Thursday, May 31, 2012

Book Review - The First Husband

If you are looking for a fun, interesting read this summer, may I recommend "The First Husband" for your poolside perusal?

 I really enjoyed this book. And it takes a lot for me to enjoy a book, especially one as unassuming and unpretentious as Laura Dave's new work.





Told through the voice of a travel writer who has just been dumped by her long-term boyfriend, the book chronicles the crazy rebound adventures of a woman who doesn't know who she is or what she wants--or are they rebound adventures after all?

The reader doesn't know.

This book was written by someone who clearly knows how to write. She knows which backstory is pertinent and what the reader can do without. She knows when to time reveals. She understands cliffhangers and uses them correctly and sparingly (a rarity, these days.)

I loved all the characters. The ex-boyfriend, the new husband, Annie herself, her best friend, the new husband's ex-girlfriend, the brother, both the mothers. I mean, that's a lot of characters to introduce in an engaging way, and Dave manages it with aplomb. Hell, I even liked the dog.

And because I liked all the characters so much, I found myself in an odd predicament. I didn't care what happened. I wanted to know what happened, fiercely, but whatever it was, I would have liked it the same just the same. I wanted happiness for all! This meant that I had a hard time predicting what the main character would choose or what would happen to her. So that as light and airy and cute as this book was, it had me on the edge of my seat.

Well done, Laura Dave. There's a reason you're all up in the NYT, huh?


Talk about this book over at BlogHer Book Club!


 I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review but all opinions expressed are my own.

 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Guest Post - How to Travel with Your kids

 I'm not the greatest at traveling with my kids. The two-hour plane ride to my parents seems daunting enough, never mind more ambitious trips. But as guest poster, Logan, says, maybe I should give it a try.

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Travel ranks high on most people’s list of the good things in life. There’s nothing like taking a trip to a new place and soaking in everything it offers. It seems like taking off for a trip is easier when you’re young and don’t have many responsibilities. More often than not, this leads to less frequent trips as you get older, have kids, and pile on the responsibilities. You don’t have to give up your love for travel when you have kids. In fact, you should be instilling your love for travel in your kids! Here are few tips to make your next trip with the kids awesome:

- Let them choose

So this may sound crazy, but you should consider it. Next time you’re planning trip you should let the kids decide where you’re going to go. Depending on their age (and your bravery) this can mean anything from picking out a few places and letting them choose or giving them the full choice. If your kids are involved in the decision making process they’re going to get a lot more out of the trip than if you’re just dragging them along for the ride.

- See the culture

Culture is one of the best parts of traveling. Almost everywhere you go there are going to be places that have customs and norms that are completely different than what you’re used to at home. Depending on your destination, the differences can be barely noticeable to completely overwhelming. Whatever the case, you should take advantage of the situation and use it as a learning experience for your children. It’s a big, wide world out there, and there are all kinds of interesting people and cultures to explore. Lead your kids through the learning process and they’ll thank you for it later in life.

- Keep your cool

Travel can be stressful, and kids are notorious for raising the stress level even more. The easy response is to go off the handle and react in a negative way to all the stress, but that’s obviously not going to help anything. You can combat stress before it even starts with a little bit of preparation. There are several ways to address stress, including exercise, yoga, and meditation. Find out what works for you and make it a part of your routine. If you work it in to your everyday life then you’ll be well equipped to deal with almost any situation that comes up on your trip.

Travel doesn’t have to take a backseat when you have kids. Take them with you and let them experience the joy of travel as well! If you follow these tips you’ll have all kinds of great memories with your family.

____


Author’s bio: Logan is a guest writer on the topics of family travel and how to hire the best private jet charters.





 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Why You Should Enter Contests

With all the writing I'm sure you have to do, entering contests can seem like a frivolous waste of time and resources. But there are some amazing rewards if you take that time and use it wisely. Here's why you should enter literary contests.

