Monday, August 31, 2009

Baby Safety Month

 September is Baby Safety Month --  How about making an appointment to have your car seat checked for proper installation? 

Here are some FREE car seat check sites in our region: 
  • September 16, noon - 4 p.m., Jacksonville Fire Station #47, 3500 Sweet Air Road
  • October 21, 1 - 5 p.m., Rosedale Fire Station #28, 8037 Philadelphia Road
  • November 18, noon - 4 p.m., Westview Fire Station, 6300 Johnnycake Road
  • December 16, 1 - 5 p.m., Parkville Fire Station #10, 2325 Putty Hill Avenue

You must make an appointment to have your seat checked! Call 410-887-7361. Spaces are limited.

Sunday, August 30, 2009
It's that time of year ... all the Halloween costumes are popping up in stores and on websites. And over on the board a lot of moms have costume ideas already while others are still working out what they'll make or buy. 

And while we're thinking Halloween:
Save the Date: 
Sunday, October 25th from 3 to 6pm for the BaltimoreMommies Trunk or Treat event. 

Held in the parking lot of our Bruster's Real Ice Cream (801 Aquahart Rd,)in Glen Burnie, MD our festive fall event will include decorated & themed car trunks for trick or treating, fun & games for the family, a costume contest and more delights and surprises. I'll be reminding you about this event a lot with more details soon. 
Saturday, August 29, 2009

School Supply Drive


Thanks, Mamas!!
Our moms donated school supplies for Prepare for Success. 

"Learning is challenging under the best of circumstances. By providing children the supplies their families cannot afford, you remove the disadvantage of their not having what they need to learn and of not fitting in with their classmates. You remove their anxiety of being a burden to their family. You help them prepare to succeed – in school and in life." --a HCPSS Pupil Personnel Worker

Jenny organized the delivery of the much needed items: 
3 pencil sharpeners 
5 scissors 
10 packs of erasers 
9 bottles of glue 
35 sticks of glue 
4 boxes of colored pencils 
3 highlighters 
5 boxes of markers 
11 packs of pens 
2 packs of index cards 
22 packs of pencils 
4 packs of paper 
5 composition books 
11 folders 
6 pencil boxes 
2 binders 
3 rulers 
1 pack of copy paper 
1 pack of construction paper 
21 boxes of crayons 
55 notebooks of paper!


More on Prepare for Success here. 
Thursday, August 27, 2009

Beat the Heat Treat


 Christie shared this fun idea for a group treat - an Ice Cream Trough - that she found on one of her favorite sites, Skip to My Lou.You basically can use any leftover cake or brownie and a myriad of yummy toppings. Let the kids pick. And if you serve it outside you can just send them through the sprinkler to clean up. More on the dessert here. 
Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Summer Snapshot: Around our Town

Fort McHenry is steeped in history - it's the birthplace of our National Anthem. But it's also a perfect park to take the little ones. With shaded trees, plenty of picnic tables and a lovely view of the Harbor it's a favorite place for our moms to plan a group picnic.  A constant breeze from the water and an open lawn make it an ideal place for kite flying too. 

Upcoming events include the Star Spangled Weekend in September. 

Monday, August 24, 2009

Around the Board ...

It's been a busy week around the board at BaltimoreMommies.com.

A lot of families (like mine) are squeezing as much summer fun into these last days of August as possible before school starts up. Don't miss our Daytrips & Vacations forum. Recent posts include Laura's review of Brookside Gardens, tips about Sesame Place, reviews of campgrounds, Ocean City deals and information about Chesapeake Beach Water Park.  

We are welcoming a lot of new moms to the board -- some are newly relocated to Baltimore, a few are expectant moms, some are working moms wishing to meet moms and kids for playgroups and still others have heard what a great resource and welcoming place BM is for moms. If you haven't joined us - come on in! 

Our September calendar is already full of fun events for all - park outings, library gatherings, singalongs, playdates, birthday bashes, pizza parties, TWO meet & greets plus just for the moms -- game nights, a morning out in Fell's Point and Hampden, a night out at the movies and Creative Alliance plus much MORE. 


Friday, August 21, 2009

Foodie Friday: Lunchbox Edition


Sandy posted a great question about lunch box ideas in the forum. And with a lot of schools being peanut-free there is the added challenge of no PB&J sandwiches. 


Some of the moms suggested:


- roll ups - tortillas rolled up with cheese & a meat and then sliced

- thermos filled with chicken nuggets or leftover pasta

- jelly sandwiches 

- hot dogs cut up 

- chicken nuggets 

- scrambled eggs 

- leftover slice of pizza 

- hard boiled egg

- string cheese & fruit

- various crackers with cheese slices cut in fun shapes

- baby carrots &  grape tomatoes 

- rice & veggies

- plain yogurt packed with a baggie of things to add like fruit, granola or even chocolate chips

- fun pasta shapes with veggies

- hummus & pita or carrots

- veggies with dip

- small muffins

- mini-fruit kebobs

- and all the standbys like raisins, granola bars, baby bagels etc. 


