Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Best Way To Learn to Ride A Bike (And Then What We Did)

My friend had a pedal-free “balance bicycle” that her toddler used.  The kid could barely walk but she would scoot around like a mini Dale Earnhardt.  Apparently balance bikes are all the rage in Germany.   The beauty, my friend explained, is that having learned to balance on their behinds, the kids effortlessly transition to two wheel bicycles avoiding the whole troublesome training wheel stage.   This is the best way to learn how to ride a bike.  Just not for my kids.

To make a pedal-free bike, you can just temporarily remove the pedals from a regular child’s bike.   However, to give my child the utmost advantage, I splurged on a beautiful, European, wooden, spoke-free, pedal-free balance bike for my daughter.  She wasn’t interested.  Well, that’s not entirely accurate.  She was excited for about 2 minutes, until she tried it and couldn’t balance on it.  Then she actively disliked it.   Many tears, months and arguments later, I bought her a bike with training wheels.

“What’s the hardest thing about learning to ride a bike?”
“The pavement.”  That’s the punch line I learned as a kid, but it turns out there is something harder.   

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Use Personal Lubricant in Preventing Kids' Nose Bleeds

It was getting out of hand.  My daughter's nose was bleeding several times a day.  At school, on the bus, even in the middle of the night when she was fast asleep, my daughter was painting the town red.  As much as I appreciate Oxyclean, I wanted a solution that got to the source.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

How to Remove Foreign Objects from a Child's Nose at Home

One of the down sides of a child's natural curiosity is that they tend, at some point in their early life, to try to stick something up their nose.  "Hmm, a hole.  Let's see what happens if I fill it.  Hey, it disappeared!"  Raisins, rocks, beans, beads, buttons, cereal, the list is almost endless.  In my daughter's case, it wasn't her fault.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hey Kool-Aid, Come dye silk!

I can think of only one good use for Kool-Aid but it's to dye for – beautifully colorful silks and other natural fibers.  After some experimenting with various methods I read about online, here's my take on the best way to dye silk with Kool-Aid:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Weekly allowance enthusiasm

We've started our 5-year-old on a weekly allowance.  We explained the rules to her yesterday.  She'll have to do her chores and in exchange she'll get money - 1/3 to put towards college, 1/3 to give to a charity of her choice, and 1/3 to use as she likes.  I've copied the system from a friend who said having an allowance has made her kids able to equate "toy I want" = "x weeks of allowance".

My 5-year-olds chores are:
1) Make her bed
2) Put her dirty laundry in the hamper
3) Dress herself
4) Clear her dishes
5) Participate in our family's weekend house clean-up

They are the same chores she has had to do anyway, but she sure does have more enthusiasm now!
This morning she rushed into my bedroom.
"Mommy, I've done all my morning chores," she said.  "I'm dressed, my pajamas are in the hamper, and I've made my bed!"
"That's great sweetheart," I said, "but it is three in the morning.  Go back to sleep!"

By Cara Eisenberg
Please visit www.caraaboutyou.com for information about Cara's children's books.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Using Microphones and Spray Starch

Last Sunday my daughters were in a talent show at the library.  What a fabulous way to get kids used to being in front of a crowd.  My children enjoyed watching the other acts too - even the girl who preformed 23 numbers on the recorder.  I learned a great tip for teaching kids how to hold a microphone so that it is in range but not "in mouth".

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Free planet-friendly building blocks

We all know that a refrigerator box makes a wonderful toy, but what about the small packages we throw daily into our recycling? 

I was at a friends house on a play date when she excitedly took out new cardboard "blocks".  "Forty dollars from Melissa and Doug", she told me.   They are terrific; the kids loved them – but I couldn't help noticing that they look and feel like the cardboard packaging for butter.  That gave me the idea to "make" my own.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

How to approach a wild hawk

Thursday morning a hawk appeared inside our screened-in porch.  What on earth?  It was annoying that stink bugs manage to somehow get inside, but this was ridiculous!  I called the kids to come see.
“That’s a hawk” my four-year-old informed me.
“Are you sure it isn’t a giant pigeon?”  I asked.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Healthy & Yummy Recipe Sharing

