Archive for December 2013

Responding to Sandy Hook families' call for acts of kindness on anniversary

Responding to Sandy Hook families' call for acts of kindness on anniversary
I know that I’m not the only parent who has thought of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy, both the children and their loved ones, often through the past year. One mom told me she thinks of it every morning when sending her children off to school. It occurs to me at random... Read more »

Christmas TV special trivia: How well do you know Rudolph, Frosty and the Grinch?

In "<strong>Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer</strong>," Hermey the elf, who would rather be a dentist, has two physical features that set him apart from his fellow elves. What are they?
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He is the only elf in the show with pointy ears, and he is the only male elf with hair on his head, according to <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058536/trivia?ref_=tt_trv_trv" target="_blank">IMDB</a>. As if wanting to be a dentist wasn't enough to make him unique.
My tween asked today when we are going to watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer before Christmas. I was so happy that she asked my heart grew three sizes. Oops, wrong show. I mean it melted. Still no? Well, let’s just say that I was as happy as a kid at Christmas. My tween is shunning... Read more »

O Tannenbaum! Christmas tree facts by the numbers

O Tannenbaum! Christmas tree facts by the numbers
Tweens have outgrown visits to Santa and they may be ready for something other than Zoo Lights, but there are some traditions that they never outgrow. Trimming the Christmas tree is one such tradition and I’m very grateful for that. My tween asks a lot of questions lately, including about the trees that fill people’s... Read more »
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Yes, Virginia, there are gluten-free, vegan treat recipes tweens will love

<b>Vegan Peppermint Black Bean Brownies</b>
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Yield: 40+ mini-muffin bites
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1 package Zemas Gluten-Free Cocoa Teff Pancake &amp; Waffle Mix
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1-15 oz can organic black beans
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½ t. sea salt
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2 c. palm sugar
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1 c. cocoa powder
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4 t. instant coffee or espresso powder
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2 bars NIBMOR Dark Chocolate Mint bars, chopped
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1 t. pure vanilla extract
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½ c. water
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1 ½ c. walnuts or hazelnuts(chopped)- optional
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1 jar India Tree Peppermint Crunch candy
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Pre-Heat oven to 350, grease a mini-muffin pan.
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Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.  Drain the black beans until the water runs clear, place the black beans back in the can and fill to the top with water.  In a blender, puree the black beans, water, an additional ½ c. water and vanilla.  Add puree to the dry mix and combine.  Add chopped Nibmor bars and nuts (optional).
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Fill mini-muffin cups 2/3 of the way and bake 8 minutes.  Take out and sprinkle tops with Peppermint Crunch candy.  Lightly push down candy into top of muffins.  Place back in oven and bake 4-5 more minutes.  Let cool 10 minutes in pan and then transfer to cooling rack.
Today’s guest poster Jill Motew answers the question of what holiday treat to make for kids with diet restrictions, because although kids love holiday treats, some need those treats to be gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan. Not only do these fun holiday recipes meet those requirements, they are yummy for all kids. Tasty and inclusive? Sounds... Read more »

Christmas trivia: 10 fun facts about the history of treasured traditions

<div><strong>How many lights illuminate this year's Rockefeller Center Christmas tree?</strong></div>
<div>45,000 multi-colored LED lights adorn the 76 foot tall Norway Spruce. Interestingly, the very first tree at Rockefeller Center was unadorned. Construction workers placed a bare tree there at the center of a construction site in 1931.</div>
<div>Source: Huffington Post <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/05/rockefeller-center-christ_n_4388659.html" target="_blank">Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lights Up</a> and History.com's <a href="http://www.history.com/topics/history-of-christmas-trees" target="_blank">History of Christmas Trees</a></div>
Traditions makes the Christmas season special, but just how much do you really know about customs like Christmas cards, trees and mistletoe? Do you know the history behind The Night Before Christmas and Handel’s Messiah? Test your Christmas trivia knowledge. You may even learn a few surprising facts about the celebrations and rituals that make... Read more »

9 Inspiring quotes by Nelson Mandela

When talking with my tween about the death of Nelson Mandela at the age of 95, we talked about him and his incredible life, but I struggled to find words that adequately conveyed his influence, his accomplishments, his Nobel Peace Prize, his bright light, his wisdom. So, instead, I found some of my favorite quotes... Read more »
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Tween TV sends message that girls can do anything, but they need to be pretty while doing it

Tween TV sends message that girls can do anything, but they need to be pretty while doing it
Millions of tweens will plop down down to watch a show on the Disney Channel or Nickelodeon this afternoon or this weekend. Tween views do so figuring they will get some laughs or excitement from their favorite shows, but researchers just released a study finding that tweens may be getting some less than stellar messages... Read more »

Illumination at the Morton Arboretum is the ultimate holiday light display

That the display is different than anything else becomes apparent quickly. We loved the ever-changing colors and how intense they were. <br>(Image by Michael Hudson / Handout)
We ventured to the Morton Arboretum to see Illumination, the Arboretum’s first-ever holiday light display. Calling it a light display, though, doesn’t do it justice. It’s a mile-long walk along a paved trail and the path is like an odyssey, featuring amazing interactive light displays along the way. They were unlike anything we had ever... Read more »

The HerStories Project book: an homage to female friendship

The HerStories Project book: an homage to female friendship
Today is Launch Day for The HerStories Project: Women Explore the Joy, Pain and Power of Female Friendship. I am proud to be one of 50 contributors to this new anthology and to be in the company of such fantastic writers. This collection of essays about women’s friendship is a reflection of just how important... Read more »
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Fun, cheap and educational gifts for kids: 8 present ideas under $17

<strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Elenco-SCP-06-Circuits-Flying-Saucer/dp/B000FMLVMO/ref=pd_sim_t_7" target="_blank">Snap Circuits Flying Saucer</a></strong>
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This teaches some basic electronics and circuitry without any soldering. Reviewers say it assembles quickly and is a big hit. If you have a more advanced scientist, consider a larger, more involved kit, but for most tweens and teens just getting into this area and who do not appreciate delayed gratification, this is fast and fun. $12.05 on <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Elenco-SCP-06-Circuits-Flying-Saucer/dp/B000FMLVMO/ref=pd_sim_t_7" target="_blank">Amazon.com</a>.
Kids want presents that are fun, parents want gifts that are both fun and educational. Parents also want gifts that won’t cost a fortune. Tween Us has everyone covered this holiday season. Here are 8 awesome educational gifts, all under $17 and favorably reviewed by users. While tweens and teens can handle these items solo,... Read more »