Save Up To 40 Percent on Disney On Ice

I’m excited to offer my readers an amazing discount off Disney On Ice!  Save 40% on all weekday shows and Save 20% on all weekend shows using code MOM. Get Your Tickets Now- http://www.ticketmaster.com/promo/2q2yrx

Here are the details:

Location A: Allstate Arena in Rosemont
Dates: Jan 22 – Jan 26

Location B: United Center in Chicago
Dates: Jan 29 – Feb 9

 It’s one colossal party on ice, with all your favorite Disney friends! Join Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse as they celebrate a Very Merry Unbirthday Party with Alice and the Mad Hatter; Mardi Gras with Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen; a Royal Valentine’s Day Ball with the Disney Princesses; a Hawaiian luau with Lilo & Stitch; a winter wonderland with Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear; a Halloween haunt with the Disney Villains and more in a magical medley of holidays, celebrations and festivals from around the globe.Ã�  Come join the party when this spectacular ice show visits your hometown!

Parking is FREE in all official arena parking lots. Visit official arena websites for more information.

Save 40% on all weekday shows and Save 20% on all weekend shows using code MOM. Get Your Tickets Now- http://www.ticketmaster.com/promo/2q2yrx

Weekday is defined as any show Monday through Thursday or Friday matinee, not including holidays. Discount does not apply to Front Row or VIP seats. No double discounts. Service charges, handling, and facility fees may apply.

Why Moms Make Great Managers

If you are looking for a new job, make sure to add “mom” to your resume. Why would you admittedly give yourself up as someone who has other obligations, you ask? Listen up hesitant mothers and heed my words hiring managers, because here’s why:

Mom’s Make Great Managers!

Yup, you heard right. Below are 10 reasons why you need a mom running your team right now:

  1. Multi-tasking. You need a leader that can juggle all the different decisions of your business. Mom’s are the best multi-taskers around. They simultaneously make lunches, while dressing children, nursing a baby, while packing backpacks, applying a band-aid on a boo-boo, at the same time as washing paint off of the wall.
  2. Planners. No business thrives when everything is left to the last minute. And guess who’s amazing at planning? That’s right, moms are. Mom’s have to plan each week out, rsvp to birthdays, schedule school plays and after school or weekend activities. Even t.v. time in some houses is a scheduled activity. We keep lists, planners, calendars and are accountable for our very own little tribe’s schedules.
  3. Used to no sleep. When your emworking momployees go out drinking at night, you can expect the next day to be of little productivity. Moms on the other hand are used to never getting any sleep. Seriously, never. And against all odds can accomplish even more the next day. Truth is, you probably can’t tell the difference between a mother who got 6 hours of sleep one night and 1 hour the following night. She’ll still be able to finish all of her tasks!
  4. No whine zone. Employees like to complain. Work is too hard, they don’t get what they want, dislike a project, it takes too long to get to work, hate their co-workers (wait, am I talking about adults or the kids here?) etc. When you allow constant complaining, you can expect it all the time. Mothers deal with whining non stop from kids and after a certain point, just do not tolerate it anymore. They will expect more from their direct reports and will make sure to keep the atmosphere a bit more positive.
  5. Understanding and listening. We may be good at stopping the whining, but more than that moms are great at listening. As a parent, mothers develop a 6th sense for when someone needs some extra attention. Managers need to know when to take a step back and assess or reassess the overall happiness and satisfaction levels of her/his employees. A successful manager, like a successful mother knows that by listening to thoughts, ideas and concerns of her employees it will help her better direct them down the best road for success.
  6. There are no sick days. If you are looking for an employee that doesn’t take off every-time she/he sneezes, moms are your best bet. Say the words “sick day” to a mom and she may look at you as if you are talking in a foreign language. When a mom gets sick, she still has to take care of her family. There is no “laying in bed until she feels better”. No, that’s for the husbands. Most moms I know, continue doing what has to be done even when they have the flu. That’s as hard working as you can get.
  7. Natural teachers that lead by example. In order to manage tasks and employees effectively, the manager needs to lead by example and needs to be a teacher. Moms are just that. Whether it’s teaching manners, math, walking, personal hygiene spelling or even dating etiquette, moms have to know how to teach different skills to different personalities. That is key for any business.
  8. Battle fighters and stress relievers. With all the fighting and tantruming that goes on in a household, moms have to become experts at picking which ones to give in on, which ones to ignore and which ones to to put armor on for. Honing in on this skill for business enables moms/managers to defuse sticky situations with ease.
  9. We reward well. Moms expect the best. They see capabilities, and they work with their children to reach their potential. Moms as managers will do the same, and become especially proud and rewarding when employees reach that level of success.
  10. FOOD! Yup, we mothers are used to feeding many mouths and that doesn’t change for adults! Many mom managers and employees I know love to cook for their co-workers!

