January 31, 2007

A Melee of Thoughts...

Yes. It's 10:04pm. Yes, I'm way exhausted. But Part 2 the Season Finale of Top Chef is on people. The flesh is weak.

And lest you think I am wasting time watching this reality tv nonsense, I will have you know that I have been simultaneously catching up on my bloggy visits and have found 2 more great mommy blogs. Check out the Mama Blog Spotlights on our right sidebar...

But just in case you're unabashedly lazy, here is a link to Lots of Scotts. Read her post called "Fix Furdy" - I think the idea is brilliant!

I also found out that the "streets are talkin'" about the "Tots and Tonic" piece on the Today Show that inspired our last MamaLaw. Looks like Meredith made a boo-boo.

And Revka has written a very thought-provoking post on spanking. Pay her a visit - she'd like to hear your point of view.

In other news, I attended the State of the Net Conference today for work. They had some great panels and speakers and I met Anne Collier the editor, executive director, and founder of Net Family News. Her new project, BlogSafety.com, looks like it would be a wonderful resource for parents of kids who are online. I learned a lot and met a lot of important folks. See! I'm not all fluff.

But I do have mommy brain*. My neighbor rang the doorbell tonight to give me my cell phone that he found in the street in front of my house while he was walking his dog. Oy.

[* Apparently there's hope.]

Prayers Please!

One of my fellow Mochas really needs your prayers! She sent us this letter today:


As some of you are aware, our family had a medical crisis with our daughter Ayo. She was born last September and after a week home, ended up in the hosptial until this month (Jan)! My husband and I did all we could to manage our household and other child while being with Ayo everyday of her hospital stay. She has an unexplained heart condition; the treatment that was required lead to a brain hermmorage and a host of other things. The tale is long and painful but the end result is that our insurance company has terminated us because were were late on one premium payment--for the first time in 3 years! The minute we realized we tried to pay over the phone and they denied us the chance. Her bills are well over a million dollars, so we were not that surprised at the quickness with which they acted. We cannot find a new a policy at this time because of her condition, and we do not qualify for free or reduced price programs--at least on paper. The truth is we own property but I cannot work right now as I am taking care of Ayo and property is not a liquid asset that can help us immediately. My husband has lost work when he was not able to deliver his projects on time, as a result of our ravaged schedule. We are both self-employed, so there is no employer to give us insurance. Her situation is serious and we are left with taking her to the hospital for medication, pedicatric check-ups, cardiology and bloodwork that she has to get done on a regular basis. This is then billed to us directly. We will go bankrupt at this rate and cannot continue in this manner. Here is where you can help us:

We plan to rent out our home here in Takoma Park, MD. If you can think of anyone who may be interested in a lovely, renovated 4 bedroom please have them contact us. We are not ready to sell and want to lease for a year while we move back to the District to a more affordable situation.

Next, if you are looking for a wonderful general contractor, please contact my husband, since his schedule is now more conducive to working again. The company's site is
www.kandcbuilders.com . He has excellent references despite this latest client whose work went beyond the deadline.

We are seeking an attorney or anyone who is capable to help us pro-bono to assist us in appealing to our insurance company for terminating us in the middle of a medical crisis.

Thanks for reading our letter!
The Thompsons"

If you can help by responding to one of her specific requests, then great! If not, her family needs all the prayer that they can get. Thanks very much. Let's do this thing Mamas!

A 4:30pm Pick Me Up...

Thanks, SIL, for sharing this with me today!

[And make sure that you read
my update to Monday's post -- it might be just what you need to hear!]

A baby asked God, "They tell me you are sending me to earth
tomorrow, but how am I going to live there being so small and

God said, "Your angel will be waiting for you and will take care
of you."

The child further inquired, "But tell me, here in heaven I don't
have to do anything but sing and smile to be happy."

God said, "Your angel will sing for you and will also smile for
you. And you will feel your angel's love and be very happy."

Again the child asked, "And how am I going to be able to
understand when people talk to me if I don't know the language?"

God said, "Your angel will tell you the most beautiful and sweet
words you will ever hear, and with much patience and care, your
angel will teach you how to speak."

"And what am I going to do when I want to talk to you?"
God said, "Your angel will place your hands together and will
teach you how to pray."

"Who will protect me?"

God said, "Your angel will defend you even if it means risking
its life."

"But I will always be sad because I will not see you anymore."
God said, "Your angel will always talk to you about Me and will
teach you the way to come back to Me, even though I will always
be next to you."

At that moment there was much peace in Heaven, but voices from
Earth could be heard and the child hurriedly asked, "God, if I
am to leave now, please tell me my angel's name."

God said, "You will simply call her, "Mom."

Wordless Wednesday...

For more Wordless Wednesdays, click here!

January 30, 2007

ME! Casa...

It all started when we went to IKEA to find (hmmm...I don't really know what we went there to find) Ah yes of course, the bottle rack. Well while we were there, Oldest couldn't get enough of the playhouses that the company has so cleverly dispersed throughout the store. It would be even smarter of them if they actually sold those houses b/c I'm tellin' ya, the children love 'em. As Hubby and I were trying to coax Oldest out of the house because we were positively Swedish'ed-out, I made the mistake suggestion of saying: "I bet Daddy could build you a playhouse of your very own!"

And just like that "Project Take Over the Living Room" was born.

Hubby has really gotten into this project and was busy drawing plans and taking measurements. It's been great fun. Saturday we went to Home Depot to pick up the materials. All the while, Oldest keeps asking about her "house." Not quite sure if she knew what was happening but she had a blast riding around the lumber aisle [shoot me!] in any event.

Here's Phase 1:
For this momentous occasion, Hubby even dusted off the brand new sawhorses that he insisted he needed for Christmas 2005.

Ah. My hubby. He's so "level-headed." Get it? Hahahaha. Oh, forget it.

Oldest surveying Daddy's progress.

