With a lot of starts and stops the one thing that got me really going was NaBloPoMo. I did it. A whole month of blog posting. It was a lot of work – but fun seeing what I was creating. Moving forward I need to figure out what my schedule is. I want to keep up the momentum!
I am not the best baker. But I LOVE eating dessert and so do my boys. I started making this cookie pizza years ago and I never stopped because it is so good. The first time I made it look like an actual pizza. I shaped it in a circle, topped with melted chocolate, shredded coconut and mike and ikea. I even got a pizza box to serve it in. Most times, I make it with the chocolate chips in the dough. For our big football parties I shape it in the shape of a football, top with melted chocolate and then use white icing to make the laces. I serve it by cutting it into square pieces. Be creative – it will always be tasty!
1/2 c butter or margarine, softened
1/c brown sugar
1/4 c granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 c flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 c chocolate chips
2 T butter or margarine
- Heat oven to 350º F. In large bowl, mix 1/2 cup butter, the brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla and egg until well blended. Stir in flour and baking soda (dough will be stiff). Add chocolate chips if not melting for the top.
- Pat dough in ungreased 12-inch pizza pan or into 12-inch round on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool about 30 minutes.
- If you did not add the chocolate chips in batter, melt chocolate chips with two tablespoons butter in a glass bowl in the microwave. Stir every 30 seconds.
- Spread chocolate mixture over baked layer. Immediately top with coconut or other toppings if using. Let stand until set.
With three boys, I think my mudroom is my favorite and most used room in the house. We bought our house from a rabbi who had an office in his house. The office has direct access from the driveway and from the garage. It is a very big room but it did not make sense for our home office. In the four years that we have lived here, my husband and I have both bought laptops. Our “home office” is now anywhere we bring our laptop. Let’s be honest, this is usually my living room couch in from of the tv. Hey, that is where I am right now! So, this big room that we will walk through from the garage would be our mudroom. When we moved in, (I have to find a before picture!) it was just an empty room with one closet. For the first two years we made do with a bench and two small bookcases. We had been planning these lockers from the beginning. My husband and I spent countless hours on pinterest and houz. We came up with our wish list and my husband made a drawing of our dream lockers. We hired an amazing carpenter and they brought our vision to life.
The top cabinets we use for hats, suntan lotion, coloring books for restaurants and anything else we want hidden away but available for quick access. The open area with the hooks we use for coats, backpacks and my purses. The bottom drawer is for gloves, hats and the boys yarmulkes they have to wear for school everyday. The open bottom section is for shoes. If we had a couple of more inches to the ceiling this part would have been good bigger. It is too short for snow boots. I still keep a small two shelf bookcase on the right wall in the mudroom for these shoes and any other extra stuff.
Two years later I am so happy with our design. No matter how many cabinets you have or systems you have in place, if everyone is not committed to keeping it organized and de-cluttered it will be just as messy as before.
Happy Thanksgiving! If you are looking for a last minute, super easy side dish – this is it. You probably have most of these ingredients in your pantry. This sauce is so good with the turkey.
1 large can drained mandarin oranges
1 large can chopped Pineapple –drained
1 c smashed walnuts
Mix in Large bowl – Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Can be made 1 or 2 days in advance
Double if desired
We are not the biggest travelers. I have a friend who is off somewhere with her kids at least once a month. During the summer they are gone most of the time. My parents live in NY, so we go down there 4-6 times a year. We also go on a few vacations. I love vacations but I HATE packing. I am always trying to re-think my planning, method, materials to make this horrible experience slightly easier.
I swear buy these packing cubes from Ikea. I bought one set for each of my three boys. Although, now that #1 is in size Large clothes, I bought a forth set since his clothes are so much bigger now! I used a silver sharpie marker. On the front of each bag I wrote the boys name. Even though, I can identify every piece of clothing and who it belongs to – no one else can. On vacation, my parents, mother-in-law or husband can be in charge of getting the boys dressed and I don’t have to be involved! I use the long bag with the zipper in the middle for socks and under ware, one bag for shirts, and one for pants. If we are going to a fancy event I will take all three boys clothes for this event and put it in one bag so it doesn’t get confused with everyday clothes.
The cubes have definitely made traveling easier. The packing is easy if the boys clothes in their closet are put away and organized. Not fun!
Good luck to everyone who is traveling over this holiday season!
