Saturday, December 31, 2011

Time Marches On

Sometimes while wearing her mom's slippers.

At dinner tonight, we went around the table and took turns naming our favorite parts of 2011.  We have so much for which to be thankful, but most of all we are thankful for the family and friends who have shared the journey with us.

Happy New Year to you!

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Best Kind of Medicine

A warm day in December,

Fresh air and sunshine,


And plenty of space in which to run.  Some of my favorite cure-alls.

The ball was a Christmas present from little sister to big, with big declaring that it was just the kind of ball she had always wanted.  Because sisters know these things.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Today I am thankful that we seem to be gaining in the battle against the stomach thing that has waged war on the family this week.

I wouldn't say that we've won yet, but we're getting better.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Great Last-Minute Gifts

You still have plenty of time to give great gifts this Christmas.  And you don't need to spend a lot of money to do it.  Really!

Do a Dreaded Chore.   Choose something you kind of like to do, that they really hate to do.  Or choose something you both hate to do.  Either way, you are giving the gift of your help.

Clean out and wash the car.
Trim the rabbit's nails.
Back up the hard drive.
Repaint a room.  (Might want to ask about this one before you do it.)
Catch up on scrapbooking.  (Ask about this one, too)
Wash the cat box and change the litter.
Move something heavy.
Change all the sheets in the house and flip/rotate mattresses.
Wash, fold, iron, and put away all the laundry.
Split and stack firewood.
Clean the bathroom, including the tub/shower and washing the towels and bath mats.
Scan, label, and store old photos.  Give copies on CD or have photo books printed.
Do minor home repairs, like hanging pictures.
Pick up and store presents for their kid.  You don't have to purchase the presents--lots of places have in-store pickup if they order online--but transporting something bulky like a bicycle and hiding it in your garage would be mighty helpful this time of year.
Wrap all the presents they intend to give.  (Ask about this, too.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

These December Days

Christmas pageant tech is in full swing.  Sets are now fully painted and out of the living room.  If you see them at church, be sure to look for Betsy's gold glitter paint around the star.  "See, Mom, I told you we needed the glitter paint!" she reminds me, and she was right.  Four-year-olds do know about the glitter.

Pageant lighting and sound tech means it is now Club Pepper in the living room.  Matthew taught the girls about dimmers, and now the girls take turns as board op for our in-house disco.  And by take turns I mean fight.  We hear a lot of, "No, you go dance, I'm doing the lights!"

Some Christmas crafts are complete.  Teacher presents were finished and gifted this morning, the last day before winter break.  Other things are still in progress.  I have to stop myself from starting new projects at this point.  I still wonder what secret things Matthew is making with all that wood.

I love that Betsy initiated creating gifts as well.  As a person who'd rather spend time at home with needles, thread, fabric, and yarn than fighting traffic to park at the mall, I am glad.  And I'm proud to think that she might take after her parents in this way.

Cookies are being baked--and eaten--and baked again.  Abigail proclaims them "Yumyum!"  We're becoming skilled at adapting recipes to accommodate various food allergies.  I mean no, those cookies weren't quite right, we need to make more!

Abigail continues to bring in this year's crop of ornaments.  It looks like she'll have quite the haul.  Every day, if ornaments appear (or re-appear) on the branches that she can reach, she carefully plucks each one from the Christmas tree and places it in her little blue bucket.  She is quite helpful.  She also continues to assist St. Nicholas by leaving presents in our shoes.

In general, we're doing less running around to events and more making Christmas at home, and it's been good.  More peaceful.  We're having fires in the fireplace.  Singing along with carols on Pandora.  Listening to the whir of the mixer and the hum of the sewing machine.  Matthew and I may still be wondering if we'll finish everything in time, but it's a fun challenge.

And if you ask Betsy, she can always tell you exactly how many days are left until Christmas.

Monday, December 12, 2011

9. The Perfectly Decorated Home

Does your living room look like this?

If it does, I'm a little bit jealous, because my living room currently looks more like this:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

8. Spike

Glittering and sharp, this tree is as beautiful as it is dangerous.  Do not attempt to hang ornaments without gloves.

