Showing posts from May, 2009

Channeling my inner six-year old

It occurred to me just the other day that I’ve really only got a few years left of being cool. Soon enough, the fact that I can bust into a twirling jump rope on the playground or tell a killer knock-knock joke isn’t going to get me very far. It’ll probably happen about the same time that I am done changing diapers, cutting up food into very tiny pieces, scraping oatmeal off of the bottom of the kitchen table and reading books made of cardboard. And just about the time that I start celebrating my new found freedom from the rigors of raising young children, I’ll realize how very sweet it was and how very much I miss it. So this summer, when the children are all officially home from school and my house becomes a Mecca for popsicles and muddy footprints, I have decided to take it all in before it vanishes as quickly as a newly mopped floor. It ain’t gonna be easy. I know how I get wrapped up in my own agenda with simple little things that are a really big deal to me. Things like eating fr

The perfect teacher's gift

I literally loathe the end of school because of teacher gifts. There's just something about giving someone something for doing their job when all day, every day, I get pretty much squat for busting my butt taking care of kids, keeping the house in order, mowing the lawn, etc. etc. etc. Other SAHM's will know where I'm coming from. But still, I am drawn to the gift giving when the time comes and always stressing about what to give. What's too much? What's not enough? Should I make it? Should my kid make it? What doesn't qualify as "stuff she doesn't need?" When my children were in preschool, I came up with some relatively clever ideas. One year I designed some blank recipe cards and left one spot without lines so that my kid could draw a little something for decoration. Another year I had all of the children draw a smiley face on a piece of paper which I scanned and then had printed into blank note cards. Very nice preschool gifts, I think. But

Today's 10 reasons to smile

1. No lunches to pack this morning-- all green reward day at school. 2. Coffee tastes especially good this morning. 3. The cardinal has only hit the window four times so far. 4. It's supposed to rain today. 5. The rain will hopefully wash the cardinal poop off of the back porch, side porch, front porch. 6. The garden is hanging on, but the rain will help. 7. We had a great weekend, in the style of my family. There was polka music, campfires, getting dusty on 4-wheelers, creekhikes, homemade fireworks, and my kids were visibly dirty. 8. I have just enough energy to get going on the laundry and dinner's in the freezer, so I may reclaim my crown as a domestic diva 9. I'm still glowing over the success of our sand candles. How-to here . 10. Five minutes of total silence before I wake up the gang, unless the cardinal comes back again.

All I need to know I learned from my lawnmower

Like most good Grandmothers, my mom loves to shower my children with gifts whenever she can. And just today, she awarded my youngest with a “I haven’t seen you in over a month” present, for which I am extremely grateful. I always am. But more constant that my thankfulness is the type of toys you find these days. Flashy! Sounds! Lights! Colors! Music! And yes, without a doubt batteries are not included. All of this means this that the new toy from Grandma is Irksome! Maddening! Annoying! And I’ve got to shell out big bucks for a gross of double A’s just to make the on/off switch worthwhile. My mom knows all of this, my anti-love for things that flash and sing, but she gets them anyway. “She can mow the lawn with you while you mow the real lawn!” she exclaimed. “Yes! And learn to count, read, do algebra, weave baskets, and play the harp, too!” Because besides the on/off switch, there are options to have the purple and blue lawn mower sing the alphabet, count to ten, and play a v

Black Bean Brownies. I'm now a believer.

I have a friend who is a little too healthy for my taste. Actually she's great and wonderful and amazing, but so much that even a simple conversation with her makes me feel pretty unhealthy, like pure lard is flowing through my arteries and I have the athletic stamina of a three-toed tree sloth. So there's a lot to be learned from this friend. At a recent playdate she threw out this story of how she made brownies with a can of black beans. "HA HAHAHA HAHAHA" was my response, because for someone who loves black beans, I couldn't imagine them being in a brownie. I'm a firm believer of "if you're gonna have a cookie, have a cookie." But on a whim, I gave these BBB's try today. And like the title says, I'm a believer. Sure, they're a little different than regular brownies, but not different enough that my kids can tell. And if I can sneak it by them, for sure I can sneak it by my husband, which is really the ultimate goal, right? Black B

The Cardinal Rule

I’m generally not a morning person, known quite well in these parts to be totally nonfunctioning before my coffee. So you can only imagine what sort of demeanor I exhibit when I am woken up extra early by the tap tap tapping on my window. It seems it is nesting season in the world of the cardinal, and my yard must be prime property because there are definitely some cardinals in the market for a new residence. Male cardinals, in establishing their territories, get a little testy during these weeks. They want to make sure that their spots are claimed, that no other males get anywhere near their ladies. They want to make their mark. But this one very fierce cardinal keeps making his mark…on my doors and windows. That tap tap tapping that is so unpleasant in the wee hours of the morning is the bright red bird attacking his reflection and flying full bore at my house until his beak runs right into, well, himself. Any quick look at a nature or birding book or site will tell you this activity

Mushroom Spore Art

New article at Suite101. Read it here and look at the really neat and really easy nature craft! I just had to share...

