Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Stopping Place

With any relationship, there comes a time when you must part ways. So it is with Blogger.

So many of my readers have complained that my blogger site crashes their computer, that I've started a temporary site over at

I will not delete this blog, but all new posts will be at

Please update your links, and I can't wait to see everyone again!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Seeing Red

“Look at those beautiful leaves!” I said, admiring the contrast of the sky’s clear, sharp blue against the red maples. “We should be outside today, not driving. It’s too beautiful,” I told my husband, who was in the passenger seat.

He looked at me blankly.

“Don’t you think the leaves are gorgeous?” I asked, surprised at his noncommittal response.

Read on at Crunchable.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Serious Blogger Issues

I have not fallen off the face of the Earth, I promise. It's just that Blogger is being ... difficult. And then some.

And apparently, no one can read my site, because it keeps crashing computers.

Please bear with me while I do my best to fix things.


Friday, October 26, 2007

"Friday Finds"

I am totally stealing this week's Friday Find from my buddy Shannon. On Wednesday, she put up a link to this "site" and it cracked me up so much that I just had to use it for my find.

It's a site sure to tickle the fancy of all you editors out there.

What's your find?

If you'd like to play, review the rules here. Then submit your link and get to commenting!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

One Bad Mother

So, I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing that my two-year-old can use the word "reciprocity" correctly.

Good, because he needs to know about reaping what you sow. If he wants me to respect him, he needs to treat me with respect, too. Which is something we struggle with on many a day.

I only sing the first and last verses (I leave out all the risque parts in the middle) but still. At least it keeps me sane.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday Finds: Desperation Entertaining

This Friday, I want to highlight a cookbook that should be in everyone's collection, even if you don't frequently entertain. Nearly every recipe in this book is fantastic, and most of them can be easily scaled if you are not serving a crowd.

Get thee to Amazon for this book!

Alicia Ross and Beverly Mills have hit the jackpot in their cookbook, Desperation Entertaining. They have wonderful plan and prepare-ahead tips to make cooking for gatherings a breeze. And the recipes - oh, the recipes. The Heirloom Fudge Pie is to die for, and so easy you won't believe it.

So go, check it out. You'll love it.

What's your find?

*NOTE* Mr. Linky is not currently working correctly, so just leave your URL in the comments, and when I figure out how to make Mr. Linky work, I'll enter it in myself. Thanks!

If you'd like to add your Friday Find to the list, check out the rules here.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Really? It's a fish?

I was making dinner last night, and noticed the packaging as I pulled the last individually quick frozen salmon fillet from the bag. A big allergy warning on the back said this:

Really? Salmon is a fish? Because I thought I was cooking up some rare form of chicken. Does the grocery store really think that's a necessary warning label?

I wanted to post this to participate in the Parent Bloggers Network's Wacky Warning Label Contest, mostly because I think it's hilarious. Plus, I happen to agree with these guys. So, what's the wackiest warning label you've seen lately?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I saw this meme on Actual Unretouched Photo a few days ago, and it's been a while since I've done a meme, so I thought I'd play along.

Ten years ago I was a senior in high school. I had just broken up with a very, very nice boy, Matt, who looked exactly like Dean Cain. Hot. He was football player and a student of martial arts. Catholic and respectful. And so sweet he almost made my teeth hurt.

I had to break up with him because he was much more serious about our relationship than I was, and when words like "love" started entering the conversation, I hastily backed away. I had recently had my heart broken by my very first love, and I did not want to go down that road again. When I met SuperHubby a few months later and began dating him seriously, Matt called me very upset that I was dating, since I had told him I was not looking for a relationship. Which, in October of 1997 was true, but by the time I got to January of 1998, all that was out the window. What can I say? SuperHubby was just *the one*, and I knew it.

Twenty years ago, I was in the second grade at Bushy Park Elementary school. I had short hair, short like a boy. I had begged my mother to let me cut my nearly waist-length hair, because she had cut her hair off, and I wanted to be just like her. My mom had cut hers off because she had been diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. I didn't know what that meant. I don't remember much about being seven. I had the chickenpox on my seventh birthday. My mom had cancer, which she beat, and is now in her 20th year of remission.

Thirty years ago, I wasn't even a gleam in my parents' eyes.

How about you? Where were you 10, 20, or 30 years ago?

*** Reminder - Friday Finds previews tomorrow! The post will be up by midnight or perhaps earlier, so you can add your find with Mr. Linky. ***

Friday, October 12, 2007

Friday Finds: Reminder

Well, since last week's response to my Friday Finds was, well non-existent, I figured I'd give you guys a week's notice, so you can get your ideas together.

Every Friday, starting next Friday, I will post a neat item or website that I think is useful, helpful, or fun. If you'd like to play along, you can write a post on your own blog, and then use the Mister Linky at the bottom to add your page to the list.

Here are the complete rules:

Write a post on your own blog about a "Friday Find." The find must be family friendly - this is a G-rated blog, and I'd like to keep it that way. You may use the graphic if you would like.

Then leave your name and a short description of your post, and link to your specific post in the Mister Linky below. It might look something like this:

Jane (New Cleaning Product)

Here's how to link to a specific post: On your blog, click on the title of your Friday Finds post. It should open in a new window, where the only post you see is your Friday Finds post. Then copy that URL into the Mister Linky. It's super simple.

If you link to your homepage, I will ask you to repost your link so that it links directly to the page with your Friday Find on it. If you cannot do this within a reasonable amount of time, your link will be removed.

I would appreciate a mention and link to Wishful Thinking in your post, if you don't mind.

After you've added your link, take a moment to check out and comment on some of the other great Friday Finds!

Here's hoping you all will have some great finds next Friday!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Giggle Pie

I wish this blog had sound. I wish you could hear the Seth's chortle as he sits on my lap and watches the wind ruffle the leaves on the maple tree across the street. He sounds a little bit like those tubes that moo when you flip them over. The pattern goes like this: Inhale. Wheeze out a slow laugh on the exhale, "Heeehhh" then finish with a giggle, "heh heh heh heh heh."

