I did the unthinkable

Last summer, my daughter showed interest in potty training and I did the unthinkable. I discouraged it. Not in a potty training is bad sort of way. I just distracted her.

“Sure, you can sit on the potty chair. Hang on, let me get popsicles for the kids outside.”
“Look, a balloon!”

Why would a mom who hates buying diapers discourage potty training? We were going on a three-week trip. It wasn’t my first rodeo. I knew what potty training involves: setting a timer to go sit every 20 minutes, taking books and video to the bathroom, lots of liquids. I couldn’t handle spending those hours crouched in gas station bathrooms.

I am usually a firm believer in distraction. The kids are fighting over a toy? Point out a different one. Toddler is about to melt down? Show her something shiny. Older kids are arguing? Make them laugh.

This time, distraction bit me in the butt. I figured we’d potty train after vacation, but life got crazy. Fall break, I thought. But she lost interest. Christmas break. Nope. She was adamant. Spring break? No way.

So here we are a year later, starting again. (Trying to play it cool so she thinks it’s her idea.) We bought the toilet seat with the child’s seat built right in. (Fantastic!) We filled a basket with prizes and treats. (We’re not above bribery.)

Wish us luck or we’ll have to shop for diapers in the Depends aisle. They don’t make bigger diapers.

Memorial Day

flagsI love Memorial Day, but I don’t want it to be just another day to sleep in and swim and barbeque. Some of my kids are too young to fully grasp the meaning of the holiday, but we still try to teach them about America and the brave people who serve our country.

In my home town, the Boy Scouts line the streets with flags on all the patriotic holidays. Every time I drive down my parents’ street and see those flags, my heart swells with pride. It takes me back to the days following 9/11. Flags waved. People donated and served and loved their neighbors, despite any differences. Strangers helped each other. Drivers were more courteous. The entire country pulled together. Sorrow brought us together. The love and pride in America was so thick, so tangible, that our enemies couldn’t have anticipated such a reaction. For a heartbreaking but magically proud period, we were not classified by politics, religion, race, or economic status. We were all just Americans.

The division among Americans now is heartbreaking. As I drove to the cemetery today and looked back at my little ones in the rear view mirror, I wondered, How will I teach them? The answer hit me hard. They should be teaching us.

Public Service Announcement Regarding Nutella

love-nutellaMy love for Nutella is no secret. I lived in Europe for a bit and was delighted to find that Nutella on toast is considered breakfast. Now THAT is a breakfast that will get me out of bed in the morning. I brought my love for Nutella back to the United States. I now put in on ice cream, I use it in Rice KrispiesTreats, and I have even used it in Smores. I keep seeing Nutella recipes on Pinterest that I am eager to try.

In the past couple years, it seems everyone and their dog has started making their own hazelnut spread: Hersheys, Jif, and several others. Next it will be General Motors because apparently, everyone thinks they can make Nutella. When I first started seeing more hazelnut spread on the shelves I was excited, because hey! More Nutella, right? WRONG! It is not Nutella. Not even close.

I’m ashamed to say that curiosity got the better of me and I bought one of the glossy imitations. It stunk. So what did we do? We bought the real stuff and passed the imitation on to the kids. Except it was so bad, the kids didn’t even want it. These are the kids whose only prerequisite to eating something is that sugar is in the top five list of ingredients, the kids who will eat lint-covered fruit snacks off the ground, pick up chewed gum in a public park, or eat Halloween candy that they find in May. They hated the Nutella-imposter.

So while we are normally low-maintenance, easy-to-please people, it is now official. We are  Nutella snobs.

What Makes a Sport a Sport?

I am a huge sucker for the Olympics. For two weeks, I plant my butt on the couch and watch any and every sport I can. I LOVE the Olympics. But all this talk of sports brings up an ongoing debate the Mister and I have been having for years.

What makes a sport a sport?

  • Skill? No, not exclusively anyway. Bowling and Nascar require skill, but I wouldn’t consider either a sport. I’m on the fence about golf.
  • Sweating? Sports should cause you to break a sweat, but that alone isn’t enough. Otherwise, waiting for my car’s AC to cool off in July would be a sport.

So I don’t really know the answer to what constitutes a sport. I am still sorting this debate out in my head and haven’t quite found clarity. But there are things on ESPN that are definitely not sports. Chess? Bowling? Poker? Come on!

Meanwhile, the greatest sport on earth -volleyball of course- is grossly overlooked. I’m happy to see that the US volleyball teams are rocking it (knock on wood.) Go USA!

What do YOU think makes a sport a sport?

Nutella Rice Krispies Treats

Last week I made my Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Treats, which by the way turned out heavenly. I had to make a second batch the next day for some company. I remembered a jar of Nutella in the pantry, and thought why the heck not?

I was a bit nervous initially that it would be too much. You know how some people, clearly not me, get overwhelmed by rich desserts. Or too much chocolate. As if that were a real thing.

