Posts Tagged ‘ holiday ’

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with This Kid-Friendly “Cocktail”

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Chef Tino Feliciano

Chef Tino Feliciano with his family.

Monday is Cinco de Mayo, and while moms and dads might not be able to indulge with multiple margaritas (like we used to) we can still celebrate with our kids. This special occasion drink recipe from Chef Tino Feliciano is a perfect treat with a Latin-style supper.

Kids’ Coconut Mojito

• 10 mint leaves

• 2 limes, cut into wedges

• 4 Tbs. sugar

• 16 oz. lemon-lime soda (regular or diet for a lower-sugar version)

• 4 oz. sweet cream of coconut

• 2 Tbs. grated coconut

Place the mint leaves, lime wedges, and sugar in a large pitcher. Using the handle end of a wooden spoon, lightly mash the ingredients together until they are roughly incorporated. Add the soda and cream of coconut and mix well. Serve in glasses with ice and garnish with the grated coconut.

Serves 4

Find easy Mexican dishes to make for dinner tonight. 

The father of two girls and one boy, Chef Tino is a restaurant-owner in Puerto Rico. On Cinco de Mayo he brings his culinary (and people) skills to the mainland in the premiere of his Cooking Channel special The Fixer with Chef Tino at 9 PM (check local listings). Tino’s mission: to turn around a family-run Mexican restaurant in New Jersey. I had the pleasure of working with Tino and the production company on Monday’s night special, and one thing’s for sure—watch and you will crave Mexican food! Tino’s creamy cocktail will be the perfect accompaniment. And once the kids go to bed feel free to add a drop of two of rum. I won’t tell.

Click to find fun activities your  family can play at home tonight.

Chocolate Chili Poppers
Chocolate Chili Poppers
Chocolate Chili Poppers

Image courtesy Engel Entertainment

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Rosie to the Rescue!: 10 Ways to Shed the Holiday Pounds

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Pope familyA few weeks back, Gisele looked fabulous. She was basking in her full glory while her glam squad coiffed her curls and primped her luscious lips, as she simultaneously breasted her 1-year-old daughter, Vivian. But the truth is, we don’t all have a glam squad waiting in the wings to put us back together after a long flight, too much egg nog or one too many sweet potatoes at the family get together. Plus, there is no team of nannies at the ready, waiting to whisk our children off to exciting endeavors as we get our butts kicked by a fabulous fitness trainer, like Tracey Anderson. What’s more, when we fly, we don’t fly private. So yes, we have to keep our screaming children seated and belted while onlookers judge us.

Despite our best wishes for turning over a new leaf in the coming New Year, when January 1st hits, we are often just as overwhelmed as we were on December 31st, but with the addition of a few more pounds thanks to all the holiday feasts and festivities! How can we get back in shape for the New Year and feel good about the way we look, all the while juggling the millions of things we constantly juggle?

To help, I’ve devised 10 calorie-saving, fat-burning rituals to work into your day so you too can be your very own Gisele:

1. Use portion control. Try serving yourself the same portion sizes as you would your kids, and eat small, regular meals just like they do. I promise I haven’t gone bonkers; returning to fist-sized portions is actually a great way to shed those extra pounds.

2. Combine your afternoon lull with excercise-packed TV time. How? In my house, we like to have a “Dance Storm.” I choose a music-packed DVD, like The Wiggles‘ “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” or The Gigglebellies, which are my family’s favorites. Then, we all get up (kids included!) and dance for the entire length of the DVD. It might feel like it will never end, but trust me, you can do it!

3. Get the single, double or tripple stroller out, and pile everyone in for some hill walks (or a run if you’re feeling particularly daring). A brisk 20-30 minute outing while pushing around all those extra pounds of children will work miracles.

4. Try to see clean-up time not as an oppressively annoying chore that never, ever ends, but rather as a chance to add in some extra cardio. Set goals for how quickly you’d like each task accomplished and time yourself. All that squatting is golden.