Not a bad way to spend an afternoon, all told.

Monday, October 08, 2007


I dashed down the stairs, expecting a fresh and steaming pile to be sitting at the bottom. But … the carpet was clean. I peeked around the far side of the dining room table. Nothing.

But that … smell. I could still smell that … nasty, nasty smell.

Find out why my house stinks at Crunchable.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Friday Finds: Intro

I'm launching a new feature here at Wishful Thinking: Friday Finds. Every Friday I will post about a website or product that I find helpful, useful, or just plain fun.

This week's feature is a website I tripped across last night, Raising Godly Tomatoes.

Elizabeth, who writes the site, is the mother of 10 (yeah, count 'em 10!!!) children. She offers sage and Godly advice on childrearing.

Last night, I was feeling overwhelmed by parenting my two boys, ages 2 years and 4 months, respectively. I was at the end of my rope, and had stopped being an effective parent, and had become a screaming, irritated, short-tempered and very ineffective parent.

Raising Godly Tomatoes helped me remember some of the basic tenets of good parenting: namely that consistency and gentle correction are the most effective ways to raise children who are kind, respectful and responsible. It seems simple, but she presents her technique in a loving and easy to understand way, and supports her points with Biblical teachings.

To be fair, she does advocate "swatting" children on a clothed or diapered bottom as a form of correction, or to get a child's attention when he is doing an unacceptable behavior. I am not comfortable "swatting," but I think her perspective on the swat is gentle and would not cause harm to a child if you did do it.

I also believe I can use some of her other ideas and still have success, even if I do not chose to spank.

If you're having trouble managing your children, I would highly recommend that you spend some time at Elizabeth's site. It's wonderful.


Thanks for reading my Friday Find! If you'd like to play along, here are the rules:

Write a post on your own blog about a "Friday Find." The find must be family friendly - this is a G-rated blog, and I'd like to keep it that way. You may use the graphic if you would like.

Then leave your name and a short description of your post, and link to your specific post in the Mister Linky below. It might look something like this:

Goslyn (Childrearing Help) - then that would link directly to this post, not to my main homepage.

Here's how to link to a specific post: On your blog, click on the title of your Friday Finds post. It should open in a new window, where the only post you see is your Friday Finds post. Then copy that URL into the Mister Linky. It's super simple.

If you link to your homepage, I will ask you to repost your link so that it links directly to the page with your Friday Find on it. If you cannot do this within a reasonable amount of time, your link will be removed.

After you've added your link, take a moment to check out and comment on some of the other great Friday Finds!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Do You Ever ...

Have a day where both babies wake up grumpy and you try as hard as you can to be cheery, but you really just want them to stop screaming so you can have a cup of coffee?

And then you finally get the screaming monsters dressed and into the car to go to a meeting that's supposed to make you feel better, but it doesn't, because the speaker is a breast cancer survivor and her speech makes you cry?

And then she talks about the importance of prevention and hands out little breast self-exam cards to help you remember, and you feel guilty because you know you never do your self-exam?

It's not that you forget to do them; it's just that both your mother and grandmother had breast cancer, and you are so afraid you will find a lump that you figure it's better just not to know. Do you ever feel really stupid for thinking that?

And then you have to leave the meeting early because the babies won't stop crying and won't stay in childcare?

Does it ever happen that while you are trying to fix lunch for your two screaming babies, you realize your breast pads have failed, and your entire shirt is soaked with milk? And then the dog barks to be let out, so you let him out, only to watch him run away through the unlatched back gate, towards the high school, where the teenagers are getting out for lunch?

So then you have to leave both children in the house, unattended, while you run down the street in bare feet and a milk-soaked shirt, trying to catch the dog before he gets hit by a car or picked up by the police?

Then when you come home you wonder if trading in your job as a mediocre reporter to be a mediocre mother and housewife was a good idea? At least you got paid for being a reporter. Plus, you could actually quit that job.

Do you ever wonder how you can spend all day picking up and straightening up and trowing crap away, and yet your house never appears neat, clean or uncluttered?

Do you ever have a day like that?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Mascara Woes

Today is backwards day at Works for Me Wednesday, and I am loving it! Instead of giving advice, we ask for some help from the great, amazing blogging community.

I wear contacts. I rub my eyes a lot. And I can't find any eye makeup that can hold up to the challenge without flaking or smearing. I've even tried the impossible-to-remove Covergirl Great Lash Waterproof. During daily wear, it still leaves little raccoon marks under my eyes, when I try to get it off at night, the marks just get worse.

Are there any great mascaras out there that won't leave me looking like a zombie?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

My Son is a Preacher Man

Meet Rowdy, the itinerant preacher. He's holding a camp meeting revival in every room in the house this week, and he is on fire with the spirit. He's got his "Halleluias" and "Amens" down. He takes his microphone into every room with him, so the good news will be heard by all. (In case you don't recognize it, it's the toilet paper holder from the loo.)

His sermon, while short, is pretty theologically sound:

"Jesus on CROSS," he growls, gesticulating wildly, his index finger pointing to a spot on the wall behind his head, where my wedding photo hangs. "Jesus come DOWN!"

Amen Brother Rowdy, Amen.

Monday, October 01, 2007


I lay on the bathroom floor, fingers curled into claws, totally immobilized. I could barely breathe. I couldn’t feel my legs, but I could feel the bile rising in my throat.

“This is Karma in action,” I thought to myself.

The Tuesday before, SuperHubby dragged himself home from work at 10:30 p.m., complaining of dizziness, nausea and chills. He climbed into bed and proceeded to toss and turn and keep me awake until 1 a.m.

I tried -I really tried - to be solicitous. I got him a hot pack to warm his freezing hands. I found Advil to calm the fever he didn’t have. I fetched medicine to settle his stomach.

