Friday, January 30, 2009
OK. Not really. But I should have. The cold, the snow, the ice...I feel like I need a team of sled dogs to run out for a gallon of milk.
Suffice it to say that, like so many of you, we're spending a lot of time inside these days. Lucky for all of us, Cookie has put together a list of 101 Indoor Activities. Papier-mâché? Check. Weird Science? Check. Role play? Check.
Now if they could just come up with a way to get my kid to clean my house. Oh wait. They did.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Check out these gorgeous "ice marbles" she made with her kids. All you need are balloons, water and a drop or two of food coloring. Stick your balloons outside to freeze and voila!--you've got some whimsical wintertime sculptures to dazzle and delight. And don't they photograph beautifully?
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Do yourselves a favor, Mamas: Buy this book.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
The Snow Show, by Carolyn Fisher is a silly story about a chef snowman with his own television show. He's cooking up a big batch of snow for all his viewers--and readers.
So for now, we can curl up with our snowy stories, whiling away frigid afternoons. But if today's temperature is any indication, Spring can't be too far off now, can it?
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Here's what some have said:
French President Nicolas Sarkozy: "With [Barak Obama's] election, the American people have vigorously expressed their confidence in progress and in the future, as well as their resolve to have an open, new, strong and caring America that you embody."
Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert: "The greatest democracy in the world has again proven that it is a beacon and example for many countries. The entire State of Israel rejoices with the United States and welcomes President Obama, who took the oath of office this evening. Barack Obama's journey to the White House has impressed and inspired the entire world. "
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown called President Obama "a man of great vision and moral purpose."
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd labeled him the "hope of our time."
Many millions have pinned their hopes and dreams to President Obama. The world over looks to him to solve problems that are clearly beyond the scope of one human being. And yet, the fact that Mr. Obama is, in his own words, a “man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant,” must give us pause. The distance we have travelled as a nation and the differences we have overcome stand as clear beacons of our values.
Our country's heart was on display yesterday. We are stronger than our differences. To move through strife and hardship, we must walk together. Our future is bigger than one man or administration. But our future also hinges on the opportunity and possibility of every single one of our children, regardless of creed, color, religion, political affiliation or other arbitrary difference.
Yesterday proves that this country remains one of hope and possibility for all who are eager to achieve.
God bless America.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
This year, their students are preparing--under the close watch of Jerome Giradot, the Ritz-Carlton's pastry chef--some very special treats for the Ritz-Carlton's inaugural guests. This year, the DC Central Kitchen students are preparing Michelle Obama's Shortbread Cookies, about 8,000 of them.
Mrs. Obama was kind enough to share the recipe, and so was NPR, so I'm passing it along to you. If you're looking for a fun way to observe the remarkable, peaceful transfer of power that happens in this country every four or eight years, these cookies sound like a tasty way to do it.
Michelle Obama's Shortbread Cookies
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 egg yolks
3 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 teaspoon each orange and lemon zest
2 tablespoons amaretto (almond liqueur)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 beaten egg white
Chopped nuts or dried fruit (optional)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.Mix together butter and 1 ½ cups of sugar.Add egg yolks one at a time and beat until smooth.Stir in flour, zest, amaretto and salt, and mix only until everything is incorporated.Spread dough evenly onto baking pan and brush top of dough with egg white and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Sprinkle with nuts or fruit if desired. Bake until golden brown, approximately 25 minutes. Cool for a short time, then cut while still warm.
Monday, January 19, 2009
For the time being, actual jars of peanut butter seem to be unaffected. The Kellogg company has chosen to recall 16 products and the Peanut Corporation has recalled all peanut butter and peanut paste produced in its Georgia plant since mid-September.
For more information, visit the FDA's website.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Nothing's better than a good New York story, and yesterday's flawless landing in the Hudson River is one of the best I've heard in a long time. Hailed as a "Miracle on the Hudson," Mr. Sullenberger managed to safely set down the U.S. Airways jet--and all 155 people aboard--in the Hudson River after losing both his engines.
Mayor Bloomberg, get this man a key to the city--or season tickets to the Yankees and a lifetime's supply of Katz's pastrami sandwiches. That's the least you can do for the angel who saved the City That Never Sleeps from another waking nightmare from the air.
