“Today you are you! That is truer than true!
There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”

Dr. Seuss



I am pretty sure almost everyone recognizes the picture above! Yeah! "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by author and terrific illustrator Eric Carle. But does your child really knows what a caterpillar is? Caterpillars are the larval state of butterflies and moths. Show your kids these amazing pictures from Wikipedia! Wow! Aren't they beautiful?  Don't your kids love them? Well, they will if you grow some at home! Simply buy the Butterfly Garden (bellow) by Insect Lore and you too will love them! It is fascinating to see how fast they grow!

Think outside the cocoon! How about having a caterpillar party for your child? You can make caterpillar cupcakes, rent an inflatable crawl toy and buy stickers like these! (or go to ideastudiodesign.com, they can personalize everything paper, from your party to your life!)

Other foods you can arrange and serve as the cute creatures include cookies, crackers and mini pancakes. Basically, anything round! 

Looking for caterpillar wall decoration or paintings? Try the triple canvas one bellow! Or the button caterpillar art!


When looking for toys, the choices are almost limitless, but my favorite still is Gund's "Tinkle, Crinkle, Rattle & Squeak Caterpillar" available from tiny to giant!
For girl's clothes you can't beat this shirt and hair clip bellow!

 And of course you can try crafting some caterpillar with your kids by painting some foam balls, gluing pom-poms together (pipe cleaners make antennas and feet) or recycling egg cartoons like this one:

And if you are lucky to found one around, let your little scientist touch it or hold it!

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 A simple change of lamp shade can add charm to a little girl's room!




This traditional Brazilian soup is used as a remedy for cold or as a comfort dinner in a cold night.

INGREDIENTS: (amounts will vary depending on how much chicken you have)
Leftover Chicken shredded or cut into small pieces
4 cups Chicken Broth (homemade or organic store bought)
1 lg or 2 sm carrots cut into 1/2''cubes
1/2 cup of white or sweet potato cut into 1/2''cubes
2 chopped roma tomatoes
Some Rice - brown or white(cooked, leftover is great too!)
Chopped italian persley or scallion

In a large saucepan bring chicken broth to a boil over medium flame. Add the carrot and sweet potato and cook for 5 minutes. Then add tomatoes, rice and chicken and cook for 5  more minutes. Turn off heat and sprinkle with herb of choice and a little parmesan cheese! Bom apetite!

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Nothing is more powerful then a child's mind! Unfortunately nowadays kids spend too much time passively in front of the TV, watching cartoons or playing video games.  Let me guess, when you were a child you spent a lot more time outdoors, riding bicycles, rollerblading and running, right? If you are as lucky as I was you also had a lot fun climbing trees and eating fruit you just picked! Since we didn't have all these toys we have today we had to use our imagination! As parents, we should encourage imaginative play. How? Try to guide your child into discovering possibilities by themselves in a way that they will think the idea was theirs and use suggestion or demonstration with younger ones. With time they will pick up on it and start to be more creative, which is a problem-solving skill that will help them for a lifetime. You can say for example: "I see your baby doll feels cold, what do you think we could use this paper for that will warm her up?" or at the park "Oh no! mommy forgot the toy bucket! What could we do with the sticks of this tree over here?" So here are just a few suggestions:
  • Imagination for TV lovers: watch a recorded  program, preferably one that is narrative. Stop between 5 and 10 minutes before the end and make a game of everyone guessing what the end of the story will be, then watch the remaining. This stimulates creativity in a fun way.
  • Imagine Paper: with a piece of paper you can make a ball, an airplane, a boat, a hat, a telescope, a clarinet, a blanket or a mat for a doll or fold in a upside down V for a little house. Or if you are really into folding try some origami for kids.

  • Imagine Art: Crayons, paint, pencils, markers, glue, tapes, popsicle sticks, play-dough and many others are all known to all. How about magazines? Cut out several pictures from magazines with your children and ask them to choose a few (less for younger ones, more for older ones) and ask them to tell a story with the pictures. They can glue them on a paper if they want to and if they are old enough they can even write the story!