5. Eat with your kids. This will mean you’ll eat earlier than usual, which is far better than falling asleep right after gorging on late night burrito!

6. Treat your body like you treat your kids’ bodies! Just like we wouldn’t let our children eat excessive amounts of candy and unhealthy foods, apply the same good common sense and care taking skills to yourself. Remember, it’s not just for you. They need you to be healthy, too.

7. If you don’t have child care but are the type of person who needs an exercise class to kick your sweet derriere into action, consider the following: There are many strollercise groups that meet in local parks that you could join. And if there isn’t one near you, get some of your favorite moms together and organize your own so you can split the cost of a trainer who can lead the class. Alternatively, look for gyms that have child-care options so your wee one gets to play while you crunch.

8. Just as kids’ bedtimes often slip during the holiday season, so do ours. We need adequate amounts of sleep to be able to make good choices when it comes to food and exercise, so bump your bedtime forward just as you have theirs.

9. Reconnect with your partner. Not only does it burn calories, but it benefits your relationship, too. Make it a part of your new regime—a healthy relationship means a healthier you.

10. Don’t beat yourself up. I often find I get so hard on myself for not working out enough or being healthy enough that I become so overwhelmed I don’t do anything at all. Give yourself praise for small achievements. Even 20 minutes of exercise here and there or cutting a few late-night snacks from your weekly norm is a step in the right direction.

And if all else fails, strip down to a white robe, fly on your private jet and have your glam squad ready in the wings each morning to beautify you  as you roll out of bed. Ahhh, at least we can dream! (Ahem, Gisele.)

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Holiday Movies Your Kids (Maybe!) Still Haven’t Seen

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Can you believe that the last weekend before Christmas is here already? Whether you’re spending it traveling, shopping, or just snuggling up at home, chances are the kids will want to watch a movie at some point. Luckily, Netflix recently released a list of holiday titles available for streaming, and we’ve narrowed it down to some suggestions of specials you probably still haven’t seen (that way you don’t have to watch the same classic you’ve already watched dozens of times!)

So pick a movie, gather up the family and get cozy. Enjoy!

 What are your favorite holiday specials? Let us know in the comments!

Image courtesy of Netflix

Not-so Frosty the Snowman
Not-so Frosty the Snowman
Not-so Frosty the Snowman

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Posh Presents that Give Back

Monday, December 16th, 2013

PikolinosWith the holiday season comes the gift-giving spirit, and I, for one, have always been a fan of gifts that “give back.”

It all started with a proverb my mother told me as a child: “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” Ever since then, I’ve favored what I like to call “experiential gifts,” those that you can do or share with someone, or charitable gifts, which in some way support a cause I value.

This year, I’m going the charitable route. (Sometimes, the giving of an “experiential gift” feels like I’m selfishly giving myself a present, too. Anyone else ever feel that way when you buy two tickets for your special someone to a concert you’re both dying to see?) Fortunately, I was introduced to Pikolinos’ Maasai Collection, a line of shoes and bags featuring traditional beadwork embroidery. The brand partnered with over 1,600 women from the Maasai tribe of Kenya, one of the most threatened on the planet according to the UN, to design the collection. This sustainable collaboration wins my vote for the fashion-forward gift that gives back this year because 100% of the proceeds from this line go directly back into the Maasai Community in the form of fair wages. Thanks to this unique partnership, more than 1,600 families have a stable source of income that allows them to obtain basic needs items, like food and medicines.

As I browsed the collection, I thought, now here’s a gift I can feel good about giving—with comfort and style that’s so worth receiving.

