Saturday, March 29, 2008

Week In Review

The Top 5 Things I Learned This Week:

5) If you’ve always wanted to invent something, but just can’t come up with anything useful- simply market it to the billion dollar baby industry and someone will buy it (especially if it promises sleep-filled nights or an end to colic).

4) If you have an Italian Chef in your family, avoid posting an easy recipe for an Italian dish that (1) incorporates Monterey Jack Cheese or (2) resembles a poor man’s beefaroni.

3) When supervising multiple toddlers, finger paints may sound like a disaster in the making, but there are certainly worse alternatives.

2) Virginia needs to switch places with Delaware.

1) I don’t like to throw up.

Quote of the Day...

"It sometimes happens, even in the best of families, that a baby is born. This is not necessarily cause for alarm. The important thing is to keep your wits about you and borrow some money." ~ Elinor Goulding Smith

Picture of the Day

Exit Strategy:
1) Hide behind couch first
2) Answer questions later

Send your best kid pictures to:

Friday, March 28, 2008

Comment of the Day

You may remember a piece I posted a few days ago about a nasty stomach virus gripping our area.

Well, it got a hold of me too. Needless to say, yesterday was bleak and today is still a bit shaky; but this is a perfect time to mention the evidence of what I call "blarma".

Blarma- the event where, having blogged about something (usually in judgement or deprecation), and then having it, in turn, happen to the blogger.

So, I will post the usual Friday stuff throughout the weekend.

Word to your mother.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Then and Now (continued from a previous post)

A Trip to the Mall...


A trip to the mall meant meandering through stores in search of whatever. Perhaps a few circles around to really consider my purchases and comparison shop. Unlimited time in the dressing room, lingering moments in the aisles of the music stores, and even the occasional trip to the food court for some sinful (and repulsive) indulgence.


With 42 minutes of reasonable, tantrum-free time allotted, the speed of your stroller is tested as you hit the three designated stores you’ve mapped out in order of child tolerance (the last being the most tolerant, as you’ll inevitably be approaching your deadline for meltdowns). You grab clothes that look like your size and seem to look good on the mannequin as you parlay snacks, toys, and bribes to maintain the all too temporary calm. You swerve by annoying vendors and resist the urge to buy something at the food court that you’ll eat so fast you won’t actually taste, while still reaping the benefits of high fat, high calorie foods. You may actually manage to return something, but only if there is no line and they’re willing to accept a receipt that’s been stained by a leaking sippy cup. Oh, and the music in the mall is merely a fading soundtrack of your crumbling mission.

At no point do you use the bathroom....bladder infections be damned.

Happy Birthday, Nicholas!!!

A shamefully belated birthday to one of my favorite boys!! In case you haven't heard of Super Nick, he was walking at 8 months, climbing mountains at 1, and he is currently preparing for the Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Happy Birthday, Buddy!!!!

Things To Do in The Delaware Valley

If the pain of March is affecting even your weekend fun, consider the following great events in our area, or simply read Going on A Bear Hunt and convince your whole family to follow-up the reading with actual hibernation until mid-April.

Something Every Sunday: The Philadelphia Museum of Art's Education Division provides art activities every Sunday at 10 am for children and their families. If you've always romanticized about strolling through a museum with attentive, well-behaved children, but cannot fathom actually doing it, this is a great alternative. Free with admission to the museum. (215) 684-7605

Breakfast with Ben: Every Saturday at 9 am in the Independence Visitor's Center, you and your family can join good old Ben for breakfast, along with stories and crafts. Reservations required; the cost is $13 for kids, and $20 for adults. (215) 965- 7676

Peanut Butter and Jams Kids Concerts: A weekly lunchtime concert series for kids and the people who drive them! Join them each Saturday morning for the show and follow it up with a family friendly lunch buffet (not included in ticket price). Doors generally open at 11:00 am with the show starting at 11:30am, but you should always check each performance listing for times or any changes.

Visit and select Kids Shows from the category list for a complete Dodge Caravan Peanut Butter & Jams schedule.