Things that are taught in business school or through years of work experience seem to just come naturally to moms. So if you are looking for the next leader, manager and someone who may wipe your nose – then look for a mom (or an awesome dad).

Taking the ‘Hell’ out of Family Pictures

Recently, a picture has been circling the web of three children crying (probably screaming) during their family photo shoot.

Children crying during pictures

It’s obviously a funny picture because of the irony that they are holding up the word joy.  To any parent though, it’s just a reality.  Taking family pictures is HELL.  No which way around it.  The younger the kids are, the harder it is.  The more kids in the pictures the harder it is.  And if you, the parents are in it….well bring a bottle of aspirin and some liquor with you (just kidding…. kind of).  With 3 children ages 6 months-5 and having taken pictures at every milestone age, I have learned a few tricks along the way to de-stress the picture taking experience.

10 Tips To Make Family Pictures Less Stressful:

  1. Set a budget beforehand.  Some of these places operate like car dealerships.  No matter what you walk out with, you will feel like you didn’t get what you wanted and you used your child’s college fund to pay for it.  If  you know exactly how many poses you want, how many pictures you want of each child, and exactly what you want to spend, write it down on a paper and take it with you.   These places are good at making you feel like you have to buy every pose, so stand your ground!
  2. Bring Snacks.  It doesn’t matter if your child just ate the biggest feast of his/her life right before the pictures.  Kids have a knack for getting hungry at the most inopportune times.  Also, pack wise snacks such as pretzels and things that wont stain.
  3. Don’t go during nap times.  Those are usually the most open times, and there is a reason for that.  Children,  like adults, need their beauty rest.
  4. Make sure the place you go to uses smart photographers and cameras with  fast shutter speeds.  It sounds like a no-brainer but there are plenty of places I have been to where the photographer gets your kid to smile, and then takes another couple of minutes to go get the camera, fiddle with it and then take the picture.  By which time your child has already left the studio floor and found chocolate to smear on his clothes.  Do research beforehand and read reviews.
  5. Call before you go to find out how they coordinate the picture taking.  Are they open to your suggestions of seating placement?  Will there be a changing room at the studio?  Can you choose the photographer?  Do they start when you arrive, or will there be a long wait?  Do you receive pictures the day of, and if so how long is the wait for that?  Find out as much as you can so that both you and your children can be best prepared.
  6. Give your older children the “task” of helping get the younger children to smile and sit still.  I swear it works.  Not only does it make your older children feel important, but the younger children generally look up to the older ones and are more likely going to listen to them.
  7. Wear a lot of deodorant.  Because, yes, this wonderful family time will cause you to sweat bullets!
  8. Bring a reward chart for your kids.  Make a little sticker chart that you have out while pictures are being taken.  Let your child know every time they do something good and give him/her a sticker for it.  Positive Reinforcement goes a long way!
  9. Try to coordinate the order of pictures with your fussiest child going first, and your most patient child last.
    You want to make sure you get a good picture of your child who just can’t seem to sit still- and the prime time to do that is upon arrival.
  10. Finally, proudly display the best picture from the day on your wall at home so when people come over, they can comment on how lovely and well behaved your children are!  This will also help you forget how awful the experience was guaranteeing you will book your next session soon!

When your child does start acting up, keep calm.  The only thing a parent’s nervousness does, is escalate the situation more negatively.  Remember that your child is bored, not having fun and is a child- it’ll all be over soon!  Feel free to leave a comment about your family picture experiences!