Friday, December 9, 2011

7. Bad Teacher Gifts

Okay, I'm not a teacher.  But my mom taught preschool for nearly two decades, and I saw a lot of teacher gifts come into the house.  So I feel slightly qualified.  And there's nothing teachers appreciate more than the opinions of the slightly qualified, except maybe ornaments shaped like apples.

A.  The Gift Card

Pros: Like getting cash, in a range of denominations from "I threw in a few bucks on the group gift" to "thank you from the bottom of my wallet for giving me a break from this kid."  A way to let teacher choose something nice that teacher wouldn't buy for himself.  Easily regifted.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

6. Dueling Advent Calendars

If you happen to have two or more children, you can ratchet up the anticipation of opening up the doors on the advent calendar each day by giving each child a completely different kind of calendar.

Monday, December 5, 2011

4. Useless Gifts

I'm not talking about the kinds of useless gifts that are beautiful or hilarious or made with love by well-meaning admirers.  Those can be awesome.  I'm talking about the ones like this:

Regifted in white elephants and secret Santa exchanges continuously from 1992-present, the identity of the original giver has long since been lost. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

3. What the Cat Is Eating

You know how it is.  You're in some dimly lit room, maybe because you're enjoying the glow of the Christmas tree, maybe because it's 3 in the morning and you're in bed, sleeping.  You hear a suspicious rustling sound and you see the cat crouched in the corner of the room, eyes gleaming, something odd in her mouth.  Of course it is safe to assume that whatever kitty is eating is deadly or at least deadly to your favorite rug.   But what is it?

Here is a quick Guide to What The Cat is Eating.  In silhouette.

Appearance:  Cat has grown fangs and is foaming at the mouth.
Cat is Eating:  Small stuffed sheep from the nativity.

Friday, December 2, 2011

2. The Wifty Tree

The long, silky needles and soft, gentle branches of the wifty tree practically beg you to touch them.  And indeed, you may enjoy petting this tree for hours and hours of holiday fun.  But when it comes time to decorate, beware;

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Unnecessary Winter Holiday Traditions: 1. The Inflatable Yard Experience

I promised more cartoons, so here you go.  A mini-series, from now until Christmas, of Unnecessary Holiday Traditions that I made up.  You're welcome.

1.  The Inflatable Yard Experience

Why confine your Christmas joy to a measly six foot inflatable snow globe in the front yard?  With the Inflatable Yard Experience, you can make your entire house

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I did it!

I finished my 2011 NaNoWriMo Novel!  It required powering through 6,000 words in the last two days, writing late at night while standing in the kitchen with a baby on my back, and getting up very early to sneak in more writing before the kids were awake.  It's very much in first draft form.  But I did it.

Betsy was with me when I finished, and clicked the button to submit it to the word count validator.

And here's my winner's badge to prove that I did it:

More thoughts on the whole thing later.  Now it's time to rest my aching arms, and to have breakfast with my big girl!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful Ten

Things for which I am thankful this year, in no particular order:

1.  Caffeine.  Why did I resist it for so long?  Grad school, first kid, I said no.  It wasn't until I became a stay-at-home parent that I regularly bowed to the power of this miraculous and life-giving force.  What was I waiting for?  A muddled mind on this matter: a clear indication of needing caffeine*.

2.  Cheese.  Just all of it.  Brie.  Gouda.  Cheddar with caramelized onions.  I'm even thankful for that vegan rice milk cheese, which is not much like cheese, but still decent on a pizza, and better than no cheese at all.

3.  Songs We All Know.  Can you imagine birthday parties without "Happy Birthday?"  "Uh, here's your flaming cake."  "Thanks."

4.  Hugs.  Nature's true miracle drug, soother of wounds, bestower of love and affection.  Also, a good way to suck body heat from your partner, if you happen to be cold-blooded and have a warm-blooded partner like I do.

5.  Sticks.  Good for building fires and smacking things, and for making fishing poles, tree forts, and fantastic fake antlers.

