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Posted on Feb 17, 2016 | 0 comments

Frog Cookies

Frog Cookies

This post is a follow up to A Frog Party and Frog Hats. Just a few tips on making Frog Cookies, from one who has been to the swamp and lived to tell about it.   1) Any old sugar cookie recipe will do, but I used a shortbread recipe because I wanted to and I am the Frog Queen. Add mini chocolate chips to the dough to make it wartier and chocolatier, but harder to get a cookie cutter through. Use the chips or not – it’s up to you. You are a Frog Queen.     2) To get them green, add matcha green tea powder, spirulina, chlorella, or any combination of those. I don’t have an exact combo – I just kept adding until I liked the color (and flavor – those substances have a flavor profile not commonly found at children’s birthday parties or anywhere else one typically eats for pleasure). Note: Use matcha green tea powder: Do not simply rip open matcha green tea bags, thinking you’re clever for saving a few bucks. The leaves aren’t...

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Posted on Dec 9, 2015 | 0 comments

Glitter Emergency!

Glitter Emergency!

  Out of glitter? A common conundrum, I know. It’s right up there with sparkle shortages and fairy dust droughts. If do you happen to find yourself in a glitter emergency, toss some aluminum foil in your cross cut shredder.       That was a close one. Glad I could talk you through it.   It can also make kinda awesome tinsel. Ghetto tinsel. But tinsel.       Happy Winter Crafting! Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Sep 23, 2015 | 2 comments

Protected: It Comes and Goes

Protected: It Comes and Goes

My kid is campaigning to be unschooled. He doesn’t know it, of course. He’s never even been taught what that is. Typical unschooler. I just happen to provide 1) supplies (they are shoved out of the way in drawers and bins, under a bunch of other stuff) and 2) opportunity (I’m in another room contemplating whether walking once a month counts as exercise) and he just does stuff. He taught himself to write, which was alarming but not exactly dangerous (unless you count the spilng). He taught himself to climb on TOP of his outdoor play house. Why? I don’t know. Because it’s there. From there, he hoisted his swing up as high as it could go and still accommodate his tush. Now he needs to climb out the second story window just to reach the swing. <sigh> I don’t think girls do this sort of thing… Finally, he taught himself to stitch. With actual needles. Without my explicit permission. While I was still naively encouraging him to finger knit with nice fat baby yarn,...

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Posted on Aug 11, 2015 | 8 comments

End of Summer

End of Summer

Here’s what we did today to celebrate August, the summer harvest, and the ending of the season. It required a book from many seasons ago. Those cringingly cute craft books you see for 20 cents at yard sales or used book stores (or when Nana cleans out her garage)? Go ahead and pick one up – you never know.   Instructions: 1) Assemble materials. 2) Painfully drag kids through making one object each. 3) Do the rest yourself.     This is a fairly intricate project for 4 and 6-year-olds. Mine kept up fairly well with the tracing, pooped out on the cutting, and revved back up for select gluing, painting and stuffing. Be forewarned. Even with all the hand holding, it was worth the afternoon, I think. I finally got something that celebrates the end of summer up on our seasonal banner. (Click here to see the original banner that turned into a holiday and seasonal tradition.) And it led to a sunny late summer evening outside, painting other items from...

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Posted on Aug 4, 2015 | 0 comments

Nerd Alert

Nerd Alert

Do other six-year-olds make To Do Lists? It should be noted that this one doesn’t read yet. Or write anything else but his name. His name and To Do lists. Yep. That’s normal, right? I’m not sure if I should be worried or really super excited. I’m a bit of a hyper-organized person myself in the most gleeful, “LOOK, 20 different colored Post-Its!” kind of way. I see office supplies and my mind starts racing with ways to employ them to make my life even more colorfully efficient. I just bought this insanely large calendar on which to record everything that it’s possible to plan. I refuse to mount it to a wall because I anticipate walking around the house with it – skipping, probably – and dry-erasing to my heart’s content where ever I am…the couch, the dining room table, the pool raft… Just thinking about it makes me happy. Something tells me I’ve either ruined my child, or discovered my soul mate. Here’s the translation: -Get ice, get...

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Posted on Jun 6, 2015 | 3 comments

Things I Learned at the Mall

Things I Learned at the Mall

It’s a good idea to visit your city’s biggest mall more than a couple times a decade if, for nothing else, than to miss out on that feeling that you’ve been missing out. I used to love to shop. In particular, I wanted to be in the center of the action, where the biggest stores with the most delectable selection were located. Don’t give me a rinky-dink suburban branch; I want the flagship store or nada. I want choices! Then, I had babies, they never stopped crying – ever, the world shuddered on its axis, and never settled down the same way again. My mall days were over. I was forced back to my former stomping ground today because, well, I stomped on my sunglasses. I cannot exist without sunglasses. I, however, do not have a sunglasses face: It takes several professionals with hundreds of styles at their fingertips to match one pair to my oddly-shaped head. Thus, no internet, no tiny store with ten styles would do. It was off to...

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Posted on Apr 22, 2015 | 0 comments

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day or not, my kid wants to be in the dirt. Specifically, planting in it. Or weeding it. Or hoeing/raking/shoveling it. Gardening it! He loves it so much, it was his birthday party theme for two years. Where he gets this passion for gardening, I have no idea because it is the polar opposite of anything I would ever volunteer to do. I love to be outside but preferably resting my feet on some warm terracotta hardscape, a cold beverage in my right hand and a Bill Bryson book in my left. For one thing, I cannot STAND bugs. I hate them. HATE them! The way they skitter so fast, and they can hide out and surprise you at any second, even in your sleep and….crawl on you. I would not do well in any other part of the country, I think. The worst thing I ever came across in my entire childhood at the beach was ants. No big whoop. Then, I moved to the wild suburbs and discovered: 1)...

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Posted on Apr 16, 2015 | 1 comment

Farmstand Party

Farmstand Party

  My most popular Pinterest pin by a factor of like ten million is A Frog Party. It’s just a little old post telling about a party I threw for my kiddo and lamenting the availability of frog-themed party supplies and how to make them yourself. A few months after that party, I threw an even more ambitious Farmstand Party. I was so thoroughly exhausted from these two endeavors that I have only just now mustered up the energy to do a post about it. (Oh, yes, holidays, house guests and going out of town the morning after the party had something to do with it, but that’s life in the Mom lane!) However, the Farmstand Party was quite an event and I know you’ll want to see it. So, this is for YOU, Pinterest People. Just for you (cause I’m pretty sure my regular readers will glaze over at the level of detail on this one. But I get it: I get you!!) Party on!     First, invitations. Some bossy person...

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Posted on Apr 16, 2015 | 0 comments

You Win Some.

You Win Some.

A cheering little conversation between my four-year-old son and me (which I really needed today!).   Son: I’m a teacher today. And an elf. Me: A teacher and an elf? (rhetorically) What could be better? Son: (thinks for a moment, suddenly points his finger at me) A mom!   Lesson: Even on your worst day as a teacher, or an elf, you’re still the best mom to somebody.   Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Apr 15, 2015 | 0 comments

Protected: Bad Patient!

Protected: Bad Patient!

My children are sick. My male children are sick. My male, boyish, childish children are sick. Heaven help me. One of these boy children is particularly unskilled at enduring sickness with any shred of grace or tolerance. He spends his entire illness in a mild state of panic with a sneaking suspicion that the world is ending. As any spouse of a grown up male can tell you, practicing illness-induced panic throughout childhood generally makes perfect. Men are not usually the best patients. Oddly, my own male husband, Cute Banker, is pretty good at it. But he’s in the minority, and his genes did not get passed down. Heaven help us. My darling boy woke me up four times last night to tell me he was going to throw up. Wasn’t that thoughtful of him to include me in his plans? When I finally got back into a deep sleep, just as the sky was beginning to lighten, he engaged me in an argument! His thoughtfulness knows no bounds! I was in the top bunk (don’t ask) and...

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Posted on Mar 16, 2015 | 0 comments

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

May your joys be as deep as the oceans Your troubles as light as its foam And may you find sweet peace of mind Wherever you may roam ~Irish Blessing ~Non-Irish Blessings   Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Mar 4, 2015 | 0 comments

Jurassic Appetite

Jurassic Appetite

I’m a little scared for my future food budget. Dinner time was short tonight, so I opened the pantry and freezer. TWO boxes of mac and cheese, a WHOLE package of hot dogs and an ENTIRE bag of frozen broccoli later, plus several tangerines EACH, and the crew was finally satisfied. I feel like Dr. Ian in the car when the water starts vibrating in concentric circles. Boom. Boom. Boom. (Those of you born before 1993 will know what I’m talking about.) It. Is. Coming…   A teenage dinosaur food bill! EEEEEEK!     Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Mar 1, 2015 | 0 comments

March Homeschool Themes

March Homeschool Themes

This month in kindergarten, we are learning about spring, St. Patrick, shamrocks, the number three, green, emeralds and gold, rainbows, the letters P, R, S and T, sheep/wool, potatoes, Ireland, and the wind. Here’s a drawing of all our themes of the month. (See if you can spot all the 3s and the letters!) This month’s yoga pose is Cloud pose. We lie on our backs, imagining a puffy cloud bed. As the days go by, we add components: Breathe in and out and become the “wind.” Tense our muscles as hard as we can, one by one, then relax, becoming soft as a cloud. Carrying over last month’s “water/rain” theme, imagining our cloud is dropping raindrops down to earth. We talk about the part clouds and air play in the water cycle. We continue to do art, sing songs, go on nature hikes looking for things in the shapes of the letters of the week, tell stories (leprechauns, luck, and spring time), cook (Irish Soda Bread, green tea shamrock shakes, potato...

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Posted on Feb 20, 2015 | 0 comments

Winter Glow: Homemade Orange Candles

Winter Glow: Homemade Orange Candles

Did you know you can make your own candles right now? Out of two ingredients you already have at home? This is a strikingly impressive project and just as easy.   If you’ve got oranges and olive oil, you’re in business.   If you want to get fancy, you can cut some shapes out of the tops, or stick in some cloves.   But that’s totally optional. I only added those steps so my kids would have something to do.   The rest of it pretty much just involves cutting an orange out of its peel. You know, Big Person Work.   Cut the oranges across the middle. They don’t need to be exactly in half. They should sit flat after they’re cut. Put them on the table first to get an idea of where to cut so they will sit straight. Then, scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Make sure the pith in the center of the orange stays attached to the bottom. That will be your wick. It’s really...

