Thursday, April 17, 2014

How to Make Cascarones for Easter

When I was a kid I always looked forward to the big family Easter celebration. My big mexican family would all gather at my Nana and Tata's house for a big potluck, and an easter egg hunt. It was all so much fun but the highlight of the day was all the kids trying to break a confetti egg over my Tia Mary's head. See my Tia Mary is the youngest in a family and she always, always has the perfect make-up and perfect hair. That is why it was so fun to smash a hollow egg with confetti into her perfectly made up hairdo. It was usually my cousin Leo who would eventually get my Tia Mary. I am happy that this tradition still continues. My poor Tia Mary!

The excitement about Easter started in my house about a month before when we started collecting egg shells for the cascarones. These staples of a Mexican Easter celebration are very easy to make on your own!

Step One: Eat a lot of egg scrambles and omelets. Instead of cracking the egg in half, take a straight pin and gently poke a small hole at the narrow top of the egg. Then make a bigger hole at the bottom of the egg. Remove the insides of the egg by blowing into the small hole. The insides should slide out through the bottom. Then rinse the inside and set out to dry. Save as many as you can!

Step Two: Use any egg coloring method you like and would use on regular boiled eggs. Let the shells dry completely.

Step 3: Fill the egg through the bottom hole with confetti, glitter and if you really want to be cruel you can add flour. You only need to fill it up about 1/4 of the way.

Step 4: You will need  to cover the bottom hole. Take crepe paper (streamers work!) and cut small squares. Place the square over the hole. Use a mixture of white glue and water to brush over the crepe paper square and let dry.

Step 5: Find your family who spent the most time getting ready that day and attack!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easter Basket Ideas for All Ages

If you are anything like me that you still need to get your little cotton tailed butt to the store to get together some baskets for the little ones in your life. I procrastinate every year and find myself rushed and stressed trying to find the right amount of little toys that won't end up broken or lost, balanced with the right amount of candy. It's all a very careful peeps covered math equation. 

Here are some ideas for different age groups for basket fillers to go with the jelly beans and chocolate bunnies. 

Infants: A walk down any baby supply aisle will have plenty of little baby friendly items that can go in a basket. Since they are little ones, you can substitute the candy for a few containers of their favorite snack like cheerios, goldfish crackers or puffs. Add in brand new sippy cup, a teether toy, a board book or even a new toothbrush and you have a cute and useful basket. 

Toddlers: Since we are finally into spring and the weather has warmed up (well in California at least!) An easter basket for a toddler aged child is a great to stock up on some outside toys like sidewalk chalk. You can also add in a new nightlight with their favorite character, coloring books, stickers and even playdough. 

Grade School: With summer vacation around the corner you can use an easter basket as a way to stock up on some items to help ease the boredom of summer break. A few things that can help keep a grade schooler entertained are books, card games like Uno, art supplies or even a big 500 piece jigsaw puzzle. One of my favorite items for my grade schooler is a journal for writing and sketching. 

Tween/Teens:  If your tween/teen still gets a visit from the Easter Bunny, here are a few things that might not get an eye roll out of your tween/teen. Cute socks or a cool watch are great small items that can fit in a basket. A lego set, a cute keychain or maybe a cool pair of ear buds. 

Happy Easter Shopping! 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dating My Wife - Guest Post By Diego Quevedo

Happy to have one of our favorite male contributors on today. Diego Quevedo married to HerMamas' co-creator Irene agreed to a brief interview during their most recent date night (a weekly occurrence in their marriage) and here's what he had to say about Dating His Wife...

Q. Why date (after 8 years of marriage and 11 years together)?

A. Because I'm still trying to get in her pants. No really, to make my wife feel more connected to me which makes it easier to get in her pants. Honestly, with our busy schedules, having spontaneous dates can be difficult. Scheduled dates give us something to look forward to every week.

Q. Describe Your Favorite Date Night?

A: A good meal followed by good conversation and a new experience (i.e. trying a new cuisine together). 

