Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Tale of Two Genders

Tonight while getting ready for bed I started my normal routine. At some point before bed I always go to the bathroom. Sorry for being so crude but here we go. As I sat to pee I happened to look over at the toilet paper roll. The last person who used that bathroom (my husband) had left exactly one square. One. When I pointed this out to him he said there was a fresh roll on the back of the toilet in the pack. This is not a new situation, but I think it sums thing up well. He used what he needed and then decided that the roll was not technically empty. Technically. Ugh! 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Tale of A Christmas Wish

It's nearing the end of Christmas Day 2013. My children are in bed an my husband is sitting comfortably on the sofa watching Dr. Who. All is right in our little world. At least it is at the moment.

Turn back the clock 48 hours and you would find a very different picture. 

At 3:30 am on Monday morning I woke with the kind of pain that in any movie is only caused by alien parasites or demon possession. That doubling over, gripping your fists, wake you up like a boot to the gut pain. Hopefully I have made my situation clear. Turns out I had a bit of that nasty old stomach flu that Has been "Going Around". Off to the bathroom went I to do what needed to de done to calm the beast. Just when I returned to my bed, cold, sweating, shivering, I heard a commotion down the hall in my kids room. Rather than have them wake their dad I went to find out what was happening. I came upon the two headed to the bathroom. The 4yo needed to throw up and as reported by the 6yo had possibly already done so in the bed. I felt like the exact opposite of someone who had just won a mega-lottery. 

Anyway, off I went to take care of the kids and investigate the incident in the bed. Sure enough, the bed needed cleaning and both kids were wide awake. I set them up in the family room, removed the soiled bedding, and then went back into the bathroom to be sick several more times. 

My favorite moment or possibly just the most notable was later in the morning. Just after I experienced a rather violent wave of diarrhea, I attempted to leave the bathroom only to be hit by an epic wave of nausea that I attempted to control with the classic hand over mouth move. Unfortunately, the pressure behind the hand was more than it could contain and the contents of my stomach found another route, pushing it's way out my nose. That's not the best bit though. There's more! After the job of cleaning up that mess was complete. Left shaking, and I'm sorry to admit, crying, I turned for my smartphone which was on the counter next to the porcelain god to which I had been praying. I reached for it with my shaking right hand and that damn phone leapt from my hand and took a dive into the toilet! As if it had a will of it's own. I swear it! 

The next moment happened in slow motion and went like this- 
I yelled "NO!" 
Reached into the dread toilet of sick (recall I had just cleaned the bathroom and flushed several times, but still YUCK!), removed the device, and hearing my sisters words in my ear I quickly turned off the device and attempted to dry it as best I could. 
Then I performed the only sort CPR I was capable of. I entombed my dear phone, my lifeline, in a ziplock bag filled with large white rice. Fingers crossed drying and not dying.  
So here is my Christmas wish. That my smartphone live through the trauma as the 4yo and I myself have somehow done. That the technology gods smile upon me this Christmas and allow the phone to survive to see 2014. Please.....

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Tale of A Yeti Sandwich

I love the 1964 Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer movie! The moved played each year as I was growing up. It's one of my favorites from the holiday seasons of my childhood. 

After the last post about not painting sandwiches I realized that the 4yo had an extended day and needed a lunch. I love elves and we have already watched the movie several times this season. The 4yo love Yeti's so I decided to paint her sandwich with a picture of Bumble and ta-da! Here it is. 

Nutella sandwich painted with food coloring, on the side we have apples and a mix of Goldfish with M&M's. 
 I also made my own food pick using clipart and a toothpick. Super simple and it brings Hermey and Rudolph to the party.
Bumble the yeti
While searching for the movie on youtube I also found this 2004 interview with the man who wrote the book on the production company that produced these movies. It's interesting and now I am tempted to go find his books.

There is nothing better than good animation or a good sandwich. <3

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tales of A Poem About Death

I found this a few weeks ago when I was looking for Dia de los Muertos inspiration.

Someday I'll be a weather-beaten skull resting on a grass pillow,
Serenaded by a stray bird or two.
Kings and commoners end up the same,
No more enduring than last night's dream.

