Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Feminism, Fashion & Other Ramblings

I read a post on Modern Mrs. Darcy about women's choices to work or stay home. Then a fashion blog I read (I've recently started checking out a few fashion blogs as I think about kicking up my personal style) directed me toward "feminist fashion bloggers," which led me to this post by a computer programmer who hides her love of fashion... and now I have various thoughts in my head to share.

I should mention that I AM A FEMINIST. No disclaimers, no buts. I am a feminist. Sadly, there seem to be a bunch of misconceptions about what that means, such that people who are feminists say they aren't and I've even read a bunch of bloggers who blame feminists for this that and the other thing--and they are just wrong.

Feminism is (textbook definition here) the belief that men and women are equal. Not the same, but of equivalent worth. {What exactly is my authority? I have taken a variety of classes on feminism, including Sex Equality and Feminist Legal Theory, taught by my idol Catharine MacKinnon. So I have some credibility on the subject.}

For the record, Miriam Webster's online definition is: "the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes."

Feminism is not the belief that women should be like men. Have individual women tried to advance through our patriarchy by being more "manly"? Certainly. But that doesn't change the definition of feminism. Have some women claimed that they do what they do (e.g. dress like tramps or act bossy) because they are feminists? Yes, but that doesn't mean the doctrine of feminism includes "act bossy and dress like a slut."

Also, being a feminist and being a SAHM are not mutually exclusive. Hello, I am both and proud of it! It is not un-feminist to sew or like fashion or do other "girly" things. Feminism is about CHOICES. Women can do anything (be CEO, be a SAHM, run for President, make clothes, fix cars, be a nurse) and so can men (be CEO, be a SAHD, run for President, make clothes, fix cars, be a nurse). Ideally to a point where sewing isn't considered "girly" and fixing cars isn't considered "manly."

I don't deny that there are biological differences between men and women (another thing feminists are accused of). There are physical differences. {Also, feminism doesn't mean we will no longer have separate bathrooms--all the laws governing equality for the sexes have an exception for things that are biologically different. Rest assured.} It's true that even outside of socialization, females tend to be drawn to dolls and boys to cars. I think there are 2 main points to feminism. First there's the traditional: you shouldn't have to be a man in order to get the highest paying jobs, the promotion, the raise etc; but also there's the broader point: if you aren't a girly woman or a manly man, you shouldn't be penalized for it.

Okay, I could go on and on, but I think I'll just do some future posts on some spinoff topics. Meanwhile, I had to add, I am a feminist and I've spent this morning doing laundry, calming a screaming toddler and getting dinner in the crockpot. Sometimes I wonder what I'm doing with my life but I don't doubt my feminist cred. ;-) In fact, I want to get one of those T-shirts that says "This is what a radical feminist looks like" and wear it to the playground and other SAHM activities. :-) But I digress.

Ugh, I wish this post was better written, because I think this is an important topic. Alas, this is all I have time for. Hopefully, I can devote more time to the subject soon! I guess the main point of this post is: you can be both a feminist and unapologetically girly.

What do you think?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I ADORE Adele's "Someone Like You"

Just this morning, I was reading Big Mama and she recommended this video of Adele singing "Someone Like You" at the VMAs, so I clicked over and was Ah-Mazed. Seriously. The talent! The poise! To belt that out just standing there. {And she's a kid, like 22 years old, wher does she find that composure?!}

So then the video froze so I went to youtube and listened over and over, seriously this is how I spent a chunk of my day (on and off, because of the whole parenting thing). Must buy her album. Or at least download that and "Rolling in the Deep" on iTunes.

I feel like I was a little late to the Adele party. I'd heard "Rolling in the Deep" many times (and loved it) before Jill at Diaper Diaries clued me in that she's a young (white) British woman. And it took Big Mama today to turn me onto this song. I am now officially an Adele fan(atic).

I have no words, just thought I'd share. Enjoy:

Get More: 2011 VMA, Music, Adele

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday--Excited for Fall

Top Ten {Tuesday}

We live in Phoenix, so we have at least two more months of HOT weather. {That stinks!} For the sake of my mental health, I'm thinking a lot about Fall. Here's what I'm looking forward to....

1. Nice weather. Duh, I'll be happy when it's no longer 116 degrees.

2. The park. We live almost next door to a great park and that is the cheapest way to entertain the kids. Can't wait to get back there in the cooler weather!

3. My birthday. It's at the beginning of October and although the day itself is nothing special, I won't mind getting some goodies. Heehee.

4. T's birthday. My baby turns 3 in mid-September. I'm having fun picking out clothes, toys and books for her.

5. Halloween. My love of Halloween is well-documented. I love the decor, costumes and food. Bring it on, I can't wait!

6. Warm clothes. I love jeans, I love sweaters, I can't wait to break out my warm clothes and maybe add some new pieces.

7. No more sandals. I hate my sandals. Well, I don't hate them, they are very comfortable, but they're kind of ugly. I've had them for 4 summers and I'm done. {Yes, I've been browsing for new ones, but I'm quite picky and have not found anything to replace them. So now I'm just looking forward to sneaker weather.}

8. Matching pajamas. Again, my love of pajamas is well-documented. Most of my cute sets are for cold weather so I look forward to busting those out this Fall.

9. Our anniversary. We'll celebrate 13 years of marriage this October. Hopefully my parents will babysit and we'll hit the town (or at least Carabba's).

10. Football season. Hubby is a huge football fan, especially college football, and we are counting down the days (less than 2 weeks to go!). I get excited because he's excited. And L is too. He told someone today "we like Michigan football." Yeah baby, Go Blue!

What's your favorite thing about Fall?

I'm linking up with Amanda for Top Ten Tuesday.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Blitz Blogging and Freezing Pancakes

Well I'm bummed about how little I've been blogging and how I have all these ideas of what to blog but I never actually do it. So my new plan (I call it "blitz blogging") is that as soon as I have an idea "I want to blog this," I sit down, write a fast little post that gets the basic point across without lots of bells and whistles, and hit "publish." With any luck, I'll post more often and get my ideas out there. Sadly, I might lack links and will definitely lack photos, but I'm hoping it will get me into a routine and I can work up to fancier posts soon.

What do you think?

----------
I thought I'd share something that's been working for me lately. On the weekend, I'll make a batch of pancakes for breakfast (gluten free of course--I use the recipe on Pamela's baking and pancake mix). Usually Hubby and I eat our own things and the kids eat a few pancakes each so I have many leftovers. Then I freeze the extra pancakes and serve them for breakfast to the kids throughout the week (20 to 30 seconds in the microwave).

I can tell you that originally I would "flash freeze" the pancakes on a cookie sheet and then transfer them to a freezer bag, but one time I was lazy and just threw them in the bag. I had no problem separating them to reheat one at a time, so now I skip the cookie sheet step. (Must be all the butter/grease, heehee.)

Then I start all over the next weekend.

The end, freezing pancakes works for me. {This is linked to Works for Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family.}

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Technical Difficulties

The good news is: we have a new computer. I absolutely LOVE it. Our laptop had gotten so incredibly slooooow, so this new one seems lightning fast. However, there are a lot of things I've yet to figure out and that brings me to the bad news: it's messing with my blogging. No, that is not the {sole} reason I've not posted in 2 weeks, but when I've tried to write a post, I've not been able to highlight words in order to create italics, bold or links--kind of important. {Oh look, that time it worked!} So I'll be playing around with that and hopefully have it all figured out soon.
Oh and of course all my pictures are gone. I plan to use a flash drive or whatever to move photos from my laptop over to this new desktop, but I've not done it yet. So for now, I've got a few extra steps to take on that front as well.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, I love {yea, it worked again} this new computer, but I've got some learnin' to do! Thanks for your patience!
{Okay my new problem is it won't publish. Grrrr.}

Monday, July 18, 2011

That's Life 7/18/11

So much going on, where do I begin?

