Monday, January 31, 2011

I heart Suffragette Valentines

I am a big collector of all sorts of things. Useful things, like used milk caps

I also like to collect old postcards. They arrive to my (and my husbands!) delight neatly boxed-up from eBay on a regular basis. Sometimes, I purchase postcards directly from among the decaying remains of a lifetime in a house sale or more macabrely, from an estate sale.

Some of my favorite postcards are the ones that are both pro and con women's suffrage. For those of you who like a little history lesson with your blog reading, the women's suffrage movement in the United States was active in the early twentieth century, until voting rights were finally secured in 1920 after a long and contentious battle.

The US suffragettes were a clever group, as were the equally fascinating anti-suffragettes. The arguments from both sides are still alive today in the slogans of the many postcards used to promote each side's position. Today, these same goals are accomplished with emails and witty tweets.

I have an endlessly amusing collection of postcards from both sides of the debate, and only recently realized a few of them are Valentines Day related.  I'm not sure why the holiday-tie-in, but I'm off now to see if the Internet can enlighten me.

While I search, I leave you with one of my most favorite Valentines Day anti-suffrage cards. 

If she was alive today, I just know she'd have a blog.

For more vintage and suffragette Valentines, click here.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Really Helpful Tips for Wives and Mothers #4: Things that Seem Like Your Keys In Your Pocket, But Aren't

If you're like me, ever since you had kids things seem to get misplaced, broken, and generally transmuted at record speed. At my house, this phenomenon happens most often in the mornings, when we're all rushing off to school.

For faithful readers, you may remember a particularly absentminded morning when of all the things I could forget.... I forgot the baby.

So today's Really Helpful Tip for Wives and Mothers is a quick run-down on items you might have in your pocket that when you pat your pocket will feel exactly like your keys, but when you go to unlock your car door, or front door, you will find actually are:

This adorable Leon the Cat (from France!):

A Duplo block! Any shape or color can trick you into thinking they are keys!

And last, a small children's size tube of Hello Kitty nail polish - oh, it feels like keys but surprisingly, will not open the door.

As super-hilarious as it is to pull these things out of my pocket when I think they're my keys, being locked-out of my car and/or house with my three young kids just isn't that funny after the first, or second, or that's right... the third time.

So tell me... do your keys transmute on busy mornings too?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

(Not so) Wordless Wednesday - Saying Goodbye to My Brother's Lower East Side Bachelor Pad

My brother Ethan (he blogs too!) is moving to Brooklyn. Leaving his Lower East Side apartment of well-over a decade. We decided to take the kids for one last visit to Rivington Street last weekend.

Here's a rare family photo taken outside his building:

Yes, I'm using the baby to block me.
There are a lot of wonderful things about Ethan's apartment, like the hand-decorated ceiling:

but I'm guessing he won't miss the view.

Or the four flights of stairs.

He may also miss his neighbors directly to his right, and to his left.  But I'm guessing you can get those things in Brooklyn, too.

P.S. Don't forget my super fun giveaway for Super Fun Puzzle Valentines from Peaceable Kingdom Press ends tonight! Enter now!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Looking for Unique Kids Valentines? Check Out the Super Valentine Fun Packs from Peaceable Kingdom!

Congratulations to the winner, tristatecruisers!

Thank you to everyone who entered!

This Giveaway is now closed.

Let me be honest - Valentine's Day is not of my favorite holidays for kids, or even for us grown-ups. The only day I like celebrating less is New Year's Eve. My favorite years were when my kids went to an Orthodox Jewish pre-school which did not celebrate, for obvious reasons, Saint Valentine's Day. (It also didn't celebrate Halloween and Saint Patrick's Day, for which I was equally grateful.)

These days, my kids go to public school. And yes, they bring Valentines to school. And their mom (that's me!) tries to be a good sport. Last year I was really proud that they were able to give-out dare I say the most popular Valentines despite the fact they featured neither candy or TV characters.

These fun, perfect Valentines were Peaceable Kingdom's Rainbow Glasses, complete with holographic lenses. A big hit with both the boys and girls in my daughter's first grade class.