Image: Olivia Palermo wears Pikoloinos via stylist.ca

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Check Out This Cheeky Elf on the Shelf Alternative

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

The Elf on the Shelf has quickly become a beloved Christmas tradition, but it might already be time for something new. For those feeling elf fatigue, another little creature could offer a fun alternative to the ubiquitous holiday spy.
Author L. van King pokes fun at elf mania with the cheeky parody The Dwarf in the Drawer. The Dwarf in the Drawer doesn’t do much, which might be refreshing for some parents who have run out of creative places to perch their sneaky elves. This lovable drawer-dweller is more of a sloth than his enemy, preferring to snooze among socks and watch Colbert rather than report back to the big guy up North. As he laments,
For most of the year, things at home were real peachy.
Then in came that usurper, acting all preachy.
Who died and made that elf king?
That creep who made Christmas a terrible thing? 
Based on the sheer number of Pinterest pins alone, The Elf on the Shelf is a huge hit, but the little guy isn’t for everyone.  Maybe you and your family have overdosed on good holiday cheer, and can commiserate with this grumpy counterpart. Here’s to new (and slightly sassy) holiday traditions!
Are you an Elf on the Shelf enthusiast, or are you more of a Dwarf in the Drawer dissenter? Tell us in the comments!
Find the best toys and games for your little ones here.
Image courtesy of Macmillan Publishers

Circle Christmas Tree
Circle Christmas Tree
Circle Christmas Tree

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Family Favorites for Feeding America

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Just like many others, my family’s holiday season is all about tradition. Though Thanksgiving is a couple days away, I already know we’ll be having my aunt’s garlic “smashed” potatoes and my gram’s pimento-stuffed celery (even though she’s the only one who likes it). We keep these recipes in the rotation because they’re near and dear to us. But this year, sharing them with others gives bigger benefits to those in need.

Go to Dish Up the Love to submit your favorite recipe and $1 will be donated to Feeding America, a nationwide network of food banks leading the fight against hunger. Each dollar provides nine meals for families who need them.

Partnering with the program is Top Chef alum and mom Antonia Lofaso, whose first book The Busy Mom’s Cookbook was recently released in paperback. A single parent, Antonia relishes her time at home with her daughter, Xea, making memories through food.

“For me the holidays are about making memories with family and friends around the kitchen table and giving back. Dish Up the Love celebrates these special holiday moments,” Antonia says. “I shared the recipe for my grandma’s lasagna because it’s served at all Lofaso family holidays. At Thanksgiving, we have turkey, but there’s always lasagna and tons of other Italian food.”

Grandma’s Lasagna

Serves: 6 to 8
Total time: 85 minutes

SAUCE INGREDIENTS
• ¼ cup olive oil
• ¼ cup chopped garlic (about 8 cloves)
• 3 (16-ounce) cans of peeled, whole plum tomatoes
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon sugar

LASAGNA INGREDIENTS
• ¼ cup olive oil
• 1 ½ pounds ground turkey
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning, or 4 teaspoons fresh marjoram or oregano
• 1 (9-ounce) package of no-boil, oven-ready lasagna noodles
• Sauce (from above)
• ½ cup shredded or grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
• 2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
• 4 cups shredded whole-milk, mozzarella cheese
• 3 Roma tomatoes, sliced into 6 to 8 slices each
• 12 medium to large fresh basil leaves

DIRECTIONS

1. For the sauce, head the olive oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and just as it starts to brown around the edges, throw in the canned tomatoes. You don’t want the garlic to burn, so have the cans open and ready to go beforehand.

2. Add the salt and sugar and whisk it all together. Let the sauce simmer on medium-low for 40 minutes while you prep the other ingredients. If any foam rises to the top of the sauce, skim it off. That’s the acid from the tomatoes, and your sauce will taste better without it. Using a hand blender or counter top blender, blend on medium until smooth.

3. Preheat oven to 375 F. In a 10-inch sauté pan heat the olive oil on medium-high. Add the ground turkey and the salt. Cook the turkey for about 5 minutes, until it’s browned throughout. Just as it’s finishing the cooking process, stir in the Italian seasoning. Drain any excess fat or liquid from the pan.

4. Cover the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with 3 sheets of pasta. Ladle 1 cup of sauce over the noodles. You don’t want the sauce to soak through, so you don’t need to overdo it. Layer on half of the meat, followed by half of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, and half of the ricotta cheese. Sprinkle on one-third of the mozzarella and arrange one-third of the fresh tomatoes on top of it. Top with one-third of the basil.

