Monthly Archives: July 2010

Top 10 Ways To Make Vegetables Tasty

Taken from Fruits and Veggies More Matters website.

10. Pair with Cheese. Make your own version of the classic caprese salad by adding low-fat mozzarella and basil leaves to your dish, or simply sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of your cooked veggies.

9. A Tangy Surprise! Add a squeeze of lemon juice after you steam your vegetables. It can add a nice surprise to spinach or broccoli.

8. Sauté with Herbs. To infuse your vegetables with flavor and mouth-watering aromas, sauté them in olive oil, garlic and herbs of your choice (basil, oregano, thyme, etc).

7. Spice Them Up! Slice up some green and yellow squash. Add sliced mushrooms, diced tomatoes and onion. Then chop up a jalapeno pepper (or two, depending on how spicy you like it!) and add into the vegetable mix. Sauté in a pan and serve over brown rice for a spicy new favorite.

6. Healthy Dipping! Dip your raw vegetables (such as broccoli, carrots or celery) into a low-fat version of the veggie tray tradition. Try mixing some frozen spinach, onion, nonfat sour cream and light mayo with a few drops of lemon juice in a blender. Refrigerate and serve.

5. Mix with Fruit. A great way to combine both fruit and vegetables is in a salad. A tasty way to do this is to start off with spinach, add halved cherries, sliced strawberries and walnuts and toss in an orange-based vinaigrette.

4. A Flavorful Homemade Soup. Add a ton of veggies to your favorite homemade soup or stew for not only flavor but color as well.

3. Drink Them! Juice a variety of vegetables and fruit together for a delicious and nutritious drink!

2. Grill ‘em! Grill some zucchini long enough for them to become softer and have grill lines on them (but make sure not to burn them!). Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with oregano for a perfect side to any dish.

1. Stuff ‘em! Sauté onions, bell peppers, and garlic in olive oil. Mince them up with some ham and stuff into mushroom caps. Sprinkle with Italian bread crumbs and parmesan cheese then bake for about 15 mins. Artichokes, tomatoes and bell peppers are also perfect for stuffing, baking and roasting. Come up with your own unique recipe!


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Safety In The Home

Taken from Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association website.

Be sure every room in your home is a safe place where your child can explore and grow mentally and physically. Scroll down to discover how to safely provide the best possible environment for your baby.


  • Bath seats and bath rings should be used with children who are capable of sitting upright unassisted. Discontinue use when a child can pull to a standing position.
  • NEVER leave baby unattended. If you need to leave the bathroom, take the baby with you. Do not rely on older children to watch the baby for you.
  • Collect all bathing materials before bringing baby into the bathroom.
  • Never use a bath seat on textured or non-skid tub surfaces unless the manufacturer’s instructions specifically state the seat is intended for such surfaces.
  • Place the bath seat in the tub so baby cannot reach the faucet or spout.
  • After running a minimum amount of warm water in the tub, carefully place baby into the bath seat.
  • If bath seat moves or tips while your child is in it, discontinue use.
  • Good practice to keep bathroom doors closed and toilet seats closed and locked. It is possible for baby to drown in as little as two inches of water.
  • Small appliances, including blow dryers and irons, should be unplugged when not in use and kept out of baby’s reach.


  • Check for adjustments on a stroller that reduces the size of seat openings in the front to prevent your baby from falling out when seat back is reclined into the flat position.
  • Choose a carriage or stroller that has a base wide enough to prevent tipping, even when your baby leans over the side.
  • If the stroller seat adjusts to a reclining position, make sure the carriage or stroller doesn’t tip backwards when the child lies down.
  • ALWAYS secure the baby by using the restraint straps.
  • Don’t hang pocketbooks or shopping bags over the handles of the carriage or stroller. If your stroller has a shopping basket for carrying packages, it should be low on the back of the stroller or directly over the rear wheels.
  • Use the locking device on any stroller to prevent accidental folding.
  • Apply the brakes to limit rotation of the wheels when stroller is stationary.
  • When you fold or unfold the stroller, keep the baby’s hands away from the areas that could pinch tiny fingers.
  • The back seat is the safest place to ride.
  • Infants must ride rear facing or in a car bed.
  • Always anchor the car seat/booster seat to the car using the seat belt exactly as directed by the car seat/booster seat manufacturer.
  • NEVER use a car seat/booster seat in a seating location with an airbag.
  • Always check that the car seat/booster seat is securely installed. A locking clip may be necessary. Read the vehicle owner’s manual for information on other belt accessories that may be required.
  • Do not use a car seat/booster seat more than six years old.
  • Do not use a car seat/booster seat that has ever been involved in a crash.
  • Do not use a car seat/booster seat missing the manufacturer’s label showing the name of the manufacturer, model number and date of manufacture.
  • Booster seats are recommended for children over 30 lbs., but consider height and maturity level as well. Some children are mature enough to handle a booster seat, while others are too immature to keep the shoulder belt properly positioned.
  • Set a good example and make sure the entire family buckles up.
  • NEVER buy a used car seat or booster seat.

