Drill Gremlins

The drill gremlins (the slightly less nasty cousins of the deployment gremlins) were out in full force this past weekend.

husband-on-drill-here-let-me-get-that

First, I got stuck on my icy driveway. Only a fortuitously placed tree stopped my car from falling into the ditch on the side of the driveway. I spent two hours trying to dig the car out and broke a shovel in the process. I carefully dug out each wheel, rocked the car back and forth, and made some progress only to get stuck again in a new spot. Finally, I straightened out, backed down, got a “running start” and shot up the driveway.

That night, I had to find the energy to take my daughter to the sweetheart dance. A lot of fun but I was wiped out.

The next morning, we rushed out to take my son to soccer practice (which he normally does with my husband). When we returned, we had no heat and I had to do battle with our oil company. They were supposed to deliver the day before and didn’t. The kids were freezing but we had to stay home so the mechanic could restart the heater. Then, the delivery guy showed up and couldn’t get his truck up my driveway.

Do you find that when your spouse is away lots of little things break and go wrong? I’m not sure if more things go on the fritz or if it just seems that way because he isn’t here to help fix the problems!

Best Sweet and Spicy Nut Mix

Best Sweet and Spicy Nut Mix

 

Looking for a new nut mix recipe for a party this weekend? If you like spicy nut mixes, this one is the best nut mix around! Many years back, a friend served this amazing Sweet and Spicy Nut Mix and I immediately begged for the recipe! She said that EVERYONE reacts this way and shared this with me.

“Best Sweet and Spicy Nut Mix”

Ingredients:

1 lb mixed nuts (unsalted)
3 tsp melted butter
2 T fresh rosemary
2 tsp dark brown sugar
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:

  • Toast the nuts at 350 for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile mix the other ingredients.
  • When nuts are done, pour the butter mixture over them and stir. A really good way to mix it up is to put the nuts in a Tupperware container, put on the lid and shake!

Frozen Themed Guest Suite and Activity Cave at Quebec City’s Hôtel de Glace

I haven’t seen Frozen, yet, because I let my parents have the privilege of taking the kids…but I hear it is stupendous and can’t wait to watch on DVD.

In what may be one of the most clever tie-ins to a movie (though I am waiting to hear that Disney World’s Blizzard Beach is getting a Frozen make-over), Disney announced a Frozen-inspired suite and activity cave at Quebec City’s Ice Hotel.

Frozen Ice Hotel Suite

Hit it, press release:

Today, Walt Disney Studios has unveiled the first images from the Frozen-inspired suite at Quebec City’s famed Hôtel de Glace, in celebration of Disney’s “FROZEN” Blu-ray & Digital HD release.

Created entirely out of sculpted ice and snow and supervised by the film’s art director Michael Giaimo, the “Frozen Suite” is modeled after Anna & Elsa’s bedrooms. The collaboration will also include a “Frozen Activity Cave” bringing the wonder of Disney’s wintry tale to life like never before. The suite will be unveiled this weekend and remain open through March 23.

I love traveling and in the BC (before children) era I used to be pretty adventurous…but an ice hotel just is not on my bucket list. You sleep wrapped up in a super-warm thermal cocoon-like sleeping bag. Extreme temperatures just isn’t my thing. I would definitely be interested in visiting for a few hours, though, just to see it. How about you?

Twin Day for Spirit Week: A Bit of Fun or Exclusionary?

Earlier in the year, my daughter brought the “Spirit Week” flyer home with the list of daily “themes.” This year, there was a new addition, “Twin Day” was slotted instead of the wacky hair or crazy hat day that we had last year.

the-shining-movie-the-grady-twins

Our school has spirit weeks several times a year and they are always fun. A number of parents grumbled about the “literary character day” last year but my daughter went as Dorothy and had a lot of fun with it.

Something about “Twin Day” sent my mama-sense tingling, however.

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

2014 Family Portrait Small

 

From me and mine to you and yours…Merry Christmas and a Happy 2014!

 

Happy Holidays 2014 Kids

Happy Holidays 2014 Me and Kids

Elf on the Shelf in the Classroom — Yea or Nay?

We don’t have an elf on the shelf mainly because I need another thing to do this holiday season like I need more stuffed animals in my kids’ rooms. I have four kids ages 7 and under. If I can get them all in bed in time to watch an episode of Doctor Who on Netflix, I call it a win. The tooth fairy has almost forgotten her duties several times already and I don’t think an elf of ours would fair much better. Seriously, parents…why do you want to make more messes for you to clean up…do you need more kids? Want to borrow one of mine?

