Website: Visit Dear Santa website.
You've probably been busy thinking of everyone else's wish lists, so take a break and join us for some holiday fun. We want to know what YOU want for Christmas this year. Let us know by posting your comments on the Dear Santa page.
Ask an Expert
Find Us on Facebook
In the Kitchen
In the Kitchen
Website: Visit our site
Click here to see what delicious dishes Anne Fulton is sharing today.
Tributes and Publications
Ask an Expert Archives
Monthly Archives: August 2012
The early bird, it has been said, gets the worm. Basically, success comes to those who prepare and put forth the effort to succeed. Starting Monday morning, the early bird better be on the corner of the street waiting for her school bus because this school year, my oldest will be going to 5th grade. 5th grade means going to a new school, the intermediate building. In our district it’s like an estuary of our elementary schools. They all lead in to the intermediate building in a sea of pre-pubescence, peer pressure, and grades 5 and 6.
Every start of a school year leading to this one, we have gone through the same routine. My wife and I plan as if we’re preparing to invade Normandy. My kids try their best to delay the inevitable buzz of the alarm clock the day before and all of our plans for a smooth first morning disappear in a cloud of chaotic smoke, crying, and a mass gathering at the bus stop. It is a routine we are all too familiar with. Yet, this year is going to different. My oldest daughter’s entry through the doorways of Intermediate learning means for us, a whole new routine.
We are going to be traveling with our 4 month old soon. We have been using well water for his formula. We will have to use bottled water while traveling. Do we need to boil it first? Also, do you recommend a certain brand? We’ve read Evian is suppose to be good but can’t find a clear answer if it needs to be boiled or not.
When you are traveling to places where clean water supply is not reliable we recommend that you mix formula with bottled water. You do not need to boil it first as contaminated bottled water is very rare. Evian has been around for a long time and is widely available and would certainly be a good choice, however, you may find a local version to be a bit more affordable and probably just as safe.
Back-to-school time is a big transition in many children’s lives. Whether it is their first school experience or they are seasoned school veterans, this transition can be stressful. Some are excited to see old friends and meet new ones. Some children are anxious about the unknowns of a new classroom or school. Most are a combination of both excitement and anxiety and many other feelings in between. There are several things you can do to help your child through this time of the year.
1. Get into the school day schedule. Many families including mine relax their schedule during the summer. The sun sets later and bedtime gets pushed back with vacation, special trips, etc. Now is the time to ease back into their normal bedtime and wake up time. As you know, a well-rested child can cope better with the day than an exhausted one. Consider any routines that can help in the morning. I have my daughters pick out their clothes the night before. We also pack the lunches the night before. These two routines save us time and make our morning less hectic.
2. Do a first day dry run. Especially if your child is going to a new school, you should do a visit to the school before the first day. Show them where you or the bus will drop them off and pick them up. Inside the school, find their classroom, the bathrooms, the school nurse, etc. Contact the school about when they are open and if it is possible for you to show your child around. Some schools may even be willing to do a tour for you and your child. This can help with anxiety and worries about the first day.
3. If possible, meet with the teacher. This is a busy time of the year for teachers, but many are willing to sit down for a few minutes and meet your child prior to the start of school. Many schools also have an orientation or back to school night scheduled for just this purpose.
It’s been said, absence makes the heart grow fonder. In the beginning of my marriage, my wife and I thought absence was when one of us took a shower. We spent most waking moments together. We held hands, we snuggled, and we watched the same television shows. She thought my jokes were funny and I didn’t mind her cooking.
By year 2, we both realized our love for one another had nothing to do with our proximity to each other or how much time we spent together (my wife also realized I’m not as funny as I think I am and I realized she really wasn’t that good of a cook).
So we both began doing things on our own (a day trip, hang out with friends, golfing…we weren’t going on European hiking excursions alone). It would be hard for my heart to grow fonder of my wife but the times we did things on our own made us both realize how much we truly loved being together when we returned. What we also realized, for the sake and health of our marriage, it was not only good, but necessary, to get the hell away from each other from time to time.
But finding time to be absent can be hard when you’re married, not to mention married and with kids (like walking on a wire across two skyscrapers while blindfolded and lit on fire hard). You have to take your time when you can. It is cathartic whether it’s for an hour or two, or a trip to the drug store, or if you’re lucky enough to have a wife who planned a mid-week weekend at the beach with her best friend.
My wife and her best friend Becky are going to Ocean City, NJ from Tuesday until Friday. My wife is taking our girls and Becky is taking her girls. One last getaway before school starts and some old fashioned BFF bonding. I know the kids are looking forward to going away because they haven’t slept for the past week. I’m fairly sure my wife is excited to get away too (she’s been packing for the past week). It will be a good opportunity for her heart to stock up on some fondness.
