A brown belt for Big Guy – not that it’s important
Mon, 12/03/12 – 12:49 | Comments Off

It was testing week in karate and, as usual, Big Guy was under the gun. Not as much as he used to be, when he didn’t have a clue and had to frantically cram, but …

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Food

Picky eaters and allergy-safe cooking — the two aren’t necessarily unrelated.

Girl Gone Wonk

From policy to politics, this rant’s for you.

News

The day’s events in a family way — unless something else amuses me.

School days

From preschool to kindergarten — so far

Simple Gifts

Inexpensive homemade gifts, creative parties and low-cost projects, for Christmas and beyond. Many are easy enough for children to help.

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Articles by Debra

It’s not always as it appears
Wednesday, 26 Jan, 2011 – 12:30 | Comments Off
It’s not always as it appears

When Rita heard the roar of the bus engine and the wheesh of the brakes, her ears perked up. She knows those sounds. They mean it’s time for the first of her boys to come …

You have only 20 words. Use them wisely
Tuesday, 25 Jan, 2011 – 13:09 | Comments Off
You have only 20 words. Use them wisely

I read somewhere a long time ago that a dog is about as intelligent as a 3-year-old. I read somewhere recently that a dog can understand only about 20 words, which means someone’s either underestimating …

It’s not the price of news. It’s the price of everything else online
Monday, 24 Jan, 2011 – 17:29 | One Comment
It’s not the price of news. It’s the price of everything else online

It  sounds frivolous to compare the New York Times to a children’s Web site and instant movie access, but those are the economic facts at my house.
Club Penguin: $12 a month – $6 per kid. …

Yes, girls can do that now
Monday, 24 Jan, 2011 – 11:27 | Comments Off
Yes, girls can do that now

He looks around among his friends and sees only a few women in green. It was inevitable that the question would come up.
“Mommy, why aren’t there many girls in the Army?” Big Guy asked.
There are …

You can’t beat ‘em so might as well join ‘em
Sunday, 23 Jan, 2011 – 19:44 | Comments Off
You can’t beat ‘em so might as well join ‘em

Looking for a social media strategist? There’s one particular group that recently did an exceptional job of compiling the important information, explaining without talking down, laying out policies and backing them up with salient case …

Tex Mex chicken chili
Saturday, 22 Jan, 2011 – 7:42 | Comments Off
Tex Mex chicken chili

Can I get an amen from everyone tired of eating off the kids’ menu?
OK, so maybe those of you with better parenting skills than I don’t suffer through the same cycle of spaghetti, mac and …

The birds and bees and ABCs
Friday, 21 Jan, 2011 – 14:37 | Comments Off
The birds and bees and ABCs

My only consolation as I read the note from Boots’ teacher is that he wasn’t the one in trouble this time.
Please talk to your children about not having boyfriends and girlfriends at school, she wrote. …

Grading parents doesn’t make the grade
Thursday, 20 Jan, 2011 – 17:10 | Comments Off
Grading parents doesn’t make the grade

Note to Florida Rep. Kelli Stargel: I’ve already passed kindergarten. Second grade, too! Therefore, it really doesn’t matter what my kids’ teachers think about my performance. I’ve earned a diploma and a degree. It’s the …

Germs! Aaarrgggh!
Thursday, 20 Jan, 2011 – 11:41 | Comments Off
Germs! Aaarrgggh!

Content warning: Germophobes are strongly advised to don protective gear before reading this post. The rest of us should quickly buy stock in companies that manufacture face masks.
It was supposed to be a science project …

You spent six months unplugged and you did WHAT?!
Wednesday, 19 Jan, 2011 – 17:11 | 3 Comments
You spent six months unplugged and you did WHAT?!

It’s an event almost as foreseeable as predicting that someone this week will call today’s kids “the dumbest generation”:
A family will “unplug” – shed all electronics for an arbitrary period. Let’s say, oh, six months. …

What do they dream? Probably two wildly different things
Wednesday, 19 Jan, 2011 – 12:40 | One Comment
What do they dream? Probably two wildly different things

We’ve been on a Harry Potter kick lately, watching them as fast as Netflix can deliver them after Big Guy started begging because he didn’t like it that friends had seen something he hadn’t.
Big Guy …

What’s in a name? A whole heap of trouble
Tuesday, 18 Jan, 2011 – 11:35 | Comments Off
What’s in a name? A whole heap of trouble

There’s name calling, and then there’s name calling.
We have zero tolerance for one kind in our house: Anything that’s gender, race or sexual preference-based. I called Big Guy out recently for saying, “that’s so gay,” …

‘Only children weep’
Monday, 17 Jan, 2011 – 11:28 | Comments Off
‘Only children weep’

“They’ve done it before and they did it tonight and they’ll do it again and when they do it – seems that only children weep.” – To Kill A Mockingbird
It was a dog and a …