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Posted on Feb 13, 2015 | 4 comments

Be Still, My Heart

Be Still, My Heart

I’ve been keeping a secret from you. I am a…homeschooling mom! I know, I know, I KNOW. What kind of oddball hippie rebel in a hand-sewn dress am I??? Well, I can tell you that only one of those adjectives applies to me (and I’ll let you guess which one – it probably varies, depending on who YOU are!). I began this vast undertaking recently and, as you might imagine, I am fairly overwhelmed with the fantastic possibilities and the myriad opportunities, as well as the enormous pressure to do well by my children. I want to live up to their potential. They deserve a great teacher! How’s it going? So Far, So Okay. I jumped into these waters entirely unprepared. We officially made the call on a Sunday night, and on Monday morning, we were homeschooling. Talk about having NO idea how I wanted to do things, much less having any formal curriculum prepared. What I do have going for me is that I’ve done a project or two with these...

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Posted on Jan 30, 2015 | 1 comment

It’s the Big Little Things

It’s the Big Little Things

That moment, after four weeks of illness – and five years of parenthood – when you finally fall into a deep sleep…and you are awoken by an ice pack (otherwise known as a little boy hand) on your inner arm. Through your earplugs of denial, you begin to hear your smallest child yelling from the bathroom and crying for you to wipe him.   It may not be the most important thing anybody does today, but it’s pretty up there to at least one person in this world.   And, thank God, because there’s not much else worth being dragged from sleep, precious sleep. Precious, elusive, fickle, dirty bastard, betraying, why are you never there for me when I need you?!?!? sleep. Ahem. Sorry, I’m a little tired.     Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new...

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Posted on Sep 2, 2014 | 1 comment

Six Surprising Things I Learned on My Child’s First Day of Kindergarten

Six Surprising Things I Learned on My Child’s First Day of Kindergarten

My sweet, tiny infant has gone and done it. He’s grown up! He’s a full-fledged school boy now, aged 5 1/3. Since he’s been with me from the second of his conception, I was a wee bit worried how he was going to handle leaving home and going to school. Okay, I was frantic to the point of crazy eyes and a nervous tick how I was going to handle it.   Here are six surprising things I learned, on my son’s first day of school. Ever.     1) It IS a good idea to make pancakes in the complicated shape of Mickey Mouse (with blueberries for eyes, please!) on the busy, bustling, all-important First Day of Kindergarten, no matter what any reasonable person says about cereal.   2) It is a good idea to get up 15 minutes earlier than you think you should, in order to accomplish #1 above. It is also a fair plan to serve each person ONE Mickey Mouse pancake and all further helpings will be in...

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Posted on Mar 1, 2014 | 1 comment

I Don’t Have Pants!

I Don’t Have Pants!

“What do you want to do when you get big?” Daddy talks to the kids about some different jobs that can be fun and enjoyable, as well as providing income.   Daddy suggests, “Studying animals that live in the sea…” Our son pipes up, “That’s a marine biologist-biologist.”   Daddy, mildly taken aback, continues, “Studying dinosaurs…” Son adds, “A paleontologist.”   Daddy presses on, “Studying volcanoes…” Son patiently says, “A volcanologist.”   We realize the kid’s really been dumbing it down for poor old Dad.   In the middle of this tennis game of multi-syllabic words involving suffixes like “ist” from one of our sons, we notice it is being punctuated by a happy little voice in the background enthusing: “I don’t have pants!” Yin and yang.     Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to...

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Posted on Feb 27, 2014 | 3 comments

A Storm Is A-Comin! Rainy Day Art

A Storm Is A-Comin! Rainy Day Art

Happy Rainy Weekend, Southern California!   Yes, that is a sentence worthy of All Caps.   We’re having our second rain storm of the winter. Normally we’d be on our fourth or fifth. And, by “rain storm,” of course I mean 1/4″ of light showers.   But, still, it is a reason to celebrate. And a reason to do rainy day art projects!   This artsy little umbrella is decidedly NOT within my normal parameters of easy/fast/ridiculously simple. But, I saw it on Pinterest (naturally), and just HAD to do it. Something about those glistening rain drops charmed me to such a degree I had to have some for my very own. (Kids are such a great excuse to extend one’s own childhood, aren’t they?)   Thanks to Mama Jen for the idea. Click on her site for step-by-step pictures. Mama Jen is a scissors savant or something because she just freehanded the umbrellas. I took an hour and lots of equipment to get these. I penciled out some rough pictures of...

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Posted on Feb 14, 2014 | 1 comment

Be Mine!

Be Mine!

      Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Feb 8, 2014 | 1 comment

Don’t Put Crayons In Your Ears

Don’t Put Crayons In Your Ears

  I notice my smallest child is putting crayons in his ears. It’s an activity not all that unusual for these parts but, in the spirit of Responsible Parenting, I dust off my most impressive lecture on the subject.       Me:  You boys know not to put anything into any of the holes in your body right? ONLY food goes into ONLY your mouth and that’s it. Yes? SmartyPants Oldest Child (patiently):  Well, Mommy? Sound goes in your ears. And light goes into your eyes! And oxygen goes in your nose. So food isn’t the only thing that goes in. Me:  Uh, yeah, I guess you have a point. I notice the “scribble” Oldest Child has made. It turns out to be a map of a triassic ocean and three parking lots.   Mental note: Have the four-year-old babysit the three-year-old. The baby will certainly receive wiser counsel from his big brother than from anyone else. Or, say, me. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in...

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Posted on Feb 6, 2014 | 2 comments

Bad Day

Bad Day

Sometimes, you have a bad day. A really, really, really bad day. Then, as it begins to wind to a close and you think you can probably make it through, your child decides to unpack the groceries for you and stack them like Legos. Only, groceries don’t lock together like Legos. So the big bottle of red sauce for tonight’s dinner breaks and splatters over all four kitchen walls. And the child. And into the crevices of the new cat door. And down under the door into the unfinished cement of the garage. Did you know an unfinished garage is really rough and pitted and pretty near impossible to clean without a high pressure hose of some kind? Well, it is. It’s also a good place to have a good cry. Ever have one of those days? Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in...

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Posted on Feb 3, 2014 | 0 comments

Pan Cookies – The Easiest Cookies Ever

Pan Cookies – The Easiest Cookies Ever

The appeal of these sweet babies lies in their utter ease to assemble. They are basically soft cookies, without the most tedious part: scooping uniformly-sized balls and placing them evenly around a baking pan. Yawn.     With this recipe, just six essential ingredients, and a pan, you can have truly yummy treats in 25 minutes flat. I can’t imagine a more kid-friendly recipe but I had fun sneaking off to the kitchen by myself and surprising the kids with the results in the time it took them to completely destroy my living room (which is not as long as you might think).   I especially like that this recipe doesn’t require milk, which I always seem to be out of. The idea was inspired The Pioneer Woman, that crafty lady. She’s always up to something interesting. I started with the PW, then veered way off. Whole-wheat-off. (Some might just say “off.”) But I am not afraid of dark foods! I used spirulina in my son’s birthday frog cookies, for...

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Posted on Jan 26, 2014 | 4 comments

Happy Anniversary, Cute Banker!

Happy Anniversary, Cute Banker!

In reviewing our anniversary pictures, one thing is clear: we have to celebrate them a little more regularly! We have a picture of our first, second and third. Then, it kinda stops.   Granted, baby number two was born six days before our Fourth Anniversary. I honestly cannot recall even the shadiest memory of that one.   This isn’t as lame as it may look: you will remember it was my exuberant take-down of three hot dogs at one party that got Cute Banker’s attention in the first place. And we did pair them with martinis!   We did go out this year (although we forgot to take pictures!), to one of our favorite spots in life, and also discovered a new favorite. We kept it low-key, on budget, and simple. It was one of the best evenings we’ve had in a long, long time. It makes a difference to your life in general when you date your spouse. Keep dating, people!   Cute Banker is just as fun (and cute!) as he...

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Posted on Jan 25, 2014 | 1 comment

A Frog Party

A Frog Party

[To see my Farmer Party, click here!] A frog party! A big frog party! Sorry, Dr. Seuss. I couldn’t help myself.   THEME Frogs were the animal of the year around here. My kiddo chose them for his birthday party. Again! What I discovered is that he is pretty much the only kid in the world to do so. They just don’t have a lot of frog stuff out there…Michaels, Party City, and general toy stores mostly came up empty. Then, as with so many things in life, once I forgot about the blessed things for a minute, they came to me. On a random trip to Wal-Mart, I happened to see some froggy bath toys.   I had absolutely NO use for them, which is usually my cue to put them right back on the shelf and walk away. But, for some inexplicable reason, I was drawn to them. That’s one thing I’ve learned in my impressive body of shopping experience: if you feel an undeniable pull toward something,...

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Posted on Jan 25, 2014 | 0 comments

Frog Hats

Frog Hats

These frog hats are affordable, foolproof and fast. They were the hit of my son’s recent Frog Party. They can be your favors, or your place settings if you write names on them, or even a craft for the kids to do at the party (if you do that, use tape so you don’t have to wait for glue to dry). Here are the instructions: Get some foam sheets at Michaels ($.29 each). Cut them into strips about 2 1/2 inches wide. I drew a line to follow and my 4-year-old cut them out. Punch a hole in the ends about an inch in from the edge. Push a pipe cleaner through each hole (you may have to trim them down – I cut mine in half) and fold the end back to create a hook. Press it down to secure it. Now you’ve got an adjustable headband.   Draw out some circles (or just free hand them) about 1 3/4 inches in diameter. That’s just a guideline measurement...

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Posted on Jan 24, 2014 | 0 comments

Enchiritos and Chimiladas (Dinner!)

Enchiritos and Chimiladas (Dinner!)

I was going to call this recipe “Deconstructed Enchiladas” but I didn’t think I have quite earned the right to use the word “deconstructed” in my recipes yet – at least not this one. This is weeknight fare. Throw it in a pan, heat it up, and spoon it into your mouth kind of stuff. Although it’s not sophisticated, some of the most satisfying food is like that (at least for me and Cute Banker – my kids are the only people on planet earth who dislike other classic, easy comfort foods like mashed potatoes and spaghetti – weirdos. But they do like enchiritos!). This dish shares a name with an old Taco Bell dish but the only thing it has in common with that one is that it’s about as un-Mexican as Taco Bell is. But, it does have a bunch of virtues essential to a weeknight dinner. For example: 1) Hot. A salad – no matter how many beans and nuts are in it – is not...

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Posted on Jan 19, 2014 | 1 comment

No Longer a Tadpole

No Longer a Tadpole

Kittens and frogs are so 2013. This year, my child’s big obsession is, well, just the frogs. I’m not sure if this shows a lack of imagination in a two-year-old, or just focus. Yeah, let’s go with that one. His birthday is coming up. He only has minutes before he turns three. To me, that’s when babyhood officially ends. Threes are pretty much talking and they have some measure of independence. Competent independence, that is. I mean, this kid has always liked (forcefully demanded) to do things on his own. But, at this point, he can pretty much do them. Change his clothes, wash his hands, clear his dishes when the mood strikes. To me, he is two, and he will be two until the wee hours of his actual birthday. Then, I will officially be the mother of two preschoolers. No more babies. Time to move out the strollers and high chair, and move in the bikes and soccer nets. As for me, it’s goodbye nursing pads and...