Living Room

  • Choose a play yard with mesh holes no larger than 1/4”. Slats on a wooden play yard should be no more than 2 3/8” apart.
  • The play yard, including side rails, should be fully erected prior to use.
  • Do not add padding or other objects inside the play yard, which permit your child to climb out.
  • Make sure all latching features of the play yard are in place and secure.
  • Always provide the supervision necessary for the continued safety of your child. When used for playing, never leave child unattended.
  • Infants can suffocate in gaps between a mattress too small or too thick and the sides, or on soft bedding.
  • NEVER leave a baby in a mesh play yard if its drop side is in the down position. The baby could roll into the space between the pad and loose mesh, causing suffocation.
  • NEVER place the play yard near windows, draperies, blinds, or wall mounted decorative accessories with long cords.
  • Never suspend strings over play yards or attach strings to toys.
  • Check vinyl or fabric-covered rails frequently for holes and tears.
  • Don’t tie items across the top of the play yard as they can entangle a baby and cause strangulation.
  • Some gates are not appropriate for use at the top of a stairway. Check the product use recommendations.
  • Gates with expanding pressure bars should be installed with the adjustment bar or lock side away from the baby.
  • Anchor the gate securely in the doorway or stairway.
  • Always close the gate when you leave the room and never leave the baby unattended.
  • Many new “accordion style” gates meet the current performance standards. Older models could be hazardous.
  • Never leave your baby alone in the activity center.
  • Keep activity centers away from stairs, doors, windows, plants, lamps, the TV, fireplace, heaters, or coffee table.
  • Keep curtains and blind cords out of reach.
  • Bouncer seats are for in-home use only. Many have bouncing action, soothing vibration, and/or toys for play.
  • NEVER place infant bouncer seats on beds, sofas, or other soft surfaces. Infant seats or bouncer can roll over and suffocate a baby.
  • ALWAYS secure the restraining straps on bouncers and never leave a baby in the seat when straps are loose or undone.
  • Baby’s movements can slide an infant seat, so be sure not to place the infant seat near the edges of counter tops, tables or other elevated surfaces.
  • Select a walker with a wheelbase longer and wider than the frame of the walker itself to ensure stability.
  • Coil springs and hinges of walker must have protective coverings.
  • NEVER leave a baby unattended in a walker.
  • Only use a walker on smooth surfaces.
  • Remove all throw rugs when a baby is in walker.
  • Keep doors closed.
  • Keep child away from appliances or items that could cause injury such as ironing boards ranges, radiators, and fireplaces.
  • NEVER carry walker with a child in it.
  • Electrical outlets, appliances and cords can be baby safety hazards. Be sure to cover unused electrical outlets with safety caps and replace broken or missing receptacle cover plates.


  • High chairs should have a waist strap and crotch strap.
  • Some high chairs recline for use with younger infants or are height adjustable.
  • Use waist and crotch restraint every time you place a child in the high chair to prevent falls from standing up or sliding out.
  • Never depend on the feeding tray to restrain or protect baby. Instead, secure restraint straps.
  • Prevent tip over – Keep high chair far enough from the table, counter or wall so the baby can’t push off from it.
  • Secure the safety latch on a folding high chair each time you unfold it for use.
  • NEVER leave a baby unattended.
  • Never use a bouncer seat on an elevated surface like countertops.
  • Portable hook-on chairs should have a strong clamp-on device, which keeps the seat level, making it impossible for a baby to kick off.
  • Do not use on portable hook-on chairs on glass or loose tabletop, or on a table with a single pedestal, leaf, tablecloth or placemat.
  • Check stability and sturdiness of table before seating a child.
  • Do not place an ordinary chair under the portable hook-on chair.
  • Always secure the waist and crotch straps around baby.
  • Before removing baby from chair, make sure baby’s legs are free from chair straps.
  • When feeding baby, first test all warmed foods for a comfortable eating temperature before serving.
  • Heating baby food in a microwave is convenient, but be sure to check the temperature very carefully. Use microwave-safe dishes and stir food from the center out after heating to ensure the temperature is even.
  • When baby begins to eat solid foods, do not give the child small, hard foods. Check with your pediatrician for a list of appropriate foods.
  • Baby should always eat and drink in an upright position.
  • Bleaches, oven and drain cleaners should always be kept out of baby’s reach.  Child proof safety locks for cabinets can be helpful.
  • Keep the number of the poison control center near your phone so you can call for emergency first-aid advice.