Team Playhouse in full effect.

Check out Mommy's phat cutouts!

Notice how Oldest has already put her table and chair set inside. The house is so cute. My living room right now? Not so much.

Stay tuned for pics of the finished product!

Startling revelation!

Today, while scooping ice cream into my five year old's bowl for desert, Daugther, who now, thanks to Nana, has discovered ice cream, screamed for some "cake." At first I paused and thought, she doesn't need any ice cream, but then I said, what the heck, let her have some. But then, I only gave her a tiny little scoop. On the other hand, I gave Son, 2 whopping scoops AND a little bit of sprinkles and asked if he wanted chocolate syrup to top it off. (No, I normally don't allow him to indulge like this but he doesn't get desert every night and if so, it's never this good.)

Well, four spoons later, daughter was looking at Son and looking at me like what the h@ll is going on? No fair. So she says, "Mommy, want cake!" And I say, "no, you've had enough." Then I start to thinking why she can't have more and I reason it's because I don't want to start bad habits because she should be careful of what she eats- and I felt guilty and ashamed. I never would do this to Son because he's a boy and it's okay, I suppose, for him to be a little chunky (even though right now he is rail thin). But for Daughter, I want her to have good eating habits so that she grows up to be skinny. Sure I want them both to be healthy, and I do my best to make sure they have their "five a day." But, I can't believe I'm worrying or even thinking about this when Daugther is two!! So I have vowed, not to treat them different and also, to do my best to make sure that daughter has a positive self image no matter what size she is! Hopefully this incident hasn't scarred her for life.

Tackle It Tuesday

Tackle <span class=

This week's tackle was a relatively easy one, but one that was overdue. Call me crazy, but it absolutely drove me batty that we had nowhere to put the girls' daycare bag or my purse in the evenings. It seemed liked the daycare bag was always in the way! It would be under the kitchen table, on the counter, on the floor in front of the tupperware cabinet, in the dining room, in the hallway...GAH! I tried to hide it in the laundry room, but that space is already cramped and it didn't make the bag easy to access when I needed to unpack and pack it every morning and night.

So long [and postively enthralling] story short, we bought a wallrack! During our Saturday trip to Home Depot (you'll see why we were there, later) we found this lovely little ditty:

And Hubby installed for me in our entrance hallway. Now I no longer have to hunt for my purse or subject it to being ravaged on a regular basis because Oldest has managed to pull it off of the kitchen counter. And I no longer have to trip over the doggone daycare bag. Problem tackled!

To see more Tuesday tackles, visit Janice at 5 Minutes for Mom. And while you're over there, don't forget to congratulate her on her great news!!!!

January 29, 2007

*UPDATED* Why There Are No Reality Shows About Regular Families with Kids...

Act I: Scene 1

[Mommy arrives home from work and walks through the door @ 6:35pm]

Children: [calm and happy] "Hi Momeeee!" They run/crawl to Mommy and overwhelm her with bear hugs.

Mommy: Hi girls! How was your day?

Hubby: "Hi Dear [smooch]- how was your day? Let me take your coat for you since you have your hands full [with a purse, lunchbag, housekeys, and the mail]"

Mommy: "Hi there! My day was good. A little bit frustrating towards the end, but good. I'll fill you in later."

Hubby: "Ok. It's a date. Oh, by the way, since I've been home since FOUR-THIRTY P.M., I fed the girls dinner and gave them a bath."

Mommy: "Really? That's great! Thanks."

[Family retires to the family room, plays together, the girls go to sleep and Hubby and Mommy spend some quality time together and get a good night's sleep]

End Scene.

Ok, let me stop playing and tell you how it really went.

Act I: Scene 1

[Mommy arrives home from work and walks through the door @ 6:35pm]

Children: [with the look of wild banshees in their eyes] "Hi Momeeee!" They run/speed crawl to Mommy, jump on her and Oldest screams "MOMMY! I WAN' FWOOT NYACKS! ORANGES?" Youngest wails to be picked up.

Mommy: Hi girls! How was your day? [Juggling purse, lunchbag, housekeys, and the mail and her two offspring while trying to remove her coat]

Hubby: Sitting on the couch, on the phone, tv blaring, sitting in a pool of Wheat Thin cracker and cheddar rice cake crumbs. "Hey!"

Mommy: [Realizes that this means Oldest's dinner appetite is ruined but opts to hold her tongue for the greater good.] "Hey!"

Hubby: Passes the phone to Mommy. "Here, SIL wants to ask you a question."

Mommy: "Ok." Carrying Youngest in one arm and tripping over Oldest who is clinging to her leg screaming "PIE! MOMMY! I WAN' PIE?" catches phone tossed by Hubby and collapses onto couch. Then realizes that sitting down is not an option seeing as how the kids need to eat, bathe and get to sleep in 45mins. , gets up.

Hubby: Mouths incomprehensible sentence to Mommy and retreats to the office and gets on the phone.

Mommy: Throws pot on stove to make quick mashed potatoes while having to put a wailing and exhausted Youngest on the floor, trying to hold the phone to her ear with her shoulder and give legal advice to SIL regarding an acquaintance's landlord/tenant issue, and trying to prevent Oldest from climbing in the [cold] oven to get to Hubby's pie. In the process, Mommy burns her wrist with the hot milk in the potatoes and throws her body in front of the stove to head off Oldest who is now trying to touch the hot eye on the stove. She rattles off what she vaguely remembers from her law school Real Property course and tells SIL she'll call her back. She finally gets Oldest's dinner ready, makes sure she says Grace with her, and rushes to the bathroom to bathe Youngest so that she can get put to bed.

Oldest: "MOMMY! I WAN' BATH!" Runs to the bathroom with dinner plate and cup of water in hand.

Mommy: While undressing Youngest. "Please take your dinner back to the kitchen. You can have a bath once you're done eating."

