Blog Posts by Tina Case | Parent Grapevine

  • User post: Holiday Homebrew

    In our home, the holidays are full of family traditions. From cutting down a fresh Christmas tree in the nearby Santa Cruz mountains to seeing what is behind the door each day of the Advent calendar, we love this time of year.

    While most of our traditions are focused around the kids, one particular favorite of mine is not. What is it you ask? Well, it is whipping up a batch of our favorite holiday cheer called 44. Yep, 44.

    44 is a recipe that has been passed down to me from my Ukrainian grandparents. It was a favorite holiday drink back in the cold winters of the Ukraine. There, they used their own homemade potato vodka but here any store bought vodka will do.

    The simple recipe is as follows (you'll see why it has the name 44):
    Ingredients *44 sugar cubes *44 coffee beans *1 Bottle of Vodka *4-6 whole oranges

    Pour the vodka into a large container with lid. Add the sugar, coffee beans and oranges. Put the container in a cool place (such as your pantry) and let sit for 44 days.

    After

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  • User post: Point, click, Heimlich

    Last week, I had a terrible scare. My photography/blogging partner and I were having a great day shooting mini photo sessions for 12 families. The gorgeous fall weather and adorable kids made for a photo perfect but hectic day.

    Since it was Veteran's Day, my kids were off of school and I had my twin boys with me. They were my little assistants, hamming it up in order to get their friends to smile for the camera.

    Anyway, midway through the day I decided to run them home to hang out with their older brother. And that is when things got scary.......

    On the drive back, one of my sons started to gag and with a look of panic on his face say, "It's stuck, it's stuck." I mistakenly thought he had a popcorn hull caught in his throat (he had been eating handfuls of cheddar popcorn while at the park) and started to pass him a bottle of Gatorade. But as I did, I asked "What, what is stuck?"

    "A penny," He said with tears forming in his eyes and a look of fear on his face that I

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  • Is Your Child (Or YOU) a Harry Potter Fanatic?

    By Tina Case of Parent Grapevine

    Unless you have been under the "obliviate" spell, which wipes out your memory, you should be aware that we are on heels of the seventh Harry Potter Movie, which opens November 19th. This promises to be an edgier, more gritty, wizard-on-the-run movie than the previous six movies.

    Harry Potter fans the world over have been eagerly anticipating this second-to-last movie. Book seven (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) has been broken down into two parts for the movie, drawing out the final end to one of the most iconic book and movie series of all time.

    The anticipation for my Potter fanatic family is overwhelming. Are your children (or even you) a Harry Potter FANATIC? I've watched through the years as my daughter, who is now in college, devoured the series and acted as a contagion to her younger sisters to become part of the magic. Her generation has been totally captivated by all things Harry Potter. She's even on her college Quidditch

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  • User Post: How To Help Someone With Cancer -- 9 Things You Can Do

    by Tina Case, Parent Grapevine

    When my husband was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer earlier this year, I realized that relatives and friends didn't always know what to say or how to help. While we did have many wonderful friends and relatives who stepped right up and were incredibly amazing in our time of need, a handful of friends never reached out nor acknowledged what we were going through.

    One friend, who we thought was particularly close, never called and even cancelled a prescheduled visit to see us. This really surprised us. And when another friend learned of my husband's situation he asked a few questions but quickly shifted the focus from my husband's condition to his own injury to state that he could completely identify with what we were going through because he just had torn knee replacement. While knee replacement can be a major operation, what we appreciated was his attempt to relate and acknowledge my husband's illness, albeit a bit clumsily.

    Whether

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  • Parenting Guru: The Many Gifts in Life Illuminate When Battling Cancer

    [Editor's note: This month, Shine Parenting Gurus were asked to write about a moment over the last year that they are genuinely thankful for, whether that was a good time with their family, or a more difficult experience that made reflect upon their lives in a new way.]

    by Tina Case, Shine Parenting Guru

    I would never have anticipated that cancer would touch my life as deeply as it has this year. The year started off with a bang, a wallop of a shocker. During the cold and bitter January my husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer. We were totally blindsided by this blanket of cold news; we did not see this coming. He was only 49 years old at the time.

    The winter marked the beginning of our nauseating cancer roller coaster. A major illness is something "other" people go through, it's not something we envision happening to ourselves or our loved ones. However, when it does, that's when a relationship is put to the test. And the surprising thing is it can end up thawing

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  • User post: "Tangled" arrives in theaters! What's your favorite Disney movie?

