a thousand paper cranes

written by tammy

Last week, at a Trim the Tree party, a friend brushed me up on my origami skills and re-taught me how to make paper cranes… for this, I am grateful.

A Holiday Story (within a story within a story)

A few days ago, while watching the news, I was touched by a story of David Heard, a young boy with neuroblastoma, who, inspired by an ancient Japanese legend, started making paper crane mobiles to donate to pediatric cancer centers around the country.

origami crane

The crane has been long revered in Japanese culture as a symbol of devotion and honor.  It is said that a crane can live for a thousand years and when they mate, they mate for life. As the legend goes, whomever folds 1000 paper cranes is granted a wish.

After World War II the story evolved to embrace the theme of world peace through the story of a little girl named Sadako Sasaki, who developed leukemia as a result of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

As it was her wish to live, Sadako spent the days of her illness in bed folding paper cranes in the hopes of fulfilling the legend and being granted her desire by the crane. And while she died before being able to complete the task, her friends and family carried out her last wish, completed the cranes, and buried them with her.

In the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, the Children’s Peace Monument was erected in memory of Sadako and other children who died as a result of the bombing. On the statue there is a plaque which reads, “This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace on Earth.

While you are spending time with your friends and family this holiday season why not start a new tradition, make some cranes and mail them to: The Heard Family at 130 W. Lafayette St. in Easton, PA, 18042 and help make David’s wish a reality.

*   *   *   * some resources  *   *   *   *

There is a wonderful article about David Heard and his inspiring and ambitious project, here.

To learn how to make your own origami cranes you can download instructions, here.

The official Hiroshima peace site has a great kids section for those interested in sharing the story of Sadako with youngsters, here.


homemade dog food

written by tammy

Those who know me personally are often entertained by stories of my troublesome little dog. He wears diapers,  jumps on counter tops, dumps the trash, opens doors, barks at everything and everyone… and is the biggest love in the world. They also know that I cook for my dog.

Since I am often asked about his meals, I thought I would share a simple ‘everyday’ pet food recipe that is healthy, lean and inexpensive. My recipes are rough, so bear with me; just give it a whirl and you’ll see how easy it is.

homemade dog food storage

To start with you will need a large casserole pan with a lid.

  • a pound of ground chicken or turkey. the vet told me to use lean meats, no beef for my breed.
  • bag of frozen mixed veggies: carrots, squash, cauliflower, peas, corn, broccoli, beans, almost anything goes. Please read the label and make sure there are NO ONIONS or added salt in the veggies.
  • 3/4 bag or box of uncooked pasta. I usually use omega3 enriched elbow macaroni, but sometimes I just use what is available at home. This dish was prepared with gluten-free rice pasta, which is also a great alternative.
  • roughly 3 cups of water.

Begin by adding a little oil to the bottom of the pan and browning the ground meat. Once brown, add the entire bag of frozen mixed veggies, dried pasta and water. Stir and then cover with lid. Cook for about 10 minutes on high heat, stir. Lower heat to a simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the water is absorbed and the pasta is tender.

Let stand for 10 or more minutes to cool and then, to break down the pasta and veggies, smash everything together with a hand held potato masher.

gluten free homemade dog food

There are many alternatives to making homemade healthy dog food for your pet, this is just one very simple recipe that works for my household. Of course, frozen veggies can be substituted for fresh, and white rice (not brown, trust me) can be used in lieu of pasta.

The most important thing you can do is speak with your Vet about what constitutes a healthy diet and serving size for your breed, then get on the internet, do a little research about foods that are dangerous for dogs (like onions, grapes, garlic and avacado), and go from there.

Remember, as with any change in your pet’s diet, do so gradually to avoid stomach upset. Mix a little of the old food with a little of the new food and wean them off.


I miss my kids (thebabysitter files)

written by tammy

Since moving to NYC I have either payed the bills or supplemented my income by watching some of the sweetest kids in Brooklyn. Over this past year however, I have taken on other full-time employment. While I still see my kids for the occasional weekend gig/visit, it’s not that often, and I have to say… I really miss them.

This weekend I got to spend some time with a couple of my old regulars. They recently bought the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and since we read the first few books together, they were saving this one for me too. Yes- in one night we read 133 pages, funny voices and all!! Then they surprised me with a little birthday party, complete with cupcakes from One Girl Cookies and handmade gifts. My favorite is the outside of this card:

birthday card goodness

Last week I was asked by super-local blog Brooklyn Based about the best gift I ever received as a nanny (check it out here) and it got me thinking about how fortunate I have been… not for the gifts, but the gratitude. It’s things like this that make my heart glow.

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