Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday Morning Surprise: Pumpkin Pancakes

These were so good I decided to forgo the usual supper recipe. But I guess you could have them for dinner if you'd like!

Pumpkin Pancakes

2 cups Bisquick
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3 tbsp. flaxseed meal
1/4 cup golden raisins

Mix all ingredients together in large mixing bowl. Add more milk if pancakes are too thick (you want batter to be almost thin because of the raisins). Cook over low heat on griddle or frying pan (low heat will ensure pancakes won't burn but will be cooked around raisins).


Friday, October 26, 2007

So I'm not the only one with potty training problems...

Glow-in-the-dark Funkins

So I'm not an obsessive Martha fan or anything, but the show came on when the TiVo shut off, and I found myself totally intrigued by these pumpkins! They take me back to my GenX college days! The best part is, if you use foam pumpkins, you can keep them for years. I think I might even have a black light still floating around the garage somewhere...

This glow-in-the-dark craft is a perfect way to decorate your house, porch, and windows with glowing pumpkins for Halloween.

Tools and Materials
Funkin (foam pumpkin)
2-inch-wide vinyl tape
Spray adhesive
Box (large enough to fit funkin)
Glow-in-the-dark powder
Cookie sheet
Fluorescent black light

Glow-in-the-Dark Funkins How-To
1. Cut strips of 2-inch-wide vinyl tape; place strips of tape down on a nonstick surface. Draw face on tape and cut out to create a face sticker. Stick face on pumpkin.

2. Place pumpkin in box; coat with spray adhesive. Remove pumpkin from box and place on cookie sheet. Put glow-in-the-dark powder all over pumpkin. Let dry for about 10 minutes. Repeat the process once more.

3. Spray clear coat of krylon on pumpkin. Let dry for 20 minutes. Peel off sticker face. Add fluorescent black light next to pumpkin to intensify the glow.

Glow-in-the-dark powder can be found at

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

"Screamfree Parenting"

On the today show yesterday, they featured the author of a new book, ScreamFree Parenting. It seems like a fantastic concept, and one I try to practice daily but never seem to follow through on. The excerpt available on is hilarious to read, and I'm curious to find out what the techniques actually are. I think I just may buy this one...

Tips on taming temper tantrums
Tips on taming temper tantrums

Old Mother Hubbard...

I've gone to the cupboard too many times and found nothing it seemed I could make a meal out of. But then I found this great site,, and fell in love. It's a blast to use. You just check the boxes of what you have in your pantry and fridge, and it spits out recipes you can make with what you have. It couldn't get easier!

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Contents of my Diaper Bag

My keys (somewhere in here, I swear)
A pacifier that may or may not be sanitized, depending on how desperate I am
An old grocery list
Antibacterial wipes
Coupon organizer full of old coupons
Lipstick in the wrong color
Nursing cover-up, otherwise known as "Very Large Napkin"
My wallet, with exactly one dollar in cash and way too many debit card receipts
Antibacterial wipes
One very stained teddy bear
One Happy Meal toy, missing a leg
One pair cartoon underpants
Two crayons, one yellow, one melted
Sixteen stale Cheerios
Antibacterial wipes
And the one thing there doesn't seem to be room for...diapers.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday Night Suppers: Chicken Pot Pie

This is a great, quick-fix supper the kids will love with enough gourmet flavors for the grown ups. Cook the chicken ahead of time (in the a.m.) to make it even faster.

Chicken Pot Pie

1 pkg. refrigerated pie dough (2 crusts)
1/4 onion, diced
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
2 boneless chicken breasts, seasoned to taste, cooked and cubed
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup (or little less) milk
1 tsp. dried rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Unroll pie dough, setting one aside for top and using the other to line 9" pie dish. Saute garlic and onion in a little olive oil, adding mushrooms when onions are just turning opaque and cooking until mushrooms are just softening up. Layer chicken, carrots, and celery in pie pan, topping with onion/mushroom mixture. In separate bowl, mix cream of mushroom soup and milk, stirring until just mixed. Pour over pie. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt, and pepper. Top with remaining pie crust, cutting slits to vent. Cover rim of pie with foil to prevent burning. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes, or until crust turns golden brown.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Poop Hits the Floor

Potty training. If two words could define our life right now, it would be those. We've put it off long enough. We have no more excuses. It's got to be done.

I just wish it were that simple. I swear I've house-trained dogs faster than this. Why is it such a fight? Does exerting his independence have to carry over to where and when they poop? Is it so hard to understand that crap inside your pants is not a good thing? For anybody?