  • Imagine Music: Simply put on some music and dance with your child. See if you can close your eyes, hold hands to give your child a sense of security, and ask if he/she can identify the instruments played. Clap, stomp make gestures with the rhythm and of course don't be scared to sing along!

  • Imagine at the Park: Do not bring toys, shovels and buckets to the park. Show you child how use a shoe to push the sand around to build a castle or mountain. Use a tree stick as the bridge or the miniature tree for the castle. Use leaves, pine cones or wild flowers to decorate the building! Or ask them if they could use the stick to draw or write on the sand. Or if you really want to have fun build a miniature tree house like the one on the top of this page! Make it a family event and then compare the  similarities and differences of each family member's ideas.

  • Imagine on your Backyard: Pretend to be a scientist! Grab a couple magnifying lenses and see what kind of creatures and plants you find. Then talk about them or ask you child to draw them. 
These are by no means the only ways you can encourage your child's imagination, but rather, just a few examples of how you can add some creative fun to your day.
Not very creative yourself? Try these:
Free activities for kids
”One of the virtues of being very young is
that you don't let the facts get in the way of your imagination.” 
Sam Levenson

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Has technology brought us progress or regression? Both. Doesn't it bring us closer to distant friends and relatives through telephone and internet? Certainly! It still amazes me, how cool it is that my kids can see their grandparents live, anytime, even though they are all 4000 miles away! And we have being using webcams for 5 years! With email, Orkut, Facebook, Blogs, Forums, Tweeter and so on, our lives has changed! And we can communicate not only at any time but with people anywhere in this world! With smart phones we can be connected to anything we want at anytime! While at the doctor's waiting room, the bedroom or even the restroom! You take a picture of your kids during an event at school, instantly email the pictures to your friends and relatives overseas and they respond timely via text message! Cool?! Yeah! And no!
There are many drawbacks of having all of this available to us. The major one is, that to be "connected" all the time, we are getting more disconnected then ever! We are so busy to keep up with all we've created for ourselves that we do not find enough time to be WITH people. Starting at our own home.

One day, I was at the park with my children when I noticed a little girl approach her mom, who was typing on her blackberry: 
- Mom, can you push me on the swing? 
- Sorry honey, mommy is busy. Can you go on the slide instead?

Then I looked around and saw a little boy "eating" sand... His mom? Talking on the phone, didn't even see it! Then I realized that every mom there, six to be exact, ALL, had their eyes, ears or fingers on their cell phones. None of them where actually there WITH their kids, they where just around them but not close to them or there for them!  The poor girl didn't want to go on the slide, maybe because she doesn't like it as much as the swing, but maybe because she CAN do it by herself and at that moment she needed her mom closer, more present or simply WITH her! And it made me fell awful because I have done it too! So, I leave you with a question: what could be more important on our cell phones than the needs of our precious babies?

Since then, I have paid a lot more attention to what really matters in life!  If multitasking has become part of your life, pay attention! It is not always appropriate! I know kids do not need you attention all the time, however most of the time they do. So, next time you take your kids to the playground, turn off your cell phones and enjoy them before they are 14 and they hang a sign on their bedroom door that reads "Keep Away!".

For more on spending quality time with your kids read my articles on imaginative play and activities ideas for spring break!

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You are going to have the kids home for spring break but you have no idea what to do! You are having to cut on your expenses and would like to find cheap or free activities to do with the little ones. Well, chill out. I will give you a few activities that won't break the bank and will give you a break this spring break! What kids really enjoy are simple, different and silly ideas!

Indoor Picnic - This is a hit! Make snack time fun! Set a picnic blanket, regular blanket or even a table cloth like I do on the floor at your leaving room or playroom. Serve your goodies in the middle with the kids sitting around. I serve only dry snacks and cartoon juice (no open cups) to avoid spills. When snack is over, remove everything, close the fabric and shake it outside. The birds will thank you for the crumbles!

