Sunday, October 31, 2010

Death be not proud.

via Caught Dead in That

Need a little Halloween-ish humor? Check out Jacob Sager Weinsteins' blog, Caught Dead in That, which features photographs of the weirdest, most whacked-out tombstones imaginable.

Happy Halloween!!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

What a mother will do.

This is a post from last year when I maintained a private blog. I re-read it today and cried all over again. Tiffany, my favorite and the prettiest SITS girl, inspired me to share this story from the past.  


For a Literature Parade at my duo’s elementary school, my darling six-year-old decided to go as Max, the character from the beloved book written and illustrated by Maurice Sendack, Where the Wild Things Are. I located a darling seller on Etsy to whom I was willing to pay $90 (yes, 90 USD) to make and ship to me a custom Max costume complete with crown. I placed the order on October 4th. Plenty of time.


I sat back, proud of my purchase and waited. The Etsy seller I chose mentioned a 2 week turn around time.  Fine. Plenty of time. My Little Guy was beyond excited. And inquired, almost daily, when it would arrive. Any day now.  

Any.  Day.  

On October 20th, I sent a nice message to the Etsy seller inquiring sheepishly when my Max costume might ship. Radio silence. On October 21st, I sent a less-sheepish email asking for an estimated shipping date. Nothing. By October 22nd I was beginning to fear this seller had taken my 90 USD and . . . well she couldn’t have gotten too far, but still, why no response?!  

Finally, a message on the 23rd:  “I’m putting the finishing touches on it and it will ship out tomorrow or Monday.” Ahhhhh. To which I nicely reply:  “Thank you so much for the response {FINALLY!!!}, just so you know I need to receive the costume by October 29th so my son can wear it on the 30th (not Halloween, the 31st). I did not note this initially because I had no idea we would be cutting it so close.”   “No problem” was the now quick response “I’ll send it priority mail and get you the tracking number as soon as I have it.” 

On Monday, the 26th, I send another messages asking “tracking number yet?”  Nothing.  

HUGE pit.  

Late that night she replies and says “I’m putting the finishing touches on it now and will ship in the morning. Would you like me to send it Express mail?” WHAT?  She hasn’t even shipped it and we need to have it in our hands in 3 days.  


I promptly reply and state that she MUST send it Express mail to ensure I receive it on the 29th.  

Tuesday morning. I constantly check for the tracking info to arrive. Nothing. My Little Guy comes home and asks again, “Has it Max arrived yet?”  I cannot explain why I had such a  bad feeling, but I guess it is a mother’s intuition. I just knew something was not going to work.  My life has been unusually hectic in the past few months. Money has been tight. This was a splurge and I so desperately wanted him to have this. To have something special. This is not my norm. I was a desperate housewife indeed.  

Unfortunately, one who cannot sew. 

Finally on Wednesday after an irate message from me, the seller responds that she has posted the parcel Express Mail and provides me with a tracking number. I immediately start tracking. It was not posted until 4:03 PM. I fear that is too late for Express Mail to be truly express.

I try to sleep. I wake up Thursday morning a nervous wreck.  Refresh.  Now it is in Texas but not local. I do not understand the intricate workings of the postal service, and I’m trying to be hopeful, but I can't shake the pit. 


I go to lunch with my husband because he asks {I’m certain he was trying to distract me}.  He tells me to relax -- if she sent it Express Mail it will arrive.  No, I insist, Express Mail is not always overnight. It is 1-2 days guaranteed. 

Refresh.  It’s 2pm on Thursday and it’s STILL not in town. My normal mail carrier arrives. I ask him if there is still a chance it will arrive. He says no, not until tomorrow.

Nooooooooooo!!!!!  The whales at sea heard this moan. I have no doubt. 

At 3:30 I meet My Little Guy at the bus stop.  He runs past me, excited to go home and try on his Max costume. I have to physically stop him. I am crying. He starts crying. No, honey, I explain, Max is not here and I’m afraid we won’t have it in time for the Literature Parade. You will have it for Halloween, though! Tears streaming. His face and mine. 