1) They give you a break from your old projects. Sometimes a project can get tedious. You look at it as more of a chore than a pleasure, or you have writer's block. You just can get that scene to flesh out quite right, no matter how many hours you spend with the page. Writing contests will give you fresh material to work with. They can revitalize your drive so that you come back to your manuscript with new eyes and ideas.


READ MORE:



 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Recipe Monday - Watermelon Gazpacho

Don't let the ingredients fool you. This sweet soup drinks like a smoothie, only more refreshing!




•5 cups cubed seedless watermelon
•1/2 cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
•1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into chunks
•1 medium shallot, peeled and chopped (I used a quarter of an onion)
•1 large clove garlic, chopped
•2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
•1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar





In a blender or food processor, puree the watermelon, cucumber, pepper, shallot, and garlic, pulsing if necessary.

Add the olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and pulse once or twice more to blend.

Transfer the soup to a pitcher or covered bowl and refrigerate until well-chilled, about 1 to 2 hours.

If you will be serving the gazpacho with the garnish, put the chopped cucumbers, peppers, and croutons into separate serving bowls, so guests can add their own garnish to taste. Cover and chill the vegetables until you are ready to serve the soup.

Pour the chilled gazpacho into bowls or cups, and serve with garnish if desired. Enjoy!

 ___
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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Moment of the Week - 93: Dog Concert

My mother's dog will howl with the harmonica. My girls love this.

video


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 If you like this blog, please vote for it here at Babble's Top 100 Blogs list.  

 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Review - Sweet As Me Dolls from Little Mommy

When we arrived home from vacation, you can imagine my girls' joy when they saw a surprise waiting for them. There's nothing they like better than presents. Ice cream rates a close second.

We tore into it a few days later (I'm that mean mommy that makes them wait until it's a good time for me), and they've been  playing with their Little Mommy Sweet As Me dolls since.



The best thing about these dolls for the girls is that the toys represent girls their own age, who do the things they are interested in doing. Now, instead of being someone's mommy, they're someone's playmate!



They also came with a change of clothes and each girl has been "going to a party," "stomping in rain puddles," and "going to ballet" several times in the past few days. While I still have to help them change the clothes, I make them watch me closely each time and explain what I'm doing, which order the steps go in.

"First you tear open the velcro, then you find her arms and slip them through, then you pull the dress off gently down her legs."

I have high hopes they'll be dressing and undressing the dolls themselves very soon.



















We've had very few problems with the dolls, and most of them stem from the fact that I have twins. For instance, one has curly dark hair, like them. The other has straight blond hair (thankfully, like mommy). That could have been a thing. I've also had to hide the purple headband, the tiara and the ballet purse. Why? Because there is only one of each, and they were so coveted that my kids were considering turning to violence to get them away from the other. We'll throw them back into the ring slowly and see how it goes.



The only problem I have is with the ballet outfit. That's a mommy outfit. There is no way my girls will be able to get that article of clothing on the doll without my help. It's got attached tights, so that you can't just pull the dress on through her legs, you have to carefully inch the fabric up each leg until it makes a snug fit. That's pretty difficult for a three and a half year old. Of course, that would be their favorite outfit.

 And as if we could ever run out of games to play with the dolls right here in our living room, Little Mommy has added a Facebook application with a billion cool ideas and games for you and your kids. Perfect for the "I'm bored, and I don't want to play with my old toys anymore" tantrum. Because with the new activities, which even include recipes and scrapbooking, the old toys become new again.

 We'll be enjoying these dolls probably for years to come, maybe even until the day the girls can get that ballet costume on themselves!


**While I was sent this product to review, the opinions voiced here are my own, based on our particular experience.

 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Guest Blog: How to Write When You're Too Busy

Today I'm guest blogging over at Three Wicked Writers, on how to write when you're just too busy. Here's the intro...the five tips are over there! You should do it. If I can do it, you can do it.