5. Repeat the process for the next layer: 3 sheets of pasta, a cup of sauce, the rest of the meat, the rest of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, the remaining ricotta, a third of the mozzarella, a third of the fresh tomatoes, and another third of the basil. The last layer is your presentation layer, so make it pretty. Add three more sheets of pasta.

6. Top the noodles with the last of the sauce, mozzarella, fresh tomatoes and basil. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes, rotating halfway through. The top should be a crispy golden brown when the lasagna is done, and the pasta sauce around the sides of the dish should be thick, not runny. Let the lasagna stand for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. If you cut into it while it is still piping hot, it will fall apart.

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For more information and to share your favorite family recipe, visit worldkitchen.com/dishupthelove. After submitting a recipe, you’ll be entered for weekly sweepstakes to win Pyrex, Baker’s Secret, and CorningWare products.

Get more kid-friendly recipes from Antonia Lofaso.

Recipe and image reprinted from The Busy Mom’s Cookbook with permission from Avery, an imprint of Penguin Group.

Image of Antonia and Xea by Alex Martinez.

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Going “From Frazzled to Focused” for Father’s Day

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Busy dad's plannerEditor’s Note: In a post for an ongoing series, Dr. Harley A. Rotbart, a Parents advisor, will be guest blogging once a month. He will be offering different advice, tips, and personal stories on how parents can “savor the moment” and maximize the time they spend with kids. Read more posts by Harley Rotbart from this series.

As a dad and a pediatrician who has worked with families of all types and sizes for more than 30 years, I want to tell you about a great book written for moms that dads should read, too. After all, why should moms be the only ones who know the secrets for turning chaos to calm?

From Frazzled to Focused: The Ultimate Guide for Moms Who Want to Reclaim Their Time, Their Sanity, and Their Lives is written by Rivka Caroline, a Florida-based time management and organization expert who juggles seven kids, a speaking and consulting career, and graduate school. I discovered this book when the author asked me to review it for a possible endorsement because of my own time management book, No Regrets Parenting.

I loved Caroline’s book, and endorsed it with this quote: “From Frazzled to Focused is a brilliant blueprint for recapturing minutes, hours, and days otherwise lost to inefficiency and disorganization. This book will change your life.” Yes, it’s that good. But notice nowhere in that endorsement do I mention moms — or, for that matter, dads. This is a really wonderful book for moms and dads because efficiency, effectiveness, prioritization, and systemization are gender-neutral goals. This is not a book full of platitudes and bumper stickers. Instead, it’s a concise, organized, and focused 180-page playbook with an action plan for achieving, de-cluttering, and systemizing your work and home life.

Whether at home or at work, these From Frazzled to Focused guiding principles and recommendations apply to all parents:

  • Switch from doing it all to doing most of it (and know that’s okay)
  • Lack of time is actually a lack of priorities
  • 80 percent of results come from 20 percent of your time and effort
  • Work expands to fill the time available for its completion
  • Create a “to don’t” list
  • Streamline your home and your head
  • Avoid decision overload

You’ll learn when to “do,” to “delegate,” and to “delete.” And deleting some of the items crowding your thoughts and your desk may be the most important paradigm of all for many of us. You’ll come to recognize that “practice makes good enough,” that perfection isn’t the be-all and end-all. This realization is really liberating.

Dads can particularly benefit from Ms. Caroline’s advice for systemizing, and her supermarket analogy is spot-on: When you go grocery shopping, you put more than one item in your cart at once so you’re not constantly driving back and forth to the store. Get ahead by always thinking, “What can I do now that will make things easier later on?” Batch your tasks, and block out chunks of time for doing them — returning phone calls and e-mails, paying bills, and filing should be done in batches, not piecemeal as the e-mails or bills arrive. Although the second half of the book is devoted to specific spaces in your home, taking control of those spaces isn’t just mom’s work; dads live in those spaces, too. Both Mom and Dad can use the principles in this book for equally effective rethinking of the workplace and the work mentality.