He is such a sweet, old soul, though. HE finally tells ME it is OK. Killing me slowly. Once I compose myself, we start discussing other options for the Literature Parade and decide we can turn a paper maiche head into an Ugly Doll costume. This seems lame in comparison to the incredible costume we had planned, but he is a trooper and I’m proud of his ability to rebound.

I was not rebounding quite as quickly.  


Ahhhhhh — now it shows it is in town. 4:00 PM. At the main post office. I call. No answer. There is no way this costume is going to sit in a post office when I need it at 8 AM tomorrow morning. Certainly I can convince someone to help me. 

Enter Denise. Denise is a mother too and a postal worker at my local post office. I explain my desperation.  She says she’ll call the main post office and try to track it down for me. A glimmer. Denise calls back. The main post office has a fire alarm blaring and they are evacuating. Seriously?! She cannot  locate the package. She does say, however, that she will be in at 6:30AM and that I can call her and see if it made it to my local post office. She cannot guarantee that it will.  She explains that sometimes express packages will be dispatched straight from the main post office out for delivery.  Oh, GOD, PLEASE!!!!
I stay up too late that night converting an alien head into a red OX Ugly Doll head. I barely sleep. I  continually refresh my computer screen in my dreams.  I wake up at 6AM and refresh for real.  It is now at MY post office. The post office at which Denise will report for duty at 6:30!! 

I call Denise at 6:31. I tell her I know it is there, according to the tracking number it arrived at 5:24am. Yes, she says she has the package. Relief floods over my body. Thank you GOD!  

Thank you DENISE! 

Of course our post office does not open until 8:30. The Literature Parade starts at 8:15. Denise, though, is FURIOUS at the seller and says she should have known it wouldn’t be delivered until Friday. She agrees to meet me in the lobby. I meet her at 7:02. The tracking will later record that exact time {yes, I did again refresh even after I had it in my hands – that tracking system really is quite accurate}.  I finally have my hands on the package.  I race home and see my sweet boy eating his pancakes happy as can be. When he saw the package, though, he was ecstatic! 

 Yes, honey, it’s here.  More tears - mine, not his.  
Cutest.  Max.  EVER.

The Literature Parade was darling. Max was a hit. 
Saturday morning My Little Guy and I woke up at 6 AM again. We  purchased an obscene amount of breakfast tacos and called Denise from the lobby. She said it was just her job. She did not expect a thank you. Well she deserved it and more. My Little Guy thanked her. I thanked her. Denise said she had to explain to the other postal workers {presumably not mothers} the crazy things a mother will do. We shared a laugh. 

It is amazing what a mother will do. And moreover, I’m absolutely amazed I’m THAT mother.  

But is there any question?!?  

Not at all: I’d do it all over again.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Luxury for little ones (aka - This is flippin' insane!).

Hermès Les 4 Mondes
And to think I thought withholding mass-marketed coloring books was somewhat lofty. Come to find out I was merely cheap. The chicest of children wouldn't be caught dead scribbling in some ordinary coloring book (not to mention blank copy paper). No, for them there is the $130 Hermès Les 4 Mondes coloring book. Now $130 might sound steep for twelve pages and 24 designs (markers sold separately), but compared to the brand's $600 pull-along wooden horsey, it's a real bargain. 


Do you think Apple and Suri have Hermès Les 4 Mondes or do they scribble directly on $100 bills?!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Dress.

As I mentioned last week, I attended Bloggy Boot Camp in Austin over the weekend. And I realize I promised that I would report back and let you know how it went. But now I'm back and I'm torn. 

Do you really want to know? Do you even care about SEO or would you prefer I carry on with my photos of dogs wearing trench coats?! Hmm, don't answer that.  

The bottom line is this: I am simply not a blogger that blogs about blogging. I will remain true to my brand of whimsy and, instead of listing the countless reasons I should be on Twitter, will introduce you to Riley who accompanied me to the bloggy conference.

