favorite white wine is Pinot Grigio and my favorite red wine is Merlot.

What's your favorite?

Appropriate Wine Temperature

Type Of Wine Fahrenheit
Sparkling 42 to 54
Sherry (Light) 48 to 58
Red 57 to 68
Fortified (Port) 57 to 68
Sherry (Dark) 57 to 68

For red wines, you should remove the cork about an hour before you drink it.

White wines tend to diminish in quality the longer you keep the bottle open at room temperature. Uncork just before you serve to your guests.

If your wine sparkles, pour it down the side of the glass to protect the precious bubbles. If your wine is still, pour it in the center of the glass to let the bouquet permeate the vessel and float upward. Never fill a glass more than two-thirds or even halfway for some. If you plan to sample many wines throughout the course of a meal, serve even less than that per glass.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Chile Verde Recipe

Try this slow cooker recipe. It's a great way to cook a filling meal for your family without raising the temperature in your house. Make some homemade tortillas and horchata and your family will think you were imported from Mexico.


  • 4 pounds pork butt or shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Flour for dredging
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 yellow onions
  • 2 green bell peppers, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 Anaheim or Poblano chiles, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2-3 jalapenos, seeds removed, and finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatillos, roasted, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds, crushed and soaked in a scant amount of water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves, cleaned and chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock


Season the pork meat generously with salt and pepper, lightly flour. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium high heat and brown pork chunks well in small batches, on all sides. Lift pork out of pan and place in a wide soup pot. Discard fat and place the onions and peppers in the same skillet and sweat over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until limp, about 5 minutes. Add all of the chiles and cook an additional 3-4 minutes, then add the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more.

Add the Sauteed vegetables, chopped tomatillos, dried herbs and cilantro to the meat, cover with the chicken stock and bring up to a boil and reduce to a slight simmer. Cook for 2-3 hours uncovered or until the pork is fork tender.

Adjust the seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with your favorite Mexican cheese.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Vintage Paper Wreath Tutorial

I borrowed this idea from The Martha Stewart Show.

Tools and Materials

  • Leaf Template
  • Cardstock
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Old book with at least 100 yellowed pages, pages removed
  • Craft glue
  • 24-gauge floral wire, cut to 5-inch lengths
  • Pressed real leaves (optional)
  • 20-gauge floral wire
  • Brown floral tape
  • 1/8-inch tan quilling paper
  • Acorn caps
  • Hot-glue gun and glue sticks
  • Ribbon for bow
Wreath How-To
1. Print a leaf template on cardstock and cut out. Trace the leaf shape on a page from the book; roughly trim the paper around the leaf shape.

2. Apply craft glue to the back of the leaf shape. Place a 5-inch length of wire on a second page from the book, then place the leaf shape glue side down over it, sandwiching the wire between the papers. The wire should be centered on the stem of the leaf, with half of the wire within the leaf and half of the wire emerging from the stem. Allow glue to dry, then carefully cut out the leaf shape with scissors. Repeat to make 45 to 50 leaves for the wreath.

3. Bundle 3 to 5 leaves and twist the wires together.
Tip: You can add wires to real pressed leaves and incorporate them in the paper leaf bundles if desired.

4. To make a wreath form, cut a 47-inch length of 20-gauge wire; fold in half and twist. Shape twisted wire into a horseshoe, then wrap with brown floral tape.

5. Starting at one end of the wreath form and working toward middle, attach bundles of leaves with floral tape; repeat for other side.

6. To make the acorns, tightly roll 1/8-inch quilling paper into a flat disk. Use thumb to push the center of the disk outward, forming into a cup shape. Rub the inside of the cup with craft glue to secure the shape. Apply hot glue to the inside of the quilled cup and adhere to an acorn cap. Use hot glue to attach acorns to wreath.

7. Tie bow on the top center of wreath, if desired.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Gold or Silver, Real or Fake

In this struggling economy, it can be too expensive to purchase an engagement ring or wedding band set. With gold prices skyrocketing just as they always do every recession, the average Joe can't afford to propose to his best gal anymore. There are some beautiful alternatives.