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Posted on Dec 31, 2013 | 3 comments

Where There’s a Party Hat, There’s a Party!

Where There’s a Party Hat, There’s a Party!

I am not remotely crafty. In fact, I’ve always kind of hated that word, the same way I kind of hate the word “journal” as a verb. I do not “journal” and I certainly do not “craft.” At least, I thought I didn’t craft (and, if you bring up blogging as journaling, well, I don’t want to talk about that right now). What I have noticed lately is that I am inclined toward artsy (as opposed to crafty) projects with my kids. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that art therapy is a thing, and that my artistic ambitions started after I had small, loud people join my household. As I sit there, drawing, cutting, tying, painting, taping, re-taping…my mind can wander somewhat. It always snaps back, as very small children don’t need much therapy, but they do seem to need a lot of intervention. Especially where scissors and paint are involved. The artistic results are not always expected, but they lead to lots of lessons like “make the...

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Posted on Dec 30, 2013 | 1 comment

Christmas Toys Bring After-Christmas Joys

Christmas Toys Bring After-Christmas Joys

That happy week between Christmas and New Year’s. When the merry pressure has escaped and emotions settle. When new toys are there, ready to channel young energy and restore balance. This is Mom’s favorite toy of the year. (The kids are crazy about it, too). It’s one puzzle made of four individual stacking toys. Separately, they are the four elements: air, water, fire, and earth. Can you see them?   This is made from the fire element.   It’s from an amazing company called Grimm’s. Visit their website to see their entire line and get ideas for building, but they don’t sell directly to the public. If you decide to buy, Amazon has many of the products at a good price. You can probably also find them at your local Waldorf school or store. It’s wooden, beautiful, strong, and limitless in the ways it can be used. This is made from the water element.   It can be arranged into a puzzle, stacked into the elemental shapes, or sculpted far beyond...

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Posted on Dec 19, 2013 | 2 comments

Whole Spice Ornaments

Whole Spice Ornaments

As you may remember, I received a jar of mulling spices for Christmas last year. I never did mull a darn thing, but I did make Hot Chai Cereal several times for my kids, to much delight (theirs) and surprise (mine). Spices don’t last long, so when I came across this inventive way to use them up, I jumped on it. It combines my favorite things: seasonal crafts that yield a product you actually want to use, fun things to do with my kids, and yummy smelling stuff. So, we made spice ornaments! As per usual, I did not create this idea. I cannot claim creativity in the artistic arena. You want a closet organized, a desk sorted, a multi-page spreadsheet formatted? Yeah, I’m your girl. Art?? Not so much. So, I turned to What To Do At Home With The Kids. It turns out, spices aren’t just for eating.     First, I sorted out the biggest spices for the kids to decorate with. If you are doing...

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Posted on Dec 15, 2013 | 3 comments

Fantasy Football: The Advent Calendar Goes Deep

Fantasy Football: The Advent Calendar Goes Deep

December 1st is a big day around here. It’s the first day of Advent, and it’s the first day of the Advent calendar with its 24 days of teensy tiny gifts. I got the calendar last year, against my will. It practically jumped into my cart! Click here if you want to see it, in all it’s evil, magical glory. It has turned out to be the best impulse buy, ever. The whole family loves it. It is a challenge to fill all those itty, bitty, teeny, tiny little slots. All 24 of them. I’ve got elves on the situation, all over town. If they happen to see a goody smaller than a pack of dental floss, they are to pick it up immediately. There are still nine days of Advent, but I’ve only got five treats left, so if you come across any, you are likewise required to snatch it up and forward it this way. Kay? Hey, it takes a Santa’s Village to get through Christmas, people. Most...

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Posted on Nov 22, 2013 | 0 comments

Switch Witch Switch: Chocolate Dipped Hazelnut Marbles

Switch Witch Switch: Chocolate Dipped Hazelnut Marbles

I was dreading this project. It’s real name is Billes de Noisettes au Chocolat, for God’s sake. It was the one thing in the entire world my kids asked to make, in exchange for surrendering their junky Halloween candy this year. I procrastinated, avoided, considered “forgetting,” and all-in-all just about gave up because I just didn’t wanna. Yet, I felt compelled to give my kids their first choice treat, since I was snatching the candy from their hands and disabusing them of the sweet Switch Witch story, all in one fell Halloween. (Actually, they were surprisingly game for the new plan). But I still didn’t wanna. I could not have been more wrong! This is the perfect activity for kids. Few ingredients, few steps, lots of hands-on mashing and poking of stuff, and hardly any actual cooking.   The recipe comes from the book Chocolate & Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen, by the sparkling food blogger, Clotilde Dusoulier. First, you grind up a bunch of hazelnuts with some...

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Posted on Nov 13, 2013 | 0 comments

Thanksgiving Gratitude Cards with Turkeys, from Your Little Turkeys

Thanksgiving Gratitude Cards with Turkeys, from Your Little Turkeys

You know what? Thank God for the internet. I don’t know how people who care for preschoolers used to get out of bed in the morning without solid plans of how to keep them occupied all day. (Yes I do: the kids jumped on their heads until they decided getting out of bed was easier than staying in. Toddler enthusiasm: life’s timeless alarm clock). Preschool kids are tough! They require constant attention and diversion, unless you like your toilet bowl becoming a lake for your lipstick “boats,” which I’m guessing you don’t. These days, all you need to do is pull up Pinterest or Bloglovin’, type in some random search words that contain the word “craft,” and, BOOM, you’ve got nine thousand ideas of what to do with your kids today. Take No Time For Flashcards, one of my favorite sites. They’ve got a myriad of Thanksgiving projects and twelve Turkey-related crafts right up front. My project is an adaption of this one. As I selected ideas from this crafty little list,...

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Posted on Nov 5, 2013 | 3 comments

Good Morning, World! (When Your Toddler Pees in Public)

Good Morning, World! (When Your Toddler Pees in Public)

Our whole family went to the doctor’s office this morning. That fact alone will tell you two things: 1) It was a chaotic morning getting everybody into relatively acceptable condition to be seen in public, and 1a) I probably forgot something.   We finally get ourselves there, and the boys are playing in the kids’ area of the lobby. I’m taking this opportunity to catch up with my Facebook peeps (What’s up, Peeps!) when I notice our little guy issuing directives like, “You can only have the green ones!” to some stranger child. Cute Banker tries to mediate from across the packed and painfully quiet lobby. I nudge him over a little closer to our child, which helps, but the rest of us can still follow every word of the interaction. From this awkward arrangement flows the following monologue from Cute Banker: “He wants more than green ones, buddy. Can you choose another color to share with this little boy? Addison, that sure is a cute boy’s name. No, that...

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Posted on Nov 3, 2013 | 1 comment

Bobbing For Apples

Bobbing For Apples

So, we missed going Apple Picking this year. That is why they make grocery stores.   The boys have a cute book called Let It Fall that shows kids bobbing for apples.   They have become obsessed with this concept.   This morning, we had our own Bobbing for Apples Party.   I think it was the party of the season. ~Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links to products I own my very own self. If you purchase anything from a link on this page, I may earn a few cents, at no additional cost to you. Thanks for the support! Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Oct 31, 2013 | 0 comments

The Switch Witch Bows Out

The Switch Witch Bows Out

I’m one of those annoying parents who feels conflicted telling stories to my children about Santa Claus and the Switch Witch. Actually, that’s not true at all. I love telling stories (even though I’m fairly horrendous at it), and keeping those wonderful holiday figures in that context. It’s when my tiny children start to believe me when I tell them these strangers actually will be sneaking into our homes while we sleep and leaving, or taking, our belongings, that it gets a little weird. I work hard to find a balance between precious childhood fantasy and truth and trust. Still, I needed a way to deal with all the toxic, poisonous crap that Halloween leaves little bodies to deal with. Do not get me wrong; I will cross a path of ravenous alligators (i.e., the candy aisle at Rite Aid) for a Butterfinger. Or an Oreo. Or a Frito. I have a deep affection for candy, donuts, chocolate croissants… Just, in small, manageable doses. And, I realized I had the...

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Posted on Oct 29, 2013 | 0 comments

Hangin Wit My Halloween Homies

Hangin Wit My Halloween Homies

Part of Cute Banker’s costume.   A chip off the old block!   But with more hair. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Oct 28, 2013 | 6 comments

Desert Dreaming in Anza-Borrego State Park

Desert Dreaming in Anza-Borrego State Park

When I was in my late twenties, in the prime of my fabulous single life, I lived with my grandmother. Oddly, it could not have been a better match. I would get all gussied up to head out with my girlfriends and she would size up my questionable outfit and say, simply, “Flirt with the boys.” (Whether she was merely a sweet, wise woman, or just desperate to marry me off, I’ll never know).   Soon enough, my fun-loving grandmother became one of my favorite girlfriends, herself. We would have drinks on the patio together, go out for nice dinners, enjoy season tickets to local theater, and have our morning coffee watching the news shows before I headed out to work each day. It’s one of the most cherished chapters of my life, as I have fondly described before. One of our favorite things to do together was travel. We visited family in England, Arizona, and my grandma’s hometown in Ohio where she showed me all the highlights of...

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Posted on Oct 26, 2013 | 0 comments

Pumpkin Patch Kids

Pumpkin Patch Kids

A good time was had by all (in spite of some of the facial expressions seen here).   We almost didn’t make it this year. Last year’s fall activities were epic, and a lot to live up to. (Here’s a recipe for Sweetly Spiced Pumpkin Seeds, from that memorable year). This year, the days are just tripping over themselves disappearing. But, if one tradition continues, this is the one to choose. Sliding down Cottonseed Mountain never gets old. Even for the old folks (picture not included).   This is the “cat who ate the mouse” face. He was diving head first, and even surfing standing up, and pretty durn proud of his new moves.   Whatever it takes, man.   This tram was painted orange and shuttled people to a distant parking lot. We called it The Pumpkin Train and jumped on (never mind that our car was right in front). It was late and the driver may have been a little tired because he did a bunch of...

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Posted on Oct 19, 2013 | 0 comments

Road Trip Essentials

Road Trip Essentials

Our upcoming road trip and vacay with the kids is a perfect excuse to buy all those things in bags and boxes that I normally sternly instruct myself to walk away from. Let the wild times roll! Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Oct 18, 2013 | 0 comments

Kids Playhouse / The Great Hope

Kids Playhouse / The Great Hope

  So, my kids got this.   It’s kind of awesome. And, it was practically free at an estate sale. Okay, it was totally free to us (thanks, family!).   And, we got a little help setting it up (thanks, family!).   Let’s pause now and remember why we call him Cute Banker. Ahh.   Now, where was I? Oh, yes. The kids helped, too.   Naturally, I took 167 pictures. (This would be the day I never changed them out of jammies. Not even matching ones). The kids call it “the cabin.” I call it Sweet Hope. I hope this playhouse can entertain my little be-jammied friends and help me with my daily goals like “Wash Clothes So Some of Them Match Once In a While.” Sweet Hope Cabin has been up a week and my kids are certainly playing outside – without me – more than ever before (which is to say, a little bit). I may soon be able to post all the things I want to tell...