Oldest: Dumps bucket of bathwater on Mommy. Starts running at top speed to the family room with her food, laughing hysterically. Then slips, falls and strews her dinner all over the hallway.

Hubby: Cracks open office door. "What's going on out here? Can you turn the bathwater off? I'm on a business call. Why are your pants wet?" Closes door.

Oldest: Runs to her room because she senses that peas smashed into ceramic tile grout can't be good.

Youngest: Screaming and trying to climb into the bathtub.

Mommy: At her wit's end. Realizes she has been holding her pee since she left the office two hours ago.

End Scene.

*Wouldn't you know that God sent a little angel (named Shannon) to help through this rough week that I'm having? This was totally what I needed to hear. He's always on time, isn't He?

I'm just so excited to post this week's menu plan because my family will be having delicious meals with minimal effort on Mommy's part since Justice Ny, my friend Nat and I made all of these meals yesterday to freeze and use as we please! We made all of these main dishes in less than 2 hours and for about $50 (per family). Doesn't get any better than that. The One-Armed Cook saved the day again with easy and tasty recipes.

Monday: Broiled Lemon & Brown Sugar Chicken, Mashed Potatoes and Steamed Veggies

Tuesday: Salad, Grilled Asian Salmon and Rice Noodles

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Mango Curry Chicken & Garlic Naan
(naan courtesy of Trader Joe's)

Friday: Chicken Cacciatore & Linguini

Saturday: Thai Shrimp & Jasmine Rice

Sunday: Superbowl Treats!
[I could care less about the game, but I'm all about the snacks]

If you're looking for new dinner ideas (and who isn't?) visit the Organizing Junkie for tons more menu plans!

January 27, 2007

A Different Kind of Fever...

Is it just me or are Saturdays positively EXHAUSTING!?

Remember the days when "the weekend" meant sleeping in late, breakfast in bed, enjoying a latte while checking out the latest selections at Borders, shopping for yourself at the mall and trying out the hot new tapas place with your hubby or your girlfriends for dinner? Seems like another planet, far, far away...

I can't even remember the last time I had tapas. Does an impressive variety of Goldfish and Curious George fruit snacks count?

January 26, 2007

Right Now My Mood Is...

My Unkymood Punkymood (Unkymoods)

I can't take it! I can't sit at my desk one more minute. How early do you think I can sneak out of the office undetected?

Friday Fun

We are going to do things a little differently this week. For each numbered question, list that many things as your answer. For example, 1 thing for #1, 2 things for #2, 3 things for #3, and so on!
1. thing you have done this morning.

  • Prepared for Monday's class- go me for starting early!
2. things you plan to do this weekend.
  • Get these kids out of the house. They've been stuck all week due to the weather.
  • Finish Preparing for Monday's class.

3. things you wish you had.
  • The Jaguar J. Fergie plans to buy her mother.
  • A new wardrobe with matching shoes, handbags and accessories.
  • Really long hair. I'm tired of this same hair style. I've had it for about 10 years. Same length with minor changes in color. Change!

4. celebrity women you think are beautiful.

  • Halle Berry
  • Catherine Zeta Jones
  • Beyonce
  • Alicia Keys

5. celebrity men you find attractive.

  • Boris Kodjoe (yum!)
  • Denzel (no last name needed)
  • George Cloony (no, I don't have a thing for older men).
  • David Beckham
  • Morris Chestnut

6. friends you regularly blog with.

  • J. Fergie
  • J. Ny
  • Revka at the Porch Light
  • ?
  • ?
  • ? (sorry, not that good at remembering everyone)

7. ways you would spend $1 million.

hmm, anyone of these may cost a million dollars....

  • buy homes, rehab them and sell them.
  • pay off student loans
  • Finish 529ks for kids.
  • reinvest 50% of it.
  • buy parents' dream home.
  • buy hubby his dream car (Azure or Phantom).
  • Rent out my house and put down on my dream home.

8. personality traits you think are important.

  • understanding
  • loving
  • caring
  • giving
  • ambitious
  • persevering
  • smart

I like to visit new people so leave a link if you can!



MamaLaws#12 - It's not that serious

First things first...

A Top Chef update: The judges
sent Sam home!? Were they on crack? A crime against cuisine everywhere if you ask me. Not only was he a great chef but he was easy on the eyes too. He could have cooked the pants off of me Marcel anyday.

Now, onto business.

MamaLaw #12: "Lighten Up!"

On the Today Show this morning there was a piece on
"Tots and Tonic" -- a story about moms who drink wine or "mom-tinis" while their kids enjoy a playdate. They profiled a group of 3 stay-at-home moms who get their kids together and they moms socialize over a couple of glasses of wine. So of course the show had an expert discussing how this was dangerous for safety reasons and problematic because moms might be drinking as a coping mechanism - duh (just kidding!). But really, I don't see the big deal. Maybe I'm just too laid-back but I don't think a little wine ever hurt anyone. And of course it's not like these moms are getting sloshed at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. No mom in her right mind would knowingly jeopardize her child's safety and as long as it's done responsibly and in moderation then it's all good. As we were discussing earlier this week, finding time to spend with your girlfriends is rare and so if some moms are taking advatage of the opportunity to have girltime while allowing their little ones to have kidtime, then more power to 'em!

Moms can be so hard on other moms. We might criticize their parenting styles or judge their children who reach milestones later than than our own. We try to impose our opinions on them and think that it's "our way or no way" and talk behind their backs. Some moms condone spanking. Others are adamantly against it. Some moms only feed their infants baby food made from scratch (God bless 'em!). Others are happy feeding their kids food off of the grocery store shelves. And then there are the so-called "
Mommy Wars." Some SAHMs look down on moms who work outside of the home. And some working moms look down on moms who choose to stay at home. Then there are moms who turn their noses up at moms who put their kids in *gasp!* public school. And public shcool moms think private school moms are stuck-up. The list goes on and on. Let's calm down people! We're all mommies with a passion for parenting and doing what's best for our children. Parenting is a very personal thing and we need to respect each other's choices whether we agree with them or not. It would do us all some good to have a mom-tini Lighten Up!