L finally recovered from his tonsil surgery. He's back to normal except he's no longer drinking his prescription formula. Mostly that's good, but it's also scary because that means we have to replace 900 calories from formula with actual food. And he's still quite a picky eater. So meal time is even harder than ever.

We succeeded in moving our speech appointments to a later time for the start of kindergarten and full school days. Amazing, miraculous achievement! So far, I'm enjoying our new schedule.

We had L's birthday party. Once again it was at Peter Piper Pizza and again they did a super awesome job. Everything went smoothly and I actually had time to talk to the other moms. And it ended up being a great group, really pleased how it turned out. :-)

As usual, I have tons of things I want to post about but I'm lousy at the follow through. We'll see if I can get some new posts up this week. Fingers crossed!

What have you been up to? Let me know in the comments. How's your summer going?!

Washcloths instead of Paper Towels {Works for Me}

We've been pinching pennies lately {like pretty much everyone, right?} and here's how we've been saving money on paper towels. It basically started on Mother's Day when my husband asked what I wanted and I mentioned dish towels, because I'd been running through them faster, using them to dry wet surfaces instead of paper towels.

My husband, genius that he is, bought 2 packages of 12 washcloths. This turned out to be a great idea. Here's why:



-They're cheap! We got ours at Kohl's and each set of 12 was about $4--3 cloths for a dollar, (33 cents each) doesn't get much cheaper than that!


-They're absorbent. They work as well as a paper towel, if not better.




-They're white, so I can throw them in any load of laundry. I don't care if they get discolored in a red or dark load (which they don't, because I use Color Catchers), nor do I care if they get stained by food or 409.




Since I throw them in whatever wash I'm doing that day, we always have clean washcloths. They are stuffed in a kitchen drawer (I'm not much for folding). My husband uses 3 each night when he 409s the counters and table and I use them throughout the day to soak up messes or clean/dry a counter. I'd say we save a bunch of paper towels (and therefore money) this way.




Cheap and easy. {Oh and green, saving those trees!} That's how I like it!








How do you save on paper products?




Thursday, July 7, 2011

4th of July recap

In the past, I've not gotten too excited about the 4th of July. I had a wonderful 4th of July tradition growing up--the annual block party--so much fun! But as an adult, and especially here in Phoenix where it's Too Darn Hot to do anything, we haven't really celebrated Independence Day.

Then when I was in Walmart recently, I thought about buying 4th of July shirts for the kids. Usually, I've been against this because hey, they've already got red and blue clothes. I think this year was different for 2 reasons. 1) With L's tonsil surgery, I needed to look forward to something coming up after the whole ordeal would be over. And 2) my parents live here now and I knew we'd be going over to their place to watch fireworks on July 3rd.

As I was looking at the kids' shirts, I saw they had matching adult shirts. And CHEAP! The kids' sizes were $3 and the adults' were $3.50. And of course Hubby and I can wear our shirts in future years. I was sold! Here are our 4 matching shirts (girls in red, boys in blue) we wore to the "party" on July 3rd: On an earlier whim, I bought 2 4th of July hats from the dollar area of Target. I was only going to get one but remembered my kids don't share, and bought 2. Then the day before the celebration I went back to Target for the flags (3 for $1).

I was "in charge" of desserts for party night. There were tons of ideas around the web for fun patriotic desserts, but L wanted cupcakes, so that's what we did. These are gluten free yellow cupcakes (Betty Crocker) with cream cheese frosting (also Betty Crocker), with blue and red sprinkles (applied by L) and I bought the package of cupcake wrappers and festive pics from Walmart for $1.88 (for 24). Easy peasy.


The celebration at my parents' was lots of fun. My sister was also in town for a visit so the more the merrier. We did typical picnic foods (burgers and brats) but indoors. We had bubbles and glow sticks and planned to go on their patio when the sun went down, but there was a lightning storm! We were afraid the fireworks show would be canceled. Anyway, we played inside with the glow sticks and the kids had a great time and finally, the fireworks began. It was a great show and a super easy (and cool!) place to watch it. We ventured to the patio for just a minute when we thought the lightning had died down, but both kids thought it was too loud, so inside was athe best place to watch from. This is a picture of the kids watching the fireworks through the window (if you click to enlarge, you should see their silhouettes):


We celebrated on the 3rd because that's when the fireworks were scheduled, but I thought that worked super well. On Monday the 4th, we relaxed and got things ready for the week ahead.


As long as my parents live in this house and the church keeps putting on the fireworks show, this should make a great tradition.


Oh and I should mention I was worried about the kids being up late. Turns out T is a night owl like me, she had tons of energy late into the night (relatively speaking--the fireworks started at 8:45). We left right after the fireworks ended and I made it my goal to have the kids in bed by 10:00. I came pretty close. Staying up late is another reason I'm glad we celebrated on Sunday night and not Monday.


How was your 4th of July?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Birthday Brouhaha {Two Parties on the Same Day}


I have to blog about this because I can't think about anything else. Okay so L has been out of the loop for the last almost 2 weeks from getting his tonsils out. Meanwhile, he had his birthday (more on that in another post) so we had to plan a party for once he's feeling better. This coming Saturday would be ideal, but of course it's 4th of July weekend and we were afraid lots of people would be out of town. So we chose July 9 and finally things calmed down enough around here for me to send the e-vite on Monday evening. {Why did I do an e-vite over putting invitations in the mail, you ask? I thought it would be easy and that it would be a nice way to track RSVPs. Hindsight and all that.} Right away we got 2 "yes" replies from kids in L's class. Then we got a few "no" replies, with explanations that the families would be out of town. Then, the mom of twins, good friends of L's, replies "no" and says "sorry, that's the day of the twins' party." Dun dun dun.

So I panic. Should we reschedule? Maybe the party isn't at the same time? Maybe it's just a family affair? I decide to email the mom. Sure enough, the party is basically at the same time (can't be in two places at once) and she's invited ALL of the whole class (I had originally only invited a handful, we can't afford a huge party).

Anyway, I did a bunch of fact-gathering and calculating to figure out whether or not to reschedule but in the end, my husband was not on board. Forget it, it's too late, it's too hard to change, who cares. Okay, now I can breathe--the decision is made. We'll invite more kids, the others from school I'd not originally invited and all our friends from other places (like speech or last year's school), it's fine. I figured we'd still get some kids from his class.

If your child got 2 party invites for the same day, how would you choose?

If it were me, and my son was equally good friends with each host, I think we'd go to the party we were invited to first. {In this case, turns out our e-vite went out before the twins' paper invitations arrived BUT the mom had been talking about the date for some time, and I hadn't heard about it because L hadn't been at school. Or because I'm not in the clique....} But if my child was a close friend to one host and a mere acquaintance of the other, we'd probably choose the close friend's party. All other things being equal, maybe we like one location better than the other. Or who knows.

But I'm not getting any "yes" replies from classmates. None! Of the two original "yes" replies, one switched over to "no" saying something suddenly came up. Yeah, we all know what that something was. Tacky! I thought maybe some kids who aren't in the summer program would choose our party, having received our invite first and not having heard about the other party around the school yard. But no. Now I feel like there's a mommy clique and we're not in it. {Yeah writing that I think I'm paranoid.} But people seem content to let L have a party without guests.