Gold vs. Silver

Yellow Gold

If your woman is a gold lover, as in the traditional yellow gold, you're in for a fight. The price of gold has gone up. So a simple 1/4 carat diamond solitaire can cost a few hundred dollars more than usual. So what can you do? If your woman is inflexible in the color of her gold, be flexible in the stone. Cubic Zirconia is easily mistaken for a diamond. The fact is that most people cannot distinguish between a high grade cubic zirconia or a diamond with the naked eye. The key is to buy a high quality cubic zirconia and to keep it clean at all times. Another tip is not to purchase it in a large size. The larger the size, the more obvious it is that it is fake. Believe it or not, it's not the size of the stone that is causing this realization but actually it is the person wearing it. If you are the couple that can never go anywhere because you are living paycheck to paycheck then you probably can't afford a 5 carat diamond. So that large stone is probably a cz and not a diamond.

If she doesn't want a cz because of the social stigma then try the lab created diamond. Again, the differences are indistinguishable by the naked eye. You will be able to say it is a diamond and not a cz. If your woman is still picky about the fact that her diamond isn't real, remind her that the band is yellow gold and therefore the stone can be removed and replaced with a real diamond without an issue when you can afford to do so. Of course there is also the option of skipping the diamond altogether. Be original and put her birthstone or the stone from the month you met, proposed, or plan to be married in the ring instead. The stone will be real, and no matter what it is, it's cheaper than a diamond. By changing the stone choice, you reduce the cost of having paid more for the yellow gold band in the first place.

White Gold

This is purely a personal opinion. Never buy white gold. White gold was invented to replicate silver or platinum. When people couldn't afford the price of silver they took yellow gold and plated it with nickel to make it appear silver. Today, white gold is maximum 18k gold (75%) and the rest is rhodium. This is why the rings are regularly sent into the jeweler to be replated every so often. If you haven't noticed, the price of gold is usually higher than silver. So white gold is typically equally priced with yellow gold. Why buy imitation silver when you could simply buy a true silver ring that costs less? The other issue with white gold is the resale. Jewelers pay more for yellow gold jewelry and silver jewelry because they aren't conglomerate metals like white gold. Save your money and buy the silver.


There are two types of silver sold in the stores, sterling silver and silver. Sterling silver is typically so cheap it is usually less than $50 in price. It needs to be replated just like a white gold ring. A silver ring does not need to be replated or dipped. Silver rings only need to be cleaned at home with soap and water or with an ammonia based cleaner. Then you polish it it a high gloss shine. Your precious ring stays with you at all times. Silver acts like gold in that it can hold a diamond as well. Silver is much cheaper than yellow gold, so you won't have to go cheap on the stone. In my personal opinion, any stone that is not green, brown, yellow, or red looks better on silver rings. For my birthday, I received a pink sapphire ring on silver. When I saw a young lady with a similar ring in yellow gold, the sapphire seemed to be muted by the yellow gold. I was glad my husband saved the money by buying the silver and taking me to dinner instead.


Save money by substituting yellow gold with silver or substituting the stones. You can always add a real diamond later. Gold is worth more than silver but silver doesn't need to be sent in for replating and refinishing.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Favorite Things: Heiress Set

Being a mom usually means wearing jeans and sweats on a daily basis. It makes perfect sense when you think about it. Jeans are durable and can take a beating. Sweats are comfortable and easy to move around in or chase a toddler. But just because I like to be comfortable and not waste my money on high end clothes just to have my baby spit carrots on them, doesn't mean that I don't like to look good.

One way that I spruce up the jeans and t-shirt look is to wear makeup and curl my hair. I usually throw in some heels to make it look sexy. But what usually works like a charm, even without the heels and the makeup is the jewelry. If the jewelry is upscale or classy enough it makes the jeans look more expensive, thus making me look less like a bumming mom.

Check out this earring and pendant necklace set I made for Rain Tree Boutique. The color and the pendant elevate my appearance above that of vacuuming. It can be worn with that little black dress or with the jeans and t-shirt.

