Category Archives: Kids

Give Me a Break!

I love my family. I would rather spend time with them than any other people on the face of the earth.

I love being my kids’ mom. I have enjoyed all the little stages of their childhoods that have brought us to this point and I truly love the people they are becoming.

Even if sometimes the people they are becoming can be a little bit goofy.

Every time we are at Aloha Tower, they have to pose like the statues.

IMG_5417 IMG_5420

One of the three was not in much of a posing mood.


I need time to not be with my children.

One of the best bits of advice Sus gave me when I was a brand new mom was to schedule time away from the kids. She told me that even if she got away for just a little while, she was always a better mom after a little break.

As usual, she was right.

It has been harder to find time to myself since we moved here last summer, but this weekend, I had the opportunity to get some hairapy and spend time with two of my favorite people. It was fun to laugh and eat and talk with grown up friends. Not to say that we weren’t a little goofy at times ourselves. Conversations took strange twists and turns that resulted in weird and random Google searches.


I don’t think we ever figured out which newscaster Alex was trying to remember. It wasn’t either of these.

I came home Sunday evening to a clean house and a family who loves me.

So here’s the takeaway point on this short little post:

Friends, no matter how hard it is to schedule, you need time away to recharge your batteries. You need date nights alone with your husband (That’s still a challenge we need to make happen at my house!), you need time with girl friends, and you need time all by yourself. Of course, you also need a husband who will support you in these endeavors and I am more than blessed to have a man who doesn’t begrudge me any time that I get to sneak away.

I’d be curious to know how you all schedule time away from the kids. And if you had a dream weekend all to yourself, how would you spend it?


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Filed under Family, Friends, Kids

Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered….Especially Bewildered

Today is the first in our weekly series of tips and ideas to help us not feel “whacked’ this holiday season.  Raise your hand if you’re surprised I remember I even said we were going to do this on Wednesdays. I’ll admit it, my hand is raised!

I thought we’d kick off the series with a discussion about Halloween tricks, treats, and traditions.

First, just a word about family traditions. If you don’t have any, get some. They don’t have to be elaborate, but they are the memories our children will talk about for the rest of our lives and may continue in their own families. For example, I’ve carried on two of my family’s Halloween traditions: corn chowder and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!   Every year my mom would make corn chowder for Halloween. Soup, stew, or chili is a good choice for Halloween because you can keep it warm on the stove. Everyone can have a small bowl before trick-or-treating and warm up with a little more (if it happens to be cold where you are) after the Halloween festivities. I haven’t put our corn chowder recipe online yet, but I do have some other favorite soup/stew/chili recipes to share and I have a few on my Pinterest Looks Good Enough to Eat board that I haven’t tried yet.

This link has my recipe for Ashley’s Tortilla Soup, Mom’s Beef Stew, Hoppin’ John Stew,  and Sus’s Black Bean & Pork Chili.


My favorite chicken & dumpling recipe (from Southern Living)


My new favorite chili recipe: Rocky Top Chili

Back in the old days, we had to watch Linus and the gang whenever the network felt like showing it to us, but now in the day of the DVR, you can tape the show and watch it as a family whenever it’s convenient for you! Pop a bag of popcorn,  make some Whimzie Crack, or if you’re really in the Halloween spirit, roast the pumpkin seeds from your jack-o-lantern. I’m linking you to a basic recipe, but you can jazz it up with any seasonings you like to make it sweet or savory.

A new Halloween tradition we added a few years ago is our candy corn and peanuts mix. You’ve tried this, right? If you haven’t, maybe you shouldn’t, because I’m warning you, once you start eating it, it’s very hard to stop.

Pinterest can be a black hole that sucks all the time out of your afternoon, but it can also be a great place to find and store ideas for new Halloween traditions. I like one having one central location to put my ideas. Here’s a link to my Fall Pinterest board. Now, will I try all of those ideas? Absolutely not. But I will try a few. I really want to try the toilet paper roll pumpkins this weekend. Our neighbors have a four-year-old son. This looks like a super easy, no sew, no glue craft we can all do together. Remember, the goal is not to create the perfect holidays that all the moms in the neighborhood will envy. The goal is to create moments with the people you love that will become the memories you treasure.

