Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Working Moms Against Guilt

One of our readers sent in this blog that I think needs more attention than the quick reference in the comment section. Please check it out. Great information and wonderful writing. Thanks for your comments and for sharing, Susan.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Holiday Fair Game

I've volunteered to co-chair the PTA Holiday Fair this year, which, besides being a big time eater-upper, has been pretty interesting. How bizaare, or sad, or something, to see the same corporate world people dynamics I left years ago (pre-marriage, pre-children) surface at PTA meetings. Unsettling.

Anyway, I offered to find a new and exciting game to be played at the Holiday Fair. So I've been sifting through website after website, trying to find something to replace the tired Cake Walk. I'm told it was bust last year. And a complaint of last year's Holiday Fair was that there were no good games for the older (5th and 6th graders) kids. There's a Bean Bag Toss lined up, and a Lollipop Toss. Any ideas out there for a more "mature" game?

I found this one online - what do you think?

British Bulldog Caution: This game can get rough.
All the players (except one) line up at one side of the playing area. The remaining player (The Bulldog) stands in the middle. When he is ready, he shouts "Go" and all the other players have to get to the other side without being caught. Any player the The Bulldog can lift off the ground while he shouts "British Bulldog", joins him in the middle as a Bulldog. On subsequent runs, the Bulldogs may work together. The winner is the last one to be caught.

I especially like the warning given. If we do this one, I think we need to ask to use the Cheerleader Bouncy Pads on the gym floor, in case a kid or two gets dropped. But seriously, if you have any game suggestions, I would love to hear them, esp. if they're not JUST about Christmas. It would be nice to include a non-Christian aspect to the mix.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

I Dream of Grocery Store Deliveries

It's true! Amazon is now offering groceries delivered via mail (or UPS). The best thing about is that if you order $50 or more through November 30th, you get $10 off. The code is GROCERY3 when you check out. Free shipping on orders over $25 dollars, which is easy to do if you add a case of diapers to your order. Sorry, no perishables, but plenty of natural foods. Happy Grocery Shopping- leave the kids at home, better yet, don't leave your home!

(Feel free to use the Amazon search box in our advertising section- just type "grocery"- every little bit helps, thanks!)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Green Tea (Matcha) Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar plus
1 teaspoon of Turbinado sugar for dusting the tops
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered green tea (matcha)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large egg

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium bowl, mix flour, 1/3 cup sugar, matcha, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Grate butter into flour mixture on the large holes of a box grater; use your fingers to work in butter (mixture should resemble coarse meal).
In a small bowl, whisk sour cream and egg until smooth.
Using a fork, stir sour cream mixture into flour mixture until large dough clumps form. Use your hands to press the dough against the bowl into a ball. (The dough will be sticky in places, and there may not seem to be enough liquid at first, but as you press, the dough will come together.)
Place on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7- to 8-inch circle about 3/4-inch thick. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp. of sugar. Use a sharp knife dipped into flour to cut into 8 triangles; place on a cookie sheet, about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden, about 15 to 17 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I'm Still Around!

Hello! Now that I have a child in kindergarten, I get so much more done here at home. Can you believe my luck? So many people have said, "why, now that Bea's in school, I bet you're finally able to tackle some of those bigger projects." Really, a lot of people say this to me.

The truth? Life has become, sadly for me, much busier than it used to be. Kindergarten makes us so busy. My schedules (see January of last year) of hikes on Tuesday, baking bread on Wednesday, seem almost silly now. My day feels so schedule-ish now; I want the carefree days back! Where is the balance? I'm looking for's what we have to work with:

Every day, Bea is up by 7. She gets dressed (clothes are picked out the night before), washes her face, etc., has breakfast, and then, off to school we go. We're out the door by 8, for a nice 15 minute walk to school. If I'm lucky, I can leave the boys at home with my husband, while I enjoy a peaceful walk. Once I get home, I get the boys dressed, and try to cram in all of my household chores, cooking, and grocery shopping before 2:30, when it's time to pick up Bea from school.

It doesn't end at 2:30. On Mondays, we come straight home. Tuesdays, she has her art class. This is very important to her - she looks forward to it every week. It's an hour and a half long, from 3:30 - 5 PM. She had Spanish after school every Wednesday, but we finally decided to end it, a month early, due to her falling asleep every week in class. Thursdays we watch another little girl, after school, until about 5:15. And by this time, Thursday afternoon, I'm beat.

I teach every Monday afternoon, and Tuesday evening, and everything about those days are chaotic. It doesn't matter how prepared I try to be. They are just crazy. I don't see how "two parents working outside the home" families survive.

How can we make our lives less crazy? Dare I say it? Less scheduling, I'm afraid.

And now, to add to the mix, I've volunteered to co-chair the Parent/Teachers Assoc. Holiday Fair at the elecmentary school. It's coming up, December 7th. Just a few weeks to pull it all together. Now, when I put on decent clothes in the evening, the kids don't ask if I'm going to go teach, they ask me if I'm going to a PTA meeting.