I brushed my fingers through his hair and rubbed his back, muttering “It’s going to be ok; it’s going to be ok.”

But what it sounded like was: “Good Lord. You are a grown man. This is the stomach flu and you don’t even have a fever. Suck it up.”

I was irritated and tired, and as his illness lingered into Wednesday and Thursday, I probably didn’t give him the loving kindness he deserved. When he made it out of bed and downstairs, he would immediately lie on the couch as though the trip had cost him every ounce of energy he possessed.

I scowled.

Four solid days of single-parenthood weren’t setting well with me.

On Friday, SuperHubby was feeling better, but still too drained to make it to work, or to help much with the boys. Instead, he headed to the doctor to try to figure out what was wrong with him.

I was feeling ok, until about four in the afternoon, when Friday’s lunch came rushing back. I thought it was so odd, because the only I get sick with a high fever or when pregnant. I had no fever, and I knew I wasn’t pregnant.

I called SuperHubby and asked him to pick up some ginger ale or Gatorade on his way home from the doctor's office. He said he was too tired. I figured I could live without it, and let it drop. But I was feeling woozy, and ticked that not only was he sick, now he wasn't even helping me out.

I scowled some more, then threw up.

By seven, I knew I wasn't going to make it without some Gatorade. I called a neighbor, and begged her to run to the store for me. She said she would, after dinner. But by eight, she still hadn't arrived, and I was shaking. SuperHubby was putting Tom to bed. I had Seth, but I was shaking so hard I was afraid to pick him up.

By nine, I had collapsed on the bathroom floor, immobile and terrified. SuperHubby couldn't drive me to the hospital, so he called 911.

The EMTs had a bit of trouble maneuvering me past the pack-n-play, the trendy Fisher Price Rainforest Swing, and the exersaucer. They kept telling me to "breathe slower" and looked surprised and vaguely disgusted when I vomited bile all over the floor. I wondered why they were in this profession.

As the EMTs wheeled me out the front door and into the ambulance, Drunk Judy from across the street came over to see how I was doing. "You ok?" she slurred, not unkindly. I was thankful that I couldn't speak, so I didn't have to say, "No, I'm fine. I volunteer to do this to help train the medics. It's really a fun way to spend a Friday night! Here's your sign."

*It's been a little over two weeks since the horrible, awful, very bad stomach flu hit our house. We are all fine and completely recovered. In the process we managed to spread the joy to one neighbor, both of SuperHubby's parents and our wonderful, incredible babysitter. They've all recovered, too.*

Monday, September 10, 2007

Falling Words

The reason I love poetry
is the crisp, juicy bite of adverbs
Bouncing sassily in your mouth
Roundly and smoothly on your lips –

Saltimbocca snaps of verbs
Pouncing on nouns
Tumbling out of your throat and
Jumping in your ears and
E x p a n d i n g in your mind

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Batteries Not Included

Every morning, around 10 AM, the middle school marching band bangs and stomps and squeaks past my house. Tom, at two, is enthralled. He is convinced that his purpose in life is to bang the big bass drum.

And so, we've started music time. We play piano. We pluck, strum, and occasionally bang the guitar. Tom has a blast pounding away on his Fisher-Price plastic drum. He's been known to pick out a tune (albeit more in the style of Coltrane than Mozart)on his rainbow-colored xylophone.

He can play (or at least make a lot of noise on) the recorder, the Irish penny whistle,and our dilapidated harmonica.

So earlier this week, I dug my father's trumpet and my saxophone out of the basement. Tom was very impressed with my improvised version of Happy Birthday, and decided he wanted to give the saxophone a spin. He huffed and puffed, but he just couldn't get a sound to come out.

"Saxophone broken," he sighed. "Need new batteries. No music in it."

Monday, August 20, 2007


The summer I was six years old, my parents took me to the ocean. I spent the week dipping my toes in the waves and chasing sandpipers. When I came home, I told my best friend that the king of the sea had made me an honorary mermaid princess. I showed her how I swam with my legs crossed at the ankles and pretended to live in castles under the sea.

There’s just something about the ocean — the wide, flat expanse of it — that opens my mind to long-forgotten possibilities.

Keep reading ....

Monday, August 06, 2007

Uncle Donald's

When I found my toddler in a full-on lip lock with a 6-foot fiberglass clown, I realized it might be time to change the family eating habits.

Keep reading at Crunchable.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Well Tickle Me Pink

I've won something! I've actually won something! My good buddy Steph over at Creature Bug sent me some love in the form of a pretty pink award several weeks ago - I've just not been around to put it up. So, thanks, Steph, for thinking of me.

In return, I'll pass the love along to some fabulous women.

First, to Mopsy at Lifenut, since she's the reason I started blogging in the first place. Her writing is so lyrical and inspiring, and she finds time to do it while raising six kids. Amazing.

Next, to Suzanne, because she is so grounded in her faith and makes me think of things I would otherwise overlook. Plus, she's really cool. And her recipes look fantastic.

And finally, to Julie Q. for always, always making me think. Amazing. Like a great college course, only on a blog. Plus no homework. And I never feel stupid for raising my hand in class.

There are so many more women who deserve to be a Rockin' Girl Blogger, but I'll start with these three.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Moving On

There is a 53-foot moving van outside my house, and Tommy, my 2-year-old son, is plastered to the front door.

“Moving van!” he says, trying to press himself through the glass and onto the front porch, where he will be two feet closer to the biggest truck he has ever seen.

I wish I could close the front door and make the truck vanish.

Keep reading at Crunchable.

Friday, July 06, 2007

While I Was Out

Well, I haven't been posting much in the last seven weeks or so. But I have been busy. Doing this:

Amd of course, raising these:

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Made Service

"I made!" the Tominator exclaims, examining his handiwork. We have guests coming in 20 minutes to celebrate this day of independence, and my entire first floor is now baby powder fresh, thanks to a toddler and a two-pound can of talc.