Does your family have any Halloween traditions?

Here’s my challenge question for the week: How do you handle the leftover Halloween candy? Do you have rules on how much candy the kids are allowed to have after Halloween? How long do you keep the candy around? Do you allow everyone to keep their candy separate or does it go in one big communal pile? I’d love to hear some of your ideas!

Also, if you have any more ideas on how to make this time of year easier or more special, I’d love to hear them! Email me:


Filed under Family, Kids, No More Whacked Out Wednesdays

Snow Day in the South

We don’t get many snow days where I live, but last Friday, we had snow. Before 10 a.m. we had created a multitude of heavenly hosts (aka snow angels) and an androgynous snow person. No one could decide whether we’d made a snow”he” or a snow”she.”

I took pictures. Want to see?

Sometimes I fancy myself to be a real photographer. K gave me a fancy, new camera for Christmas. I planned to learn how to use it by reading the owner’s manual on the way to his family’s house for Christmas, but I packed the Spanish version of the manual instead of the English one. I took Spanish for Medical Professionals for one semester when I was in nursing school but I all I remember is how to say “Where does it hurt? (“[upside-down question mark] Donde le duele?”) and “Push!” (“Empuja!”) I also speak a little Dora (“Come on! Vamonos!”), but I’ve never seen an episode of Dora where she deals specifically with aperture settings. Hence, I only know how to use my fancy, new camera on the automatic setting.

Anyway, here are my artsy pictures of snowy trees:

The tire swing in our yard:

I was trying to do a “Narnia” thing here with the lampost. I didn’t realize the car was in the frame. That kind of ruins the effect for me:

I love it when trees come together like this to make a little tunnel of sorts:

I like to think that my little signs are part of the reason the snow decided to visit us. (Never mind that I put them out many a year with nary a flake to be seen all winter.):

My “home sweet home gnome.” He makes me smile:

Feeling artsy again:

Real live snow really falling down right here in Louisiana. I took a picture. It will last longer:

Find the cardinal:

My mom used to get irritated when we’d get our vacation pictures developed only to find that my dad had taken six rolls of film with nothing but birds and trees on them. I wonder if Ansel Adams’s wife gave him the same kind of grief. I did take pictures of people. Here are a few:

He owns a coat and yet he doesn’t always wear it:

His brother, on the other hand, is ready for some black diamonds. Ski googles are a must:

Always camera ready:

One of the obligatory snow angels:

Grammy takes Colonel out for a romp in the snow:

The obligatory snow person. We thought it was a snowman but look at those eyelashes!:

Mugging with the snowperson:

You know what I like about snow days? I mean besides the…snow? I like that we take the time to notice the stuff we miss when our schedules are full and our days are “normal.” I don’t usually take the time to look at trees. I don’t always take the time to make our hot chocolate more special by adding whipped cream and peppermint syrup. I go from Task A to Task B and sometimes I don’t fully look and listen to the people around me. But on snow days, I slow down and enjoy life one minute at a time. We play and laugh and rest. I think I’m going to schedule more snow days….whether the snow comes or not.


Filed under Family, Kids

The Post in Which I Try to Think of Nice Ways to Talk About…..Upchucking

Last night I was feeling sorry for CarpoolQueen. All three of her children were suffering from GI distress of some variety. She and I were having a little chat about our respective days and I was so sad to hear that two of her boys were… “tossing cookies” while the other was….sick, but in a different way than the one I just mentioned. And now I’m going to tell you what I was also thinking. I was thinking that I was glad my kids don’t…. “share their inner feelings” all that often. I can count on one hand the number of times they have…. “technicolor yawned.” I may have, in fact, been feeling a little smug about the situation.