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Posted on Oct 10, 2013 | 5 comments

Halloween Cupcakes

Halloween Cupcakes

I succumbed to this enticing, round, multi-compartment shaker of happiness.     At Target, naturally. I didn’t even go there for this. I was on my way to the garden section.     Target and sprinkles: They always get me!!     I used Nigella’s fairy cake and icing recipes from How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking. (You must pronounce it go-DESS, as Nigella does).     I’m clearly not quite ready for go-DESS status yet, because I totally screwed up the cupcakes. I dumped a bowl of powdered sugar into the batter, thinking it was the flour. (They look alike!) I tried to scoop it out without dumping the batter out too. It was a mess. They turned out really dry, but here’s the good part: I layered so much of this ooey, gooey, sweetly salty, life-changing icing onto them that nobody cared. In fact, it was a great excuse to do so. I can never get enough of this icing and...

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Posted on Sep 19, 2013 | 0 comments

Easiest Roast Chicken Ever

Easiest Roast Chicken Ever

Easiest Roast Chicken Ever   Print Prep time 10 mins Cook time 45 mins Total time 55 mins   Crispy, golden, comforting chicken. Author: Sand and Table Recipe type: Main Course Cuisine: Americana Serves: 4-6 Ingredients 8 chicken thighs 2 tablespoons bacon fat 1 tablespoon Santa Maria seasoning Instructions Preheat oven to 425. Set your chicken on a paper towel, on a plate. Cover with another paper towel and press lightly onto the tops of the chicken pieces. Melt bacon fat in your roasting pan or a large cast iron skillet, over medium-low heat. Trim excess fat off chicken, if any. Put chicken in your pan. Turn it in the warm bacon fat. Sprinkle Santa Maria seasoning over all sides of the chicken. Put skin side down. Roast for 20-25 minutes and turn over. Roast another 20-25 minutes, until the skin is as brown as you like. (Don't go past 50 minutes total cooking time). Remove from pan. Cover loosely with foil to rest for 10 minutes. Crunch away!...

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Posted on Sep 5, 2013 | 0 comments

Button Wreaths: What To Do With All Those Extra Buttons You’re Saving For No Good Reason!

Button Wreaths: What To Do With All Those Extra Buttons You’re Saving For No Good Reason!

Admit it: you’ve got a stash of extra buttons. (If you don’t, just pretend like you do so I feel better). They may be stuffed here and there, lost to the recesses of your closet, or they may be neatly contained in a beautiful jar labeled in a color complimentary to your bedroom decor. Either way, you can’t get rid of them. It matters not that you don’t own thread. Or a needle. You just know for certain you will need one of these buttons, someday. Then, when you lose a button (once a decade), you don’t remember you even have an extra one. You make due without the button, have your dry cleaner sew on a new one, or discard the garment. It was time for a new shirt anyway. Your stash is disproportionately large to the number of clothes in your closet. You’ve got buttons from 1983. You’ve got buttons to clothes you donated years ago, and you’ve got buttons you have absolutely no idea what garment...

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Posted on Aug 24, 2013 | 0 comments

My Favorite Podcasts, Part 4: Podcasts About Parenting

My Favorite Podcasts, Part 4: Podcasts About Parenting

If you’re just joining us, this is my fourth post in a series called My Favorite Podcasts. You may be interested in Podcasts About Food (Parts One and Two), and Podcasts About Language too! These are two of my favorite Podcasts About Parenting.     Plug them in while you’re doing your recommended 30-minutes of cardio a day and you’ll return centered and focused for the rest of the day.  Well, at least until your kids derail you. But you’ll feel so refreshed, you’ll be able to handle it.   1) Aha! Parenting This lady can always bring me back from the edge of the parenting cliff. Dr. Laura Markham calmly lets the air out of my brewing temper tantrum (why do everyone else’s kids take naps but mine doesn’t?? It’s not FAIR!!! Ahem.). I like her because she thinks my kids (all kids) are great and treats them like the human beings I know they are capable of being (as opposed to, say, wild monkeys, which they sometimes appear to...

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Posted on Aug 3, 2013 | 2 comments

Boys of Summer: Mud Buddies

Boys of Summer: Mud Buddies

This is what happens when you empower your 4-year-old to use the hose at his discretion. To wash a nectarine, to water a plant…to flood the foundation of the house – you know, the simple joys of boyhood.   “Come on in, the mud’s fine!”   Oh yes, this one participated too.   We got these little naturalists an actual water table (a table designed to hold water) and we even sanctioned mud in it. But it just sits there. Empty.   It’s so much better when you can actually be the mud. Happy summer, my little boys. KIT. Stay cool. See ya next year. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Jul 31, 2013 | 0 comments

Anytime Strawberry Shake

Anytime Strawberry Shake

UPDATE: I tried this with one cup of coconut milk and one cup of coconut water (instead of half & half and yogurt) for a non-dairy version, and it worked! This is an “anytime” strawberry shake because it calls for frozen strawberries, which you can get any time of year. And also because it’s so fast, you can make one any time you get a craving for cold, creamy sweetness. My son requested dessert one day, and he specifically wanted strawberries and milk. Not having fresh strawberries, I came up with this.   The frozen berries provide all the thick icyness you need, so adding ice cream isn’t necessary. Just use some full fat dairy, and you’ve got your creamy component. You can also substitute whole milk for the half and half. It will be just as delicious, but thinner. Instead of a strawberry milkshake, you’ll get strawberry milk. Also good! Now that I’ve said “full-fat,” I have to say I do like to include plain kefir, which only...

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Posted on Jul 20, 2013 | 3 comments

10 Secrets to Dining Out With Babies and NOT Going Crazy!

10 Secrets to Dining Out With Babies and NOT Going Crazy!

The one question I’m asked most often about my kids beyond “do you want more?” is how I get them to be so good in restaurants. It’s true, I have small children, boys at that, who are a joy to dine with. I can fully embrace my accomplishment in this area (and theirs) because I suffer the depths of disastrous failure in other areas (e.g., the global ban on sleep, among other successful campaigns against my sanity). I appreciate what I’ve got. And, I understand the questioning. I keep asking others how they get their kids to magically nap at the designated hour, in the designated area, for the designated time, AND manage to repeat the process mere hours later for bedtime. I also query near strangers about matters such as cellulite removal and how to get your cat to stop peeing on everything. I don’t really expect to receive the magic key of information that unlocks my struggle, but I feel like there’s value in the search. If you...

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Posted on Jul 16, 2013 | 1 comment

To DO List

To DO List

What I Did Today: 1) Made a list of things to do this summer. 2) Wrote “watercolor.” 3) Put list down. 4) Watercolored.   As usual, my child’s talent surpasses mine by quantum leaps. This is his “Sitting Man.”   And, from his father’s work, you can see where my son gets his artistic talent.   Either way, watercoloring is fun. It’s relaxing. It’s zen. And it’s crossed off my To Do List, so I’m happy. An activity to please Type As and Type Bs alike! Ommmmm. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Jul 4, 2013 | 0 comments

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!

Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Jun 21, 2013 | 1 comment

Knit Me a River

Knit Me a River

My child is convinced he needs to knit his great-grandmother a hat. Why? It’s her birthday. And? Because she crocheted him one. And? To keep her head warm. (He can go on forever. Try him.) While these are all valid reasons, the problem with his proposal is that he doesn’t know how to knit. Oh yeah, and he’s FOUR. So, for three days I skirted the question: “Mommy, can I make Gigi a hat for her birthday?” All my reasons for not doing it were expertly matched, point by point. Finally, I wondered why I was spending all this time saying no, when I could just say yes and let him learn for himself exactly what is involved. We trotted off to the craft store today (check my Facebook page for a nifty craft store tip). It was a real campaign, but I managed to sell the idea of a scarf instead of a hat, which seemed much simpler. We parted with a basic scarf knitting kit for young children,...

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Posted on Jun 18, 2013 | 1 comment

What Do You Get a Nonagenarian For Her Birthday?

What Do You Get a Nonagenarian For Her Birthday?

My Grandma is turning 95. She’s my role model in many ways, including her striking long-livedness. One of my favorite things about her is her joy in being outdoors. For her birthday, she wants to go on a picnic. She selected the entire menu herself, including the directive of “no vegetables.” On your 95th birthday, you’ve earned the right to skip the salad.   For her gift, I chose something inspired by the outdoors that the boys and I could make together; tissue paper flowers. Then, I invited Martha Stewart to teach us how to make them.   The first thing you do for this stunningly impressive gift is you go to the store and buy a pre-assembled cellophane package, complete with pre-cut flowers and instructions so basic, you can practically hear them enunciating verry slowwwwly for you to comprehend them. Then, you mess them up first thing, just to get it out of the way.   The package mainly consists of tissue paper, cut all fancy, and promising...

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Posted on Jun 5, 2013 | 1 comment

Foiled. Again.

Foiled. Again.

This little exchange happened before this blog existed, back when we were in the throes of constant baby and toddler sleeplessness, AKA Hell. I came across it today and thought it was worth sharing. Can you relate to your significant other forgetting what world you live in, throwing proven knowledge out the window, and completely screwing up your carefully executed plan? (Said with affection, because you’ve done the same darn thing). The sleepless baby is finally asleep. Again. One parental unit finds it advisable to rustle a wad of aluminum foil and rip it mightily across it’s metal comb. Twitchy baby stirs. Again. Second parental unit threatens quietly but clearly through gritted teeth, “I will end your life if you touch that foil one more time.” First parental unit grins and returns sheepishly to the couch while ignoring the sweet sound of his Beloved, hissing, now slightly louder, “What’s the matter with you, you’re not NEW!” Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on...

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Posted on May 28, 2013 | 3 comments

Wildflower Walk

Wildflower Walk

The kids and I went wildflower hunting the other day.     Considering we live in a suburb, it’s not all that easy to do. Also considering spring has fairly well sprung, we had even fewer choices. But it was a nice day for a walk, and this gave us a purpose. The following is what we came up with, entirely from objects found in the neighborhood, and around the house.     Some call them weeds, some call them wildflowers. Ha.     And some weren’t flowers at all.         This year of living life to the fullest began with stopping to smell the flowers. These gardenias are particularly, pungently, gorgeously fragrant. They insist you breathe all the way in just to get as much of the scent as possible.   The bonus is that all this hard work hunting in the sunshine made for two very sleepy, nap-compliant children. The perfect surprise ending. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share...

