Friday, December 31, 2010

FareStart Rocks

You have a few hours left for 2010 donations and FareStart is a wonderful cause. Check out this video for an overview. And if you're not in a place to donate - do check out the Thursday night guest chef dinners - great food, great price, great cause!

Monday, June 7, 2010


I haven't been posting much lately (who knows if anyone is even reading this . . .) but I thought I'd let you know about a cause that's pretty important to me and that's the LIVESTRONG foundation.

My husband Mark is an avid cyclist and way back in our pre-marriage days we took a trip to France in 1999. We looked at some castles, drank a lot of wine, met some cool French peeps but mainly we watched cyclists whizzing by. That's right, we were lucky enough to follow the Tour the first year Lance won! It was pretty exciting. We started out in the mountain stages (which frankly were the best to watch because you can watch them coming up the hill for a while and not just whizzing by in a split second). The col du Tourmalet in the French Pyrenees was my absolute favorite. We camped out on a great spot overlooking some switchbacks. We got some good swag pre-race on that stage too. It was a really fun trip and really exciting to see the Lance momentum build as we followed along to Paris.

In 2005 (4 months before our son was born) Mark was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He was 44. Two weeks after I gave birth he had surgery to remove his prostate. Needless to say it was a stressful time for all of us. He's been fighting the disease ever since and on June 20th he will ride 100 miles in the LIVESTRONG Challenge (he did it last year too - don't worry, he was insane like that prior to the diagnosis). I will be attempting 45 miles - and if you know me that's a lot!

Last year Logan wore LIVESTRONG bracelets constantly - and insisted on calling them his rings. So this year we formed the team "Logan's Rings". It's not too late to join! If you're in Seattle consider doing the run or walk (no fundraising minimum) or heck, cycle with us ($250 minimum). Join us!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Food Revolution

Not sure if you've been watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution but I am. I admit, it's a bit contrived since Jamie is always "biting off more than he can chew" and then amazingly gets it done by the end of each episode - but I don't care how they do it as long as it gets people talking about the state of food in our schools. My jaw DROPPED when I saw the head of the school lunch program have them bring out the fries because there weren't enough vegetables in the healthy stir fry Jamie was serving - what??

Anyhoo, I'll be watching to see what happens next and hoping for change in our own community. Sign the petition here to show your support of the revolution.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Paper Dragons

Everybody's talking about "How to Train Your Dragon" these days and I've been considering taking Monkey to see it (not in 3D) but am waiting for the full report from a friend. He's never been to a movie theatre (since the mom & me movies he slept through) so I'm a little apprehensive. But all that aside I saw these free printable dragons on HP's creative studio and thought I'd share. I haven't made them yet. I am working on making invites for my parent's 40th anniversary party - so I am surfing while waiting for my sloooow printer. But I wanted to share because frankly - by the time I make them I will forget to post! So if you do make them let me know how they turn out!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Right Now - Tail End of March

It's been so long since I've posted so I thought I'd at least jump on this meme I found over at Sycamore Stirrings. I had just about enough time to type it in before returning to the post-vaca laundry mountain.

: Attempting to empty the DVR so I can finally watch "The Hurt Locker" on demand one of these nights.

Smelling: rosemary and sage - huge bushes that I grew from grocery store herbs that are in glorious bloom. I can't pass by without rubbing my hands over them.

Enjoying: Getting back to the daily routine after 10 days in California.

Reading: Michael Pollan's The Botany of Desire (just started it after finishing I Thought My Father Was God and Other True Tales from NPR's National Story Project).

Making: Just finished putting together the little treats Monkey will pass out at his half-birthday celebration at preschool tomorrow (recycling these cups and filling them with dinosaurs).

Wondering: If I will ever get through my backlog of email.

Hoping: Monkey will sleep in his own bed ALL NIGHT tonight.

Thinking: About my parent's upcoming anniversary and how I really need to get cracking!

Remembering: Fun times with family and friends in Cali.