Here is a picture of my kids from our last shoot (note the smiles):

Happy Kids Photo

A-Z Dinners for Kids | Letter A

The Meal:tuna for kids

Main Dish: Albacore Tuna Wrap

Side Dish: Apple Strawberry Kugel Crunch

Recipe:

Ingredients:

Albacore Tuna Wrap:

  1. 1 Can of Albacore Tuna
  2. Shredded Cheese
  3. 1 Onion
  4. 1 Tablespoon of Mayo
  5. Soft Burrito Wraps

Apple Strawberry Kugel Crunch:

  1. 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 1/2 Cups of Rolled Oats
  3. 3/4 Cups of Sugar
  4. 3/4 of Oil
  5. 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  6. 1 can of Strawberry Pie Filling
  7. 2 Apples peeled and sliced
  8. 1 tsp. Vanilla

Cooking Directions:Apple Strawberry Food

Albacore Tuna Wrap Directions:

  • Dice Onion into tiny squares
  • Mix Onion, Mayo and Tuna in a bowl
  • Place Tuna mix on a wrap
  • Sprinkle cheese over Tuna
  • Roll wrap up
  • Place in oven at 200 degrees for 5-8 minutes

Apple Strawberry Kugle Crunch Directions:

  • Grease 9×13 pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a large bowl mix, oats, flour, sugar, oil and vanilla until crumby
  • Place 1/2 of the of the crumbs on the bottom of pan
  • Top with Apples and sprinkle cinnamon on top
  • Pour Strawberry filling over the apples
  • Top with the rest of the crumbs
  • Bake for about 1 hour uncovered

Outcome:

My son loved the and finished his wrap.  My daughter on the other hand liked the wrap, but not the Tuna.  Next time, I’ll have to cut out the onions, because that was the part she said she didn’t like 😦 .  The Apple Strawberry Kugle Crunch can be a side or a dessert.  It is also a great dish to top with ice-cream!

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A-Z Dinners for Kids | Letter Z

The Meal:Z foods for kids

Main Dish: Ziti (Baked)

Side Dish: Zucchini Bread

Dessert: “Z” Cookies

Recipe:

Ingredients:

Ziti Noodles:

  1. 1 box of Ziti noodles
  2. 1/2 cup of shredded cheese
  3. 1 cup of pasta sauce

Zucchini Bread:

  1. 3 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon salt
  3. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  5. 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  6. 3 eggs
  7. 1 cup vegetable oil
  8. 2 1/4 cups white sugar
  9. 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  10. 2 cups grated zucchini

“Z” Cookies:

  1. Chocolate Chip Cookies
  2. Any color icing (or black and white icing to create “Zebra” cookies

Cooking Directions:

Ziti Directions:

  • Cook Ziti according to box
  • Drain, and add into a cooking pan
  • Cover with sauce and cheese
  • Pop it in the oven at 300 degrees for about 10 minutes or until Cheese is sufficiently melted

Zucchini Bread Directions:

  • Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl
  • Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans
  • Bake for 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool

Outcome:

The Zucchini Bread is a great opportunity to get your kid to eat something somewhat healthy :).  I actually tell them its a kind of cake, and they eat it up.      I did the cookies with the icing because it’s an easy, no mess way to include the kids in the preparation.   They had fun putting the icing on, and even more fun eating it.   It was also great writing practice for them!

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A-Z Dinners for Kids | Letter X

The Meal: potatoes for Kids

Main Dish: X-tra Cheesy Baked Potatoes 

Side Dish: Xochitl Chips

Dessert: X-tra awesome Banana Bread

Recipe:

Ingredients:

X-tra Cheesy Baked Potatoes:

  1. Potatoes
  2. Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  3. Sautéed Mushrooms (optional)
  4. Sautéed Scallions (optional)
  5. Pinch of Salt
  6. Pinch of Garlic Powder
  7. Teaspoon of Margarine

Cooking Directions:

X-tra Cheesy Baked Potatoes:

  • Bake Potatoes in Microwave for 10 minutes (or until baked)
  • Cut in half and let cool a bit
  • Add Salt and Margarine
  • Add Mushrooms and Scallions
  • Spread as much cheese over as you want

Outcome:

Yup, there are potatoes under the cheese in that picture!  This is one of my favorite go-to easy meals and the Xochitl chips on the side were an awesome addition!  My kids had fun scooping up the potato with the chips!

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A-Z Dinners for Kids | Letter W

The Meal:waffles for kids

Main Dish: Waffles

Dessert: W-shaped Watermelons

Recipe:

Ingredients:

Waffles:

  1. Frozen kind = the easiest kind!

Outcome:watermelon for kids

Easy, Easy, Easy! You can never go wrong with breakfast for dinner!  Also, cutting the fruit up in the shape of a “W” makes the kids that much more excited about eating it.  They even had a contest of taking bites out of the watermelon until it looked like a “V”.  It was very cute!

