Monday, May 24, 2010

Whatcha Reading Book Review - Your Four Year Old: Wild and Wonderful

"Wild and wonderful" definitely describes my four-year-old!

Dr. Louise Bates Ames has written a whole series of parenting books on specific ages. These books were originally published back in 1989, but much of the advice is just as relevant today. Kids' behavior patterns haven't changed much in twenty years and good parenting techniques haven't either.

Ames has written parenting books about developmental stages, behaviors, and parenting advice for children from one-year all the way up to 14 years. I personally have only read Your Four Year Old: Wild and Wonderful but if you are looking for some parenting tips then you should check out this series for any age child.

What I liked best about this book wasn't the actual advice and tips. It was finding out that my 4-year-old is normal. His wild and crazy behavior, mood swings, and overall goofiness fits right in with what the author describes. In the blink of an eye he goes from being a big boy with polite behavior to a whining, tantrum-throwing maniac. Also, he responds well to definite rules and concrete information.

I thought one of the funniest observations in this book was that four-year-olds are very interested in bathrooms. After reading that I have noticed how true it is. Take a four-year-old to a new place and he or she will inevitably want to check out the bathroom, even if it's just to see what kind of toilet is in there.

After doing a little snooping around online, I noticed that there are quite a few negative reactions to some of the topics in this book series, so be warned that not everyone loves Dr. Ames' advice. Like I think you should do with all advice books, I will take from it what works for me and my family and be happy with that.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fresh Spring Roll Recipe

One of my favorite appetizers to order at a Thai restaurant are Spring Rolls. My favorite Thai restaurant Typhoon calls them Salad Rolls. 

I have wished many times that I could whip up those tasty rolls at home myself. Well, I finally took the time to find a recipe and buy all of the ingredients. I had to try three stores before I could find the rice paper spring roll wrappers. I was a little unsure if I could make them taste as good as those master Thai chefs at Typhoon but I have to say that they turned out to be delish! 

Fresh Spring Rolls
1/2 cup rice noodles
8 rice paper spring roll wrappers
8 lettuce leaves
1 carrot, julienned 
1/4 c. fresh basil leaves
1/4 c. fresh mint leaves
16 medium prawns
1 tbs. vegetable oil
salt & pepper

Directions: Cook the rice noodles according to the package, which is usually soaking them in hot water for a few minutes. Saute prawns sprinkled with salt & pepper in oil until they are pink. Allow them to cool. Slice the prawns in half lengthwise. Prepare all ingredients ahead because you must work quickly with the spring roll wrappers once they are wet. Fill a shallow dish with hot water and place wrapper in until it is soft (about 20 seconds). Remove the wrapper and gently lay in on a damp towel. Place a lettuce leaf in the middle of the wrapper, then top with a small mound of rice noodles, carrots, basil and mint. Place prawns in a straight line across the filling. Fold the bottom of the wrapper up over the filling, fold in the sides, then roll the wrapper upwards to form a neat roll shape. Serve immediately with a dipping sauce. 

This post is participating in The Nourshing Gourmet's Pennywise Platter. Making your restaurant favorites at home is a great way to be "pennywise." 

Friday Follow

Monday, May 10, 2010

Japanese Lesson

As the kids were playing on the swing set in the backyard this afternoon I overhead an interesting conversation. There was a mini Japanese lesson going on right before my eyes.

Emily was swinging and asking her 3 year-old brother, "Do you know what konnichiwa means?"

Of course he replied, "Uh...what? No, I don't know."

Then she tried to prompt him, hoping that he'd remember. "It starts with h..." She made the h sound for him.

"It means hello," she told him in her big, 6 year-old, I-know-everything voice.

"Oh, okay. Konnichiwa."

"Yeah, you say it when you see someone you know. You walk up and say hello or konnichiwa," she added making it an etiquette lesson as well.

I was cracking up. Conversations like this between my kids remind me of how quickly they are growing up, so I also felt a little wistful. Then I realized that the only reason she knows what konnichiwa means is because she loves Kai-Lan. I let out a sigh of relief. And smiled.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thoughts on birthdays

What are birthdays like when you're a mom?

Birthdays have taken on a whole new meaning at this point in my life. I can remember counting down the days until my special day and looking forward to presents and a party. Gone are the days of piles of presents and balloons and sleep-overs with giggling girlfriends. Now I enjoy my birthday by spending some special time with my husband and kids; and instead of presents and a party I look forward to relaxing and going out to dinner (no dishes, yeah!).

Moms of young kids spend their birthdays changing diapers, running errands, doing laundry, feeding children, and picking up toys, among many other chores...but they also spend their birthdays wrapped in big hugs, enjoying homemade cards, and being told, "I love you SO much, Mama!"

So here's to my 34th year being the best one yet! Even though the magical excitement of birthdays has long since vanished it's still a day to reflect on the many blessings in my life. Happy birthday to me!