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Posted on May 7, 2013 | 1 comment

Why I Decided Not to Send My Child to Preschool

Why I Decided Not to Send My Child to Preschool

A more accurate title might be “Why I Decided to Keep My Child With Me His Last Year of Babyhood” because it’s not about the school. It’s about my child and me. It’s a unique relationship, just the two of us. And it’s the very last year we will ever, ever, ever have to spend our days together. Not rushing off in the mornings. Deciding for ourselves what we will do and what we won’t do (actually, I decide what we will do, then his brother delays the plans by knocking a glass of green smoothie all over the walls and carpet). Whatever we do, it’s our last year to do it together. I came thiiiiis close to enrolling him in a most fabulous nursery school. The very school he will go to for kindergarten and beyond. It’s a magical place to spend a childhood. I’m very happy we’ve found such a beautiful school environment for my kids. But my child is three, going on four. Not school age....

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Posted on Apr 30, 2013 | 0 comments

My Favorite Things, by “Tree Laughy”

My Favorite Things, by “Tree Laughy”

My three-year-old is about to be four. Every day, he’s less a baby and more a boy. His sweet little face, when silent or sleeping, is still baby. But when he opens his mouth, to explain String Theory to me or what an asteroid is or something, I can’t deny he’s growing up. Fast. To help me cope, I am recording some of his favorite things so I can always remember them. I hope you enjoy them. Maybe they will bring back memories for you. Maybe they will inspire you to ask your kiddo what his favorite things are. Maybe they will highlight how, um, unexpected my son’s musical choices are. Or his budding obsession with Legoland. In any case, here is a list of his Favorite Things. Animal: Elephant Colors: 1) Purple 2) Elephant Gray Food: Enchiladas Book: Lulu Got a Blister, by Tree Laughy Song: Good King Wenceslas Thing To Do Inside: Fort Thing To Do Outside: Play in the water and mud. Thing To Do at Nana’s:...

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Posted on Apr 26, 2013 | 0 comments

Not Exactly Gluten Free Waffles with Blueberry Syrup

Not Exactly Gluten Free Waffles with Blueberry Syrup

The kids got a waffle maker from their Auntie that makes very cute jungle animal waffles. I’ve never made waffles in my life so I needed some direction. Being full-throttle on my new wellness kick, I broke out Gwyneth Paltrow’s book, It’s All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great, in search of a healthier waffle recipe. What do you know, she has several! Gluten free, sugar free, and all that. I was all set to get started with my recently purchased gluten free flour when I noticed you must also add something called xanthan gum to it. What is that? It doesn’t sound like a whole food to me, but what do I know. And, in any case, I don’t have any. So, I went to my tried-and-true cookbook for all things Middle Americana, The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, to find a regular-person waffle recipe. Naturally, she has many tempting selections. The problem is that they all call for eggs and we are...

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Posted on Apr 13, 2013 | 2 comments

So Many Posts, So Little Time

So Many Posts, So Little Time

I have not dropped off the planet. I’ve merely run out of time. I am working on about ten different posts, getting ready to go out of town, and starting a new playgroup with my baby (not a baby anymore, but let me live in denial) son. It’s been insane lately, but it’s all good! I have a lot of really great stuff in the pipeline, so please keep checking in. I will be back with you soon! Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Apr 5, 2013 | 1 comment

My Secret Fantasy

My Secret Fantasy

I have a fantasy about working in a bakery. photo credit: Nathan Wind as Cochese via photopin cc   The kind where you can walk up while it’s still dark and they already have trays and trays of bread and pan dulce ready for you, along with fresh coffee and ice cold milk in the little cooler. photo credit: Paco Photo via photopin cc   I have a dream of waking up so early it’s almost still night. I bundle up, get on the road, and put on my favorite podcast. As I drive, I see the lights of the city still twinkling. It’s freezing cold but the bakery soon gets steamy. photo credit: bilobicles bag via photopin cc   By daybreak, we’ve kneaded and stirred and shaped and baked until the shelves are bursting with warm, yeasty, sustaining goodies. photo credit: gabofr via photopin cc   I’m on the first morning crew, done with my shift by the time most people are getting to work. I step outside and...

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Posted on Apr 4, 2013 | 0 comments

Lava Lamps

Lava Lamps

I got this idea from Play at Home Mom. This project appealed to me in particular because 1) it was easy, and 2) it was cheap. In fact, I already had everything in the house except the trashy oil. (I wasn’t about to use my organic extra virgin olive oil for this).   The kids spent the morning outside and by the time they were ready to come in, I was just about ready to deal with them. Ha. So I assembled all the materials.   Clean jars with screw lids.   A funnel, said trashy oil, and water.   Food coloring and denture cleanser. Play at Home Mom recommends Alka-Seltzer, which is probably better. My denture cleanser turned everything blue. Beautiful, but blue. (Since you asked, I have denture cleanser because it’s a great way to clean a retainer, or a tooth whitening tray. Little bonus tip for you).   First, pour in the oil. You’re aiming to get your jar 3/4 full, but if you run low on...

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Posted on Apr 1, 2013 | 0 comments

WINNER! Crappy Book Giveaway

WINNER! Crappy Book Giveaway

Congratulations to MARIA from California! As a result of a totally unbiased and entirely scientific process, Maria has won the book, Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures!! It is a complete and random coincidence that this woman happens to be my mother-in-law, the very mother of Cute Banker. I SWEAR this was legit. So legit that I didn’t even change the outcome out of fear people might think it wasn’t legit. Too legit to quit, you might say. Well, you might not say that. But I did because I remember Hammer Time. Sorry. I’m old. So, congratulations, Maria! You have won this hilarious book. But you never go on the internet, so you won’t even know. So, I will deliver it to you personally. That’s how much I love my readers, and you, in particular. Thank you for making Cute Banker, and thank you for subscribing to my blog. I am your biggest fan and you legitimately deserve to win! Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click...

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Posted on Mar 31, 2013 | 0 comments

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Mar 29, 2013 | 0 comments

Now, That’s a Stick!

Now, That’s a Stick!

My kids are at one with mud. And with me. They are never happier than when they get both at once, and are never satisfied until they do. They are muddy, clingy, baby mammals. Anyone who wonders whether we are similar to apes in any way need only to glance in my backyard because I frequently have dirty, contented children hanging from my limbs. Or, maybe that’s just my family. Occasionally, I like to delude myself and try to get something done during the daylight hours when 1) mud is accessible and 2, ) Mom is available. They will not rest until they have both. Which means I will not rest. Or work. Or shower. My moments of uninterrupted time increase to approximately four minutes when I’m closer to the children than ten feet – or farther away than thirty feet. There’s a radius of hell I try to avoid sitting in when attempting to concentrate. In the Radius of Hell, you are close enough they feel they can pull...

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Posted on Mar 27, 2013 | 2 comments

Crappy Pictures – Book Giveaway!

Crappy Pictures – Book Giveaway!

I’m giving away a copy of the new book Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures by Amber Dusick! I’m celebrating YOU, my reader, celebrating the humor in parenting, and celebrating the first Crappy Pictures book being published! All you have to do is hook yourself to my rapidly idling star in at least one of four possible ways: 1) Subscribe to my blog 2) Like my Facebook page 3) Follow me on Twitter 4) Follow me on Pinterest That’s it! The more you do, the more chances you get. A winner will be picked in the same official manner as the last giveaway and announced this weekend. (No, I cannot pin it down more than that. If you require an explanation, the “Parenting…” book should cover it. Just Subscribe, Like, Follow, Follow right now, and you’ll be good)! If you have already done any of these four things, you will be automatically entered to win because I think you are awesome and you make me feel like prom queen. So, about the book. I’m not gonna do a review....

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Posted on Mar 26, 2013 | 5 comments

Name Nerd

Name Nerd

I am a certifiable name nerd. I am obsessed with names. Names for people, names of cities, flowers, appliances, characters in books. I am similarly fascinated by word etymology of all kinds, but it started with names. I thought I was the only weirdo in the whole world with this affliction until Beyond Jennifer and Jason: The Enlightened Guide to Naming Your Baby was published. (Don’t ask me how I knew about that book long before I had my own kids. I told you: name nerd). The title struck me as so thoroughly right on: there were twelve thousand (or so) Jennifers and Jasons in my cohort and it was time to move on. Joy of joys, my kindred authors, Pamela Redmond Satran and Linda Rosenkrantz published an updated version, Beyond Madison and Montana: What to Name Your Baby Now (because name styles evolve, and you must keep up!) and, most recently, Beyond Ava and Aiden. Judging by how many Madisons have little brothers named Aiden (and parents called Jennifer...

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Posted on Mar 21, 2013 | 0 comments

The Cat’s in the Cradle and the Silver Spoon

The Cat’s in the Cradle and the Silver Spoon

Little boy blue and the man in the moon… I’m having a heart attack. The good news is my little boy is growing up. The bad news is my little boy is growing up. Hold me, people. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Mar 20, 2013 | 0 comments

Playroom (One For the Kids and One For the Grown-Ups!)

Playroom (One For the Kids and One For the Grown-Ups!)

Having houseguests is great for home decor. You rearrange things for them and when you put them back, you can end up with entirely different rooms. This is what happened when my dad came to stay this week. This was particularly useful for us, since we are on year two of moving in to our house. My dad stayed in our office. One night, as Cute Banker and I were sitting on the couch, looking at the toys in the living room – our living room, the grown-up space – we thought: Hey! Why not move the office stuff out here and put alllll the kids stuff in the room? It took care of two issues: 1) having a visually calming adult space (while simultaneously giving the kids their own space), and 2) filling up a huge empty wall in the living room. Cute Banker and I were starting to feel like college students, with no art on the giant wall, and no clue how to fill it up. I...

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Posted on Mar 20, 2013 | 0 comments

Sweet Talk

Sweet Talk

Me, while watching The Kardashians: Do you want to do something that’s, like, you know, productive? Cute Banker, while creating a cool, yet probably un-framable cartoon of our boys in iPhoto: Like watching The Kardashians? Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Mar 19, 2013 | 0 comments

Like Buttah: Burnt Butter and Brown Sugar Cupcakes!

Like Buttah: Burnt Butter and Brown Sugar Cupcakes!

  Okay. I’m not certain I can convey in mere words how entirely delightful these cupcakes are. No. Really. I texted Cute Banker at work about it in the middle of the day. They are stop-your-day, harass-your-spouse-at-his-place-of-business good.   I confirmed this fact with Cute Banker, who, upon returning from a particularly challenging day at work (I have no idea why!), proclaimed them, “Friggin’ GOOD.” Then, I ate one more, just to be sure.   Yes, it is certain: these are the best cupcakes, or cake of any kind, I have ever eaten.   As you can see, I had no trouble sampling them, from start to finish. I kept mixing and tasting, and scraping and tasting, and forgetting to take pictures of the completed steps. You’ll definitely want to lick the beater.   I’ve been in a general baking frenzy, ever since I noticed that when my child of three years and ten months spends the first half hour upon waking from his nap helping me bake, he...