[Can you tell I just learned how to write the html tags for a strikethrough today?]

** Incidentally, the "Lighten Up" concept applies very well to all aspects of mommying. For example, last night Oldest decided, naturally, that Crayola Marker in Magenta would look much better on her lips than on the huge pad of coloring paper that I gave her. While hubby freaked out at her amatuer makeup job, I wasn't fazed in the least. "Don't worry, it's non-toxic" I told him. "It'll come right off in the bath." He was running around getting washcloths and trying to furiously scrub her mouth while she laughed uncontrollably. I would have laughed too if they hadn't been disturbing Sam's description of his Mascarpone Mousse with Hawaiian Salted Coconut Milk & Citrus Tuile. Oh Sam.

Friday Fun...

Happy Friday!

Trying out a new meme today. It's called Friday Fun from Multi-Faceted Mama. Enjoy!

We are going to do things a little differently this week. For each numbered question, list that many things as your answer. For example, 1 thing for #1, 2 things for #2, 3 things for #3, and so on!

1. thing you have done this morning.

Grilled a peanut butter, honey and banana sandwhich for Oldest's lunch.

2. things you plan to do this weekend.

Take the girls to Family Storytime at the library.
Make freeze-ahead meals with J. Ny.

3. things you wish you had.

The Mercedes GL
A job that is part-time
More time in the day!

4. celebrity women you think are beautiful.

Nia Long
Charlize Theron

5. celebrity men you find attractive.

Morris Chestnut

Henry Simmons
Matthew McConaughey

6. friends you regularly blog with. I like to visit new people so leave a link if you can!


Busy Mom


7. ways you would spend $1 million.

Purchase investment properties
Retire my mommy, buy her the Jaguar she's always wanted and open her Bed & Breakfast
Send my kids to the best schools and start a trust fund for them
Quit my job, pay off the mortgage and invest in my business ideas
Travel, travel, travel
Buy a vacation home in the Caribbean

8. personality traits you think are important.


January 25, 2007

Right Now I'm...

My Unkymood Punkymood (Unkymoods)

Thursday Thirteen

Since our blog's theme for this week seems to be "Moms Who Have to Put Their Needs On The Back Burner" [and don't get me wrong, I lovingly sacrifice my wants for my beautiful family but -- let's just pretend for a moment that I could have my cake and eat it too] here are:

Thirteen Things I Would Buy Myself If I Had Extra Cash

1. A fabulous haircut along with glamorous highlights.
2. A day at the spa. I'd get a manicure, pedicure, facial, massage, body scrub - the works!
3. The
Brigitte Oilcloth Tote from Nepacena
4. The Sugar Lychee perfume from Fresh.
5. Creme de la Mer moisturizing cream from La Mer.
6. Dinner at Ceiba.
7. Lunch at Les Halles.
8. The KitchenAid Artisan Mixer in Pink.
9. A Tiffany lock necklace.
10. The MomAgenda Portfolio Planner.
11. A Valentine's Overnight Trip for me and hubby
12. Lasik surgery [I love my glasses but being blind without them is SO tedious]
13. And a North Face coat for hubby [I know this isn't for me, but hubby really wants one but is refraining in the name of "the budget"]

But alas, Oldest needs to be enrolled in a private school this fall, we have to upgrade our sports sedan to a family-compatible car this summer and these pesky kids of mine keep wanting to eat, so...this wishlist on my blog will have to do for now. At the very least it was fun talking about 'em!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. raggedy
2. suki
6. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

January 24, 2007

Along that same line...

Okay, my turn to vent. So yesterday I was out to lunch with my single co-worker/girlfriend who has been inviting me to lunch for several weeks now. I typically decline because who has time to sit down and eat lunch like a real person? Not me. Lunch for me is a bowl of soup at my desk during office hours. I typically am not on campus unless I have to teach, or I'm holding my office hours. So when do I prepare for class you say?? At home, while everyone is in bed. See my comment on J. Ny's post asking for help. Anyhow, I digress. So "we" are enjoying lunch at this jazzy new restaurant downtown, "conveniently" located just 10 minutes away from Oldest's school who has to be picked up by 3 p.m. (Reason #23 as to why I can never have a productive day, again I digress, sorry!). The food was wonderful, we ordered apps, shared the desert du jour, etc. so we were there a good two hours. On my way there I threatened myself with bodily injury if I spent more than an hour there since I had "a million things to do." One look at the menu and I knew I was in trouble.

Can I please get to the point?? I have a million things to do. So finally my friend says to me,
"Thank you for coming, I really enjoyed lunch, [blah, blah, blah, ] but I feel like every time we do something together, I'm wasting your time. " Yikes. So I say, "of course not!" And she responds, "Yes, you are always running here or running there and I feel like you are constantly rushing and so I feel as if I am on the clock, and I can't really relax because I know you are pressed for time." Ta! Imagine how I feel I want to say but of course, I don't.

But, the truth of it is, I can't be mad at her comment because really, she's right. Between classes, while I'm supposed to be preparing for the next class, I sometimes take a break and stop by her office to say hi for "five minutes." I always say, gotta run, would love to keep talking but, gotta run, or better get busy, otherwise, I'll be up all night, or something along those lines. The truth is, I am not sure I really have time for friends and that is sad. Hubby encourages me to make friends and to go out but I'm too tired, or just have too many things to do. Even though I feel like I should have so much time since I essentially work part-time, but yet and still I get nothing done, or so it seems, and if I do anything even remotely unrelated to work and kids, the day is a disaster and so the next day I'm playing catch up. This creates the ugly cycle, rushing here, rushing there, rushing even my friends away.