    November 24th marks the release of Disney's newest animated movie, "Tangled". Based on the beloved Grimm's Fairy Tale otherwise knowns as Rapunzel, "Tangled" takes a new twist and creates an escape adventure between Rapunzel and the kingdom's most wanted bandit, Flynn Rider.

    What makes this animated movie particularly significant is it marks Disney's 50th full-length animated movie. This revelation made me recollect all of the wonderful Disney classics I grew up with, and the many more that my children (and I) watched as they grew up.

    Nowadays, children can anticipate the DVD release about six months after the theater release. On top of being able to rewatch the DVD a thousand times, they are supplemented with video games for every imaginable device, interactive internet books, Saturday morning renditions of the cartoons, and often sequel after sequel.

    But one thing remains the same. The anticipation of a great family movie that everyone can enjoy. Disney's "UP" has to

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  • Facebook to the Rescue: When You Can't Call 911

    by Tina Case of Parentgrapevine

    Every now and then I have a bout of insomnia. Things are swirling in my mind about work. So I lay in bed, and what do I do? I pull out the iPad on my nightstand and read. Or play a game. Or, as I did this morning, I see who's on Facebook at that crazy hour with me.

    It turned out in the wee hours this morning I logged on to Facebook and the very first post I read was from a friend about 40 miles north of my house. Her post read: "If anyone is up, PLEASE call 911 for me! My phone isn't working and I think someone is in my house!!!

    My first instinct was to wonder if this was a scam. You read about these folks that hack into your Facebook account and plea for you to send money. But this was different, it only asked whoever was reading her wall at this crazy hour to get help, NOW!

    I tried to call her home number. The line was busy. So I called 911 on my cell phone which I keep on my nightstand and was connected to her county

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  • User post: When Your Mommy Hobby Takes Over Your Life!

    I am one of those moms who likes to keep busy (as if raising 4 kids wasn't enough) doing something. I am not the type of person who relaxes by watching tv. I prefer to do something creative.

    I've tried knitting (I was in a felting craze 3 years ago), scrapbooking (I started one for my first son and then stopped at age 6--he is now 13), and card-making (oh the money I'd save if I made my own cards--yeah,right!). All of my hobbies fell to the wayside until I found photography.

    Never before have I started something that has consumed most of my days and nights. I know I am not alone. I've seen other moms like me, lurking on photography sites, posting to photography message boards and forums, entering contests, etc. We are a unique breed.


    I realize that I am a bit of a photography addict. Are you one too? Do you have a passion for pixels? Or do the hours fly by while you stamp, knit one pearl two, or die cut? Do any of these signs sound familiar (or do you have variations of the same)?

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  • The Missing Laundry: The College Effect

    By Tina Case of Parent Grapevine

    I saw a comment on a friend's Facebook recently that I immediately understood. She wrote "The laundry is making me sad this morning". Hey, it's not that either of us loves doing the laundry, folding it and putting it away. What's making both of us melancholy is we have our oldest child away at college for the first time and there are many things noticeably different. Including a lighter laundry load. Something's definitely amiss.

    The laundry load is a TON smaller. For years I've been used to having a minimum of one load a day and often two during the diaper years and soccer season. With five people filling up the hamper, it's downright odoriferous in the laundry room. But with my first full month as the parent of a college student, I'm amazed to realize how much one child contributed to the family pile.

    In addition to the lighter laundry load I've also noticed we don't use up milk quite as fast. I used to purchase two gallons of milk a

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  • Parenting Guru: Pumpkin Spice Is In The Air!

    My Three GirlsMy Three GirlsBy Tina Case of Parentgrapevine

    I just brought home a pumpkin pie from my favorite bakery. In our household that signals the start of the autumn season. School may have just started and it is blazing hot outside, but once pumpkin pie shows up at our house, it's autumn.

    The frenetic pace of back-to-school is tempered knowing the holidays are right around the corner. Our family loves this time of year because of the many traditions this season brings. Some day these traditions will be handed down by my daughters once they leave our nest and find their own tree to hang ornaments.

    My husband and I always made a big deal of going to our local pumpkin patch and letting our children select our pumpkin to carve. I take a photo every year of them sitting on a pumpkin and I love seeing the progression from year to year.

    The smell of pumpkin pie, cinnamon and nutmeg spices are overwhelming. It's time to take a break and cut a slice of that pie and top it with whipped cream. That

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