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Archive | November, 2011

Review of Niko’s Restaurant Court St. Binghamton

26 Nov

Niko’s Restaurant on Upper Court Street on Binghamton’s East Side is by far the best diner in the Binghamton area. The diner is divided into two sections; one section is lined with wooden booths, an old fashioned diner counter, the local paper and a television playing local news. It is a relaxed atmosphere where families can dine and chat. The other half of the restaurant features a mirror wall, tables covered with tablecloths and carpeted floors to reduce dining noise. This is where people who prefer a quieter, more intimate diner experience typically eat.

The whole dining experience at Niko’s is phenomenal. The owner, if he is near the door, will greet you with a warm smile. The waitresses are no different. They smile and greet everyone; even my overactive children are greeted openly. If a diner chooses the booth side of the establishment, he seats himself. If the carpeted section is chosen, a waitress will seat the guest.

Once seated, the waitress brings the menus, and the low prices immediately catch the eye. With prices so low, diners may wonder if the quality or quantity of the food is also low. The food and the portions will bring a pleasant surprise to the table.

The portions are large. After eating at Niko’s, everyone feels full. The food quality also raises the bar for Binghamton diners. This is diner food, so there is no fancy steak or over the top pasta dishes, but the food that is served is a higher quality than any other diner in the area.

After eating the meal, visit the dessert corral, where huge pies, cakes and half moon cookies are on display. It will be hard to resist taking home one of these fairly priced, delicious treats after your meal. Again, the portions are more than fair for the price paid for a slice of dessert.

Niko’s makes as much as possible in house, including the desserts and breads. When ordering, ask specifically for Challa bread. If it is not included in the meal, ask for a side of this on-site treat. It is thick, sweet, delicious bread made by the fabulous Niko’s bakers.

Visit Niko’s on the East side in Binghamton NY for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s always worth the trip.

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What To Do With Pets In A House Fire

1 Nov

Our pets are our family. No matter how big or small, the family pet is as important to our daily lives as every other basic comfort. Fortunately for us, we know what to do when we see smoke or hear a fire alarm. Unfortunately for them, they have no idea what these scary occurrences mean. Keep your pet safe and alive by following a few simple tips to keep that essential family member with you for a long time.

1. ADD A PET STICKER TO YOUR HOME

Many fire departments or veterinary offices will issue “Save My Pet” stickers for your front door or window. One of the biggest reasons pets die in fires is because the firefighters are not aware of their presence. Consider an instance when you are not home and a fire starts – you want the rescuers to know about your pet. Some stickers have lines for you to list each type of pet for the rescuers.

2. PET PROOF YOUR HOME

Don’t leave any open flame around a pet. Keep your pet in one room when it sleeps so you know where it will be if you need to leave quickly. Observe your pet when it is scared of things such as thunder to discover where its favorite hiding places are; you will go here first in case of real danger. Your pet will hide rather than follow you. Know where he typically hides. Include your pets in the family escape route – assign an adult to grab the pet on the way out the door and practice the plan at least once a month.

3. CHECK THE SMOKE ALARMS

Check those smoke alarms every time you change the clocks. This makes sense for the humans as well as for the animals. Remember, however, that while the people know what it means when the alarm rings, the animals will not know how to respond. A plan of action may be to watch your pet while you check the batteries in the alarm to see how he reacts. To check the batteries in the alarm, you need to press the test button. This will set off the alarm. Watch your pet to see where he hides when the alarm activates, and note this hiding spot for emergency situations.

4. ASK FOR PET OXYGEN MASKS

Emergency personnel and veterinarians are beginning to realize that carbon monoxide and smoke inhalation is just as deadly to pets as it is to humans, and some organizations are beginning to arm themselves with pet-shaped oxygen masks. Ask if this is possible for your pet during transportation to the veterinarian. The extra oxygen for your pet will increase her chances of survival. If your local fire department does not have pet oxygen masks, start a campaign to help them get the equipment.

The most important part of saving your pet during an emergency is to know your pet and know how he will react to danger. Hold your pet tightly after you leave the home, as he is still scared and his “safe place” is still inside that burning home. His first instinct will be to run back into that burning house to where he thinks he is safe.

If you think it’s okay to just leave the doors open so the pet can leave on its own, please allow the following article to change your mind:

Dog Saves Owner; Dies

For further reading, and for references for this blog:

House Fires and Pets

Bucks County PA: House Fires and Your Pet

Stay At Home Moms: Exercising

1 Nov

It has been proven that exercise makes us happier people. Stay at home moms, however, don’t always have a lot of time to exercise between caring for the kids, cleaning the house and running errands to keep the household in shape. Often, these moms forget about their general well being through the course of caring for everyone else. While exercise may seem unattainable, it is possible for stay at home moms to find the time – and energy – to sneak in an exercise here and there.