My daughter thinks that if she wishes on a star Santa will send us one. Sorry kid, blame Jiminy Cricket.

Before you call CPS on me, however, my kids will not be deprived of this wacky new tradition because their classrooms have their very own elves.

I was a little surprised to find out that my kid’s class had adopted (is that the proper EotS terminology? I am a newbie at this…) an elf. Let me be clear before I get fried in the flames of the Internet…I said, “surprised,” not “incensed” or even “concerned.”

Elf on the Shelf Classroom

So, I did some research (i.e. I asked my friends on Facebook and looked at the first page of results in a Google search…totally New York Times standards of journalism going on in here).

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What a Doll–Matching Doll and Girl Outfits for the Holidays!

American Girl Dress 1

My daughter’s prized possessions are her American Girl Dolls, especially Marie-Grace, her first one and a gift from her aunt.

Although I was not a doll-lover as a child, I have really enjoyed reading about 19th century New Orleans with my daughter and talking about the issues of public health, volunteering, class, race, and friendship raised by the books.

For the past three Christmases, her entire wishlist has come from the American Girl catalog!

My daughter also loves to dress her dolls in both historical and modern fashions and especially enjoys wearing matching outfits.

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Family Style #GivingTuesday #UNselfie

Volunteering in the community is a value I want to share with my children. One of our annual traditions is joining Volunteer 4 Long Island’s Thanksgiving effort to feed people who are homeless and under-housed. Before we feast on dinner at my Mother-in-Law’s house, we feed the spirit–others and our own.

V4LI actually takes the meals and personal items and warm clothes out to the make-shift shelters where people without homes congregate.

We love working with V4LI because they find something meaningful for everyone to do, they have yearlong efforts so they make a deeper connection with the community, and everything they do is done out of a spirit of love.

My daughter (age 7) helps assemble packs of personal items and also works on the food line.

V4LI 2013

My eldest son (age 5) helps make cards that go out with the meals.

V4LI 2013 B

You are never too young to get in the habit of giving–there are tons of ways young children can volunteer and serve.

Share your ideas for #GivingTuesday and link up at Bloganthropy, an organization I co-founded with Debbie Bookstaber. In the spirit of #GivingTuesday, Element Associates, in partnership with Bloganthropy, is donating $1 for each link up to 100 links to Postpartum Progress.

Welcome, Cyrus Xavier!

Cyrus 2

Cyrus Xavier joined us on 11/14 at 2:20 pm, weighing 9 lbs, 11 oz.

Cyrus 3

By the time we got to the hospital, we were already very close. I’m not one to go into too much detail…but did you know an epidural can stop working just as the baby is ready to be born? Yup.

Other than that, it was a fairly routine birth. We were out of the hospital about 24 hours later. He did have a tongue tie, which made latching tough. However, we had it snipped and the nursing is going more smoothly now.

He regained his birth weight and then some within a week and everyone is healing well.

Cyrus 1

His siblings are so happy to meet him and proudly show off their baby to everyone we meet.

Strider 16 No-Pedal Balance Bike for School Age Kids

Over the summer, I was able to review the Strider ST-4 no-pedal balance bike with my two boys. Strider also makes the SUPER 16 SS-1, a unique balance bike in the market because it is a no pedal balance bike that is just the right for children ages 6-10.

The concept behind balance bikes is that pedaling comes easy once a child learns how to balance. If you start with “training wheels,” however, the child becomes dependent on them and takes longer to learn how to balance. Anecdotally, my friends either reported quick learning with a balance bike or did not use one and had children who struggled getting rid of training wheels. I have been amazed at how quickly my five year old son learned to balance and I wish we had started all the kids on a balance bike. My third and fourth kids will definitely use balance bikes from the start.

At the time, my almost 7 year old daughter still had training wheels. She loved riding a bike but did not want to ride at the park with training wheels where she might see her friends. She used the ST-4 we had received for her brothers and felt confident and comfortable on it, although it was a little small for her.

Strider Super 16 Balance Bike Review

I mentioned her frustrations to the people at Strider and they offered to send me a STRIDER SUPER 16 at wholesale cost for review.

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