I love the way the author understands the way death is a part of the natural order and does not romanticize the afterlife as an otherworld full of happy people hanging out in a white and gold cloud world. Those images always kind of depress me. The idea that afar it all, I will have a chance to feed the earth and maybe if I am luck a plant or tree, well that sounds like heaven to me!

The 6yo and 4yo on our way to a Dia de los Muertos festival 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tale of A Bento Evolution

If you know me, or if you have visited any of my older posts you know that I spent the 2012-13 school year making themed lunches for my kids. It really was a lot of fun, it started conversations with people at my daughters new school and I know the girls enjoyed it as well. I mean, I know these are not the best bento's in the world. I know that they pale compared to the art of many more authentic bentos mom's are making every day out of noodles, tiny eggs and vegetables. However I enjoyed making them for my kids and it became a bit of a hobby for me.
Here is an example of a lunch based on one of our favorite books. 

Bento from 2012-13 school year. Hungry Hungry Caterpillar .
This will come as no shock to anyone, these lunches took a chunk of time. Not that my kids aren't worth it, but sometimes I want to sleep in until 5:30. Boo, hoo, hoo. I know. 
Soot balls, flowers and leaves for both my girls. 

In April the still 5yo came in contact with a PB sandwich made with a Hawaiian Roll and fell in love. This simple sandwich was thrown together using a roll left over from a family dinner and our normal pb&honey mixture I keep in the pantry. She loved it. Imagine my luck! Over six months later the Hawaiian Roll sandwiches are all she wants. 

So now the lunches look more like this-
PB&H on Hawaiian Rolls. Apple slices, pretzels, string cheese and a Yukult drink. 
It just doesn't have that same Shazam! but she is happy and I have a bit more time. It is just my kids lunch after all. Right? 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

I Nearly Died! (laughing)

A few nights ago my husband went to LA to see a band play. According to the flyer for the event the band was going on at 8:45pm. 

Quick background, this man gets up EARLY. Normally he is up at 4:30 latest 5am and then out of the office by 5:15. 

I had a very foggy memory of him coming in around 1am I think, sort of, maybe. I did remember his alarm going off at 4:30 for sure.

Like every weekday my alarm went off at 5:30. I lay there for a moment and looked around. For the life of me I had no recollection of him getting up and going to work but clearly, he was gone. The clock said 5:30, I used my phone flashlight and saw that the bathroom door stood open, the room was empty, and the light was off. I got up and went out into the family room. Dark. He normally leaves that light on when he leaves. So I went into the kitchen. The light was on just as I had left it the night before. All of a sudden I was worried. Had he come home? Had I only dreamt it? What if something really bad had happened and there I was the jack-hole who slept through this tragic event totally unaware?

After a moment I shook myself out of it, made a cup of coffee, and went back to my bathroom to shower. 
As I turned on the light in the bathroom a voice behind me said "What did you say?" my heart stopped and then managed to lodge itself in my throat.
I turned around. 
There he was, asleep on his side of the bed! I guess I forgot to look there. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I Nearly Fell Over!

Yesterday afternoon I was walking with my 4yo daughter when a white cat ran across our path.
F, the 4yo said to me "Mommy, I want a white cat" at which time I gave there the regular answer about family with allergies.
She then told me she would be happy with that cat.
So I explained the cat we had just seen was likely ferrel.

Her response? "My daddy eats ferrel cats."
As if it was the most normal thing in the world.
There is no appropriate response to that.

Monday, November 25, 2013


I just realized that when I am stressed, feeling overwhelmed with work, home, the kids and everything I hope to accomplish I hum a specific tune. I found myself singing the words in my head and realized that during these times it's my mantra. 

"I can put the wash on the line,
Feed the kids, get dressed,
pass out the kisses
and get to work by five to Nine.

I can bring home the bacon,
fry it up in a pan
and never, never, never let you forget your a man.......cause I'm a woman.....Enjoli."

Well, if I'm honest it's the last part I sing over and over again, the section that says bacon, pan, man. 

