Common Sense Media

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If you have kids who have access to technology and media (i.e. if you are a mom living in 2015), Common Sense Media is a must-have resource to keep your kids screen-time safe and educational. The site provides unbiased reviews and ratings for movies, TV shows, games, apps, websites, books and music. Rather than restrict or censor our children’s access to digital media, the site’s goal is to help you harness what’s out there to ensure it is developmentally appropriate and educational for your child’s age and maturity level. This website is a trove of information for parents raising children in the digital age.

You can also download the app on your phone for access to this unbiased crucial information on the go. So mamas, stop feeling guilty that you handed your child an iPad last time you were trying to take a work call from home, and instead use Common Sense Media to ensure that she’s learning a little extra something at the same time.

Chicken with Lemon-Caper Sauce

chicken with lemon-caper sauce

This recipe turned out delicious. The 3 1/2 year old in my house was not the hugest fan of the capers so I didn’t give him any and replaced them with peas. He didn’t know any better and I snuck in a green vegetable. Score one for me!

You will need:

1/2 box spaghetti
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 tablespoon olive oil
2/3 cup extra-dry vermouth
Juice from two large lemons
3 tablespoons capers

Cook the spaghetti according to instructions on the box.

While the spaghetti is cooking, season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 6 minutes on each side or until chicken is done. Remove from skillet. Set aside; keep warm.

Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, vermouth, lemon juice, and capers to skillet, scraping skillet to loosen browned bits. Cook until reduced to 1/4 cup (about 2 minutes).

Place spaghetti on plate with chicken on top. Spoon sauce over chicken and spaghetti. Serve immediately.

Broccoli Mac and Cheese

broccoli mac and cheese

Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? Normally mac and cheese recipes take too long for me to pull of on a weeknight, but this recipe is quick, easy and delicious. The leftovers are good too!

8 ounces elbow macaroni
2 heads broccoli (chopped)
1 1/2 cups 1% milk
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter
8 ounces sharp shredded cheddar

1. Cook pasta and add broccoli during the last minute of cooking. Drain.

2. Combine milk, flour, thyme, mustard, Worcestershire and salt, stirring with a whisk until smooth.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add butter and swirl until the butter melts. Add milk mixture to pain, bring to a boil. Cook for one minute, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens. Stir in cheese until it melts. Add pasta and broccoli and stir until pasta is coated.

Teaching Children to Budget

piggybank

From the time my daughter was tiny, I used a cute piggy bank she had received as a gift to save small amounts of money for her, from the occasional $20 bill my grandmother would give me to “buy her diapers,” to loose change I needed to unload from my wallet. When my aunt gave my daughter a new piggy bank as a Valentine’s Day present this year, I realized having two “banks” gave us the perfect opportunity to begin teaching my daughter how to budget. Now, whenever she receives small monetary gifts, we split the amount between the two banks. One bank is her savings, which she will continue to add to until she goes to college. (If education costs continue to rise the way they have been, she may have enough to buy an entire textbook by then). The other bank is her spending money. Now, when she begs for a new toy or doll, she can use her savings from that bank towards it. It’s never too early to instill the importance of savings and budgeting. This method is also a great opportunity to practice math skills!

The One Week Manicure

MANI

I’ve been a great lover of shellac manicures since that fateful day I discovered them back in the summer of 2010. Nowadays though, with two kids and the insane schedules we keep, I am lucky to squeeze in a quick manicure and only rarely have time to sit through the long process of shellac. A few months ago, I discovered my local nail salon carries CND Vinylux Long-Wear Manicure. On the recommendation of one of my girlfriends, I gave it a try. This mani lasts for a whole week, easily! It is applied just like regular polish and dries even faster. Typically I find chips in a regular manicure within a couple days (chalk it up to all the baths, dishes, and hand washing that come along with motherhood!). In comparison, I am currently on day seven of a Vinylux manicure and just now am starting to notice a few small chips. The polish has the shiny, glossy finish of shellac which I love. The color selection is the same as the shellac line, so there are plenty of gorgeous hues. Vinylux is removed easily at home with regular ol’ nail polish remover, which makes it way more convenient than shellac. My local nail salon charges just $5 more than a regular mani for Vinylux, and it is worth every penny. Give it a go and keep those nails glam, even if the rest of you is in disarray.

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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