Riley, friends.  Friends, I am pleased to introduce you to Riley.

Isn't she adorable?!

Yes, Riley is a dress. But not just any dress. Riley is the perfect ALL DAY dress by Lesley Evers.

And wear her ALL DAY I did. I zipped Riley up at my BFF's house on Saturday morning around 7am. I gave her {my BFF, not the dress} a hug and headed to my bloggy conference. As I bid adieu said BFF and her darling hubby commented that I looked great. I noted I wouldn't dream of walking into a room of 150 strangers without a smashing new dress. I believe in the importance of first impressions.

And first impressions I did make. Not one or two, but at least fifty people asked about Riley. Riley was by far the best ice-breaker $265 could buy! Ladies crossed the crowded room just to meet Riley. Truly, I think they had no interest in me at all; just the dress. Riley, Riley, Riley.

And this being a bloggy conference, the seasoned bloggers asked if I was sponsored by Riley, or rather, by Riley's creator, Lesley Evers.

Me, being a newbie blogger, responded, "say what?!"

Apparently, Riley garnered so much attention that my fellow bloggy buddies insisted that I should receive compensation for wearing Riley so well. Now this is piqued my attention -- if I can get paid to wear cute dresses, please provide further details.*

I had, of course, packed two {or, truth be told, three} additional outfits for the cocktail party following the conference. I did not, however, ever make it back to the room to change. So Riley joined me for dinner and drinks following. After a few cocktails it became clear that those too shy to ask about Riley during the day were quite pleased to make her acquaintance in the evening.

More than a few pictures were snapped {I threw out an elbow and hip and did my best fashionista pose - let's hope those photos never surface}.

I was even asked if I "made" Riley. This was not intended to insult Riley, this is just a crafty bunch of ladies who have no idea my mother's sewing skills fell far, far from the tree.

At 11:00 pm I unzipped Riley {did I mention the darling exposed zipper?!} and cozied up in my bed. ALL DAY dress indeed.

Now I wonder: Can I wear Riley every day? My ego enjoys all the flattery and I cannot bear to think of a day spent in jeans whilst Riley hangs in my closet.

So, Lesley, do you have any extra Rileys, or Dotties, or Kelseys, or Tildas hanging around for this newbie blogger to wear the next time she needs to make a good first impression?

*and no, sadly, I am in no way being compensated for this post, though I am certainly not above it!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Oh, Iomoi!

A confession: I am a tad obsessed with Iomoi


The whimsy. The colors. The heavy card stock. 


I often visit the site and spend hours *hours* dreaming about 
which whimsical character will grace my next set of notecards.

Will it be Muffy the Zebra? Or the Party Monkeys?

Or will I opt for a single umbrella-holding monkey or the monkey on a cushion?

The decisions are intense. 

I am currently planning a holiday party {at least in my mind} 
which justifies sending out these fabulous invitations 
{we all need a night of frivolity, right?!}. 

I'll serve luscious hors d'oeuvres on these darling plates. 

Party Monkey, indeed!

What are your dreaming of today?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

15 Signs You'll Be Rich.

via The Daily Beast
Anneli Rufus recently published an article on The Daily Beast listing 15 ways to predict future net worth. I found a few of the items amusing {being blond - yea!}, a few puzzling {truly, being Russian?} and a few sad {if you were born short, ugly and poor you truly have no chance}. 

Here is a summary of the 15 Signs You'll Be Rich:

1. Being attractive.
2. Being smart.
3. Being popular in high school.
4. Graduating from Princeton or Dartmouth.
5. Being taller.
6. Being married and staying married.
7. Drinking and being social.
8. Earning a petroleum engineering degree (opposed to child studies)
9. Having a low BMI (body mass index).
10. Being of Russian ancestry.
11.  Making real estate investments at a young age.
12. Being a blond woman.
13. Being a nonsmoker.
14. Being born rich.
15. Being born rich + earning a college degree.

I personally claim 9 out of the 15 attributes. So, do I have a 60% likelihood of being rich? Or does throwing in the towel on your legal career choosing to stay at home with the kids somehow undercut my otherwise somewhat positive odds?!