Hope all is well with everyone. And don't read this as me whining, because I'm not. I love what Bea's learning in school, and I can't tell you how cool it is to meet so many new (to me) parents. Life is good - I'm just searching for a good balance! And now, it's time to go get Bea from school! Hurray!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Little Democrats

Following the positive outcome of the election this week, I found this book to help you celebrate with your children.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Have you ever been around the person that spends WAY too much time talking about things you find amazingly trivial? I remember in college my Mom would talk endlessly about the dog they got when they only had one kid left living at home. She would go on and on about what the dog did that day, all the while I was ringing up a hefty phone bill making my weekly obligatory phone call home. Another example is my Mother-in-law's play by play reenactment of the conversation she had with the ticket counter person at the airport. Her vacation stories are always highlighted with a good adventure getting bumped, or having a rude person not find an isle seat on the crowded jet for her as a last minute request.

So I think I have the story that my kids will be able to tell as their example of their mom focusing on the unimportant things in life. But here it goes anyway, and I apologize for those that have heard the story, but believe me, you most likely will hear it again and again until I find the ablitily to let it go.

My parents came to visit three weeks ago. Whenever they come, it's usually for a few days but this time, they were here for four nights. This is a good thing since they really are wonderful guests (in my eyes). In the past my dad has been so outraged that we don't have a paper ready for him to read in the mornings so I thought ahead and ordered the paper for their visit. I quit the Cincinnati Enquirer after Bush Jr. was elected since I blamed our conservative paper for endorsing him in a state that was so crucial in the election. (sorry, you can still blame Ohio for the State of the Union) Anyway, I went ahead and set up the Cincinnati Enquirer for home delivery. I thought, hey, I'll keep it until the election is over- it will do me some good. So the day my parents go to leave, the paper isn't on the doorsteps, or anywhere in the yard. Three of us went out to check. Of course my Dad suddenly thinks I stopped the paper a day early, did they outwear their welcome?

It was a fluke, the paper continued for the next few weeks, and let me tell you, I became HOOKED! I can't believe I've gone so long without it. I love knowing what is going on in the world, the nation, and the city. I was finally able to answer all of the questions on the NPR news radio show "Wait, wait, don't tell me". I was so proud that I was having thoughts of getting on the show so I could have the grand prize of Carl Kasell's voice on my home answering machine.

Sadly, my love affair of the paper has come to a halt. I had to cancel the paper today. And here is where the story starts to drag and drag, but I must continue to tell it...

So I started to get up earlier and earlier to read the paper cover to cover. I started getting up so early that the kids were still sleeping and I could read it uninterrupted. But this Sunday, it didn't come at 6:00, 6:30 the baby woke up and I took her out with me to hunt down the paper that was maybe hidden in the bushes. 7:00, still no paper. 7:30....Now all the kids are awake, no paper, and I'm on the phone with customer service with the Enquirer (I'm on hold for 7 minutes) Finally when I get someone, she assures me that she can have a paper on my steps within an hour and a half. With this trouble, she will also give me two free weeks of the paper. So I hang up happy. 8:30 and I also have my paper. 9:00, I have another copy of it- not sure what is going on now.

Monday morning comes and now I have three papers on my from lawn each about a foot apart from the next. I, of course, do not think that it is funny or a good use of paper. I get the point from the delivery person: DO NOT MESS WITH HIM. So I flip out. THAT IS IT, I no longer will deal with this obsession of mine. I'm breaking up with the paper. Again I call customer service. I'm on hold for 15 minutes and when the woman answers (not as kind as the Sunday lady) not only can she give me another free week, but she can have a manager call me back in a few days. A FEW DAYS? In my head the delivery person has suddenly become a crazed paper delivery person that knows where I live (obviously) and knows how guilty I feel over all of the trees I am killing by not reading it on line. I am certain this is the only true reason why he would leave all three of the papers on my lawn.

So without a better ending all I can say is, I guess another two years will have to go by before I'm inspired to read the Cincinnati Enquirer again since I fear the delivery people more than I fear bad politics.

Monday, November 06, 2006


It's finally here, the day we all get to head down to the polls to cast our votes in hopes of changing the way things are going (or I guess there are probably a select few that are hoping to keep things the way they are, so maybe the complacent thinkers will just opt to stay at home?)

In the past, we have always taken the kids to the polls with us since we thought it would be good to have them witness voters, and the act of voting at an early age. This year things are going to be a little different. I'm getting up early and I going it alone. Hopefully there will be other voters there to, but I'm hoping to leave the kids at home. My fear is that with three kids, I won't be able to concentrate on some of the tougher issues, like our anti smoking - Vote No on 4, and Yes on 5. Any other way, and one ends up supporting smoking in public establishments, by canceling the other out. I'm also a little fearful that I'll end up voting Yes on issue 3. VOTE NO ON 3. This is the lovely measure to get a few casinos into Ohio. If the casinos get their way, which most likely they will, since they gave so much money to the democratic and republican parties, then we will have legalized gambling in Ohio. Sure it starts with slot machines at racetracks, but it ends up making it easy to get additional casinos in the state. No, I'm not against gambling, not at all. I'm just against the way the casinos went about making them about giving money to the poor by scholarships to our fine universities. Our sweet new casinos will be working to get the top 5% of students into the state schools. Sound like it's a free trip to the Universities for the underprivileged? Just take a look at all of the broken promises the Casinos have generated up in Maine. A good example of loopholes in the donations from gambling profits.

Okay, I'll get off my high horse now, and will spare you of all of my other political ranting. Just make it out to vote- you have no excuse.