No matter how simple your attire is, jewelry can make you look ten times more put together than you would without it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Back to School for Lefties

Gone are the days of forcing left handed children to write with their right hands. At least I hope they're gone. Studies have shown that forcing left handed children to be right handed not only caused emotional problems but it also caused many learning disabilities like, dyslexia. The brain of the left handed child operates differently than the brain of a right handed child. Left handed people seem to have less difficulty with puzzles and mirror images. Leonardo DaVinci found it easier to write backwards with his left hand. His journals had to be held up to a mirror to be read. So with the discovery that lefties are all right, you would think that the world would be equally accommodating. It isn't.

Consider this, when your right handed child sits at a desk with an arm rest, he is perfectly prepared to write comfortably and with ample support. But what of the left handed child? Where will his left arm rest? When you enter a classroom all of the arm rests are on the right hand side. Most schools have made up for this by removing the arm rests all together. But they need to go further. Here are a list of things your school aged lefty will need.

Pencil Sharpener- Pencil sharpeners operate by turning the inserted pencil in the sharpener to the right. Easy enough when you are right handed. But take a second and try sharpening a pencil in the same pencil sharpener with your left hand and you will see why a left-handed pencil sharpener is necessary.

Notebooks- Open the cover of a notebook and you will find that it is easy to write from left to right when the pages are on the right...if you're right handed. If you're left handed, the left sided pages are easier to write on as the binding is out of your way. That is why your child will need a left handed notebook. However, these are as difficult to find as the left handed pencil sharpeners. My husband solved this problem while in college by using a top bound notebook.

Scissors- There are two options here. You can get your child the left handed scissors which are readily available or you can buy the even handed scissors. The even handed scissors may be optimal for a younger child. Sometimes the younger lefty is able to use both hands.

Binder- I know it seems that a binder could simply be turned upside down but not if it has pockets. Also, some binders have a ring opener that can only be opened from the top. If you can't find a lefty binder then you have to work with the regular binders.

If you are able to sew, then you may want to remove the zippers on your child's backpack and lunch box. The zippers go from left to right, turn the zipper around to make it go from right to left.

At home, you may want to invest in a left handed desk to help reinforce the use of his left hand. His penmanship on his homework will look better than his classwork.

Also, have a heart to heart conversation with your child's teacher. Most teachers don't have the time or the focus to give your one child out of 30 to 60 kids in a class individual attention. Without realizing it, she may unwittingly force your child to write with the right hand.

It's a right world out there. Take care of the ones who are left.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Joe's Crab Shack Copycat BBQ Crab Recipe


5 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon MSG
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil


1. Stir together all dry ingredients in a small bowl.

2. Add oil and stir well.

3. Brush generously on steamed crab just before serving.

Makes enough for at least 8 servings.
Here's the video on how to clean dungeness crab.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Athlete's Foot Spray Review

All summer long I managed to avoid contracting athlete's foot. Unfortunately, the fan in my windowless bathroom stopped working. So each time I stepped out of the shower into my warm, misty bathroom onto my bath rug, I was creating the recipe for disaster. The bathroom rugs stayed wet. Bacteria multiplied faster than a woman without birth control. The next thing you knew I had athlete's foot. It was brutal, the constant itching, the cracking, the peeling, the bumps, the pain I inflicted trying out disgusting home remedies, including peeing on my foot.

The reason for all of this experimentation was Lotrimin. Lotrimin is an athlete's foot
spray that I purchased for $5.34. When I sprayed it on my foot, it did not instantly stop the itch on contact as proclaimed on the can. The spray left a powdery residue on my feet that got everywhere. I found that I had to reapply several times a day rather than twice a day as directed. I went through the small can within a week and my symptoms had worsened.

I moved on to "boom! tough actin' Tinactin." That did show me much better results. It
stopped the multiplication of the little fluid filled bumps and it didn't leave as powdery of a residue. The itch stopped within seconds of spraying it on. I only had to apply it 3 times a day to get these results. The cost of this spray was $4.32. I ran out of that can within 2 weeks.