What are your odds?

Monday, October 25, 2010

The 5 Best Parenting Books.

I have previously mentioned that I often scour parenting books to locate advice which comports with my own views on parenting. I don't just read one book and accept the advice given as the gospel. I read book after book after book until one strikes accord in my own heart and mind. Knowing this truth, I have a hard time recommending books to others. Just because I loved a certain book does not mean it will speak to you (unless, of course, we are like-minded). I realize this and appreciate that mothering is quite personal.

That said if the theories I implemented were effective, well then, now clearly it is the gospel. Or, at least, my gospel. So here are the 5 books that make up my parenting gospel:

1.  On Becoming Baby Wise:  Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep.  

Yes, this is a controversial book. Yes, not everyone believes a baby should be scheduled and allowed to cry himself or herself to sleep. But mothers of the world, please stop judging me because I do. Be nice.

On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep (On Becoming. . .)I believe with every fiber of my being that this book provided me with the structure needed to parent and breast feed twins *while remaining sane*. Twins who both slept 10-12 hours per night by 4 months. Was crying involved? Yes. The babies cried too. But for heavens sake -- babies cry. Crying is inevitable. And I could only manage to feed one at a time so crying occurred often. Daily. Sometimes, it seemed, hourly.

{Pause here and imagine me trying a few initial times to be the wonder woman of all moms who successfully breast fed two children at once - imagine two children shrieking wildly and being sprayed in the eyes and up the nose with my wild-out-of-control milkers. It was a sight. This is when my crying began. The realization that I was not indeed wonder woman followed.}

Baby Wise provided exactly what I needed -- structure. I needed need structure. And, as I said, the proof is in the pudding. My babies were incredible. When I put them in the crib, they slept. When I fed them, they ate. When they were toddlers they still slept without argument or delay. They would occasionally tell me "night-night" when they were sleepy and ready to head to bed. Still to this day (7 years later) we do not nor have we ever had arguments about sleeping. And besides, who can argue with this preciousness?

As with everything, of course, your own motherly instincts and common sense are your greatest guide. I followed the overall framework of Baby Wise, but I certainly made adjustments that made sense for me and my children. Having a plan gave me confidence in my own instincts. I do not, however, advocate ignoring your own instincts or altering your mothering personality to fit a plan. That will never work.

2.  How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk.

This somewhat dated, self-help-centered book reminded me of discussing a thorny subject with an eccentric college professor: He or she might be disorganized and a bit unconventional but the luminance of great ideas shines through.

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will TalkThe ideas introduced in this book simply make logical sense to me -- responding to children's questions not with long lectures but with more questions and affirmations often opens them up. Instead of undercutting or contradicting how a child is obviously feeling ("oh, just cheer up!"), help him or her drink in these emotions; they'll learn what emotions are for, how to identify them, and develop a healthy perspective toward them in general.

This book is clearly geared toward parents who *need* help and have probably been engaging in behavior that the authors specifically attempt to remedy. This is *not* a "parenting manual." Many of the techniques mentioned are specifically geared toward breaking bad habits, not necessarily cementing good ones from scratch.

I will certainly not openly admit to having problems to remedy {other than the not-wanting-to-squirt-my-babies-in-the-eye type problems}, but I think we all realize that our tirades have an affect on our children. A threat or two may have been leveled at my house a time or two or three. In those few dark moments I reached for this book. I knew I needed to train myself to talk to my children. To talk to my children in a way that prepares them for a satisfying emotional life and strong interpersonal relationships. This is that book.

3.  Parenting with Love & Logic.

My BFF recommended this book to me. I'm certain it was after a teary discussion regarding my duo's ability to double-team me and bring out my worst. "Just read it, you'll see." So I did. And yes, at first, I had to push my ego out of the way and had to quit the "but"s and "well"s to get to the point that this book isn't about someone else - what they do or don't do - but rather it is about me and how I communicate. Yikes!