Silly Billy Dress up Party -The game is: Everyone has to change clothes but no one can wear one's own clothes, so mommy can put on daddy's shirt and shoes, with little girl's pink bow and jewelry, little boy's backpack and two belts tied together! What are you gonna wear?

Gardening - Perfect timing! It is time to plant flowers and herbs, trim, pick up weeds... Tip: use a laundry stool to sit on when planting. It will put you in the right height to work on flower beds or pots without compromising your knees!


Cardboard house - If you go one night to Walmart or Target and ask if they have an extra large empty box, most likely you will get one! Well with a sharp knife cut a door one one side and make windows on the other three. The kids can decorate the walls inside with their artwork, stickers or make paper "curtains". Let them use a bath mat as their rug! Then get that magazine you haven't had time to read yet and relax! With smaller boxes you can make houses or beds for dolls and animals.

Artwork - Get down and dirty with your kids! I mean down on your knees and dirty with paint! Put on clothes you won't mind getting stained. Go outdoors and set a few disposable plates or cups filled with acrylic paint. About four different colors is enough, plus white and black. Use big pieces of paper or canvases if you can, each one gets one media (you do your own, so you are not trying to "guide" them much - remember, whatever they do it is beautiful!) or use a very large one everyone paint together. To paint use not only your fingers but your whole hands if you want. You will be surprised what a  beautiful artwork you got to hang in the playroom or your kids' bedrooms!
Masks: You can make masks out of paper plates, paper bags or foam visors.

Paper work - Make a kite (it is wind season here in Texas!), fold airplanes, boats, hats,  tear strips of pastel color craft paper and save it in a bag to use as filler for Easter baskets or make bunny ears and attach to tiara (you can cover a plastic tiara with ribbon all the way around it!)

Nature Trail Hunt: If you are not lucky enough to have a trail nearby your backyard or local park is plenty! Paint an egg cartoon as seen left, and go on a hunt with a magnifying glasses looking for treasures and souvenir to fill up all the colored "bowls"! How fun! If you are not able to fill out all the cups, talk about it with the kids: "What in nature has that color at another time of the year? Is there any flower that color we can't find here but we have seen before?"...

 Baking and cooking - Kids love helping in the kitchen simply because that's what moms do! And they tend to eat better when involved into the cooking process. So, let them choose what they want to do (but you give the options). Let them help with preparation according to their age. While younger ones will be happy just sprinkling cheese for example, older ones will love to mix or even chop! Cooking Ideas: cookies, of course; the usual muffins but even if you use pre-mixed, let them pick if they want to add nuts, dried fruit/raisins, banana slices or apple pieces to their cups; crescent rolls filled with raisins, cheese stick, turkey & cheese; celery filled with cream cheese and  nuts or raisins or herbs; pizza: buy ready made dough, on a lazy susan place several bowls with different ingredients (I chop different veggies because my kids...well are my kids!, mini pepperoni, chpped turkey breast and olives), if kids are old enough let them spread the tomato sauce, but even the younger ones like to rotate the bowls and make their pizza their own! The picture bellow is from a play date in my house where the adults ate pizzas prepared by a 2 year old girls and two 4 year old boys! And they were all delicious!! Everything omelets: open your fridge and chop whatever can be cooked in 3-5 minutes and let them sprinkle the pieces while you take care of the pan; sliced bread pizzas are also easy and fast (a slice of bread, cheese, 1 or 2 slices of tomato and oregano); or slicing fruit with an apple slicer but be creative, we also use ours to slice pears, peaches and nectarines, or slicing bananas you can use in a recipe or simply sprinkle with powdered chocolate or chocolate sprinkle and enjoy! Here other tools kids love to use: strawberry slicer, egg slicer, melon baller (which you can use for watermelon, papaya and cantaloupe), avocado slicer, veggie peeler and milk frother (we use also to make salad dressings and beat eggs).