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I’m a stay-at-home / work-at-home mom and one of the largest battles we face is that we don’t do anything. Our lives consist of trash TV, raising a few super-attached, maladjusted brats, and maybe cooking dinner. If it doesn’t interfere with our bon-bon eating, of course.

You can imagine how upset I was to find that writers face the same nonsense. If you write for a living, apparently you don’t do anything.
Wrong.

Writing is hard. It takes dedication, belief in  yourself, some kind of skill with the English language, and most of all, time. It takes a lot of time.

So, when people say they’d love to write a book, but they’re too busy, I totally get it. If you don’t make time for it, and make time for it consistently, it will never get done. Here are a few ways I’ve found to do it.

Read more here!




Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hit and Stay RELEASED!

Today I became a published author. YAY!

My debut romantic suspense has been released! Hit and Stay, by Ninette Swann.


How very exciting! Go find it here at Resplendence Publishing.


If you'd like a taste of it, here's the first bit.






“Okay, everybody, stand back. I said stand back! Nothing to see here. Move along.” Jake Harrison elbowed his way through the gathering crowd. He had to squeeze his large frame between two hysterical women, and he grimaced as he struggled through the front row of bystanders who jostled each other mercilessly, trying to get a better look at the beautiful cyclist sprawled out on the pavement. Her bike lay crumpled on the other side of the road.

It appeared to be a typical hit and run.

“Stand back. I’m police.” Even without his uniform, Jake knew he sounded authoritative enough to keep the crowd at bay.

His breath caught in his throat when he saw her. Andrea Wadsworth wasn’t just any beauty. The flaxen-haired socialite was an icon in this part of Illinois. Though quiet and seemingly shy, her betrothal to the mayor’s son nearly six months ago had put her in the headlines all the way out to Chicago.

Her fiancé, John Waters, had kept her there with his glad-handing and ambition. He was thought to be making a play for the Senate and, at least once a week, Jake saw pictures of the couple splashed all over the society pages of the local paper. They cut ribbons, attended galas and lent their gravitas to charity organizations. At every public event, Andrea was glued to her fiancé’s side, silent, smiling and demurely dressed.

So where was he now? Jake looked up, scanning the crowd methodically. He found no trace of the slicked-back politician-to-be.

That’s odd, Jake thought. Surely, with all Waters’ connections, someone had contacted him right away. Jake had been on the scene for at least fifteen minutes. Where was Waters?

The girl on the ground moaned softly and shifted her left leg.

“Don’t move,” Jake whispered, leaning in to her. “I’m calling for help.”

He dialed the police station’s main line from his cell phone. Though he had been on administrative leave for about a half a year now, he still knew the number by heart. Before he’d even gotten through, he heard the sirens in the distance. Someone in the crowd must have called.

Jake shook his head. Something was off, but he couldn’t put his finger on what. He turned his attention to the girl who was slowly coming around. He shushed her as she tried to raise her head.

“Quiet now,” he said. “You’ve had a rough time of it. We’ve got people on the way. Lie still.”

Her blue eyes appeared dazed then froze with worry. “Who are you?” she said in a croaky voice. She tried to boost herself up on her elbows.

“Hey,” Jake whispered. “Don’t move. You’ve had quite a jolt. Rest. Help is coming.”

“Where am I?” she asked, her voice quivering and soft.

Jake wanted to reach out and smooth her tangled blonde hair from her brow, but he resisted. As frightened as she was, the contact would do neither of them any good. He’d learned the hard way not to react emotionally to victims, no matter how beautiful they were or how vulnerable they appeared. If he wanted back on the force, he’d have to be very careful.

“Don’t worry,” he said. “Officers and medics are on their way.”

She acknowledged his words with a half-smile and visibly relaxed.