Damsel in Distress

Does anyone know of a good childrens book with the "boy who cried wolf" theme? My daughter loves to shout, "help, help, Mama, help" whenever she wants my attention. She even has mastered a pretty little southern drawl that has me thinking I'm living in Tara with Scarlett.

She better remember to thank me in her Academy Award acceptance speech.

***Side note: I realize there will be more than a few wiseacres out there who will say, "Gee, why not try The Boy Who Cried Wolf? Well, I was actually looking for something a bit more contemporary and relatable to her world. But thanks in advance to the ones who know who they are (their names rhyme with sawyertoy, trekkie, plebbie, screanie, and Sobert Smuttle).

Magically Delicious

As I mentioned in previous posts, my daughter and I bake together daily. Every day we cook up muffins, cakes, cookies, scones or whatever else we can stir, spread, or beat.
I love this time with her even more than I love eating all that we create.

This regular event has also made me a bit of an expert on cooking with children. Practical recipes, easy to follow directions, and reasonable ingredients are all part of creating the perfect kid cooking experience. So, you can imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon the perfect solution for cooking with kids: Tastefully Simple.

Tastefully Simple is a company much like Pampered Chef, Arbonne, and other word-of-mouth businesses that rely on the hosting of parties to introduce products and facilitate orders. Unlike some of the others, however, the parties are all about eating and the product prices are very reasonable.

The Tastefully Simple product I happened upon was the Cinnamon Muffin Melt Mix. Though my daughter and I have become self-proclaimed muffin connoisseurs, this particularly product was especially fun because it involved tasks that resemble something you may do as an arts and crafts project.


1) The only required ingredients are: one egg, 6 Tbsp of butter, and the muffin mix. My daughter loves to take the wrapping off the butter and literally throw it in the separate bowl. She is also good at “helping” me break the egg, but if cooking with your child is new, you may want to work up to that. Finally, the ingredients are easy to stir with a wooden spoon and a deep mixing bowl.
2) After baking the muffins for 11 minutes (a perfect amount of time for those short attention spans), you “paint” butter on the now cooled muffins with a cooking brush.
3) Finally, you dip the muffins in a bowl of provided cinnamon mix to complete the experience.

The muffins are great and when all is said and done, you’ve just spent a good 30 minutes of quality time with your son or daughter.

This is just one example recipe among hundreds offered by Tastefully Simple that are really fun and easy to do with kids. Though the company was developed to be simple for you, its easiness is also perfect for family cooking.

For more products (I’m obsessed with the Beer Bread), check out:

Also, if you are interested in ordering any of the products, please contact the ever fabulous mom and Tastefully Simple representative, Beth Sprigman at
856-599-0823, or email her at:

Side Note: For the dieters out there, make a habit of immediately packaging everything up to send off to the neighbors, family members, or the office (leaving one or two aside for your little helper and maybe even your appreciative husband).

Quote of the Day

"People who say they sleep like babies usually don't have them." ~ Leo J. Burke

Picture of the Day

Sunshine n. (sŭn'shīn')- Kryptonite for anyone of Irish descent

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Celebrity Mommies (and Daddies)

If you remember a post I did a few weeks back, this newest bit of information may provide me with my very own full circle moment.

It was not so long ago that I posted a piece about wacky celebrities and their even wackier baby names. I even ran a poll where a resounding majority chose Pilot Inspektor as the worst celebrity baby name ever, care of Jason Lee. Well, if memory serves, I voted for Heaven Rain, a name chosen by the collaborative brain trust that is Brooke Burke and David Charvet.

Never did I hope that I may be given a chance to dislike another name more. That is, until the two aforementioned rockets scientists decided to have another baby, and another baby name. That is right, it won't be long before I can bask in the awfulness that is "Burvet's" baby name.

Why the wait you ask? Because they were unable to come up with the perfect name by the time of their son's birth. They even left the hospital without the birth certificate because, although they'd decided on a first and last name (the latter is hysterically LA), they could not come up with a middle name.

A middle name? Do people really put as much thought into that as the first name? I just borrowed my L&D nurse's name for my daughter (thankfully, it was not Erma).