A dumptruck load of love

What weighs hundreds of pounds and can spark your marriage better than a candlelight dinner? Not a hundred pound diamond ring, or even a few sets of the world’s best golf clubs. It may sound a little crazy, but I think it is mulch that does a marriage good. Every spring we home owners find ourselves laying tarps on our driveways or hauling bags of mulch at the same time that the birdies sing their sweet little mating songs and rabbits appear by the thousands. Love is, undeniably, in the air, as animals across the board partake in the season of new life and renewed romance. And while the air is filled with love, back on the ground our flower beds need a little love themselves. I admit that in the past I have completely overlooked the whole philosophical aspect of mulch, but this past weekend with the undersides of my fingernails stained brown and my shoes filled with tiny wooden slivers, it hit me. There’s a reason the world works this way. There I was, squatting, crawling, and kne

Mother's Day...again.

I thought I'd repost last year's column about Mother's Day because my cranky attitude brought me my first ever "hate" mail. Writer's love comments, good and, yes, even bad. We get a little steamed, then we get over it and time goes on, and eventually we find ourselves at the eve of another Mother's Day... Read the old post below and Happy Mother's Day to moms everywhere! A few words on the invention of Mother's Day As far as holidays go, I’d venture to say that most were created by a man. On Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, a man. Easter commemorates the rising of Jesus, again, a man. The Fourth of July is an observation of a new government that was mostly, you guessed it, men. And even Father’s Day, the day when we all treat dad like royalty? Yep, pretty sure that some guy made up that one, too. But if there were ever a holiday that was most certainly created by a man, it’d be Mother’s Day. Now, if you are a man and you are r

The view from the backyard

I spent today cleaning my house, going through baby toys and being over zealous and steam cleaning the carpet in the family room. I even went as far as to rearrange, including the amazing task of moving an entire giant bookshelf by myself. (Toby cheered. "Wow, mom, you're really strong!") All of this work and sweat was really a loaded day of chores. I'm kicking my kids out of the house. The weather is good, the sun is out (most of the time), the grass is fairly dried out, and the poison ivy hasn't really reared its ugly head quite yet. So there's really no good reason that the kids should be inside at all, except maybe to use the restroom, although my son does have a special spot behind a fallen tree that he prefers. But here's the thing: Kids SHOULD be outside, without any pushing or shoving. They should be out running and jumping and spinning in circles until they fall down and/or puke up their popsicles. They should be sneaking drinks from the ga

Little girls are pretty in pink, but I guess that doesn't matter

There’s just no pretty way to say it. I’ve got a bald baby. And under some circumstances, this is perfectly fine. Like if she was a boy. But she’s not. She’s a beautiful little bald sixteen month-old girl. Instantly, parents of bald baby girls reading this are all nodding their head and smiling in sympathy because they too have endured the same stress as I face on a daily basis. They too have been asked “how old is he?” or heard comments like “look at that little guy go!” as they have watched their daughters toddle along. I’m not sure if I speak for those parents, but as for myself, it is frightfully annoying. And not so much for me, because I’ve gotten used to correcting people. It’s making those people feel brainless and blind that makes it so difficult. Because those people really are brainless and blind, and I know this because I go to great lengths to make my daughter appear girly with her short-top hair-do, and still nothing works. I was having coffee with a friend when an acquai

Steak and Beans worth their weight in gas

There's a very good chance I'll regret eating as much as I did tonight, but the recipe is just so good and perfect for a warm evening. I just had to share. This recipe comes from, I think, a Buehler's food demonstration . It's one of my favorites, and luckily enough, my kids don't love it so there's more for me! Flat iron steak over warm bean salad Steak: 1 1/4 pounds or so of flat iron steak (if you've never had flat iron, give them a shot. Cheap and good) 2 cloves garlic, minced ~2-3 Tbl balsamic vinegar Marinate steak in garlic and vinegar for at least an hour. Discard marinade, salt and pepper to taste and grill to preference, but please no more than medium. Let rest for 5-10 minutes and slice thinly on the diagonal. Serve over bean salad. Warm Bean Salad: 19 oz can cannelloni beans (I like Cento , mostly so I can sound Italian when I say the name) 1 cup cherry/grape tomatoes, sliced in half 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion 1 Tbl olive oil 1 Tbl

Two annoucements

Before I post my flatulent recipe in the post that follows, I wanted to make two small annoucments. One, I've added a handy "follow this blog" section to the sidebar. It'd make me super happy to have a few extra faces there, so sell your soul to google and get yourself a screen name and c'mon over. Secondly, this has been happening for a few weeks now, but I wanted to say officially that my local columns are now running in the Holmes County Shopper and Orrville/Wooster This Week (a weekly wrap-up of The Daily Record , but if you get the DR, you won't get the This Week paper.) Thanks for supporting these publications!