Saturday, June 5, 2010

Days of Play--Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles

I know, I know--you blow bubbles an average of three hundred hours a year.

Trust me.  This is worth it.

Get together some light Karo syrup, water, dish soap and kitchen gadgets (think potato masher and whisks) and make some homemade bubbles.

You might have more fun than your kids.

For more information and a recipe, click here.  Or here.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Frugal Fashion Friday: Perfect Play Date Gear

So I get together with other moms and their kids a lot.  Really.  It's a sanity saver.

Though we'd never claim to be fashionistas, it is some sort of an unspoken rule that we all look super casual and super pulled together when take our kids out for a play date.  Here are some combos we pull together that have all the practicality of a woman chasing a three year old but still give our husbands a reason to wear their "I Love Hot Moms" T-Shirts.

White shorts, a tank top, comfy sandals and aviators never looked so good!

Super easy to pull together--blank tank, jean capris, strappy sandals, and a bold accessory.

Take me out to the ball game--casual and comfortable do not have to mean sloppy!

Who knew a cardigan and great bag could dress up jean cut-offs?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Things I Love--Communicating with Children

I love my children.  They provide hours of endless joy.  I love learning what each little newborn whimper and sigh means.  I love teaching them to sign and then marvel when they actually sign "more" or "all done."  I love encouraging "mamas" "dadas" and "bagadidas."  I love singing along to Raffi in the car, reading the same books over and over and over and watching classic Donald Duck episodes (even though it's getting harder to laugh at "Applecore").

Learning to communicate with these little ones is so fun .... most of the time.

Recently we've run into a little problem communicating.  Case in point (these are just from today):

Mom says--"Please clean up your toys."
Child hears--"Please chew off your right leg and feed it to the neighbor's dog."

Mom says--"Sand stays in the sandbox.  It does not go on the grass, down your clothes, or in your hair."
Child hears--"Where sand goes is negotiable.  The grass loves it, baby brother thinks it feels great down his diaper, and you and Rocky should BOTH put it in your hair.  Right now."

Mom says--"Please don't take that from your brother."
Child hears--"The second I look away, take away the bath tub toy and when your brother starts to scream, look innocent and plead not guilty to all charges."

Mom says--"I need to make a phone call. Please go to your room a look at books until I come and get you."
Child hears--"While I'm on the phone, please hang on my leg, throw a tantrum, and scream about how mean I am for not giving you a sour gummy worm for breakfast."

Now as I write this I can look back and giggle at our miscommunications but when they are actually happening, I get pretty ticked off.

So while I generally love learning to communicate with my children, sometimes it gets a bit tiring--exasperating even.

Anyone else have some comical "miscommunications" to share?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What I Think About--Sex, Lies and Mom-Blog Bullies

In my local newspaper I read an article by Georgea Kovanis called "Sex, Lies, and Mom-Blog Bullies."  The article subtitle reads:
If you think high school is tough, with its cliques and mean girls, you probably haven't visited the ever-widening world of mommy blogs where women bully and bad-mouth each other in posts that are more personal and spiteful than your likely to find on sports or entertainment blogs.  Or on blogs written by dads.
The basic premise of this article is based on contentions over what and how women should share about mothering via blogs.

*Sigh*  Oh the drama.

For as long as I can remember, there have been value judgements made about women based on how they mother.  The article states that for a woman, "a huge part of their self-worth is tied up in their mothering abilities and skills."  And leave it to moms to make themselves feel better about their abilities by rejoicing in the not-so-stellar abilities of other moms.  "For eons, moms have judged each other.  They've whispered about who is breast feeding, who is baking cookies, who is providing the best after-school and summer vacation options, who is the best mom."  While these value-judgements used to be made between gossiping friends, now these claims are shared for all to see on the internet.  Awesome.

There are anti-mom blog women out there (such as the now defunct  Anti-mom blog women fall under 2 categories (near as I can tell).
  1. Group #1--These are moms.  They love to be moms.  They don't mind us being moms.  But they want more from a blog than cute stories, craft ideas, and menu plans.  These women don't want to know what we did at the park or how many teeth our children have.  They want to read thoughtful and edgy posts that have nothing to do with poop or time-outs.  Fair enough--I understand this anti-mom blog group (though I'm clearly not a member!).  
  2. Group #2--They are moms.  They love to be moms.  They want us to be moms.  The problem with "them" is they want us to mother THEIR way.  As in, their discipline, their menus, their values, their "I'm seeking the imaginary mom-of-the-year award" June Cleaver lifestyle.  And if moms like me challenge traditional methods or myths about motherhood (i.e. if I let on to readers that being a mom can be hard), we are branded as public enemy #1 which results in having our marriages, parenting-styles and womanhood totally bashed (in the name of being classy, apparently). 
(FYI--There are other anti-mom blog groups such as teenaged boys and girls, avid fishermen, etc., but I chose not to discuss them for obvious reasons).