One mom called me yesterday morning--did I know the other party is at the same time? Yes, I said, it's an unfortunate coincidence. She explained that she's known the twins for 3 years blah bla bla--I said don't worry about it, it's fine, L has other friends. OOOPS! Is she spreading the word that it's okay to skip L's party because he has other friends?! That's not at all what I meant. I meant it was okay for her to choose the other party, because she is closer to the other family. And because she had already chosen, she shouldn't feel bad. I didn't mean nobody should choose our party. Ugh. Again, maybe I'm paranoid, but as more kids reply "no," the more I feel like there is a clique and we're not in it.

So now I'm wishing we had rescheduled. And I wish we had put the invites in the mail, or at least didn't use e-vite because checking for RSVPs is like a crazy obsession. And, grrrr, I wish the twins' mom, who had the date picked out a long time ago, had just gotten her invites in the mail sooner so none of this would've happened.

On the bright side, those "other friends" are coming through for us and joining our party. Hallelujah. The party won't be a total bust. But I'm darn sure L will look around and wonder where's everyone from school?

Any thoughts on mommy cliques? Am I crazy? I just want my kid to have a party full of his friends. I feel like a failure as a mom that I didn't orchestrate his party better! I just want him to be happy!!!!

What would you do if you planned a party, only to find out someone else's party was at the same time?

Now that's what's-done-is-done, how would you make the best of it? I'd love to hear!

Image credit

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I Love Cheap Books

My new favorite thing is buying books at Goodwill.

Here's the backstory: my local Borders store went out of business due to the whole bankruptcy thing. That makes me sad for so many reasons. But my favorite thing to do at Borders was buy cheap books. Usually all I would do there was browse the bargain aisles and the dollar bins. After finishing one of my $1 Borders finds recently {see my review here}, I wondered where I could get my next cheap book fix.






Obviously, the library has FREE books. I like the library, really I do. I just got the latest Maeve Binchy novel, Minding Frankie, from the library. Loved it! But there's the whole due date thing. I can renew online even, but you can't renew a book that has a hold on it. And returning books is a pain. And I just love owning books. It's an obsession really.






So with vacation coming up (this was about a month ago), I thought I'd try Goodwill. I've shopped Goodwill before but never really spent any time in their book section. I couldn't believe I found a book I'd been thinking of getting from the library: My Sister's Keeper. It was $2.99, which I thought was a lot for a used paperback, but while I was browsing, a voice over the loudspeaker informed me that all green price stickers were half off that day. I looked at the book in my hands and it had a green sticker. Thus it was a mere $1.49 and I was sold. At the time I also saw 2 Maeve Binchy paperbacks ($1.49 each) but I passed them up--I was being super frugal that day.






Having finished My Sister's Keeper, I decided to head back to Goodwill and try for the Maeve Binchy's. Alas, they were gone. {Lesson learned, strike while the iron is hot!} But while I was browsing, I found and could not pass up 3 classics: The Hobbit, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Count of Monte Cristo. {Bonus: The Count became a Father's Day gift for Hubby.} Each book was $1.49. LOVE.






So there you have it, my new obsession, buying books at Goodwill. I know that it is more expensive than garage sales* (but without driving all over town) and of course the library (but without due dates), but it Works For Me.






This post will be linked to Works For Me Wednesday and Things I Love Thursday. For obvious reasons.






Where do you go to find cheap books?




*I rarely shop garage sales for two reasons. 1) IBS. Shopping in people's yards and garages doesn't provide me with quick access to restrooms. 2) I rarely carry cash. Recently though, a house on my street had a sale. It was super close to my own bathroom and it was a rare occasion when I had cash. So I wandered over and took a look around. Paperbacks for 25 cents and hardcovers for a dollar. I bought 13 books! Which doesn't help my clutter problem. Maybe it's best I stick with Goodwill. ;-)

These are NOT affiliate links.



Monday, June 20, 2011

Recovery Day 4

On Friday, L had surgery to remove his tonsils and adenoids, and to put tubes in his ears. Recovery so far has been awful. If you were to ask me if your child should have the same surgery, I'd say "Don't Do It!" Of course, that's not how it works. In the words of the surgeon, L's adenoids and tonsils were HUGE and blocking his airway.

Surgery itself went okay. It was at a hospital we'd never been to before {and not a children's hospital} but they were kind and on time {although they build in so much waiting time}. There was a chance we wouldn't be able to join him in recovery, which was a horrible thought, but in the end, we were able to go back to the recovery area. Good thing, too, because L was DISTRAUGHT. He would wake up and SCREAM. Finally, the nurse took the hint and pushed morphine in his IV.

Although he puked twice, there were signs that first day that L was healing well--he ate jello and yogurt and even shredded cheese. He slept soundly Friday night. Saturday morning was tough but he seemed better in the afternoon. Then Saturday night, he called for us several times. Sunday was tough, getting him to eat or drink (and by eat, I'm talking soft foods like ice cream) was like pulling teeth. He dry-heaved twice, yet I wasn't too concerned because he wasn't losing what he'd comsumed.

All this time, L was constantly on the couch. No energy. Looking like death. HEART-BREAKING.

Again last night we went to bed early in case he woke up frequently. Sure enough, he called us a million times, for wet diapers mostly, till at 1am we heard him puking. This one was for real. Since it was the middle of the night and we all wanted to sleep, we gave him a Zofran. Suddenly he was happy as a stinkin' clam and Hubby and I are looking at each other like "has he been nauseous This Whole Time?" The good news is, L was feeling better and drinking tons of water. The bad news is, he wasn't at all interested in sleeping. Eventually, I told Hubby to get as much sleep as he could before work, I'd stay in L's room. I ended up getting less than 2 hours of sleep. I let L "get up" {I'm not sure he'd slept at all} about 6:30 and then Hubby took over and I got an extra hour of sleep in my own bed (as opposed to L's floor). Worst night since the infant days!

Now he's taking Zofran regularly and he's eaten some ice cream and fruit so far today. And he's on his second nap, so he's likely to be nocturnal again tonight. :-( But it's nice to see him movig around again, and looking a little less like death. I'm hoping the worst is over.

I'll keep you posted.

Has your child ever been through something like this? Any words of wisdom?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Top 10 Tuesday--Summer Camp!

To my regular readers, I hope you didn't miss me too much. We were on vacation and I barely touched the internet (not including checking email on my phone). Now we are back and it's the first week of our regular summer schedule which includes, drum roll please........ summer camp twice a week--the first time ever I will regularly be child-free!!!! That's right, T and L will both be at camp from 8:30 to 1 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Whatever shall I do with myself?! Today was the first day and I think I'm gonna like camp days, heehee. :-)

And since it's Tuesday, I present to you (in no particular order) the Top Ten Best Things about the kids going to Camp:

1. Alone time. Obviously. Alone time for mommy is such a rare and precious thing. Prior to this momentous day, my alone time has been limited to one or two solo errands per weekend.

2. Shopping alone. Okay, I've shopped sans kids before (weekend errands, remember?), and I didn't plan to do it today. I had planned to do nothing but watch a chick flick, but the number of things I needed from Target kept adding up, and if I didn't do it this morning, I'd have to do it with kids, and nobody wants that. So I went to Target after drop-off and it was glorious. The store was practically empty and it was particularly lovely to be on my own.

3. Watching whatever I want. Again, it's not that I never get to watch what I want, but when I do, it's usually a tv show at the computer. I haven't watched a movie by myself in the living room in I don't know how long. So for my first camp day, I decided to watch an entire chick flick. I was bummed to have to go to Target first, but I did manage a whole movie. Sadly I chose a dud: Dear John. Did not like it at all. :-(

4. Camp gets the kids outside. We live in Phoenix where summers are HOT. It's like other people's winter--you just don't want to go out in it if you don't have to. By enrolling the kids in camp, it ensures they play outside at least twice a week, taking the burden off of me. They play in sprinklers and stuff first thing in the morning.