On top of each of the 88 piano keys is a carefully arranged pile of powder. The piano bench is smeared with powdery handprints and streaks. The baby's basinett is half-full of powder, and tom even sprinkled the couch, but it actually makes the cream-colored fabric look and smell better, so I can't complain too much about that.

At the foot of the stairs, he has lovingly applied white diaper cream to our dark gray carpet.

The baby is squalling, covered in spit up and demanding his bath. SuperHubby has finally met his archnemisis - the Influenza bug - and is trying valiantly to sleep it off.

Lord help us all.

Monday, June 25, 2007

What I Learned at Dinner Tonight

When we pray before dinner, we close by thanking "the Fadder, Swon, and Howy Spit."

Dinner is best accompanied by "pwo-no" music such as "woa woa boat" which is sung in "wownds."

Tom likes "penny pata" with alfredo sauce and "bwoccoli." He also likes "zoo-kee-nee quash!"

He loves "huggins" but will not say "I wuv you" unless prompted, one syllable at a time.

He's such a boy.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A True American Idol

Just call him Sanjaya ...

Friday, June 08, 2007


Five years ago, I woke up in an unfamiliar hotel room, no longer a bride. We lounged in bed a good part of the morning, doing what all newlyweds should be doing ... ordering room service.

Our pancakes and eggs cost $57. It was thrilling.

We spent the day at the resort napping, eating at the outdoor cafe and strolling along the edge of the golf course, until we got kicked off by management for not having any clubs.

The next day we boarded a plane bound for the Caribbean, and spent a week in lovely, secluded Grenada, lounging on the beach and exploring rain forests.

I blindly followed my brand-spanking-new husband when he jumped into a red van with four big, dark-skinned native men in it as we were walking to the beach. I watched the beach go right by, and still we drove on. I was sure we would end up dead on the mountain somewhere, but we ended up in the capital city at the end of the long queue of minivans that is considered the bus system on the island.

I learned that to get off a bus in Grenada, you tap on the ceiling and driver stops. Wherever. Even in the middle of absolutely nowhere.

It was before we had a digital camera, and we have not one picture of the two of us together on our honeymoon. I was stupidly, stupidly stingy with film.

My mom asked me if five years ago I could have imagined my life today.

Today I spent the day changing diapers and feeding babies - first the one who can now talk back and tell me precisely what he does and does not like - and second, the one who leave big puddles of milk where ever he goes.

But then SuperHubby made it home from work, bearing these:

And the first thing he did was scoop his sons up in his arms and tell them how much he loves them and how much he missed them during the day. And I can't imagine a better anniversary gift than that.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Best Mother's Day Gift - Ever

Seth Morgan arrived on Friday after a quick and painless (!!) labor. He weighed in at 9 lbs 6 oz, and so far everyone is doing well.

We came home today, and what a great way to spend Mother's Day - with my two beautiful sons.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

39 Weeks and Sick as a Dog

The weather is absolutely glorious. Clear blue skies, trees in full leaf and bloom, birds chirping merrily.

Yet here I sit, swollen ankles and a box of tissues, wishing for all the world I could be the one taking my son to the playground today.

About a week ago, Tom and I both came down with ... something. It acts like an allergy gone wild - itchy eyes, runny nose, itchy ears, cough. Only now my cough has gotten into my chest and is all infected. Yuck.

Tom is fine as long as he's not around me. He plays with Pops and Gramma and has a fine time, but as soon as I enter a room he becomes a bawling ball of snot with a hacking cough. It's lovely.

I can't decide whether I just want the baby OUT, or if I want him to stay in until the pestilence is gone from my household. I am terrified of the baby getting a respiratory disease at such a young age.

I hope the rest of you are having a nicer spring.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Jumping the Gun

Spring has finally sprung in my hometown. For the past three days, it's topped out in the high 70's. Gorgeous, sunny weather. Beautiful things are starting to grow in my garden.

(Dandelions are also starting to grow in my garden, but I'm digging those suckers up as fast as I can.)

I've set all my seedlings on the front porch to harden off. Two new rose plants are waiting in their gallon containers to be planted as soon as the arbor they are to climb is installed.

The only problem is, I know I'm doing too much too soon. It generally is not considered a good idea to plant in my neck of the woods until mid-May. We've been known to get a hard frost well into May. But I just can't help myself. Here's hoping the cold weather stays away for good!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Baby Cages and Easter Chores

What fun holiday celebration would be complete without a baby cage? (If you haven't seen this episode of Scrubs, watch it before calling CPS on me. It's a joke, I promise.)

Also, when you've done your time, you've got to do your Easter chores:

But seriously, we also let him have a little fun. We blew bubbles:

And fell asleep in church:

He slept through the trumpets. He slept through the tympani. But right after this picture was taken, SuperHubby was telling someone that he and Tom had seen a fire truck before church ... and sproing! his little head popped up and swiveled around. It's all about the fire trucks, baby. (And yes, this may be the single most unflattering picture of me ever taken, between the Dumbo ears and the giant belly. Oh, the pride I sacrifice in the name of an easy blog post.)

And examined giant, mutant goldfish.

Happy Easter.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Flower Power

They may be forecasting snow showers all weekend, but gosh darn it, at least my door looks springy.

I took a little rainy afternoon trip to the Michael's yesterday, and lo and behold, all their spring flowers were 50% off. So I made myself a new wreath and had enough left over for two spring arrangements. Not quite as nice as real, but they'll last longer!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Miss Communication

I have been stumped for some time by the Tominator's reluctance to speak. He makes a lot of noise. He makes a lot of very interesting sounds. But speak -- in actual words that we can understand? Not so much.

His friends at playgroup, all boys, all within a few weeks of Tom's age, all speak in sentences. They have no trouble stringing multi syllabic words together in sensible, rational ways.