If you've ever read a mom blog (including mine) then you've probably read some non-sugar coated stuff about being a mom.  I'm the first to say I chose to be a mom.  I chose to be a SAHM.  I am living the life I chose.  That does not make my life perfect.  I don't wake up to rainbows and butterflies.  Most days are amazing but some can be bad.  Is it wrong to admit that being a mom "isn't all milk and cookies?"  Is it awful for me to admit that sometimes my kids drive me nuts (or that I want a kid-free day)?  Does being real about who I am as a women, a wife, and a mom make less of a mommy?

One of the biggest lies I see about moms is that all we can be is moms.  Am I the only mom who wants to be more than a mom?  I mean, the whole point of my blog is to celebrate and balance the duplicitous roles women take as wife, woman, and mom.  I just don't think it is wrong for me to share ways I try to make my marriage spicy, to give my viewpoints on subjects that I'm passionate about or to share what trends I'm digging.  Am I wrong here?

Remember my post on keepin' it real?  That's my goal here.  This blog is my free therapy.  It is a place for women in all aspects of life to come together to share and learn and encourage.  It is a place to be real--good and bad.

That being said, what I write here might not appeal to you.  You might not understand it or me.  It might be offensive.  If you don't like what I write, please know you have my permission to unfollow or unsubscribe to this blog immediately.  I'll be honest that is stinks to lose followers but if it's time to move on, please feel free to move about blog-land.

This blog is all about encouraging women to be the best moms they can be but to also be more than moms--to be inspired women and passionate wives (yes, this sometimes means sex).

What I think is this blog is a Mom-Blog bully free zone.

If you are an anti-mom blog bully, please take your snarky comments and sanctimonious "Mom of the Year" awards elsewhere because I effectively remove my name from the nomination list (and pursuant to my comment clause in the About section, I'll remove unhelpful, disrespectful, and drama-laden comments immediately).

Anyone out there in blog land run into blog bullies?  How did you handle it?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tuesday's Too Clean Tip--Clean Tea Pot

I don't like coffee. Really. I can't stand the stuff.  The smell make me gag. Ewwwww.  On a weird side note, I do like coffee ice cream.  Once my college roommate, Ami, and I decided to make our own coffee ice cream.  Big mistake.  Huge.

Anyway, I'm not a coffee person but I do love, love, love tea!  Eons ago,For my 22nd birthday my mom and dad got me a great, expensive electric tea pot.  I love it but it is a pain in the rear to clean.  However, any tea drinker worth their salt knows that tea 1.  Can't be microwaved and 2.  Is best when properly brewed in a clean pot.  (If you are such a technical tea drinker that you think "properly" means boiled over a gas stove--pooh on you!).

It is a must to have a good, clean pot (is there a drug reference like "that's what she said"?  If so, this is a perfect time to use it--good, clean pot.  Ha ha!).  Wow--am I digressing?!

Back to the pot (!).  To clean your tea pot there are two very easy options.

  1. Put 1 cup of white vinegar into the pot.  Fill to the brim with boiling water.  Let sit overnight.  Drain.  Rinse. Wash. Rinse. Dry. Make tea.
  2. Put 4 tablespoons of baking soda into the tea pot.  Fill to the brim with boiling water.  Let sit overnight.  Drain.  Rinse. Wash. Rinse. Dry. Make tea.
There actually is a third option and that is to use a denture cleaning tab in your tea pot.  I'm too young to have denture cleaning tabs lying around so this option is really a non-option for me.

Since I'm not a coffee drinker I can't be certain but I'd bet you can use the same steps to clean out your nasty coffee carafes.

Hope your day "brews" up something spectacular.

Comment line--coffee, tea or other?  Be prepared to defend yourself.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Perceiving Beauty

In Washington, D.C.'s Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007 a man with a violin played six classical pieces for roughly forty-five minutes. During that time approximately two thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.


3 minutes: 
A middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried on his way.

4 minutes later:
The violinist received his first dollar from a woman who threw the money in the hat without stopping.

6 minutes:
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes:
 A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed harder and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.

45 minutes:
The musician played continuously. 

During this time, only six people stopped and listened for a short while. About twenty gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

1 hour:
The musician finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded.

The violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.

The questions raised:

  • In a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?
  • Do we stop to appreciate it?
  • Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?
 One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made, how many other things are we missing?

How many people pass by and we do not make any effort to know them--or really, to see them?

In what ways do we take day-to-day beauty for granted?

What is one beautiful thing you are grateful for today?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

What's Cooking 5/31-6/6

Ohmygosh!  Is it June already?  I can't tell you how happy I am to have grill-worthy weather.  This time of year I get a little wild with my cooking (and by wild I mean lazy and sporadic).

Near as I can tell we'll be eating something along these lines:

Monday--Honey pepper pork loin and sweet potatoes with kale
Tuesday--Spicy honey chicken with raw veggies
Wednesday--Enchiladas with Spanish Rice
Thursday--BBQ Chicken legs and baked beans (the really unhealthy kind!)
Friday--Chili-Lime steak with cilantro rice
Saturday--Halibut--haven't decided how yet!
Sunday--Dad's grill master choice