5. Zen mommy. My hope is that relaxing and/or being productive while the kids are away will restore my spirit so I can be more patient. It's too soon to tell. T threw a major tantrum before her nap that kind of destroyed today's zen, but I did keep my cool during said tantrum so that's a good sign.

6. Productivity. I let myself off the hook today, in honor of celebrating the first day of camp, but on future camp days, I'm hoping the child-free time will help me get stuff done, be it regular (neglected) housework or extra de-cluttering. Fingers crossed!

7. Friends. I love that L gets to keep hanging out with his friends and I'm hoping T will make some new ones (she really has no friends of her own yet).

8. Getting T ready for school. This is the school T will attend in the fall (with the same kids if not teachers) and I think this is a great way for her to get acclimated--with fewer kids and extra playtime.

9. It frees up naptime. On camp days when I've spent the morning either relaxing or getting things done, I'm hoping I'll have the energy and patience to be there during T's naptime (instead of my current habit of relaxing/hiding) and maybe even do crafts with L while T sleeps.

10. Other perks for mommy. Today, because I was crunched for time to finish the movie, I ate lunch in the living room. Without setting a bad example for the kids. And I can eat wheat--like frozen pizza or (Thursday's treat perhaps?) doughnuts--because L isn't around to be tempted. And just generally doing whatever the heck I want. Boo-yah!

The tricky part will be not eating everything in the pantry while the kids are gone!!!

Will you have any child-free time this summer?

For more Top Ten fun, head to Oh Amanda.

Image credit.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Five Question Friday 5/27/11

Totally insane week. Monday was pretty typical, which is to say Busy. Tuesday we had our big ENT appointment (L will be getting his adenoids and tonsils out, plus getting ear tubes) and I was getting ready for the last day of school (teacher gifts!). Wednesday was the preschool graduation ceremony and party, plus speech, and I made a cake. Phew! Oh and I nearly backed into my husband's car with our van--that would have been a true nightmare. Thank the Lord I stopped in time! I am still trying to recover from it all.

Because I have just a few minutes and not a lot of energy, I give you Five Question Friday, hosted by Mama M. Enjoy!1. Do you apologize to your kids?

All. the. time. Yes, I frequently find myself apologizing to my kids because I do NOT have this parenting thing figured out. I make a lot of mistakes and if necessary, I will try to walk it back and apologize for whatever I did that I regret. Sadly this frequently includes losing my temper. :-(

Incidentally, my father is incapable of saying he's sorry. He can't do it. Cannot. At best, it will be sarcastic. So growing up with a dad who doesn't/can't apologize, I know I don't want to be that way. If I screw up (even to my kids), I will own it.

2. What color are your nails right now?
Plain, uncolored, as always. I haven't painted my nails in YEARS. I am lazy, unfancy, and my husband hates the smell of nail polish and remover (even hours after they've been used).

3. When you were growing up, how difficult was it for you to stay home from school sick? (As in, did you have to vomit or just say "I don't feel good".)
Honestly, I can't remember. I was a nerd so I really didn't want to miss school and get behind. I do remember one time in high school, I was sick and missed 2 days of school and on the third day I was actually feeling better but I was afraid to go back to school (for fear of all I'd missed and how hard it would be to catch up) so I stayed home an extra day. So I guess my parents didn't take much convincing. Anyway, that was a disaster--after only 3 days out, I was VERY behind and my grades dropped, I got my one and only "low scholarship" when my grade in French dropped below a C. I don't think I missed another day after that, certainly never 3 in a row!!!

4. When is the last time you bought a new comforter for your bed?
Well, I bought a whole bed-in-a-bag for our master bedroom 2 Christmases ago, to give our room a simple makeover, but the sheets weren't as soft, and the comforter kept falling off, so we really haven't used it. (Don't worry, the set only cost me $30.) So our room is still in need of help. ;-)

5. Favorite website(s)?
Oh my, how do I choose?! I obsessively check email (yahoo) and facebook throughout the day. I check kids.woot every morning. And then there are mommy blogs, too many to list and impossible to choose favorites. Amazon, Wikipedia, Imdb, and Hulu = love.

Okay, for more Q&A fun, head to My Little Life.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Book Reviews 5/22/11


I've been putting off writing book reviews for so long and I think I know why: I stink at writing reviews. Which makes me kind of sad, because once upon a time I wanted to be a movie critic. I mean, what better job is there?! Get paid to watch and write about movies! Alas, that is not my gift. So rather than some elaborate literature reviews, here are my quick and dirty notes on the two books I've read most recently.

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

I loved this book. It was beautifully written and easy to get sucked into. I was worried about what would happen when I got to the prostitution, but it was quite modest, or whatever is the opposite of graphic. The heroine is very likable but while she romanticizes geisha culture, the author shares enough of the negative stuff to see it for what it is. And it was really fascinating to learn about geisha culture (and Japanese culture in the early 20th century). I think that's where the book is best (this is no romance novel!), sharing in beautiful detail about the culture and ceremony of geisha.

I was disappointed in the ending (as I often am, I like everything tied up in bows). The narrator geisha quickly wraps up her own story, but doesn't say what happened to the various other characters in the book. Other than that, I loved the book and recommend it. Two thumbs up.

Casting Off by Nicole R. Dickson



I also really liked this book. Unlike Geisha, it is not great literature. It was hard to go from such beautiful prose in Geisha to "just" chick lit, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The heroine is flawed but likable; the island where the book takes place is full of wonderful characters; the love story is genuine (but again, I thought the end came too abruptly). I'm passing this book on to my sister and I recommend it if you're looking for a nice, quick, romantic read. (It's also a nice PG-13, nothing too racy.)

Next on my bookshelf

I've been doing some book-gathering lately and suddenly I have quite a pile of To-Reads. Currently, my upstairs book is Thomas Hardy's Mayor of Casterbridge. I haven't yet decided if I'm going to stick with it (I'm about 100 pages in). The other day at the library, I found the latest Maeve Binchy novel: Minding Frankie. I'm only 2 chapters in and totally hooked!

In nonfiction, I have two books I'm eager to read. Totally Desperate Mom, which I just won from the author on her blog. And an organizing book I got at a garage sale yesterday. It's from 1991, but The 15-Minute Organizer looks right up my alley.

More fiction waiting in the wings:
Jodi Picoult, My Sister's Keeper--I've been eager to read this for a while, found it for $1.50 at Goodwill.
Jan Karon, In the Company of Others--the latest Father Tim novel (a Christmas gift)
Wicked --this is from the garage sale as well



At the garage sale, paperbacks were 25 cents. I got a set of Chronicles of Narnia that I hope to read as a family when the kids are older. And I spotted Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn and couldn't resist. Is this a sequel to Tom Sawyer? If so I'll have to get that from the library first. For my husband, I got Gore Vidal's Lincoln and the classic Ivanhoe.


I'll be sure to "review" all these as I finish them.


What are you reading these days? Any recommendations?


These are NOT affiliate links.
photo credit

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Know Thyself

Apologies in advance if this turns out to be incomprehensible.

I was reading Better Homes & Gardens and an article began like this: "When DD Allen's teal-blue 1978 Scout is parked outside, you can bet a party is going on at her New England beach cottage. 'My House is on the beaten path,' she says. 'If people see cars in the drive, they feel comfortable popping in. It's never really planned. It just evolves.'"*

And I was kind of horrified. I mean, that's nice for her, but oh my would that not work for me! The idea that someone could unexpectedly knock on my door fills me with anxiety. When my parents moved here in November I was clear that they could not just show up at my door. Call first! Even if you're already on your way. Just a few of the reasons this wouldn't work for me: my house is always a MESS, I don't have food to throw together to make a party [though the article goes on to say the hostess gets takeout tacos but makes her own margaritas, so she's not completely an impromptu Martha Stewart], and I would constantly be anxious that someone would knock while I'm in the bathroom.

