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 in 9to5to9

Ca-nation Cam: Day 2
Tuesday, 23 Mar, 2010 – 14:49 | Comments Off
Ca-nation Cam: Day 2

Though yellow had taken the early lead at school, at home red and blue quickly pulled out in front at home in our flowers-and-food-coloring experiment. I wondered if the flowers were picking up on vibes …

Yes, I have a youngest child
Tuesday, 23 Mar, 2010 – 12:27 | Comments Off
Yes, I have a youngest child

It was one of Boots’ best performances ever.
Miffed that Big Guy didn’t want to play with him, Boots stomped over to a lonely corner of the playground, plopped down and hung his head. Seconds later, …

Ca-nation Cam: Day 1
Monday, 22 Mar, 2010 – 14:48 | Comments Off
Ca-nation Cam: Day 1

From the same fun folks who brought you Chia Cam – the plants are all now officially dead, by the way – we introduce Ca-nation Cam. It’s the science project that was so much fun …

Good Skype, moon
Monday, 22 Mar, 2010 – 10:59 | Comments Off
Good Skype, moon

The first thing I noticed were the bare wooden walls in Dad’s room. We have to do something about that, I thought. Maybe the guys should make some posters next week. Yeah, I know Afghanistan …

Hopscotching into math
Wednesday, 17 Mar, 2010 – 11:46 | One Comment
Hopscotching into math

It’s a math drill with no flash cards!
It’s exercise without leaving the patio!
And it’s also an idea I blatantly stole from Parents Math Night at Big Guy’s school – but, hey, there’s nothing wrong with …

Boots and his babies
Tuesday, 16 Mar, 2010 – 10:46 | 4 Comments
Boots and his babies

Boots is going to have two babies, and he’s already set on their names – Lightning and Juan Pablo. The latter is a NASCAR thing.
But what if one’s a girl? What’s her name going to …

During deployment, the smart phone is smart again
Monday, 15 Mar, 2010 – 10:57 | Comments Off
During deployment, the smart phone is smart again

Yeah, we have all the toys: Digital audio recorder for capturing bedtime stories, digital video recorders (yes, plural) for reliving sports and school programs, a digital still camera for everything in between and a scanner …

Dazed and confused? Then dance
Friday, 12 Mar, 2010 – 13:33 | Comments Off
Dazed and confused? Then dance

It was the second week of karate, and Boots was starting  his new sport the same way he’d started soccer.
He’d flop. He’d flit. He’d spin merrily and smile broadly. Then he’d look appropriately chagrined when …

They really don’t make them like they used to
Thursday, 11 Mar, 2010 – 12:04 | Comments Off
They really don’t make them like they used to

It was garden-variety stuff – cat chases mouse, cat catches mouse, mouse bonks cat’s head with an iron skillet, dog pummels cat – but I hadn’t heard Big Guy laugh so hard in ages as …

Over the moon about Molly – but is the trip worth it?
Wednesday, 10 Mar, 2010 – 12:36 | One Comment
Over the moon about Molly – but is the trip worth it?

I’m certain it was the bright-blue goggle-eyed pug on the cover that drew Big Guy’s attention. The fact that I was trying to steer him to what I thought was more age-appropriate reading material – …

I love California. I’m just not sure why
Tuesday, 9 Mar, 2010 – 13:54 | 2 Comments
I love California. I’m just not sure why

It’s funny how a simple question can stop you dead in your tracks, like when a high school classmate I’d recently reconnected with asked, “How do you like Cali?”
I love it, I thought.
Then I wondered …

The empty chair at the dining room table
Monday, 8 Mar, 2010 – 11:59 | Comments Off
The empty chair at the dining room table

I don’t know what I was thinking when I opened two cans of tuna the other night.
Before deployment, those two cans wouldn’t have lived to see the next day. Dad would have made four tuna …

It takes a village to coach a soccer team
Friday, 5 Mar, 2010 – 12:51 | Comments Off
It takes a village to coach a soccer team

She had the same reaction I did when she went to the pre-season meeting for soccer parents and found out that her 4-year-old’s team didn’t have a coach: This will never work.
The director assured everyone …

Reading Across America – in a virtual way
Wednesday, 3 Mar, 2010 – 13:09 | Comments Off
Reading Across America – in a virtual way

We’ve read the books, and we’ve eaten the cake at the library. That’s all old Cat in the Hat now. What else could we do to celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday and Read Across America, I …

Lunch with teacher
Tuesday, 2 Mar, 2010 – 13:18 | Comments Off
Lunch with teacher

When we last left Big Guy, his big mouth was causing problems at school on a daily basis. It’s a seasonal issue for him that’s going to crop up just as sure as the teacher …

If the Army acknowledges it, why can’t I?
Monday, 1 Mar, 2010 – 13:17 | Comments Off
If the Army acknowledges it, why can’t I?