This year, just in time for Valentine's Day, Peaceable Kingdom is giving away a Super Valentine Fun Pack with twenty Puzzle Valentine Cards to a lucky winner.

These very cool Valentines are puzzles - after you sign the back just break apart the puzzle and put the pieces in the envelope, and it's ready to give. The lucky recipients will have fun putting the card together and decoding the hidden Valentine message.

Making these valentines even better - they come in their own on-the-go envelope for easy transport to and from school.

To enter to win these fantastic Puzzle Valentine Cards, leave a comment here and let us know which valentines (or anything else) are your favorites at

You can also receive an extra entry by Liking Peaceable Kingdom on Facebook, and yet another entry for Liking Random Handprints on Facebook

Just leave a comment and let me know who you liked on Facebook so I can make sure it gets counted.

This giveaway is open through 8:00 pm EST on Wednesday, January 26. Winner will be notified via email and the Valentines will be shipped directly from Peaceable Kingdom.

Good luck and Happy Valentines Day!

Other contest small print: Contest open to U.S. residents age 18 and over. Contest ends 8:00pm EST, Wednesday, January 26, 2011. Winners will be randomly selected via and announced here as well as emailed with the good news. Must provide contact information in your comment. If winner does not respond within two days, a new winner will be selected. Prize supplied and fulfilled by Peaceable Kingdom. I was not compensated for promoting this contest.

Monday, January 17, 2011

New feature on Random Handprints! Instructions for my husband!

I used to have a blog devoted entirely to instructions for my husband.  At first he didn't know about it.  Then he found out and was amused.  Then bemused. And finally, not so much bemused or amused.  So I stopped writing them.  But yesterday he was *really* irritating. So today, I imported all of my instructions to here.  AND I'm going back to writing new ones, too. 

Here's my first instruction for my beloved husband: Your iPad can do some other stuff besides being an alarm clock. It can do other stuff besides showing today's date. And it can do other stuff besides showing the weather.

You are reminding me of when on Seinfeld Jerry's dad would only use The Wizard to calculate tips. If you never follow any of my other instructions, please just follow this one: You don't want to be Morty.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Three Great Shape Sorters for Toddlers (Just not My Son)

My son Ziggy is just about 18-months-old and I am obsessed in finding a shape-sorting toy he will play with for more then five minutes.  As of now, he is just not interested in any toy that you need to sit to play with - not pegs you pound, not balls you drop, not shapes you sort.  He climbs, he rolls, he ambles, but he does not sit.

As a result, I now have the largest collection of share sorting toys - all purchased in the hopes that one will captivate him. None have so far, but I still pass along the best three options (in my opinion), because I know these are really great toys for a toddler.  Even if Ziggy didn't get the memo.

1. Shape and Sort by Plan Toys (Ages 1+)
Photo from
I love Plan Toys products, and their Shape and Sort is no exception. The lines are clean and modern, the colors bright but not garish, and the pieces have a smooth finish and are just the right size for little toddler hands. Best of all, this shape sorter has an innovative tray mechanism that when pushed releases the pieces for repeat play. 

2. Shape and Color Sorter by Lauri Toys (Ages 2-5)

Photo from
I've always had great luck with Lauri products, so I thought I would give a try with a different type of shape sorter to see if this might engage my little guy to sit still. This toy has five pegs that the crepe rubber pieces fit onto, and the twenty-five pieces can be sorted by color or shape. The toy is easy-to-use and there isn't a "right" answer, as all of the pieces fit onto all of the pegs. This toy is great for slightly older kids too, as they can use the pieces to make patterns as well.

3. Peek-a-Blocks Shape Sorter by Fisher-Price (Ages 9 months to 2 years)

Photo from
My toy choices usually skew towards wooden and silent, of which this toy is neither. But I forgive the plastic and the sounds it makes when the shapes drop into the box, because this toy was a favorite with both my daughters. I haven't gotten it for Ziggy yet, but it's on my purchase list because I'm hoping a little bit of bells and whistles will be just the thing to get him into the shape-sorting groove.
Do you know a great shape sorter that keeps your kid's attention? Please share your recommendation  - I'm totally up for buying yet another one!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Tomorrow-day and other phrases coined by kids

I'm not usually one to glorify my kid's syntax mistakes, but I just love one of Kay's expressions. Every time she asks me for something and I say no, she asks, "tomorrow-day?" to which I usually answer, "Yes, sweetie pie, tomorrow-day you can do that."