Which leads me to the inspiration and title of this post: know thyself. It's okay that I can't do impromptu entertaining. No one expects me to (and I don't have any local friends, so no worries). Over the years, I think I've learned, well, to have low expectations of myself. One of my newer phrases/mottos is: there are things I can handle and things I can't. Not that I always know which is which, but for example, I sometimes cancel speech in the afternoon if I have a doctor's appointment in the morning. Maybe the actual timing would work, but I don't want to overschedule myself. I've learned as a mom of two that maybe I can get 100 things done (or more like 6), but the consequence will be that I am cranky and snappy at everyone by the end of the day. The challenge of course is to find the balance between productivity and down time, and I do not have that figured out, not by a long shot.

And I realize (sadly) that what I can handle is less than the average mom. Blame the IBS or depression or just my personality (and laziness), but it's true. Like I said, I do too much and I take it out on others. And there are some supermoms out there who can handle 20 times more than I can. And I'm okay with that (though I probably won't read their blogs!). The point is to find what works for you. And hopefully be at peace with letting the rest go.

* Better Homes & Gardens, June 2011, p.37

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

That's Life 5/18/11

May has been a crazy month! Crazy! Averaging 2 doc appts per week on top of our regular stuff. Today was the allergist (again) and we have speech in a few minutes.

Continuing on our medical adventures, we did environmental-allergies-testing today. And it all came back negative. So what does that mean? Obviously, I'm glad L doesn't have some new issue to deal with. On the other hand, what about his "allergy shiners" and constant congestion? Theory #1: sensitivity to pollution. {There's a name for it--vaso-motor-rhinitis or something?} L can take eyedrops and nose spray as needed. Theory #2: we did x-rays to look for chronic sinusitis or enlarged adenoids. I don't know, this medical stuff is over my head. Anyway, I agreed to the x-rays, might as well rule more stuff out. The radiologist got us in and out fast, we'll have results soon.

Here's a question: when we saw the ENT last week and he found fluid in L's ears, he said something like "if he weren't already on Nasonex and Zyrtec, I'd have him take those." Now the allergist has taken him off those two. So do I keep giving them to help the ear fluid?! Oy vay!

This week is National Eosinophilic Awareness Week, which means I should be blogging all about EE. We just keep plugging along as usual. As I told his GI last week, we're doing well with the reduced volume of Neocate (28 ounces per day), we're confident he can get through a full school day. But we're frustrated that he eats so little real food, particularly proteins. Even what he calls his favorite foods, he'll only eat three bites. So she is getting us in (again) for a feeding evaluation. We won't do feeding therapy again (too much time and money), but maybe they'll have ideas to work on at home.

We went to kindergarten orientation last night. I can't believe my little boy will be in kindergarten this fall! Choosing an elementary school turned out to be really tough/complicated/aggravating, but we finally chose the Catholic school. I'm still not thrilled we chose a school that costs money, but he didn't get into our first choice charter school and we didn't want to chance it--we know for sure the Catholic school is top-notch. So anyway, orientation last night was kind of repetitive and not as informative as the info night we went to last month, but the kids got to take a tour AND I met the mom of a fellow incoming kindergartner, with whom we can have playdates and get to know each other before the fall. Yippee!

Oops, it's time to go to speech.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Five Question Friday 5/13/11




1. Tube socks, calf socks, crew, ankle, none? (From@ThisDaddys_Blog)

When wearing long pants, I go with crew socks. In the summer I'm either in sandals (no socks) or in ankle socks with sneakers.




2. Was your childs (children's) name a mutual decision or was it a debate? If you don't have children, do you plan on giving your spouse a say, or do you have a name you MUST have, regardless if your other half likes it or not?! (From @momtodh)

Hubby had L's name in mind long before he met me, and told me about it long before we considered having children. It's the first name of his favorite author, but it's also just a great name and fit my criteria for normal but not popular. So I was onboard from the get-go. T's name was a mutual decision based on lots of back and forth and baby name books and all that. Although really, that was Hubby's suggestion too. It's a saint's name and when he suggested it I was reluctant because I don't like its main nickname, but then he suggested another nickname which I quite like and that is what we exclusively call her (though we did give her the full name, you know, legally).




3. What is your favorite type of weather? (From@TheSpunkyDiva)

I like the 50s and 60s, breezy, light sweater weather. (That's basically "winter" here in Phoenix.)




4. If left to your own devices, what time would you wake up every day? (From Sandy at "Pardon My Dust")

I LOVE SLEEP!!! I cannot get enough of it. If there were no kids or responsibilities, I might amble out of bed around 10. At the earliest. I love sleep. I miss sleep.




5. Have you bought your cemetery plots yet? (From Pam at "Troop Petrie")

No. And I'm embarassed to admit that my lawyer husband and I don't even have a will. Actually we have what's called a holographic will that we wrote ourselves, in case of emergency (i.e. if something were to happen to us today, that does spell out who gets our kids), but we'd really like to do it with a lawyer soon. But that costs money. Which we don't have. :-(


Oops, back to the question. Sadly, I don't even know where we'll get plots. Near Hubby's family? Near mine? Start a new plot here in Phoenix? Ack, not something I want to think about!


For more Q&A fun, head to Mama M's.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Medical Adventures



Once again, I've had a million plans in my head for what to blog but I never have time to sit down and do it. So I'm now going to write for 5 minutes (before Hubby gets home for dinner) and see what comes out.






At the risk of sounding like Negative Nelly, I can update you on our latest health woes. Yesterday.... Well, I should go back a few weeks. I took L to the pediatrician for a bad cough and because his SLP noticed he had swollen tonsils. The doctor pronounced him with a cold virus (hence the fever) and environmental allergies (she noticed "allergy shiners"--puffy eyes with dark circles) and referred him to an ENT for the tonsils. And she put him on Zyrtec and Nasonex for the allergies.






The cold (and allergies?) cleared up (thanks to meds?). Last week, we saw the allergist to talk about environmental allergies (even though we were there about 2 weeks ago talking about food allergies). He scheduled us for stick tests next week.






Yesterday we had the ENT appointment. Good news: his tonsils are fine! (Probably cleared up with the end of the cold and/or allergy meds, I guess?) Bad news: he found a bunch of fluid in L's ears. So he tested his hearing and found a mild "hearing loss." Frankly, I don't think "hearing loss" is a good term, it sounds like he's going deaf. Scary! He meant that the fluid is making him have trouble hearing. So we get to wait and see on that. We go back in a month, praying the fluid has gone away.






Today, we saw L's GI for a typical follow-up and that was thankfully uneventful. We did get to check out the brand new Phoenix Children's Hospital. It was very nice. I was thrilled with the abundance of parking--the garage was a ghost town above the second floor! But there was a complete lack of magazines. None in the waiting area or in the exam room. And we were waiting in the exam room a LONG time. L and I had to practice our patience.






I guess I'll be creating a couple new tabs: one for seasonal allergies and one for ENT. Stay tuned for updates.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Food Allergy Rant Du Jour

I'm in a bad mood, so I thought I'd blog about it.

L's class had a field trip today. They went to a Mexican restaurant to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. A few days ago, his teacher asked me which of 3 entrees I wanted to order for him: a cheese crisp, a bean burrito, or a beef taco. First I said cheese crisp (because he loves cheese quesadillas) and then the bell went off, Wait he's allergic {to wheat and corn--so no tortillas or taco shells}! So we decided I would pack him a lunch.