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Tasty Thursday: Almost Lasagna

Recipe by the Short Order Mom at

almost lasagna

Hands-On Time: 20 minutes
Ready In: 40 minutes
Yield: 6 servings


    1 pound elbow macaroni (or other similarly shaped pasta-like small shells) cooked
    1 pound ground turkey (or beef, chicken, sausage or tofu crumbles — whatever works for you)
    2 eggs
    1 pound ricotta cheese
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    salt and pepper
    1 jar spaghetti sauce: 24 – 26 ounces
    2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
    2 cup or so veggies (e.g. diced zucchini, matchstick carrots)


  1. Brown meat and drain well, if necessary.
  2. While meat is cooking, stir together eggs, ricotta, grated Parmesan and salt and pepper.
  3. Mix cooked meat, macaroni, sauce and veggies. Add ricotta mixture and blend well.
  4. Coat a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray or olive oil and spread half of macaroni mixture evenly over the bottom. Top with a cup of mozzarella and a healthy sprinkle of grated Parmesan. Add the remaining macaroni mixture and top with another cup of mozzarella and another sprinkle of Parmesan. Cover with foil.
  5. At this point the whole thing can go into the refrigerator to be cooked when you’re ready.
  6. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F and bake the casserole for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10 to 20 minutes until the cheese on top is lightly browned and bubbly.

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Separating From Your Toddler: Do’s and Don’ts

By Traci Geiser of

There comes a time in the life of every toddler when it’s time to leave the nest and explore the world outside of home. For many parents, this separation can be far more traumatic than it is for the child. But your visions of a crying child, holding onto your leg with the death grip, don’t have to come to fruition. Parents can do a lot to help make the transition smoother for both parent and child.

A few simple do’s and don’ts can ease the pain of leaving your little one at school or with a babysitter for the first time. “When leaving your child at school, walk them in with a smile, give them one hug, one kiss, tell them you will be back in two hours, walk away confidently and exit to the door,” says Diana Vavrik, preschool teacher and mother of 5. “If you are secure, they will feel secure in knowing that you will be back as promised and are leaving them in a safe, loving environment.”

Try just a few of the suggestions below to help make your separation go more smoothly.

DO prepare your child for separation. If possible, visit the classroom prior to the first day of school or have the babysitter stop in for a brief visit. While you are there, explain that she is going to stay school or play with the babysitter while Mommy goes and gets some work done. Be positive and excited about all the fun things to play with and do in the classroom and how much you like the school or sitter.

Get the teacher or babysitter’s name and introduce your child. Remind your child that she is going to go and play in Miss Jan’s Class or Emily is coming over to babysit for a couple days prior to your first day apart.

DON’T make it personal. Although this will make you feel like a great parent, resist the urge to make it an emotional separation by asking if she will miss you. She WILL miss you.

Don’t be offended if she says she loves school or her teacher or babysitter. That is a good thing and means you have made a great choice!

DO tell her you are leaving. Many parents are tempted to sneak out when their child isn’t looking. This will break her sense of trust and make her always worry that you could sneak away at any moment.

Make a routine of goodbyes, perhaps two hugs and two kisses for a two year old (luckily, they will outgrow this before their 12th birthday!), don’t let her rope you in to several rounds of goodbyes.

DON’T let her see you sweat

Even if you feel like you need to cry, save it for after you get out the door. If you look worried or concerned, she will be too. Smile and leave quickly and confidently, assuring her you will return shortly.

DO plan something fun to do. Although it may not seem like it on the first day, you will begin to enjoy having some time to yourself.

Plan something fun you can look forward to on the first day (coffee with a friend, reading a great novel or doing a little window shopping at the mall).

DON’T feel guilty. Separation is a good thing, for both you and your child. If you don’t get her used to the idea before she goes to elementary school, kindergarten is bound to be much more traumatic.

Call the school or sitter after 30 minutes or so if you left her in tears. Chances are good that she will become engaged in a fun activity and stop crying within a few minutes.

DO read a few good books about separation

  • The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn (Tanglewood Press, 2006)
  • Will I Have a Friend? by Miriam Cohen (Start Bright Books, 2009)
  • I Love You all Day Long by Francesca Rusackas (Harper Collins, 2004)
  • Oh My Baby, Little One by Kathi Applet (sandpiper, 2006)
  • Will You Come Back for Me? By Ann Tompert (Albert Whitman and Co., 1998)

After spending so much time together, separating from your child is bound to be a bit difficult for both you and your child. Be positive and upbeat and you will find it to be easier than you could have thought. You are both sure to treasure your special time together even more after having a little time apart!