And at five-years-old, Kay knows that tomorrow and tomorrow-day are not the same thing. Tomorrow-day is everything that could be and should be in Kay's little kid-sized world.  And I do hope, really hope, that just a few of our many tomorrows live-up to the expectations of a tomorrow-day, too.

Do your kids have a tomorrow-day phrase they coined that you just love?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Magpie and Snowman In Conversation

"So anyways, like I was saying, I tell the other snowman..."

How My Husband Writes a Grocery List

On Monday, I knew snow was being forecasted for Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. So, being the organized and slightly crowd-averse suburban mom that I am, I went to the grocery store on Monday afternoon.

That night, my husband says to me, "You really should go to the store tomorrow.  In case we get snowed-in."

"Oh, I don't have to!" I replied enthusiastically, "I went today!" I have never felt more on-top-of things in my life. For once, I was the ant and not the grasshopper.

"Listen to all the stuff I got - salmon, and rice, for dinner. Clementines and honey for desert. The kids love dipping them. For breakfast we have oatmeal. Or I can make eggs. And chicken and red pepper sausage. With basil! Tons of snack food -  blueberries, a few mangoes, the strawberries looked good, so I got two containers of those, pop corn, those pistachios you like, a bunch of yogurt, and those baby cheeses that Ziggy loves. We're all good. Oh! And I almost forgot - maple syrup to make sno-cones!"

He looked back at me, blankly. Paused a moment and then says:

"I don't want any of that. You know I don't want any of that."

And he continued: "You need to go to the store tomorrow and get stuff for me."

My husband likes to eat junk food I barely even consider to be food at all, they are so processed and manufactured. So, I refuse to buy it in my super-supportive wifely way. I shop for the family during the week and he shops for himself on Saturdays (and puts the food in his specially designated "Daddy drawer").  I really wanted to argue I was not going back to the store on the stupid-busy-day-before-the-snow-comes-day, but then I figured, I'll just go. It won't kill me to be nice just this once. But it's still really irritating.

I got to the store, opened the email he had sent me with the innocuous Subject line: Tuesday Grocery List

And this it what it said:

thanks for doing this honey!
i would like for wednesday snow day:

white bread -- i dont care if there is hfcs or not


microwave bacon -- oscar meyer is good.

some kind of hash browns / potatoes to make with french toast. they could be toaster hash brown patties, or it could be something you could make in a pan.


get a couple packages of tuna in a pouch for me and kay for lunch.


i would take some new england clam chowder from somewhere if we dont have some already.


Chicken breasts (THIN SLICED), or ground beef (80-20; ALL BEEF NONE OF THIS SICKO VEAL AND PORK SHIT PLEASE).

If you want to make pretzel crusted chicken, then pick up some pretzels too. REAL PRETZELS. WITH SALT ON THEM. MOTHERFUCKER.

Vegetable to eat with the chicken?
Dessert: Could you please pick up a package of the pre-cut toll house or nestle choc chip cookies in the flat dough that i like to make?




Thanks to everyone who is here via Pinterest, hello and welcome!

For more funny stuff, be sure to check out my full list of Instructions for My Husband.

And for even more funny stuff, be sure and like Random Handprints on Facebook, and follow me @Anna_Sandler on Twitter. Because my husband is a constant source or new material.

Monday, January 10, 2011

New Year, New Ideas - Time for "Up & Down New York"

Photo from
When I started blogging back in 2007, I was going to record daily poems I shared with my daughters.  That was fun for them, and for me, for about a month.

Then, with the whole toddler poetry thing coming to a standstill, I got a new idea for my little students for 2008. I revised our curriculum. We would read about, and then discover ourselves, all the places in Up and Down New York, a beautiful book by Tony Sarg from the 1920s. Remarkably, most if not all of the places Sarg featured back in 1926 can still be visited today.