I am an adult. I no longer have a ready made group of friends from school, my parents or my extra-cirricula activities. How to create a community for yourself and for your family? My main piece of advice – JUST SHOW UP! There are so many opportunities in your child’s school, community, religious organization – JUST SHOW UP! Maybe it is not your favorite thing to do, maybe your best friend won’t be there, maybe your kids best friends might not be there – but you are creating an opportunity for your whole family to be involved in your community and to make personal connections – JUST SHOW UP! When my son’s school has parent events or family events in the school – there are some families that I can always count on to be there. If all the parents were polled I have a feeling that these families would be the most happy with the school. They would feel the community – because they show up. Be one of those families that others can count on. Be one of those families who go to the soccer games, the bake sale, the school play. Just by showing up – you can make your community better and thereby make your family a stronger part of that community.
Every year on your child’s birthday, find a quite 5 minutes and ask them the same 20 questions. I have a saved word document for each child. I just copy and past the next years 20 questions below. I am thinking for their 18th birthday to print out a photo book with every years 20 questions plus a couple of pictures from that year.
20 Birthday Questions
- How old are you?
- Who is your best friend?
- What is your favorite thing to do?
- What is your favorite color?
- What is your favorite food?
- What do you like to do with your family?
- What is your favorite toy?
- What do you want to be when you grow up?
- What makes you happy?
- What makes you sad?
- What is your favorite show to watch?
- What is your favorite book?
- What is your favorite song?
- What do you love to learn about?
- Where do you like to go?
- What is your favorite holiday?
- What do you think about before you fall asleep?
- If you could meet someone famous who would it be?
- What was the best part of your birthday?
- What was your favorite birthday present?
I only starting doing this three years ago – but it is still fun to look back at the old answers. The kids think it is really fun also!
What kid wouldn’t love to have breakfast in bed? Mine used to ask for it all the time. I decided that it was a once a year treat. On your birthday! We usually go with pancakes, whipped cream and juice. The two brothers usually join with their breakfast on the floor of the birthday boys. This is just another easy way to make their special day extra special!
As we finally are arriving at my #2’s birthday followed 1 week later by my #3’s birthday I am continuing with my series on birthday traditions. So far I have posted about #1 Growth-Chart , #2 Year-End Photo Collages, #3 Photo Cakes and now we have #4 Room Decorations.
This only takes 10 minutes to do and very little money – but the impact is huge. The night before one of my boys birthdays I blow up a bunch of balloons and throw them on the floor. I then tape paper streamers from the bedroom door.
When the birthday boy wakes up, right away he has a smile on his face. He remembers its his special day. He jumps out of bed, kicks the balloons around, runs through the streamers, picks up the balloons, throws them in the air and it is the start to a great birthday!
I read two interesting articles today from friends Facebook feeds that got me thinking about my reasons for starting this new blog.
The first article, Modern moms looking for perfection in all the wrong places, is about how modern mom’s are looking for inspiration in the wrong places. That many of us get fixated by pinterest, celebrities and other media and put unrealistic pressures on ourselves to make everything perfect. I don’t agree with the whole article. Myself and many of my friends still feel that it is ok to put our kids in front of the tv with take-out when we need to. But the end take-away I can totally get behind.
Try your best; if cake-making is your forte, then sure — make the extravagant cake, take a photo and post it on Pinterest. But if it’s not, that’s OK, too.
Make sure your child’s life is fun and meaningful, instead of pretty and picturesque. Their memories will all have that perfect light you try so hard to achieve. No kid grows up feeling neglected because her mom couldn’t repurpose her school T-shirt into couture.
The second article, What Normal Looks Like, how clean or not clean our homes and cars are. It is funny and true/not true. I do like the sentiment that we are all in the same boat together. No judgment. Create a community of support around you. We all need our village.
So, there you have it. Either your house is really, really clean and you should stop apologizing, or at the very least you can stop your shame and host playdates for once. We’re all in the same boat. I won’t look in your dining room if you don’t look in mine.
So where does that leave me on this blog. After reading this articles I really questioned myself. Why was I writing this blog. Am I trying to present a perfect child, party, dish – life? I really don’t think that is what I am trying to do. When I find a healthy recipe that my kids gobble up, or when I figure out a new/faster way to organize my families laundry I don’t think that I should try to make others jealous. All I think is that I want to share my discovery with friends and family. I never want to make anyone feel anything but interested, curious and intrigued. So I will keep going…