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A-Z Dinners for Kids | Letter V

The Meal:veggie-burgers for Kids

Main Dish: Veggie-Burgers

Side Dish: Very awesome Vegetables

Dessert: Vanilla Ice-Cream

Recipe:

Ingredients:

Veggie-Burgers:

  1. I used Morning-Star brand
  2. Slices of American Cheese

Very awesome Vegetables:

  1. Peppers
  2. Onion
  3. Any other veggies you know your kids will eat!

Cooking Directions:

Veggie-Burger Directions:

  • Heat up according to box and put cheese on it
  • Top with a bun

Very awesome Vegetables:

  • I cooked them on the stove top and seasoned with salt, a little margarine, garlic powder and a little brown sugar

Outcome:

Best part about the meal…..the veggies as a side dish!  I try not to make too many different types because if you add even one veggie in there that your child does not like, odds are he/she won’t eat any of them.  So I kept it simple and they really came out good (thank you, brown sugar)- and it’s nice to hear my 3 year old proclaim “I love Vegetables”!

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A-Z Dinners for Kids | Letter U

The Meal:Matzah Brei For Kids

Main Dish: Unleavened Bread and Eggs (Matzah Brei)

Dessert: Upside Down Pineapple Cup-Cakes

Recipe:

Ingredients:

Unleavened Bread and Eggs (Matzah Brei- or “Ireishmeltz” in Yiddish):

  1. Matzah
  2. Eggs
  3. Pinch of Onion Powder
  4. Salt To Taste
  5. Shredded Cheese of choice

Upside Down Pineapple Cup-Cakes:

Upside Down Pineapple Cake for Kids

  1. Pineapple Cake Mix
  2. 1/4 cup of Butter or Margarine (you can do without this if you want though)
  3. 3/4 cup of Brown Sugar
  4. 24 Maraschino Cherries
  5. 1 can of sliced or chopped Pineapple

Cooking Directions:

Unleavened Bread and Eggs Directions:

  • Mix eggs, matzah, salt, onion powder and cheese in bowl
  • Cook on stovetop

Upside Down Pineapple Cup-Cakes Directions:

  • Prepare Pineapple Cake Mix from the box in a bowl
  • Line all 24 muffin cups with a muffin liner
  • Add a spoonful of the butter/margarine to each cup
  • Sprinkle a little brown sugar over the butter/margarine and mix each one
  • Press a Cherry in the middle of each cup
  • Place pieces of Pineapple around the cherries
  • Pour cake mix over and fill each cup 3/4 full
  • Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes
  • Let Cup-Cakes cool and then invert them!

Outcome:

“U” was a hard letter to come up with for foods!  Thankfully, my kids are used to eating Matzah and Eggs from Passover, and they actually like it.  If your children haven’t had it before, you should try it.  It’s a nice twist on the average omelet!  The Cup-Cakes are also fun, and just having the name of “Upside Down” was funny enough for the kids to want to eat it….not to mention it comes out really great tasting!

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A-Z Dinners for Kids | Letter J

The Meal:

J Night

Main Dish: Jam Filled Pancakes

Side Dish: Jack-O-Lantern Pie

Dessert: Jello with Jelly Belly Fruit Snacks

Recipe:

Ingredients:

Jam Filled Pancakes:

  1. Box of Pancake Mix (yes, I was in a rush this day- so I used the box)
  2. Jar of Jelly or Jam – preferably your child’s favorite flavor

Jack-O-Lantern (Pumpkin) Pie:

  1. I used this recipe 

Jello:

  1. 2 boxes of Jello mix
  2. 1 small bag of Jelly Belly Fruit snacks

Cooking Directions:

Jam Filled Pancakes Directions:

  • Follow instructions on the box for the pancakes
  • Put a frying pan on the stove and set the fire to medium-hot
  • Once you have the pancake mixture, pour an entire layer to cover your pan
  • Flip when necessary
  • Take out and put a couple spoonfuls of Jam in the middle
  • Fold over and enjoy!
  • Repeat with remaining mixture until gone

Jack-O-Lantern Pie Directions:

Jello Directions:

  • Follow the simple directions on the box (this is a great dessert to solicite help from your children)
  • Place the mold in the fridge
  • After about 30 minutes take the mold out as it has begun to set, and let your children drop the Jelly Belly snacks in
  • PUt back in the fridge and let it set for a few more hours

Outcome:

Breakfast for Dinner?  How could it not be a winner?  They loved the Jam filled pancakes, weren’t crazy about the pie and had fun playing a  “who can find the fruit snacks in the jello” game!

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