We've been training for, oh, forever now and I still don't think we've made any progress. We bought tiny potties, seats that fit over the potty, standing, sitting, even going on the grass. He's seen other kids potty, and he's certainly peeked under enough stall doors to see other people going potty. We've bought pull-ups -- ones that stay wet, ones with learning designs, ones that get cold and covered with snowflakes (?) when they pee. We've bought Diego underwear, Cars underwear, and we've let him go with no underwear.

This morning he decided it would be alright to poop under the piano. No, even I cannot believe that my life has sunk to this; I used to swear over Cosmos that talking about my kid's poop would never become part of my life. Now I just laugh at myself, brush the spit-up off my shoulder, and move on. I try not to do this in public, because then I look crazy, especially if my kids aren't around. But where and when he poops has become the center of our lives, more so now that I've lied to the preschool.

"Of course he's potty-trained," I said with a smile, as if all three-year-old boys never have accidents. The truth is, I cannot make his little butt sit on the toilet for the life of me, and I'm wondering how I'm going to schedule his day so that he has 21 possible pooping hours to choose from and doesn't use one of the three he's in school.

My question is, have you been here before? How did you handle it? Please leave a comment. And if you're going through the same thing, leave a comment so I know I'm not losing my mind. And if you don't have kids or your kids are grown and gone, thank your lucky stars that your daily conversation doesn't include the word "poop." Except, of course, the expletive version. Which I think I'm about to use now...

A funny for the day

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Helter Skelter

My memories of my mother are of this calm, serene woman who exuded warmth. A nurturing, gentle soul, the only one you wanted when you woke in the middle of the night. I can count on one hand the number of times she lost her temper with me. A woman who would say, "That's okay. It's washable!" whenever I would spill something on the brand-new carpet. Not "What the heck are you doing with Juicy-Juice in the living room!!" or "Do that one more time little lady and I'm not buying anymore juice!" In short, I had the mom I'll never be.

I thought of this today while I was driving out my driveway after getting the belt of my leather car coat stuck in the car door while rushing my two screaming kids to somewhere not that important. I also thought of this while dabbing pink Fruitopia off my white turtleneck after hitting the McDonald's drive thru that I had promised Carter as a bribe for running preschool errands with me. I also thought of this while ordering my son to take the nap he doesn't need just so Mommy can get a few seconds alone with a cup of hot cocoa and one of the hundreds of catalogues that have begun pouring out of my mailbox.

I don't remember my mom acting anything like me. She was calm and gentle. Like I said, serene. I'm a friggin' hurricane. I do everything too fast. I eat too fast, talk too fast, drive my car too fast. I'm a hundred places at once. I'm not your typical mother. I get bored doing crafts, I don't have the patience for coloring, and besides a fondness for William H.'s Macy's narration on Curious George, I don't really like much of what has to do with kids. My mom, on the other hand, took me everywhere I ever wanted to go without complaining. She hosted endless sleepovers. Flipped piles of pancakes. Listened patiently to everything I had to say (which was a lot, in my case).

I am not my mother, which is what some women would kill for. The problem is, I want to be like her. I want to have her patience. I want to be calm. I don't want to be this whirlwind of a mother who drives like a maniac and would rather listen to the Beastie Boys than Barney. I want to be soft and kind and nurturing. But I am a little girl grown up, when the little girl was fussy and opinionated and hot-tempered. And she hasn't changed much.

My definition of a mother is my mother, not me. And perhaps that is what's wrong with my picture. My mother didn't have two kids. She didn't have boys. She was a decade older than I was when she got pregnant. She came from a different time, she grew up in a different world. But she loved me for who I was, not who she hoped I would be. She never tried to make me into anything different. She delighted everyday in the person I was becoming. And if she were here now, she would probably expect me to act exactly as I do. And I hope she'd be proud.

My mother used to have a saying for me:
There was a little girl
Who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead.
And when she was good,
She was very, very good.
And when she was bad,
She was horrid.

I guess things haven't changed much...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

It Ain't The Place To Be

Although I've never considered myself having much in common with Eva Gabor, I'm finding more and more that country living is not the life for me. Our rented yellow ranch house on the range has fresh air to spare, but nature seems to be telling me it doesn't want me for a neighbor.

First it was the no-see-ums. These tiny, biting gnats attacked us with a vengeance each time we set foot outside. They swarmed our heads, attacked our ears, and turned our bare legs into a buffet. We itched and scratched until we looked like junkyard dogs with a bad case of the fleas. We had to lock ourselves indoors in the middle of a beautiful spring, tell our high-strung toddler to ride his brand-new big wheel in the great room, and take in the amazing view we were paying an arm and a leg for through the not-so-amazing mini-blinds.

