Nov 19, 2016 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Family Bonding

Family Bonding

Don’t you just love it when your entire family has a cold?  The tissues everywhere?  The nasal spray/saline/suctioning/sinus rinse circus?  Buying cold medicine at Costco?

Yeah.  Me neither.  Luckily, I have a picture book to make you smile (and to spare me a long review).  Adam Rex’s School’s First Day of School is fabulous–who doesn’t want to experience the first day of school from the school’s point of view?  It’s a must for elementary schoolers–and, really for anyone.  Read it and laugh!

School’s First Day of School

New From: $4.00 USD In Stock

Nov 17, 2016 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on I Have Been a Parent For a Decade

I Have Been a Parent For a Decade

My oldest turned 10 yesterday, so here are 10 things I love about that girlie of mine:

  1.  She loves to try new things.  She did not get this from me.
  2. She eats like my mother.  On her kindergarten information sheet, she listed artichokes as her favorite food.
  3. She doesn’t necessarily enjoy practicing the piano, but she LOVES playing the cool songs she’s mastered.
  4. She still hugs me HARD when she leaves for school.
  5. She’s a good helper, especially in the kitchen.
  6. She loves people.
  7. She is athletic and agile, but she’s sensible–she can do what she tries to do, and rarely ends up hurt because she doesn’t try things she can’t.
  8. She loves to talk about the books she’s reading.
  9. She will accept explanations that make sense to her.
  10. She loves her family.
Nov 15, 2016 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Well Done, Sister Suffragette!

Well Done, Sister Suffragette!

Well, folks, it’s been one week since Election Day, and if you think I’m going there even a tiny bit–you’re out of your mind.  What I AM going to do, however, is wholeheartedly campaign for this trio of books on women’s suffrage that my girls and I have been reading.  Picture books are an incredible resource for anyone looking to give their children a sense of history–and an appreciation for freedoms that (for many of us) are less than a century old.

(Note:  My girls were possibly more outraged that women once weren’t allowed to vote than appreciative that they can now, which isn’t shocking.  And let me make VERY clear that I would have read these with my son if he were old enough to sit for the longer, serious picture books, but he’s four.  That’s SO not happening right now.)

1)  Doreen Rappaport’s Elizabeth Started All the Trouble has the broadest scope of the trio; it begins with Abigail Adams reminding her husband to “remember the ladies” before heading to Seneca Falls and the first Women’s Rights Convention–and beyond.

2)  Miss Paul and the President:  The Creative Campaign for Women’s Right to Vote focuses on Alice Paul and her efforts with President Woodrow Wilson.  Nancy Zhang’s illustrations are full of humor.

3)  I knew absolutely nothing about the events in Around America to Win the Vote:  Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 Miles, which made it all the more fascinating.  Nell Richardson and Alice Burke really did travel around the country, and their methods for winning people to their cause made me smile.  This is as fun as it is informative.

And there you have it, folks–three very different books about (more or less) the same topic.  Read these with your kids.  It’s never a bad thing to be able to look back and see how far we’ve come!


Elizabeth Started All the Trouble

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Nov 11, 2016 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on It All Adds Up to Tired

It All Adds Up to Tired

The time change, my kids’ struggles with the time change, homework struggles this week, a late night or two…I’m taking the weekend off, folks.  See you Tuesday!

Nov 9, 2016 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on No Politics Here…

No Politics Here…

…although the kiddos deprived me of enough sleep that I’m too fried for anything else.  In lieu of actual effort from me today, may I suggest you try Trader Joe’s Turkey, Stuffing, and Seasonal Kettle Chips?  When they say ‘all the flavors of Thanksgiving in each potato chip,’ they’re not kidding–and it makes for a strangely tasty experience.

Nov 7, 2016 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Heaven In A Cupcake

Heaven In A Cupcake

Although my oldest doesn’t turn 10 until next week, we were in charge of bringing birthday treats to dinner at my in-laws’ house yesterday (as was one of my sisters-in-law–one person bringing dessert is never enough!).  My girlie wanted cupcakes, and while I abhor making them, well, it was her day to choose.  I plopped her in front of my computer and showed her my Pinterest cupcakes board; she found a few different recipes that appealed to her and then we narrowed it down to these Very Vanilla Cupcakes (I steered her away from the Neopolitan ones because I didn’t want to deal with layers).  She and I made them yesterday afternoon, she frosted them with Daddy (I hate frosting cupcakes!), and when birthday celebration time came at her Grandma’s house, we served them up.