Sigh........... Life.

Works for Me Wednesday -- Shortcuts!


This WFMW post is inspired by my good friend J. Ny who is struggling with the balancing act that comes with being a working mom. She asked for tips on how to have time for herself while "getting it all done" and so it go me thinking about my own chaotic life and what works for me. And suddenly, it came to me -- time-saving shortcuts! I have tons and they help me everyday so I thought I'd share some of them. Here goes:

(1) Swish and Swipe! This tip totally comes from The Fly Lady and I've added my own modifications. Clorox wipes are hidden treasures in my house. We use them for everything (hubby is obsessed). But they are handy because they eliminate the need for all-purpose cleaner and sponges, etc. Just keep a container of the wipes in each bathroom. In the mornings (and not every morning, mind you) I grab a few wipes and wipe down the sink area, the faucet, the toilet, drop 'em in the bowl, flush and I'm done. This keeps the bathroom from becoming an overwhelming project on the weekends. Inside the shower we keep a bottle of tile cleaner and a sponge and I'll give it a scrub while I'm taking a shower. I also keep a spray bottle of shower cleanser in the shower and spray the doors before I step out. I keep a few plastic grocery bags in the cabinet under the sink and use them to empty the trash when it gets full. After doing these 4 things, the bathroom is virtually clean and it takes all of 5 minutes! Of course if you have the luxury of a cleaning lady, you're a lucky dog and you can skip this one.

(2) Pre-prepare Dinner! Dinnertime is tough in my house because I don't get home until 6:30pm and by that time Oldest is starving and Youngest is almost ready for bed. So I try to have quick dinner solutions that are ready to go as soon as I set foot in the door, if not before. For example, I made Monday's chicken pot pie on Sunday night after the kids were asleep. Yes, I would have preferred to be watching my missed episode of Rome but it was worth it in the end. All hubby had to do when he got home with the kids on Monday was pop the pie in the oven and bake it for 30 minutes. By the time I got home it was done and the kids were already eating. Yay! I try to do this for most of our dinner meals when I can (i.e. have chicken marinating in the fridge or a casserole ready to bake) it really saves time and headache in the long run. Also, I make a grocery list for the week on Sundays and we all go grocery shopping for the week together. I don't know why but hubby likes coming and it ends up being a family outing so I don't have to feel bad about missing the kids while I'm running errands. I also bring my cookbooks with me to work so I can plan meals during the day since the evenings are nuts.

(3) The Snack Basket. The snack basket is serious business in my house. When I unpack the groceries, I take all of the snacks out of their boxes and put them all into a basket on the kitchen counter. This way, when Oldest wants a snack or when I'm packing lunches, all we have to do is pick something out of the basket. I try to stock it with healthful stuff like fruit cups, snack size packs of goldfish, mini-rice cakes, clementines, etc. It makes it easier for Hubby to because if I'm not home he can just get Oldest something out of The Snack Basket without (a) panicking (b) calling me or (c) giving her something randomly inappropriate. I also keep snacks for Oldest, like individually-wrapped cheese sticks or grapes, in the bottom crisper in the fridge where she can access them. She loves to open the drawer and get her own snack.

(4) Bathtime! This is one of my personal favorites. Hubby actually inadvertently put me on to it one day when he was bathing the girls. Instead of using a regular baby bubble bath, he used his Dial body wash as their bubble bath. Of course I chastised him about it, but once they were out of the tub, I realized how great they smelled and how squeaky clean they were. And it foams up nice and bubbly like regular bubble bath! So all you have to do is give them a good pass of the washcloth in the key areas and ta-da! Bath accomplished. Eliminates the "please stand up for Mommy so I can scrub you down" battle. I also "Swish and Swipe" the girls' bathroom while they are playing in the tub. 2 (er- 3) birds with one stone!

Hope you liked my shortcuts. Hey, they work for me!

Where will I find the time for myself?

I started writing this post last night, but then fell right asleep. I am thoroughly exhausted. My day starts at 7:00 and I'm at work by 8:30 and I go, go, go until at least 5:30. Rush home in traffic and I'm at home by 6:00....as soon as I walk in the door, DD is there to greet me and then it's play, dinner, bath, bed...it all ends at about 9:00 and then I'm usually out by 9:30. The weekends are no better because there always seems to be a family event to take care of. When, oh when, will I have time to take care of me?????? I've been meaning to go to Victoria's Secret Semi-annual sale for the past three weeks, I need a pedicure, and let's not talk about my hair....which has been in a ponytail for the past three weeks (and more). I just don't understand where I'm supposed to find the time to get things done for myself. What are you ladies doing? I need a Work for Me Wednesday tip!

January 22, 2007

*UPDATED* What to Do?

Our neighbors have officially sold their house and are moving to Florida next week. They are the best neighbors we've ever had and we'll miss them terribly...But, on Friday "Abuela" (as we call her) called to (a) borrow our table and (b) invite us to a get-together they were having Saturday night. I was sick with the flu but told her that Hubby would bring over the table and that I had a meeting on Saturday afternoon that ended at 7pm but that we would try to make it. So Saturday came and by the time we got back home from my meeting and the donut run, it was already 7:00pm. At this point we were all warm and cozy and full and all we wanted to do was go to bed -- not to mention Youngest was on her way to dreamland and I was still a bit under the weather...So Hubby called and let them know we weren't going to make it. Then, Sunday when I was at my Weight Watchers Meeting, Abuela called to invite us to their Yard Sale. Hubby told her that we would "come by later" but didn't tell me that she called until we were leaving to go to Chuck E. Cheese and she called us to ask if we had a newspaper that she could borrow (to wrap her fragile yard sale items in). So...I brought the newspaper over and she kind of gave me the cold shoulder -- I'm guessing that she was offended that we missed both the get-together and the yard sale. Hubby shoveled their driveway after the snowfall as a kind gesture, but we haven't spoken to them since.