While he waited for backup, Jake’s professional eye raked over her body, trying to assess the extent of her injuries. Andrea Wadsworth was about five-foot-nine, tanned and in top shape. The papers said she was about twenty-five years old. Dressed in a fitted T-shirt and jeans, she wasn’t properly attired for cycling. She wasn’t even wearing a helmet. A red, racing bike sat crumpled on the other side of the road. It was a hit and run.

A shout from the crowd broke through, and Jake turned his head.

“Jake, hey Jake!” The whiny voice was irritatingly loud against the murmur of the other onlookers. Jake wiped his hair from his forehead. The stale, late-summer air kept the hardtop steaming even as the sun set low in the sky. Within seconds, a wiry man wearing squared hipster glasses had him by the elbow. “What’s the story here, Jake?”

“You should know, Burt,” Jake said with a sigh. “You’re the news, not me.”

“Aw, come on, Jake. Throw me a bone. This crash is going to take me hours to shoot, and my wife’s about to kill me for working so much overtime. Couldn’t this broad have gotten herself run over during business hours?”

Jake blanched. Shop humor, but still, so tasteless. The only people more hardboiled than police officers were news reporters.

“If you want a story, go track down Waters. Don’t you have eyes? This is his fiancée.”

Burt shook him jocularly as if they were old friends. Jake stepped away. Burt Bellows was no friend of his. Not anymore.

“That ain’t my angle,” Burt said. “I’m just here to take pictures of the scene and write five-hundred words about it before deadline. And I’m lucky I got here so quick. One of my guys called in with a tip.”

“Good to know we’ve got bulldogs like you to sniff out the story.” Jake rolled his eyes.

The ambulance had arrived, and officers were making their way to the scene. Jake watched silently as four men fitted the blonde for a neck brace and gingerly placed her onto a stretcher.

“Jake, you there, bro?” Burt tapped him on the shoulder, the motion filling Jake with annoyance. “Just give me the basic details, and I’ll be out of your hair, my hand to God.”

“I only know what you know.”

“Bullshit.” The reporter snorted, his greasy curls bouncy around his shoulders. “First of all, you know what I need. What time did this happen, what happened, how long is the investigation going to take and where’s she going?”

“I don’t—”

“Don’t mess with me. I’m hungry. And since I can tell you’re so invested in this girl, I’ll tell you a secret as soon as you’re done.”

“I’m not invested in her.”

“Then why protect her privacy? You know the chief’s just going to make a statement anyway. Save him the trouble. I won’t use your name.”

Jake rubbed his eyes as the ambulance doors slammed shut and the siren started to wail.

“Her name is Andrea Wadsworth. It looks like she was cycling down Main when a car must have hit her. That must be her bike over there. No helmet. Looks like a hit and run. The investigation will go on for as long as it takes, and she’s probably headed to St. Mary’s. That’s all I know.”

“Okay, great. Thanks, pal.”

Jake waited, his eyebrows raised.

Burt laughed at him and said, “See, I knew you were invested. Word back at the paper is that this was a suicide attempt. But you didn’t hear it from me.”



 ...So, what do you think?


 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

It Takes a Village

My kids love me. They stick by my side. In fact, it's hard for me to get away, for anyone else to help them, to put on their shoes, to dress them. My kids want me.

 What an ego boost. What a pain in the rear. And why? Why do children in this day and age and location cling to their mothers so?

Well, first, obviously, because we're awesome.

But second, and very importantly, because there's no one else around.

We live in a very isolated world right now. All the playdates in the world don't make up for the fact that mom is still there, is the only one the children will turn to for help or conversation. Mom is their first choice because throughout their day, mom is the one caring for them, rearing them. And even if she has a vast support system of family and friends about, it's still not the same as it was.

Back when it took a village.

My husband was born on the Azorian Island Terceira. It takes about two hours to drive around the whole thing. In his village, everyone knew everyone. The man who brought the milk would tell his customers about the bundle of joy who'd been delivered to the family down the street, and those customers would let him know about the death of the two chickens on the farm up the way.