Parenting With Love And Logic (Updated and Expanded Edition) In the context of a healthy, loving relationship, Love and Logic parents allow their children to make their own choices, solve their own problems and learn from the consequences (within safe parameters, of course). This method of parenting provides children with skills for coping in the real world and, ultimately, raises responsible children. The key to this is the way in which we communicate.

This book is not for the meek. The premise is to make your child own their problems and think. Truly, you must be smarter than your children, which I realize is not for everyone. It also requires you check your emotions at the door. Now this is a challenge -- staying level-headed in the midst of chaos!? It is not my default, I promise you that. But I have redirected myself with fabulous results.

I cannot tell you how many times I've picked up Little Miss Thang in the midst of a full-blown tantrum, said "I cannot control how you behave, but I can control where you behave badly", and deposited her in her room. And left her. Until she was calm. It is not easy. It takes strength and determination. But if I scream at her to stop screaming we generally get nowhere. Unless, of course, I scream so much I scare her, which does indeed work, but which makes me feel like I am indeed not smarter than my children. Remaining clam and redirecting or allowing the natural consequences to occur -- well, I've found that not only does it work, but it lessens the mommy guilt and does not lead to a sore throat.

Quite simply: by stripping your emotion from the situation, the point of the discipline is more evident and well-received by the child.

4.  Girls will be Girls:  Raising Confident and Courageous Daughters.

Enlightening, provocative and powerful, this is perhaps the most useful book on raising daughters that I have ever read. In the book Deak covers the problems, confusion, motivations and fears that are all a normal part of growing up female. But more than just noting that they exist and their basis, she also provides practical advice on how to deal with the problems in a proactive and productive manner.

GIRLS WILL BE GIRLS: RAISING CONFIDENT AND COURAGEOUS DAUGHTERSThis book landed on my bed-side table at exactly the right moment -- age 7. The tween years are on the horizon and girls, well, let's just say girls can be hard on each other and themselves! Understanding the science of those years as well as reminding myself of the myriad of confusing emotions helped focus me on what Little Miss Thang was up against.

It stands like a lighthouse warning parents of dangerous shoals and how to avoid them as well as offering guidance on how to help their daughters negotiate the dangerous waters we all travel. This book truly lives up to the title and empowers parents with the tools to mold young girls into confident, courageous and well-adjusted adult women.

5.  That's My Son:  How Moms Can Influence Boys to Become Men of Character.

Johnson offers wise, insight-filled, down-to-earth guidance for mothers of boys. He explains how and why boys are different from girls psychologically and spiritually. He shows what boys need in order to become men of strong, healthy character, and how moms {even moms without husbands} can find ways to provide for these needs.

That's My Son: How Moms Can Influence Boys to Become Men of CharacterAnd he gives practical steps moms can take to raise a boy well--how to communicate in a boy's "language," how to discipline a boy effectively, and several other areas of importance.

My Little Guy has a tender soul. I want to encourage him and motivate him without damaging that endearing trait I adore so much. I want to ensure he is strong and brave and courageous, and yet, remains gentle and loving and compassionate. This book provides the framework.

And I'm certain my future daughter-in-law will thank me.

So what is your favorite parenting book?  What should I read next??

Friday, October 22, 2010

I intend to help Keep Austin Weird.

I am headed to Austin for the weekend.  Tonight I will spend time with my BFF of nearly 30 years. We will gab non-stop for hours. And hours. And hours.

Late into the evening her husband will say something like, "What are you two still talking about?"

We won't even stop talking to answer.

That's the thing about BFFs -- you never get to the end of a story. Each and every moment transitions smoothly into our next. It's been like that for as long as I can remember.

I cherish this relationship as I do my husband and children. She is absolutely a lifeline for me.

Then tomorrow . . . Bloggy Boot Camp!!  I am quite excited to learn how much I do not know about the Blogosphere. And to meet some new virtual friends. And make more. Part of me wonders why in the world I am attending a Bloggy Boot Camp. The other part of me is thrilled to step so far outside my comfort zone. So far outside.