The U.S. Army recognizes that I might need a little help when Dad is away. That’s why the military offers 16 hours’ care a month to children whose parents are deployed are wounded.
So why did …

Discovering a skill you’d rather not have
Friday, 26 Feb, 2010 – 13:11 | 2 Comments
Discovering a skill you’d rather not have

Have you ever had the bad luck to be good at something you don’t like doing?
It happened to me once, between my sophomore and junior years in college. I’d accepted a summer internship as a …

It’s not retail therapy; it’s education
Thursday, 25 Feb, 2010 – 10:39 | Comments Off
It’s not retail therapy; it’s education

What could possibly be more annoying than a 6-year-old who fritters away every dime on candy or a bright shiny object that’s going to hold his interest only for as long as it takes to …

How to teach without terrifying?
Wednesday, 24 Feb, 2010 – 12:30 | Comments Off
How to teach without terrifying?

When she rang the doorbell Monday after school, tears streamed down the second-grader’s face. I was shocked, because while I don’t know her well I do know that she’s a tough kid who doesn’t hesitate …

After you fit in little luxuries, frugal is what’s left
Tuesday, 23 Feb, 2010 – 15:15 | One Comment
After you fit in little luxuries, frugal is what’s left

I consider myself to be a fairly thrifty person. Not as tight as my grandfather who recycled coffee grounds – for brewing, not gardening – but I’m hardly a spendthrift in most areas.
For example, when …

Reading Dad his bedtime story
Monday, 22 Feb, 2010 – 13:18 | Comments Off
Reading Dad his bedtime story

Big Guy came home excited after library day at school a few weeks ago – not that he isn’t usually excited, because the library is like shopping, only everything is free.
This time, though, he’d scored …

The up side of soccer snacks
Friday, 19 Feb, 2010 – 13:46 | Comments Off
The up side of soccer snacks

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
I cannot change soccer snacks. Well, technically speaking I suppose I could if I …

Friends and fibbers
Thursday, 18 Feb, 2010 – 13:15 | 2 Comments
Friends and fibbers

Mommy, BFF’s been lying to me, Big Guy said last night. He doesn’t really have a brother.
I had suspected as much for months.
In the fall, the “brother” was a teen-ager who’d left a few weeks …

The hamster chase
Tuesday, 16 Feb, 2010 – 14:09 | One Comment
The hamster chase

You’re a soldier spending your last day with your family before you deploy. In your dream world, the schedule would include:

Waking up at 10 to a nice leisurely breakfast, followed by an afternoon of lolling …

Why I don’t care if the guys play soldier
Monday, 15 Feb, 2010 – 11:52 | 2 Comments
Why I don’t care if the guys play soldier

Big Guy wanted a Nerf gun for Christmas – a big one. “A pazooka,” he said.
He also wanted night vision goggles. And he “needed” walkie-talkies because he was tired of squawking into a fake plastic …

You can’t always get what you want
Saturday, 13 Feb, 2010 – 9:00 | Comments Off
You can’t always get what you want

A mere 12 hours after I’d plowed through the top row of a Whitman’s Sampler in an attempt to console myself because we wouldn’t see Dad for at least six months, my phone rang.
It was …

Do I get my trophy yet?
Friday, 12 Feb, 2010 – 11:59 | Comments Off
Do I get my trophy yet?

Other than spinning around MarioKart-style on the court every time he gets bumped, Boots is just not that into soccer. Which is fine with me, because his spins are kind of cute. They play on …

Sorry, folks. You’re No. 8 on my list
Thursday, 11 Feb, 2010 – 13:51 | Comments Off
Sorry, folks. You’re No. 8 on my list

Years ago, a reporter handed me a cartoon outlining OSHA regulations covering how many people were allowed to ride her butt at one time. Because I was No. 8 in line I’d have to wait …