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Posted on Mar 15, 2013 | 1 comment

These are the Good Old Days

These are the Good Old Days

Grandpa Bees, also known as my dad, taught the boys how to skip stones today. He also encouraged them to splash, jump, get wet, and generally frolic to the messiest end possible. Three cheers for old-fashioned fun with Grandpas! And for modern day washing machines. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Mar 7, 2013 | 0 comments

Holiday Schmoliday

Holiday Schmoliday

Who says cookie decorating is just for Christmas? And, by the way, why do these activities always need to be done in the nude?? <sigh> Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Mar 6, 2013 | 5 comments

Crappy Pictures

Crappy Pictures

Amber Dusick is hilarious. She comes close to capturing the true experience of parenting young children. And she makes you laugh, which is crucial to surviving the true experience of parenting young children. If you’re having a bad day at your job, whether as a stay-at-home parent, or any other career, you can probably relate to today’s post, called Parenting – I Quit. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll copy the link and post it on your blog. I also love this one. As the mother of two small boys, something about it rings true… (Warning: if you are offended by the accurate names for boy parts, do not click). I’m grateful to Amber for keeping it real and for keeping us laughing. Enjoy! UPDATE: Look below, Amber commented on my post! I feel like I won an Oscar. Luckily, I’ve got my baby to keep it real. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest...

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Posted on Mar 4, 2013 | 3 comments

Superwoman in the Digital Age

Superwoman in the Digital Age

I’m a wife. I’m a mother. I’m Superwoman! Well, no, I am decidedly not that. But I am attempting to sculpt this nice little blog out of a mountain of granite, four minutes at a time. Most days, I gleefully chip away at it, while simultaneously performing my more important role as a climbing apparatus. Here and there, throughout the day, I set the kids up with some engrossing activity and slink off to the office. If I actually get there before a dirty diaper is flung off by one baby, and loudly announced by the other, I consider it a good sign. I sit down at the computer. Once I finish reading all my reader stats (AKA the MOST addictive thing in the WORLD), I get to work.   Soon, these people decide I could use some help. (So considerate!) I focus mainly on content: recipes, kids crafts, and random musings about whatever happens to be important that day. The fun stuff! But the reality is, this isn’t...

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Posted on Feb 28, 2013 | 0 comments

Guest Blogger: Cute Banker Speaks! He Grills! He Makes Suggestive Comments about Giada De La La!

Guest Blogger: Cute Banker Speaks! He Grills! He Makes Suggestive Comments about Giada De La La!

Here is Cute Banker’s first guest post. Given how much he likes to grill, this probably won’t be his last. Excuse me, I’ve got a few thousand grill tongs and marinating pans to wash. Enjoy! Michelle —- So, this is my first time blogging and I don’t really know what to do. Is it a journal, an editorial about something I am supposed to know something about, or perhaps I am here to entertain you, what am I a clown? (Just kidding). So, why am I doing this, you ask? We’ll get to that.   I had a pretty fun day today and I just finished barbecuing and having a couple of drinks… do friends let friends blog drunk? Well, I’m not drunk but after four years with two kids, a couple of beers is a party.   I had a weekday off today and, after the kids miraculously went down for a nap, I decided, rather late in the day, that I would barbecue. My latest barbecuing venture,...

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Posted on Feb 26, 2013 | 0 comments

Plant-Based Diet

Plant-Based Diet

In honor of spring springing, I thought I’d give my kids a sunny lunch favorite. It does contain one of the Magic Ingredients: cheese. And, it has a bonus kid-favorite: bread (okay, an organic spelt English muffin, but anything in the grain family is a winner here). Plus, it’s fun! Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Feb 23, 2013 | 1 comment

Winter Wonderland, Cali Style

Winter Wonderland, Cali Style

We don’t have snow, but we have sand!   Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Feb 21, 2013 | 0 comments

Winter Waves

Winter Waves

A morning outing with my crew involves a lot of strategic planning and outwitting of foreign intelligence. I group our activities within walking distance of each other to achieve minimal car seat wrangling, and plan the longest car ride at the end so they fall asleep on the way home.  An ideal itinerary hits several notes: one errand for me, one play activity for them, a mutual necessity like eating, and, finally, a win-win-win scenario: two sleeping children and one relieved mama. Altogether, these things need to be completed by noon. The pentagon would be glad to have me. As I have rekindled my dedication to getting those tiny darlings with big personalities and matching opinions out of the house, because life is just better that way, I took the kiddos to the pier. It was in the same general area as my chiropractor which fit nicely into both the “errand” and “mutual necessity” categories. Two for one! Hey, I told you I get excited about organization. And the...

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Posted on Feb 20, 2013 | 0 comments

A Lunch by Any Other Name Would Not Taste As Sweet

A Lunch by Any Other Name Would Not Taste As Sweet

So, like, kids are kind of a pain.  I mean, I love them and all, and, most of the time, I even like them. They’re funny and cute and sweet. But when it comes to basic human functions, they are so particular, sometimes I’m tempted to just let them fend for themselves. Take getting dressed. I am strictly, adamantly, forbidden to help the baby in any manner whatsoever, lest I unleash Kicker, the Beast of Flailing Feet. That child can, and must, “doobit self!”  Yet, when his head ends up in his sleeve, he cries for help.  This is perfectly acceptable. What’s a bit eccentric is that as he is crying for help, he is also scolding you (sternly!) for doing it. Kay. Take staying dressed.  “Nudie Cutie” is a phrase I have mixed feelings about, although I know it’s really not the phrase’s fault. When our oldest son was tiny, it was so cute to see him streak around the house for about one minute before joyfully getting...

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Posted on Feb 19, 2013 | 3 comments

Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger

This morning, my son announced he was writing a book.  He hired me to transcribe it. Fortunately, I can also publish it, sort of (although, I imagine actual book publishers will be knocking on our door momentarily). He chose “Tree Laughy” to be his nom de plume and set to work. I left the background decorating choices in this shot so you know you are not alone.  Or, maybe so I can feel I’m not alone.  Does anyone else have the Small Child Chaos motif? What with a couple pairs of new shoes, and the jury on the malevolence of socks still out, Blisters have been a big topic around here lately.  Art imitates life even in the preschooler set because his book is called Lulu Got a Blister. This is an actual, word-for-word transcription of my guest blogger’s story. (I believe it may be a sequel to an actual, printed book.  Please let me know if we are in violation of any trademark laws. Clearly, Lulu gets around –...

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Posted on Feb 18, 2013 | 2 comments

On the Trail Again

On the Trail Again

I used to take my tiny kids out somewhere most mornings.  I’ll admit, this was largely due to the fact that getting them to take their naps in a moving two-ton vehicle is exceptionally easier than doing it in a soft, comfy bed (weirdos!).  But, I have fallen out of the habit.  Something about the monumental list of things that must be done before two little people, and the person entirely responsible for them, can get out the door for an entire segment of the day is just too intimidating. The volume of work plus potential tears, theirs and mine, is not worth the effort, it seems. However, getting the kids outside, like most forms of action, is always worth it when you do it. From exercise, to a job interview, to throwing a dinner party, to running a marathon, odds are, you’ll be glad you hurled yourself over that mountain of prep and got going.  It doesn’t even have to be over and you’ll start being grateful you’re...

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Posted on Feb 14, 2013 | 1 comment

Moving In and Moving On?

Moving In and Moving On?

Cute Banker and I have a date this weekend.  Not a romantic, flowery, chocolatey Valentine celebration. What fun is that? No, I’m looking forward to something much more exciting: organizing the garage! My grandmother always says it takes a year to fully move in to a new house. You’ve got to live in a house for a while to discover how it works for you. From finding the perfect window treatments, to arranging all the furniture in the most pleasing and functional way, to organizing the last cabinet under the guest bathroom sink, it takes a year. I have always found that to be true with two exceptions: 1) Schedule a housewarming party three months from your move-in date and you will be amazed at your decorating speed. 2) Have one or more small children and you will be stunned by your decorating slowness. I believe that for every child under four, you need an additional year to get your house together.  I have two of those, and I’m...

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Posted on Feb 7, 2013 | 0 comments

Instant Italian

Instant Italian

Dip is fun.  It even makes eating raw vegetables seem like less of an imposition. This is a versatile dip worthy of a kids’ lunch or an Italian cocktail party. Here’s all you need: 1 can cannellini beans 1 clove chopped garlic (or less if your kids’ tongues aren’t flame retardant like mine) 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 t sea salt 1/8 t pepper 1/4 c fresh basil (would also be benissimo with rosemary instead) 1/8 t crushed red pepper flakes (for the cocktail party, not the kids) juice from half a lemon Drain and rinse one can of cannellini beans. Plop the beans into a food processor. Add all the rest of the ingredients. Process until mostly smooth. Adjust seasonings. Spoon into bowl, top with basil chiffonade, a few crushed red peppers, and a swirl of olive oil. Serve with buttered, toasted pita bread. I use a comal to toast mine up but any pan, or even a toaster oven, will work fine. It’s a kid pleasing...

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Posted on Feb 6, 2013 | 0 comments

Job Satisfaction

Job Satisfaction

There is nothing so satisfying as a closet full of clean, dry, organized clothes ready for your little bundles of joy. Fortunately, as the chief laundress for two little boys, I get a lot of opportunities to achieve this sort of job satisfaction. They’re so thoughtful. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Feb 5, 2013 | 0 comments

Mexican in Minutes

Mexican in Minutes

Need a quick, healthy meal everyone will love? Here you go: refried beans. From scratch. It’s almost as easy as opening a can of processed mystery beans. Non-mystery ingredients: 1 can pinto beans 1 cup broth or stock of any variety  (Omit this liquid and you’ll have a great bean dip!) 1 one small clove of chopped garlic 1 t salt, plus more to taste Drain and rinse the beans. Pop them into a food processor. Add the garlic and broth. Pulse (one second each) several times, until you like the texture. Add salt to taste. Transfer to a saucepan and heat gently.  Add more stock if the beans get dry on the bottom. Cook longer if it’s too runny. This recipe is easy to double.  We double it for our family of four. From there, you can make a quick burrito.  Simply roll the beans into a tortilla (from any grain) for a super quick, high protein, and easy-to-hold meal no kidlet can resist.  Add cheese and you’re guaranteed success....