We have a nearly 2 year old and a baby due in December. My husband and I want to be proactive in starting to save for college for both of our children, but don’t know where to even start. Are there any resources you would recommend that we investigate to help us start to plan? Any information you could provide would be very appreciated!
You are wise to begin early; the “rule of thumb” in college planning is “sooner is always better than later.” College cost have increased between 6-12% annually for decades; it far out paces the cost of living increases. These increases are being noticed at all levels of society and may be slowing, time will tell. Never-the-less, costs are high and wise parents begin early.
There at three roads you can explore.
Road #1 the Pennsylvania guaranteed savings plan. Pennsylvania offers two plans. First the guaranteed plan; Pennsylvania like many states offers a method to purchase tuition credits at today’s cost and used when your child attends college. Many states have this or a variation of this program. Advantage is there are guarantees. (I like that, why put at risk our children’s education?) You will probably be eligible for less financial need based aid if you use this program; thus your scholarship chances diminish.
Oatmeal is my favorite way to start the day. I love the basic stove-top version with all sorts of fruit and nuts mixed in. Not so for my kids.
A few years ago, however, I discovered that they would happily eat baked oatmeal — even ask for it. Noticing that many recipes were high in sugar and low in oats, I began experimenting and have since created countless versions.
My younger son dubbed my Strawberries and Cream variation his favorite food. That was a big compliment from my toughest critic. With peach season in full swing, a new recipe was begging to be made. We have started our day with this healthy treat many times, and I am excited to share the recipe.
PEACH SWIRL BAKED OATMEAL
If you are a fan of nuts, this oatmeal pairs quite well with almonds. You can stir ¼ to ½ cup of toasted, slivered almonds into the batter if you like the added flavor and crunch. Or simply sprinkle some nuts over the top prior to baking. Pecans and walnuts complement the flavor of the peaches.
Ann Fulton, already known to many local foodies as the force behind the Fountain Avenue Kitchen blog, has begun a biweekly column on the Sunday News Food page.
In many ways, Fulton embodies each of the Alive section’s four F’s: family, food, fitness and fun, and we at the Sunday News hope you’ll have as much fun getting to know her as we have.
To that end, we’ve asked Fulton some questions about her culinary pursuits, and here’s what she had to say.
What’s your personality in the kitchen?
The kitchen is such a creative, productive place for me, so I am generally always happy to be there. (My kids’ answers to this question were “happy and a little klutzy” and “always laughing at her own jokes.”)
What’s your favorite kitchen implement?
My grandmother’s wooden spoons and cast-iron skillet because they are so functional and remind me of her. I love my kitchen scale, too, because it makes measuring ingredients so easy.
On a sunny summer afternoon, some 90 youngsters were gathered at Amos Herr Park in Landisville, taking part in a Penn Legacy soccer club program.
As the children practiced soccer skills, parents retreated to camp chairs and the shade of one leafy tree; the scene was the very picture of middle-class ease.
But the folks running the soccer club aren’t aiming for exclusivity.
They’re now opening the Penn Legacy Academy, a skill development program for children ages 3 to 8, on a pay-what-you-can basis. And if what a parent can afford to pay is nothing, that’s fine.
Their stated goal — and they hope it’s going to be a winning one — is to give every child the opportunity “to play the beautiful game.”
My toddler used to take 1 or 2 naps during the day and sleep 10-11 hrs at night. Now, she still sleeps 10-11hrs at night but refuses to nap at all during the day. Is this ok or should I keep trying to get her to nap?
Around 18 months most toddlers transition from 2 naps a day to one. During this transition they often become convinced that in fact they do not need any naps! You have to try to change her mind. An 18 month old needs about 12-14 hours of sleep per day. That is wonderful that she is sleeping so well at night, but she should still get another 1-3 hrs through a nap.
After lunch and a little quiet playtime, start placing her in her crib/bed. Allow her to take something with her that would provide a little more quiet play (board book, plastic toy, etc). Most kids once they learn the routine will fuss a little at first but then sleep for a short time. Initially you may need to go in and see her every 10-20 minutes and reassure her that you are still there, but with time she should start to nap or at the very least play quietly.
An 18 month old escape artist can be very challenging. You have two choices: you can alter the crib so she can’t get out, a temporary solution at best. Or you can put her in a “big girl bed”. While you may not be ready to say goodbye to the crib, your child definitely is.
If you want to hang onto the crib, you can try attaching a crib tent. These are available on line and at many stores. They prevent your child from getting out, that is until she figures out how to unzip the crib tent which typically is only a matter of time. However, it might take a couple of months which would allow you time to prepare for the “real bed”.