Coveting: A real vacation - without Monkey!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Retro Recipes From Weight Watchers

I had to share this hilarious collection of Weight Watcher's recipe cards circa 1974. I am afraid of every single dish. I love the commentary - especially regarding the props in the photos. Check it out for yourself at candyboots.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Coffee Filter Butterflies

This isn't an original craft by any means but it was a lot of fun so I thought I'd share. It all started when I was scheduled to be the project parent for preschool a few weeks ago. Monkey had regaled us with stories of how one day he and his friends were butterflies at school and they "migrated" to the gym and back. He thought it was pretty cool so I decided we'd make butterflies on my day that week. Google never lets me down - so Phase I of the Coffee Filter Butterfly project was implemented. But one day of butterflies wasn't enough for Monkey. He decided he wanted a "whole bunch" and that we needed to hang them in his room. So I got some supplies and we set to work. This time it was serious. He was determined to make an entire "army" of butterflies.

Besides being a super cute end product the "getting there" portion of this craft is rife with learning possibilities (and just plain fun).

So here's what you'll need to make them the way we did at home (school was a different story):

1) Coffee filters

2) Food coloring (food coloring stains clothes and skin so be prepared for you and your kiddos to have colorful fingers for a few days). You could also do this project with liquid watercolor (less mess) but I didn't have any on hand.

3) Spray bottle with water (Tip: get a small one in the travel section so it's easy to handle for small hands - notice the behemoth bottle Monkey is using)

4) pipe cleaners

The cool thing about coffee filters is that they're absorbent so it's fun to see how the color bleeds. We experimented with wetting before and after the color was applied. Wetting the filter first and then dropping on the colors is the most spectacular so I'd save that for last. Here's how we did it.

(Wetting after)
1) Spread out a few coffee filters (you can do one at a time but we were making an "army" so ended up stacking about 5 at a time) - you'll need to thoroughly wet to get color on all the filters in the stack

2) Drip colors onto filters (we also experimented using daubers which was fun but not as dramatic or as satisfying as dripping the colors)

3) Spray with water and watch bleed (you'll need to wet through if you are making more than one at a time)

(Wetting first)
1) Spread out a few coffee filters

2) Spray filters with water - completely wet or partially wet to see how the color reacts differently

3) Drip colors onto filters

Monkey really liked wetting first and dripping after. It was definitely the most dramatic reaction as the colors bleed immediately and give a great batik effect. The natural progression of this project led to a discussion on how colors mix and a slight introduction to primary/secondary colors. I think you could really go crazy with that with an older child. Monkey really likes to make brown more than anything.

4) Set filters aside to dry. (We let them dry in their stacks and separated after they were dry so they wouldn't rip - Monkey loves the spray bottle so they were saturated).

5) Now you just need to twist a pipe cleaner around the center and create the antennae. You can either accordion-fold and twist the pipe cleaner in the middle or I found scrunching by hand was easier and faster. Then fluff the wings a bit. I was also informed that butterflies have FOUR wings so after that we made a bunch with four wings. All you need to do for that is stack two scrunched filters and tie together with the pipe cleaner. Then flatten out the wings.

We hung our finished butterflies with fishing line. Cheap and easy room decor - watch out Martha!

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Benefits of Lazy Gardening

I used to be so neat and tidy in the garden (at least in spurts). Now it's pretty much teensy spurts of work and long stretches of watching the weeds being fruitful and multiplying. But during the last spate of dry weather Monkey and I ventured out into the garden to bring order to chaos (me to weed and Monkey to jump around, dig, "help" and generally instill that there will always be chaos).

Usually, by this time of year, I would have cut down the dried stalks of windflower. But they're still there - standing tall and crackly and having completely gone to seed. They're pretty interesting really, tall stalks covered in cotton balls (which is originally why I'd kept them so long so Monkey could see how they change) but by now it was just because life had been marching on without a thought to the garden. That was all about to change. The sun was out, I was armed with clippers and a bucket and I was getting down to business. I need to cut them down before the tulips start pushing through and I can't get to them anymore without causing more harm than good.

