Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Clutter busting eases stress in your life

If your closet and bookshelves and even the space under your bed has no more room to put things, it can be stressful. Clutter leads to chaos and chaos leads to screaming for mercy. Bust that clutter and you will find yourself breathing a sigh of relief.

You could find a great home for all this overabundance of stuff by giving someone else a chance to own it. It may be just what they are looking for. And you are recycling not clogging the landfills.

There are many ways to do this:

  • Give it to someone you know
  • Donate it to a thrift shop
  • Post an ad at your local Freecycle website
  • Put a notice up on a bulletin board
  • Advertise in the newspaper
  • Have a garage sale
  • Sell at an ecommerce site like eBay.

If you find eBay intimidating or the fees too expensive, give Kijiji a try. Kijiji offers free classified ads from people who live in and around Orlando to buy and sell goods, find jobs, housing, pets and more. Kijiji was launched in March of 2005 as a subsidary of eBay. The site is user friendly and very easy to navigate. All you need is a picture, description, and to set a price. The rest is easy. Definition of Kijiji on the Web:

Kijiji (Swahili for village) is a centralized network of online urban communities for posting local online classified

Categories on Kijiji include:

* For Sale (all kinds of items)
* Jobs
* Pets
* Resumes
* Services
* Cars and Vehicles
* Events
* Community

The community area includes:

* Activity partners
* Announcements
* Artists, musicians
* Carpool, rideshare
* Classes, lessons
* Garage sales
* Lost & found
* Volunteer
* Other

There is even a wanted section where you can list things you have been looking for, and a free section where you can exchange your stuff for someone else's! Business owners can also promote their business and services offered in the classified ads.

But beware! You will also enjoy shopping here for great deals on items for the kids and yourself and you could be right back where you started from if you aren't careful.

If you want to be found at the most popular selling site on the web you need to get on eBay of course!

Sell that oversupply of stuff, its the "green" thing to do. Your stuff doesn't end up in a landfill somewhere, at least
not today!

For more info: For more Info: Orlando Kijiji
Follow Kijiji on twitter

Need help with eBay? Contact: Visit her website:

Shake and bake with grandkids this summer

Remember the old TV commercial where the little southern girl beams broadly as she says “It’s Shake n’ Bake and I helped”? If you want to see that kind of pride and satisfaction on your grandchild’s face, bring them into the kitchen and allow them to help prepare a meal. Better yet, let them in on planning the meal and guide them through shopping for the ingredients.
There are quite a few kid-friendly kitchen gadgets that children seem to find fascinating and yet are fairly safe to use. Some good ones to start with are:
  • Measuring cups and spoons cups
  • Whisks
  • Apple slicers
  • Egg slicers
  • Cookie cutters
  • Kitchen timer
Measuring ingredients also lets you sneak in a practical math lesson or two
Even the smallest child can help make egg salad. And it’s a quick nutritious meal they can fall back on later in life too. Once the eggs are boiled and cooled, show the child how to tap the narrowest end (where air has pocketed) to make it easier to peel. If everything is done right, the shell should come away easily.
If you have an egg slicer, let the child can easily learn to julienne the egg in one direction, then turn the egg carefully to cross-cut it into tiny pieces. Add a bit of vinegar (½ teaspoon for 3 eggs), mayonnaise and perhaps mustard or pickle relish to taste, sprinkle a bit of salt and your egg salad is done. Some kids like sliced black olives instead of pickle relish. Once the filling is put between two slices of bread, let the child cut out shapes with a big cookie cutter. (You can eat the healthy trimmings)
Apple slices make a nice accompaniment for an egg-salad sandwich. If the kids go along with you to the produce stand, you can let them choose a variety to try: Granny Smith apples tart and green, Fuji’s sweet yellow with a blush of red, Braeburn’s a bit tart and with a juicy satisfying crunch, Rome apples for the reddest skin and whitest flesh ever. Each variety has its own distinctive texture and flavor.
The bigger kids will enjoy the satisfying “schlock” noise made by the apple slicer as it neatly cores the apples and slices out eight perfectly even slices. Younger kids can dip the slices in orange or lemon juice (to keep them from turning brown.
You could chop the apples a bit finer and make a wonderful Waldorf salad by adding celery, walnuts, and some like to add raisins or grapes to the mixture.That was a favorite summer-time treat on the hottest Orlando days.
All that is left to do is stir chocolate syrup into the milk (Hershey’s makes a great sugar-free version now) and lunch is ready. For adults, (or true southern children) make a big pitcher of sweet iced tea to go along with your feast.
Enjoy your meal!