Q. How Do You Mix it Up and Keep Date Night Interesting?

A. Commit to something new every date night. That could be a new restaurant, activity or simply a new city to explore. The newness makes our relationship feel what it did in the beginning... excitement. It is as if we're on a little adventure together.

Q. What's Your Advice For Couples Who Say Routine Date Nights Just Aren't Possible? 

A. Weekly might be too much for some couples. Instead opt for monthly outings. There's always time for each other. Make the time.

Q. You're Known To Also Date Your Kids? Why?

A. For the same reason I date my wife, one-on-one mutually devoted time is crucial to a healthy relationship.

Q. If You Won The Lottery Tomorrow How Would You Spend Your Next Date Night? 

A. Surprise the wife with a "quick" flight to Paris for a lovely dinner at a Parisian Bistro! 

Share your dating tips by commenting below! 
Better yet, interview your significant other and share their tips with us...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sailing Around the World....with infants!

You may have heard of the  Kaufman family. About a year ago they decided to take a sailing trip around the world. The husband Eric is a coast guard licensed captain. The family has lived on their boat "Rebel Heart"" for over 7 years. Sailing is their passion. It is what they have always done and they are more than capable of sailing around the world. They had planned this trip carefully and left while the wife Charlotte was pregnant. This did not stop them, this trip was their dream. They wanted to take the children, now ages 1 and 3 to see the world. 

The reason you may have heard of this family is not because of their courage and determination, but because a few weeks ago they had to be rescued by the Coast Guard, Navy and California National Guard when the communication and steering on their boat broke and their 1 year old daughter got very sick. It must have been such a stressful and scary time for the family. They are safely back in San Diego and are sad that their boat was sunk at sea. They are also facing much harsh criticism from people who feel that they unnecessarily put their 2 small kids in danger. 

Some feel that the Kaufman family should be financially responsible for the cost of the rescue. Some people are angry that military persons had to risk their own lives to save theirs. There are some that believe that it is irresponsible to take such small children out to sea. Some feel that there is too much risk and far too dangerous. 

The Kaufman's have publicly defended their decision to sail with their young daughters. They feel that family's sailing together is a wonderful experience for the entire family and the safety of their girls is a top priority. Of course there are others defending the Kaufman family. There are people who are praising the Kaufman's for following their dreams, living their passions and giving their children an adventurous childhood filled with travel. 

I can see both sides of the issue. As parents my husband and I have passions in life, like music, art and off-roading. As parents we try to involve our girls in those passions whenever possible. We always take every safety precaution and would never purposely put our children in danger. But life happens and it can happen anywhere. Should we stop living and taking our children on adventures? On the other hand should the tax payers be responsible to pay for an emergency that happens on an unnecessary trip? 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Rwanda: Journey Abroad - Guest Post by Maurisabel Quevedo

Recently, I was asked by a friend, “What was the craziest thing you saw in Rwanda?” I couldn’t think of anything crazy, because in their culture, it was normal. And for seven months, I spoke their language, ate their foods, I went to their church, I was part of their culture. 

It was normal to see cows, goats, and chickens roaming around in the middle of the red dirt-filled, carless road, it was normal to see hills upon hills of green lush with minimal construction on them. In addition to different sights, I acclimated to the every day life: it was a custom to walk to work every morning and wave good morning to every single person; taking bucket baths, using a latrine (aka hole on the ground, as a toilet), hand washing clothes, fetching water, traveling in motorcycle taxis, grocery shopping for daily hand picked veggies, and not being out at night unless you were in a big city. I lived in a rural village that had little electricity; I remember walking to a coworkers house one of the very first nights there and couldn’t see anything but stars and a far away light from a local canteen. I had to laugh at the fact that it was something I hadn’t realized I had to get used to. 

I quickly learned to live without most “essential” amenities. However, some things were a lot harder to get used to. I worked at a health center, so would hear about Rwandans dying as often as new babies were born; daily. Reasons for their deaths were, at times, things that could have been prevented with adequate yet missing resources.  For example, diarrhea is the number one killer of children under 5; due to not having access to clean water, food, and medicine. This fact, more than ever before, made me realize we are not promised another day. I wanted to be closer to the people I love, that was my true happiness, I learned that and so much from Rwandans. 