But as I started to clip I heard a buzz and saw green in my peripheral vision. And there was an Anna's hummingbird collecting fuzz for its nest! I whispered to Logan to slowly come over and we got to watch as it hovered and collected a good sized ball. Wow! So the stalks remain. We were lucky enough to watch another collection today which is why I remembered that I wanted to share the benefits of lazy gardening with you. Unfortunately, I haven't had the camera nearby when the visitors buzz in so you'll have to make do with the pictures of the neglected (thank goodness) windflower stalks.

If you're interested in gardening with kids you might want also want to read this.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


I'm sure you've been inundated with images of the devastation in Haiti and calls for help. If you haven't decided how you can contribute I thought I'd pass along some information on a great organization - The Mona Foundation The Mona foundation has projects all over the world and focuses on education.

The work of the Mona Foundation is inspired by the example of Mona, a 16-year-old high school girl who was devoted to service to humanity and who was executed in 1983 because she was a Bahá'í. Mona was a beautiful and popular girl in her high school, and her teachers and friends cried when she was expelled from school because she was of a minority Faith during the revolution in Iran.

Mona loved children and in addition to teaching children Sunday classes, she volunteered twice a week in an orphanage from the age of 12 to age 15. Mona's mother relates that the only time she saw Mona cry in prison was when she talked about “her children” at the orphanage.

The full story can be read in the book Olya's Story. She said a prayer for unity and prosperity of mankind before she was hung.

100% of all designated Funds and 97% of all funds given to the General Fund has been a policy of Mona Foundation since inception. Consider giving to their Haiti Disaster and Reconstruction Fund.

Many of us don't have a lot of disposable income at our fingertips but every little bit counts. The Red Cross has a program where you can text "GIVE" to "2HELP" (24357) to donate $5.00 to Red Cross which will show up on your wireless bill. It all adds up.

Monday, January 11, 2010


Change is hard. Most rail against it (at least initially) but when at our best we attempt objectivity and, if it's right, we embrace it. But it's still hard. And for a four-year-old it's nigh impossible.

First, we talked about the possibilities and the inevitable and finally elicited his help - and amazingly (two weeks after Christmas) he agreed to help de-decorate the tree. He happily handed down ornaments and helped clip branches. He even dragged some boughs to the curb - all with a smile. We vacuumed the area and once all remnants of the tree were gone, I let out my breath and thought we were home free. Then, during nap, I started on the mantel. I removed the figurines, ornaments and lights leaving behind a bare, mostly dead garland. Monkey stumbled downstairs, still a bit sleepy, and his breath caught as he spied my handiwork. "Mommy!" he gulped. "It's *sob* Not *sob* BEAUTIFUL *gasp* Any *sob* Mooore . . ." and my heart broke for my little boy (and his mom who tried so hard to ease this transition - and had thought we were over the hurdle).

I'm still a four-year-old at heart. Change is tough - I say no before I say yes most of the time. I have not evolved. But I'm happy to have a supportive (and patient) family and friends to hold me when I think things will never be "beautiful" again. And those who can see around the corner to the onslaught of hearts that will soon be upon us to beautify us all. I'm pretty sure we'll leave the Valentine's decorations up till Halloween. I wonder what's in store for Santa Spider . . .

Here are some photos of our BEAUTIFUL (Monkey's emphasis) decorations this year - I've never decorated so much but Monkey was so INTO it this year. I even got him his own mini-tree (that is still up - he says he'll take it down next week - we'll see). He loved every minute of it (until it was over). But he now tells me that, "You know mommy, you can't have things up forever or they won't be special." so seriously - as if he's not just parroting my words. I love the little bugger.

Mini Tree - partially decorated (he was SO excited) I put it up during nap so he woke up to it and then we decorated it.

Cute wall stickers that Monkey adores (and still adorn his room)

Some close-ups of the mantel. First year we haven't had to hang the stockings on the bannister - thanks Mark!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Fifteen Birds

I think "The Hobbit" is a great work of fiction. Really, I do. But for a three or four-year-old? Not so much. But thanks to my DH (an acronym I've never used and always disliked - so somehow it works in this case. Let's just say it's got sarcasm dripping all over it when used in this story. Love ya babe!) Bilbo Baggins is now a constant companion in our lives in both animated and book form.