6.  Saying Wow.  And not just because my littlest began to say it this week.  Try it yourself, go find some things to say wow about.  I'll wait.  Now don't you feel better?  Wow!

7.   Dressing Up.  As a person who wears slippers for the majority of my work day, I love wearing nice things once in a while.  And the cats appreciate having more luxurious materials to shed upon.

8.  The Color of Cranberry Sauce.  I don't mean the kind in a can, I mean the kind made on the stove with cranberries, sugar, and water.  I've been fortunate enough to see a lot of beautiful things in this life, but few can rival the color of cranberry sauce.

9.  Traveling, and Not Traveling.  I love to go exploring.  But sometimes, like this weekend, I am quite glad to be staying home.

10.  Good Books.  They feel good to read, and they're good for you.  I'll never be able to read them all, but I'll die trying.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

*No matter how much I reassure you on this matter, however, do not let me have a second cup of coffee.  I quickly turn from peppy and productive to angry and jittery.  A second cup of tea should be okay, but a third might be risky.  Be thankful I have told you this.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Insomnia Made Useful

I'm at 40004!  It's a palindrome!  And I'm at 80%, which is good news.  I'd love to wrap this book up by the end of the weekend, so I can start on all these Christmas projects I've been sketching out in my mind.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Near May Be Better Than Far, But It Still Isn't There

Current Word Count:
35,608 (71%)

I totally stole this post title from my friend Sharon's status update, who in turn stole it from the musical Evita, which she'll be directing this spring in the first ever all-cat production.

Don't meow for me, simple human.
The truth is, I have my wet food.
My juicy tuna,
My oceanfishes
I have my wet food
Please bring cat dishes.

And as for opening up those cans
I have tried but I still have no thumbs
Though it seemed to the world
They were all I desired
They are illusions
Mittens don't open wet food as promised to me
The answer is still sleeping in
Oh wake and bring wet food to me!

You'll have to come to the show to hear the rest.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Days Something Through Whatever Today Is

Current Word Count:
30,772 (61%)

I don't even know what day it is now.  I would probably be done with the darn thing if Abigail weren't teething these molars.  As in, not sleeping.  As in still not sleeping now at 11:20 p.m.  Fussing.  Both of us, fussing.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Over the Hill

Current Word Count:
25,095/50,000 (50%)

I am feeling the fatigue.  Suddenly, there is a lot going on at home and I am not wanting to give my attention to this project.  Matthew laughed as I was grumbling tonight, because it's not as if I have to do this.  I apologize if I owe you an e-mail or a phone call, but this project is sucking up literally all of my free time at the moment. 

On the other hand, I'm at 50% now, two days ahead of schedule.  It's all downhill from here!

And now I am going to go have an actual conversation with my husband, because I miss him.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Days 9 & 10

The writing has been a little harder, but I met my goals.  I wish I had time to go back through what I've written, to get a better sense of where I'm going and how I want to structure the rest of my time, but the joy and the torture of NaNoWriMo is that I can't go back and rethink.  I just have to keep going forward if I want to make it to 50k.

A few other positive side effects:  I can't spend time on Facebook hearing about the great artistic things my friends are doing instead of doing my own artistic things.  Since creative work begets creative work, I've sketched out a half dozen more cartoons.  (Yes, this blog will again have content other than me blathering on about trying to write.)  I have a whole list of Christmas presents I want to make.  And Betsy and I made felt carpets for her dollhouse today, and a felt garden dotted with sunflowers, and a felt swimming pool, just because we wanted to.

Day 9 Word Count:

Day 10 Word Count:

Total Word Count:
19,234/50,000 (38%)

Answers to my frequent question, "How did this happen?" which I received on days 9 & 10:
"I almost did this great handstand in the box..."
"Blue food coloring..."

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Days 7 & 8 and Voting

I forgot that my husband has the ability to accidentally erase Sharpie with his bare hands, so I lost my word count for yesterday.

Combined Word Count for Days 7 and 8:

The nice thing about aiming for more words than I actually need to reach my goal is that even when I fall short, I'm not really behind. 

