Shortcut to Cascarones


Last year we went all out making cascarones from scratch, so to speak. We started with the instructions on Spanglish Baby (Check their post out both for a how-to and more information about what cascarones are) and adapted them to our needs and supplies on hand as we went along.  It was a long process, but they were beautiful.

This year I’ve been procrastinating. The thought of dying the eggs, letting them dry, blowing out the eggs, letting them dry, filling them, and sealing them with a layer of glitter Mod Podge was exhausting.

When I walked into Walgreens this afternoon looking for healthy-ish Easter basket fillings (ha!), I nearly squealed out loud when I saw ready-made cascarones on the shelf. Yes, for $2.99 I could take home 12 bright cascarones, ready to crack on an unsuspecting family member’s head. I scooped them up so fast, I think I may have been a blur on the security cameras. It was easily the best $2.99 I’ve spent in a long time. Now we can spend a little extra time reading, playing, or drawing together. I’d say I got a bargain.

What sanity saving short cuts do you take on holidays?

Walgreens Cascarones

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Leprechaun Trap 101

Leprechaun Trap 101

I tried like hell to get Paolo to make a leprechaun trap like the ones posted on Pinterest. He was having none of it. This design is all Paolo. He just asked for supplies. You should know that earlier versions included swooping glow-in-the-dark bats and a booby trap of falling rocks. Fortunately for any unsuspecting leprechauns, this version is a kinder one.

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Save This Space

I know I’ve fallen off the radar, but I will post soon, I swear! Upcoming posts include manners at the supper table (with humor) and LEGOs as Beyblades. Stay tuned…

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Homemade Birthday Cards

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Homemade Birthday Card

P is off to another birthday party this morning. He avoided making the card something fierce, but really got into it once he started. He’s been making his own birthday cards since he could hold a crayon. Do you have your kids make their own birthday cards?

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When the Tooth Fairy Doesn’t Come

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Going to the Dentist

At the Dentist on a good day.

According to my son, I’m alternately the meanest mom ever or an awesome mom. Yesterday and today I was mean, mean, mean. P has a sweet tooth. Twenty of them to be specific. He fights me on brushing and flossing nearly every day. Without going into detail, he has a mouth prone to cavities. His Dentist has talked with him and I have talked with him about how important it is to take good care of those teeth and what the consequences could be…because it’s a candy jungle out there. Every holiday comes loaded with treats now, every class birthday treat, every reward, any “special” day, and don’t forget well-meaning relatives. I can’t be the voice of reason every time because I can’t always be there. So the rule is if we have to make any more non-preventative dental appointments he’s responsible for paying for it. See? Mean Mom.

A few days ago he was eating chewy, sticky candy and a crown came off. We had a serious talk. He went to the Dentist where they ultimately pulled the tooth because it was also cracked. He came home all bubbly because he was going to get twice the money from the Tooth Fairy- he had a crown and a tooth! I squashed that immediately. The Tooth Fairy, I explained, doesn’t bring money for teeth that come out because you didn’t take care of them. P didn’t believe me,  I could tell.

The next morning a devastated P came into the kitchen, “Thetoothfairydidn’tcome!” Sob! I explained again that the Tooth Fairy doesn’t bring money for teeth that come out because you didn’t take care of them.  A few of the sad, sad comments he came up with included “You let me down”, “The Tooth Fairy let me down”, ” I’m disappointed in everyone”, and my favorite, “I’m disappointed in the world.”

For three mornings now he’s come out of the bedroom grumpier than grumpy because the Tooth Fairy didn’t come. Every morning we talk about why the Tooth Fairy didn’t come and how much it cost to have the dentist pull his tooth (He will be doing some chores to “pay” for some of the cost). I’m still the mean mom, but if it means that he’ll take better care of his teeth in the long run and have a better understanding of consequences, I can live with that.

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Paolo, My YMCA Strong Kid

My Strong Kid

My Strong Kid

I have an active child. A very active child. One evening at dinner he was having a particularily hard time sitting in his chair long enough to make progress on his meal and proclaimed in frustration, “Can. We. Just. Do. Something. Active?!” He needs about 2-4 hours of physical activity a day…and he’s social. Super social. How do I channel that energy, meet his social needs, and still survive? One way is to keep him moving and talking at the YMCA. When he was younger we took advantage of the parent-child swimming lessons and Rainbow Rompers. Now, on any given day during the year Paolo is enrolled in an organized sport at the YMCA; swimming, soccer, and basketball, so far. He has his sights set on flag football and baseball next.  No matter his age it’s been fun, healthy, and social.