Don't know the song? You can watch it on Yourube here. (Come back when you are done!)
I was a kid when this commercial was on TV and it's practically burned into the back of my skull it was on TV so often. This woman was beautiful, capable, and somehow managed to hang clothes out to dry, rear children, and wear a white dress! If you google the lyrics to this jingle  (as I did today) it's likely that you will find blog posts about how jacked up and unrealistic this expectation is and how wrong it was that Maddison Avenue sold it to our mothers and all the young women and girls who saw it. Well, I don't know. I know plenty of amazing women who do the things this 1970's lady proclaimed to be capable of doing. She doesn't sing about the nights she is up with a sick kid, seeing a costume, soo tired she can hardly remember her own name, or that she fell asleep on the couch 15minutes after her kids are in bed. Seriously who in their right mind would?!? That would be one miserable jingle. Are the expectations she is singing about idealized? Yes. Is it hard as hell, and will some things fall though the cracks? Yep, most likely. So what? I'm not sure why having high expectations is a problem. Is it wrong to set your sights on a well rounded life, with a career, kids, and a happy marriage wrong? Should our daughters be striving for less?
Granted that something in the depth of accomplishment has got to give if you are going for a breath. Is that a problem? Maybe. I'm not sure it's worth getting mad at a 40 year old commercial. It still helps me through my days of running like a crazy person from kids to work to family to home to late night work to laundry to kids or whatever. Don't judge me. It's not like I wear the perfume. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sexy Halloween Costumes part II

Less than an hour ago I posted about the sexification of Halloween costumes and was looking for an article I had read last year to include. Well persistence does pay off now and then and I found it! Seems it has been reposted and possibly updated this year. Yippy!

Enjoy it here and be sure to look at the photos at the bottom which document costumes from teh early 1990's against today's versions. The mind boggles!

It's nearly Halloween! Time to pull out that sexy costume....?

I have always enjoyed halloween. When I was in my early teens I was especially sad that I could no longer trick-or-treat, and most halloween parties or too young for others. I put a lot of energy into decorating the house and figuring out a costume to scare the neighbor kids.
Some of my Halloween costumes over the years. (from top left clockwise: Where's Waldo?,  home made princess costume, Lunette, scary clown, home made bride, a 'mod') 
As you can see from my little collage above I have had some silly costumes, some scary costumes and some downright lame costumes. Yes, I have dressed up like Waldo. What's the big deal?  Recently, as my children have begun to pick their own costumes and we have moved from dinosaur and princess to other options I have been shocked and put off by the overwhelming number of the uber-sexy costumes made for girls of all ages and sizes. That may be the reason I found this bit on The Daily Show so awesome. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
A few years ago I had read something about the rise of hyper sexy costumes for women and young girls which included a then and now of simple things like a witch, strawberry shortcake and EVEN Spongebob. I have not been able to find that same article but I did find this very interesting commentary on the subject by Rebecca Hains an academic who writes about children's media culture. The fact is, that 15 or more years ago there was a lot less pressure to be crazy sexy at halloween. It was a fun holiday in the fall. It's chilly and why in the world would you be uncomfortable for the sake of sexy? Ugh! Today the expectation for women, even the very young women is so different. So warped and strange to me. I guess I should be thankful my kids are asking to be things like zombies and possibly Darth Vader.

Mom always said that the way to a man's heart was through his stomach....And who wouldn't want to BE a sexy pizza? aka the object of his desire.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Making a list of movies for Halloween

My kids are not "normal" I know that.
They love creepy stuff including movies and stories. They also love spending time visiting graveyards. I believe this is directly inherited from my husband, but then again I have fond memories of walking graveyards myself as a kid so I guess he may be taking the blame for something they have inherited from us both.
My two kids nearly two years ago at Hollywood Forever on Halloween morning
When L was little she was the sort of child that would wait in dark rooms for someone to come in so she could jump out and scare them. At less than two years old! When she started preschool I had to warn the teacher that she might tell scary stories or pretend to be dead. 
People say things all the time. F is playing zombies and people say "oh, but that is so scary!" as if that child is not loving every moment of being afraid! Being scared for these kids is the same sort of adrenaline rush that other people get from ridding motorcycles or bungie jumping. 

So as October draws near they are starting to pull out costumes and watch scary movies. This morning we began making a list of movies to watch each Sunday of the month leading up to Halloween. 

