Blog Posts by Katie Dillon

  • 6 Tips to Keep Your Dog or Cat from Tipping the Scale

    Dog With Paws In Bowls
    Think twice about handing Fido or Fluffy that table scrap. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 55% of dogs and 53% of cats in the United States are overweight or obese. In real numbers, that equates to 93 million pets nationwide. Here are some simple tips for controlling your pet's weight from Lucy Postins of Honest Kitchen.

    It's In The Ribs

    Check to see if your pet is at an ideal body weight. The ribs should easily be felt and your dog or cat should have a defined waist. Be sure not to compare your pup to his pack of friends at the dog park as a staggering number of pets in the US are overweight or obese.

    Re-think Your Pets' Meals

    Just like people, pets thrive on minimally processed whole foods. Look at changing their diet to raw, homemade, dehydrated or freeze-dried foods as a healthy alternative to over-processed kibbles and canned diets. Try to eliminate by-products and unnecessary ingredients from reaching your pets' bowls such as corn, wheat, soy, added sugar

    Read More »from 6 Tips to Keep Your Dog or Cat from Tipping the Scale
  • Can you really get a good work out at home?

    I describe my fitness level as: Good, but needs improvement.
    I exercise: Two to three times per week at an intense boot camp.
    My usual reaction to fitness DVDs is: Unenthusiastic. There are too many distractions at home.

    Jackie Werner Crunch-Free Xtreme Ab

    On a scale of barely sweat to totally-kick-butt, this workout is: A great addition to a cardio work out. I would pair this DVD with another cardio-based DVD, like Zumba.
    The equipment I needed was: A set of hand weights. In the absence of weights, you might be able to use full water bottles as a temporary substitute.
    The next day I felt: A little sore in my lower back. I think she probably should add in the crunches, because my abs get sore when I do crunches.
    The instructor was: Very good. I like that there were two other ladies demonstrating modified poses for both easier and advanced fitness levels.
    I'd recommend this DVD to: Anyone who wants to work on their abs at home.
    I would do this workout again: Just because there aren't crunches,

    Read More »from Can you really get a good work out at home?
  • The scoop on four of this season’s hottest toys

    The kid in your life may have these popular toys on his or her holiday gift list. Are they worth the money? Some are, but one is definitely not.

    Hottest holiday toys

    Monster High Dead Tired Ghoulia Yelps Doll

    Ghoulia Yelps loves sleepovers, the color blood red, fast food (in lieu of zombie brains), her pet owl, and reading. Her outfit is so cute that you'd never know it's supposed to be pajamas. Who wears a skirt to bed? The fashionable Ghoulia Yelps does, obviously.

    The price of this toy is: More than reasonable for the amount of joy it's provided already. It retails for about $12 online.
    This toy would be great for: Ages 5 and older (the box says 6 and up).
    The benefits of this toy seem to be: Her blue hair and glasses. I feel like I am constantly looking for her glasses, but my daughter says they're critical to her look. And, blue hair is cool. The dolls are clearly supposed to set positive examples by being good students and behaving nicely.
    The downsides are: The references to blood, brains, and other

    Read More »from The scoop on four of this season’s hottest toys
  • Trouser jeans: A dressier option

    After asking for trouser jeans in several stores, it became clear that not everyone knows what they are. Trouser jeans typically have the small flap style pockets in the back, may or may not have any pockets in the front or an exposed button closure. Imagine your cleanly pressed, flat front khaki pants in a denim color and, voila, you have trouser jeans.

    My body type is: Very slightly pear shaped. My hips are a little bit out of proportion relative to my waist, which makes jean shopping difficult. Trouser jeans are a good solution for people like me because the rise is typically higher. Low rise jeans and I do not get along.

    Lucky Brand

    High Rise Trouser

    Fit: Before I looked in the mirror, I was totally sold on the comfort. They have true trouser pockets which made me a little nervous. There are no big pockets to distract from my rear being in full view. I was also advised to buy the pair that was snug at the waist, even if they were tight around the thighs. I'll need to alter the

    Read More »from Trouser jeans: A dressier option
  • User Post: How to Make the Best Homemade Play Dough

    I'm afraid that I can't take full credit for this recipe! It's via my daughter's preschool teacher. However, I will tell you that it doesn't dry out as quickly as the main brand, smells nice, and is a more natural substitute.

    Homemade Play Dough

    2 cups of flour
    1/2 cup of salt
    4 tbsp Cream of Tartar
    2 cups water mixed with 2 tbsp oil
    2 packs of unsweetened Kool Aid

    Combine in a saucepan over low heat. When the mixture starts to take on a play dough consistency, turn off the heat and let it cool completely. It will stay very sticky and gooey when it's hot.