Thank you, Mr. Sullenberger, from all New Yorkers, past and current. Thank you for saving so many lives, and giving us a helluva story to tell.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Well, in case you're managing to fight back the gloom and doom, Cookie Magazine has found a cute way to save you some cash when planning your next party. They're offering these pretty, printable party invitations from Egg Press. They're bright and colorful and a great, low-effort, DIY way to save some cash.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
It's a story about Afgan schoolgirls, girls whose parents have little or no education, girls who don't have electricity or running water in their homes, girls who--in many cases--walk several miles to attend classes. And when they arrive and pass into the sanctuary of the school walls, they shed their shapeless burkas like so much dead skin, smiling and laughing together in their momentary oasis.
Unfortunately, these girls are facing a more sinister roadblock on their paths to a life-altering education: intimidating, disfiguring and potentially attacks. There are roving groups of men on motorbikes, who thus far claim no group affiliation, who are spraying acid into the faces of girls on their way to school. Posters are appearing in mosques, urging parents not to let their girls go to school.
Yet the community is resisting. Students, parents and local government have come together to denounce the attacks and ensure the continuing education of Afgan girls. One girl, Shamsia, 17, badly scared from an acid attack, said that her parents told her to "keep coming to school, even if I am killed." It is difficult to imagine facing a mortal fear in one's daily pursuit of an education. It is even harder to imagine persevering against such aggression.
But these schoolgirls and this community are fully aware that if their lives, their community and their country are to improve, then they must, without question, educate themselves. They must continue to battle these small-minded and brutal individuals with everything they have. And it is clear that the most potent weapon in the Afgan arsenal is a new generation of brave and educated women. Their courage may just save their country.
Sometimes a Mama just needs an indoor activity.
That's where FreeKidsColoring.com comes in! This site has all kinds of printable coloring pages, arranged by topic. And the topics are extensive! They have nursery rhyme pages, maps, dragons, fairies--even ancient Egyptian gods!
So if you're stuck inside and looking for something to do, peruse these coloring pages with your little one and let him make his own coloring book. Just point, click and print. Then let your little artist go wild.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Friday, January 9, 2009
See you Monday, Mamas!
Thursday, January 8, 2009
This week, the New York Times blog Motherlode offers some practical advice for Mamas looking to reintegrate themselves into the workforce. It isn't always easy, but, as Lisa Belkin writes, with a little effort and some good advice, it can be done.
There are many bright sides to returning to work: grown-up camaraderie, a sense of accomplishment, and, perhaps most seductively, private potty time.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Our current favorite is this gorgeously illustrated version of Robert Frost's perennial poem, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. Frost's perfect picture of a pristine winter snowscape is lovely and inviting, as always. But Susan Jeffers' soft, dreamlike illustrations unfold themselves like layers of cozy blankets, revealing something new with each read. They add to the beauty of Frost's words, rather than distract.
We found this little treasure at our local library. But we'll be purchasing a copy to add to our private library for sure.
Monday, January 5, 2009
A "familiar" voice is weighing in on this old argument. British psychologist Penelope Leach has written a new book, Child Care Today: Getting It Right For Everyone, out this month. (Nell Casey reviews it in the February issue of Cookie Magazine, but the review is not yet available online.) Leach's perspective is not an indictment of women who struggle to make the best choices they can for themselves and their families, but rather a criticism of our system, which offers few choices and even less financial assistance for child care to women and families.
That this argument--"mommytrack" vs. "career woman"--is raging anew is, in itself, an interesting twist for us Gen-X parents. A favorite author of mine, Susan Gregory Thomas, has observed that "as a 2004 study of generational differences concluded, 'Generation X went through its all-important, formative years as one of the least parented, least nurtured generations in U.S. history.' " (The emphasis is mine.) But instead of turning into incapable and disinterested parents, we've swung the pendulum in the opposite direction. It is us Gen-X parents for whom the term "attachment parenting" was coined. Because of our deep connection to our children and our fear of making them feel "abandoned," the stakes have been raised exponentially. And deciding to go back to work is, for many of us, a decision over which we agonize, worry and, sometimes, berate ourselves or each other.
But this is, as Leach points out, "the wrong question." No fan of crowded day care, but understanding the need or desire many women have to work outside the home, Leach offers up creative ideas for making personalized, attentive child care an affordable reality for those who need it.
I'm eager to read this book and digest Leach's ideas. There's no question--especially in the midst of a faltering and uncertain economy--that we need a change. There's no question that women and children deserve more and better options than the ones currently available. After all, we're talking about the future here. And we all know just how important our kids are to us.
Friday, January 2, 2009
Well, Cookie Magazine offers this list of 10 immune system boosters to help your little ones evade the enemy this winter and stay healthy. The best piece of advice on this list is Number 1: Get enough sleep! No one can fend off winter germ assaults when they're run down and tired. So get those kids in bed, Mama! Then you can get a little extra beauty rest yourself.