If your child ran out into the neighborhood, you let her go. Marcie would handle her, or Osvaldo or Maria. The entire village was like one big nuclear family.

And this system works.

It's not possible, given our cities and streets and crime and strangers. But in that time, in that location, it worked. And it could easily work again. Children are social beings.



This is all brought about by the time we just spent with my mother in law and extended family on my husband's side. When we first arrived, I was the girls' go-to for any and everything, as it is in our daily lives. But by day three, they were bopping around from adult to adult with ease. If one of us was boring them, they found someone else to entertain them for a few minutes.


This worked out incredibly well. They were never antsy enough to fuss about, and they never stuck to any one person long enough to annoy them. The parents were happy and had time to themselves, and the kids had all the attention they could ever want, more than  they could ever get from just one person.


They played ball with Uncle Isidro, before blowing balloons with Uncle Rui. Then they gave Aunt Arminda hugs before asking Aunt MaryAnn for yet another soda.


My children would thrive in a village environment, and so would I. Helicopter parents may be a product of necessity. Perhaps it's not that we're suddenly more worried about our kids. Perhaps it's that we're the only ones who are going to worry about our own, so we have to do the job ourselves. And it's a big job.



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Monday, May 21, 2012

Recipe Monday - Garlic Shrimp Pasta


Very quick, and very good!

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 box pasta
  • 20 shrimp
  • 1 bunch green onions chopped
  • 3 cups raw spinach
  • 2 Tablespoons minced garlic (we love garlic- adjust to your liking)
  • dash of salt
  • dash of fresh ground pepper pepper
  • Combination of red pepper flakes, paprika, and salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup of white wine
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream (I used whole milk)
  • 3/4 cup shredded asiago or romano cheese

Instructions

  1. Boil the noodles.
  2. While the noodles are boiling melt butter in a large saucepan or wok over a medium heat.
  3. When the butter has melted add the shrimp and minced garlic.
  4. Cook for about a minute then add the white wine and cover the sauce pan.
  5. When the liquid begins to boil remove the lid and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the spinach, spice combo, salt, pepper and green onions. (I didn't have green onions)
  7. Cook for another 2 minutes
  8. Add cream and allow sauce to come to a boil again.
  9. Boil for one minute then add the cooked noodles. Remove from heat and mix in the shredded cheese.




 ___
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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Toddler Tricks - 92: When Everything Changes, Stay the Same

Problem: You're going to visit family, or friends, or someone far away where it's not quite a vacation, but not quite not. You need your children to behave, but with all the changes to routine, new faces, and new pecking order, they don't know what to think. When no one steps up to be the sole leader, you'll find your children deciding that they are in charge. This is disaster. So much for showing off good behavior for grandma and grandpa. You'll say something, and at first, they'll go to the next adult to see if they like that answer better. After a while, they'll skip that step and go right to the screaming. Even if they never get what they want from tantrums, it seems that doesn't deter them.


Solution: Decide among the adults before you even take off, who is going to lay down the law for which areas of life. I am the main rule-maker in our house, so most of the responsibility would or should fall to me. Still, we were staying at Nana's house, so I needed to know her rules beforehand. Rules like, sit down in the kitchen when you eat, and no shoes in the house. If I say something, and Nana says another, the girls get confused. They start to think no one knows what's going on. And when the lines of what's acceptable and what's not get blurred, they feel like it's the perfect time to make their own lines instead. Their own lines where everything is acceptable, and if they're met with a no, well, it's acceptable to scream about it. Why? Because we're at Nana's and the babies are making the rules.

Go over routines and rules with every involved adult before you leave. If everyone is on the same page and you present a united front, you may be able to avoid the envelope-pushing hellions that tend to come out during family visits.

 ___
 If you like this blog, please vote for it here at Babble's Top 100 Blogs list.  


 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Enter My Facebook

Your Facebook feed can say a lot about you. Who you read, what you like, what you shake your head at. Mine is particularly lively with images this morning, and I thought I'd share.