    Tips

    • Don't use Pineapple Kool Aid. You'd think it would turn the dough yellow, but the color will be off white instead.
    • Glam it up with glitter.
    • Package it up as a party favor or gift.
    • Store in an air tight container when not in use.
    Enjoy! You might also like:

    10 Ingredients to Keep in Your Pantry for Kids Crafts
    4 Top Homemade Finger Paint Recipes Analyzed
    So I Bought that Fancy Popsicle Maker at Read More »from User Post: How to Make the Best Homemade Play Dough
  • User Post: 5 Reasons Why I Travel Abroad With My Preschooler

    It's incredible to see the world through the eyes of a child. However, as I type this, I am sitting in Hong Kong with a sick 4-year old daughter. We've been on the go in Asia for a good 10 days, with about 10 more days to go. We've been on planes, trains, taxis and ferries and it's no wonder that she picked up a stomach bug. I go on long holidays expecting that one of us might fall ill. I feel guilty, there's no doubt about it, but I still believe international travel is important. And, up until today, we all were having a blast. Here is why I do it:

    1. Kids can adapt: Travel has helped my daughter adapt to overall changes in her environment. She was a baby that required a very strict routine. As she's gotten older, travel has helped her to become more flexible, because she has to be. She bounced out of bed at 4am excited for our flight, whereas I needed 3 cups of coffee. She's great in hotels, can sleep on long haul flights, and fights jet lag like a champ.
    2. It's fun: I
    Read More »from User Post: 5 Reasons Why I Travel Abroad With My Preschooler
  • No Bake Cookies That Kids Can Make: Fruit Shapes


    My daughter enjoys making a recipe, by herself, from start to finish. She's almost 4 years old so the recipes have to be quick and involve no heat or sharp knives. This no bake cookie recipe isn't going to be sold on the streets of Paris, but it's tasty and not as unhealthy as other options. The dough is pliable enough to form whatever shape your child desires. We chose fruit because the addition of the whole clove brings them to life.

    Ingredients:
    1 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
    1 3oz packet of gelatin
    1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
    2 cups graham cracker crumbs (you may not need all)
    30 whole cloves (for decoration, remove before eating)
    Colored sugar crystals
    Gallon sized Ziploc bag

    Parents will need to: Get out ingredients, bowls and utensils. Open condensed milk can and any other unopened packages (for younger kids).

    Directions:
    1. Smash approximately 1 1/2 packets of graham crackers in Ziploc bag to make crumbs.
    2. Pour

    Read More »from No Bake Cookies That Kids Can Make: Fruit Shapes
  • User post: Chocolate Coconut Cookies: Kids Recipe


    Young kids will always need some supervision in the kitchen. However, if you lay out the ingredients, it may be possible for them to complete a recipe from start to finish, depending on their attention spans. This recipe is delicious and involves no heat or sharp knives in the process. I believe it gives the kids a sense of pride to know that they can make recipe all by themselves, for the most part. My 3 1/2 year old had no trouble with this recipe (other than very sticky hands) and made the cookies in the photo above.

    Since this recipe makes a lot of little cookies, I took some of the dough and made fancy looking truffles. No joke, they looked similar to ones I used to buy in a store in Paris when I lived overseas. It's a versatile recipe.

    Ingredients:
    3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar (almost one 16oz box)
    3/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
    1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14oz)
    3 tsp vanilla
    1 1/2 cup coconut
    1/2 cup pecan chips, or very finely chopped

    Read More »from User post: Chocolate Coconut Cookies: Kids Recipe
  • Chocolate Coconut Cookies: Easy For Kids


    Young kids will always need some supervision in the kitchen. However, if you lay out the ingredients, it may be possible for them to complete a recipe from start to finish, depending on their attention spans. This recipe is delicious and involves no heat or sharp knives in the process. I believe it gives the kids a sense of pride to know that they can make recipe all by themselves, for the most part. My 3 1/2 year old had no trouble with this recipe (other than very sticky hands) and made the cookies in the photo above.

    Since this recipe makes a lot of little cookies, I took some of the dough and made fancy looking truffles. No joke, they looked similar to ones I used to buy in a store in Paris when I lived overseas. It's a versatile recipe.

    Ingredients:
    3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar (almost one 16oz box)
    3/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
    1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14oz)
    1 1/2 cup coconut
    1/2 cup pecan chips, or very finely chopped pecans (you can

    Read More »from Chocolate Coconut Cookies: Easy For Kids
  • User post: Valentine's Day Conversation Hearts


    Why buy conversations hearts when it's easy to make your own. Your kids can roll the dough and use cookie or fondant cutters to make the hearts. These also taste better.

    Conversation Hearts:

    1 tsp gelatin (1/2 packet)
    1 tsp light corn syrup
    1/4 cup of water
    1 lb of powdered sugar, plus a little extra for dusting
    Vanilla or almond extract
    Food coloring
    Food markers
    Heart shaped fondant or cookie cutters

    1. Mix the gelatin, corn syrup and water in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for about 30 seconds or until the gelatin has been melted.
    2. Mix the above gelatin mixture and 1 cup of powdered sugar with a hand or stand mixer. Continue to add powdered sugar one cup at a time. It will turn into a gooey, thick dough.
    3. Scrape dough off sides of bowl, and knead on a non stick surface until smooth.
    4. Divide and color the dough. If you're using flavoring, add a few drops. I used vanilla flavored corn syrup so omitted flavor.
    5. Knead the color and Read More »from User post: Valentine's Day Conversation Hearts

Pagination

(23 Stories)