Tom ... again, not so much. He can identify and sound out more than half the letters of the alphabet - he can even pick them out of text. But put them together to make a word? Not gonna do it.

Well, today I figured out what the problem was. And apparently, it was my problem.

You see, I don't speak Spanish.

Tom does.

We were in the bathroom, getting ready to wash our hands, and Tom looks up at me and says, clear as day, "Agua! Agua!"

So all that nonsense, with the trilled r's that he's always spouting? I guess I'd better get myself some Speak in a Week and figure it out.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday: Garden Starting Shortcuts

As a passionate, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants gardener, I love starting seeds each spring. It gives me such a sense of accomplishment to know that I grew many of my garden plants "from scratch."

The thing is, all the gardening books make seed starting sound SO hard. You have to use special seed-starting mix. Then you plant them in trays watch carefully for each seeding to form two leaves. Then you carefully scoop out each seedling and transplant it into a pot. Then you transplant it again into your garden.

Bah, I say. That's way too much work.

Through trial and error, I've discovered a wonderful system that allows you to plant once, and then transplant straight to your garden when the weather is warm enough.

The secret is to save the little plastic six packs (or larger) that already-started plants come in at the nursery. When you plant your annuals this spring, be gentle when you remove them from the plastic pack. Wash those suckers up and save them for next year. The packs are perfect because they are little self-contained cups with built-in drainage holes.

Then go to a local garden shop or a WalMart and get yourself a couple of plastic gardening trays. They are about 10x15 inches and solid plastic. Here, they set you back about 99 cents.

When you're ready to start the seeds, mix up some regular old potting soil (I use Miracle-Gro) with some peat moss. I make my mix about half and half; the peat moss serves to lighten the soil just a bit to make root development easier on the plants.

Then fill all your little cups with soil, and put them in your plastic trays. The plastic trays are essential to this step. Stick your seeds in the soil, and mist with a spray bottle. Then add an inch or so of water to the plastic trays - so that the cups are sitting in the water. The dirt, and eventually the plant roots, will suck up the water through the holes in the bottom of the cups. Makes keeping the soil moist a breeze.

Cover the whole shebang with some clear plastic wrap and place in a sunny window. You can also use a florescent lamp to encourage growth. I use an old florescent desk lamp that we had hanging around the house.

In about three days, you should see sprouts, and as your plants grow, remove the plastic wrap. Keep watering by adding water to the trays, and let them grow away! You may need to thin the plants in the cups, but that is easy to do by just clipping off the weaker seedlings.

When it's time to put your plants in the garden, you have an easy time of it. Just pop the well-rooted seedlings out of the cups and go to town! It's like having a garden center on your back porch, and that works for me.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Out of the Loop

This just goes to show how far removed I am from popular culture:

My friend went to college with the three ladies who have started this company. They sell fancy underwear that is packaged (with a personal freshness wipe) in a little case that looks like a passport.

Their website lists a variety of uses for such pre-packaged panties, including a "hot date for cocktails after a hard day's work." I had no idea that women needed fresh underwear in order to drink a martini. But then again, I don't drink, so what do I know?

Seriously, I wish these ladies well and hope their business takes off. I guess I just don't get it.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Today, I ate my leftover stuffed cabbage all by myself. I didn't share my lunch with anyone.

Today, I failed.

My friend Maria stopped by the church unexpectedly around noon today, with her new boyfriend. They are moving in together, if they can scrape up the deposit for the apartment.

I met Maria through the church. She used to come in to help her mother quilt on Thursdays, but spent most of her time visiting with me in the church office. She helped with office work, helped watch my son, even stayed over at my house a few times.

When she went to her senior prom, I volunteered to do her hair and makeup, and made a gift of the cosmetics.

When Maria graduated high school, she had a career all lined up. She was a certified nurse assistant, and had secured a well-paying, health-insurance-providing job at a local nursing home. Things looked good for Maria.

Then she met a man, and followed him around the country. She was fired from her job. Her upright, Chrisitian parents didn't approve, so she moved out.

She's spent the last year living in squalor, subsisting on food donations and soup kitchen meals, wearing clothes gleaned from other people's trashcans.

When she and her boyfriend showed up, I was glad to see them. They were filthy, and I'd just put Tom down for a nap, but I invited them in. We chatted. Then her boyfriend said that he was going to have to pawn the gold necklace Maria had bought him two days ago for his birthday, because they had no food and hadn't eaten today.

"You haven't eaten all day?" I asked. (I can't even imagine no food all day.)

"Well, we haven't been eating very well lately," Maria admitted. She said she's been passing out a lot, but she doesn't know why.

My lunch - uneaten - was in a bag on the counter behind me. I thought about giving it to them, but I didn't.

I looked at Maria with her greasy hair and filthy nails and heard the words of Jesus in my head:

Whatsoever you do unto the least of my people, you have done unto me.

And I did nothing.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Very Hungry Mommy

In the light of the moon, a Mommy lay in bed, awake and starving. Stealthily, she crawled out of bed and went in search of something good to eat.

At 10 p.m., she ate through one bowl of cereal, but she was still hungry.

At 1 a.m., she ate through two Girl Scout Samoas cookies, but she was still hungry.

At 3 a.m., she ate through three bowls of fruit salad, but she was still hungry.

At 5 a.m., she ate through four Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies, but she was still hungry.

At 7 a.m., she ate through one bowl of cereal, one banana, one piece of cinnamon toast, one low-fat string cheese, one glass of orange juice and one cup of green tea. And she didn’t even have a stomachache!

Now she wasn’t a little Mommy anymore – she was a big, fat, mommy.

But she was still hungry.

My apologies to Eric Carle.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

No Means No

A play about a mother’s spiral into insanity at the hands of her toddler son.

Mama: Loving, but frazzled, hugely pregnant twenty-something mother.
Tom: Spirited, intelligent, pre-lingual eighteen-month-old boy.