Total Word Count:
15,198/50,000 (30%)

I hope I don't ruin my good streak by telling you this, but I am really enjoying writing.  Instead of hitting the week 2 slump I feel like I'm hitting my stride.  It's so nice to have a small part of my day that is calm and focused.  And the more I write, the easier it seems to be.  (I sound about due for a major creative block, don't I?)

Members of Household Over 18 Who Voted Today:
2 (100%)

Yet again we had a mix up about voting.  We told Betsy we were all going to vote after dinner, and she and Abigail would be allowed to watch but they couldn't actually vote yet.  Yes, we could have each gone without the kids, but Matthew and I think it's important for them to witness us doing our civic duty.  And they get stickers.  There was some fussing from Betsy about how unfair this was that she couldn't vote, but she eventually resigned herself to the fact, and sweetly offered to help keep her sister out of the water.  Yes, for the second year in a row, she thought we were going boating without her.  In November, after dark, at the local High School.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Days 4 Through 6

We were on our church retreat this weekend, and I wasn't sure if I'd get any writing done.  I was ready to let the project go entirely if that was the difference between enjoying and not enjoying the weekend.  I'm happy to report that I met my 3-day goal of 6K, and it was quite easy to write there.  I suppose it's not surprising, considering that down time was actually down time there, not Time In Which I Could Be Doing Something Productive Like Laundry.  And it's hard not to be inspired in a place as beautiful as Shrine Mont.

Day 4 Word Count: 1522
Day 5 Word Count: 3262
Day 6 Word Count: 1223

Total Word Count: 11,371/50,000 (23%)  Almost a quarter of the way there!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Day 3

Long day.  Non-napping toddler.  Currently typing one-handed while entertaining toddler w/other hand.  Too much to do tonight to squeeze in more writing time.

Today's Word Count:

Total Word Count:
5,346/50,000 (10%)

Number of times recently that I have incorrectly reassembled the coffee maker, resulting in spectacular coffee grounds mess:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day 2

I did not get any long chunks of time for writing today, so it was in dribs and drabs of 100 words here, 400 there.  Some of it was typed with one hand.  I was able, however, to mentally sketch out what I wanted to write next, so when I did get near the computer I wasn't confronted with writer's block.

I have one rather sad runny-nosed baby sleeping in the Ergo on my chest at the moment.  I hope both my girls are feeling their usual chipper selves tomorrow.

Today's Word Count:

Total Word Count: 
4,481/50,000 (9%)

Total Children on Medication for Pinkeye:
2 (100%)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaNoWriMo Time

'Tis the season!  I am indeed participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) again, so expect blog posts to be short and sweet this month.

In order to make the 50,000 word goal by the end of November, I'm aiming for 2,000 words/day.  This is a little more than I need to reach 50K by November 30, so I'll have a few non-noveling days built in.  This year I'm writing a book for Betsy, at her request.  On one hand, I always feel guilty taking time away from the family/chores/sleep to do fun things.  On the other hand, I want to set an example for Betsy, and to show her that her mother can indeed still do things not concerning the family/chores/sleep.  My hope is to use November to write the first draft, and to have a novel to begin reading to her on her birthday in February.

I'll try to update here with my word counts, just like I did on the old blog when I won NaNoWriMo in 2007.

Today's Word Count:
2,092 accomplished out of daily goal of 2,000

Total Word Count:
2,092 out of 50,000 (4%)

Wow, that 4% makes this seem so daunting.  I think last time I started tracking the percent a little later in the process.  I mean, yeay, 4% done!  Not bad, considering that I've had about four hours of sleep and accomplished this word count with a sick baby napping on my back while the older child is at preschool.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

October Snow


Surprise!  We really did have snow, in Virginia, before Halloween.

Who knew that fall foliage would look so pretty in a show shower?

The last of the preschool marigolds.
Of course, Betsy wants to know when we'll have enough snow for sledding.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mom

A few images from Mom's 60th birthday celebration at Shenandoah National Park.  There was a little hike on the Appalachian Trail, a picnic, s'mores, and general and assorted silly fun with the family.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Stay Off the Streets. And the Sidewalks.