Here is our list. 
1. Frankenweenie (short) 1984 

Walk like a Zombie

It's an autumn-ish Sunday morning and we are learning how to walk like zombies. Here is our favorite how to video. 
#familyfun #weekendswithathreeyearold #creepykids #pbandangst

Friday, October 11, 2013

Another Painted Lunch

Thanks to an extra crazy schedule this fall, and the 6yo's love of hawaiian rolls with PB&Honey I simply have not had time or the need to make any elaborate painted lunches. This week the 3yo had extended day at preschool and needed launch. To welcome our first week with rain and cooler weather I went with a fall theme. The sandwich was filled with the peanut butter and honey mix I make each monday and I used a rolling pin on the bread before I put any spread on it so that it would be easier to cut and also take the paint better.
This is about 1/2 of a sandwich. If you are using cookie cutters,  especially if you want the details to show up, be sure to press or use a roller the bread. 

detail of the painting process

Little owl, leaves, and acorn. Hand painted with food coloring. 

Final product with sides. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

It's A Bird... It's A Plane...

The following is a true story. It happened to me.

Yesterday I needed to send off some documents for work. I love my local post office. The people who work there are so friendly and helpful.

Anyway, I had completed my transactions and I was headed to the front door to leave when I saw that I was about to meet up with an older man (somewhere between 75-100) walking the same direction.  He was hunched, and thin, and walking slowly. So I dropped back and let him go through the door first. 
Beyond the door parked at the front curb was a late model Saturn. In the passenger seat was a woman who looked like she had been cast as the grandma for a Normal Rockwell painting. The only thing she was missing was a high necked shirt with a cameo broach, her silver hair was packed neatly into a bun and everything about her suggested softness and fresh cookies.

As we exited the building "Grandma" looked up at the man in front of me and I heard her exclaim "There's my Superman!" and my heart swelled thinking about these two people, their entwined lives and their love.

In a flash I was stopped dead in my tracks as Grandma with pure venom in her voice said "Fly shit-head, fly like superman you stupid SHIT-HEAD!"  

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Good Lookin' Out?

So last night my husband decided we should go out for tacos. He had just read an article from an LA based food critic who finds amazing hole in the wall places an added bonus is that we are already familiar with the Chef because he owns a restaurant in the next city. So we had to give it a try.  
It had already been a long hot day and although I agreed I was tired and could have just as easily gone to bed at 5pm. Bed was not an option. The family across the street, who my kids adore, was having a birthday party so first we were going there to give the father a card they made and wish him a happy birthday.
Hubby took the kids across the street while I put on some makeup and changed my shirt. That entire process took maybe 10 minutes max. I joined my family at the party. Said hello and visited for maybe 15 minutes before it was time to head out to dinner. Back across the road we all piled in the car and took off. We ate at this new taco place (fantastic food, but that's another story.) Thanks to the afore mentioned article from the LA based food critic, the other occupied tables had Silver-lake style hipsters.
ANYWAY, as we were sitting at our table recuperating from eating far too many amazing tacos the 6yo turned to me and said "Oh! Mommy I forgot to tell you!" Me, "what?" 6yo, "You have your shirt on inside out"

Monday, September 2, 2013

Henry Ford of Bento Lunches

We all live busy lives and I am no exception. As the school year really kicks into gear for my kids and my own work schedule picks up with travel around the Southwest my time to do the things I love, and my children expect becomes more precious. This week my husband is traveling for work so even though I'm more or less home its going to be a bumpy week. My 6yo daughter has been fixated on PB&H sandwiches made on Kings Hawaiian rolls since April. The week after Easter I used the left overs from our family dinner for her lunch. The rest is history.
Anyway, this actually makes my life much easier and I can now plan much of her lunches for the week ahead of time. Depending on how many side items I have to send I will either send her one or two of the sandwiches. 
It's too late to make this long story short, but my point with writing this post is to say, hey! I make things ahead and that's A-Ok. 
So here is my sandwich assembly line. 
I make the peanut butter and honey mixture in a glass bowl with a lid so I can grab it as needed. This size typically lasts two weeks.
The rolls are best cut with a serrated knife. Then it's simple! Spread the goodness and put them in the fridge for the week. 

Ta-da! And I'm that much closer to having lunch made!


Thursday, August 22, 2013

First Day of School 2013- Teachers Gifts

This is an update to the Teacher's Gift from last year. The big jar was very popular so I thought I would do it again. This year both girls started school the same week so I made one for each teacher.
For F's preschool teacher
Here are the contents- pocket sized tissues, some post it notes, a packet of Airborne, a small box of Cepacol, hand sanitizer, a coffee cozy, a cooling scarf for hot days and a stripped scarf for the fall. 