I met some of the most genuine, selfless, attentive, and hard working people I have met in my life. One of my coworkers fed me every night for an entire month until I got my stove to finally work. And she had me over with no hesitation; time spent with her and her house maid/mate, were some of the most rewarding of my time in Rwanda. Whenever I needed directions or help with anything, people would stop what they were doing and assist me immediately. I cannot imagine many busy people in Los Angeles giving foreigners (or even natives) a second look let alone offering their time to help. I learned how to give.

As humans, we tend not to realize how good we have it, until we experience less. Our generation is losing emotional and physical connection due to technology. Naturally, we always want more, but in the pursuit of our individual success, we should take some time for others as well.  It’s extremely hard to sum up the highlights of this life-changing experience in this piece of writing. But I hope by you reading this that at least one of four things will happen: you count your blessings, go out and do something out of your comfort zone, do something for someone who cannot repay you, and/or tell the people you love and appreciate how you feel about them (in person).

 Thank you for reading and feel free to contact me about anything.
Former Peace Corps Volunteer/Hermana at UCSB, Maurisabel Quevedo. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Overbearing Parent

I have always hated confrontation. I avoid it at all cost. And then I became a mom and the passive me is something overtaken by the mama-bear me. When it comes to my kids I will always have an urge to protect and stick up for them. Recently I attempted to talk to Phi's teacher about her math grade. Her response was not only unhelpful but discouraging and left me upset and disappointed. I have vented to my close friends and then on my personal blog about the incident. One thing that I have yet to do is discuss it with the teacher.

Chances are I will not bring it up to the teacher. I will swallow my anger and focus on the real issue. I have this awful fear of becoming that overbearing parent that teachers hate. The one that they hate so much that they can't help but project those feelings onto the child. As a parent I find that I am riding a fine line between being involved and being overbearing. If I stood back and did not get involved I would be accused of laying the full responsibility of my kids education on the teachers. But if I become too involved then I am the overbearing parent who doesn't trust the teacher to do their job.

In the end I hope that we all have the same goal, and that is to provide the best education possible. To believe in and support our students and help them learn all they need to know.

Are you a parent who feels this fine line when it comes to your childs education?
Are you a teacher who knows what it's like to deal with both kinds of parents? 
We want to hear from you! Leave us a comment! 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What Inspires You? Best. Quotes. Ever.

Love, love, love this first quote. No human being is perfect but when I think of this, I remember to be the best me in all areas. This also moves me to be true to myself first and foremost. What I do in one area I'll do in all others, good or bad. I become more self-aware and suddenly I am moved to try my best in all areas of life. Suddenly, I become balanced and better.

I can be the worst listener and I love to talk. I know that about me. I read this in a book once and it literally changed my entire way of being. Believing in these three simple questions allows me to think before I speak and actually appreciate silence (and decide to open my mouth if, and only if, I am improving on the silence.)

This is often mis-credited as a Nelson Mandela quote. The entire quote is from larger excerpt from a Marianne Williamson book. These beautifully crafted words remind us to live out the greatness within and to never, ever, ever dim the brightness of our own light. This quote goes on to state something to the effective of, never lessen your greatness for anything or anyone. That is truly inspiring in a world that can bring us down more than it lifts us up.

Now isn't this the truth? I am not perfect, but I do love living by a no-excuses policy. Professionally, I work with youth where I find that many teens usually lead conversations with excuses. Sadly, they can also hide behind them. This tendency leaves them powerless and it's a lifelong habit that so many teens carry well-into adulthood. When we remove excuses we become wholeheartedly present and fully accountable. 

This entire passage moves me to the core. I can be a worrier, I know that about me, but then I think of these simple words. Reading them leaves me suddenly grounded. And this doesn't have to be about God for everyone. For some, prayer can be meditation while for others it's enlisting in the Law of Attraction. Whatever it takes to become centered, do it. To me, this is one of those quotes that inspires me in the direction of faith and calms the useless habit of worrying.

What are your all time favorite/inspirational quotes? Share those below...