I bring to you a recent dialogue with the older child.

Betsy:  (Out of the blue)  Mom, how do the police know if you're a kid?

Me:  I don't know.  Can you tell the difference between kids and grown-ups?

Betsy: Yeah.

Me:  So, that's probably how they can tell.  (Pause)  Why do you ask?

Betsy:  Like if you're driving a car, how could they tell if you're a kid.

Me:  Oh.  Well (a long explanation about how you need a LICENSE and how you have to be AT LEAST sixteen years old and how kids ABSOLUTELY should not be driving cars as they will be caught immediately).

Betsy:  (Disappointed)  Okay.

And then a snippet from another conversation, about going to school.

Betsy:  But I have to go to school, so I can learn how to be what I want to be when I grow up.

Me:  That's right.

Betsy:  (Pause)  But I could almost be a police.  (Pause)  I just have to learn how to drive a car more correctly.

Yes, now that she has mastered riding a bike (and by "mastered" I mean "uses the brakes instead of dragging her shoes some of the time") she is apparently contemplating moving on to other forms of transportation.

Friday, October 21, 2011

That, and the Tricky Snack Trap

While I worked in the kitchen on one of the seemingly endless cleaning and organization projects, Abigail was engaged in her own little project involving the drawers of plastic containers.  Why do all toddlers love these drawers so?  She had been very busy moving lids to the container drawer and vice versa when she approached me with snack trap in one hand, lid (matching lid, no less!) in the other.  She pointed to the inside of the empty container and said, "that."  Then she pointed to the pantry.  "That!"  The cup again.  "That."

She's brilliant, I thought, again confirming my suspicions that my kids are the most amazing kids in the universe.  Although she's only 14 months old, she can express herself perfectly to request a snack.

I opened the pantry door and lifted her up so she could choose.  "That!" she happily exclaimed as she tugged on the box of Trader Joe's Os.  Perfect, I thought, as I filled the snack trap and handed it back to her.  She can have a nice, healthy mid-morning snack while I finish cleaning the kitchen.

Appearing pleased, Abigail padded back to the drawers of plastic containers, turned the snack trap upside down, and carefully held the top of the snack trap open so some Os would spill out.

"Abigail," I said, in my nice-but-giving-a-little-warning voice, "No no."  She laughed and shook the trap, increasing the rate of O spillage.  "That!" she exclaimed happily.  "That!"

Oh, my children.  So very, very clever.  And my container drawers, so very, very full of Os.   Toddler cuteness triumphs over kitchen cleanliness yet again.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Volunteer Farm: Planting

I wish I'd published these pictures earlier, but this way you'll get to see the full cycle.  Today, images from The Volunteer Farm in Woodstock, VA, back in June.  This is a great organization that has provided literally tons of fresh produce to area food banks, filling a real need (and real bellies) in our community.

We were part of a group from St. Matthew's that went to help with planting.  Can you guess what was in the back of that truck?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Misery Rain and the Attack Tent of Glee

Today in Virginia we have Misery Rain.  Not cold enough to be snow or warm enough to play in, it brings endless frustration to children who don't understand why they can't spend the afternoon outside  like they usually do.  We've had fussing, we've had crying, we've had enraged flinging of books and puzzle pieces.

And now, in the living room, we have the Attack Tent of Glee.  Similar to such fun games as Under the Christmas Tree Attack Cat and Behind the Curtains Attack Cat, this game involves kids and a play tent in the living room and a whole bunch of giggling.

And now it's over.  Oh well, I'm thankful for that five minutes!

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Big Box Super Discount Store Babywearing Workout

In honor of International Babywearing Week.

Overwhelmed by chores?  No time to work out?  Don't worry, you can work out while you shop with this easy routine!  Don't believe me?  It's true, you can become buff while buying that two-year supply of mayonnaise that you've always wanted, with the Big Box Super Discount Store Babywearing Workout!

Step 1:
Obtain a small child of at least 15 pounds.