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Posted on Feb 1, 2013 | 0 comments

Mommy’s Little Helper

Mommy’s Little Helper

My two-year-old’s birthday party is tomorrow.  I may be switching my favorite beverage back to wine. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Jan 30, 2013 | 1 comment

Growing Boys

Growing Boys

This month, it’s either freezing (literally) or warm enough to run around barefoot.  Such a winter of extremes, out here in the “country!” Either way, I promote the outdoors like it’s better than the ice cream truck. When I can get my boys outside, I wait until they break eye contact, then I dash into the house so fast, all you see is a puff of smoke and some lines indicating I was once there. With the house to myself, I can usually get one and a half things started before there is some event demanding I darn well stop it, and get back to my children. “Mommy, wanna see me smash this rock as hard as I can?” “Mommy, I’m digging up your grass, okay? “Mommy, the baby’s taking his diaper off!” “Mommy, there’s poop on the tree!!”  (They should make teenagers read this blog, right?). I drop what I am doing (again) and try to put the world upright. Once achieved, I make another break for it....

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Posted on Jan 25, 2013 | 0 comments

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Six years ago, I relinquished my candidacy for spinsterhood, and got married. As I have no digital photos of the momentous event, I’m attaching one of our engagement, exactly nine months earlier. Why exactly nine months, you ask? No, not because of that. It’s because our church requires a nine month preparatory period before the ceremony. So that’s the very earliest I could hustle that Cute Banker down the aisle, to the day! Forgive the red-eye.  I can’t make my computer take it out in a way that does not make us look like demons. But notice the new bling.  It’s only outshined by my gleaming smile. So what will we be doing tonight to celebrate this momentous occasion, and our unending joy? Uh, nothing. We both forgot. Thanks to two members of our wedding party texting us, including on-the-ball Jill, at least we knew it was coming, as of yesterday. But it’s too late to book Grandma to babysit so, we are just, um, ordering take out or...

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Posted on Jan 22, 2013 | 2 comments

Two Years Ago

Two Years Ago

sniff, sniff Happy Birthday to my sweet, funny, confident, loving, laughing boy. You are no longer a baby. But I will always be your mommy, and I will always take care of you.  Just like I told you when you first looked into my eyes, two years ago. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Jan 17, 2013 | 15 comments

A Test for Me and a Prize for You!

A Test for Me and a Prize for You!

The DNA results are in! Turns out I’m 87% Central European and not even anything remotely jazzy like Italian or Greek. It’s no wonder my kids are so, um, pale, even given their much more pigmentally-gifted father.  You can’t beat those numbers! But, it turns out I am also 13% something else.  Care to guess? Check out my picture, although I’m not sure it will help. If you guess correctly, you will win a prize: A $25 gift card to Amazon.com! Leave your guess in the comments.   Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Jan 10, 2013 | 0 comments

Beautiful Music

Beautiful Music

Cute Banker has a passion for guitar. He doesn’t play as much as he used to… …but he dreams of playing around the campfire with his boys one day. Yesterday, he started learning “One Voice,” by the Wailin’ Jennys. It’s my new favorite song. I Cannot. Stop. Singing it. (I have a passion for mangling lovely songs). Naturally, every warm body in the house gravitates to the sound of the music.  Soon, we are all gathered around Cute Banker as he plays the song. He explains the difference between words and song to our wee child. First, he reads the lyrics:       “This is the sound of one voice.  One spirit, one voice.” Next, he sings it.  He asks the child if he now understands what melody is.  Said wee child responds:      “Is it the ‘beautiful’ in it?” This staggering response tells you two things: 1) Cute Banker will likely have a kindred musician joining him at the campfire, and 2) I wasn’t the one singing....

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Posted on Jan 9, 2013 | 1 comment

It’s a Date!

It’s a Date!

First thing every morning, before I can even reach my coffee maker, I am met with demands for Breakfast!?!? And, first thing every morning, I think: I gotta put the coffee maker in my bedroom. Next, I think: what can I make for breakfast that: 1) the kids will eat, 2) is nutritious, and 3) is actually in the house. #1 is easier if the little gourmands haven’t had it in a while. The harder part is coming up with a large enough variety to be interesting.  Our current rotation of eggs, oatmeal, and waffles just isn’t big enough.  Although, come to think of it, they’ve never turned down a waffle.  I think I’ll need to work on a homemade, super pumped up version of waffles that I can keep in my freezer.  But that’s another goal for another post. Today, I happened upon the Vitamix recipe book that came with my blender.  I haven’t opened the thing in three years.  Suddenly, all kinds of new and delectable recipes are calling...

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Posted on Jan 7, 2013 | 0 comments

My Favorite Things (Today)

My Favorite Things (Today)

There is nothing in life more fun than a new cookbook!   Add a comfy place to sit, a blankie, and someone to entertain my vermin so I can read the thing in peace, and it’s Heaven. While I’m at it, this also makes me happy: the fact that our weed patch has suddenly gone from scary, prickly brown to lush green (green weeds, but…still) without so much as one new seed of grass introduced by us, the terminally too-busy-to-bother-with-lanscaping people. Except that gaping dirt hole. My kids are never too busy to contribute a gaping dirt hole.   This little crew is also one of my very, most favorite things. Especially while engaged in home improvement activities. (Is it too much to hope that unassuming little avocado pit will evolve into a great, shady, fruit producing tree? Well, it’s a start to our landscaping efforts.)   These rusty old chairs are suddenly an inviting place to be, thanks to their new, green surroundings.   This pinot grigio kind...

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Posted on Jan 4, 2013 | 1 comment

Going Bananas

Going Bananas

The 3-year-old and I had a riveting dialogue today about whether or not he could have another banana.  It was a day-long exploration of the topic, largely repetitive. It ended on a surprising note.  You know, I’m tempted to give in every time this kid gives me a wise, unexpected answer that just makes me laugh. I feel like he’s earned it. 3-year-old:  Can I have a banana? Mommy:  Yes. As I said, many times, you may have another one tomorrow. I’m tired of talking about bananas. 3-year-old (exasperated):  I’m tired of not having a banana.  Can you just give me one? I could almost hear him going over win-win theory in his head and wondering why I wouldn’t just get with the program. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this...

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Posted on Jan 1, 2013 | 0 comments

Story Lady

Story Lady

I am not a natural storyteller.  I don’t write fiction, and, although I enjoy it occasionally, I rarely read it. I am happier residing in the land of the actual, the biographical, the instructional.  I believe fairytales have a tremendously important function in various aspects of child development, and therefore in society as a whole. And I adored my Greek mythology studies in school. I’m just not going to be creating any original mythology, any time soon. I love the beautiful, magical, visually sparkling tales Cute Banker makes up for the kids.  To unsure babies, he explains that thunder isn’t dangerous; it’s just horses’ hooves booming across the sky.  Lightning won’t hurt them; it’s simply the spark of their hooves’ as they race through the night.  As a story unfolds, my son hugs his stuffed horse, named Lightning, even tighter. Good stuff, no? This gift of Cute Banker’s for descriptive storytelling has let me off easy.  I can pretty much get out of making anything up myself by saying...

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Posted on Dec 30, 2012 | 2 comments

Model Son

Model Son

All mamas are of the opinion their children are beautiful. Not all mamas wield a blog with an Upload button. I look at these pictures of my sweet, sticky boy, and I can’t help it. Yes, that is a smoothie mustache.   Remember when he was born? Okay, maybe not. Thank you for indulging me.   Love, Mom Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Dec 27, 2012 | 1 comment

Best Christmas Gift Ever

Best Christmas Gift Ever

I have always been the sort for whom a vacuum cleaner is a good gift.  Forget flowers, they die.  Sweets? I’d rather use my calories on wine!  (And I’ll feel the need to detox later with a spirulina smoothie!). And if you’d like to pick clothes for me, well, perhaps you could also include the receipt? Give me practical, any day of the year. This may not be exactly practical, in fact it’s pretty unnecessary in the grand scheme of things, but a new puppy it ain’t. Ever since I saw that genius advertisement, also known as the show Who Do You Think You Are?, I have been itching to get my DNA tested.  I wonder if I have some long lost relative in India! Belarus! Madagascar! Tasmania! More likely, some odd pocket of the world where people get excited about the nerdiest things. Ahh, the romance of a biohazardous specimen bag. Can’t you just hear the angels singing? The odds of an exotic link aren’t likely, I suppose,...

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Posted on Dec 26, 2012 | 0 comments

A Way with Words

A Way with Words

Me: I remember the first earrings you ever bought me. No man ever bought me diamonds before. Cute Banker:  Dummies. If it’s possible, Cute Banker warms my heart even more than jewelry. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Dec 22, 2012 | 0 comments

Deck the Smalls

Deck the Smalls

You know those adorable photo cards people send you every Christmas? The ones printed on the thinnest rectangles of slightly bowed photo paper that simply won’t stand up on their own? You prop them against the sturdier, folded, cards but they angle away, and eventually slip down, taking other cards with them, and they drive you crazy all season? Okay, maybe it’s just me. Or, you put them on your refrigerator, but you really don’t want them on your refrigerator, but you have no where else to put them that they don’t fall down? Or get knocked over by a cat tail, a stray breeze, or the breath of a spider? Again, maybe just me. Whether or not you suffer from Fallen Photo Card Syndrome, I thought of something fun to do with them this year. Since they are almost always pictures of children, I taped them to the wall in my kids’ room. They add to the festive decorations in there and I think the boys like seeing...

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Posted on Dec 20, 2012 | 0 comments

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Kippis!

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Kippis!

As my one-year-old would say. Just a few days left!  Are you ready? Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Dec 19, 2012 | 7 comments

All Hail the Vitamix

All Hail the Vitamix

When I received a Vitamix, I knew, but I didn’t know, how much it would change my life. My kids (and Cute Banker and I) get multiple servings of raw vegetables and fruits almost every day without protest. This greatly reduces my guilt over not producing gorgeous bowls of green and orange delicacies with every meal. They also get occasional doses of chia seeds, hemp seeds, probiotics, chlorella and spirulina. They are detoxing heavy metals as they slurp up the yummy smoothies, none-the-wiser to the weird seeds and powders that mom puts in them. I do take care to familiarize them with these ingredients and cultivate a taste for them at times, but in the hustle of every day life, these smoothies are a realistic go-to. This morning, we had carrots, oranges, red cabbage, apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, local honey, and a few grains of sea salt. And ice to make them cold. Sunrise Salad Spinner Sometimes, the smoothies turn out brown. Spinach and strawberries do that. Tasty,...

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Posted on Dec 5, 2012 | 0 comments

Karma Quick

Karma Quick

Just last year, I was imagining my chatty little son’s karmic comeuppance when, in a few decades, his future child enters that most staggering, most relentless stage of verbal development known as the “why??” stage. It didn’t take nearly that long.   I was doing dishes when I overheard it: my 3-year-old boy in conversation with his 23-month-old brother. The baby was hurling “Whys” at him like they were balls in a batting cage. My sweet pre-schooler was patiently batting them back, every one, until I heard a pause. He finally answered, but it was followed instantly by another, “Why?”   My pre-schooler’s tone rose a bit as he answered again. And, was again immediately asked, “Why?”   His next answer ascended at the end, as if it were a question, itself.  His answers became quicker, less sure, higher pitched, until, the “ummms” started popping out, and, finally, he gave in. “I don’t know!” he uttered in befuddlement.   Amateur. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click...