If you have little ones in the house, close the curtains and turn on the radio! I was in the best shape of my life when my son was a toddler because he loved to dance, he made everyone dance with him, and he liked to dance forever! We jumped, twisted, turned, and copied the dances of his favorite television characters. I had a workout every day that I stayed home with him. If dancing truly isn’t your thing, put the baby in the stroller and hit the road. Walking with a weighted stroller provides a better workout than walking alone because the arms are working as hard as the legs to push the stroller. The outdoors is great for baby too; if the environment seems too scary for your child, buy a plastic cover for the stroller.

Stroller covers

If dancing and walking just aren’t working for you, search your home. I was stuck in the house one day due to the bitter cold. I desperately wanted to walk, so I took the stairs in our home – up, down, back up then down again. I felt like I had done my regular walk from the comfort of my own home. Follow your child’s lead and do laps around your home at a fast walk or slow jog, or do simple push ups and sit ups. If your children are watching you, they may join or make up their own exercises. Incorporate these exercises into playtime with your child and make it fun for both of you!

Finally, grab a “date” for exercise. A close friend of mine has been walking for almost twenty years because she has a walking partner she does not like to disappoint. After Dad comes home, grab a neighbor or friend and hit the road together. If you have someone else to please, you will be more apt to work out. As women, we are generally eager to please and nurturing souls, so we hate to disappoint. Ask a friend to help you find that extra motivation.

These are only a few motivational points. If you have your own stay at home mom exercise tips, post them here!

The Stay At Home Mom: Being Social

1 Nov

The number of stay at home moms in America fluctuates with the economy. The decision to stay at home and raise the kids rather than go out into the workforce depends on the family income and values. While staying home to raise the kids is a noble move for any mom, it will get lonely quickly. The daytime talk shows and soap operas are fun for a while, but women need interaction!!! There are many avenues to explore to keep yourself social at every stage of your child’s life.

MOMS WITH INFANTS

Moms with infants are often the largest groups who stay at home, failing to socialize due to too many places which are intolerant of moody babies and sleep-deprived, brain frozen mommies. Learning to build a group and socialize with other moms may seem like the lowest priority on the new parent list, but it is among the most important – keeping mommy happy will keep baby happier. Therefore, find a mommy group or start one in your community. The most important aspect of the infant mom meetup groups is that there is a space for moms to care for their infants in privacy if desired, and that all moms are allowed to bring all infants. Find a group through this link, or Google moms groups in your area:

http://moms.meetup.com/

MOMS WITH TODDLERS

As the baby ages and begins to run around without mom’s help, it’s time to hit the outdoors. Again, a mom’s group will help you find social avenues, however, if it was just too much when baby was an infant, take time now to find friends. Go to the playground and strike up a conversation with another mom. Toddlers are incredibly friendly and will find friends on their own, so use this to talk to the mom of your toddler’s new found BFF. Suggest further playdates at the park or lunch at McDonald’s if you seem to get along well with each other.

When the park fails, bring baby to toddler gathering places, such as story time at the library. Arrive ten minutes early and plan to leave ten minutes late, if your toddler will tolerate the extra time. Typically, the library will host toddler activities away from the general public areas, so toddlers and parents will have a few minutes of social time. Other gathering places include indoor play places, book stores who host story times, children’s museums or zoos.

MOMS WITH SCHOOL AGE CHILDREN

The school age may be the easiest age to get involved and find social avenues. Schools always need volunteers. If you aren’t interested in helping with the children, work behind the scenes on committees such as dance committees or school social functions. If this still does not interest you, look in the paper for non-profit organizations which interest you and call to volunteer while the children are at school. Go for walks in your neighborhood or take pictures in the park – often, common interests will bring people together and help you find friends who have the same hobbies.

As always, open your home to family for socializing opportunities. While single friends and working friends may dwindle after children enter the picture, hold on to those who don’t and invite them over for lunch or dinner. Take lunch or coffee to your working friends. Invite over the parents of your kid’s friends – chances are, if your kids get along, you might get along as well. Eventually, as you start to network and follow your child’s lead, you will have a base of friends to keep you social and active.

Special thanks to my stay at home neighbor and friend who gave me some ideas for this blog!

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