For L's First grade teacher we made this one
So the girls loaded the jar with the goodies. They loved being part of the process.
Another first day of school is done!

Monday, August 19, 2013

And now we can see the start of the sequester's impact

The thing about early education is that it's impact is like an iceberg. You may see the smallest bit of it at the start but the true impact will go on and on.

Today on the radio I heard about all the children who will no longer have access to Head Start. It broke my heart. A generation of children are suffering from the unwillingness to compromise, our greed and need to war, and the mismanagement of our state and federal finances.

This breaks my heart. If we can not look after the least among us, our babies and youngest children, our elderly, those that are ill either physically or mentally, those that are hungry physically or mentally, what sort of society are we?

FIrst Day of School

Well, the new clothes are all washed and dried.
The backpack filled with the "donations" listed for 1st grade.
Lunch is made and waiting in the fridge.
Now my job is to be driver and cheerleader until 4:00 when I become tutor and coach.
Here is to the first day of school!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

How you know your kids are smarter than you are....

Last night the 3yo and I were watching Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on cable. If you know my kids or have read my posts you will know that although this may seem a strange choice for your typical 3 year old, F is far too creepy to be bothered by this movie. Anyway, if you have seen it you will know the scene when Ron has been taken into a tunnel under the Whomping Willow by the black dog and Harry and Hermione follow them until they all arrive in the Shrieking Shack. At which point we finally meet Sirius Black. A few moment's later (sorry if this is a spoiler for someone in 2013, who has managed to avoid both the book and the movie) Peter Pettigrew is exposed. 

All of a sudden F starts in, "Mommy, who is that?" 

I reply, "Peter Pettigrew"

her, irritated, "Mommy, who is that MAN?"

me thinking (right, she has not read the books and we have seen these all out of order), "Honey, that is Peter Pettigrew, he is also Scabbers" 

F taking it to the next three levels of annoyed with me, "MOMMY, THE MAN. Who is he?" 
Me, "OK. Peter Pettigrew was a friend of Harry's mommy and daddy at school. Everyone thought he died the same night that they died.."

F cutting me off, "NO!" now pacing in front of the TV

Me totally confused, "Honey come sit with me and watch the movie, it's OK." who was I kidding? This kid was not worried about that guy or anyone else in the movie. 

Now she was standing in front of a book shelf, "Mommy I need the movie book!"

Me (tired after a long day), "F please come sit down. We are not changing movies now. I'm sorry if you are tired of this movie, we can turn it off and find something else to do, but..."
F, "MOMMY I need the book! That man is in this book!" 

Me finally starting to understand, "The man who plays Peter Pettigrew is in another movie?"
F with such relief, "YES!" 

So I take down the binder with all the kids DVD's in it and she begins to sort through the pages beginning with A Adams Family, The. 

F touching each DVD lightly with one index finger, "not this one, not this one, not this one"
when she reached E she said, "This movie mommy! That man is in this movie!" As I said she is 3 and not reading yet (even though she insists she can read many words including Exit and party on the boat) so I went over to look.

There she was with the book open to 

F "Mommy! He is in this movie! Mommy what is the name of this movie?"

Finally! I understood! Me to F, "That's Enchanted. Honey, you have seen this man from Harry Potter in this movie?"

"Yes! Yes! He is a bad man in this movie toooooo!" I figured she meant the spineless man servant who betrays the prince for the faux love of the queen and congratulated her on her ability to recognize the actor so quickly. 
This morning, just to be sure I checked on IMDB. Sure enough Timothy Spall is in both Harry Potter and Enchanted as well as several other children's movies.  

So there you have it. 3 years old and she is already more observant than her mother. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Fall Lunch Review- Skull Sandwiches

My kids are creepy. I say it all the time and people think I am kidding. 
But I'm not! 

When L was old enough to walk and talk (about a year old) she would hide in our dark hall and wait to jump out at my husband and me. F loved to pretend to be a zombie at 18 months and was even happier when I would pretend that hordes of zombies were lumbering down our street toward the house. We would scream and point and run to hide. This is how my children have entertained themselves since they were old enough to do so. I guess it's in their DNA. 