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25 More iPhone and iPod Touch Apps for Kids

Bubble Popper, Free, Ages 2 and Up

Every kid we know loves popping bubble wrap, and just about every mom we know has reservations about the potential choking hazards. Voila: a safe electronic version. You’ll still get the popping sound, and even get scored on how many bubbles you break. (Bubble Popper)

Scoops, Free, Ages 3 and Up

Is there anything better than ice cream? How about ice cream that doesn’t leave a sticky mess?  This game of towering ice cream scoops lets you tilt your screen left or right to keep the ice cream from falling. Avoid the veggies and stack similar colors together for bonus points. (Scoops)

Doodle Buddy, Free, Ages 3 and Up

One of many artsy iPhone apps, this one lets the tots draw in all kinds of colors, lines, shapes and backgrounds. You can draw by yourself or invite others, and use your camera to take your own mugshots — perfect for drawing mustaches on your brother.(Doodle Buddy)

Giraffe’s Matching Zoo, Free, Ages 3 and Up

Matching games are like brain food for kids: a healthy way to strengthen those memory muscles. Now your kids can match a bunch of cuddle-worthy animals without having to arrange (or clean up) dozens of cards. (Giraffe’s Matching Zoo)

iBowl, Free, Ages 4 and Up

It’s REALLY hard to throw a gutter ball in this game, so as one of our staffers said, “This is so much better than the real bowling alley.” The free version lets you pick from three different lanes and simulates that satisfying crashing sound when the pins are knocked over. (iBowl)

To see the rest of the 25 apps, click HERE.


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Ridiculous Parenting Products

We’ve seen many of these in catalogs, and couldn’t agree more. Seems like some companies are happy praying on the fears on new parents. Enjoy the review of 23 horrible products. The placenta teddy bear (!) gets our vote for creepiest by FAR!

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6 Thrill Seeking Adventures For NJ Kids


For some kids the dark is not dark enough, the waters are never too deep, and a trip to the zoo is bah-hum.  Well, we’ve rounded up some kid-friendly activities that will make even the most jaded kid on the block open their eyes wide with excitement!  Are you brave enough to swim with real sharks?  Do you have the spunk to feed penguins or communicate with seals?  Are you adventurous enough to ride a monster truck?  Do you dare brave the heights and go parasailing?  Perhaps you have always dreamed of being a sailor and sleeping aboard a battleship or being a submarine captain for a day.  This is your chance to do some daring, different activities with your thrill seeking child. Read on, we have a great list of adventures to choose from.

1. Swim with sharks
Have you got the guts to swim with live sharks?  At Adventure Aquarium in Camden, kids ages 12 and up can not only learn about these fascinating animals, but get a chance to go snorkeling just inches away from sand tiger sharks, sandbar sharks, nurse sharks and barracuda.  Kids will also get a chance to swim in the Stingray Lagoon.  The program lasts 1 hour 45 minutes, 45 minutes of which is in the tanks.  It includes admission to the Aquarium, an adventure t-shirt, souvenir snorkel and mask, and photo of your child in action.  $165 per person.  Check website for more details.

2. Play with penguins and/or seals
If you have ever wanted to get up close, feed, or train wild animals like seals or penguins, now is your chance!  Adeventure Aquarium offers special programs for kids where they feed, communicate, and get personal with the animals.  Everyone gets a adventure t-shirt and photo of themselves with their animal friends.  Seals are for kids 8 and up, $145 per person.  Penguins age 5 and up, $125 per person. Check website for more details.

3. Ride a Monster Truck
Take a thrilling ride on a monster truck!  New Jersey Thunder Motorsports at Wildwood offers daily Monster Truck rides at just $8 per person.  From 4pm to 11pm, buckle up with up to 8 other family members or friends for the ride of a lifetime on either the Jersey Devil of the Sheriff.

4. Go Parasailing

Have a child who dreams of flying?  This is as close as you will get!  Kids ages 3 and up can go parasailing in tandem with an older sibling, friend, or adult at LBI Parasailing at Barnegat Light, NJ.  They offer parasailing daily starting at 8am for $65 per person.  A tandem ride lasts 10-12 minutes.

5. Spend the Night on a Battleship

Hello Sailor!  Aboard the Battleship New Jersey in Camden, find out what it was like to live like an enlisted sailor aboard this historic battleship.  Tour the ship, stow your gear in a locker just like a real sailor, sleep in bunks, chow down in the Crew’s Mess, and get on your sea legs!  Kids must be 6 and over and overnights are for families or groups.  Cost is approximately $61 per person.  Overnights appear on the website sporadically, or fill out an inquiry form.

6. Be a Submarine Captain for a Day
Give your friends the permission to board… a real submarine!  The USS Ling is a real WWII submarine docked in Hackensack and they offer the chance for a birthday boy or girl to be captain for a day.  Kids get a Captain’s hat, certificate of honorary Captain, a submarine souvenir for the “captain” and each guest, birthday cake and drinks, and a guided tour of the submarine.  $175 for 8 guests.  Call 201-342-3268 to reserve.

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