Monday, March 31, 2008


HGTV's Carter Oosterhouse (He's handy. He's handsome. He's green.) has asked me (and I suppose everyone else who watches HGTV) to go greener by using recycled napkins -- not reusing the napkins, but buying only paper napkins that have been made from recycled materials. If I do that and start a compost pile, can I keep my regular dimmer lights?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Green is making me blue

I know. I know. I love Mother Earth, but there are some things on the green scene that need improvement.

I want my regular, ordinary, able-to-dim-and-don't-take-forever-to-warm-up lights back. Yes, we have the CFL lights throughout the house. We are saving tons of energy right and left. But when you turn on the light in my kids' room, it's just a very soft glow until the lights warm up. It's weird. When I turn on the lights in the family room, I have to remind myself it's the CFLs, not my aging eyes.

And the new, nice pendant lights in my work-in-progress kitchen can't really dim. It doesn't work very well. Sometimes they make weird noises. I want my mood lighting...and not the lighting that corresponds with the mood I'm in right now.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Covering his butt

The 8-year-old is Star of the Week in his class. It's a dubious honor, but he gets to bring family photos and special items to school to share. "Just don't make me take the Batman one, Mom." It's the cutest one! He's about 5 months old and in Batman pajamas his uncle bought him. When I figure out how to post photos, I'll post it.

Apparently, I've made him take it every year and I didn't realize it. But this isn't about Batman pjs, it's about...

Part of Star of the Week is filling out a survey about your likes and dislikes. The 8-year-old likes vanilla/chocolate swirl ice cream from Fosters and he likes basketball, etc. My favorite answer was to the question "I like to wear ..." I'm thinking he'll answer with one of his many sports jerseys. Nope.

"I like to wear .... PANTS."

Good to know. His wife will be so happy when he doesn't lie around the house in his underwear.

Monday, March 24, 2008

An Easter Miracle

Maybe, really good food does bring a family together. I made an Easter feast yesterday for my parents, brothers and us. Usually, I do most, if not all, the cooking, serving and then clean it all up. My family stays the required minutes to be polite and then they are gone.

But this year, as we sat down my father even exclaimed, "This is the most beautiful dinner I've ever seen. The colors and food look great." That's not like my dad. I'm not sure that's like ANYONE'S dad.

My brothers even cleared the table, rinsed dishes and put some in the dishwasher! It's an Easter Miracle!

I suppose I should give credit to the menu planning. I didn't do it. I just copied it from this month's Cooking Light. The food was good and it was beautiful. The Basil-Lime fruit salad was delicious.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Selected scenes from my life

I'm enjoying Mighty Girl's trend of making lists -- of things to do, of things to remember. Her latest is scenes she hopes to see when her life flashes before her eyes.

I love the idea and it's making me remember things that might be forgotten. I'm going to work on my list (mentally), but here's my start:

Open-mouthed baby kisses, before they learn any different.

The smell of my sons' as newborns and the warmth of their small bodies snuggled into my neck.

Walking quickly through the cold streets of Prague with a fresh, warm, round loaf of heavy, dark bread for my roommates and I. The bread store only baked on Tuesdays (This was just after the revolution and before Western stores found their way in). I can still feel the warmth through my coat as I rushed home.

Cafe Correttos in a street cafe at the end of a long day in Rome.

Riding bikes through the fog (I don't recommend this. It's not the safest thing, especially after a fair bit of wine. But it did feel awesome!).

Reading love letters from my now-husband when we were 5, 000 miles apart. I remember the day I read "I love you."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Moms are embarrassing

My poor third-grader. One moment I think he's appreciative of me (see prior post) and the next moment I realize that I've embarrassed him, maybe even shamed him, among his peers.

Let me explain:
The preschooler was complaining that he has to sit in a booster seat -- after all, he's five and why wasn't I properly respectful of that fact. So I told him what every mom would, "In a year or two, you'll be out of it. This is the best way for me to keep you safe..." He's just hearing "yada, yada, yada."

The third-grader couldn't contain himself: "A year or two! I just got out of a booster seat!"
He did? I can't remember. It seems like ages ago. But sure enough, the third-grader went on to tell the tale of the beginning of third grade when the teacher took a poll of the class to see who was still in a car seat of some sort (She had nonjudgemental wording, but I can't remember it. And really, are the words "car seat" or "booster seat" judgemental? Apparently to third graders.)

"I was the ONLY one, Mom!" said the shamed third-grader. "I had to hide in the back of the classroom and raise my hand..."

How do I explain that he's the first born and he's not going to get to do anything fun at an early age while his brother will be smoking and drinking before he's 12? (Not really in case you are planning on reporting me.)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I made a lasagna last night for dinner. This is not extraordinary news, I know. Many people make lasagna...

But I made it from scratch... Does that count for something? I made the meatballs from scratch (lots of garlic), baked them and then crumbled them in the lasagna.

I have to say it was pretty good. I don't think I have made (or ate) lasagna in years. Just fell out of the habit. But the husband and I were watching a Throwdown with Bobby Flay and the lasagna looked soooooo good. I had to make some.

I can see why most people don't make it from scratch. It took a good portion of the day. No 30-Minute Meal here!

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I love that I have two boys. They are amazing. They are also boys so amazing takes on new meanings sometimes (It's amazing it never occurred to you NOT to do that.)

But this is about the good kind of amazing and how your heart swells when your quiet, serious, never expressive 8-year-old boy actually acts like he loves you. I know he loves me. I also know it is hard for him to express it. And I LIVE for the moments when he does.

Why do I volunteer every time for team mom? Because he smiles when I do. One smile, there's my payment for the season... Worth it every time.

Yesterday, I was driving four boys to baseball practice. One of the boys was talking about how he was almost late for school that day. He woke up 15 minutes before he had to be there and was rushing around getting ready and yelling at his brother to hurry up. My son listens to this story and asks "Wasn't your mom downstairs making your lunch and getting your backpack together?" The other boy just stared at him. It didn't compute.

Something did compute with my son though. I could see it on his face. He actually realized that I do things for him that matter to him and some kids don't get that kind of help or treatment. My son felt blessed.

This is no judgement of the other boy's mom. So what if she doesn't make her kids' lunches?! I'm just glad I do something for my son that he realizes matters to him. I'm enjoying the moment of appreciation (along with the extra hugs and smiles that have come my way). I have no illusion that it will last.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


After reading an ode to entertaining with bacon (it's actually more of an oath) at Suburban Bliss this afternoon, I left a comment and a recipe (I'll put it at the end of this post). I wasn't really going to blog about it but then my husband came home with the makings for a wedge salad with bleu cheese dressing. He was so proud when he showed me the label that read "with bacon."

As he kissed me hello, he whispered the sweet nothing "And you know what our family motto is: Everything is better with bacon." He's a keeper. No I mean that. I love bacon (and him).

If you ask our kids what the family motto is, they know the answer. It's embarrassing, but true.

And here's the recipe I promised: Wrap a slice of bacon around a pretzel rod, bake at about 350 degrees until the bacon is crispy and then roll in finely grated parmesan cheese. Put in a vase or mug or anything upright to serve. These are sooo good. They also freeze well (if any are left over).

There's no hope for me

I volunteered again... It's a deadly disease, but how do you resist when you see a need?