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Posted on Nov 30, 2012 | 0 comments

Mud Run

My boys, jumping at the opportunity to make the white on their shoes turn brown. Apparently, it’s better that way. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Nov 17, 2012 | 0 comments

Why I Hate Target

Why I Hate Target

Because I go in for a curtain rod and I come out with this stupid, awesome thing.   It’s an Advent calendar with an actual box for each day.   In my day…cough cough…sorry. Anyway, way, way, way back then, there were no boxes. Just a different picture behind each date. Although, to be honest, I loved my paper Garfield Advent calendar so much, I still have it and my boys aren’t allowed to play with it. It’s delicate! (It’s ancient, you know.) Way to set the bar high, too. Now, every year, we have to come up with 48 separate teeny tiny treats.   Cute Banker and I kind of rocked it out this year. We got lucky. We went the Birch Aquarium (a must-see for anyone with eyes) and they happened to have twelve thousand or so miniature sea creatures. Perfect, we picked up one of each.   We also just happened upon mini-flashlights, felt cupcakes and hearts, little cars, fish-shaped chocolates wrapped in shiny foil, tiny...

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Posted on Nov 7, 2012 | 0 comments

Let There Be Candlelight!

Let There Be Candlelight!

Tonight, we had candlelight at dinner. It was the first time in three and a half years that we’ve had candlelight at dinner. We’ve been on an open flame ban, due to curious little fingers, for, like, ever. Tonight, the adult-to-child ratio was good (2:1), so I felt safe-ish. I took a gamble, put four small tea lights in the center of the table, and instructed the three other adults to be alert. I’m possibly not the most gracious hostess, imposing such an instruction on my guests, but I was just so enticed by the glowing possibilities that I couldn’t resist. And they were family, so…it’s okay, right? I’m a huge fan of mood lighting, so the fact that we had that treasured warm glow, and no need for the fire department or Urgent Care is a very big, exciting deal for me. Is this the sweet, small beginning of entertaining in style again?     Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on...

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Posted on Nov 6, 2012 | 1 comment

Need a Hug?

Need a Hug?

This is a picture of my babies, in a spontaneous hug. Sometimes you just need something like this to affirm that life is worth living. It is. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Nov 2, 2012 | 0 comments

Pancakes at the Firehouse

Pancakes at the Firehouse

Our local fire station recently held a Pancake Breakfast. As this combines two of my son’s favorite things, firetrucks and pancakes, we were pretty much mandated to go by The Order of Non-Slacker Parenting.   To top it off, it was catered by McDonald’s. My kids ate as much as they could, then asked for more.  It was for a good cause, they said.   Our kids chose their own outfits for the day. The baby put his on, himself.   Local school kids made the place mats.  So sweet!   After breakfast, we went outside to check out the rigs.   Firefighter Don even hoisted the boys up so they could “drive” for a minute! Meanwhile, down on the ground, Firefighter Don asked me if they had been out to our house yet to catch a snake. “Ummm, no. Firefighter Don, what on earth are you saying??” Turns out, their most common call in the summer is to remove snakes from backyards in our neighborhood.  Further, there was...

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Posted on Oct 27, 2012 | 0 comments

Apple Picking

Apple Picking

In the spirit of trying to create seasonal traditions for our family that are fun, yet tolerable to the grown-ups on an annual basis for the next sixteen years, we loaded up the SUV and headed to the mountains for some apple picking. It was a last minute plan, but, somehow, we got out the door by 9:30 a.m. Oh yeah, it’s because the baby got us up before dawn. That helps. It turns out, it was the last day of apple picking for the entire season, in the entire region (I’m still wondering how they all decide, before the season even starts, what day all the orchards in southern California will run out of apples and close. Is there a committee? A phone tree? An apple psychic? Anyway.) I’m pretty glad we got there when we did.       I’m not inherently a super spontaneous, go-with-the-flow sort of person. I’m organized by nature, and I was brought up to plan, research, employ graph paper, and, finally, go...

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Posted on Oct 24, 2012 | 3 comments

No Rest for the Tricky

No Rest for the Tricky

Me:  It’s nap time. Do you want me to sleep with you? 3-year-old:  No. I just want you to hold my hand, though. Me (exhausted, and angling for little rest):  Well, I need to lie down if I’m going to hold your hand (bwahaha, aren’t I tricky, making him think I need to be horizontal in order to hold his hand. I’ll just squeeze into the bed next to him right here…) 3-year-old: I don’t actually want you to hold my hand. I don’t want you to sleep with me. Just make sure I’m okay every time you check on me even though I don’t want you to sleep with me. And your hair is sticking up like a palm tree. Me: stunned laughter 3-year-old:  Your hair is sticking up just like the baby when he wakes up. Me: more laughter. And humility. On multiple counts.   Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest...

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Posted on Oct 21, 2012 | 0 comments

Last Year’s Halloween Costume

Last Year’s Halloween Costume

  Yes, I am that mom. I like to coordinate my kids’ outfits. It’s one of the benefits of having had my kids, both boys, so close together. I don’t completely match them – I leave that to their grandma who lets me blame her for it – but I coordinate them so they “go together.” One day, they will rise up against this affront to their individuality and manhood but, for now, they are my little peas in a pod, in complementary shades of green. Take Halloween. Their first Halloween together, they were a firefighter and a Dalmatian. Seriously, could you die?  SO cute.  My oldest son happened to be over the edge about All Things Fireman at that point, so it naturally flowed from that. It was adorable. This year, he would not, could not, be tempted to repeat the duo, no matter what good shape those costumes were in, or how cost-effective it was (are those not three-year-old priorities? Oh, well).  As a result, I had...

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Posted on Oct 20, 2012 | 1 comment

Cool Lunch

Cool Lunch

There is something fun about tiny food.  From simple appetizers to fancy tea cakes, it’s just more fun to eat things in miniature.  Take this concept, add it to the idea that it’s also fun to eat out of unusual containers, and you get ice tray lunch! Put a few tried and true child pleasers (anything with peanut butter) with some bright colored veggies and dip (tri-colored bell peppers and hummus), some fruit, some meat, some little crackers, hard boiled eggs, olives, seeds, anything you think your kids will, or won’t, eat.  It’s a good place to try new things.   Avocado, feta cheese, oranges, slivered almonds, lightly cooked carrots, green beans, cherry tomatoes, strawberries…   Going in.   Fun food in the fort! (excuse the bad lighting in addition to the usual questionable photography)   These would be great, shatterproof containers for a picnic in the backyard. Tapas for tots! Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click...

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Posted on Oct 17, 2012 | 1 comment

Putting My Oxygen Mask On First

Putting My Oxygen Mask On First

This morning was cold.  All I wanted to do was get into a hot shower.  As usual, this was a preposterous idea.  Amidst choruses of “Mommy!  I want breakfast! There’s poo on the floor! Read this book to me! Fix my train!” and “(Ba)nana! Wake! Poopeee!” it’s all I can do to fling children’s limbs off mine, extricate myself from the covers before getting jumped on again, and run to the bathroom and shut the door quickly behind me without slamming anyone’s fingers.  Then: get in and out as fast a possible, as the door is nearly pounded from it’s hinges. This morning, Cute Banker was still in the shower when I awoke (rather, was awakened against my will, as described above). I ran into the other bathroom and quickly shut the door, as usual.  I pondered the overwhelming facts: the floor was like ice, I was freezing from the inside out, and the idea of hot water was more than I could resist.  I eyed the shower door....

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Posted on Oct 16, 2012 | 0 comments

Resident Artists

Resident Artists

When you don’t have any art for your big ol’ wall, commission some! Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Posted on Oct 7, 2012 | 0 comments

Halloween Pumpkins

Halloween Pumpkins

It’s a bit challenging to get photos of the pumpkin carving when one of your carvers is a little nudist.  So, here’s what we’ve got. Yep, that’s all the G-rated ones! Here’s a basic recipe for toasted pumpkin seeds. It’s infinitely customizable; these measurements are just to give you an idea where to start. Add 1/8 teaspoon cayenne if you want a spooky little kick! Sweet & Spicy Pumpkin Seeds   Print Prep time 10 mins Cook time 45 mins Total time 55 mins   Sweetly spiced (not hot) pumpkin seeds. Try instead of popcorn - or mixed in - as you watch The Great Pumpkin! Author: Michelle Q / Sand and Table Recipe type: Snack Ingredients 1½ cups raw pumpkin seeds, scooped from two small pumpkins, or one large one ½ tablespoon olive oil ¾ tablespoon refined sugar ½ teaspoon chili powder ½ teaspoon cinnamon ¼ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt (or ⅛ teaspoon table salt) Instructions Preheat oven to 300. Put seeds and any attached pulp...

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Posted on Oct 2, 2012 | 0 comments

Cleaning Up Baby Poop Again: Oh Well, I Can’t Afford Manicures, Anyway

Cleaning Up Baby Poop Again: Oh Well, I Can’t Afford Manicures, Anyway

I have already cleaned up baby excrement (the bad kind) three times today. Once from the little potty, once from the floor, and once from all over the baby, himself. That last one had so much volume, it required a trip to the changing table and – after finally accepting the dimensions of this disaster – the bath. I have also cleaned up multiple cat hairballs, and a blueberry smoothie explosion all over the potty (again!), the floor, and the same baby who was, that time, treated to a shower under the hose.  This was all before 8:30 in the morning. Just when I broke down into tears over discovering that the blueberry smoothie did not discriminate against my pricey, pre-child white blanket, as if God were saying, “You think you can’t take anymore? Let’s see…,” the baby took a gigundous poo ON THE FLOOR, stepped in it, and left tiny, cement-like poo prints all across the floor. And down his leg. And across my soul. And all the way outside,...

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Posted on Jan 13, 2011 | 2 comments

Sleeping Like a (Stubborn, Nap-Resistant, but Terribly Cute) Baby

Sleeping Like a (Stubborn, Nap-Resistant, but Terribly Cute) Baby

My child naps at 12:00. Usually. For the last week, I have been trying unsuccessfully to remind him of this pattern. He just plays and talks and sings and jumps around for an hour or two until I have fallen asleep 20 times, for 10 seconds each, and finally decide I have had enough. Today was one such day.     At 2:00, I finally let the caged bird out, and give him a snack. Then I leave him alone in his highchair so I can take a shower. I figure I deserve one after two days, and certainly my midwife would appreciate it should I go into labor tonight. It probably won’t be considered child neglect in the eyes of the law considering the circumstances. (You know, you pick your law-bending moments when you have a baby. One of the many things nobody tells you.) When I get out of the shower, it’s silent. I have a fleeting thought that maybe he has fallen asleep. This is not...

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