You can use one of your own kids, or borrow one from a friend.  In fact, I'd be happy to loan you one of mine, and not just because Matthew and I are desperate for a child-free date night.  No, it's because I care about your health.  Heck, I'll even come along to record the experience for posterity, because this workout is going to be so amazing for you!

Step 2:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Parents, Pick Your Costumes

We got another one of those cheesy Halloween costume catalogs from the party store.  You know the type, with the costumes under $30 and made of slightly shiny materials not found in nature.  The costumes usually fall into one of three categories:

Naughty Lady

Includes classics such as Naughty Storybook Ingenue, Naughty Thing to Eat, Naughty Traditionally Female Profession, and Naughty Animal.

Pros:  Cheesy pick-up lines virtually guaranteed.  Headbands with cute little ears.  Fairy wings.
Cons:  Photos.  The internet.  That dream job you'll be applying for 5 years from now.

Scary Man

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Happy Things

The card reader is in little pieces, so we'll have text-only posts for a while I suppose.

Here is a list of things that make us happy, assembled by me and Betsy, in no particular order.  See if you can guess whose are whose.

Cuddling with Nina (the cat) in the couch or on my bed
Chocolate soy milk, in coffee or all by itself
Making leaf piles
Eating pumpkin cookies
Singing lullabies
Doing puzzles
Looking at the fish
Looking the birds Becca is crocheting
Nice warm weather so we can play outside
Playing in the snow, too
Playing with Abigail
Playing with other friends
Playing by myself, too
Cleaning up a little bit of the house
Reading the Little House books together
Watching movies

Sunday, October 2, 2011

First Fire of the Season

What's a family to do on a chilly, rainy fall weekend?

Go out walking and collecting firewood, of course!

Everybody can help.

Then we taught Abigail the fine art of putting one's feet up by the fire.

And we educated her in the delight of homemade hot cocoa.

A good use for a chilly, rainy fall weekend.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011


When I return from putting Abigail down for her nap, I love to find Elizabeth doing things like this:

Her foil-and-pencil boat really floats, and her rock is enjoying a lovely cruise around the toy bin.
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Monday, September 26, 2011


It's amazing how much kids learn in their first year of life, just from hanging around big people and watching what we do.
Today Abigail put on a toy baby carrier, headed for the door and yelled, "Go!"

You can't really tell in the picture, but with her left arm she's patting the monkey's back. Aww, look how she learned to care for her monkey.  It must be from all that great parenting we've done.

But she comes up with some of this stuff on her own, I swear!  We did not teach her this Flipping Monkey Upside Down move.  Well, I didn't anyway.
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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fall, and That Summer List

Yeay, fall's here!  We're planning Halloween costumes and trips to the pumpkin patch and the older child is impatiently asking when it will start to snow.  (Answer:  December to never.  It varies.)

I thought it would be fun to check in on that summer list we made, and see what we actually did.  We ended up creating a separate handwritten list on the back of the door, often referred to by me and Betsy when fun was needing to be had.  So there are a few extra goodies here that weren't in the original post.

Things We Did:

pick fruit
travel to visit friends
explore Portland, Maine
swim at the pool
swim at the beach
go for walks after dinner
work in the garden
visit some local Civil War sites for the 150th
walk to the library
volunteer with the big girl
learn to make jam
go to the dog park to throw a frizbee
learn to make pickles
go bike riding
have a playdate at the house
go camping
see dinosaur bones
go to a movie
go to Theatre in the Woods (we got rained out, but at least we tried)
go to Ikea and get a new light for Betsy's room, to replace the one from which she swung
have pictures taken of the girls
get a new swimsuit for Becca

Things We Didn't Do:

find the magic laundry elves.  Dang!
finally get the house picked up. We got part of the house picked up, part of the time, does that count?
fix the sewing machine
play Cat in the Hat.  To be honest, I don't know what this means.
go to the Weems-Botts museum.  I want to see the Weeeeems!
make a hula hoop
make slippers
visit ReStore

Maybe we should start a list of fun things to do in the winter!

Friday, September 23, 2011


Bowl by me, the best piece from that pottery class I took right after grad school.