What should we do? If anything. Or am I overreacting?

Thanks for all the helpful advice. I ended up going over to their house this morning to apologize. They were both fine! I think that she may have been stressed/busy on Sunday and that's why it came across as her giving me the cold shoulder. But anyway, I apologized for missing the get-together and they said that it was fine and no big deal and that they understood and we chatted for a bit. I gave them their plate back (filled with orange liqueur pound cake slices) and told them that we would come by this evening to say goodbye since they move out tonight. So, I'm glad that I mentioned it!

Menu Plan Monday

Hi There!

Where's everybody at? I've been MIA since Friday because we had sort of a busy weekend and I was fighting the flu. I'm (kinda) all better now though. Nothing much to report other than us getting about 2 inches (woo hoo!) of snow yesterday -- it was fun watching Oldest and Youngest marvel at the snowfall -- and an outing to Chuck E. Cheese. Mom's Night Out was fun as usual -- lotsa wine and laughs (probably because of the wine). Oh and we ate out on Saturday night before hubby satisfied his donut craving (tsk tsk). He drove us out about 30 minutes in the freezing cold to get to the nearest Kripsy Kreme! But you'll be glad to know yours truly didn't have any donuts (just a bite!) And...I lost another pound. Yay me!

Here's what our week looks like:

Monday: Homemade Chicken Pot Pie* (we never quite made it to this meal last week)
Tuesday: Leftovers
Wednesday: Grilled Pork Chops, Spinach and Mashed Potatoes
Thursday: Chicken Stir-Fry & Jasmine Rice
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Eat Out or Pizza
Sunday: Grilled Garlic Chicken, Rice-A-Roni and Steamed Veggies

Here's hoping this week is more organized than last!

To see menus from people who actually have a prayer of sticking to them, visit Organizing Junkie.

*By the way -- it's delicious!

January 19, 2007

Friday's Feast

Which television shows do you just refuse to miss?

Top Chef
Ugly Betty
The Unit
Grey's Anatomy

Waiting Patiently for the Next Season:
The Wire
Top Model
Project Runway
Real Housewives of OC

No, I'm not ashamed.

Who did you last speak to on the telephone?

Mommy. How'd you guess?

How many pillows do you keep on your bed?

Five. Last night hubby and I determined that our sixth pillow has mysteriously disappeared. Currently a 3-foot tall, tangerine-loving, Barney-watching, chatterbox is our prime suspect.

Name one addition to your computer (software, hardware, etc.) that you'd love to have.

Vista. Curious to try it out.

What is your favorite foreign food?

This is hard. I have so many. Ok, pizza. Does that even count as a foreign food anymore? If not, then poutine.

Yummm. Lisa, stop drooling.

And roti.

To see more Friday Feasts, click here.

January 18, 2007

Speaking of Parties...

What are you doing March 2nd to March 9th? Well, save the date. You're invited to The Ultimate Blog Party! A what? Yes, a BLOG PARTY. There will be food and drinks and good music and cute guys and lots of prizes! Well, ok. Maybe I'm exaggerating a wee bit but it really will be fun and there really will be lots of prizes.

Anyway, you've gotta come. I hear that everybody who's anybody is gonna be there.

Party Pooper...

Since I'm home sick with the-cold-that-won't-die, I got to watch the Today Show and they had a segment called "Kids' Parties are Out of Control." They had an "expert" on talking about how parents are going to far when throwing birthday parties for their kids and that the pressure parents are putting on each other [and their kids] is dangerous. Who knew there was an expert on this subject? Apparently there is a whole research group devoted to this phenomenon called Birthdays Without Pressure. On their website you can rate the "birthday party pressure" in your community and take a quiz to see how much pressure you're under about birthday parties.


If you ask me [and I am fully aware that you didn't] it's a parent's prerogative to throw their child whatever party they please. As long as the child enjoys him or herself, it's all good. But putting pressure on other parents, themselves and their kids for a BIRTHDAY PARTY is just ridiculous. And while shows like "My Super Sweet Sixteen" are completely feeding this nonsense, I think those shows are great because they expose the spoiled and bratty guests of honor throwing fits and walking around with an arrogant sense of entitlement -- that should be enough incentive to make you not want to throw your little princess a bithday bash that breaks the bank. So, if you're feeling stressed about planning your kid's party, please get a grip. I don't mean to sound harsh or anything, but aren't there much more important things to worry about?

Like say, making sure your little girls don't grow up to idolize clueless alcoholic teen stars like Lindsey Lohan. At least she checked herself into rehab yesterday.

I guess the party's over -- for her anyway.

Mamalaw # 11 - It takes a village

Yesterday DD had a case of diaper rash again (I think she's teething and everything's going crazy) and as I stood in line at CVS, I thought about my mama friends and how much I appreciate their suggestions on motherhood.

I'm learning that we should always lean on other mamas for help - even with the smallest things. Talking to other young mothers provides not only an outlet for those crazy stressful days, but an invaluable resource for those times that you just don't know what to do and your own mother has no suggestions.

Case in point, this photo is sort of an ad for "Triple Paste Ointment" but I'm using this image because there is NO way I would have ever known about this miracle product had I not relied on my other mama friends for insight on the most minute matters (e.g. diaper rash). I threw the question out to my friends (J. Fergie & J. Jones) and wisdom was revealed with regard to practices and procedures and even better...suggestions.

So, no question about motherhood/parenthood is too small to ask your mama friends, because there is NO way you could do it all by yourself and that's why we should always ask for help!

January 17, 2007

Comic Relief...

I got this joke in an email from my mom today...

Why Men are rarely published in Dear Abby

Dear Abby,

I've never written to you before, but I really need your advice on what could be a crucial decision. I've suspected for some time now that my wife has been cheating on me. The usual signs... phone rings but if I answer, the caller hangs up. My wife has been going out with the girls a lot recently although when I ask their names she always says, "Just some friends from work, you don't know them.