First we have this guy, courtesy of a journalism professor of mine.


 Agree with gay marriage or not, this chart is accurate.

Then we get a cute shot of Bill Murray. To warn us of the zombie apocalypse.


 You can't not smile at that, right?

A funny brotip follows.

I laughed out loud.

And of course, we have this:


Fifty percent, HOORAY! Fifty percent, EWW! Apparently we have no in between. But we already knew that about the extended breastfeeding issue.

That's followed by this:


Haha. Good one, punners.




And I'm pretty much thinking, man, why is my Facebook so awesome?

Then, of course, there's this guy.


There's always one in the crowd. I'm choosing to think it was posted facetiously, pointing out the kind of person usually seen making such connections.

Right? Right.
 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I Don't Wanna

Would you like to see my sink?

 I'll answer for you. No, you would not. Because this morning, at 8 a.m., just 45 minutes after my husband woke me up by doing sit ups at the foot of our bed, I was trying to clean the kitchen quietly, without waking the kids up. Because every sleeping second is sacred. I assume that's the reason for the early-morning sit ups. Sometimes, you just need to do things alone, and 6:30 a.m. is the only time you have.

Anyway, I'm stalling. Stalling about writing about it, just like I'm stalling about doing anything about it.

This morning at 8 a.m. I ran the disposal without checking. I saw it before it happened. Just a split second before it happened. That piece of cooked pork, you know the one, the edge with the fat on it that everyone seems to push to the side. Usually, it makes it to the garbage. I had no reason to think it wouldn't have this time. But I hadn't checked. I should have checked. Never, ever run the disposal without checking, am I right?

Even as I went to wrap my fingers around its grimy, decaying frame, the suction grabbed it and pulled it down. Right past the old, basically useless chopper. Right into the pipe. Where it is still sitting. At 3:30 p.m.

Because I don't wanna.

Oh, the picture. Here. Have a look. Because I've got the IQ of a chimp, I ran the dishwasher after this ordeal. What's the worst that could happen, right?

Oh.


 Do you like my sign? I bought it specifically for times like these. Because I know me, and I knew there would be times like these. And that plunger over there? Didn't work. I mean, there is an inch-thick piece of pork about three and a half inches long stuck in that pipe. It's not going anywhere.

And I don't wanna.

Just call a plumber and get it over with, right?

Well, we rent.

Even better! Call the landlady. Get that crap taken care of.

Except then I have to admit to everyone (not counting you all) that I'm the idiot who let my sink eat an entire pig.

I'll wait it out. There's got to be a way.

I'll use this:


 You can't go wrong with a surprisingly cheerfully red bucket, can you? With the bucket, plunger and Drano by my side, I'll be sure to best this this.

Only, I didn't have Drano.

Oh, well, drat. Guess I'll have to pack everyone up and go to the store first. Pity, really. And since we're already out and about and it's close to lunch time, how about take out food at the park for lunch? Yay! I'm the best mom ever.

The best mom ever who does not want to.

Don't wanna.

By the time we get back, it's past 2 p.m. Off to bed with the little ones. And I can't try to fix the sink while they're sleeping. It would be too loud.

So, yeah, that's my sink.

When they get up, we'll go after that sucker with the bucket. Then we'll dump boiling water down there, and plunge. Then we'll have to use the bucket to get the boiling water out, since that won't work. Then we'll Drano and plunge. Then we'll have to wait for my husband to come home when that doesn't work, so he can empty the catch basin pipe thingie. Then he'll have to quickly put it back together while I call the landlady to call the plumber, which is what I really should have done this morning at 8 a.m.

But I didn't wanna.

And people say I don't listen to advice. Pfft, please.


___
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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Author Interview: Vanessa Morgan (A Good Man)

Vanessa Morgan smashes the horror world with her newest release, A Good Man. The screenplay is already making waves, and is currently in production, so far as I know.