These things are amazing.  They have vanilla bean and vanilla extract in the batter and the frosting, plus vanilla Greek yogurt in the batter.  (I didn’t want to buy Vanilla Almond Milk, though, so it wasn’t vanilla FOUR ways.  It could have been.)  I doubled the cupcakes and one and a halved the frosting, and I went through FIVE STICKS OF BUTTER to do it.  (There was extra frosting, by the way.  Unless you like frosting mountains on  your cupcakes,  you’re fine to double the cupcakes and make a single batch of frosting.)  These cupcakes are worth every calorie, friends.   They are moist and rich and beautifully vanilla-y.  They are a revelation–a thing of beauty and joy (and cholesterol, but hey!) forever.

Make them today.


Nov 3, 2016 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Spur of the Moment Soup

Spur of the Moment Soup

I bought a bag of red potatoes at Costco last week and I have been LOVING having it (believe it or not!).  I’ve mostly avoided potatoes in the past; I can take them or leave them, I’m allergic to peeling them (strange but true, I promise), and only my youngest has been willing to eat them as a toddler.  (My oldest has made her peace with them, but my middles still aren’t really fans.)  That oldest of mine wanted to try the cute mini potatoes at Costco, however, and so the reds were my compromise–still small, but a dollar less per pound.  Today I was trying to come up with a soup idea, since we have leftover bread bowls from my hubby’s work’s Halloween potluck, and I decided to look for potato chowder pins on my Soups board.  This Slow Cooker Potato and Corn Chowder made the cut.

I did, of course, make a few changes; that’s just how I roll.  In this case, since our family isn’t fond of thyme, I left out that AND the oregano and used 2 teaspoons of herbs de provence instead.  I also cut the broth down to about four cups and upped the amount of evaporated milk (my automatic substitute for cream in soups).  I used 1 1/4 cups and threw in a teaspoon of chicken bouillon with it, and I liked the texture.  (Another cup of broth would have tasted good as well, but thicker is easier for littles to eat.)  My kiddos weren’t exactly passionate about it–they gave it thumbs middle across the board–but they all ate it of their own accord, and in a timely fashion as well.  (That speaks volumes.)  I’m thinking I will make it again and play with the herbs; it’s so incredibly easy that it’s definitely worth experimenting with.  If you try it, let me know what you suggest!

Nov 1, 2016 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on An Interesting Fable

An Interesting Fable

We scored a bunch of free books at the kids’ elementary school’s literacy night, including a copy of William Steig’s The Real Thief.  (Honestly, I hadn’t even heard of it, but it was William Steig–of course I grabbed it!)  I finished it a few days ago, and now I’m passing it off to my second girlie, because of all of my kids, she’s the one that struggles with the truth.

The Real Thief is the 58-page tale of Gawain, Chief Guard of the Royal Treasury and a famously honorable goose.  When items start to disappear from the treasury, he seems guilty nonetheless–he and the king are the only two with keys!  He is ultimately convicted on circumstantial evidence, which devastates and angers him; he flees his country and is living a solitary existence in the forest when he is sought out by the real thief.  Gawain’s bitterness and struggle to forgive his accusers make an interesting contrast to the thief’s crushing guilt and desperation to fix the mess he has created.  Steig does an excellent job of examining the thought processes of both the accused and the guilty; I wouldn’t have had patience with the thief as a child, but as a parent I am thoroughly impressed at what the author has created.

Bottom line?  This is an impressive and accessible fable about guilt, innocence, and forgiveness.  Don’t miss it!

Real Thief, The

New From: $4.57 USD In Stock

Oct 30, 2016 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on I Am a Fan of This Book

I Am a Fan of This Book

I read Emma Lesko’s Super Lexi back in February, and I ended my review with “I’m kind of bitter that our library system doesn’t have the sequel.”  My friend Britt, however, instead of nursing bitterness, filled out a ‘request a purchase’ form, which is why I have now read the sequel, courtesy of that same library system.  (I’m so sorry, SLCO Library.  I will never doubt again.  *Bonus points for the “Princess Bride” quote.*)

Super Lexi is Not a Fan of Christmas gives us another glimpse into the life of a child who struggles to relate to the world around her.  While her classmates look forward to the Christmas party/gift exchange that comes just before Christmas vacation, Lexi is dreading the “hoopla” and looking for ways to avoid it.  She is able to share some of that with her best friend, but she can’t express herself to her parents or her teacher, and so they are more or less unaware of her struggle (or at least the extent of it); I wanted to be bugged by that, except that parents and teachers don’t automatically know what children are thinking, and Lexi is exactly the sort of child who struggles to help them out in that area.  The entire situation rang true.  Emma Lesko’s ability to narrate from Lexi’s point of view is fabulous; Lexi’s idiosyncrasies are partly expressed, partly demonstrated, and her linguistic quirks add immeasurably to the overall effect.  Lexi may deal with OCD, she may be autistic, she may struggle with something else entirely.  What she IS is superbly drawn and developed as a character.

Bottom line?  Every child, every teacher, every parent, every ONE ought to read about Lexi.