I pack him a lunch for school everyday, but his classroom has a microwave. I felt that my task was to pack a lunch that didn't require heating, so he could eat it in the restaurant. I chose a sunbutter and jelly sandwich, raisins, string cheese, and I also packed some Pringles (technically they contain traces of wheat, but mostly it's a potato chip) so he could dip in salsa or guacamole with his classmates.

This morning, my husband mentioned to the teacher that Leo could have chicken, beans, cheese and guacamole at the restaurant. Maybe that's where it all unraveled, I don't know. But I picked L up at 2:30 and the teacher said the trip didn't go well (I thought she was going to say L had a tantrum because he couldn't eat anything, thankfully that's not what she meant). I guess she ordered him a plate of chicken and beans and he didn't eat it. (In the car, L told me he did eat some. His teacher probably doesn't know that he routinely eats Very Little.) And she told me the restaurant told her there was dairy in the guacamole so she didn't let him have it. This irked me the most because L isn't allergic to dairy and Hubby specifically said he could eat it. (Oddly enough, L loves guacamole.) But since then I realized I may have put "dairy" as one of his allergies at the start of the year--so they wouldn't try to hand him a glass of milk. But since then we've learned he can tolerate yogurt and cheese. So I'm partially to blame as well.

And of course his teachers should err on the side of caution.

But they didn't take L's packed lunch to the restaurant! I don't understand this at all. Even with what my husband said (such that she ordered him a plate of food), I had clearly sent a lunch box. They even took the bowl of Pringles out of the lunchbox and took that with them, but not the rest of the lunch. If he didn't like the chicken and the beans, he could've been eating his sunbutter sandwich! And they might have noticed the string cheese and thought, "Oh he can have guacamole!"

But none of this would have mattered if I'd been there. Of course I would've volunteered to go too (many parents did); I could've ordered him whatever looked good on the menu, including guacamole, and urged him to eat this and that, including his sandwich. But I didn't have childcare for T. My mom works on Tuesdays. So I couldn't go. And it pains me that having 2 kids means one or the other kid is always getting the shaft. I have a lot of trouble with this.

So it was a big botch of a day. Although when the teacher was telling me how awful it had gone, I asked if I shouldn't have let him go at all and she was like "No! We would've missed him. And he had fun." And it sounds like he did have fun. And he wasn't aware of the guacamole issue at all.

His teacher asked if there are any gluten-free tortillas and I said "oh yeah, he has them all the time at home, I just didn't think I could send it to the restaurant" (I was thinking about the re-heating factor) but she was nodding and was like "maybe next year" {except he'll be at a different school next year} so I feel like that is where I failed. Although, really, a cold quesadilla or using the restaurant's microwave? I don't know!

I said to her "live and learn" because that's all I can do--take this experience and learn from it. Heck, it's what I'm constantly doing as Allergy Mom, trying to figure out how to accommodate the world to L's issues. I think she thought I was crazy, like I should have it all figured out because I'm the mom. Uh oh, I hope she didn't think I was telling her to "live and learn"--oops! But I don't, I don't have it all figured out, not by a long shot. When I first heard about the field trip, my instinct was for him to skip it. That's how we used to deal with these things, especially because there was nothing he could eat back then. Now he's older and he has more safe foods, and he needs to, we need to, figure out how to let him fit in. Ugh.

Part of me wishes we'd just ordered him the cheese crisp and let him eat some wheat, like we do at pizza parties. But we see the allergist tomorrow. And I wanted to spare him any health repercussions. I don't know! That's pretty much the moral of the story--I don't know!!! There is no manual!!!

You would think it would get easier, now that he can eat more foods, but corn and wheat are major ingredients.

Also, we never eat out. Sometimes we bring food in, the obvious difference being we can serve L his own foods. Maybe if we had more experiences with restaurants I could've said, "here's a GF tortilla, have the waiter put some cheese on it and nuke it for 30 seconds." Plus, I'm such a people-pleaser. When I eat out, I hate to even ask for the slightest change, like no mayo on my burger, I'll just order it regular and then scrape off the mayo myself. Okay, I'm veering off here....

Live and learn. That's all I can do. And hope that next time we do it better.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tales from the Motherhood's Mother's Day Giveaway

I just discovered this neat blog, Tales from the Motherhood, where the author blogs about all the craziness of mothering 3 little kids BUT she's also a former child actress so she throws in random stories about hanging out with the former heart-throbs we all had crushes on in our youth. Win! So I'm catching up on all her fun stories but meanwhile she is doing a Mother's Day giveaway with Tons Of Cool Stuff so here's my entry.




As a disclaimer: my mom was {mostly} a great mom when I was growing up. My dad was a tyrant so my mom was definitely the good cop. We had a rough time in my teen years and she's got some quirks we're working through in our adult relationship, but for the purposes of this entry, I'm just talking about the good stuff. Here we go:

1. What is your best childhood memory with your mom?

Hmmmm, can't think of an individual memory. She was good with holidays--Christmases were awesome. We did all the things you're supposed to do: bake cookies, assemble gingerbread houses (from scratch! How did she do that?!), see Santa at the mall, etc.

2. Was she consistent with her discipline?

As I said, my dad was a tyrant. He was constantly angry and our punishment usually correlated with his anger level rather than our actual transgression, so his discipline was totally inconsistent. My mom was the one we went crying to afterwards. So I guess her discipline was consistent, i.e. "Wait till your father gets home."

3. Did you ever make your mom cry because you were so unruly or disobedient? (When I pushed my mom too far she would say, “I quit. You can go find a new mom.” That was her form of crying.)

I don't remember my mom ever crying. Now that I'm a mom, she has told me there were days when all 4 of us would say "I hate you" to her--so I know she had her moments, but to me she always seemed to have it together. {Unlike in my parenting, where I am constantly losing it in a variety of ways.}

Also, when we were older (too old to be spanked), discipline was probably more consistent, in that we were always told to "Go to your room!" I actually liked going to my room. ;-)

4. Do you remember any of the special things your mom did for you?

Sadly, I mostly remember the bad stuff. {I own that, it's my glass-is-half-empty problem.} Okay, here's one: For two birthdays in a row (ages 16 and 17), my parents were out of town. On one of them, they sent me flowers. Like real flower delivery, ring the doorbell, flowers. I thought that was very cool!

I remember the trips we took to visit colleges, just me and mom. We had a lot of fun and I look back and am amazed that she could go to these places we'd never been and drive around and navigate us to these schools. Wow! {That's not a skill I possess, I tell ya!}

Alright, there's my entry. Hope I win, it's tons of cool stuff! Now go over to Tales from the Motherhood and enter for yourself!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Why I... Use a Toddler Leash

Vanderbilt Wife has started a new carnival called Why I. I love to explain why I do the things I do, so here goes. In my latest issue of Parents magazine, their etiquette guru, "Judy on Duty" states (apropos of nothing, just a little bonus blurb):
"Leashes are for dogs, not kids. You wouldn't put your child in a crate, or let him poop on the sidewalk, right? If you have a bolter, invest in a cheap umbrella stroller with a buckle."

So this is for "Judy"--why I use a toddler leash. Once upon a time, T was a super awesome shopper. I'd strap her into the umbrella stroller or plop her in the cart and she was a happy camper. {Okay, so I had to give her something new to play with every 5 seconds, but we managed.} Then one day (3 or 4 weeks ago?), we arrived in Target and she didn't want to go in the cart. Always one to pick my battles, I thought Okay, let's give this a try. So I let her walk around with me. Mostly it was okay, but checkout was kind of a nightmare. I was trying to both watch her and pay at the same time, and failing at both.

The next time I went shopping, I was determined to do it my way. She protested going in the cart, but I put her in anyway. And she threw a big fit. And kept throwing the fit. Standing in the cart, wailing, crying, loudly. This particular day, I was shopping for a lamp. We were in the lamp aisle for a long time (still with the tantrum-throwing) so I thought I'll just take her out while we're in this aisle. Again, nightmare, she wouldn't stay in the aisle, she kept wandering off, not conducive to, you know, choosing a lamp.