So here is what I did to make my Nutella Rice Krispies Treats:

  • Melt 1/2 cube butter in a big pan
  • Add 5 cups mini marshmallows (keep heat low & stir often!)
  • Add 1/2-1 c. Nutella & mix (based on your preference. I didn’t really measure, just put a couple big scoops in. It was probably just under 1 c. & perfect for us)
  • Add 6-7 cups Rice Krispies (Give or take, depending on how firm or gooey you like them. I did just under 7)
  • Press into a lightly greased pan
  • Melt 1 c. chocolate chips, stirring frequently. (On this batch I used half chocolate chips and half peanut butter chips and it rocked.) Pour into a ziploc bag & seal. Cut a tiny hold in one of the bottom corners, and drizzle chocolate over dessert.
  • Cool, cut, and try to contain yourself!

You know how some things taste even better on day 2? This is one of those things. If you’re a Nutella fan, try it!

On a sidenote, I noticed at the store the other day that Jif is now making a chocolate hazelnut spread. I am curious. Not enough to buy it, because really. How could anyone improve on Nutella? But I’m secretly hoping they will get into a bidding war over my tastebuds and both drop their prices. But even if they don’t, I’m happy to see Jif throw their hat in the ring. Because can the world ever have too much chocolate hazelnut spread? I think not.


On Standing Tall…

My goal in life was to be 6’2″. Sadly, I didn’t make it. I was 6’1″. I say was, because I’m pretty sure I have shrunk a bit…oh the joys of motherhood and aging. I haven’t measured myself in probably 15 years. Maybe it’s denial, but if I don’t measure myself I get to stick with the height I last measured at. Right?

Recently, our teenage babysitter came over after I hadn’t seen her in a while. She looked especially tall that day, and I asked her if she had grown. Her reply? “I hope not!” It broke my heart. This girl is sweet, talented, and beautiful. We’re talking supermodel gorgeous. I tried to reassure her how amazing and beautiful she is, and told her to stand tall and proud!

So lately, I’ve been thinking about confidence concerning body issues, and specifically height. I love being tall, it has never been an issue for me. Of course I’ve had other insecurities about different things throughout my life. We all do at some point. But never height.

So what is the best way to build self esteem in these tall girls? Positive talk and modeling confidence for them? Encouraging them to develop their character and talents? I think being a devoted athlete helped me as a teenager. My height was useful in sports, but I don’t think my confidence was based entirely on that. I can’t help but think my parents must have done something right in this regard, but I can’t put my finger on what they did.

I want to make sure I instill confidence in all the girls I interact with, the young athletes I coach, girls in my neighborhood and church, and especially my three daughters, who are bound to be tall. Any suggestions?

There is an art to placing blame

Little Dude has been placing blame since he could talk.

Who farted? (Sister did.)
Who scribbled on the walls with crayone? (Uncle did.)

You don’t even have to be in the room (or house or state) to be blamed. A glass  bowl is broken. Who broke this bowl? “B did.” Funny thing is, B has been at school for two hours and I just heard glass crash. Hmmm. Something doesn’t add up.

Well, Dude has taken the blame game to a whole new level. The other day we were at the table trying to quiet the kids for a blessing on the food, and he was banging on his chair.

Me: “Please stop hitting that so we can have prayer.”
Dude: “It’s not me, it’s my hand.”
Me: “Well tell your hand to stop.”
Dude: (pauses and looks at his hand, then turns back to me) “It said no.”
Me: “Your hand said no? Well did you say please”
Dude: (turns back to his hand and says please) “It said ok!!”

At this point he is beaming with pride that saying please worked in getting his unruly hand to comply.

At least he is a well mannered blamer right? Next lesson, honesty.



Will your eyes pop out if you sneeze with them open? I remember hearing that as a kid, & just wondered again looking at this picture of E. I had to google that question, and found that Mythbusters debunked it.

This picture makes me smile.


Best Stain Remover?

For years my mom has been using a bar of Fels Naptha to remove laundry stains. I’ve tried other products over the years, but I always end up back with this one. A lot of grocery stores carry it, for about a buck. And heaven knows with four kids under 8, we’ve got a lot of stains around here.

I just wet the bar and rub it onto the stain, and then use an old toothbrush to scrub. My mom found these plastic mesh bags, and gave me some. So now I tie the bar into a bag, and the bag acts as the scrubber.

I’ve been hearing about homemade laundry soap made with Fels Naptha. Or this one with Pink Zote and fabric softener. I’m going to have to try homemade soap one of these days.

Look who’s 8 and baptized!

My sweet girl was baptized a few weeks ago, on her eighth birthday. I was looking back at some of her baby and toddler pictures, and wishing I could somehow slow down time. It seems to be spinning out of control lately, moving faster and faster despite how hard I dig my heels in.

It was a beautiful and special day. B is so innately good. She is wise, spiritual, and sensitive beyond her years. She was so thankful for everyone who came, and everyone who brought special gifts. Sometimes at birthday parties, kids just tear a gift open, throw it down, and move on to the next without knowing who gave them what. Not B. She thanked each person who came, and sent thank you notes to those who brought gifts. I supplied cards, but she had the idea and wrote and sent them all herself.

I love this girl and am so proud of her!