Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Favorite Things - (And Where Has the Time Gone?)

When we last left this slacker blogger/pen pal/wife/mother, she had listed a number of her favorite things.  Due to an unintentional cliff hanger, she made her many loyal readers wait and wait and wait for favorites 26-50.

Favorite Things

26 :: Magazines, including the now defunct Cookie
27 ::  Blogs, including the now defunct Mom Writes
28 ::  Cynthia Rylant
29 ::  Seeing "tacky" things as beautiful again through the eyes of my children (Over the top Christmas lights being just one example).
30 ::  Finding the last quarter you need for a soda from the machine at the bottom of your bag.
31 ::  The children's new fiction shelf at the public library.
32 ::  NYC.  What is it about you?
33 ::  Lost Dog
34 ::  Bronx Beat
35 ::  Passover
36 ::  We are nearer to Spring than we were in September.
37 ::  The Sunday New York Times
38 ::  Outdoor pools
39 ::  Remembering Los Angeles
40 ::  Panera
41 ::  My unfinished book
42 ::  My father and I exchanging annotated "Nigerian money transfer" scam emails
43 ::  Otherwise, because one day I know it will be.
44 ::  Surprisingly...outdoor recess duty.
45 ::  Homemade egg and cheese McMuffins
46 ::  When my husband brings me a cup of cookies and cream ice cream without me even asking.
47 ::  My new (used) minivan
48 ::  Seeing Brett play with the Vikings
49 ::  Googling
50 ::  "Locking Yourself Out, Then Trying to Get Back In"

And you?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Feel Trip

Well, Sprout came home from her first field trip with half of her chin skinned off.  I asked her how her first time on a school bus was; she said, "Queasy."  So, so much for feel trips.  Too much feeling if you ask me.

Thanks to Jen, Joanie, Hausfrau (I received your latest package.  Mwaa!), and of course, EC for your comments on my 25 of 50.  I'm sure I will have more to add as we head into my favorite time of year.  Sprout's costume is complete.  If you see an waifish looking red-head wandering around your neighborhood, don't worry:  it's only that other Pip-pi.

And finally, I am starting to seriously consider starting my own freelance writing company.  I have had four or five articles published in the last year or so, and it's something I really enjoy.  It's fun to think about a name, a website and putting pen to paper on all the ideas that have been percolating in my brain for so long. 

Finally, Pip is hoping for a Nintendo DS for his 7th birthday.  I told him if he raised the money, he could be my guest.  I must say that the bed-making and vacuuming and putting shoes in order have been well worth the 50 cents to $1.00 he charges.  Sprout has been waxing on and on about an American Doll.  Somehow we received a catalog in the mail and QED.  How do you handle "wish list" items?  Ages?  Money?  Just saying "no"?

Thanks again for stopping by and for your comments.  I love to read them ~ it's like hearing from a friend, which you are.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

These are a few of my favorite (50) things

Mary Beth over at saltandchocolate has come up with a few (also 50) of her favorite things.  Here is my list in progress.  What are some of your favorite things?

1)  Apple picking.  We go here to Stribling and recommend it if you're in Virginia.
2)  When my husband calls me a fool but is laughing at the same time he's calling me a fool (so who's the fool?!). : )
3)  Starbucks coffee.  There.  I said it.
4)  An organized desk, at home and at work.
5)  Coming home with a few new clothes items for work, whether they be from Target or H&M.
6)  Oogling over the make-your-own fabric at Spoonflower
7)  The sometimes incredibly beautiful jewelery from...  Forever 21.
8)  My new penpal.  (We're talkin' pen, paper, stamp, customs, post office)
9)  My daughter who says things like, "Maybe if today is sparkly we'll have recess outside." when she first wakes up.
10)  My son who says things like, "I do not stand for rudeness."
12)  New potatoes tossed in olive oil and sea salt, then roasted.
13)  Pandora radio
14)  Dreaming about living someplace else.  I love it here, but it's fun to imagine too.
15)  Tons of thin blankets in winter instead of one big thick blanket. 
16)  Flurries after dark.
17)  The sound of a snow plow at 5:00 in the morning and then tuning in for the school cancellations.
18)  Having a child come and tell me that they loved the book I recommended to them and that they finished it in two days or 1 day or 1 night under their covers with a flashlight.
19)  Etsy, especially hats from here.  Send her your head size and it's a perfect fit for fall.  And cowls from Sweden.  You won't step outside without it.
20)  Thanksgiving foods.
21)  Nature in general.
22)  My girlfriends.  They always have time for me.
23)  Decluttering.
24)  Turning 40.
25)  A full fridge and a full pantry. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

End of September

I've just sent off a letter to the dear Hausfrau - and it was so lovely to actually write a letter, in pen, fold it up, stuff it in a real, live envelope and send it off via the post! 