Act I

At Rise: (A bathroom somewhere in Pennsylvania. It is dawn. Mama is brushing her teeth at the sink. From offstage she hears the sound of the refrigerator door opening and closing. Toddler son, Tom, appears in bathroom lugging 2-liter bottle of Coca-Cola.)

Tom: (Holding bottle out to Mama)
Ugh ugh ugh!

Mama: No Tom, that’s Mama’s juice. Tom may not have that juice.

Tom: (Making drinking motion with bottle)
Ugh ugh ugh!

Mama: (Sighing)
Mama said no.

Tom: (Running out of bathroom and sliding down the stairs, still clutching bottle)
Ugh ugh ugh!

Mama: (Following Tom downstairs into the kitchen, sees that Tom has found a cup and is holding both the Coke and the cup out to her.)
I know that you want that juice, Tom, but you may not have it.

Tom: (Making the American Sign Language sign for please)
Ugh, ugh, ugh!

Mama: (Gets apple juice from fridge.)
Here Tom, you may have this juice.

Tom: No, no, no!

Mama: (Giving in)
Ok Tom. Let's compromise.
(Mama fills Tom’s cup with water and adds a splash of Coke for color.)
Here. You may have some of Mama’s juice.

Tom: No, no, no!
(Falls to floor, crying and kicking. Will not take cup.)
No, no, no!

(Tom continues kicking and crying inconsolably. Mama sighs and pours Coke down the drain to avoid further conflict. Lights fade.)

Act II

At Rise: (Brightly-lit kitchen. Tom is sitting in his highchair playing with his spoon and awaiting his breakfast.)

Mama: Here’s your waffle, Tom.

Tom: (Crying)
No, no, no!
(Stuffs waffle greedily in mouth.)
No, no, no!

Mama: (Sighs.)

(Lights fade.)


At Rise: (Administrative office of a church, drab, full of filing cabinets. It is lunchtime. Brightly colored children’s toys are scattered on the floor.)

Mama: Tom, it’s time for lunch. Let’s heat up your soup. Do you want to push the buttons on the microwave?

Tom: (Carrying bowl of soup and running towards the microwave)
No, no, no!
(He begins crying.)

Mama: Tom, do you want to help Mama? Give Mama the soup.

Tom: (Wailing)
No, no, no!

Mama: Here, let me help you.
(Attempts to pick up Tom, but he slides to the floor, tears streaming down his face. He kicks the floor.)

Tom: No, no, no!

(Mama heats soup, and Tom calms enough to climb into his highchair, where he proceeds to eat with gusto.)

Mama: Tom, do you want some cornbread?

Tom: (Reaches for cornbread.)
No, no, no!

(Lights fade.)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sunday Snow Day

We had planned to go home today, but the snow started falling during church and just kept falling and falling and falling ... so instead we went sledding.

All bundled up ...

I love sledding with Dada!

And building snowmen with Grandpa ...

And we rounded out the weekend with some tickles from Mama. Here comes the tickle-monster!

He's gonna get you!

(And yes, my son is part piranha. Look at those teeth!)

Friday, February 23, 2007

Update on Prayer Requests

My friend Jeanette gave birth to Ahren Alexander yesterday afternoon. He was 19 inches long and 7 lbs 1 oz. So far, things look good. He's been eating well and has been making urine. Doctors will do some tests today and again later in the week to make sure everything is working well, but right now things look very positive.

Thank you all for your prayers and support. Please keep praying for Ahren's continued health.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Product Review: Fabulous Snacks by Kashi

While many of my bloggy buddies are famous enough to be asked to review products, I just do it out of the goodness of my heart. No one's advertising department has contacted me for reviews, but when I find a product I love, I feel like I should tell my tens of readers about it.

So, without further ado, here's my new favorite portable kid feast and fabulous snack find: Kashi's TLC Cherry Dark Chocolate Granola Bars. I tripped over these the other day at Wal-Mart, and decided to give them a try, even though they are slightly more expensive than their Quaker counterparts.

Tom loves granola bars, but I've always felt bad about filling him up with super-sugary snacks, even if they do come convienently wrapped. Enter Kashi. While the bars do still contain 8g of sugar, it's balanced with a healthy (but tasty) 4g of fiber and 5g of protein.

Plus, they taste great to adults, too. The cherry flavor is a great combination of sweet and tart, not at all cloying, the way I find other chewy granola bars to be. The bars include actual dried cherries, along with tasty, real dark chocolate chips. No artificial flavoring, nothing. Yum.

Kashi offers several flavors, but the others I saw contained big pieces of nuts, and I am not that confident in Tom's chewing ability. I do, however, plan to check out the trail mix variety for myself.

Kashi's Cherry Dark Chocolate Chewy Granola Bars get a big five-star rating from Wishful Thinking.

Nut-Free Streusel

Superhubby can't eat nuts, and I've been searching for a decent nut-free streusel recipe for years. Finally I found one that I could adapt, and I am so excited.

2/3 c. uncooked regular oatmeal, coarsely chopped in a food processor
2/3 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. sugar or packed brown sugar
5 T melted butter
1 t cinnamon (or use 1/2 t each ginger and nutmeg)
1/4 t salt

Mix all ingredients together with a fork until crumbly. Top baked goods (coffee cake, muffins) and bake as directed. This recipe freezes well, too, if you end up with more streusel than you can use.

I made this with ginger and used them to top cherry muffins a few weeks ago. Delicious!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

In Need of Prayer


If you are the praying type, please take a moment and pray for two families who are experiencings serious emergencies right now.

My parents are volunteers at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. Yesterday a 77-year-old visitor to the park went out to take pictures on the dunes. He never returned. Overnight temperatures in the desert dropped to the 30s, and he is without much food, water or warm clothing.

Resucers have been searching the 275-square-mile park for 12 hours, and they still haven't located him. He and his wife are visiting from Austrailia. Please pray for Lou's safe resuce.