Healthy and yummy recipes that the whole family will enjoy are sometimes hard to find.  Some friends who enjoy this cooking challenge have started a blog to share these treasures and I have agreed to contribute.  Check out what's cooking at  www.fortheloveoffoodandfamily.blogspot.com

Here's another that a dear friend in Toronto started.  She's always whipping up healthy treats the kids love. http://voluptuousvegetarian.blogspot.com

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Yay! Pomegranate Time - Score to Score

After Opening Hundreds, Here's my Findings on the Best Way to Open Pomegranates + two ways to store them
Nutritious, delicious, and seemingly exotic, pomegranate is my daughter's favorite fruit.  In the fall and winter when pomegranates are available fresh from California for as little as $1.50, we indulge, and like mixed-up squirrels with zip-lock bags and a freezer, we also pack the seeds away for summer and spring.  I have hence

Monday, September 28, 2009

Saline, Saline Over the Cold So Blue

Fighting the Common Cold
It’s back.   (Insert horror music).  Inevitably, with the return to school, my daughter brings home the dreaded snotty, stuffy, green gook cold.  One frustrating aspect of this common virus is that it seems there isn’t much you can do, especially for children who can't even get relief from decongestants anymore.   Here’s my checklist of the ways we fight colds in our family.  (Tip: If you're in a hurry skip to way #8)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Shake Your Pants

Wasp Stings
I never expected I'd want to pull down my pants in public.  Motherhood is full of surprises.
We had taken some friends and our daughters to the beautiful new outdoor pool facility at Ida Lee Recreation Center.  Soon into our visit, one of my friends was reprimanded by a lifeguard for changing her four-year-old into her bathing suit on the pool deck.  Even knowing this, when it was time to go, I was not in the mood to gather all the kids and all the stuff just to slip into something dry in the changing room.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Cradle Cap Treatment a la Cara'bout You

Effective Do-it-Yourself Home Remedy for Cradle Cap
Cradle cap is called a "cosmetic" problem.  By cosmetic, they mean that it should not hurt your baby and it is usually safe not to treat.  Thus, although my first child had sever cradle cap as a baby, after discussing options with my doctor, I decided to just accept her scaly head. I noticed, however, that when

Monday, June 8, 2009

Tick Talk - What's the best way to remove ticks?

A Journey of Discovery About Tick Removal

Quick update 2013: I've now removed ticks with the soap method.  Brilliant!  Even with one firmly embedded, the tick came off whole.  I'm sold on Whole Child Pediatric's method I questioned in  2009.   Here is more on their method and my journey...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tell Those Birds: This Playset is Not a Potty!

Keeping Poop off the Playset
Our backyard playset used to be continually covered in bird droppings. Everyday I was using wipes before putting our kids on the swings or letting them down the slide. Two years ago my uncle offered an inexpensive, easy, environmentally friendly solution.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Picture Books Stories to build Vocabulary? Absolutely.

Words to consider: consider words too
If you thought that story books for children age 4 through 6 should have simpler word choices than age 7 through 9, think again.  As parents we're always trying to do what is best for our children. Sometimes it can be confusing.  Think of the Baby Einstein videos that ironically, research now indicates, lead to LESS vocabulary development.  In the same way, many people - even some authors, literary agents, and editors at publishing houses who consider words very carefully, operate under the misguided assumption that books we read to our kids should only contain the most commonly used words.  However, research suggests just the opposite.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"Nipping" the Nail Cutting Challenge

The Best Way To Cut My Baby's Nails
When my baby daughter removed one of my moles with her fingernails, I realized I was losing the nail clipping battle. This, despite the fact that I could have opened a salon with my assortment of nail cutting options.

How to get your baby (or children) to eat vegetables

Part 1: Think outside the Bag – try some less usual vegetables
That bag of frozen peas, carrots and beans has its place but your family may be wishing you'd leave it there. Here's some more uncommon choices that are packed with nutrients.

Your child eats toilet paper but refuses their vegetables? Here's a great one for you: try seaweed, the kind that people use to wrap up sushi. It is paper thin, just like toilet paper, but it is so green it is almost black and so full of nutrients and antioxidants that many call it a "superfood". Some vitamins and minerals it contains include vitamin C, beta-carotene, calcium and iron.