My September checklist includes buying mums, decorate the front stoop, ordering holiday cards, and updating my address book.  Are there any cards or cardstock you would recommend?  Should I go with Unicef this year?

You will notice that exercise and healthy eating are not on the top of the list.  I have joined Weight Watchers, and even though I only have about 10 pounds to lose, I am not succeeding.  I just keep checking in with BitchCakes for inspiration, but so far, no motivation.

I've just finished a great book for kids:  The Strange Case of Origami Yoda.  It's quite hilarious and I recommend it for students in grades four and above.  Happy reading!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ready for Fall

I never thought I'd say it, but I am ready for a change of season.  Although work calls, it allows me to be uber-creative which is always fun.  Even Pip and Sprout are ready for school.  Sprout is entering kindergarten this year and joyfully announced to me to day, "I gonna learn EVERYTHING!"  It's so exciting to see their enthusiasm for school, which up to this point has been a very positive experience.  I'll keep my fingers crossed as Pip enters first grade.

It has been a difficult summer for outdoor activities.  The heat was just not an inconvenience; it was dangerous.  We spent brief amounts of time outside, but nothing like last summer. With September will come cooler weather, so hopefully we can make up for lost time!

Me, Reflecting on Fall
One thing I would like to accomplish is painting our living/everything room (we have one room in our house for "living" other than the kitchen).  We have dark woods, which I love, but combined with our  walls painted in Beeswax, it makes for a gloomy, shadowy room when the sun rises late and sets well before we are ready to turn in - any suggestions?

I successfully made Mary Beth's recipe for Everyday Granola - it is totally yummy mixed in with Greek yogurt.  I am looking forward to doing a lot more baking and cooking this year now that I have completed all of my classes (yippee!) and will have more time to spare.  What recipes are you looking forward to making, now that it won't be painful to have a 400 degree oven on in the house? : )

Friday, August 20, 2010

Blasted Blarmy Heatwave!

Well, I don't even know if Blarmy is a word, but that's the one I'm using to describe this continuing heatwave.

It's a Code Orange day today, meaning dangerous heat and humidity.  According to my sources, it is this year's 54th day of 90+ degree temperatures, which is very unusual for these parts (kind of like, um, this year's blizzard!)

So what do you do on excessively hot days?  The movies?  The pool?  A museum or two? 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Television and Other "Issues"

Pip and Sprout are "into" television these past couple of days, and I have to admit that I have given in to their requests more frequently than normal.

Maybe because I know that in just a couple of weeks it will be back to our school daze routine:  no television during the week and bedtime right at 8:00.  But I still feel guilty about not "engaging" with them every minute of the weeks we have left.  Am I too selfish, too lazy, or what?  Why is it that I forget about all the things we *do* do together (our vacation to the farm, the beach, trips to the park, collecting the acorns now falling, exercising our hermit crabs, going to the pool, having playdates, trips to the craft store, reading books on the front stoop, checking out books at the library) and remember only my "failings"?  Sigh. 

Some days I feel like the kids when Pip says, "This is the best day ever."  Other times I feel a little less than a Good Mom when Sprout says, "If you died Mom, we'd still have Dad.  That would be okay because he's awesomer.  He throws us in the pool and jumps of the diving board with us."  Need I remind you, dear daughter, that I have been the ONLY mom at the pool who has gone off the diving board.  Hurumph.  And never mind that dead part.

Do you ever have these feelings - television-related or not?  

