POLL #75

Question Of The Day #2

Easy Father’s Day tuxedo ice cream (no churn!)


Lindsay Weiss

posted in Life & Home

This ice cream is a mouthwatering surprise the kids can help make for Dad this weekend. Think salted caramel ice cream with a fudge swirl running through to give it the desired tuxedo (black and white-ish) effect. And the best part? You can let the mixer do all the work; no need for laborious, time-consuming churning.

All you do is whip some heavy cream, add some sweetened condensed milk and stir in the salt, caramel and chocolate swirl. This could not be easier, but Dad will never know just how easy this homemade ice cream really is.

I do mine in my KitchenAid mixer, just to save on muscle. But this could be made with any mixer!

Happy Father’s Day!

Looking for more Sweets and Eats for the Whole Family? Find Lindsay at Sugar Mama.

tuxedo ice cream fathers day 2_2_small

Easy Father’s Day Tuxedo Ice Cream

Make sure to allow 4-6 hours for this to freeze up before eating!


1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 (14 oz) can of sweetened condensed milk
3 tablespoons store-bought or homemade caramel (to taste)
1-2 tablespoons chocolate ice cream topping
Kosher or sea salt (to taste)

Place whipping cream in a mixer and whip until stiff peaks form. Fold in sweetened condensed milk gently, using a spatula. Add about 3 tablespoons of caramel into the mix along with a pinch of salt. Combine and taste. Add in more salt or caramel if necessary.

Place into freezer-safe pan and swirl in chocolate ice cream topping. (Just squirt it in and then run your knife through a few times to create pretty swirls.) Freeze for 4-6 hours or until it’s completely set.

Serves 4.

This post was originally published in June, 2016.

Recipe for fun: Homemade play dough


Catherine McCord

posted in Life & Home

One of the greatest gifts I was given when I married my husband was an amazing mother-in-law. She’s sweet, easy-going AND a pre-school teacher. Talk about a trifecta!

She’s always shares her wise advice about all issues pertaining to young kids. One of the most fun activities she does with her classes is make play dough. She says the kids take such pride in making what they play with and I found that very in line with my own philosophy about kids taking part in helping make their own meals.

We prepared this recipe with my kids and they had a blast. It only took us minutes to make 3 batches so we could have 3 different colors and the recipe makes tons!

Homemade Play Dough

2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 Cup Flour
1 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Table Salt (such as Mortons)
2 Tsp Cream of Tartar
Food Coloring (you can use as much or as little as you want depending on how intense you want the color)

1. Place all the ingredients in a saucepan or pot and stir with a
wooden spoon over low heat until smooth, about 2-3 minutes.
2. Remove from the pot and place on a counter top or a piece of waxed or parchment paper.
3. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic.
4. You’re ready to play! (Make sure to keep it in a ziploc bag or tupperware to retain it’s moisture when you’re not using it).

Photo from iStock

Delusional declarations of a new parent


Chris Cook

posted in Life & Home

When my wife was pregnant, I can remember seeing parents let their kids play with their cell phone, iPad or whatever electronic device they had on hand. I remember thinking something along the lines of, “Wow, what lazy parenting. I will NEVER subdue my child with electronics.” Fifteen months later, if you gave me access to a taser, I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t at least think about using it.

If only I had written down all the grand declarations I made about parenting before my daughter was born. Looking back, my plan was to apparently raise some sort of freak baby who would never cry, scream or tantrum because of my superior parenting. Freak Baby would have absolutely zero interest in televisions, iPhones or anything breakable, and when it came time for her to date, she would only go out with father-approved men of upstanding character.

A couple hundred screaming fits and a broken iPhone screen later and I’ve changed my tune a bit. If I ever get my hands on one of those time machines of the DeLorean or hot tub variety, I’m traveling back in time to give that pre-parenting version of myself a stern, R. Lee Ermey-style talking to.

It’s comical how ignorant I was. I was like that guy who sits in front of his TV every Sunday telling Tom Brady to “THROW THE BALL TO WELKER” but doesn’t see that Welker is 60 yards downfield in triple coverage. He doesn’t see it because that part of the game isn’t on his tiny television screen, and before my daughter arrived, there was a whoooooole lotta stuff that wasn’t on my television screen.

She will not watch television until she’s two. That lasted until the first football Sunday in September. Then she was right there with me telling Tom Brady to throw the ball to Welker.