There are some foods that are so quick and easy to make, I wonder why I bought them ready-made for so long. Hummus is one of those foods. It literally takes seconds; just throw a few ingredients in the blender. We make it all the time now. Including for snack on this rainy morning.


1 can chick peas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, grated. Or two, if you're feeling really zesty.

Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. I usually have to stop the blender a few times and scrape it with a spatula to make sure all the chick peas are pureed.

Serve with pita bread or veggie sticks. Or if you're Abigail, just eat it with a spoon.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

The First Stream of the Little Fishy in Maine

The First Stream of the Little Fishy in Maine

by Betsy (mostly) and Rebecca (a little)

Me and my mommy and daddy and sister were in a submarine. And me, Betsy. And we didn't see the fishy.

There was a big storm at our house in Maine because we were at the beach together.

That was fun, because me and my sissy had fun playing in the waves. Can't you imagine playing at that kind of thing?

The little fishy did not know what to do so I ran back home to the bathroom and got my bucket and got it full of water and then I quickly got the fishy because there was a big wave coming at it. I got it right in time. And I got its family and the baby. And then we got in our car and we went back home to put the fish in the fish tank.

I saw a stream, the first little stream that I have ever seen in my whole life. I got my dad's net and I filled the bucket with water and my dad helped me to get the lid off the fish tank. And then I [on back of page] got out the door quickly before it rained. I put the fishy in the first little stream.

I hope you enjoyed this book.

The End.

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Monday, September 19, 2011


Author's note:

I often compose a post in my head throughout the day, and jot down bits of it if I can steal a few minutes of computer time here and there.  Some days it takes me many hours to actually finish the post.

And some days, while I am getting the baby to nap, someone else in my house clicks on things, e-mails jibberish to my friends (sorry if you got one of those today), opens a bunch of annoying ads, and hits the tempting orange "post now" button long before I'm done writing the post.  Someone who has been told, repeatedly, not to touch the computer without asking.  The same someone who was told not to play with a jar today and who cut her finger on said jar, then spent an hour fussing about the band-aid placement.

That someone is now in time out.  But I'm so cranky now that I don't even have the patience to go back and finish the original post.  

I think I need the lemon-scented one today.


Is someone in your house cranky?  Teething?  Generally irascible?

Then you need Fuss-B-Gone(TM)!

Yes, patented Fuss-B-Gone quickly and easily solves all of your fussing problems.  This light spray comes in three scents--lemon, mint, and chocolate chip cookie--and instantly soothes the savage beasts in your life.

But don't take our word for it!

Four Year Old Before Fuss-B-Gone:  I HATE this donut you gave me, Dad!  The sprinkles are the wrong color and there aren't enough!  I'm going to fling myself down in the street and have a tantrum now.

Four Year Old After Fuss-B-Gone:  Wow, thank you for this donut!  I can't wait to eat it right after I finish my peas and clear my plate.  Can I get you anything while I'm up, Dad?

Isn't it amazing?  Who cares what the price is, you need this now!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Some Things We Liked in Portland

More vacation photos from Maine! Also, some links.

Deering Oaks Park with good friends Angela and Dahlia. This was the day after the hurricane/tropical storm (whatever it was at that point) passed through, and it was sunny and absolutely gorgeous.

Exploring downtown to find lunch, the wee ones needed a rest.

Some fun things we found:

Yummy food with harbor view at the Dogfish Bar and Grille.

Too much fun at Knit Wit. But the yarns were so pretty, and the people so helpful. Besides, I've already finished mittens and a scarf from one of the yarns... and I'm sure I'll get to that sweater for myself soon.

Honey sampling and an up-close view of how the bees make honey (and how we get it out of the hive) at The Honey Exchange. The owner was wonderful with the kids and happily answered our many questions (like why bobby pins?).

I can't imagine why we liked Silly's so much. Its' not our kind of place at all.

Plus they had lots of allergy-friendly options, and big juicy cups of sangria, so there was that.

Reading with Nannie Pepper while waiting for our food to arrive.
Bug Light Park at sunset. It's across the river in South Portland, with some pretty views of the city.

Lovely, isn't it?

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