Monday, March 31, 2008


to the surprise of many I asked for a George Foreman Grill for Christmas ~ it's pretty awesome and I've been more than pleased but tonight I made turkey burgers and when I lifter the lid, well lets just say I couldn't resist posting...the ooz is very spongy and not done justice by the photo.

raising boys

Lars and I have been struggling with the birth of Ben's attitude. One day he was a sweet little boy and the next he's almost 7. His almost 2 years of school has given him lots of time to watch and learn from others outside the "world" we created for him. he's talking with attitude, figured out how to push his brothers buttons and generally lost his "sweetness" I can sum it up with a word my mother used to use... he's being "Fresh". Don't get me wrong Ben is an amazing person and we are so very proud of him it's just learning to deal with these changes has come with some challenges recently.

I'm no fool. I know I can't shelter him forever, but teaching the lessons of a well mannered young man is exhausting. Half the time I'm not sure my lessons are worth teaching, and I get lost in self doubt about what kind of parents we are and how to stop the doubt.

I always thought the most important years were the first 5. Now I'm rethinking this because I know that if Lars and I turn our heads the other way so we won't have to deal with the hard stuff we will have failed him. So where to turn for advice after we've grilled our parenting savior (nanny Nancy) but Google. I love Google, I love that it has become a verb in our language, I love that when I can't find an answer to one of Ben's questions he suggests we Google it. And guess what I find? advise from my good buddy Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. So many wise things come from this man, and this was his advice today.

Today's Shmuleyism 3/31/08

"If we are able to connect with our sons and speak to them sincerely about the special men we want them to grow up to be, then we will not invite the kind of rebellion that is so often seen with strong-willed children. All kids want is to be loved, valued and made to feel special. It is our job as parents to make our boys feel that way so that they won't spend the rest of their lives trying to prove themselves to complete strangers."

when I look at it this way I know we can make it!

for more on my buddy Shmuley you can go to

Sunday, March 30, 2008

springtime snow complete with mud!!!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The neighborhood green belt (AKA native growth protection area) is in need of some TLC and today was trash pick up day. Our neighbors and the county's surface water management group is working to restore the natural drainage to help alleviate water quality problems. Ben, Charlie and I headed down to help out and brought Nate along since he had spent the night. After a day of snow and freezing rain it was a bit chilly, and VERY muddy, but it felt good to help out. We even got a native plant lesson before we started.

It is amazing what people will dump in a green belt. Examples of what was found today... a perfectly good suitcase, 2 bikes, car transmission, chairs, several tires, and plenty of beer bottles and soda cans. My favorite find was the 6 foot tall horse manure pile that was killing a tree because there was so much of it. Yes, there is a house on the other side of the green belt that has 2 horses. And if you've been to our house before you know that just isn't right. I always wondered about the neighing horses,and never imagined that someone actually has horses (full grown) in their back yard full time. And how nice of them to be dumping their horse manure in the green belt!

I wish we could have stayed longer, but there is only so much trash little people can pick up when so much of it was bigger than them.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pinewood Derby Boy Scout Style

Pinewood Derby Scout style. Ben and Lars worked late in to the night (or maybe just Lars) to put the finishing touches on "shakin' bacon" Charlie and I decided this was an event not to be missed so we made it a family affair. Holy crap... I had no idea what a huge event this would be. Naturally the dads were more in to the races than the kids after a while, and for me the highlight was watching the dads talk strategy... where they put their weight, what kind of paint they used, lubricant, design etc. LOVED IT!!! In his tiger cub group Ben came in 3rd and he had more fun than I could have imagined would come from a race. Lars says the group size was twice what it normally is so you know it must be the Boy Scout event of the year!!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

XM radio - Oprah and Friends

Many of you know how I feel about Oprah... if you don't here it is - ever since she humiliated James Fry on national television for stretching the truth in his book a million little pieces I find myself unable to bear her... plain and simple she bugs!!