I will never give her an iPad or phone to play with. But if she reaches up, snatches it from my grasp and yells “MINE!”, I technically didn’t “give” it to her…

Tantrums are caused by a simple lack of communication. Well I don’t speak “BAH WAH ABBA DABBA WABABABA EEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!” so if she feels like Wal-Mart is the appropriate place to melt down because she ran out of Cheerios, me saying “Hey Susan, it’s ok,” doesn’t help. But an iPhone might.

All children develop at different rates, so I won’t freak out if mine doesn’t hit a milestone right on time. I refer you to The Worry Reflex.

My house will not be one of those that looks like it was hit by Hurricane Toddler. I now have protective calluses on my feet from stepping on so many razor-edged blocks. That Damn Truck has a permanent parking spot in the living room.

I will never tether my child with a leash. While we haven’t done this yet, like with the taser I’d be lying if I said I haven’t at least thought about it.

In our defense, my wife and I have stuck to our guns on a lot of other things, like making every bite of our daughter’s baby food ourselves. We also don’t let her watch TV, other than the occasional football game or Yo Gabba Gabba episode (whichever I feel like watching that day). She still hasn’t had a single chicken nugget, and now that she can eat whatever we eat, we never make an entirely different meal just for her. But I’m seasoned enough now to know our good fortune with her eating habits may not last, so I won’t begrudge any parents who sit down at a Mexican restaurant and order their kid a plate of french fries.

So if you’re a parent and I ever judged you for strolling your 3-year-old around Wal-Mart with a pacifier, I apologize. Who knows what you were dealing with that day. If you’re on the other side of the fence and still expecting, just know that your best-laid plans will be easily thwarted by that soon-to-be kicking, screaming and sometimes not-sleeping-when-she-is-clearly-supposed-to-be baby who you still haven’t officially met.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t stick to the things you’re committed to (I hope you will), but don’t feel bad if you have to compromise something here and there. Plans are great, but parenting is just as much about troubleshooting unforeseen issues as it is coming up with a plan and hoping it goes off without a hitch. But maybe you should take this with a grain of salt, since a year from now I’ll probably look  back on this as just another misguided declaration of a rookie dad.

This post was originally published in June, 2013.

Photos from iStock

The SMOOTHIEST way to get your kids to eat their greens


Jamielyn Nye

posted in Life & Home

If your kids are anything like mine the thought of eating vegetables, or even looking at them for that matter, is terrifying. There are a few vegetables my kids WILL eat but for the most part they get thrown on the floor. I keep trying nonetheless.

However, recently I discovered the magic of GREEN smoothies. Are you a fan? I can throw practically anything in there and because it is a “smoothie” my kids will drink it. My favorites are spinach, kale and carrots mixed with banana, oranges and pineapple. The fruit covers up the spinach taste. It’s a win-win for everyone. Easy breakfast for mom, yummy treat for the kids and they are getting a serving of vegetables. I wish I would of started making these sooner.

Here’s a few of my favorite recipes. They are deceptively delicious!

Green smoothie from I Heart Nap Time

Green monster smoothie from Iowa Girl Eats

Tropical Green smoothie from Skinny Taste.

You can also throw berries in there, so it doesn’t look so “green.” 😉

So are YOU a green smoothie fan? I’d love to hear your favorite recipes.

{For more easy recipes creative ideas visit or catch Jamielyn via facebook / twitterpinterest}

This post was originally published July, 2012.

How to play with kids without really moving


Scott Adler

posted in Life & Home

Possibly it’s because they have a runny nose for 48 months at a time, but kids don’t understand sick.

When they see symptoms that signal you’re one step away from death, a single thought goes through their little noggins: dog pile.

At least, Stella and Theo were piling on me last week when I was sick as a dog.

But did I yell? Did I complain and make a play for pity when I had the dreaded drop-off/pickup/drop-off troika while nursing a knife in my throat and a brain incapable of simple math?

No, I turned into a human gym.

I know many of you have discovered the secrets of giving your kids a good time while you remain in a coma of calm. But in case you’re searching for solutions for when you’re maxed out or sick, I’ve perfected five techniques for lying down on the job:

Couch surfing
Slide under the cushions of your couch and let your kids surf on top of you. (One at a time is best if you have two or more kids. It also helps to scoot away typical death objects like glass coffee tables.)

It’s dark under there and you can pretend the pressure of the kids’ weight is actually the movements of a finely trained masseuse.