Last October I made a different Halloween lunch each day. Toward the end of the month I decided to do a lunch for Dia de Los Muertos. 

I made the sandwiches out of the kids favorite, pb&honey and sealed the sandwiches with my Wonder Bread Sandwich Sealer N Decruster (it's awesome, I got it on a random isle at our local grocery store and the darn thing cost less than $5!) 

 So here was my Day of the Dead lunch for 2012. I used red and green food coloring mixed together to make the brown which I painted on the sandwich with a small water color brush freehand. The details were painted with orange and purple food coloring.
On the side I included a popcorn mix that my husband picked up at costco, I put some small skull candies into it to skull it up. I also included a tiny snickers bar and several apple slices that I partially skinned.
As I was posting this F said "Oh! Is that my lunch for tomorrow?" and requested another for tomorrow. Silly wabbit!

A Visitor for Bear Themed Lunch

One of our favorite books last year was A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker
It's a story about a bear who lives alone and is trying to make his breakfast. A mouse keeps showing up in his house asking for a cup of tea. It's a cute story about a creature living alone, stuck in a rut who learns to enjoy the company of someone else and to share his space and time with someone. 
Last school year I made a fairly simple bento lunch for my then 5 year old based on the book. 

As you can see it really isn't anything fancy. I used a bear cookie cutter for the main sandwich and a mouse for the second. Using construction paper, a toothpick and a marker I made the sign from the book.
Along with the sandwich I included cheddar bunnies (nearest I had to mice) a yogurt drink and sliced apple chips. It went over well. That is to say she ate her lunch. Not sure what else I can ask!

If you have young kids and don't know the book you should check it out at your local library or get yourself a copy on your favorite online retailer. It's a lot of fun to read.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A New School Year and My Philosophy on Gifts for Teachers and other School Staff

In a former life (from the age of 26 to 34) I worked at a school. I did many jobs in the school, I mean it, at one time I drove a van/mini bus shuttling students between campuses, I was the yard duty lady, one of the lunch ladies, I was a part time Art Teacher (you gotta work at a high school for that to be a full time job), the Activities Director, the Office Lady, and finally the Assistant Director. Im not giving you my resume here. Im telling you this because, even though I was not a student, I learned a lot working there. In the staff and teachers, the Director(s), the parents and students I found some amazing teachers.

This school where I worked was a bit of a posh private affair. The families came from the local community and the four corners of the earth. We welcomed students from all over the world on a regular basis and it was an amazing experience.

So. I didn't have kids at the time and frankly working with all those kids and their parents was an excellent birth control. But long before Pinterest or even Facebook I was building an idea of what I wanted my kids lunches to look like (Bento!) and what teacher gifts should be like. Our parents were so generous! If this is how educators are treated in other countries then we are really missing the boat. I came home with a car full of gifts every Christmas and a weeks worth at the end of the school year. We were not paid a lot by the school, but the students and parents showed us so much love daily and showered us with gifts on holidays, they unknowingly made up for it in a lot of ways.

My husband says Im nuts, that my expectations are out of whack. I don't know about that. What I know is this. There are people taking care of my kids. Heck, they are EDUCATING them. If I can't give them a little something special, not outrageous, just something that I have thought about and planned, if I can't take the time to show them how thankful I am to them, what's the point? Good Teachers put a lot of themselves into their work and I don't care how much they get paid, that pound of flesh they give to our future every day will never be fully paid back to them.

Last year my oldest daughter started Kindergarten at our local public school. This was a new experience for me. I mean, I attended public school from K-4th grade but that was a million years ago! I had only worked in the private schools so I had no idea what to expect. Thankfully the principal is fantastic and the office staff not only put up with my 1001 questions but they made us feel welcome.

Im not big into a lot of the trends to be frank I don't have the money or the time to go chasing whatever comes after birds or mason jars. However last fall I was well aware of the mason jar trend and saw this fantastic, and giant version at Target. I had been collecting items all summer to put into a basket for the start of school and I figured this would be a perfect receptacle.
The thing about this gift at least in my mind, is that the giant jar is a a gift in itself!
Here is a list of what I put in last year's jar.
two packs of scotch tape
cute pencils
hand sanitizer
various sizes and shapes of post it notes
small note cards
a small $ gift card
a note saying how excited we were to have her as L's teacher

Last year L's teacher was a runner so her gift card was from Jamba Juice.
My favorite color in all the world is orange so that was the color ribbon I used. I tried to put in items that she might need and would supply for the classroom herself.
Here is how it turned out-

It's not a full day pass to the local hot springs/spa or Nordstrom gift card but I thought it was a cute gift. The entire thing ran me about $35 including the $17 jar (from and the $5 gift card.