The next time I went shopping, I tried putting her in the stroller. Big protest. This time my son was with me and I thought, He can hold her hand. Long story short, I'm in the toddler clothes section and T bolts away, L running after her, and I had to leave my cart, including my purse {causing heart palpitations as a native Chicagoan} in the clothes section while I run my pathetic mommy-run halfway through the store to catch up with them.

NEVER AGAIN.

Now when I shop, T looks like this (except, you know, she's a girl):
And she loves her "monkey" (technically it's a bear, not sure why we call it "monkey") and we survive shopping. She is safe (and not throwing a tantrum) and I am sane (because she is safe and not throwing a tantrum). I think that is a win all around.

But that darn "Judy" is in my head making me feel like a bad mother and I'm paranoid that other moms around me are "tsk-tsking" in their heads. {For the record, I've yet to receive a negative comment. There have been some stares, but a couple "cute" comments (and T is darling) and one older woman said it was a great invention for keeping kids from running off. Thank you, ma'am, you made my day!}

I am angry that "Judy's" judgmental blurb made it past Parents' editors. She must have a really great life that everything always goes as planned. I bought the toddler leash for L to use in airports and zoos, not for T to use on an everyday trip to Safeway, but my life doesn't ever go as planned. And I improvise. So sue me.

Ah, thank you Vanderbilt Wife, for helping me get that off my chest. You can check out and join the carnival here.

Have you ever used a toddler leash?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Top 10 Tuesday-- My Favorite Movies of All Time

In the past, I have avoided naming my all-time favorite movies. You can read here about my favorites of 2010 and about some movies I don't think you should miss, but it's hard to narrow down my favorites forever and for always. But it's Top Ten Tuesday, so let's give this a try. In no particular order....

1. Dead Poets Society. My all-time favorite for a very long time; it's probably not my #1 anymore but certainly top 10.

2. Deep Impact. Hubby and I can watch this over and over. A great action adventure but also inspires deep thought.

3. Contact is another sci-fi favorite. Jodie Foster is {sadly} one of the few actresses that can sell super-smart. Love her! And probably my favorite Matthew McConaughey role.

4. Signs. This is probably my current #1, I never get tired of watching it. Like Deep Impact, it's both a good adventure but also thought-provoking.

5. Little Miss Sunshine. A special little film, there is one part that consistently makes me laugh and cry at the same time. Priceless.

6. Lord of the Rings trilogy {I know, that's technically 3 movies}. Epic.

7. Braveheart. This is a sentimental favorite--Hubby and I watched it on our first real date and then annually on the anniversary of that date for many years. Eventually we couldn't watch it yearly anymore, but it still deserves a spot in the Top 10.

8. While You Were Sleeping. No profound thoughts, I just love this movie!!!

9. Jane Eyre. I know I've mentioned on here many times my love of the book and this movie. I think Charlotte Gainsbourg is the perfect Miss Eyre.

10. Mansfield Park/Pride & Prejudice/Persuasion. How did I get to the end of my list without any Jane Austen?! Forgive me for cheating, I'll just throw these 3 in together. {And technically P&P is a tv miniseries. Oh well.}

Honorable mention: Ever After is another of my favorite chick flicks that I can watch again and again.

May I just take a moment to say that I love what imdb.com has done to make searches so easy with the drop-down feature. Love it!

Ack that was hard, I'm already second-guessing myself! And I feel like I'm forgetting something. Oh well, for more Top Ten fun, head to Oh Amanda.

What's your favorite movie of all time? Or just for today? ;-)

Friday, April 8, 2011

That's Life 4/8/11

I have decided to rename my "Week in Review" posts because I never remotely kept up with a weekly review. I thought I would now call it "Life Update" because that's what it will be, but that's boring so I'm going with "That's Life." Clever, huh? ;-) So here's what's been going on lately.


First, I'm having so much fun at the Ultimate Blog Party, hopping from blog to blog {putting things right that once went wrong and hoping each time that the next leap will be the leap home--forgive my random Quantum Leap reference} finding new blogs to read and getting new readers (I hope!) in return. {Welcome new readers!} I haven't been able to hop around nearly as much as I'd like 1) because I have, you know, stuff to do and 2) because as part of Lent, I ban myself from the computer from noon till T is napping (about 3 to 4 hours). I would use that as an excuse for not posting more often, but we all know I've always only ever been inconsistent with posting. (Yes, I meant to be redundant.)


T has been a super pain in my rear this week. She had a fever one night, otherwise she doesn't seem sick, except for extra fussing and clinging. She wouldn't let me leave her side all day yesterday. Makes it hard to get anything done. This week's project is TAXES, yes I've put those off way too long, but now I've added up our medical expenses (are you ready for it? over $18,000--that's premiums, prescriptions, speech therapy, Neocate, doctor co-pays and L's endoscopy), and this morning I started Turbo Tax. Finally!


Books
I finished reading Memoirs of a Geisha. I'll write a full review soon but as a preview: two thumbs up. My new upstairs book (that I read during the kids' baths) is Casting Off. So far so good, though the writing is flat compared to Geisha, but the plot moves satisfyingly.


Movies
I'm way behind on reviewing the movies we've watched, so look for a long post soon. I can tell you that we watched Hot Tub Time Machine this week. It's not near as good as the Hangover (plot=bad) but it was very funny. BTW, John Cusack looked awful. Has he just aged or has he had a {bad} facelift/botox? I fear the latter. John, you should know better. Anyway, it was quite fun to have an '80s film icon in an '80s flashback movie. And the casting of Crispin Glover was inspired. Nice touch!


EE update
Not much new with L. I think I've mentioned before my frustration that even with his "favorite" foods, he eats like 3 bites. Or he'll say he wants "egg on toast" or a "peanut butter sandwich" (technically it's Sunbutter), but by the time I fix it, he barely takes one bite. Grrrr. On a positive note, we have found a way to make grilled cheese that he likes and doesn't make his tummy hurt. No butter. We use a non-stick skillet and layer GF bread, cheese, GF bread; cook, flip, cook. It's more toasted than grilled, but he doesn't seem to care. Yea, a new food!


T's speech
T still says very little and it can be quite frustrating. {She's very hard to put to bed and I'll ask what's wrong, what she needs, and she speaks a language I can't understand. :-(} However, she's been starting to put phrases together which is so exciting! Ugh, I can't think of any examples. "All done" + "hot dog." That's a simple one, but I know she's put together a few things that really surprised me. I'll try to keep you posted.


That's it. Have a great weekend! What have you been up to?!


P.S. As usual, these are NOT affiliate links.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ultimate Blog Party 2011--Welcome!!!

Ultimate Blog Party 2011 I am so super excited to be joining in the Ultimate Blog Party {hosted by 5 Minutes for Mom} for the second year in a row! WELCOME to Life with L & T, my little corner of the blogosphere, thanks so much for stopping by! I am "Eos Mom," so named because my son has Eosinophilic Esophagitis (basically food allergies) and Life with L&T is named for my kids. L is my 5-year-old son. He is super fantastic, but never listens to anything I say. T is my 2-year-old daughter. She is a ton of fun but definitely experiencing the Terrible Twos. She can throw a killer tantrum!
{My kids pouring weeds on their heads. Your kids do that too, right?}

I'm an average mom and I blog about everyday things:


-books I'm reading and movies I've seen


-my attempts at organizing and time-management


-sharing memories


-how we celebrate holidays


-Top Ten Tuesday, Works for me Wednesday, Things I Love Thursday, Five Question Friday


-the good, the bad and the ugly of life as an overwhelmed {What the heck am I doing?!} mom of 2


I blog for the fun of it and to join the conversation. I don't need 1000 followers (though that would ROCK), but I'd love to be part of a community of smaller bloggers who follow and support each other. So here are some facts about me--tell me in the comments what we have in common (or how we are different) so we can get to know each other.