Last summer was his first summer participating in the Summer Care program. I was unsure about how it would go, but when I picked him up after the first day, I was convinced that we had made the right decision. He loved the adult leaders, organized and free-time activities, scheduled field trips, and playing and interacting with kids of all ages. I loved that they were super organized, put a lot of thought into caring for and entertaining the children in a positive way, and had them playing neighborhood games I used to play when kids were allowed to roam the neighborhood unsupervised all summer.

The moment I most remember, though, was when I received the phone call that Paolo had been accidentally pushed to the pavement while playing kickball and had slammed his head pretty hard. The staff not only took the proper steps in caring for him, but they had the information the nurses asked for when I called from work to see if he needed to be seen in the ER. It turns out he did need to go to the ER, and though I was scared and worried, I was well-prepared with the details the staff passed on to me about the circumstances of his injury.

I can’t say enough about children’s programing and care at the YMCA. Many children and families can’t afford to take advantage of the resources the YMCA offers. Money raised through the Strong Kids Campaign allows low-income children to do so. If you’d like to make a donation online you can do so on my YMCA Strong Kids Campaign page. If you prefer to be billed later, shoot me an email or leave a comment. I’ll make it happen.

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Pac-Man Crackers

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Pac-Man Crackers

A friend recommended a fantastic website, 100 Days of Real Food. At first I found it intimidating and a little depressing. Some of the things I was feeding my family turned out to have some ugly artificial ingredients in them. We eat pretty well, but having her blog posts appear in my Facebook feed reminded me daily to stick with making small changes. I’ve tried a few versions of her Whole Wheat muffins and they were a hit. I bought and starting using silicone popsicle molds to make our own smoothie pops. And today I made her Easy Cheesy Crackers. Definitely easy to make, and tasty, too. But I knew my super observant son would know these were healthier. As I was putting the crackers on the baking sheet one kind of separated on the side a bit and it gave me an idea. I could cut out a triangle from each round cracker and we’d have Pac-Man crackers. And the little triangles I cut out? Yep, rolled them into power pellets. Genius, right? I have my moments. Now I just have to see how the little man likes them.

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Valentines are DONE!

Mad Libs Valentines

Another year, another educational valentine-making experience. For both of us. We LOVED Design Mom’s Mad Libs valentine idea and went for it. It started out easy enough. We bought valentine-themed Mad Libs, valentine pencils to wrap them around, and printed the awesome cards Design Mom provided on her website. Paolo printed his name on all the cards weeks ago. They sat in the art tray on the kitchen table for weeks.

Last night we ate our spinach and went at those valentines like Popeye. Getting my son interested in punching holes in each card was doable. Getting him to write all 25 of his classmates’ names on the cards, not so much. It took a lot of “reminding”, but he eventually got through them and I survived rolling the Mad Libs around a pencil. After carefully tying one valentine with embroidery thread to perfection, I decided rubber bands might not look as pretty, but first graders don’t care and rubber bands could be reused (if only to launch at each other). They aren’t as pretty as the originals we were working from, but they’re DONE. In the end, we had as much fun making them as we did filling in a few Mad Libs for family members’ valentines. Another educational, yet fun valentine craft is in the books.

Mad Lib for Dad

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Pinewood Derby

Pinewood Derby car decoration

I might not able to help build a car that can beat the competition, but I can help decorate the heck out of it. P is going for a Packers motif. He’s letting me help stencil the numbers, but drew the line at glitter Mod Podge. Rats!

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Glow Stick RingToss

Glow Sticks

What to do with those multiplying glow sticks after they’re done glowing? I hate throwing them in the garbage and cringe when I see P has come home with more in a birthday party goody bag. I thought of one way to re-purpose them today (though I need more ideas to keep up with them as the come in the house) that also reuses a few things from the recyclable bins. It also happens to be a fun activity to keep P happy during the Super Bowl. all afternoon and into the Super Bowl. He’s been hanging on me begging me to play with him ever since I finished Glow Stick Ring Toss.

I started by cleaning up plastic containers in different sizes.

recyclables ring toss

I cut several colors of paper to size and gave each one a point value. Then  I fastened them to the bottles with tape and weighted them with rocks (decorative Dollar Tree rocks left over from another project).

Glow stick Ring Toss

An old Build-a-Bear box makes for perfect storage. You could fancy the box and bottles up as much or as little as you like. My son cares nothing for anything but point value, of course, so I stuck to the basics.

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