It will be an interesting weekend. Quite a contrast -- one night with a life-long friend and the next with 150 girls I've never met.

I'll report back next week, but until then . . .

I'm off to help Keep Austin Weird!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Exquisite Chic Lit.

The Encyclopedia of the Exquisite: An Anecdotal History of Elegant Delights is the newest, and possibly most coveted addition to my never-ending Amazon wish list. Described by its author Jessica Kerwin Jenkins as a "lifestyle guide for the francophile and anglomaniac, the gourmet and the style maven, the armchair traveler and the art lover." 

The book points to different ways to be happy whether that means wearing a top hat, eating a luscious pear, luxuriating in a bath full of warm milk, or keeping a singing cricket as a pet.* 

{I had no idea there were singing crickets but that would make me smile, especially if it serenaded me while I luxuriated in a warm milk bath!}  

Jenkins also covers additional whimsical topics such as the art of lounging on a divan, the emergence of “frillies,” the first lacy, racy lingerie, Julia Child’s tip for cooking the perfect omelet, the fanciful thrill of dining alfresco and the history of champagne. 

Just the sort of whimsy that makes this francophile smile! 
And truly, she had me at "luscious pear."

It is, after all, the little things in life that provide true happiness. 
Maybe this is just a reminder of where to look!

*click here to see a YouTube video of a "singing cricket." 
I think "signing" may be a stretch, but I was curious. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Off the hook {and leash}.

Oh my!  Yesterday I wrote about a treasure trove of jackets for me. Today I discovered My Shadow could be equally well dressed when we jaunt about town. 

Truly, the most adorable doggies clothes I have ever, ever seen. 

And yes, I am gushing about doggie jackets. Take a moment to regain your composure and then take a peek at these darling classics from Rover by RoverDog

If you are not smiling we cannot be friends.

And truly, I really think My Shadow "needs" a classic trench. 
Don't we all?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A jacket a day keeps the mommy-blues away.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love being a mom but I hate always looking like a mom. If you are reading this post wearing sweats, please take no offense. I am writing this post in a running skirt (though I neglected to go on a morning run) and a grey t-shirt with my hair pulled back (my apologies for the hideous visual now stuck in your head).  

Point being, sometimes we need to cut corners to appear stylish or put-together or even sane. Here is one of my favorite all-time style-me tricks: jackets. Add a jacket over your stained crisp white t-shirt and jeans and voila -- instant chic. 

If you have time to pull on a pair of great boots in addition, people will undoubtedly start to talk.  

I stumbled in to Old Navy the other day to pick up a fleece for My Shadow (they offer a surprising number of options for pooches) and was completely astounded to find an amazing display of up-to-date outerwear

Honestly, it was like a mirage.

A gorgeous orange pea coat. 

A toasty french roast double-breasted jacket.

A violet ruffle-collar swing coat.

A leather (not pleather) motor-cross jacket.

A fur-collared (yes, faux) trench.

A pop-of-unexpected-color twill trench!

And if all that weren't enough, a candy-apple red ruffle-front jacket! 

Seen on AnnaLynne McCord in NYC.
See what I mean?! Instant chic. 
Long, flowing, perfectly-styled waves optional!

So how's a girl to choose? 
At these prices ($52 - $199), why choose! 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Childish thinking.

A year ago I asked my duo (then age 6) a series of 21 questions about me. I recorded their honest answers without comment. This required a large measure of restraint (good at sleeping in, really?! how can I be good at something I never do!?)  

It is an interesting exercise and amazing to hear what they think about you!  I plan to do this again in another year or two to see how the answers change over time. The results are both mildly humorous and humbling. 

I'm considering sitting the Hubs down and asking him the same set of questions. I wonder if his answers would be any more accurate? I'm not even sure I want to know. I do know, however, that he realizes I tolerate, but do not love, salad. And if he ever suggested that I was good at "sleeping in", we would henceforth require a marriage counselor on speed dial!