Mwa, ha, ha! The treasure is mine…
This one is easy, although before attempting it, you have to look inside yourself and judge your comfort with being poked and prodded while relaxing.

All you do is turn your role as evil emperor, witch, stepmother, pirate captain, or owner of Al’s Toy Barn into an act of theft where you steal something from the kids (Woody!) and then bury it under your prone-on-the-floor person. If you weigh even as half as much as I do, you’ve got at least 15 minutes of zero effort while your kids try and recover the booty under your belly.

Save me from the fire!
This is something of a variation on “Mwa, ha, ha!” But in this case you’re a victim that needs to be saved from a fire. And by that I mean dragged from one comfy spot on the floor to another.

Yes, the kids will yank on your legs, your arms, and maybe even your head. But if you’ve ever had a Thai massage, that can be great.

The only drawback of this game is that it underscores the fact that should there ever be a real fire in your house your children will not be able to drag you from harm. Fuggedaboutit, you’re toast.


Impossibly complicated storytelling
As the name implies, this is a trickier solution. You have to think while you’re lying there and keep thinking to sustain the sedentary situation.

I usually establish myself as man with a story to tell. A very old man who can’t move and can only remember the story by looking at various objects the kids bring back to me. So I send them all over the house for things like scarves, stuffed animals, and what not.

If you can spin a story, you’d be surprised how long you can keep them entertained running around the house.

What’s on my butt?
A friend told me about this game where you lie face down on the couch and in between passing out you try and guess what objects the kids have perched on your tush. “Is that a cement mixer up there?” You bet it is.

When the kids get older and know their ABCs, I’m definitely modifying this into the old “What am I writing on your back?” game. Oooh, I can’t wait.

Okay, that’s it. I can’t guarantee these will work for you – but they got me through last week.

And if they don’t ring your lazy bell, you could try what another friend of mine did: He taught his kid to shell peanuts.

She loves it and he gets to watch the games.

This post was originally published in June, 2010.

Photos from iStock

7 newborn photos to take before you leave the hospital


Jennifer Borget

posted in Life & Home

That first day or so at the hospital is prime time for snapping memories that will last a lifetime. There’s nothing sweeter than photos of a fresh baby!

To be clear, ideally these are not smartphone photos. These memories are the biggies. So when you’re packing your hospital bag, make sure you bring along your DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera, so you can capture some of those precious details right after he’s born. Don’t have one yet? Throw it on your registry or talk to your partner about saving up to invest in one before the baby is born. I promise. You won’t regret it!

Even if you only have a point and shoot, or your smart phone camera, it’s still important to think about what photos should you take? I find it helpful to create a shot list ahead of time, so I don’t forget any photos when the time comes.

Here are 7 must-have newborn memory makers:

Feel free to print this list out and throw it in your bag now before you forget.

1. First few moments: Set your camera to Continuous Shooting mode and keep snapping. A lot happens in those first few moments after your baby is born. Chances are you’ll think back later and much of it will be a daze. Have your DSLR settings set and hand daddy the camera to capture what he can so you can see it all later. Like your baby getting weighed, or his first bath. If you’re still learning your camera, you may want to keep the focus in auto-mode and let the camera do most of the work so you don’t have to fumble with your settings and miss an important moment.


2. Scales: Your baby will get weighed shortly after she’s born. These are some of my favorite images from the hospital because they help me remember how much my kids weighed when they were first born. Not to mention they look so tiny and cute on the scale. Set your camera to AV mode to highlight the weight on the scale, and your baby’s tiny body.




3. Capture the rare silence : Use silent shooting mode to get great sleep shots without disturbing your newborn. You can capture every changing inch with a series of close-up details featuring different parts of their feet, hands, mouth, and eyes without disturbing your sleeping baby.


4. Meeting big brother/sister: Some of my favorite photos from my son’s birth are the photos of our daughter meeting her little brother. She was so excited, and adorable as she got to look at him, and hold him for the first time.


big sister 2


5. Family Photo: You’re a family plus one now! Make sure you get some photos of all of you together.


birth baby t2


6. Tiny Details: Don’t forget the tiny details!. Get some close up shots of his little ears, nose, fingers and toes.

birth baby t feet


7. Going Home: You know you’ve had your baby’s take-home outfit picked out for months. Now is finally your chance to put it on her. Be sure to snap some photos of her in her outfit before you put her in the car seat, which can be an adventure the first time.