Thursday, January 31, 2013

Buying the Best Can Opener: OXO, You're Canned! Hi Kuhn Rikon!

Look no further.  This is the best safety can opener.
Ever have a utensil where you thought to yourself "I hate this thing" every time you used it?  That was me with the OXO Good Grips Smooth Edge Can Opener, which I used for about four years.  I had started using it because I didn't want to open cans and then have sharp edges, which is really dangerous.  Why did this particular OXO can opener suck?  It made opening cans more of a chore than it already is.

Since the can opener is so huge and heavy, I might have had better luck beating the can instead of trying to open it the old fashioned way.

Well, if you stumbled upon this post because you're searching for THE best can opener, look no further.  I've done the hours of research for you.  

Monday, January 28, 2013

Toddler Class Showdown! Music Together vs. Music for Aardvarks

Greyson taking Music for Aardvarks at 18 months

Before having a baby, I didn't understand the point of signing babies up for classes.  It seemed unnecessary and overly ambitious.  But when I had Greyson, I realized babies are sponges and saw how much Greyson got out of being around others and how much he absorbed through play and music.  My son is 18 months old now and he continues to benefit from the exposure he has in different classes, story times and playgroups.  He is comfortable in new places, in groups, with language, with music and he is very social and friendly.  Sure, a lot of that is just his personality, but I think the classes help.

Besides going to weekly storytimes since Greyson was a newborn, music was his first structured class experience.  The two music schools I heard about most often in Park Slope, where we live, was Music Together and Music for Aardvarks.  After taking a free trial class, we signed up for Music Together first since we liked the sound of their philosophy about music education.  Greyson was about six months old when he took that class and we enjoyed it.  We eventually took a free trial class at Music for Aardvarks, too, and signed up there.  I don't think there's much of a serious music education philosophy with Aardvarks, but it didn't matter.  The music was high energy and there was a lot of moving and shaking. 

Here are my thoughts on both classes, noting that the teacher is what makes the biggest difference.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Toddler Activity Time: Pour Some Beans on Me

There is some serious concentration going on here

I'm really interested in sensory play for Greyson, so I checked out this book Teach Me to Do It Myself: Montessori Activities for You and Your Child from the library.  The book has tons of activities that encourage the development toddlers' brains, and there are so many that I want to try. 

Who would have thought we could have so much fun with a cup of beans?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Review: First Saturdays for Families at the New Museum

On the first Saturday of each month, the New Museum is free of charge for families from 10 am to noon.  The museum opens an hour early for the families so they can visit a specific exhibit floor.  After the families sees the art on that floor, they go to the top floor, where there is an art activity that relates back to the exhibit everyone saw.  (And afterwards, you can see the rest of the museum if you want)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

How to Make a 20 Minute NYC Pizza...Faster than Delivery!

We sometimes have pizzas delivered, but we're often disappointed.  Maybe we just haven't found that place that we love since moving into our current apartment seven months ago.  An alternative is making pizza yourself, which can involve quite a bit of time and effort when you're dealing with a dough that needs to rest overnight, etc.  And pizza is often something I crave and want the same day.

I thought there must be a way to have good pizza with very minimal effort.  Pizza doesn't have to be time-consuming, right? 

So, I went searching for the fastest way to making a good pizza at home.  I reached out to Adam Kuban, the pizza expert and sort-of former pizza blogger for his suggestions and then sort of winged the other stuff.

Making this pizza takes about 10 minutes to prepare and another 10 to bake.  Here are the steps for making a super quick pizza:

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

DIY Love Stick: A Free Valentine's Day Family Activity

Fun, flirty and free...and I'm not talking about my husband!

We're on a shopping strike until the end of February.

It's not something our family has ever thought of doing, but as soon as the idea came up, it felt like a good idea.  There was so much buying over the holidays that we thought a month of no shopping for stuff would feel good.  Sort of like, going on a juice cleanse or something.

It's been three days and so far we haven't had any withdrawal symptoms.  In fact, there's been an unexpected benefit:  no shopping means you have to be creative!

There's a large vase in our entrance area that I like to keep filled with flowers or flowering branches.  On my list this weekend was to buy some flowers for the vase, but then we our shopping strike started.

So, we decided to make something ourselves for the vase.

Since Valentine's Day is soon, we used that as inspiration.  We found a branch lying on the ground in Prospect Park, where we had gone for a run.  Rob thought there was some dog pee on it, but there wasn't.

What we did next (plus, more pictures), after the jump.