**Lou has been found, alive and whole. He survived the night in the dunes by covering himself with dry grasses, and walked to safety this afternoon.**

The second request is for my neighbor's daughter, Jeanette. She is pregnant with her second child, and will be induced Thursday because her son's kidneys aren't forming properly. Fluid continues to build up around his kidneys, instead of being excreted in a normal manner. Because both kidneys are affected, this could be a very serious and life-threatening illness for him. Doctors say there is about a 25% chance the problem will "fix itself" after birth. Please pray for Jeanette and her family.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Works For Me Wednesday, Indeed!

My blog is what you might call "out of the way." On good days, I like to think of it as a refreshing, but little-known, outpost on the mega-highway to bloggityville.

On a bad day, I call my lack of traffic depressing.

Well, let me tell you something. I participated in Works for Me Wednesday yesterday, and my traffic jumped 380% for the day. Three hundred eighty percent!

Now that REALLY works for me. (Thanks, Shannon!)

No, no!

The Tominator has learned the "N" word, and sad to say, I find it hilarious. Mostly because he uses such inflection when he demurs. It's never just "NO!" instead, he says "no, no, noooooo" with a long shake of the head.

Often it's in response to a question.
Mama: "Tom, do you want some juice?"
Tom: "No, no, nooooooo!"

Other times, it's in request for the book But No Elephants. This is a tricky one.
Mama: "Would you like to read a book?"
Tom: "Book! No, no, NOOOOOO!" as he runs to fetch above mentioned book.

Today, it was in response to some lyrics on a Veggie Tales CD.
Bob the Tomato: "God answers prayer, God answers prayer ..."
Tom: "No, no, NOOOOOO!"

I have no idea what this means, but it sure is funny. I think.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Quick Kitchen Clean Up

A nice, home-cooked Valentine's Day meal is always better when you don't face a sink full of dirty dishes when you're done. My solution, as obvious as this seems, is to clean up as you go. If I wash as many dishes as possible while the main dish simmers or bakes, by the time dinner rolls around, I am left with only the dinner plates and glasses (these go in the dishwasher) and whatever pot the main dish cooked in. Cleanup takes mere minutes, and then we can enjoy our evening as a family.

Simple, but it works for me!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Friendship and Joy

"I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds 'round my neck."
- Emma Goldman

Every girl remembers her first time, and sometimes her last.

The day after my son was born, a gorgeous bouquet of yellow roses found their way into my hospital room. They brightened up the dingy view of the alley quite nicely and soothed my exhausted shock at having brought this tiny, living, pooping thing into the world. That was the last time I received yellow roses.

But the first time, oh the first time.

On a clear Valentine’s Day nearly a decade ago, I woke up to find a yellow rose lying on the bed next to me, tucked in between the pages of my journal. Surprising, romantic, and extremely odd. This was not a farewell from the last night’s lover – I was 17, living at home with my parents, and quite chaste.

I pulled on my robe and hustled downstairs, where my mother was flipping pancakes. Another beautiful red-tipped yellow rose was lying by my breakfast plate. When I asked her about it, she was evasive. “I have no idea,” she said, smiling.

For the rest of the day, whenever I caught sight of the two roses nestled in a vase on the table, I wondered how they had gotten to my house. They had to be from my new boyfriend, who knew that yellow roses were my favorite. But he lived 20 minutes away, and I could not believe that he had driven out that morning, before I awoke, to make sure the rose would get tucked into my bed.

Later that evening, he picked me up for a special dinner date. Another rose popped out from behind his back. Yet another was waiting for me in the car. Back at his parents’ house, he had set up the formal dining room with candles and soft music. He carefully served spaghetti he had made himself, and we sat down to eat – at a table set with china, silver and six gorgeous yellow roses.

As we lingered over our farewell kiss outside the garage door of my parents’ house, he produced two more roses. An even dozen -- and he surprised me with every single one.

*This post is a shameless bid to win a box of Alaskan berry-filled chocolates from Scribbit, during this month's Write-Away Contest. I'm pregnant and I need them.

*This post was also submitted to Crunchable, and will appear in the February issue.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Take endless tantrums, fussing and an extremely snotty nose from one 18-month-old. Mix in one sick husband. Sprinkle liberally with a desire for a clean house, and continue sorting, organizing and vacuuming despite screaming toddler. Stir in 4 loads of laundry. Add a splash of barking, tissue-stealing dog. Chill at 66 degrees for 12 solid hours.

Then run screaming from the house with poorly-painted cardboard sign reading "Cancun or Bust."

Or, you could make these.

What I really wanted was a delicious pan of seven-layer bars, but I didn't have any sweetened condensed milk. So I made up my own recipe.

Therapy Bars

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1 1/4 c graham cracker crumbs
1 T brown sugar
2 T melted butter

Mix together and press in the bottom of an 8-inch glass pan.

1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/2 butter
1/2 c white chocolate chips
1/2 c raisins
3/4 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c mini marshmallows

Melt brown sugar and butter in a sauce pan and boil gently one minute, until sugar and butter form a soft caramel.

Sprinkle white chocolate chips and raisins over crust. Top with caramel and bake for 15 minutes, or until caramel bubbles evenly. Pull out of oven, top with semi-sweet chips and marshmallows and return to oven until marshmallows are lightly brown, about 3 minutes.

Let cool at least 30 minutes and cut into bars. Makes 9 bars, or 16 if you cut them really small.

Nutritional information:
Who are you kidding? These are a heart attack and diabetic coma all rolled into one. But they are so much cheaper than Xanax, and you don't need a prescription.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Tick Tock

In three months, give or take a week, I will welcome a new baby into my home. This is something that SuperHubby and I prayed about, and that we both wanted very badly. But as countdown to baby number two continues, I do not find myself rejoicing and longing to hold his tiny hands. Instead I am reduced to an inanimate lump of molten, abject terror.