The Baltimore Sun has an article with lunchbox tips too. 


I had my first foray into packing lunch for my daughter this summer for her day camp. I experimented and I'll continue to play around with menus to make sure she eats what I have packed. I threw in the occasional treat and always put a drawing in with it (since she can't read yet). 


Look at these fun printable notes for the lunchbox. 


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Summer Flowers


Summertime in our gardens have most flowers ending their glorious peak. My mom grew up on a farm and she taught us lots of little fun things to do with flowers and foliage. We would make daisy crowns, flower and leaf collages and our favorite -- flower dolls.  

I found some flower fun around the Blog-o-sphere:

Make a flower girl

Or a Meadow skirt

Look at these amazing flower doll creations. 

Or you can paint with flowers


School Lunches


Wendy posted on the board asking advice about packing lunches for school. She thought she used too many plastic bags last year and wanted to know what the other moms suggested. Some moms suggested Tupperware containers and other plastic organizers. 

Rebecca suggested the WasteNotSaks from this Etsy Shop.
You can also find other homemade lunch solutions by doing keyword searches on the Etsy.com homepage. 


Caroline and Christie like the bento boxes like Laptop Lunchboxes


I'm pretty excited about a new product, the Goodbyn that is BPA and Phthalate-free but also fun and clever. 




Look for our next feature: ideas and tips on what to pack in your lunchboxes. 


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

School Daze

A lot of moms at BaltimoreMommies.com (including me) are getting ready for school to start up in a few weeks. We'll be featuring essays, tips, finds and resources over the next 2 weeks. 
Tracy shared an essay from her LiveJournal about how school can occupy your thoughts even if you have a one year old:
I always seem to look to the future, even though it can often cause a) horrible anxiety about said future, b) horrible disappointment when I plan things out far in advance and they don't (can't?) come to frution, c) me to forget about things that are present.

Tonight was one of those nights. After a conversation at my weekly playdate, I wanted to double check that the allegedly excellent charter school in my neighborhood did in fact take everyone in the neighborhood without having to do the lottery (it does). So I spent some time perusing the website and started mentally shopping for the school supplies listed and doing web searches for the best deal for the school uniform. Lands End is having a sale and I was [this close] to purchasing some things for Lilian's future school uniform in 4 years. I also had to look at the high school we would try to get her into if we decided to stay in the city and other possible areas we might move when 8th grade ends if we decide to not stay in the city. 

Of course, then I started worrying about the 2nd kid possibility and would they really want to share a bedroom until college? I mean, the room is big and all, but I never had to share a room. And what if this future possibility of a child is a boy! Is it fair to have a boy and a girl share a room all through high school? What about middle school? Wouldn't that be weird? And how long would we keep that future possible child in our bedroom before they would move in with Lilian? 

So you see how it goes? 
Sunday, August 16, 2009

Summer Snapshot: Around our Town



My husband and I are museum hounds and now our kids are too. Our daughter would often sleep through visits but  she loved the colors at the Andy Warhol Museum as a newborn and now as a preschooler we make up scavenger hunts through the works of art at the Walters or BMA. Our favorite museum in town is the American Visionary Arts Museum. Outsider art is so intrinsically appealing to kids. 

Not enough time for a full blown AVAM visit? Pop by if you're picnicking on Federal Hill or at the Science Center -- look for the mirrored exterior of the museum. They have an amazing outdoor plaza that is free for the public to enjoy. Kids will love the colorful mosaic-covered school bus outside, the landmark Giant Whirligig, a mirrored egg sculpture, the wildflower garden with fountains and treehouse and a giant chessboard with robot pieces. What are you waiting for? Visit the AVAM!! 
Saturday, August 15, 2009

Very Berry Good

Some of our moms went on a berry picking playdate -- there is nothing more fun than watching the joy on your child's face as they run between the rows of berry bushes with a bucket in hand and the freedom to pick and eat to their heart's content. 