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Book Review: My Teenage Werewolf

When I was contacted by Viking Press, offering me a free review copy of My Teenage Werewolf (disclosure, disclosure, blah, blah, blah), I responded immediately with a "Yes!"  Probably because my then four year old daughter (she has since turned 12...I mean, five), had just slammed her bedroom door on me or rolled her eyes at me or told me:  "You don't know STUFF, MOM!" (Four...FOUR!), I thought to myself that even though I don't have a teenage werewolf right now, I can tell one day I will.

Then, though, as I waited for my copy, I began to regret my enthusiasm.  I had just finished two classes and had enough of behavior and classroom management with a twist of brain-based learning strategies.  Why oh why had I set myself up for another academic read, I thought?

Then I received the book and couldn't put it down.  True, author Lauren Kessler takes us along on her pre-book research ride, covering her delving into developmental stages and myelin-forming studies and theories, but really this is a memoir of the 18 months she followed her 12 year-old daughter, Lizzie.  It is also, of course (how could it not be) a self-reflective piece, the author motivated by her own cold relationship with her mother that she wishes not to repeat. This roller coaster ride of emotion ends on a high(er) note, and we almost wish for a "sequel" to see how Lizzie is getting along.  We are rooting for her (and mom) all along.

Because I have an older friend with whom I spent many a coffee date going over the hurt and heartbreak and small victories of mothering teenage girls, I knew that so much of what Lauren writes about is true.  And there were so many small moments in the book that I have meant to internalize and that I feel I can touch upon when loving my daughter at any age. 

One of these points had to do with power, and how giving your child some power, something to make them feel that they are not powerless all...day...long...is important in building their self-confidence and self-identity (these are my words, not hers, but this is what I took from the book).

Second, was something that has certainly stuck with me - an arm around the shoulder is more beneficial to a child than a finger in their face.  So true.

And finally, the third point that I remember from the book is that boys usually have a rite of passage, a passing of the torch if you will, with their fathers that involves something physical.  The day they beat their dad at hoops, or a race, or hit the ball farther.  Girls don't have these same rites of passage, and if they do, it usually involves beauty.  I intend, when the time comes, to provide a different sort of rite of passage for my daughter that involves strength and courage.

My Teenage Werewolf is a riveting read, made all the more poignant by the fact that someday, G-d willing, my daughter and I will be at this same threshold.  I hope we will cross it holding hands together...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Today is Chilly & A Couple Pictures from the Farm

The Kiss of the Sun for Pardon

My gosh, the temperature must have dropped at least 20 degrees.  It's overcast and rainy, which after days of sun, high temperatures, and humidity, I call cozy.

Could it be that summer is winding down?  Here are a few posts I have planned  for Gift of Green this week:

Checking in with SaltandChocolate.  She always has good ideas for transitioning to/from work between the seasons.

A review of My Teenage Werewolf by Lauren Kessler.  If you have daughters you'll want to read this, what I call, memoir of the author's daughter's middle school years.

Do you have any Teenage Werewolves at your house?

A Welcoming Path

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

We Went to the Beach...

And I forgot to take pictures.  But that's a good sign, isn't it?

When we returned from our vacation our fridge was dead.

Until our new one arrives, what  are your favorite recipes that do not require refrigerated ingredients?  And remember...no leftovers, please.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

We Were There

in all this greenness, just yesterday.  

Beautiful Afternoon on the Farm

Monday, August 2, 2010

Join Sew, Mama, Sew's back to school sew-fest!

I've recently discovered (or maybe re-discovered) the fabulous site Sew, Mama, Sew!  Join them (and me) for a month of fabulous tutorials, pattern give-aways, and ideas for getting back into the swing of school...even if it's just the school of life!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Bring Back my Mailbox!

I live in a fairly urban area and I realized today that there aren't any mailboxes within walking distance of my house!  I just hopped in the car in search of one.  Any mailbox request hotlines, United States Post Office?

On a bright note, I used these to stamp my letters:

Snail Mail Love

There is something nice about snail mail.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Message in a Bottle

Found -- message to me written by my four year-old daughter:  Di Your Hair.

Hmm...any recommendations for an eco-friendly hair dye?

Friday, July 30, 2010

I Heart Spoonflower

Even though I don't really consider myself crafty (although see here and here), I am fascinated by fabric as so many of you are...