Library: Don't forget to check what's going on at the local library where you live!

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Who didn't enjoy playing with paper airplanes as a child? Well, I did!

Klutz is a company that creates activity books and other great stuff for kids 3 to 103. You can find this book online for around $12. Forget about expensive toys! My son got this book for his birthday last year and has had a lot so much fun since! We make airplane races almost everyday! Thanks Margie! It comes with 40 beautiful colored paper sheets and it teaches step by step how to fold 10 different paper airplanes. When you run out of paper, just buy letter size scrap booking paper! I love it because it promotes creative play, hand coordination (you will have to help your child depending on the age) and we can play indoors or outdoors! It is an affordable gift that will provide months of entertainment for your little ones and yourself!

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This is a little cute joke (at least for women) that I heard long time ago but was reminded about it today by my in laws. So good it is worth posting it! It is probably a true story... 

Mom and 3 year old daughter went for walk. The little girl picks up something from the ground and puts it straight into her mouth. The mom tells her to "NEVER do that again!".

- Why mommy? Asks the 3 year old girl.
The mom then explains that it was on the floor, which is full of germs and is dirty and that germs can make her sick...
The girl interrupts her asking: - How do you know all that stuff mommy?
- Well, all moms know that and much more! To be a mom, you take a test and you have to know everything about keeping kids safe. And if you don't pass you cannot become a mother!
Both were quiet for awhile... until the little girl breaks silence:
- I got it mom! If you do not pass, you get to be the dad.
- Exactly! The mother answered with a big smile! ;-)

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Simply, click on the store name to print the coupon or copy online promo code.
Good resource site for printable and online coupons! Never finish your online purchase without looking for a coupon code. Just google it! You will be surprised how much money you can save!

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When I grow up plastic was something new. Back then, the picture above would look like something very futuristic. I remember well the time when my parents had to take used empty glass bottles to the store in order to buy soft drinks! Do you? Well in only 4 decades we've come a long way from that as now there are about anything made of plastic and most kids playrooms are filled with toys made from plastic (mostly made in China). While you can teach your child about the environment and the importance recycling, there is nothing better to do to our earth then to buy less plastic and more wooden toys! So, here are several alternatives for wooden and other eco-friendly toys manufactures or resources we love in our house! All of them are easily found online.

Or if you have a handyman in the house this book (bellow) has 50 easy to build projects to make your own toys!

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Everyone loves Pottery Barn style and most of us would like to be able to decorate just like the pictures of their catalog, right? Well, what a lot of of people don't know is that your local Pottery Barn offers free decorating classes!

  • Go to potterybarn.com
  • Scroll down to RESOURCES and click on "store events"
  • Choose the class you want to attend and RSVP by calling the store nearest you.
  • Have fun!


30% OFF SAKS FIFTH AVENUE - 03/03 to 03/09

The only time I buy my pair of Joe's Jeans is when I get this coupon!

What are YOU going to use it for?

Click here and print it!

Offer valid Wednesday, March 3
through Tuesday, March 9, 2010
at Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH stores only.




What a cute creative idea from Family Fun Magazine! Fill them up with lentil passing the heel a little and close with rubber band. Tie a ribbon just below the heel to make the head and cut the cuffs for ears. Cotton ball or white pom pom for a tail! For face features they used cut felt but I will use old lost buttons for eyes and nose, for an even more recycled bunny!



Have a special out of town friend who had a first baby? Use wrapping paper as a liner for the box and fill the box with those necessities you know she will need but may not know yet and will not mind getting more if she already has. I put from baby Qtips to a window shade, plus a few special gifts. I LOVE the prayer bear, doll or angel that recites "now I lay me down to sleep" prayer when squeezed. For little Emma Horton, born five weeks ago, at only 25 weeks gestation, I sent an angel! Thank God she is doing fine and growing cuter everyday. Please, add her name to your prayers or thoughts tonight! 


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