I always stay awake to look out for her taxi coming home, but she always walks down the drive. Anyway, I have never approached the subject with my wife. I think deep down I just didn't want to know the truth, but last night she went out again and I decided to really check on her.

I decided I was going to park my Harley Davidson next to the garage and then hide behind it so I could get a good view of the whole street when she came home.

It was at that moment, crouching behind my Harley, that I noticed that the valve covers on my engine seemed to be leaking a little oil.

Is this something I can fix myself or should I take it back to the dealer?

Works For Me Wednesday -- Laundry Tip

If you're like me and the laundry symbols on your clothing labels may as well be in Greek, then here's a quick tip: Print out a clothing care guide and tape it above (or next to) your washing machine for easy reference. I like mine. It makes me feel uber-competent [if only for a fleeting moment]. If you don't like the handy dandy hang card at the above link, you can get the chart below, here.

Not that this makes doing laundry any more exciting. Unless maybe you hang a Ziploc baggie of Jelly Bellys next to the clothing care guide. In fact, that might be the real tip.

For oodles more Works for Me Wednesday tips, visit
Rocks In My Dryer.

January 16, 2007

Burning the Midnight Oil...

So I've been working hard for the last few months trying to get my business idea off the ground. After several road blocks, things are finally starting to come together. I've found my specialty fabric manufacturer and chosen my fabrics, I have a family friend working as my graphic artist to put together an image for the online boutique, I have a meeting with a seamstress at her design studio on Friday to discuss the sewing of the garment, and I've purchased my domain. Whew! A big thank you to everybody that's helped or encouraged me this far. With any luck, I hope to make the announcement that we are up and open by the springtime.

I'm so excited.

Side note on the Mama Code Post...

I came across this blog, FPMama, about a month ago and I think it is worth mentioning. The blog is written by an OB who tells the story of the mothers that she meets in her journey as their doctor. Of course all identities are kept confidential, but some of the stories are really gripping. Read the post on Scary Baby. Frightenting. Anyhow, as I read some of the posts, I could totally relate to some of the mothers. I had three complicated pregnancies and their stories brought back many memories.

January 15, 2007

MamaLaw #10 - Pay it Forward...Help another mama

Please don't take this post as a cop-out, I'm merely linking to Shannon's blog post because I really couldn't have said it any better than she did. Take a moment to read "The Momma Code" and you'll see what I mean!

Have you been the recipient or donor of a Momma favor? Do share!

*UPDATED* Menu Plan Monday


I'm trying my first Menu Plan Monday post this week. I kind of do this on my own [in my head] anyway so it will help to organize my week if I actually put it in writing...Before I forget, I made the best Chicken/Veggie/Stuffing Casserole on Friday. Basically, you season chicken breasts and put them into a baking dish; then toss mixed veggies (I used the frozen ones in a bag) with chicken gravy from the can (surprisingly low fat!); Pour the veggie mixture over the chicken; top with Stove Top stuffing (mix the stuffing with water according to the directions first). Then bake! It was so easy and very yummy.

Ok, here is our menu for the week:

Monday: Pizza Hut (hey! I had the thin crust)
Tuesday: Lasagna Bake and Caesar Salad*
Wednesday: Turkey BLTs and Oven Fries
Thursday: Lite Chicken Pot Pie
Friday: Free for All for Hubby and Oldest -- it's Mama's Night Out!

Saturday: Hamburgers and Roasted Red Potatoes
Sunday: Leftovers or Out to Eat

Hmmm...this was harder than I thought!

For more Monday Menu Plans visit Organizing Junkie.

*Amazing. It's only Day 2 and already I've managed to screw up the menu plan. Mommy got held up at work by an annoying co-worker and then stuck in traffic on her way home from work and got home late so by the time that she got in the door her family was already eating leftover pizza, so no lasagna bake tonite. Yes, she is quite aware that cheese pizza contains 0% of a toddler's daily allowance of vegetables.

You Know You Have too Many Kids When.....

Okay, here's a cute one that I have been meaning to share since last week. So hubby and I were doing the bedtime rounds one school night. This means giving everyone a bath and then putting the two little ones to sleep. We normally stick all three in the tub and then go down the assembly line with scrubbing, brushing teeth, cleaning ears, etc. and then take them out one by one and swap them out. Well, our 5 year old sometimes likes to stay in a little longer and play in the tub. No problem, so long as he agrees to climb out himself and put on his PJs that are left right next to his towel and play quietly until it's time to read the book or go to bed. He's 5 so he's big enough to dry and dress himself. Anyhow, so I took Little Brother out, dressed him and then nursed him to sleep since he was exhausted and he didn't want to rejoin the group. So hubby took daughter out, dressed her, read her a book, etc. We both met downstairs about 20 minutes later. Hubby and I were lounging around enjoying the peace and quite and satisfication of being to enjoy the rest of the night for ourselves with all the kids asleep. Well, at 9:45, here comes Oldest, asking, "is someone going to get me dessert?" I look at hubby and he looks at me and we both say, "I thought you put him to sleep!" Apparently, we both assumed that the other checked in on Oldest to make sure he got himself dressed and then put him to bed at his usual time. Nope! Now it was way past his bedtime and it was a school night. Needless to say, he was exhausted the next day but he thought it was really cool that he got to stay up late on a school night.

January 14, 2007

Meatballs and All...

But I did lose 3.4lbs this week! Yee-haw!

my-calorie-counter.com    The webs free Exercise Journal

Because You Don't Really Need to Hear About Our Trip to IKEA...

I thought that instead I'd give you a review of my chick flick movie of the week: "Friends With Money" starring Jennifer Aniston. Last month I realized just how many movies I'd been missing since the baby invasion and decided to put a stop to the madness. So, I've been trying to catch up on my "girly" movies [usually when hubby is out with the boys or our doing sports league-y stuff] on a weekly basis.