It all started with a simple Monkey and daddy outing. DH enjoys taking Monkey on jaunts to 1/2 Price Books to see what treasures are to be found - whereas, I'm more of the pre-read, pre-screen, put-it-on-hold-at-the-library sort of gal (mostly). Frankly, one of the scariest phrases my DH utters is, "Monkey and I picked out some movies today!" So after one such jaunt, in walks Monkey clutching an old videotape of the 1977 animated Hobbit movie. I look over at DH (and my dislike of this acronym and overuse of it in this post might give you a hint of the look upon my face). But that look of horrified incredulity had to be quickly masked since there was no taking the movie away now as Monkey was positively glowing at the prospect of a new movie that daddy liked. It was movie night and Monkey planned to be front and center communing with Bilbo.

Now, my husband loved this book in his youth (so did I) and has read the entire series recently as well. So really, there's no excuse not to remember that the story is filled with violence and packed with "scary stuff" like goblins, goblins that ride on wolves, war, dragons, huge dwarf-eating spiders, trolls, Gollum and much, much more. Granted, it has a great anti-war/sharing message - but that mostly goes over the head of my four-year-old as he focuses on the battles and bad guys.

Before the show was to begin I took Monkey's dad aside and told him in no uncertain terms that he'd be watching the entire movie at Monkey's side (no escaping to check email or read a book or pee) and dealing with all night terrors for the next week.

Flash forward many months and Monkey's nightmares are gone and his favorite part of the movie is when the 13 dwarves, Gandalf the wizard and Bilbo are set upon by Goblins riding on wolves. The heroes climb the trees to escape and the goblins set fire to the trees while singing the following truly horrific song (video clip at the end for your viewing & ear worm pleasure):

(©music by Maury Laws, lyrics adapted by Jules Bass 1977)

Fifteen birds in five fir trees,
their feathers were fanned in a fiery breeze!
But, funny little birds, they had no wings!
O what shall we do with the funny little things?
O what shall we do with the funny little things?

Roast 'em alive, or stew them in a pot;
fry them, boil them, eat them hot?
Bake and toast 'em,
fry and roast 'em!
till beards blaze, and eyes glaze;
hair smells and skins crack
fat melts, and bones in cinders lie
beneath the sky! So the dwarves shall...

Fifteen birds in five fir trees,
their feathers were fanned in a fiery breeze!
But, funny little birds, they had no wings!
O what shall we do with the funny little things?
O what shall we do with the funny little things?

Luckily all the words aren't understood (yet) by Monkey because what a great song to teach your friends at preschool!

Although, I have to say the fifteen birds part is very catchy - and my DH and I sing it under our breath all the time . . .

I just hope Monkey identifies more with Bilbo and not the "bad guys" in this case. We do try to discuss why war is bad and why the dwarves should have offered to share their gold in the first place - and how selfish the dragon is and blah blah blah. But still - fifteen birds . . . is what you walk away with in your head.

Surprisingly, after all that, Monkey still refuses certain Disney-type movies at the rental store because a bad queen or monster looks "too scary" (I don't blame him - Disney scares me too) so he's not completely jaded. I hold onto the hope that on later viewings we can start to discuss the major themes more and more and not just focus on the goblins on their wolves.

Fifteen birds . . . in five fir trees . . .

Friday, January 1, 2010


I thought I'd take a little time to reflect today - so I read through my old blog posts. I started this blog on July 12th, 2008 and we've had a rocky relationship ever since. Blog, I promise I will try to spend more time on you this year - really. But in the meantime here's a look back:

Keeping Mine Small - I still feel exactly the same way I felt on this day in 2008 - but he's changing every day.

DIY for Dummies (like me!) - My adventure in making wedding bouquets.

Happy Birthday to Me - I realize it will never be "all about me" ever again.

Big Boy Bed - Monkey once again hits another stop on the milestone train.

Monsters Monsters Everywhere - I finally learn to roll with it.

A Day at the Races - More exploitation to bend Monkey to my will.

Preschool Humor - Beloved Billy Bear.

Fun Stealer - Grappling with guilt and judgement.

Santa Spider - Honoring Monkey's art.