I gave her my own middle name because I've had a pretty good time with it. But nothing compared to the time I'll have when learning the newest addition to celebrity baby name craziness.

I'll keep you posted....

I Know I Could Not Make This One Up....

While trolling the Internet last night, I came across the startling headline,

"Oregon Man Pregnant"

What was this? Had the gods finally answered the prayers of women? Would a man finally experience the trials, tirbulations, and downright pain of pregnancy and childbirth? Rejoice!!

Not so fast...the article was actually about Thomas Beatie, a transgender man from the Pacific Northwest who became a man only to be able to marry his longtime love, Nancy. The laws in Hawaii (where he was living at the time) prohibit same sex marriages and so he decided to change genders. Since his now wife, Nancy, is unable to bear children, he stopped his testoterone injections and began the work of getting pregnant.

Quite a story.

Realizing the issue of same sex marriages and transgender operations is a widely argued issue, I am just going to take the role of coward on this one and circumvent the whole debate.

I will say that the pictures of this man at 22 weeks are more than a little alarming and I just sincerely hope that whatever the circumstances are surrounding this birth, the baby is healthy, well cared for, and shielded from any type of publicity, political statement, or any negative exposure in general.

As for the hope that men will someday get the chance to endure the beauty of labor and delivery, for now I say we just insist they all endure some type of waxing on a regular basis.

A Surprising Fact

According to Cookie magazine, 65% of moms polled say they dread going to the grocery store.

How could that be? I love to take my little ones to the grocery store as I consider it to be a veritable amusement park of fun.

Don’t believe me?

1) Grocery Carts: With soiled coupons, old food, and a plethora of germs all to be found within the confines of the cart, nothing makes for a better “ride”. The excitement of not knowing which cold they are going to contract is simply exhilarating.

2) The Colorful Characters: Until Erma behind the deli counter discovers laser hair removal, my daughter continues to enjoy asking aloud, “Why does the lady have a beard?”. Other animated characters can be found in the lobster tank, as well as with Jim the Butcher (“Look at that man’s pony tail!”), and, of course, Sheryl, whose commitment to eyebrow plucking is a wonder for all to see.

3) Sporting Events: Loading and unloading the groceries while trying to manage a motley crew is only surpassed by the inevitable wrestling match over getting the same participants in and out of the cart.

4) Colorful balloons: Never settling for your run-of-the-mill balloons, grocery stores provide balloons attached to plastic sticks!! Yes! Now your child can not only enjoy the fun of a inflated plastic, but the sticks allow for fun with spears: perfect for hurling, wacking, and stabbing.

5) Sugar galore: With the bakery section offering excessively sinful treats and the snack aisle promising paradise in a box, there isn’t even a need to visit the ever-growing candy aisle. Bright colors, imaginative pictures…how could your little one miss all the dental delights? And if they somehow do, there is always the checkout aisle that helps to finish out your trip.

Some mothers just don’t know how to have a good time.

Toothwatch '08

He’s a joy. He’s a delight. And now he is 9 months old and still toothless.

Important Information Every Woman Should Know

This is something everyone woman should take the time to look at. I actually had seen this once before, but the fact that I had forgotten all about it is another reason why it is worth a look.

Very scary stuff.

Special thanks to Nurse Julianne for keeping me up to date on everything I should be terribly fearful of…as if I needed anything else to keep me awake at night.

Quote of the Day

"Raising kids is part joy and part guerilla warfare." ~ Ed Asner quote

Picture of the Day

As Major League Baseball celebrates its opening day with a series in Japan, all eyes look to Florida for this season's most talked about rookie.
Send your best kid pictures to:

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Book Review

Horton Hatches an Egg, by Dr. Seuss

Given the recent box office smash that is Horton Hears a Who, I decided now would be a good time to honor Horton and review one of our favorite books, Horton Hatches an Egg.