Some of our favorite farms for pick-your-own include: 
Huber's Farm in Bradshaw, MD
Larriland Farm in Lisbon, MD
Weber's Farm (apples) in Parkville, MD

Find your own Pick-Your-Own farms here



In season right now are blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. You can basically take any of them and make this Summer Berry Pie:

-Make or buy 2 pie pastry crusts
-Wash 4 cups of berries 
-1 cup of sugar
-2 tablespoons butter

Preheat over to 400 degrees. Mix the berries and sugar and set aside. Roll out the pie crusts. Drape one over a 9 inch pie dish. Add the filling and dab the surface with butter. Cover with the second crust and seal the edges of the pie. Cut several slashes to allow steam to escape. Bake until bubbly and crust in browned (app. 40 minutes). Note: Berry pies bubble over. Add foil or cookie sheet under your pie to catch the drips. ENJOY!
Friday, August 14, 2009

Film Talk Friday

Debi asked the board today -- what movie(s) do you have to watch when you catch it on TV while flipping channels. 

Our list included favorites like "Wizard of Oz", "Silence of the Lambs", "Breakfast Club", Jaws, "Gone with the Wind", "Grease", "Legally Blonde", "Sound of Music", "Mary Poppins", the original "Willy Wonka", "Shawshank Redemption", "Steel Magnolias", "Titanic", "Sleepless in Seattle", "Sixteen Candles" and more. 


Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Lunch Bunch



At BaltimoreMommies.com we talk a lot about food -- we share recipes, we review restaurants, we talk about health and nutrition, we get together and eat FOOD. But we also sometimes struggle with how to get the kids to eat. Toddlers are notorious for food strikes and preschoolers will turn their nose up at food they once adored.

Sometimes a mom just has to get creative ... and Jody did just that and shared how she made lunch fun for her crew. 

Jody wrote: 
Lock the kids in the basement and turn off all background noise, ladies. You're going to need all your concentration for this one. 

Step 1: 
Remove hot dog from package. We use Hebrew National dogs. They seem to curl more uniformly than Ballparks. 

 

Step 2: 
Slice hotdog into two halves of equal measure. 

 

Step 3: 
Slice each half lengthwise without cutting the rounded end. Slice in this manner four times to create all eight legs. On busy days (also known as "mommy can't be bothered to cut all eight legs" days), I'll sometimes cheat and only slice twice for four legs. 

 

Step 4: 
Stand both octopi on a folded paper towel, evenly splaying their legs (okay, I'm giggling now that I've written a recipe that involves "splaying legs"). 

 

Step 5:
 
Microwave on high for 30-40 seconds until 
octopus legs begin to curl. Serve with fries (I haven't told them that Veggie Fries aren't really fries). 

Thanks, Jody! If you want to see the creative artistry and jewelry by Jody visit here. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wordless Wednesday



It's not exactly wordless if I explain it ... but this was our first week of a new photo challenge. The theme was "vibrant". Thanks to all the gals who played along! We'll have a new theme every week. 
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Baltimore Eats


Despite the way some felt our town and it's cuisine were portrayed in the recent  Anthony Bourdain "No Reservations" show on Baltimore, we know that there are some good eats in town. 

Right now you can enjoy Restaurant Week in Baltimore and sample set featured menus across town. 

And in the blog world -- our town in represented by some great sites: 
Monday, August 10, 2009

Summer Snapshot: Around our Town


Feeding the giraffes at the Maryland Zoo is fun for all. 
Friday, August 7, 2009

All Aboard ...


This Sunday (August 9) is your monthly chance to catch a ride on the miniature trains at Leakin Park in Baltimore.  This is not to be missed if you have a little one obsessed with trains and it is pretty darn fun for the grown ups too. 

Run by the Chesapeake & Allegheny Steam Preservation Society (CALS), the public rides are held the second Sunday of every month, April through November, from 11am to 3:30pm. FREE (donations are accepted). There is a small playground and picnic benches and shaded trees to make a fun family day out. You can also see the animals at the Carrie Murray Nature Center and stroll the historic grounds on the Crimea Estate with the mansion and chapel open from 1pm to 4pm. There is also a Family Hike with the Friends of Gwynns Falls. Note: babes-in-arms are not permitted on the trains for safety reasons. 

Leakin Park is located on Windsor Mill Road in the Gwynns Falls area of Baltimore. Here is a map from the CALS site. 



Foodie Friday


We're all sharing farmer's market inspired recipes as squash, zucchini, peppers & cucumbers are in abundance.

Anna posted this one:

Beef and Zucchini Burger 

3 tablespoons mayonnaise 
3 tablespoons salsa 
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 
1/8 teaspoon pepper 
2 teaspoons olive oil 
1 medium onion, finely diced 
1 zucchini, finely diced 
1-1/4 pounds ground beef chuck or ground turkey 
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 
1 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon pepper 
4 (7-inch) warm pita breads 

*Combine mayonnaise, salsa, Worcestershire sauce, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. 
*Heat oil in nonstick skillet; add onion and half the zucchini and cook 3 to 4 minutes, until tender. Cool 
*Toss beef with zucchini mixture, Worcestershire, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Shape into four 1/2-inch-thick patties. 
*Heat grill pan. Grill patties 5 to 6 minutes per side until an instant-read thermometer inserted into side of burger registers 160 degrees F (165 degrees F for turkey). Place burgers, sauce, and remaining zucchini inside pitas.