Little Miss Thang's Answers:
1. What is something I always say to you? I love you.
2. What makes me happy?  When I tickle you.
3. What makes me sad?  When I'm being mean
4. How do I make you laugh?  tickle me
5. What do you think I was like as a child?  blond hair and you had a kitty cat
6. How old am I?  28
7. How tall am I?  42 inches
8. What is my favorite thing to do?  pilates
9. What do I do when you're not around? gardening
10. If I become famous, what will it be for? President
11. What am I really good at? ski jump (Wii fit reference, not a real one)
12. What am I not really good at?  soccer
13. What is my job?  lawyer
14. What is my favorite food?  salad
15. What makes you proud of me?  when you won a bowling trophy
16. If I were a cartoon character, who would I be? superwoman
17. What do you and I do together? shopping
18. How are we the same? blond hair
19. How are you and I different?  you have green eyes and i have blue
20. How do you know that I love you? because I'm your child
21. Where is my favorite place to go? sea world

My Little Guy's answers: 
1. What is something I always say to you?  I love you
2. What makes me happy? when I snuggle with you
3. What makes me sad? if i don't play a game with you
4. How do I make you laugh? tickle me
5. What do you think I was like as a child? a little girl
6. How old am I?  38
7. How tall am I? 96 inches
8. What is my favorite thing to do? play with me
9. What do I do when you're not around? work
10. If I become famous, what will it be for? cooking
11. What am I really good at? sleeping in
12. What am I not really good at? soccer
13. What is my job? selling clothes
14. What is my favorite food? salad
15. What makes you proud of me?  when you play with me
16. If I were a cartoon character, who would I be? Mr. Guinea Pig (Pinky Dinky Doo)
17. What do you and I do together? ride bikes
18. How are we the same? blond hair
19. How are you and I different? you have green eyes and i have blue
20. How do you know that I love you? hugs and kisses
21. Where is my favorite place to go? the aquarium

What is the funniest thing your child ever said about you? And how do you think the media will caricature a 42 inch President who enjoys hangin' at Sea World?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Soup's on Sunday.

This is a wonderful one-dish wonder combining the favorite ingredients of southern France -- fresh tarragon, yellow squash and dry-cured black olives. A soup, you question? Well, I serve it in a bowl, I retort. It is warm and comforting like a soup but hearty like a meal. Pour a nice glass of burgundy and enjoy! Crusty bread optional.

Poulet Niçoise

1 chicken, about 3 lb., cut into serving pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 yellow squash, about 1 1/2 lb. total, quartered and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon
5 plum tomatoes, seeded and quartered
1/4 cup dry-cured black olives, pitted
1 1/4 cups chicken stock

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a 5 1/2-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the chicken and brown on all sides, about 7 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the squash, wine, 2 Tbs. of the parsley and 2 tsp. of the tarragon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is soft but not browned, about 5 minutes.

Return the chicken to the pan and add the tomatoes, olives and stock. Bring to a gentle simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 Tbs. parsley and 1 tsp. tarragon. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

{photo and recipe via}

Friday, October 15, 2010

Make a Difference.

Blog Action Day is an annual event held every October 15th that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking a global discussion and driving collective action. This year's topic is water.

Right now, almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. That’s one in eight of us.

Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of diseases and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Children are especially vulnerable, as their bodies aren't strong enough to fight diarrhea, dysentery and other illnesses. The UN predicts that one tenth of the global disease burden can be prevented simply by improving water supply and sanitation.

But, water moves beyond just a human rights issue. It’s an environmental issue, an animal welfare issue, a sustainability issue. Water is a global issue, deserving a global conversation.

The good news is that there are great organizations working on solutions and new tools that empower people to do their part to address the water crisis.