The freshly bathed and teeth-brushed children had said their prayers and were preparing to snuggle into their beds when all of a sudden my baby boy told me that his stomach was hurting.  We tucked him in and told him we’d keep checking on him only to hear him… “calling  Ralph” just minutes later. At first I thought it was an isolated event. I made Paula Deen’s Monte Cristo sandwiches for supper last night (from the November/December issue of What’s Cookin’ with Paula Deen). Everyone loved them, but they were also very rich. Who would expect that from a Paula Deen recipe, right? I thought maybe the meal had been a little much for my baby boy’s tummy.

To be safe, we sent his big brother to sleep in our bed with his dad (the boys share a room) and I bedded down with the one with the sad tummy. All was well and I thought we were out of the woods until forty-five minutes later when Little B was…. “tossing his cookies.” A couple of hours he was … “throwing it in reverse” again.  He…. “made a call on the porcelain phone” two or three more times through out the night/early, early, no-0ne-should-be-awake-at-this-hour morning, I lost count. I’m guessing this wasn’t a one-time event?

So now I have wiped that smug look off my face and replaced it with a tired, haggard been-there-done-that-last-night look. It’s lovely. I wish you could see it. At least my children have an uncanny ability to always make it to the bathroom. It’s a gift and a blessing to their mom, I tell you. And now I’m hoping I didn’t just jinx myself into cleaning carpet all day.

Hope you and yours are healthy today and I hope that the reading of this  post didn’t make any of you…. “have an out of stomach experience.” We’ll keep the Lysol handy for you.


Filed under Kids

Is It Repeating Myself Or Showing Off My Superior Remembery Skills When I Re-Tell a Story?

Usually I enter a January Funk right after the holidays. Unfortunately, it’s not a George Clinton and the Parliament kind of funk. It’s a missing-all-the-Christmas-spirit funk. The house always looks a little blah when the Christmas decorations get packed away, so I bring out my snow and snowmen decorations for January to transition me slowly back to life after twinkly white lights. I unpacked the snowmen children that I bought last year and they’re standing side-by-side on the upstairs landing. Every single time I pass them, they give me a giggle because I’m always reminded of the “Whatsoever Thou Doest to My Snowman Thou Doest Unto Me” story I told you last year. Remember? Here’s the link:

The Link to the Snowman Story That Makes Whimzie Laugh to Herself Every Single Time She Thinks of It That We Will Click and Read Because We’re Her Friends & Know It’s Best to Just Humor Her When She Gets Like This

Did you read it? Now, I know in some psychology circles what he did would be considered “passive-aggressive,” but as his mother, I just think it was plain funny. Every time I pass those snowmen, my winter funk is replaced with a little of the George Clinton kind. One of the extra added benefits of parenthood that I didn’t read about in any of  my  What to Expect books is the extra dose of sunshine children provide to help you get through tough times. I’m so grateful for my three little Snoodles and know that even though they taunt that last little nerve of mine at times, they’re also a big reason it’s still hanging on by a thread.

Have a happy January day and may all your snowmen stand upright….unless they don’t, which makes for a good laugh, too!


Filed under Kids, Leftovers

If the Snoodles Wrote a Children’s Bible

I love bedtime for the Little People and not for the reasons some of you are thinking. My husband usually does the bedtime routine and he has since FirstBorn was a baby. Usually he hasn’t had an opportunity to be with the kids all day and some days I’ve had more opportunities to be with them than I really feel like I needed at the time. It’s a win-win for both of us. After pajamas are donned and teeth are brushed, Dad settles the Little People together and reads a book and a Bible story and they all pray together before he tucks them into their beds. Sometimes I like to sneak in and listen to the discussions that sometimes ensue during Bible story and prayers. I think the Little People are their truest selves in these moments at the end of the day. Sometimes they  utter truths that are wise beyond their young years. Sometimes they spout out the funniest things I’ve ever heard.

I was telling my mom something the Princess Diva said the other night before bedtime and she jokingly said, “They need to write their own version of a Bible story book.” Yeah, that’s not going to happen, but I did think it would be fun to share with you a few gems I’ve collected along the way. 