As is the fate of many a good plan... I forgot all about it. The years went by.  We even betrayed our beloved Manhattan by moving to the subrubs.  But my desire to take my kids on a Sarg Tour of the City remains. And 2011 is the year we are going to do it.

Here is the plan: one-by-one we'll visit each of the twenty-four landmarks Tony Sarg illustrates so vibrantly in Up and Down New York. Since my kids are significantly older now then when I hatched this plan three years ago, I am hopeful they really can learn a lot about what has changed in the great City of New York, and what really hasn't changed so much at all.

We'll plan to go to one or two places a month, and maybe try and be really productive in the warmer weather months. There are few indoor places that will work great for our first stop in chilly January.

Would you like to join us on our Sarg tour around New York City? Just leave a comment or email me.

Click here to read a review of Up and Down New York.
Click here to order Up and Down New York from

Sunday, January 9, 2011

We're living in a material world....

Photo from
It seemed like a good idea!

That's what Kay and Magpie would say if you asked, why did you take everything (and by everything, I mean everything) out of your rooms and put it all on the stairs?

That's right, when I was busy doing something important like bathing the baby or blogging about my milk cap collection, my dear children took every piece of bedding, pillows, nighttime sleeping companions, clothes, shoes, books, toys, even rugs, lamps, paintings and other room furnishings out of their rooms and put them on the hall staircase.

When they were done it looked like a page out of Peter Menzel's Material World. I am not kidding. I am not exaggerating.

Why do you ask? Why would my children do this? Because, in their words, "we wanted to re-create our rooms on the stairs so we could slide down our room."

My biggest regret? No, it's not that I was doing something somewhere else in the house and allowed this to happen when my back was turned, so to speak.  No, my biggest regret is there were no batteries in the camera so this event can not be commemorated.

And G-d willing, it will not be recreated.

P.S. This all went down shortly before bed time. So the bed stuff went back on the beds and the rest of it went in about fifteen giant shopping bags. I have no plans to unpack those bags anytime soon. Maybe this will all be for the best.

PPS And yes, I did let them slide down their room. It was a very under-whelming experience, especially in comparison to what I think the kids thought it would be.

I really do need to get one of those infant pause buttons so this doesn't happen again.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Bestest Show on Earth - The Pee-wee Herman Show on Broadway

Not that I expected anything less, but The Pee-wee Herman Show on Broadway was the bestest show in the whole Globey world.  And I'm not just saying that because Pee-wee gave me my very first best-ever super-duper post modern autograph.

I had the very good fortune of seeing the show (which was also a historic taping for an HBO special airing in Spring 2011) with my online acquaintance and now real-life friend Jill from Glamamom, which made good times even more fun. We also had the incredible luck of sitting next to two hilarious and uber-knowledgeable Pee-wee aficionados who gave us all the inside trivia, gossip and insights about Paul Reubens, and just about every other character past and present who might ever have been associated now or sometime in the future with Pee-wee, his playhouse, or even the playhouse's playhouse.  I have never been so sorry not to have gotten someone's email before, especially since these two fans from Washington, D.C. were the reason I was blessed with the finest accomplishment of my adult life - an @PeeWeeHerman retweet. (Yes, I know his PR company probably wrote it, I'm not totally naive.)

The show is pure delight and Pee-wee giddiness. I loved everything about it, especially the happy childhood memories it kindled from seeing the cartoon Penny after all these years, to listening to the wondrously clangy C-C-C-Conky. And Miss Yvonne? She hasn't aged a bit. Still the prettiest woman in Puppetland by far.

The best part for someone like me who loves everything about show business? The behind-the-scenes takes and re-takes and jokes Pee-wee made (always in character) after the show ended.

Pure magic.

Disclaimer: I won free tickets to see the show via a Twitter Contest. I have been a faithful fan of Pee-wee Herman for over two decades.  And I have the doll to prove it.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Thank You, Pee-wee Herman!

Last night, I thought seeing the historic taping for HBO of The Pee-wee Herman Show on Broadway would be the coolest thing that ever happened to me. I especially thought this when I got to be part of some really amazing behind-the-scenes stuff, and when Pee Wee told about 300 of the funniest jokes I've ever heard to the audience.