Maybe it's because I have finally settled into something resembling a routine, after more than a year of sleeping, eating, cleaning, showering whenever I could. Maybe I've just become used to a child who sleeps 10 straight hours. I've become accustomed to a couple of uninterrupted hours of computer or TV time at night, no demands, no wailing, hungry, fretful children to keep me from taking time for myself. I hate that I am already fretting over giving that up once S. arrives.

I know, in reality, that three months is a very long time. I don't need to be worried that we are not even close to ready to move Tom into his big-boy room. I have time to accomplish all I have set out to do. But I am having misgivings over my decision to try to move him out of the crib and into a real bed before the baby is born. My mother reminds me regularly that she thinks moving him out of his crib is a terrible idea. I'm starting to believe her. If I don't move him, though, I will have to buy another crib. And I really don't want to do that.

Unlike with Tom, where I (falsely) had a sense of security bestowed on me by the dozens of baby-care books I devoured, I have no such comfort with this child. Even though I will have nearly two years of mothering experience under my belt by the time S. comes along, I am sure that I won't know what to do. I have no sense of security in my abilities to parent two children with such very different needs at the same time.

I want so badly to feel like this, but I don't.

I want to be glowing with the joy and wonder at the miracle that is happening every second inside my body, instead of sitting on hot packs because somehow I ended up with a shooting pain in my backside and left leg this time around. I want to be enjoying the baby's kicks, punches, jabs and rolls, not resenting the fact that putting on socks is already difficult for me.

It's sort of the way I felt about Christmas this year. I knew it was coming, the cheerful holiday presence loomed over my head and blasted from store speakers starting around mid-October. I had plenty of time and warning to prepare. But I dragged my feet. I didn't want to buy Christmas gifts before Halloween. I didn't want to plan menus and shopping lists and day trips and everything else to keep my family happy over the holidays. As a result, when I finally got around to completing these tasks, I was rushed and frustrated. Although the holidays went well, they were not the exciting family time I had anticipated. We spent a lot of time sitting around staring at our hands because I had not done a good job planning day trips and activities.

I feel like that's how it's going to go with this baby, too. I feel unprepared. And messing up Christmas is not nearly as bad as messing up my kids because I didn't know what to do.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Will He Ever Know?

Our house is full of pestilence. The Tominator is sick with a nasty cold, I have a (so far) less virulent version, plus some sort of itchy rash on the inside of my right knee. It looks like a poison ivy rash, only, well, it's February. I'm pretty darn certain I haven't been exposed to any rash-inducing vegetation.

As a result, our normal routines have been chucked, in favor of snuggling on the sofa while rotting our brains with too much TV.

Last night I found myself pinned to the couch under a 25-pound ball of snot and drool. He snuggled up to my chest and snaked his arm around my neck, fisting his little hand in my hair. My hair apparently holds some magical healing and calming powers. Tom has sought out a handful of my hair in times of stress, illness or fear since he was a tiny infant. I put Samson to shame. Oh the power.

As he slept on my chest, soaking through my shirt, I listened to his ragged breathing, and a sense of calm washed over me. I wonder if he will ever know this heart-shattering love?


Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Winter has made herself known here lately, even though she has been stingy with her snow, hoarding it so that only children west of the Mississippi get to build forts and make snow angels.

Instead of glistening, glittering snow, she has sent icy cold winds that bite at your skin and freeze your nose. Cold so bitter it seeps through the cracks and wrinkles in our nonagenarian home, leaving a thin film of ice on the dog's water bowl as a breakfast greeting. Cold that freezes your fingers to the metal of the doorknob and the iron stair railing when you step outside so the dog can relieve himself.

I bury myself under blankets and those little packs full of beans that you stick in the microwave for two minutes to get toasty toe warmers. I fill my belly with hot tea, hot cocoa and more hot tea, but part of me is still frozen.


The Tominator has discovered hugs. Every once in a while I'll be washing dishes or cooking or otherwise occupied in the kitchen, and I'll feel a sudden attack on my legs, a 25-pound linebacker aimed right at my knees.

"Hugs, hugs, hugs!" he says, and then he's gone, and I hear him crash into his ball pit. "Boom!" he chuckles. "Boom!"


The Tominator has also discovered the potty, without any effort on the part of myself or SuperHubby. On Monday, Tom was having a fit trying to turn the doorknob on the bathroom door. I finally figured out what he wanted and opened the door for him. He walked over the toilet, lifted the lid and tried to sit down.

Being a bit slow, I had no idea why he was doing this. "Do you need to potty?" I asked, confused.

He stared at me with a look that clearly said "DUH!" and continued to try to sit on the toilet.

So off came his diaper, and I got into the age-old holding toddler over potty pose. And sure enough, he had to go.

I was pretty sure it was just a fluke, but when he asked to go again this morning, we headed out to the store to get him his own seat for the toilet. We'll see how this goes.

Monday, February 05, 2007


After a week of feeling like I am walking backwards through molasses, no matter how hard I try to make headway, I finally have something to report: despite the dastardly plans of the mini destructo-bot that lives in my house, I can now walk unmolested through my laundry room. This is a huge achievement, which involved giving boxes and boxes of crap lovely, gently used bed and table linens to the Goodwill.

Scary basement laundry room before:

Scary basement laundry room after:

My lovely just-created ironing nook. I am hoping this will inspire me to actually, you know, iron. My father, who admits to pressing his shoelaces as a child, will be so proud.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

das Vorlagenrennen

If you were, say, a power-crazed dictator bent on creating a master race, you would not chose myself and SuperHubby to be in your breeding stables.

Between the two of us, we have the genetic capability to create bald, diseased, mutant children who like superheroes.


We're talking family histories of at least three types of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, glaucoma, Crohn's disease, hairy arms -- you name it, we got it.

I was feeling pretty bad about this, especially for Tom, until my mom told me the World Health Organization (or some agency like that) had released a study saying that children raised in overly-sterilized environments are more prone to a variety of health conditions, including Crohn's.

So at least we've got that one licked.