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

Girl Gone Wonk

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


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 tagged with: DIY gifts

It’s a ballerina! It’s a fairy! It’s easy!
Friday, 12 Jun, 2009 – 12:05 | Comments Off

I’m kind of frustrated this morning because I don’t have girls. I don’t even know any girls young enough to appreciate this.
But if I did, I’d be all over the tutu tutorial – say that …

Give them a grilling for the holidays
Saturday, 20 Dec, 2008 – 11:54 | 2 Comments
Give them a grilling for the holidays

It’s not exactly a seasonal favorite this time of year — except in parts of California and Florida where grills are rarely covered — but grilling recipes can be used indoors in the off season. …

Finally finding a market for cookies in a jar
Friday, 19 Dec, 2008 – 14:48 | Comments Off
Finally finding a market for cookies in a jar

I never could figure out who cookie-mix gift packs were aimed at.
Think about it: If you don’t like to bake, adding a few ingredients and turning on the oven is going to be too much …

Sharing the backyard wealth
Wednesday, 17 Dec, 2008 – 10:04 | Comments Off
Sharing the backyard wealth

Citrus tree overruneth this year? Pass the bounty along – not everyone has one in their back yard.
Fruit baskets are yet another gift with a bad reputation, thanks to mail-order firms that deliver mush. It …

Giving the shirt off my back, grandparents edition
Tuesday, 16 Dec, 2008 – 12:54 | Comments Off
Giving the shirt off my back, grandparents edition

Here’s a variation on the homemade T-shirt/sweat shirt/tote bag theme: Homemade T-shirt/sweat shirt/tote bags (and more) crafted with the help of the little darlin’s themselves.
Granted, this is not going to be every grandparent’s thing, and …

Simple Gifts: Giving the shirt off my back
Monday, 15 Dec, 2008 – 13:16 | Comments Off
Simple Gifts:  Giving the shirt off my back

Seeing that perfect T-shirt for Aunt Sally in your head but can’t seem to find it in stores?
It’s pretty easy to make it yourself. All you need is a computer, clip art or images, iron-on …

Simple Gifts: A-salt on a gift project
Sunday, 14 Dec, 2008 – 11:07 | 2 Comments
Simple Gifts: A-salt on a gift project

Bath salts get a bad rap courtesy of cheap and cheesy prefab gift baskets that proliferate around Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. It’s also a tricky gift to give early in a relationship. What? …

Simple gifts: You’re such a dip
Saturday, 13 Dec, 2008 – 9:14 | One Comment
Simple gifts: You’re such a dip

Try a salsa trio – hey, what were you thinking – as either a hostess gift or as a present for someone who might have a lot of guests headed their way. Or for someone …

Simple Gifts: For kids on the go
Wednesday, 10 Dec, 2008 – 22:28 | Comments Off
Simple Gifts: For kids on the go

Know a family that’s constantly on the go or planning a long trip in the near future?
You could buy a $60 travel set, complete with cup holders and desktop — $15 “accessory kit” optional. Or …

Simple gifts: Sweet on teacher
Tuesday, 9 Dec, 2008 – 23:21 | Comments Off
Simple gifts: Sweet on teacher

Trying to come up with a gift for the guys’ teachers two years ago was a challenge. I couldn’t think of a thing they probably didn’t already have 3,000 of. Still, Big Guy was 3 …

Simple gifts: Cookies and cocoa
Sunday, 7 Dec, 2008 – 10:19 | Comments Off
Simple gifts: Cookies and cocoa

Before three more weeks have passed, everyone will be cookied-out. So why not give cookies folks can enjoy in January? And some tummy-warming hot cocoa mix to chase away the foggy or snowy chill, depending …

Simple Gifts: A kitchen gift that will grow on them
Saturday, 6 Dec, 2008 – 10:14 | 2 Comments
Simple Gifts: A kitchen gift that will grow on them

How about some fresh basil and parsley for that winter batch of pasta sauce? Or just-cut cilantro for some out-of-season salsa?
If someone on your list loves to cook, an indoor herb garden might be the …

Coffee in three speeds
Tuesday, 2 Dec, 2008 – 23:59 | Comments Off
Coffee in three speeds

I’ll confess: I’m a coffee snob. I analyze flavors like some people study wines. I’m also an addict: I received four pounds of coffee for Christmas last year, which was almost enough to last until …

Simple Gifts: Dinner with Lady and the Tramp
Monday, 1 Dec, 2008 – 0:36 | One Comment
Simple Gifts: Dinner with Lady and the Tramp

It’s entertainment. It’s a meal. It’s fun. It’s hard to go wrong with a “Lady and the Tramp” dinner basket.
Though the price tag is a bit beyond the usual Simple Gifts budget, the idea’s too …

Cheap thrills: Photo calendar gifts
Sunday, 24 Aug, 2008 – 21:33 | Comments Off

“Thinking of Christmas shopping yet? Honestly, neither am I, though my mother’s probably finished.

If you’re among the super-organized and compulsively early, though, take a look at Snapfish’s photo calendar free shipping sale that landed in my inbox today. It’s disguised as a back-to-school special — isn’t everything of late? — but it could get some gifts out of the way.

I’ve given these calendars as gifts for four Christmases, and they’re popular with grandfolks and far-flung relatives.

Snapfish makes creating personalized calendars incredibly easy. Simply open an account, upload your images, click on the store tab, click on calendars and get started.

The reproduction on the finished product is top-notch — sharp colors and clear images.

The design options are a little cheesy – or maybe I’m just tired of looking at them