Summary: Horton, the ideal hero, runs into a lazy bird, Mayzie, who is looking for someone to sit on her nest while she takes a break. Given his size, Horton is reluctant at first but, because he is so thoughtful of others, agrees to give her a break. He keeps the egg warm through every foreseeable problem (bad weather, taunts from other animals, and even hunters), while Mayzie decides she'll make her vacation permanent. In the end, Horton is captured by the hunters and sold to the circus with the egg he is still warming. More hardships occur until, one day, Mayzie happens upon Horton just as the egg is finally hatching. She demands the egg back (the hard work has been done), but as a sad Horton begins to relent, the egg hatches...revealing something wonderful!!

Underlying Lessons: Rewards come to those who are loyal, work hard, and consider others.


Where do I begin?

1) As with all Dr. Seuss books, fun with language abounds. Your child will be introduced to almost every poetic device and enjoy the fun of rhyming.

2) The characters are so engaging and there are even references made for the enjoyment of the adults reading (he cites Palm Beach and Weehauken!)

3) The lesson is obvious without being preachy.

4) Illustrations are always.

5) The book really helps children develop a sense of empathy for others and also clearly demonstrates heroic behavior.

6) Even the cynics among us are compelled to root for good ol' Horton


This book is lengthy and so, if you have a child with a short attention span when it comes to books, expect to work toward a complete reading.

Overall Rating: Four Sippy Cups!!

Rating Scale:

Four Sippy Cups: The Pulitzer of Childrens Literature: a classic work (or soon to be)

Three Sippy Cups: Better Than Most and good enough that you still won’t mind reading for the 236th time.

Two Sippy Cups: Fair enough to keep on the bookshelf, but no love lost if the pages get ripped, the binding gets chewed, or some lovely drool dampens the pages

One Sippy Cup: Consider it the newest addition to the diaper genie

No Cups: The only argument I’ve found in favor of book burning

Tuesday's Craft

In an attempt to simply survive the doldrums of March, I posted a piece last week that tried to put a fresh spin on gray, rainy days. With puddle jumping, rainbows, and froggy boots, sometimes all you need is a change in attitude (or latitude….shout out to Cruickshank for taking me to my first Buffet concert), to make these gloomy days a little less gloomy.

In keeping with that, here is a post for the more proactive ones out there. This craft actually requires you to step outdoors, become one with the rain (word to Thoreau), and allow your child(ren) to do something that probably feels like trouble. If you live in the Delaware Valley area, tomorrow will be ideal as there will be some early afternoon showers with temperatures in the 60s.

Rain Painting


Paper plates (Chinet or more durable ones are ideal)
Food Coloring
White crayon
A rainy day

1) Have your child scribble some designs on some paper plates
2) Have fun sprinkling a few drops of food color on the plates
3) Get rain gear ready and step outdoors with the plates, ready for nature’s take on art

In case you think your day is bad...

Whenever I am having a really tough day, I try to reassure myself that it could always be worse: I could have triplets enjoying their terrible twos, I could have some rare condition that causes me to grow excessive hair in new places (though, I wouldn't rule it out among postpartum surprises), or my family could have contracted the awful stomach virus that seems to be gripping our area.

Speaking of the latter, one of my favorite people has just survived quite an unpleasant experience (are they ever pleasant when vomit is involved?) and has given permission for me to share this little vignette:

After what seemed like hours of rocking, the mother had finally managed to put her newborn down for a nap and attend to her sick 2 year old, who was battling a fever, congestion, and more than a few instances of throw up. She cuddled with her on the couch, watched her favorite shows, kept her hydrated, and offered her all the comfort a sick-ridden toddler may need.

However, the time soon came for the baby to wake up, and the mother needed to peel herself away from the now content child to fetch the baby. As was to be expected, the toddler was not thrilled with the idea of giving up her human pillow and let her mother know it in the expected fashion: tears, screaming, and maybe even a little thrashing. The mother calmly explained that she would be right back, and the toddler obviously responded with more cries. Feeling a bit tested, the mother held her bewildered child and calmly reassured her everything would be okay, and again, she was met with more complaint.

Finally, she decided to gently lay her daughter down. She tenderly held her face and soothed, "I promise I will just be a minute. Wait here, and I'll be right back, okay?"