At some point I posted a picture of it on pinterest, that sucker has blown up in the last two months! I have watched in amazement as it went from 0 re-pins in June to over 100 last week. Seems there are enough people out there who feel the way I do. Im glad to know they are there!

This year I went out and got two of the jars and I'm doing a slightly different version for F and L's teachers. Watch this space and find out how it went!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Creepy Stuff

Sometimes you just have got to embrace your creepy side. This week I'm traveling for work and some of the time we are spending in an old house. This afternoon we were allowed to explore and I found this extra creepy attic room. 
So naturally I sat in it!
While I was sitting there a couple of interns wandered by and about peed their pants. It was the highlight of my day, maybe my week! #realamericanhorrorstory 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer Blogging

So here is a list of the blogs I have started and have yet to complete and post-

Not Making Kids Lunches (oh the joy!)
The Sound of Snoring
the SCoUS decisions on Prop 8 and DOMA
What the hell is happening to my skin?
Why working from home sucks
Having a third Child. Oh, I mean becoming the mom of a bunny.
Parenting my Parents
Building a Better Bunny House
Moving Mom from Assisted Living to a Senior Complex
You know your 3/4 way through summer when you find your children fighting over paper clips
Frozen Yogurt
Help! I haven't made a dent in my summer to-do-list!
Planning for fall.

I need to do something about this and quick! Blah, argh! 

A little something for a hot summers day

My husband goes on kicks, or becomes obsessed with a meal or other food item. A few weeks ago he spent part of the morning in our kitchen and came out with this lovely drink. Similar to a Starbucks Lime Drink, it's amazingly refreshing. 

Mint and ginger infused simple syrup
Lime juice
Soda water

Once the ingredients are made its fairly easy to assemble. The equation is 1-1-4 or 1 cup simple syrup to 1 cup lime juice with 4 cups water. 

I'm sure it would be a nice adult beverage by substituting a cup of water with some alcohol but I have yet to give it a try. No matter, for now it's just what the doctor ordered!!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

As I myself search for Work Life Balance...

I started reading this article Home Economics: The Link Between Work-Life Balance and Income Equality by Stephen Marche for The Atlantic  yesterday evening, and finally finished it this morning at 5:30am. It's a good read about the state of parenting, if you are not feeling the continued economic pinch then I congratulate you for being one of the few, here Marche points out several false and some oh so very true conflicts in parenting.  Enjoy! 

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Moms....June 1-14 2013

So I am a working mom. This is not a unique situation. I wonder how it is that all the other working moms "do it". I swear each week I make all my mental To-do lists, one for work, one for the kids, a few items to do for or with my parents, another for general household things. I start the week off with everything

.....and that is as far as I got on that post which I started on the 1st of the month. UGH!

I begin again now, on June 14th.

Where was I? Yes. Just like when I was back in school and the semester was new- I start each week off with every possibility, with an A.  Like I said before I have my lists, my calendars, my plans. Then every hour, as each day passes, items fall to the bottom of the list, they are forgotten, or done quickly and sometimes, I am sad to say, half-assed. Clean laundry piles up in baskets, projects go undone, plants in my garden die due to neglect, books sit unread. I hate it. I really do, but what can I do? Until someone invents a way to get more hours out of a day or until I win the power ball this is my lot in life. Who am I to bitch and moan about this? I have a job, so many people are struggling to find work. Both of my parents are alive, far too many people in their 40's have lost at least one. I have an often grumpy, caveman of a husband whom I love. I have my two kids, who exhaust and frustrate me but also give me great joy and love.
I'm not complaining, I am just asking. How do other mothers do it?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Travis, this has been bugging me for ages!