And Rebecca shared this one:

Panzanella Salad 

3 tablespoons olive oil 
1 small French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups) 
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
2 large firm ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes 
1 English cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/2-inch thick 
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes 
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes 
1/2 red onion, cut in 1/2 and thinly sliced 
20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped 

Vinaigrette 
1 teaspoon garlic, finely minced 
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard 
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar 
1/2 cup olive oil 
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper 

Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed. 

For the Vinaigrette, Whisk all the ingredients together. 

In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Around the board ...


At BaltimoreMommies.com we have area groups that cover all of the Baltimore area and a main board where everyone meets to chat, share and plan gatherings. Our forums cover many different topics including health, beauty, entertainment, pregnancy and beyond, and much more.  We share recipes, parenting frustrations, milestones and hurdles. Daily fun can include photo challenges QOTD, quizzes and polls. You'll find support groups for our working moms, children with special needs and breastfeeding, to name a few. 

Our moms talk sports, recipes, the economy, tips & tricks, work, daily joys and of course, potty training. All of our moms are in the Baltimore area so you get a real sense of community and an active calendar of events to enjoy each other's company. 

A look around the board today has moms talking about summer squash recipes, back to school (yes, it's coming), favorite football teams, Baltimore neighborhoods, summer vacations, new haircuts, balancing work, daytrips and of course, everyone welcoming all the new moms that join the board daily.


If you're a mom, come join the fun. 


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Fountains of Fun!


Tracy tipped us off to the opening of downtown Baltimore's newest gem for kids -- an interactive fountain with changing colored lights and music. The Walter Sondheim Fountain overlooks the harbor is West Shore Park near the visitor's center and Maryland Science Center. It's another reason to keep a change of clothes for the little ones when out and about this summer. You never know when water fun will happen! We're heading down tomorrow. 
Photo credit: Will Kirk
Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Meet you at the Beach ...


You don't need to head to the shore. Grab your swim suit and water toys and get ready to cool off in some of the best swimming spots in the Baltimore area. From sandy beaches to ancient river swimming holes, you can enjoy these wonderful spots all summer long. Small fees per car apply at some of the beaches. Enjoy our Daytrips and Vacations forum for more shared ideas for family fun. 

Central Maryland: 

Gunpowder Falls State Park - The Hammerman Area offers 1,500 feet of beach and swimming area on the banks of the Gunpowder River. The swimming area is supervised by lifeguards from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  The area has multiple picnic tables and grills, many shade trees and also has a food concession, playground equipment and a windsurfing beach. Ultimate Watersports rents kayaks, wind surfboards and catamarans at the beach. Hours are 8 a.m. to sunset. 

Elk Neck State Park- There are many places in the park where the river is accessible for swimming, including the North East River area. A snack bar offers beach items and souvenirs. No lifeguards. Enjoy a picnic by the river and many trails in the shady woods. More info here

Sandy Point State Park- This 786 acre park on the Chesapeake Bay offers an array of recreational activities. These include swimming, fishing, crabbing, boating and windsurfing. The park's beaches and picnic areas provide unparalleled views of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge over the Chesapeake Bay as well as frequent passing of seagoing freighters and sailing regattas. Wildlife viewing and bird watching are favorite pastimes for many park visitors. Sandy Point's location on the eastern flyway makes it an ideal location for viewing a large variety of woodland, marsh and migratory waterfowl. More info here. 

Oregon Ridge- Lake & Beach area. Hunt Valley, MD 
This former quarry offers a small beach area perfect for the small ones to wade and splash away the day. There is a roped off swimming area but you have to pass a quick swimming test for the lifeguards before you can enter that area. More info. 
We also have more swimming hole listings including Southern, Eastern and Western Maryland in our Daytrips & Vacations Forum. 

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Daily Summer Boredom Buster

Today's craft can be enjoyed by all ages but the preschoolers will most enjoy helping with this project. (You've seen them in those great creative toy kid's catalogs but here you can easily make them yourself).

Ribbon Rings from Make & Takes. My daughter loves to dance around with hers.

With a simple supply list of ribbons, shower rings (or other hoops) and scissors -it is moments from inception to fun. Perfect fun for our rainy weekend. More here.


Around the Board ...

It's another busy weekend for the families at BaltimoreMommies.com - we've got moms that are moving, having babies (good luck, Anne!), working, attending conferences, running errands, going to amusement parks, coming home from trips, leaving for trips, going to the farm fair, searching out yard sales and doing homework. I hope everyone gets some relaxation in there too!
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