The agitated miss's response? She threw up all over herself.

Horrified over what happened and more than a little upset for her little one, she picked her daughter up, at which point her daughter threw up all over her.

It may have been the feeling of complete overwhelment. It may have been the sadness mixed with guilt all mothers feel when having to juggle the needs of more than one child. Or just may have been the awful smell that was now covering both participants.

Whatever it was, the mother, in turn, knelt over and threw up all over the floor.

After that, the mother did her best to clean herself and her daughter (who was suprisingly now calm), and raced up the stairs to the now screaming infant. Making the mistake of thinking the situation could not get any worse, the mother found her sweet little bundle of joy peering up at her from the bassinet, covered in poop after having the blowout of the century.

Proving once again: it can always get worse.

I just thought I'd pass this one along in case you thought you were having a tough day.

Quote of the Day

"I don't know why they say "you have a baby." The baby has you." ~ Gallagher

Picture of the Day

When "time out" doesn't work.

Send your best kid pictures to:

Monday, March 24, 2008

I Couldn't Make This Stuff Up...

This story comes to me from one of my favorite neighbors who, having spent decades raising her own children, now provides daycare out of her home for three adorable (and not to be trusted) toddlers. Consider this next piece from the files of “I Couldn’t Make This Stuff Up”, to be a lesson for us all.

Having raised four fabulous children of her own, Evelyn is not only a seasoned parent, but also a wonderful caregiver to three toddlers (two boys, one girl), from the ages of 15 months to 2 ½ years of age. However, even this self-proclaimed expert on all things children finds herself tested by her most recent charges on a regular basis.

Case in point: the morning began in its typical fashion, with the typical play, the typical snacks, and, of course, the typical tantrums. After one particularly frenzied fit by the youngest child (Vanessa, age 15 months), Evelyn brought her into the kitchen to help her regain control of her emotions, while the other two were instructed not to leave the playroom for any reason. She sat Vanessa, who had tried to open the fingerpaints with the purpose of painting all over the walls, in a chair with some juice, while she began to organize lunch. The other two troublemakers were left to their own devices for but a moment because, really, what could they possibly do in such a limited time and space? Quite a bit actually…

As Evelyn hurriedly put things in place, she took the hand of a now recovered Vanessa and returned to the nearby playroom. Though the total trip took less than five minutes, a suspicious silence caused her to pick up her pace, at which point she heard the middle child (Jackson, age 2) shout out, “Oh no! Poo poos! Poo Poos!”. Knowing that someone yelling about excrement could never be good, she braced herself as she turned into the room.

Immediately, she was met with the unmistakably acrid odor that Jackson had identified and a quick scan of the room verified his declarations. Samuel, the eldest, was standing in the middle of the room expressionless, guiltless, and “pantless”. Jackson, still shouting, was standing atop the toy box, pointing to a crumpled pile of clothes in the corner of the room that resembled Samuel’s missing pants, now bearing some familiar new stains. Evelyn allowed herself a soft moan, and then simply gathered up the remains and led Samuel to the bathroom to clean him off and reassure the little boy, who was still finding his way through the world of potty training. She was careful not to make Samuel feel bad, choosing her words carefully and letting him know that accidents happen.

As they returned to the playroom, Evelyn’s mind drifted to a day when things might get easier, when the time would pass with a greater calm, or speed. What she didn’t realize is that her troubles were not exactly over. She entered the room prepared to begin anew with her three underlings, when she was once again greeted with Jackson chanting, “Poo Poos! Poo Poos!”. Figuring that some of the excrement had made its way onto the floor when Samuel removed his pants, Evelyn responded,

“It’s okay, I’ll get it. Now, who can sing the clean up song with me while I do it?”

“I can!!”, Vanessa shouted as she raised her hands in triumph.

“Thank you, dear.” Evelyn smiled at the little girl’s enthusiasm, until that is, her eyes caught sight of the little waving hands. What was that? Could it be??