-I've been married for 12 years to my law school sweetheart.


-I'm a SAHM.


-I love Target, Kohls, Kmart, Dollar Tree and bargains.


-I am not crafty, but wish I were.


-I am unable to either wink or whistle. :-(


-I am addicted to tv, though these days I'm behind on even my favorite shows.


-I love chick flicks and Sandra Bullock.


-L is allergic to corn, wheat, pineapple and peaches, and we avoid peanuts, just in case. So we do some gluten-free cooking.


-Speaking of, I hate to cook! But I do it anyway, cuz it's part of my job.


-I like to bake. Nothing fancy, though, I love to jazz up boxed mixes.


-I am addicted to chapstick, regular Coca-Cola, and reading mommy blogs. ;-)


-I'm a night owl. It pains me to go to bed before 11 most nights (I aspire to 10:30) but if I don't, oh those mornings are painful!


-{And also I am so not tech-savvy, I have tried 10 times to take out all these extra darn spaces to no avail. Please pardon my ugly. ;-) }


Okay, enough about me, go get back to the party. But before you go, leave me a comment and I promise I'll return your visit. Thanks so much for stopping by! Happy UBP!!!

TILT--my new bag (a review)

Today I'm reviewing my new diaper bag. I bought it with my own money, this is just to share What I Love and hopefully it's helpful to others looking for a new bag. All opinions are my own.
About a year ago, I started looking for a new everyday bag. At the time, T was about a year old and I'd been carrying a backpack since she was born (easier when lugging the infant carrier) and I was ready to graduate. I went looking for a messenger style bag, it needed a long strap and bottle pockets on the sides. We're in Phoenix and I constantly carry water for me and the kids. My initial search (online and in stores) found nothing but I found a free diaper bag in my closet I'd gotten from a formula company while pregnant. It was ugly but fit the bill. This is what I've been carrying for the last year:


A bad picture but you can see it is big and plain (and you can see the bottle of water peaking out of the side pocket). I follow a few daily deal sites on facebook and would check them out whenever they had bags. The other day, I scored on babysteals.com. I got this JP Lizzy strawberry Clara bag ($68 on Amazon, not an affiliate link) for $20 plus $7 shipping. What sold me (besides the awesome price)? Interior bottle pockets! Here's a picture of my bag--notice the water bottle on one side and (harder to see) a thermos on the other?: So I get to carry my water and not look quite so frumpy. Here's me in my lounge clothes modeling the bag. It still isn't small, but it's definitely an improvement!
I love my new bag!!! It feels much smaller and certainly it's much prettier. I feel a lot more put-together carrying it (and I love that my water bottles are hidden, such a nice touch!).

I was worried that it might be too small for all my stuff. Typically, I'm like that Midol commercial where the woman dumps the contents of her purse out on the restaurant table and says "I'm a pharmacy." Yes, I pride myself on having saved many a period-stricken friend with my supply of feminine hygiene products and pain relievers. Meanwhile, being a mom added first aid stuff, an umbrella etc. Anyway, turns out this bag can only {barely} fit my necessities (those bottles take up a lot of space!). In the center are my wallet, phone, and bottle of Imodium. In one interior pocket I have my planner and a pencil. In the other pocket, I have one diaper, some diaper wipes, Wet Ones, toilet paper (I use a lot of public restrooms--gotta be prepared!), and fruit snacks. Anything else, I leave in my car so first aid, umbrella and extra supplies are never far away.


My only complaints.... I don't love the strap. The two lengths of the straps separate as well as twist. Annoying. I'm planning to solve this with some sort of cute strap cover, probably from etsy and in a cute pattern to jazz it up. We'll see. The strap also adjusts too easily, like it doesn't stay put at the length I choose. Also annoying and probably not solved by a cover.


In addition, the "magnetic closure" on the flap, isn't very magnetic. I can feel that there are magnets under the fabric, but otherwise I wouldn't know they were there--the flap just falls, it doesn't "stick" to the bag. A minor problem, gravity works okay, but I would've liked the extra security of magnetism to keep the flap in line. Again, not a big deal.


There you have it, my wonderful new everyday bag, helping me look a little less frumpy. For more Things that are Loved, head to the Diaper Diaries.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Organizing Challenge, Week 12

Week 12 was about grocery shopping. As I mentioned, we typically meal-plan on Sunday. Well the last 2 weekends, I made my plan and list and shopped on Saturday. That way, we were able to plan for that night (Saturday) and the next night (Sunday when my parents come for dinner)
and get the necessary ingredients. This seems to work a lot better than scrambling for what to cook Saturday and Sunday at the last minute, so we'll keep trying to do it this way.


As for making my grocery list, I keep a magnetic list pad on my fridge. Whenever we run out of something, I write it down. Then I write out the rest of the list when planning meals. I run through what ingredients I need for the week's dinners, plus staples for breakfast, lunch and snacks. I also try to look at the current Safeway flyer to see if there's anything on sale I need to grab.


All this makes for a pretty out-of-order list. If it's particularly messy, I'll re-write it, but that takes time and wastes paper. When Hubby does the shopping, he doesn't care. When I do the shopping, I like to make notes on the list to group things together. I'll write a letter next to each item {P=produce, C=cold, L=left, R=right, M=middle} so that when I'm in produce, I'm sure to grab all the P's (and so on) to cut down on back and forth while shopping.


Okay, I think that's all my thoughts on grocery shopping for the moment. The organized part, at least. There's always something I forget or run out of during the week, then I'll shop at Target or Walmart or wherever else I'm running errands. For more OYOL, go to Unsolicited Advice.


How do you handle your weekly food shopping?

Organizing Challenge, Week 11

Ack, I haven't posted in over a week! Lots to catch up on. I'll start by catching up on One Year to a {more} Organized Life. I'm behind as usual--this is for Week 11.
Week 11's assignment was to make a list of meals your family enjoys. The goal was 30 meals, but I was convinced we didn't have nearly that many (we are in a serious food rut), but lo and behold, I counted 33! I'll go ahead and share my list in the hope that it might inspire you (though everything is pretty basic, I think) and you can let me know in the comments if you'd like me to share any of my recipes. :-)


burritos

hamburgers

meatloaf

spaghetti with meatballs or meatsauce

beef stroganoff

penne baked pasta

manicotti

lasagna

chicken pot pie {I'm the only one who likes it so I rarely make it anymore}

curry chicken--crockpot

curry chicken--creamy

mayonnaise chicken

chicken stir fry

roast chicken in the oven

whole chicken in the crockpot

pot roast--wine

pot roast--creamy

pork tenderloin

pork chops grilled

steak

grilled chicken

BBQ chicken thighs

bratwurst

pizza (frozen or grilled)

prepared pasta (like Buitoni or Costco ravioli)

enchiladas

quesadillas

taquitos {we don't really make these anymore}

fried chicken or nuggets

flautas from Costco

arichera (we buy marinated skirt steak from a Mexican market and grill it)

carne asada on the grill

pulled pork in the crockpot


And I realized that I'm lacking a good recipe for beef stew in the crockpot and for pork roast. Any suggestions?


I'm glad to have done that exercise, it should make meal-planning easier going forward and help us get out of this rut.


For more OYOL, go to Unsolicited Advice.


Does anything I listed sound good to you? Let me know in the comments if you'd like me to share some recipes. I promise they're all simple (or I wouldn't make them). ;-)