When FirstBorn was barely three, story/Bible time was his one-on-one time with his dad. One night, Mr. Snoodle (I really need to settle on pseudonyms for these people!) came in the room after tucking in the FirstBorn and he looked like he’d been through the wringer.

“What happened to you?” I asked.

“I was totally unprepared! One minute we were talking about how God created everything. ‘Did God create all the animals?’ he asks. ‘Yes,’ I say. ‘Did God make all the bugs?’ he wants to know. ‘He did,’ I tell him. Then he pauses and asks, ‘So did God create evil?’ ”

I asked him how he responded and I honestly think he had no idea what was said for the rest of that conversation. FirstBorn’s questions aren’t any easier five years later, by the way.

I was with them the night my husband told FirstBorn the story of  Adam and Eve. After he heard about the snake and the fruit and the consequences of their actions, FirstBorn gave a sideways glance at me before he looked his dad in the eye and said, “I hate to say this, but Eve should’ve sat down and shut up.” He wasn’t sure if he’d get away with that one because we don’t say “shut up” in our house, but his father and I were too busy picking ourselves off the floor to fuss.

A couple of nights ago, we were talking about heaven. The Little People have a vested interest because their daddy’s daddy already lives there. The younger two never met him and FirstBorn wasn’t even a year old when he died, but they’re very interested in knowing all there is to know about Pap and what he’s doing these days. BabyBoy was saying that Pap can’t ever get sick in heaven because there’s no sickness. I agreed and said that no one ever was sad or mad or afraid in heaven. FirstBorn said something about the devil not being in heaven and I affirmed that we wouldn’t even sin in heaven.

At this PrincessDiva sat straight up in bed and said, “You can’t sin in heaven?! But I want to sin!”

“What do you think ‘sin’ is?” I asked her.

“You know,” she said, “like when we send Papa cards and Ruby Jane pictures. I really love to send.” And she truly does.

So I tried to explain the difference between “send” and “sin” and we pondered whether or not heaven has mailboxes. BabyBoy is pretty sure no one can actually mail letters from there to here but he’s not sure if people who are already there can mail stuff to each other.

Just tonight we had one of those special moments that I’m so glad I didn’t miss. Since my husband’s out of town, I’m in charge of the bedtime routine this week. Tonight we read the story of the women coming to the tomb after Jesus died and was buried.  

I read from the book, ” ‘A voice said, “He’s not here. He is alive. He came back to life just as he said he would.” “He’s alive! He’s alive!” the woman shouted to her friends….’ ”

PrincessDiva sighed and whispered, “I love that part.”

Oh, little PrincessDiva, me, too. And I love these precious little Snoodles He’s entrusted to my care.


Filed under Kids, Uncategorized

I ‘Kid’ You Not, That’s What They Said

I agree. That’s probably the corniest blog post title ever written. The good and most logical ones for this post were already taken.

I’ve seen this interview several places lately: on Facebook, La Vida Dulce’s blog, Life@7000Feet’s blog, this little light of mine’s blog.  Oh, and CarpoolQueen just posted her interview with her kids. I thought it might be fun to do at our house. I interviewed each child separately because they’re at the age where their answers are heavily influenced by what the others would say and I wanted to know what each one really thought. I think their answers give me a lot of insight into what’s important to them, their love language, and they also make realize that I really need to find a better moisturizer. 

I also wonder how many of their answers are what they want from me rather  than who I really am. If anything, this gave me a better understanding of what they would like our home to look like and it makes me want to be more like the mom they described.

For those of you who haven’t met them, AHL is the youngest (by one minute) and the only daughter. She is five years old. BJL is the youngest boy. He’s also five years old. CBL is the oldest. He’s eight years old. Here are their unedited answers (the parenthetical additions are my thoughts):

1. What is something your mom always says to you?

AHL: “I love you.”

BJL: “Give me a hug.” (Guess I’m demanding that way.)

CBL: “Maybe.”  (This was funny to me because it’s so true and he hates it when I answer ‘maybe’ to his questions.)