Then, today.... @PeeWeeHerman re-tweeted my tweet to his 654,800 followers:

I had joked yesterday that I didn't really care if I got Paul Reubens autograph, which back in the day would be my ultimate celebrity memento, what I really wanted was for him to reply to me on Twitter - that this was the new autograph. 

Thank you, Pee Wee for my first new age autograph. I'll  never forget it.

Best day ever! I just got tickets to Pee Wee Herman on Broadway!

For all of you that think Twitter is a total waste of time, think again, because I just won tickets from Pee Wee Herman via a Twitter contest. And not to see just any ol' performance of Pee Wee Herman Live.  That's right, I'm seeing the historic taping of the show for HBO.

There's only one person more excited about this then me:

Pee Wee Herman

This is my original Pee Wee Herman doll, I've had for (could it really be?) twenty years.

I'm a Rotten Egg!

I'm a mom. But I'm also a little sister.

So sometimes, I'm gonna admit, I really love watching my older daughter try to be mean to my younger daughter... just to have the whole thing totally backfire.

In this case I don't think Kay (age 4) was trying reverse-psychology on her sister Magpie (age 6), but that was essentially the result as Kay had no idea what her big sis Magpie was going on, and on about.

Magpie repeatedly keep taunting Kay, "If you don't hurry up, you'll be a rotten egg!"

And Kay replied, with total glee, "I'm a rotten egg! I'm a rotten egg!"

To her, being a rotten egg was the four-year-old equivalent of SQUEE!! With perhaps even a side of awesome-sauce.

Even after many, many exasperated attempts all morning long by Magpie to impress upon Kay that she in fact did not want to be a rotten egg, that being a rotten egg was bad, bad, very bad.... Kay, still, as afternoon approached, continued to sing in a happy voice "I'm a rotten egg! I'm a rotten egg!"

Sorry, Magpie. This is how little sisters get their reputations for being, well, little sisters.

And thank you, Kay, on behalf of little sisters everywhere, for scoring one for us.

I'm linking-up to Finding the Funny #33. Visit Kelley's Break Room and My Life and Kids to see what funny stuff folks are writing about this week.

Wordless Wednesday: Kay on Snow Day Vacay

Kay - Snow Day - Vacay.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Today I've been Married for Eight Years

That's right, as of around 7:00 pm tonight I've been married for eight years, all of them to the same great guy. We met two years to the day before our wedding, so that makes this anniversary a nice, even decade of togetherness.

Here's a quick run-down of our time together by the numbers.  Since meeting we've:

- Lived in 4 states
- Resided in 6 apartments and 2 houses
- Held down 9 jobs, including 3 at now-defunct companies
- Driven 4 different cars
- Brought 3 kids into the world
- Argued 1,839,029 times (of which I was right 1,839,021 times)

- Things I would change: 0
Here we are, in 2003, we've been married for one day.
And here, all these years later:

Sunday, January 2, 2011

SNOstalgia - The Thrift Version - Updated!

Update: The scarf still has its tag affixed.  It reads: Hilltop Brand, 70% Cashmere, 30% Wool, Burns, Made in Scotland. 

A quick Google search revealed (I think) that Burns refers to the scarf's tartan pattern. Hilltop appears to be still in business, but I couldn't find any similar plaid scarves, just some very lovely solid ones, still made in Scotland today.  Perhaps, they are still making them like they used to.

Hilltop Scarf from the 1960s

Hilltop scarf today, for sale online.
My grandma, with my brother, 1972, Virginia.
My grandma, bundled-up for the snow, in her scarf.

My mom, Blizzard of 1979, Virginia.
My mom, bundled-up for the snow, in her mom's scarf.

My daughter, Blizzard of 2010, New Jersey.
My daughter, bundled-up for the snow, in her great-grandmother's scarf.
Note: Prior to this post, the scarf had no sentimental value. Magpie found it in a pile of stuff when we were unpacking our new house, and put it on. I didn't even know whose it was. Now, however, I feel like I need to take extra-careful care of the scarf and then tearfully pass it on to the next generation.  Even if I've never even liked this scarf.

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