I was lucky enough to grab Vanessa for an interview about this, her third work.






___
First...the blurb!

A Good Man (screenplay)



Do you like Dexter and American Psycho? Then chances are you will love A Good Man.

Louis Caron is a good man – he's a vegetarian, feeds homeless people, takes care of animals and is converned with the ecological well-being of the planet. But his altruism has a sinister edge – he's a vampire and local detective Taglioni becomes increasingly suspicious of him. Louis' attempt to escape the police will take him on a journey into his own private hell where he is not only forced to confront his worst fears, but where he will also destroy the lives of those he cares about.


 READ THE INTERVIEW:


 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Practicing for Three

Before your children get to three years old, you may want to practice, you know, so you don't accidentally eat them at some point during that rewarding and calming year. Here are my suggestions, ways to practice, if you will, for the three year old you will someday have.


 1) Start out strong. Set your alarm for 5:45 a.m. Then have your partner set his or her alarm for 5:20 a.m. and have them wake you up by screaming MOMMY in your ear.

2) Pour a bowl of cereal, let's say Froot Loops. Put a little milk in it, then place it on the table. Let it get nice and soggy. Pour another bowl, let's say Cheerios this time. Keep them dry. Don't touch them. Wait 20 minutes. Then take both bowls and dump them on the carpet. Bonus points if you can get some milk under the couch.

3) Turn on the television to PBS. Never turn it off. Every five minutes or so, turn the volume up or down. You may want to take this time to flip the lights on and off, too. Or turn the dishwasher on and off. Or open and shut doors over and over. You choose. Mix it up!

4) Open the fridge. Leave it open.

5) Go to the bookshelf and pull all the books off. Leave them on the floor. Take off all dust covers and crumple them.

6) Pour a sippy cup of half juice half water. Use child-friendly swear words to express frustration at the fridge being open. Then pour one of milk. Cap it. Wait thirty seconds. Take the cap off and put chocolate in it. Recap it. Wait thirty seconds. Uncap it and put it in the microwave. Recap it. Wait thirty seconds then put it in the fridge. Pour a cup of water. go over to your best sofa and dump it out.

7) Nap time! Don't move for an hour. Do not go to the bathroom, walk around, clean anything, or even read a book. You don't want to wake anyone up.

8) Invest in a vuvuzela or noisemakers. Throughout the day, blow it directly in your ear. This is a faulty step. It's nowhere near as annoying as constant demands and tantrums. But we have to work with what we have.

9) Sit down. Get up and get a tissue. Sit back down. Get up and get a towel. Sit back down. Get up and get a snack. Leave it on the couch. Sit back down. Get up and put the cereal on the floor. Sit back down. Get up and put the cereal in the kitchen. Sit back down. Get up and get a blanket. Etc. Do this until you're about to rage.

10) Close the fridge.

11) Go to the bathroom. Sit there for three hours. Read yourself fairy tales and nursery rhymes non-stop the whole time.

12) (Wait until your partner is around for this one. You'll need two people.) You start cleaning. Do dishes, and kitchen work. Have your partner go into the living room and throw things around. Then switch. You go clean the living room. Have your partner take dirty dishes out of the washer and put them on the floor and counter spaces. Repeat five times.

13) Fill the bathtub. Put toys in it. Splash the water all over the floor. Open and empty an expensive bottle of shampoo. Clean it all up while singing show tunes.

14) Bed time! Sound the noisemakers non stop for 20 to 90 minutes. Then get yourself a glass of wine.

Good job! You're ready!

___
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Monday, May 7, 2012

Recipe Monday - Maple Cajun Mahi Mahi

This takes 15 minutes. It's amazing.