For more info: Cooking with kids on AOL
cooking supplies for young chefs can be found at Growing Cooks

Love your Mother Earth Day

Picture this: grandmother and granddaughter off to Ben White Raceway, not to visit the beautiful horses, although they would get a carrot or two, but to shovel up a box of manure. Could you tempt your grandchild with such “fun?” Would it be fun for you? You could certainly use the free fertilizer to grow the most beautiful roses in the neighborhood.

Now, you don’t have to go that far to impress the young ones, but sometimes an outlandish project such as that is a good way to make a point. Most grandparents today were not raised on farms like our grandparents were. There may not even be a farm nearby, but here in Orlando, there are still plenty of places where you can see Mother Earth’s beautiful face.Take a kid fishing, make a pole from a tree branch, find leftover fishing line along the shore and in the weeds of most any lake (unfortunately) tie on a tiny pine cone for a float, and make a hook from a safety pin. Then dig some worms from the rich vetatation in nearby woods and you are set for quite an adventure.
Traditionally, Arbor Day kicked off Spring and citizens all over the country were urged to plant a tree each year. Earth Day was first celebrated on April 22, 1970, when Arbor Day celebrations were changed to emphasize the critical importance of the environment and make the American public aware of the destruction of the earth's natural preserves. Still not a recognized federal holiday, Earth Day has helped Americans realize how they can and should do all they can to protect the environment. Here are a few things you can do: .
Even better than recycling is re-using and if you throw in an added bonus of growing fresh organic herbs, you are truly an earth lover. Make an herb garden with your grandchildren and just for fun make a Ladybug Rock while talking about the beneficial role insects play.
Tin can herb garden
  • Use hammer and nail to punch holes in bottom of clean, dry can (one with smooth opening at top)
  • Cover outside of can with leftover wallpaper or gift wrap held in place with liquid school glue
  • -or- Paint can with 1 layer of leftover house paint and decorate with paint or stickers
  • Seal with acrylic sealer spray
  • Place pebbles in can – enough to cover bottom
  • Add potting soil to 2/3rd level of can
  • Plant herb seeds (see package directions)
  • Place cans in baking pan or tray
  • Staple (or glue) seed packet to wooden popcycle stick and poke into soil near edge
  • Set container in sunny location and water daily
Lady Bug Rocks
  • Wash and dry small oval rocks that are smooth and even
  • Paint the rocks with acrylic craft paints
  • Use black sharpie to draw line down the center
  • Put dots on lady bugs’ backs using eraser end of pencil
  • Spray the finished bugs with acrylic sealer spray
  • Attach google eyes to dry lady bug
  • Sign and date the bottom
(These make great gifts for Mother or Father’s Day)
Another way to let your grandchildren feel really involved in Earth Day, is to take on a project that will improve your corner of the world. Find an area that is subject to litter bugs (but safe enough to walk), arm yourselves with trash bags, spray on a bit of earth friendly bug repellent, put on sun-block and hats, and do your part to plant a tree, clean a beach, park or roadside. End the adventure with a special treat of ice cream or cool fresh fruit and you have made a memory.

Do your grandchildren think you are cool?

