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Put the little ones to work and lighten your load (and stress level) with age-appropriate chores.
Put the little ones to work and lighten your load (and stress level) with age-appropriate chores. TNS

Best St. Patrick’s Day craft

Grab the kids to make shamrock cards that are sure to brighten someone’s St. Patrick’s Day.

You will need:

▪ White card stock, cut and folded to make a card

▪ Envelopes that will fit the properly-sized card

▪ Green ink stamp pad

Step-by-step:

1 Visit http://nando.com/zt to see a template and get an idea of where to position the child’s fingers on the folded card stock. You want enough space for your child to stamp his thumbprint eight times in a circle to simulate the shape of a flower.

2 Have your child stamp his or her clean thumb in green ink and press it to the paper in the selected spot.

3 Repeat again with the bottom of the new thumbprint positioned slightly at a right angle to the first print, with the bottoms of the two thumbprints overlapping. Do this pairing three more times, clockwise, as you move to create the circle to simulate a flower.

4 Connect the base of the four paired thumbprints with a lightly sketched “X” running through the middle.

5 Draw a stem down toward the lower part of the paper. For a fancy touch, you can attach a sparkly rhinestone to the center of the flower.

6 Decorate the rest of the card with other drawings or special messages such as, “Happy St. Patrick’s Day!”

7 Address and mail the card to loved ones near and far.

Best one-pot recipe

Nancy DeYoung of Chapel Hill wrote in to share a cool weather recipe for Noodle Stroganoff.

You will need:

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup sliced scallions

1 minced clove of garlic

8 ounces sliced button mushrooms

1 pound lean ground beef

3 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons red wine

1 (10.5-ounce) can undiluted condensed consommé

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 pound noodles

Parsley (optional)

At least 1 cup sour cream

Directions:

Sauté scallions, garlic and mushrooms in butter until light brown.

Add beef and cook, stirring until redness disappears.

Stir in lemon juice, wine, consommé, salt and pepper.

Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

Stir in uncooked noodles and cook, covered, for 10 minutes or until noodles are tender.

Mix in sour cream to taste (1 cup or more) and heat quickly, but do not boil.

Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley.

Best chores for kids

Put the little ones to work and lighten your load (and stress level!) with these age-appropriate chores for kids from the Busy Kids, Happy Mom blog. We’ll list chores for ages 7 and older in next week’s column.

Age 3

▪ Dress self (with help).

▪ Wipe up own spills.

▪ Help set table.

▪ Put dirty clothes in hamper.

Age 4

▪ Help gather laundry.

▪ Dust and clean bookshelves.

▪ Empty wastebaskets.

▪ Help empty dishwasher.

▪ Help bring in groceries.

Age 5

▪ Put clean clothes away neatly.

▪ Leave bathroom clean after use.

▪ Clean toilet.

▪ Feed and water pets.

▪ Know how to make emergency phone calls (911).

▪ Dust low shelves and objects.

▪ Empty bathroom trash.

Age 6

▪ Empty dishwasher and put dishes away.

▪ Wash and dry dishes by hand.

▪ Straighten living and family rooms.

▪ Rake leaves.

▪ Help put groceries away.

See the original at http://nando.com/z-.

Best blog

Spend some time on the Imperfect Homemaking blog http://nando.com/zu and find practical tips on everything from folding fitted sheets (http://nando.com/zv) to creative uses for binder clips (http://nando.com/zw), as well as sewing projects (http://nando.com/zx), and recipe and menu planning (http://nando.com/zy).

We loved a visual post about transforming her white kitchen cabinets into a mix of bright white and teal cabinetry. Check it out at http://nando.com/zz.

Best of the tube

On DIY:

Helping a soldier: Nicole tackles upstairs bedrooms, where old wallpaper and fixtures obscure the beauty of original bird’s-eye maple woodwork. She restores two fireplaces and removes the tacky kitsch from the bathroom. At another house, people line up to see Nicole’s work and raise money for a fallen soldier. “Rehab Addict” airs at 10:30 p.m. Thursday.

Send news and photos to

The News & Observer, P.O. Box 191, Raleigh, N.C. 27602; email topdrawer@newsobserver.com.

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