Then a mouse built a nest in the heater box of my SUV. As our little family was headed for the fair, a horrendous thumping sound came from under the hood, shortly followed by a funny, slightly nauseating scent. Thinking the compressor was shot, I was relieved to discover the A/C was fine, though not relieved to learn a poor mouse mommy had chosen my engine as a safe haven for her babies. Perhaps it was the smell of Cheerios that drew her in, since their numbers remain at a constant on the floor of my backseat. The technician vacuumed out the victims, and the dog-hair nest they'd called home, charged me $75, and told me to get a cat. After this procedure, the slightly nauseating smell became an overwhelmingly nauseating one, and a tough one for my nine-month pregnant nose to handle. Think dead animal and wet dog hair, with notes of rotting fish in the finish. The mechanic thought some deodorizing spray would help. That only made it smell like dead animal, wet dog hair, rotting fish, and flowery deodorizing spray. It wasn't a good mix. Carter was fond of telling me, "Mommy, it's stinky in here!" As if I hadn't noticed.

By July our baby Brody had come, and so had the bees. Seems they loved our oasis in the semi-desert. We had wasps, we had honeybees, we had hornets. So between the 100+ degree weather and the stinging insects, we were once again driven indoors.

Now we've been infested with some type of water beetle. They are scurrying over the ceilings, down the walls, and across the floors of our guest bathroom and hallway. The kicker was when I was making Carter's bed and four of them went scurrying across the comforter. That was about the time I entered the pest control company on speed-dial.

We've got giant wolf spiders in the garage and grass snakes in the driveway. I've been told we live on virgin land, but between the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees, I don't believe it. It may be pure, but it sure as heck ain't innocent. It's a battle for who has a right to homestead out here, and lately, I don't think it's going to be us.

We seem to be outnumbered.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Today, my oldest son's third birthday, is a simple day I want to remember forever. I want to always be able to picture him stacking his birthday pancakes on top of his cup of milk, perusing the pumpkin patch and declaring a soft, green one perfect, and the look of his sweet face drifting into contented sleep in the backseat of the car. He is only three and yet he has grown so much, changed so much since the day he was placed on my bare stomach, purple and wiggling and just a few seconds old. I have learned so many things since that day: how to survive without sleep, how to eat cold food without complaining, how to take a shower in three minutes flat with my head half out the door. I've learned how to change diapers, how to bandage some nasty cuts that made me cry, and how to carry a sleeping child in from the car without waking him. I've learned to love with all my heart, and I've learned to be more dependable and responsible than I ever thought I could be. I've learned the patience my parents always wished I had, and how to do more things at once than "The Cat in the Hat" could do.

In the years to come there will be kindergarten and new friends, long school days and cafeteria money to remember. Sports practice, music lessons, reading and writing. Drivers ed. School dances. College applications. There will be late night conversations and early morning slammed doors. Shouting and laughing, joking and ignoring. There will be love, joy, and sadness; all of the memorable moments that happen on a daily basis. The life of a parent is full of the mundane and the miraculous, the boring and the beautiful, the never-ending and the never wanting it to end.

And that is not all, oh, that is not all...

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


The cold is winning. Current score: Cold: 4, Us: 0

Every single member of our normally healthy and happy household has been handed a ticket to Sickville. It started out innocently enough, as colds always do, with my preschooler sporting a snotty nose while we were on a weekend getaway. Then, disaster of all disasters, our infant son caught it next. Before you could say "Antibacterial gel, STAT!" my husband and I had caught it, too.

If there was a nuclear war, I swear the only thing left would be roaches and cold bugs. Paints a pretty little picture, don't you think? All those nasty beetles running around with stuffed noses and tiny coughs. That's justice, my friend.

I think the amazing thing about nature is that she understands what it is like to be a mother. She knows who needs to be strong. Somehow, by the grace of God, a woman has strongest immune system of anyone in her family. I don't think this is by chance at all.

Have you ever seen a man with a cold? He whines. He complains. He lays on the couch. He must go to bed early to heal his aching body. And a woman with a cold? She pops a couple of Sudafed and swigs an orange juice chaser with one hand while simultaneously stirring a pot of chicken soup and wiping her toddler's nose with the other. We are the strong, and we survive. But oh, what we wouldn't give for a comfy couch, a bottle of Nyquil and Grey's Anatomy on TiVo. At least that's what I'd prescribe for my own recovery.

A mother is a wonderful thing to the sick. She nurtures. She kisses the owies. She makes her home a haven for the sniffily. She heals.

And it makes your own germ wars so much easier to handle when you know you hold the power to heal the little ones you love.

Tomorrow's score: Cold: 0. Mom: 4