If you are old enough you may remember the first 501 commercial circa 1981 you will know the line "Travis, you're a year too late!". This along with the apple commercial based on Orwell's book 1984 really rocked my world.  These commercials were ground breaking and iconic. They only referenced the product and left thousands of us wondering what the hell the images meant. Like many of my generation my parents had immigrated to California from the midwest in the 1950's and/or 1960's so the movie Giant was a story my Dad identified with.  By the time I was a tween I had seen the movie a time or two on network TV so the image was a familiar one to me when I first saw the groundbreaking spot-
The example I found on youtube is a bit different than I remember, but for those of you who need their memory exercised here you go!

Funny how things happen. My husband and I were talking about it this past weekend and I was telling him the story of sitting in my moms car at a light in Anaheim. There was a giant billboard and my sister became possessed by something (possibly just the fact that she was 11) rolled down her car window and practically leaned her entire body out of the window as she yelled "Travis, you're a year too late!" at the top of her lungs in the crowded intersection. There was a white junker next to us full of early 80's punk rock teens and had they not burst out laughing my 13 year old self may have melted into the bucket seat. It really was very spontaneous and funny. None of us knew what the phrase meant, but we all knew it.
While doing a bit of research on this commercial I found this article it gives some really good insight from the creative director of the commercial and finally answers the question "What the heck does that mean?" check it out!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Salad topping= YUM! (updated)

Not too long ago my husband made a cabbage salad with a ramen topping that was really good. Honestly, I'd be happy to have it at least once a week. At least.
A  few days ago I needed to bring a salad to a potluck and wanted to bring something yummy but only had mixed greens and some random veggies. I did have ramen however. So I gave the hub a call and he briefly told me what he used in his topping (instructions included lots of "eyeball it") and slivered almonds which we were also out of. So I cut up all the veggies and went to work making my version of the topping to dress it up a bit. I loved it, my oldest daughter lived it and I h ad to swat her away from it like a fly. I was so pleased hat everyone at he potluck seemed to like it. Today I made it again so here are the steps and the "eyeball recipe"

1) ingredients-1tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil, 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, two tablespoons brown sugar, saracha chili sauce (a few squirts or to taste), one pack ramen. My husband uses slivered almonds in his but when I am moved to make it we always seem to be out. Naturally it's your call. 

2) in a saucepan melt butter, add sesame seed oil, seeds, nuts, sugar, and saracha. 

3) while package of ramen is still closed smash the hell out of it, make sure you remove the flavor pack when you open the package.

4) dump into saucepan and stir until ramen is covered

5) spread mix on cookie sheet and put in oven at 350 to brown and crisp

6) watch like a hawk because it will burn!

7) stir now and then 

8) when it's brown remove and cool

9) break up and sprinkle on salad, or eat from a bowl like I love to do!

10) YUM! Enjoy your sweet and spicy topping!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Birthday Stuff!

Recently my oldest daughter, L, turned six. We don't have a big party with a bunch of kids every year, but we always have a family party with her cousins, grandparents, Aunts and Uncles. These are my favorite. We have a nice big magnolia tree in the front yard so it's a good place to have a kids party in the spring. To dress it up for the occasion I hung paper lanterns and other round paper things which L helped me pick out at a few discount stores and a party center. I think it came out really festive!
In my purse and shoe days (I call them that because they were the days before kids when I could spend money on purses and shoes) I trolled the vintage stores, thrift stores, antique malls and estate sales buying old table clothes. Now I use them, miss-matched as they are, for dinners and other family events. For the b-day party I used pulled out six or so for the tables rather than those disposable cloths I think they give even a 6th birthday party a more permanent feeling, and are more environmentally friendly! On that note, although we did use disposable cups and flat-wear we also employed our cafeteria plates which my husband and I picked up some 8 years ago for less than $1 each at Big Lots. All the soda cans (I got the smaller 7oz type) and the few water bottles we provided were all recycled. I was really happy with the lack of trash at the end of the day.  
Here is the yard the same evening with the afternoon sun beginning to set behind the tree. Although my children have asked to have the decorations left up they are already bleaching out from the sun and several have dissolved thanks to a few days of heavy spring rain. Oh well, it was lovely while it lasted! 

I <3 Legos

So for my daughter's 6th birthday she received several sets if Legos. The other night I stayed up until nearly midnight, MIDNIGHT playing with my kids Legos. My husband went to bed at 9:45 and I stayed up for over two hours! So here is the result. It's not beautiful but it sure was fun! Here's to staying up too late playing with kids toys.