The myth of the benefits of the commissary
Sunday, 16 Jan, 2011 – 17:22 | Comments Off
The myth of the benefits of the commissary

The guys have an unfortunate addiction: Graham crackers and milk for breakfast. We could go through a box every three days, at $2 per “on sale” at the commissary.
I thought that price was bad until …

Yes, even the dog treats are egg-free
Sunday, 16 Jan, 2011 – 10:22 | Comments Off
Yes, even the dog treats are egg-free

As long as they’re still selling Milk Bones, there is no reason for a normal person to make dog treats.
When a 5-year-old gets an Easy Bake oven from Santa and a dog treat set complete …

Plans for the weekend? Only if I want to survive it
Friday, 14 Jan, 2011 – 14:40 | Comments Off
Plans for the weekend? Only if I want to survive it

Back in the days Before Children, weekend plans were simple:

Friday night, a drink after work or maybe dinner out.
Saturday night, a dance club capped off with a trip to an all-night pancake house where I’d …

Call 911 coz we have a grammar emergency
Thursday, 13 Jan, 2011 – 12:55 | Comments Off
Call 911 coz we have a grammar emergency

“I am heavier than him uh huh.”

“That is shinier than that yep it is.”

“I am happier than him OK right.”
Overlook the confusion about usage of he/him. I’ll work on that one later. Right now, I’d …

Note to insurance companies: Not all meds are created equal
Wednesday, 12 Jan, 2011 – 18:00 | Comments Off

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before – and if you have a chronic medical condition, you probably have.
One drug works so-so, or not at all to control your symptoms. This is the one …

Tales from the waitressing crypt
Wednesday, 12 Jan, 2011 – 13:25 | Comments Off
Tales from the waitressing crypt

I can’t remember their name, though it was burned in my brain at the time. Just seeing it on the reservation list was enough to make me want to fake a case of bubonic plague …

How to teach math? Beats me.
Tuesday, 11 Jan, 2011 – 11:35 | One Comment
How to teach math? Beats me.

It’s not that I had the “bad math experience” in school that a recent newspaper article talks about – though I’m not sure what a “bad math experience” is because the article never defines it.
At …

Yes, what we say matters
Monday, 10 Jan, 2011 – 17:54 | Comments Off

There’s a heaping helping of irony in the fact that Saturday’s assassination attempt on an Arizona congresswoman by a man associates say is “very disturbed” has forced the right into the same box Muslims have …

Dreaming of the future we can almost see
Monday, 10 Jan, 2011 – 11:53 | 3 Comments
Dreaming of the future we can almost see

A little more than a year after Dad’s departure, his return is getting close.
Tantalizingly close. Not close enough to order the balloons or bake the cake, but near enough that we can see that it’s …

Egg-free bread machine dinner rolls
Saturday, 8 Jan, 2011 – 8:31 | Comments Off
Egg-free bread machine dinner rolls

There’s a gulf in our house that’s even bigger than gap between the Digital Native (the guys) v. Early Settlers (me).
That’s the Whole Wheat Native v. Adult Converts.
I didn’t grow up on whole wheat. I …

Seven years later and I still can’t let go
Friday, 7 Jan, 2011 – 14:22 | One Comment
Seven years later and I still can’t let go

I say all the right things when the guys ask about Rita, and I go through all the motions when she comes up and nuzzles me.
But when they ask I lie, because they wouldn’t understand. …

When Dora is outlawed, only outlaws will wear Dora
Thursday, 6 Jan, 2011 – 18:16 | Comments Off
When Dora is outlawed, only outlaws will wear Dora

The guys’ backpacks are camouflage. Their lunch boxes, though, are Buzz Lightyear. We have a camouflage model left over from last year, and since only one guy takes his lunch these days that means they’d …

The guys and school lunch – at least two of us are happy
Thursday, 6 Jan, 2011 – 13:53 | One Comment
The guys and school lunch – at least two of us are happy

For Big Guy it fell into the category of Things That Are Really Important. That meant he was going to keep pestering me until I got around to making it happen.
For me it fell into …

It doesn’t take a miracle. It only takes a book
Wednesday, 5 Jan, 2011 – 18:00 | 3 Comments
It doesn’t take a miracle. It only takes a book

Mommy, am I Student A or Student B, Big Guy asked.
Huh?
Am I Student A or Student B, out of the ones in my school folder.
I was stunned that he’d read his school folder, especially given …

There’s a neat freak inside. She’s just buried under paperwork
Wednesday, 5 Jan, 2011 – 11:13 | 3 Comments
There’s a neat freak inside. She’s just buried under paperwork

You know the mess is getting annoying when it’s bothering the slob in the family, a friend muttered as she stared at the pile of dishes in the sink.
It was only an afternoon’s worth, but …