Have you visited, therefore, Spoonflower?  I suggest you have a paper bag next to you as you peruse this site - you may hyperventilate at all the yummy choices.  You may design and print your own fabric, or, lucky us, we may benefit from the designs of others.  What will it be?  Cheater QuiltRetro Travel?  Or this pattern for a wrap skirt, all in one yard!  Betcha can't order just one!

Follow Spoonflower at http://twitter.com/spoonflower

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Chit & Chat: Blog buttons & Other greenery

See that adorable little Email button over there on the right =====> ?  The one that looks like it was custom made for this wanna-greenie's blog?  Well, in fact, that button plus my adorable follow me on twitter bird (http://twitter.com/giftofgreen) were courtesy of Just Something I Made!  Yes, courtesy!  And you can be the recipient of this same courtesy, courtesy of...well, you get the idea.  Thanks too to designmom.com for pointing me in that direction.

So I am digging in to a nonfiction book I was sent to review (first of all, I love getting packages from publishers in New York City - I picture somewhere high above Madison Avenue ~or wherever~ someone delicately packaging up my book amid the hub bub of a publishing house.  The package winding its way through the building, emerging on the street, and being sent straight to me.  When I open that package with the fancy address, a little puff of NYC comes out of it, along with the book.), and moms of tweens, teens and pre-tweens, take note...  It looks like a good one available August 9th in stores.  Stay tuned.

Other than that, we are staying cool, eagerly awaiting our bi-weekly delivery from Washington's Green Grocer. Salads unite!

I leave you with a fascinating and hypnotizing video that I first learned about, again, through designmom.com.  Happy dreams!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cape Cod Challenge

For almost ten years now we have lived in a modest Cape Cod style home from the 1950s.  We were fortunate that the house was "move in ready" and aside from a coat of paint or two, we could begin living in our home right away.  Now, ten years later, the house is beginning to show wear and tear.  Even though our budget is next to nothing, the time has come to start both preventative maintenance and some minor renovations to keep our house looking up to snuff.

Do any of you live in a 1950s style Cape Cod house?  If you do, you know the challenges.  The front door opens right onto the living room.  Our tiny kitchenette features a small table for four as there is no dining room. 

I'm trying to find some inspiration for designing small spaces from places like Apartment Therapy and  Loving Living Small.  I'll be posting pictures soon and perhaps you could weigh in on a new color scheme for our living/dining/watching-tv-room.

Do you have any ideas for small spaces or small places?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

No More Beef

I am not a vegetarian by any stretch of the imagination, but as of May I have given up eating beef.  It was this photograph in the New York Times and the accompanying article on mobile slaughterhouses that finally did it for me.  Believe me, it was a purely personal decision and not one that I would press on to anyone else.  After all, I still eat chicken, pork and fish...and, as others would say, eggs and dairy. 

This is the first food I have ever given up and it has been very easy, I must say.  Is there a food that you have given up (anything from sugar to eggs) and what brought you to that point?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Clothesline Challege a la Carte

For those of you who have patiently followed me through my dry and prolific spells, you will know that I hosted a Clothesline Challenge two years in a row.  Thanks to some nifty assistance from Joanie and Dayna, we had some bloggy buttons and a couple of give-aways, and a lot, it seems, of participants!

But last year I was a bit lax, and not wanted to disappoint, I decided not to host the Clothesline Challenge this summer.  And wouldn't you know, we've had a string of weeks, yes, weeks! of sunny, humid weather in the upper 90s.  Perfect for the clothesline (well, maybe not the humid part).  So, I ask, have you been clotheslining it this summer?

On a side note, we spend the better part of the morning in an air-conditioned mall where we were treated to the site of Mia Hamm and her husband, no doubt keeping cool as they shopped with their daughters.  Thanks to Green Husband for spotting this very cool...in all senses of the word...family.

And from the Where Have I Been? department, Big Binder has moved, MOVED! I tell you.  She can now be found here and has a nice post up on greening your laundry (Well,  she mentions me in her most recent post but I swear I did not know this before I linked to her new blog.  We have some sort of psychic bond going back to our love of all things Carter Cash.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Where Am I?

Ah!  Good question!  I ask myself that on nearly a daily basis.  The fact that I am off work for the summer contributes to my confusion.  Is it Monday or Thursday?  The end of July or the beginning of August.  It's nice to lose track of time.