Yes, oh yes. It was. And, in her surprise, Evelyn could only muster the strength to whisper one, obvious word:


The walls were decorated in what was actually a pretty trendy color of late; but the medium was something you’d more likely find in a Brooklyn museum and not a staid, suburban home in Jersey.

The Leprechaun Trap: An Afterthought

Included in our recent celebration of St. Patrick’s Day was the leprechaun trap, a fun little device I created with my daughter in order to catch a leprechaun, or at least some of his chocolate-filled gold coins. The whole experience (the making and the catching) was all great fun, and probably a new addition to our list of annual traditions.

There has been, however, a small concern that has surfaced as a result of this latest scheme. It seems that by encouraging my daughter to “trap” a defenseless leprechaun, I have, in a roundabout way, instilled in her a slight thirst for the hunt. You see, as we prepared for the Easter Bunny to come and hide our eggs and leave us a basketful of treats, my daughter did not show the expected anticipation that marked the approach of Santa, but rather, a very earnest interest in capturing this runaway bunny.

“Mommy!” she said, “If we catch the Easter Bunny, we can get all his candy! We have to make an Easter Bunny trap!!”.

Oh boy.

I explained that the Easter Bunny was not one to hide and run away like a mischievous leprechaun, but that, if we met the Easter Bunny, he’d be happy to stay and visit, and also leave us lots of treats to enjoy.

I’m not so sure I was convincing.

And I’m also not sure what else to tell her. Do I admit that leprechauns aren’t real and risk impeding her wild and inventive imagination? Or, do I simply keep reinforcing that only leprechauns need to be trapped because they hide so well? And, if I go with the latter, do I then send a note out to the tooth fairy, cupid, and the Philadelphia Phillies (yes, she has a book about him and loves him dearly), giving them a head’s up that a little red head from Jersey is on the prowl?

And finally, what the heck do I do at Thanksgiving with Tom the Turkey???

Absurdity Abounds

Special thanks to Amy Mahoney for alerting me to another wacky invention that would not only cause us to question the credibility of the manufacturer, but also result in more than a few therapy sessions for a future adults.

In case you missed her comment:

“Did anyone click on the add for the nursing bonnet? A must see, I think it was I am sure it will be horrifying enough for my sons when they someday learn that they sucked on, as my two year old calls them, "Mamma's Parts" to eat. Imagine their horror if they found it they did it while wearing an enormous, boob-tenting bonnet.”

Thanks again Amy.

Also (because I am officially obsessed with off-the-wall childrens products), let me present to you: the baby toupee.

Okay, so this particular product is not necessarily meant to be taken seriously, but it does beg the question: Halloween aside, what kind of parent would do this to their child? Yes, we all put our hats on them, funny sun glasses, and even arrange our little ones in hilarious situations, but who among us would spend good money to create our child in the likeness of Donald Trump? Bob Marley? Lil’ Kim?????

Needless to say, you must check out this web site just so you believe me.

Monday's Meal

Beef Penne Pasta Casserole


1 lb dried penne pasta, prepared according to package
8 oz lean ground beef
2 cups of water
1 small onion, chopped
2 6 oz. cans of Italian tomato paste
1/3 cup red wine
1 Tbsp Instant Beef Flavor Bouillon
2 cups of shredded Monterey Jack Cheese


PREHEAT oven to 350° F.

COOK beef and onion in large saucepan, stirring occasionally, until beef is no longer pink. Add water, tomato paste, wine and bouillon; cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes or until flavors are blended.

LAYER ingredients as follows in ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking dish: 1/2 pasta, 1/2 sauce and 1/2 cheese. Repeat layers; cover.

BAKE for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. Season with salt.


PREPARE as above; do not bake. Cover; freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in refrigerator.

PREHEAT oven to 350° F.

BAKE for 45 to 55 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. Season with salt.

Quote of the Day

“There's nothing that can help you understand your beliefs more than trying to explain them to an inquisitive child.”
-Frank A. Clark

Picture of the Day

Though it is now acceptable to wear white after
Labor Day,
accompanying white with blue underwear
may present a problem of its own.
Send your best kid pictures to:

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

"There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE." -Linda Grayson, "The Pickwick Papers"