  • 1/8 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 tablespoon cajun seasoning (can use more or less depending on whether or not you want a sweeter or spicier piece of meat) 
  • Small onion 
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 mahi mahi filets
  1. Mix all ingredients together except for fish and onions. Spoon mixture over fish.
  2. Place fish into shallow pan (sprayed heavily with cooking spray) and sautee with onions if desired for about 3-5 minutes on the first side and 2-3 minutes on the second side. Add more of the syrup mixture if you want.
     
     
     
     ** You can also marinate fish for a few hours for maximum flavor. (But I didn't. No time.)

 ___

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Toddler Tricks - 91: Story Time

Problem: Your child doesn't want to sit still long enough to take care of business in the bathroom. They'd rather play, or read, or watch TV, and they'll hold it. Bathroom time is a low, low priority. You don't want them in there stressed out or sad because then they'll associate negative feelings with the bathroom, but you have to get them in there somehow, and keep them in there until they go.



Solution: Make a fun activity specifically for bathroom time. For us, it's reading stories. Not actual books since I read them books all the time and I wouldn't want to limit out reading time to just on the potty. When I read them stories in the bathroom, it's more like, telling them stories. Anything they want to hear. They know if they're going pee, they can pick one story for me to tell. If they're going number two, they get two stories to pick. The not-going sister will usually sit next to me to get in on the story-telling action. They're favorite stories include The Three Little Pigs, The Little Red Hen, The Little Mermaid, Rapunzel, and Snow White. They can choose anything they like. Sometimes they'll even make me make up a story about Caillou.

When I was little, my parents used to do rhyming and counting games with me. Any activity you choose should work, so long as it's something your kids enjoy. It will take the boring edge off potty time.






Friday, May 4, 2012

Tanning Mom

Tanning Mom.


 I'll be totally honest here. When I first saw the video that went along with this story about Patricia Krentcil bringing her five year old to a tanning salon and possibly burning her in one of the booths, I forgot about the story.

I forgot to be outraged.

I laughed. Then I wide-eyed. Then I laughed again.

I've been thinking about the story for a few days now. Until this point in my life, I had no idea about so-called "tanorexia" (a name I don't like at all). Does it exist? Are there chemicals released through the rays aimed at the skin? Is it different from those released within the body from the sun, itself?

What a weird thing.

I originally came here to poke at her calling her critics fat and ugly, but reading the news about it, it seems as if she's only calling one person that, someone she knows, someone who supposedly hates her.

I have people who hate me, too, Patricia. They don't hate me because they're fat and ugly. They hate me because I annoy them, bother them, have done something to them that they have decided is deserving of hate. Their appearance has nothing to do with it.

On that train, should Krentcil's appearance have anything to do with the story of child endangerment?

I know that upon seeing her, my reaction was, duh, guilty. But back up. That's not fair. I drink coffee and alcohol, but my children don't. There are many parents out there with various addictions, mental disorders, phobias and other hardships that work very hard not to pass them to their children or expose their children to their battles. Just because you have a thing, doesn't mean you're passing it off to your children.

Now, Krentcil might be. I don't know. She did, so far as I know, at least bring the child to the salon and had her wait outside the booth. I wouldn't leave my five year old outside a tanning bed. But if it's an addiction well...

Point being, I had my laugh, and it wasn't very right of me.

Patricia Krentcil needs help. Maybe therapy, if she truly is addicted to this, maybe guidance from public services to help her make decisions that won't land her in the news with a butt-of-jokes nickname. Maybe a babysitter so that she can go do this without bringing her kids along.

Whatever she needs, I hope she gets it. And I hope her kids grow up strong and form their own opinions on the hazards of tanning (which are great) compared to the benefits (which are small). And not just tanning, but everything.

To me, this is just another story of moderation is key.

**However, I don't yet believe that she stuck her kid in that tanning bed. If she did, well, she was really, really wrong.

As parents, we have to set the example for our kids. We have to fight our demons on our own time, and seek help if we cannot pull that off alone. It's not weakness, it's strength. It gives the next generation the best possible start.

___

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