So, with Father’s Day approaching fast and the usual panic setting in about buying yet another necktie, take this message from Caroline’s book to heart: “Last-minute problems are a lot easier to take care of when they aren’t actually happening at the last minute.” Get this book for Dad. Do it now, while you’re thinking about it, so you don’t have a last-minute problem on June 16.

Happy Father’s Day!

Dr. Harley A. Rotbart

Dr. Harley A. Rotbart is Professor and Vice Chairman of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado. He is the author of three books for parents and families, including the recent No Regrets Parenting, a Parents advisor, and a contributor to The New York Times Motherlode blog. Visit his blog at noregretsparenting.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter (@NoRegretsParent).

 

Image: A busy daily schedule book via Shutterstock.

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Celebrate a New Holiday: Monthly Mother’s Day

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Mother's Day BreakfastEditor’s Note: In a post for an ongoing series, Dr. Harley A. Rotbart, a Parents advisor, will be guest blogging once a month. He will be offering different advice, tips, and personal stories on how parents can “savor the moment” and maximize the time they spend with kids. Read more posts by Harley Rotbart from this series.

First conceived by Julia Ward Howe (the composer of the “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”) in 1870, advocated by Anna Jarvis in 1908, and officially established by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914, Mother’s Day has become a proud American tradition that is now observed in more than 70 countries worldwide. A 2010 study by VIP Communications found that Mother’s Day has the highest phone call traffic of the year, exceeding Valentine’s Day and New Year’s. Another 2010 study, by the Society of American Florists, found that more than one quarter of all floral purchases in the U.S.  each year are for Mother’s Day. Everyone knows everything there is to know about Mother’s Day, and writing about it is a little like writing about love or money or religion: What more can anyone say about it that hasn’t been said? Well, for the first time in the century since it became a national holiday, I think it’s time for a fundamental change to the Mother’s Day ritual. Drum roll, please

From this Mother’s Day forward, I propose that the first Thursday of every month be declared Monthly Mother’s Day. And the third Wednesday of every month shall henceforth be declared Monthly Father’s Day. Every household with a mom gives her special treatment on the first Thursday of the every month, and every household with a dad gives him special treatment on the third Wednesday of every month. Each of these new monthly “‘holidays” gives us 12 additional opportunities to celebrate parenthood with our kids, and 12 times the number of traditions, memories, and family moments.

Why am I not making my new holidays on Sundays? Because weekends are for big traditions, and these are small observances that don’t require a whole day; they can fit into school nights, early bedtimes, and daily routines. These are family traditions that should take little time and no money – they don’t have to involve dinner out, gifts, flowers, or even candy — but they do require a fair amount of thought, something special that isn’t done the other days of the month. One month, give mom the night off after dinner so she can read, take a bath, or watch her favorite show. The next month, cook her favorite dinner. Create a handmade card or hand-painted picture frame for another month. Ditto for dads on their special monthly Wednesdays. Best of all, you still get to celebrate the “real” Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. While we’re at it, why not establish a monthly Kids’ Day, too? Like the second Tuesday of every month. On these days, parents can prepare kids’ favorite meal or dessert, have Scrabble night, or plan a Wii table tennis tournament.

Life is short. The years go by fast. You can never have too many reasons to celebrate each other. And thinking about ways to honor moms, dads, and kids is good for the soul, and good for the whole family. May 12, 2013 may be the “real” Mother’s Day, but the one after that will be coming up soon, so start planning. Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!

Dr. Harley A. Rotbart

Dr. Harley A. Rotbart is Professor and Vice Chairman of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado. He is the author of three books for parents and families, including the recent No Regrets Parenting, a Parents advisor, and a contributor to The New York Times Motherlode blog. Visit his blog at noregretsparenting.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter (@NoRegretsParent).

 

Image: Breakfast for Mother’s Day via Shutterstock.

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