2. What makes your mom happy?

AHL: Hugging and kissing.

BJL: Being nice.

CBL: A hug.

3. What makes your mom sad?

AHL:  When I don’t try new food.

BJL: When I hurt other people.

CBL: When we don’t obey her.

4. How does your mom make you laugh?

AHL: Tickles me.

BJL: Tickles me.

CBL: Tickles my armpit. (I wonder why I dislike the word “armpit.”)

5. What was your mom like as a child?

AHL: Me.

BJL: She was little.

CBL: I don’t know. Like me. (I thought this was interesting because AHL & CBL really aren’t very much alike.)

6. How old is your mom?

AHL: I don’t know. 75  (ouch!)

BJL: 41. 

CBL: 38.

(And the answer is….none of the above!)

7. How tall is your mom?

AHL: This tall. (put hand on top of my head)

BJL: Really tall.

CBL:  Tall.

8. What is her favorite thing to do?

AHL: Play with me.

BJL: Play with me.

CBL: Play with us.

9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?

AHL: Do laundry.

BJL: Work.

CBL: I don’t know. Laundry and stuff.

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?

AHL: I don’t know. Playing games. (“Pretty Pretty Princess,” anyone?)

BJL: Kissing. (Wow. Not sure how this would play out.)

CBL: Cooking.

11. What is your mom really good at?

AHL: Doing laundry.

BJL:  Kissing.

CBL: Cooking.

12. What is your mom not very good at?

AHL: Being sad. Because I don’t want you to be good at sadness. (Aw!)

BJL: I don’t know.

CBL: She’s good at everything.

13. What does your mom do for a job?

AHL:  Play with me.

BJL: Work.

CBL: She doesn’t have a job. (pause) She takes care of us.

14. What is your mom’s favorite food?

AHL: Chinese food (I like it, but favorite?)

BJL:  Tomatoes (I like them, but favorite?)

CBL: Paula Deen food (Hmmm. Maybe.)

15. What makes you proud of your mom?

AHL: When you’re with me.

BJL: Kissing me.

CBL: When she plays with us.

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?

BJL: Baby Looney Tunes Granny  (Anyone have any skincare tips for me?)

AHL: Cinderella

CBL: Lola (Baby Looney Tunes)

17. What do you and your mom do together?

AHL: Play family.

BJL: Play cars.

CBL: Play with each other.

18. How are you and your mom the same?

AHL: We’re in “the family.”

BJL: We kiss a lot.

CBL: We both like to play and cook cookies.

19. How are you and your mom different?

AHL: God made us different. He’s our Lord. (And that’s not her Sunday School answer. She really talks like that!)

BJL: She’s taller than me.

CBL: She’s a girl.

20. How do you know your mom loves you?

AHL: Because you’re my mom.

BJL: She kisses me. (Do you think this child’s love language is “touch”?

CBL: She says it.

21. What does your mom like most about your dad?

AHL: That he’s with her.

BJL:  Him playing with me.

CBL: How do I know? I think she likes him because he’s just him.

22. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?

AHL: Chinese restaurant (??)

BJL: Burlington Mall (??)

CBL: Burlington Mall (??)

That was fun!

Cooking came up a time or two. I wonder if CBL would change any of his answers if he knew what his scatterbrained mom did a couple of nights ago. Remember when I told you I had precooked chicken this weekend? Well, a couple of days ago, I took some precooked chicken out of the freezer to make Meredith’s Chicken Spaghetti. It was a multitasking kind of day (which ones aren’t?). We finally sat down to dinner. It was delicious, but I had a little tickle in the back of my brain that said something wasn’t quite right. After supper, I was cleaning the kitchen and when I opened the microwave door to wipe out the microwave, I found this:



Yep, that’s the chicken that goes in the Chicken Spaghetti. So I made Vegetarian Chicken Spaghetti. And no one even noticed. This recipe is just that good! At least I don’t put my dishwashing liquid in the refrigerator or carry my house phone in my purse like some people I know! 😉


Filed under Kids