Now that my infection was raging, I was desperate. I tried urinating on my foot. That made it worse and left me scrubbing my shower feverishly because I felt so dirty. I was reminded of the Seinfeld episode where Elaine told George not to pee in the shower because of the plumbing. "You're gonna mix them up!" I moved on to the Lysol spray on the foot. Dear God, that burned like turpentine. However, there was no more oozing from the raw and exposed skin. Then I tried soaking my feet in vinegar. It dried up all of the bumps and the exposed skin. I thought I was cured! I wasn't. 2 weeks later the bumps were back.

I went back to Target and bought the store brand. I was going to be damned if I would pay another $5 for another spray that didn't work. I bought the generic Target brand for only $3.98. It was so generic it only had a white label like 1980's welfare food. The noticeable difference was that the spray didn't leave a powder. The medicine didn't rub off everywhere either. It seemed to absorb right away. The itch stopped on contact. I applied it twice a day as instructed. It seemed to stop the athlete's foot in it's tracks. I Googled around on the internet and found that I should rupture the bumps to banish the fungal liquid. So I held an embroidery needle over a flame and wiped it with alcohol. I don't know what I was whincing for, I couldn't feel a thing. I immediately blotted up the liquid with a Kleenex and sprayed my foot again. Three days later my athlete's foot was gone. I cured the flaky skin with a few applications of Eucerin, which is intended for people with eczema.

As advised, I prevented the return of the God-awful condition by making my own shower concoction spray made of alcohol (dries the shower faster), vinegar (kills fungus), and water. I also got a pair of Steve Madden, terry cloth flip flops to step onto out of the shower as opposed to stepping onto my rugs. Every night before bed, I spray the bathroom rugs with Lysol Disinfectant to prevent the excess growth of bacteria between laundry day. I was told to disinfect my shoes but the infection came from my bathroom so there was no problem to fix there. So glad to be able to were my sandals again.

I do wonder though, how bad is jock itch? All three cans also treat jock itch.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Pampers Cruisers Review

This is a review of Pampers Stages Cruisers Dry Max Diapers in size 4 and a 120 count box.

I received 3 free diapers in my daughter's size with a Target logo on the packaging in the mail yesterday. I was told when I signed up for my Target Red Card that my information would not be sold. It seems the opposite is true. The people at Pampers sent me the sample to review on their company survey site. I thought it would do more good to review it here.

First the fit. It was far superior to the fit of my usual brand which is the Target brand diaper. I found the Target brand comparable to the Pampers Swaddlers when my daughter was a smaller size. But now the larger size of the Target brand seems to gape open around the leg. Though I haven't had any mishaps with this fit, I'm sure it won't be long before there will be one. The Cruisers fit like a glove. There were no gaps and no elastic imprints on her skin. Her bottom was drier than with the store brand and there was better padding and cushioning in the diaper. She seemed to notice the difference right away as she attempted the Mowgli crawl, something she hadn't tried before.

Second, I noticed the price. A pack of 124 count, size 4 Target brand diapers is $19.98. If you use your Red Card it will be 5% less. Every box comes with a $1 off coupon on the side which you are able to redeem instantly. Your final price is somewhere between $17-$18. The Cruisers are $35 for a 120 count box. With the 5% discount from the Target Red Card and the $2 coupon from the manufacturer, your bottom line is still about $10 more for 4 less diapers.

This really came down to fit for me. I had to decide, was the better fit worth the $10 and less diapers? After all, 4 diapers is at least a half day's worth of diapers. Seeing my daughter get up on her hands and feet instead of continuing her army crawl was certainly worth it. And lately the Target brand has been springing a few leaks. Is it worth the $10?

Painfully, I say the answer is yes. Diaper rash is no joke for me. It's worse for my baby girl. Being able to move more freely is crucial to a baby sister who is trying to keep up with her big brother. Reluctantly, I will be purchasing the Pampers Stages Cruisers for $10 more. Of course, I will be stacking the coupons as much as possible to reduce costs.