The movie was decent. I didn't have high expectations because I hadn't heard much about it when it was actually in theatres but I liked the previews and I love anything with Joan Cusack. Basically, the movie was about Jennifer Aniston and her group of friends (all of whom are married except for her) and the crises they are going through at this stage in their lives. JA is working as a maid and gets flack from her girlfriends who are both wealthy. Of course having money doesn't mean you have it all, so her friends' marriages have their share of issues (one's husband is suspected to be gay; the other's is mean and self-absorbed) Frances McDormand steals the show as a high-end fashion designer who has a mini-emotional breakdown after she turns 43. One of JA's friends sets her up with a jerk who uses her for sex and money, but in the end, she ends up with a sweet guy whose house she cleaned and he ends up being an heir to millions.

All in all it was a cute movie but nothing to write home [ok, or maybe even a blog post] about.

Alright, if you must know, we spent 2 hours in IKEA and all we came out with was a stainless steel rack for the kitchen to house our Smithsonian-worthy collection of baby bottles, sippy cups, bottle brushes and other assorted novelties. But the swedish meatballs were fantastic. And no, not part of my diet plan.

January 12, 2007

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things I Need to Get Rid of in My Garage

Yes, I realize I am one day late but it has been a hectic week! Here are 13 things I need to give away, throw away, or put in storage that are in my garage that currently consume an entire space and make it impossible to even get out of the other space. I have included a picture of the disaster zone for your viewing pleasure.

1…. Get rid of the infant car seat that is over 5 years old. It probably was recalled years ago, but we keep it "just in case" there is an emergency and someone has to leave the house with Little B. So far, there has only been one such incident and that was when hubby was home with all three and he needed to get them out of the house before they (read, he) went crazy. So he took them to Chic-Fil-A.

2. The bassinette I bought for daughter two years ago. It's pink and pretty and I finally took it out of our bedroom but I refuse to get rid of it. I have considered keeping it for daughter when she has children but I don't think it will hold up. It's nothing really fancy. Just a nice looking Graco bassinette. It's not meant to be saved for years and years.

3. My file boxes from when I left the firm. I have a nice office that I can put all this stuff away in, however, I just haven't had the energy to load up my car, and then unload, then unpack all of those files.

4. My maternity clothes. Clearly, I am not having any more kids. I'm hanging on to it for the next preggers person I know.

5. My African statutes that I bought while in the Domincan Republic about 8 years ago. I told myself I was going to sell them on Ebay, just never got around to it.

6. Artwork. See number 5 above.

7. Oldest's training bike with a popped chain. So far, no one has tried to fix it. In fact, Santa replaced it one year so now we have two training bikes. He has outgrown them both. I suppose I can save the good one for Little Brother.

8. Some of hubby's tools, especially the ones that he bought, never used, or couldn't figure out how to use. I'm sure there is enough money to send one of our kids to college if we sold even half of the tools.

9. Pool toys. Put them in storage!

10. Christmas decorations. This consumes at least 20 % of useful space.

11. Hubby's punching bag thing. Bought it for him Christmas 2001 per his request. He used it that day. Has never used it since!

12. Propane indoor grill that someone gave to us Christmas 2002. I think it was regifted to us because the propane tank that the manual said, was included, was in fact not included. The grill looks really nice. Just never got around to calling
the manufacturer and ordering the replacement tank.

13. Last but not least, the Pack-n-Play, swing, and a bunch of other infant necessities that I'm saving for my brother and his wife who "one day" plan to have lots of babies. This could all be in storage.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Jill http://live-your-live-and-smile.blogspot.com/
2. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Apparently, Congressmen Don't Have Kids...

Or they're pocketing so much dough that they don't need to worry about maternity leave benefits. If they did have kids -- and I guess this would only apply to the female Congresswomen -- they would surely have passed a bill providing paid maternity leave to federal employees by now. What's that? You didn't know that the federal government didn't provide paid maternity leave? Surprise! Neither did I. Let's just say I found out, oh in my 6th month of pregnancy, that I would have to take Leave Without Pay for 3 of my four months on maternity leave. And the only reason that I was able to receive a paycheck during the first month was because I had to use all of the vacation days and sick leave that I had accrued [a whole 3 weeks!] in the few months that I had been working with the goverment. Anyway, we were fortunate enough that I was able to still stay home with my baby for a few months, although money was [and because of that] still is tight. Seeing as how Youngest just turned 10 months old last week [!] the memory of the unpaid maternity leave [and my current lack of vacation and sick leave] is still very fresh. So imagine my surprise when a co-worker sent me this link to an article in yesterday's Washington Post. According to the article, Alaska Senator Ted Stevens has introduced a bill that would provide eight weeks of paid maternity leave to federally employed women after childbirth, and 5 days of paid paternity leave to new fathers. The bill would also give 5 days [woop-tee-doo] of paid leave to federal employees who adopt children. Federal parents would also receive eight hours of paid leave to take their children to the doctor or dentist and for parent-teacher meetings at schools. I think it's great! And really about time. The Bush administration will be looking at this issue as part of its budget planning for fiscal 2008. Can't wait to see what happens. In the meantime, I'd like to thank Senator Stevens for being sensitive enough to this issue to introduce this bill.

He must be pregnant.

January 11, 2007

Hey You! In the Corner...

It's National De-Lurking Week, started by Sheryl at Paper Napkin. I know our blog is fairly new and we probably don't really get all that many visitors, but if you visit us regularly or from time to time and don't leave a comment, now's your chance to stop lurking! Drop us a line to say hi, or to let us know what you think of our blog, just so we know that someone, somewhere gives a hoot :)

Oh, and make sure to leave a link to your blog if you have one so that we can pay you a visit.

'Preciate it!

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