So this fall I start my third year as an elementary school librarian.  Hard to believe.  I still pinch myself to see if I've really landed that dream job. 

In two more weeks I will be done, done, done with the seven classes I've been taking (didn't I make it seem so simple?) that I needed to get my full teaching license.  No.  More.  Classes.  (After one more large project - grrr).

And what will I do with all this "spare" time?  It's so easy to over commit when you are starting the next phase, but I intend to concentrate on Pip and Sprout.  They'll both be in elementary school together - ah, bliss.  I will concentrate on that aforementioned dream job.  There are so many FUN things to do and plan.  Speaking of...do you have a question about books for children?  Ask the Librarian (that's me).  Leave a comment and I will answer your question in a future post.

And finally, oh Joanie save me, I'm about to craft again!  (I did make it on Crafty Crow, you know).  I'm starting here... 

And what about Green Husband you ask?  He's about to embark on his on little landscape design business and try his hand at being Stay-At-Home-Dad.  Yes, with the economy there's been a ripple effect, so there are some changes afoot.  "You have to throw a stone to get the pool to ripple."

And finally, finally, oh joy!  I finished Summer's Lease by John Mortimer.  It took me five. FIVE summers to finish it, but I did it and I've now netflixed the movie.  I urge you to try it.  It won't take you five summers to finish.

Friday, July 2, 2010


On Sunday my husband threw me the biggest surprise party of my life.  A cast of thousands was involved, all telling me lies, lies, lies for WEEKS!  When I pulled up to the house after the red herring birthday lunch, there were over 50 people who I love waiting for me (23 of these were children!  When did the adults become outnumbered?!).  Thank you for my party (and thank you ECM, my only blog-reader of the group for coming).  I love turning 40.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Every Night

when I working on my stinky homework for my two classes that are sucking up my time (but will be worth it - my final two classes!  Done by August 7th!), he always takes a break from the dishes/the yard/the final brushing of teeth to poke his head up the staircase and ask:  "Anything you need, Hon?"  I love that man.

Monday, June 21, 2010

On Summer Vacation

If your summer vacation starts in less than a week, like mine...congratulations!  But if you are a little anxious about all those unstructured hours, never fear.  Garrison Keillor has some very nice advice:

A vacation of 73 days sounds more like unemployment to me, but of course it will all pass swiftly and sweetly, Katherine, and what you want to avoid is that feeling of guilt at the end, that you were a slug and frittered away the time and didn't accomplish anything. So make a list of five reasonable goals for the 73 days, including a book you think you really ought to read (The Book of Job, Moby Dick, Obadiah, The Robe, a book about the Gobi desert, the biography of Oprah, whatever you like), a physical exercise goal (a daily walk of 30 minutes), a home-improvement goal (paint a room, clean the garage), a spiritual goal (a half-hour of pure silence every day), and a goal of pure pleasure (make a feast for people you love). That's enough for anybody. The summer will pass pleasantly, so long as you don't step in front of a bus, and when you're done, you'll feel good about yourself. Which, of course, you already do, but this plan will stave off self-mortification. Happy days.

Now these are the kinds of challenges I like.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Seasonal SAHM Summer Reading

EC asked what was on my reading list this this summer.  Summer reading...Ah!  Summer is the time when I catch up with my students.  I read a mix of oldies and newbies and hope that a few of my newbies are ones that my students will have read when I return to school.  Usually they return to school more read than myself.  This summer my oldies will include "The Westing Game", "Toys Go Out", "Ralph S. Mouse", "Gregor the Overlander", "Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and me, Elizabeth", book one of the "Warriors" series,  and "Viking It and Liking It."  Newbies on tap include "Adam Canfield of the Slash", "The Name of This Book is Secret", "Every Soul a Star", "Operation Yes", "Crash", "Lincoln and His Boys", "Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little".  To be continued...

But for adults, EC, et al., "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is brutal but riveting.  "The Girl Who Played with Fire" was just as easy to read, but lacked some of the suspense and detail of the first.  "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" is currently winging its way to my doorstep along with "The Elegance of Hedgehogs" which comes highly recommended to me.  "The Help" is also a book that I hear deserves all the hype it has received, so that may be on my list as well.