One very special grandfather is about to wow the newest generation with his music and set a very good example of self-expression and renewal to other grandparents. His grandchildren already know how cool he is; in fact, two of them joined him on his newest musical endeavor.
Neil Sedaka is well-known to baby-boomers as the amazing voice behind hits from the late 1950s including chart toppers "The Diary," "Oh! Carol," " Stairway to Heaven," "Calendar Girl," "Little Devil," "Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen," "Next Door To An Angel," and "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do," until the “British Invasion” pushed him through another doorway.
Sedaka continued to reinvent himself and the public always responded with praise and love. His fifty-plus year career success is shared with his wife of over 45 years, children and grandchildren and his talent seems to have been inherited by his son and daughter who are both involved in musical careers as well as his grandchildren. In fact, his six-year-old twin granddaughters Amanda and Charlotte are his backup singers in his newly released “Waking Up Is Hard To Do”. This collection of his hit songs re-invented for children includes:
1) Waking Up Is Hard To Do (Breaking Up is Hard to Do)
2) Dinosaur Pet (My Calendar Girl)
3) Where The Toys Are (Where the Boys are)
4) Lunch Will Keep Us Together (Love Will Keep Us Together)
5) Happy Birthday Number Three (Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen)
6) Laughter In The Rain
7) Rubber Duckie
8) Is This The Way To Cross The Street
9) Little Devil
10) I Go Ape
11) Baby’s First Christmas Lullabye
During his interview with NY1 Parenting Correspondent Shelly Goldberg, Sedaka attributed his musical awakening to the Brooklyn, NY public grade school he attended. This early interest in music was nurtured by parents who believed in him. Upon hearing from his second grade teacher that Neil had musical talent; his mother began working at a department store in order to afford a piano for him. Having that piano, in addition to his teacher’s and parents’ encouragement, led to Neil attending Julliard and his ultimate success in the musical world.

That is one reason Sedaka is a very strong proponent of music education in public schools.
If you want to check out Sedaka’s new tunes and perhaps buy the “Waking Up Is Hard To Do,” CD click here.
For more info: Neil Sedaka's website

Butterfly park welcomes you and grandchilden

Is there anything more likely to bring a feeling of hope than a beautiful butterfly flitting from flower to flower?
Orange County Parks Department has done an outstanding job with Orlando’s Capehart Neighborhood Park, where the theme is butterflies.
Drawn to the park on a hot day by the splash pad, we found many other attractions. The park is situated off Lake Underhill Drive and east of S. Goldenrod Road. Set deep amid housing areas, it is a quiet, safe place for children to run and play.
The splash pad is a large area surrounded by plastic coated chain-link fence where children can experience the freedom of running through sprinklers and fountains of water without parents having to be constantly hands-on. A few tree shaded picnic tables and benches ring the area.
We were also impressed that there were two playgrounds, one for toddlers, another for older children. Both were shaded by a huge umbrella-like canopy allowing warm breezes to flow freely through the area. The padded surface around the swings and the play equipment itself are in good condition.
A fitness path circles behind the play areas in the 11 acre facility. Large butterfly shaped benches enjoy the shaded area outside the building and big colorful butterflies flank the main doorway. A flower-filled entrance is where you will find the live butterfly garden.
The game room inside the center is equipped with board and table games, and Karate, ballet, Hip Hop, and special events are held across the hall in a huge all-purpose room.
Also available are:
  • Movie in the Park
  • R.E.C. Squad
  • Home School P.E.
  • Mommy and Me
  • Teens against Crime
  • CampScooter (during school breaks)
R.E.C. Squad is an after-school program with free pick-up from Jackson Middle School and Chickasaw Elementary. Mom’s afternoon off (with pre-registration) is offered every other Saturday.
The friendly, knowledgeable staff were happy to show us around on a recent visit and explain the programs and activities that are offered there.
On a personal note: I swell with pride that my hometown has stepped up to the plate for its young people. I raised 3 children in Orlando and remember well the transitory time between most mothers staying home with their children and very few being able to afford life without two incomes. There was very little affordable recreation available for children caught in the middle of this societal shift.
For more info: If you really love butterflies check out