However, I have XM radio in my new car and I love Oprah & Friends - Shmuley is my favorite, and example from today of why -

Today's Shmuleyism
"Every woman in America is affected by a feeling of inadequacy that they are never young enough, thin enough or pretty enough. Women must counter that irrational and destructive impulse to ordinariness by identifying the unique gift that only they have and which the world needs in order to be perfected. Find your gift."

and today when I was driving home after a day of bag, pen and cup schlepping I was listening to the after show of "the new earth" worlds largest class blah blah blah... and this woman said something I thought was great about gossiping...

Not all gossiping is bad, sometimes we are just celebrating and enjoying the fabulous varieties of life!!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

how is Ben today

some have asked... he has Pneumonia - and now Charlie has a fever and we'll likely find out he has it too! I'm not so sure I believe the doctors when they say Pneumonia isn't contagious

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Egg hunting twice

The rain is falling and Ben's temperature is climbing. He wasn't so happy when Charlie and I headed off to the Ross house for our annual Easter egg hunt. He begged and begged but came to his senses after we left when he realized that an Easter egg hunt in the rain wouldn't be much fun. Indeed this was the first year we had to head inside for the hunt. Charlie followed Nancy around picking up the eggs as she hid them but eventually discovered they had treats in them and settled down with one he liked. I was impressed with his hunting skills, almost like the ones on the floor were to obvious so he walked past them and looked in the plants and behind cushions instead. It was over in a flash even with 30 eggs per kid. Sarah knocked out her 30 so fast she became Ben's surrogate egg hunter since he couldn't make it.

Next up a nap at home before heading down to the Mack's. Ben thought he was better until he took a shower and then quickly decided he was better off laying down and watching more TV. Charlie was a pro by round two and quickly got to work with Hanna and Caitlin to find all the best eggs. He even unknowingly scored two Starbucks gift cards for his parents.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Peanut Butter

Most people in my life know I LOVE peanut butter. In fact I could live on peanut butter if I had to, even with our without it's partners jelly and chocolate so when I came across this peanut butter article I had to share: USA today some time last month

"The thing about peanut butter is that it brings people together. it's the great equalizer. It's in 75% of American homes. Each of us eats 3 pounds of it every year. that's 700 million pounds, enough to coat the floor of the grand canyon, not that it should be wasted on like that."

I love Jiff, even though I know I should be eating one of the all natural brands I just can't help myself.... what is your favorite kind

Friday, March 21, 2008

where in the world are Nonni

The grandparents are cruising around the world on the QE2. Want to know what they've seen and are doing... check out the blogg

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Are you an EcoMom? what is this world coming too?

This article first appeared on the Consumer Reports Home & Garden blog.

In recent years politicians on both sides of the aisle have tried to woo soccer moms, NASCAR dads, and Starbucks Republicans. But during the 2008 U.S. presidential election, candidates might have to focus their efforts on voters whose party color isn’t Republican red or Democratic blue but green . . . in the eco-friendly, environmentally aware sense.

What’s the hot new voting bloc, the fashionable faction? EcoMoms. In living rooms across America, these moms-on-a-mission are gathering to discuss ways to run more-sustainable households and shrink the carbon footprint of their families. Think 21st-century versions of Tupperware parties (without the plastic) or makeup-buying get-togethers (minus the chemical-laden cosmetics). The 9,000-member EcoMom Alliance is the de facto head of the movement. That number is too small to rock the vote, but the EA’s nationwide membership is on the rise and includes some high-profile names, including politico Arianna Huffington and actress Robin Wright. Visit the group’s Web site to learn how to become an EcoMom leader and host an EcoMom party.

Why the buzz? If you caught the last Democratic debate in Ohio, you’re aware that the “green collar” economy has become a hot-button issue: “You know, take a country like Germany,” said Senator Hillary Clinton. “They made a big bet on solar power. They have a smaller economy and population than ours. They've created several hundred thousand new jobs, and these are jobs that can't be outsourced.”

At Consumer Reports, we’re interested in environmental issues, whether we’re providing you with ways to save energy, testing compact fluorescent lighbulbs, looking at the levels of volatile organic compounds in interior paint, or clocking the energy consumption of washing machines. Or goal isn’t to influence you politically but to help you get the best products and save money by buying energy-efficient appliances.

Essential information: Plan to host an EcoMom party? Share these 10 easy ways to save hundreds of dollars on energy costs at your home.

--Daniel DiClerico