October 15, 2014

Treat Yourself: An AMAZING Giveaway {$200 Zappos Giftcard}

I bet that title got your attention, didn't it? This is one awesome giveaway and who doesn't love Zappos?! BonBon Break is sponsoring this puppy and, while BonBon Break doesn't deliver shoes to your doorstop, it's pretty super too. 

October 14, 2014

4 Tips for Teaching Kids They Can Do Hard Things

Last week I took the boys rollerskating as part of a "healthy family" initiative going on at Zip's school. I hadn't been rollerskating in years and when I showed my husband pictures later, he assured me that the rink hadn't changed at all since he was a kid, right down to the same shag-carpeted benches. It was all very retro.

Zip insisted on rollerblades (that part was a little less retro). I helped him strap them on and, although he had never been on skates before in his life, he stood, confidently proclaimed, "This isn't so hard!" and wobbled his way over to the rink.

I was pretty sure Bee wasn't ready for rollerblades and mistakenly - mistakenly, people! - thought rollerskates would be much easier. Four wheels, how hard can that be? The answer: Very.

We slowly made our way to the rink and, with one hand in mine and another against the wall, Bee began working his way around the rink. It was painful. He swooned and swerved and jerked. He fell and I helped him up. He fell again. I tried holding him under the armpits to guide him, but I had a pair of skates on myself and was having a hard time keeping myself upright, much less myself and a 45-pound prechooler. I glanced up and saw just how far we still had to go, if we had any hope of getting off this rink. I looked down and saw Bee's face, nervous and concerned.

"This is hard, isn't it, Bee?"

October 9, 2014

Good Family Meals Made Easy & One Of Our Slow Cooker Favorites

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches with Red Cabbage-Cilantro Slaw
I love to cook.

Or maybe I just love to eat.

Nah, I think I love both.

Back when my husband and I first started living together, "cooking" usually meant some kind of skillet meal from the freezer section of the grocery store and the weekends were for eating out. But eventually I got tired of eating the same few meals all the time and when the kids came along I found the motivation I needed to change our habits. It is really important to us that we sit down together as a family each night and that the food on the table is (relatively) healthy.

The challenge is actually finding the time to cook for our family! Home-cooked meals require more planning than grabbing something from the freezer section, that's for sure, and usually take more effort to put together, although not always.

In recent years I've finally developed a system that works for us and it is pretty simple:

October 7, 2014

Picking Pumpkins & A Little Lesson On Diversity

Sunday afternoon, Bee and I headed out to find pumpkins. My husband and Zip were in Philadelphia at the Eagles game (Zip's first NFL game - a very big deal!), and I had promised Bee we would have our own fun. Which, in the midst of a day full of things to do - like buy groceries and also make sure my little guy napped - meant a quick stop at a local church's annual pumpkin sale. Fortunately, this was a very big deal in his four-year-old eyes.

It was a beautiful day. Hello there, fall - we've been waiting for you! The sun shone, the leaves were starting to turn, and there was the perfect level of chill in the air. Bee wore fleece, a sure sign of autumn's arrival, and insisted on his winter hat too. I was excited to pull my boots out of the closet and cold-weather clothes from under the bed. (Although, where are my sweaters? Seriously, did the closet eat them, because I can't find them anywhere!)

Bee bounced excitedly between the aisles of pumpkins, grinning from ear to ear. "Look at that one, Momma! It is so skinny! I want one of those baby pumpkins too! Ooo, I like this one - this is a good jack-o-lantern pumpkin!" He wanted to inspect every last one.

I pointed out the bumpy pumpkins, the white one with green swirls on it, the pumpkin that looked like it had freckles.

And it dawned on me: this was a perfect opportunity for one of those unplanned, organic conversations about the beauty of diversity.

October 5, 2014

An Open Letter To The Moms Suing Sperm Bank

Dear Amanda and Jennifer,

A few days ago, I spotted your story on the internet. I admit my initial reaction to the headline was outrage. Suing over a baby's race? Seriously?! I was busy and I didn't have time to read the full story (or determine if headlines were even accurate). But I did have time, in the coming days, to read some of the reactions that followed, and I found myself nodding my head in agreement as others criticized your decision to sue and painted you as unappreciative racists.


Then I read the news stories for myself. And I started to wonder if the criticism you are receiving is really so deserved.

When it comes to race and parenting, we want things to be black and white. You are a racist or you aren't. You're a great parent or a horrible one. On-line sometimes the lines are drawn even more harshly, with greater certainty, and too quickly. We rush to judgment. Things are so much simpler if we can put them in neat, tidy boxes.