I really enjoy reading non-fiction too.  Currently on top of my non-fiction to-be-read pile is "Eating Animals".  What non-fiction books are on the top of your pile, er, list this summer?

Monday, May 31, 2010

Seasonal SAHM Seeks Successful Summer

It's that time of year again.  I am so ready for summer.  I am very lucky that my job allows for the summer off, yet...  Around this time of year I get a little bit nervous about being a temporary Stay-At-Home-Mom.   Will I find the right mix of structure and fun?  Can I successfully establish a routine for my children and myself?  How much practice will it take to navigate the grocery store with two kids in tow?  Will I ever manage to get dinner on the table?  Yes, all of these things will take some getting used to...  What would be your tip for a successful summer for this seasonal SAHM?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Comes a Time

There was a time when I lived in Seattle, Washington. There I met a woman who would become my closest and nearest friend way out there in the Pacific Northwest. We met at "the office" and for our mid-morning coffee breaks we would head over to this little coffee shop where we would order this thing called a latte. We would order a single, short, 2% latte. When I headed back East for Christmas I remember bringing back the same gift for all of my relatives: coffee made by this company called Starbucks. No one had ever heard of it.

I write about this friend today because we have recently reconnected, as they say. I moved to the East Coast, she moved to Italy to become an au pair. We lost touch as people do. Perhaps it was my fault - perhaps it was no ones.

I began thinking about her more and more after I started writing for Gift of Green. I think it was because, other than my parents, she was the first person I'd ever met who really dug the natural world What did I learn from her? Nothing actually. What do I mean by that? I didn't learn how to do all of the things that she did: hiking in the midst of bears, bird-banding, downhill skiing, recognizing bird calls, camping, owning gators. But what I did learn from her is that these things exist. Weird, huh? That you might not even realize that these things are in the realm of possibilities? It's like when we say the scary thing about being a new nurse is not not knowing, but not even knowing that you don't know.

The world of blogging has opened up a lot of these windows into worlds I've known nothing about. There are so many talented women writers who are just so interesting you want to have them all over for coffee. And there is so much to learn.

But getting back to my friend from Seattle. Of course over five years now since we first lost touch I did what any reasonable, slightly obsessive person would do: I googled her. Thankfully her name popped up. No longer in Seattle, but oh, I hit gold: her email address. I cautiously wrote her a note and sent it out into the ethernet. And waited. Her reply came the same day and was basically, "How the hell did you track me down? So where were we?"

My friend once made me a tape (remember those days?) that included that Neil Young song that goes "Comes a time when you're drifting, comes a time when you settle down." I drifted. I've settled down. But in many ways this green adventure, while mostly via armchair, has let me drift in a whole new way. A nice way.

Thank you, AB, for helping me know what I didn't know about the gift of green.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Just Giddy

There are about five weeks left 'til the end of the school year around these parts and although I love my job, oh yes I do, I am giddy, just positively giddy at the thought of Summer and Its Possibilities. I have emailed Mary Beth at saltandchocolate, privately (oops, not anymore! Sorry Mary Beth!), cajoling her, er...coaxing her..., er, politely asking her to whip up a post (in all her spare time) about her plans for the summer. I'm sure we're all looking forward to reading about her plans and then copying them, er, adapting them to my, er, ONES situation. : )

So yes, I am a librarian and so yes, how does this benefit you in any way, shape or form? Well...no way, really. Although I must say that I do read some darn good books that are of interest to children from about age five to about age 12. My current read is the most clever and most touching little gem (also a Newbery Honor book --Newbery Medal/Honor --> award(s) given annually to the most distinguished work of literature for children published by a U.S. citizen or resident--): The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate written by Jacqueline Tate: a doctor, lawyer, and now novelist {see *spare time* above}.

It is 1899, it is Texas, it is hot and Calpurnia Tate has become an apprentice of sorts to her naturalist grandfather. This is a wonderful work of observation and study of the natural world, folded together with an 11 year-old's view of life at the turn of the century.  If you liked the feel and tone of The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs, Love, Ruby Lavender or A Year Down Yonder, I do believe that you will thoroughly enjoy this book as well. 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Reisenthel Motherchildbag & Apology!

First, the apology to my persistent commenters...for some reason my comment moderation option was selected so your poor comments were languishing while waiting to be approved.  Should not be a problem now.