  • Building Wells: Organizations like and charity: water are leading the charge in bringing fresh water to communities in the developing world.
  • Technology for Good: Do you want to measure how much water it took to make your favorite foods? There’s an app for that. More Info »
  • Conservation Starts at Home: The average person uses 465 liters of water per day. Find out how much you use and challenge your readers to do that same. More Info »
  • Keeping Rivers Clean: We can all take small steps to help keep pollution out of our rivers and streams, like correctly disposing of household wastes. More Info »
  • Drop the Bottle: Communities around the world are taking steps to reduce water bottle waste by eliminating bottled water.More Info »

Join the conversation and be part of the solution.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Too young for Irony?!

Little Miss Thang, ironic since birth
Yesterday I read an article in the New York Times discussing the age at which children actually begin to understand irony -- Too Young for School, but Ready for Irony by Nicholas Bakalar. It was formerly thought that children could not understand irony until they obtained fluency in their language skills. Laboratory studies previously demonstrated virtually no understanding of irony until at least age 6 and then only a slight understanding until age 12. A group of Canadian researchers, however, recently concluded that children, even very young children, understand hyperbole, rhetorical questions and sarcasm.

Seriously?!  It took transcribing more than 350 hours of speech to reach this conclusion?! They could have saved a whole lot of time, money and energy by just spending one night at my house for dinner. Irony, indeed. Last night's dinner provided a spectacular cacophony of literary drama. Hyperboles abounded, sarcasm resounded. My rhetorical questions were met, not with scared faces, but with fits of laughter followed by implausible retorts.

My duo is 7, but I assure you and the fine researchers of this fact: they get irony. In fact, they mastered the use of sarcasm by age 3. I kid you not. Last night as I was tucking Little Miss Thang into bed we were talking about only using kind words to our family and friends. I stressed the need to watch our words carefully to ensure we do not hurt others with them. She listened intently, knowing I had had enough of the games.

I then asked: "Tomorrow will you try harder to use nice words?"

I pause. Waiting for the appropriate, "Yes, ma'am."

Her response: "Mom, I cannot see into the future. I don't know what I will do tomorrow."

Irony, indeed.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tory Trike.

I received my Neiman Marcus Christmas Book today. Always a fun indulgence to see what crazy gift suggestions they've concocted this year. I nearly choked on a cashew, however, when I saw this Tory Burch Trike. For $4,500.

Tory, I will buy your $200 revas without pause, but truly, who is willing to throw down nearly $5k for a trike?! Gorgeous ikat notwithstanding. I expected better from you. This little bit of whimsy goes a little bit too far.

What do you think? Anyone lining up to get your hands on this luscious trike?

Worthy Words.

I belong to our Women of the Church group. And no, I am not eighty. Yes, it is a group of older women and I am clearly the youngest member. By a long shot. But they always ask. And I have a hard time saying no. So, I attend monthly meetings a provide a little devotional. The over 80 set really liked this devotional yesterday so I thought I would see if you, my faithful readers, would enjoy it too.

". . . if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be My spokesperson." Jeremiah 15:19 (NIV)

Our God allows us to be His spokesperson. How humbling. In His wisdom, He requires that, in order to be His spokesperson, our words must be worthy, not worthless. As this verse resonates in my heart, I ask myself, “Are my words worthy? Am I representing God well when I speak to friends, my children, my husband? Am I allowing Him to mold me so I reflect His character? Am I keeping the bar raised to His standard such that I may be His spokesperson?” I fear not. 

In our home we strive to speak words based in truth, spoken in love, necessary and kind. How often do I utter words that are worthless and hold no value for anyone? Oh, how I think of all the many, many words I have wasted. If my words hold value and worth, they will reflect His character and minister His truth and grace to those around me. 

As you go through the day, allow your words, whether they be written or spoken to go through His filter of requiring worthy words.  If those around you have lowered the bar, raise it again.  Humbly meet the challenge to utter only worthy words that represent Him well. You may be His spokesperson. 


So, what do you think? Do you ever consider how many words we waste each day (goodness - some days on my blog alone)? How many things are said in jest or in haste which hurt the recipient? How many words escape our lips without thought. I often lack a filter. My friends, children and husband will attest. Maybe over time my words will become worthy. Maybe I will learn to, at least, occasionally, bite my tongue!

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