Second, I was looking for a insulated picnic/shopping basket like the ones featured here, and then came across this adorable bag from Reisenthel that they are using as an incentive for their Reisenthel initiative.  I'd love to get my hot little hands (or three) on one of these beauties, but I do believe they are only being sold abroad.  Great idea though and I hope they make their goal!

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Notice

Today my husband came home to find a notice taped to our front door.  It was from the County telling use we'd better mow our lawn OR ELSE! 

We were incredulous as we looked around our neighborhood and saw the house with eight cars routinely parked on the street, the house that has been "under construction" for two years now, and the people who routinely "California roll" through the stop sign on our corner.  We had a good laugh and then sat in the tall, tall grass with a glass of wine.

Not really because it started to rain buckets.  Guess we won't getting the mowing done once again.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

To Live and Die (Not Literally) By the Sticker

This evening my daughter, who is four, was playing teacher.  She handed me a tiny sticker from her sticker collection.  "Here you go, sweetie," she said to me.  "This is for good behavior."  I took it from my "teacher's" fingertip and put it on the back of my hand, as most children do.  At first I thought it was adorable but then, call it a full moon or something in the water it broke my heart a little.  Both of my children, and indeed many of the children I work with, live and die, metaphorically speaking, by the sticker.  These children are fundamentally GOOD children.  Developmentally well-behaved, sweet, and likable.  Really, most children are or strive to be, would you agree?  Yet they fall all over themselves to get a sticker, a marble, or some other small token of good behavior-ness.  All this good behavior...for a sticker?  The Montessori philosophy does not believe in external rewards - all "rewards" should come from inside oneself and while this may be harder for kids to "get", I think it is achievable.  Certainly a child who feels good inside knows that their actions are worth more than a sticker?  Can a person be anti-sticker?  What do you think?  I welcome your musings.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

In the Rough

No, no, no...not referring to the Masters.  Just giving kudos to a fellow greenie (who is much greener than I) on her fabulous new column in The Washington Examiner.  Her latest topic:  tips on greener travel (and further down...some not so great news about coffee...CURSES!).  Congrats, Jenny, on a great column!

Monday, April 5, 2010

La La La L.A.

For a year and a half I lived in Los Angeles, working at UCLA.  Contrary to what most people think, my little corner of the universe - West Los Angeles & Santa Monica were totally accessible by bus.  Work was could even be a walk home if the weather was nice and ah, the weather *was* nice.  You had to be careful though...you might trip over some avocados that had dropped onto the sidewalk from an overhanging branch.  I mean... Ah, Caruso...paradise on earth.

Back on the East Coast, this time of year always reminds me of Los Angeles.  Maybe because the flowers are in bloom, reminding me of the jacaranda trees - or the warm, perfumed air before it turns all hot and Hell-like.  Who knows.  I am glad to be living where I am.  Green Husband grew up here and there is something extremely pleasant about running into various generations peeps from way back when you drop into the hardware store or the barbershop.  And of course, Spring is never so delightful when it has been a hard winter.  But still, I do loooove L.A.

green LA girl has been blogging right along since who knows when about all green things LA.  Now I can live vicariously through her posts this Spring, with an eye out for my former stomping grounds.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Cookie Crumbs

When I first picked up a copy of Cookie magazine, I thought it was pretty pretentious and my incredulity at the prices of some of the little tot togs made my jaw drop.  But soon I learned to love everything about the magazine - the layout, the articles, the photographs, the suggestions, the websites.  Of course we know that Cookie is now defunct, along with Gourmet...so I console myself with perusing through the back issues.  I think it is time, however, to follow up on some of Cookie's suggestions from months past.  Cookie crumbs, if you will.  Stay tuned. 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Luck of the Irish

I was in my local grocery store, of all places, when I saw a display of new books.  You know, the ones near the magazines and across from the toys.  A very attractive green cover caught my eye and before I could even get to the title, the author's name jumped out at me: 

Having read and reviewed her previous book, The Middle Place, I was kind of surprised to see this book on the shelf, nestled there with such little fanfare.  Perhaps I've been living under a rock.  In any case, call it luck of the Irish as we near St. Patrick's Day, that this little gem will be next on my reading list.