Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Recipe for Ghoulish Green Brains - Avocado Ice Cream for Halloween

Are you looking for some spooky-good recipes for Halloween? Avocados from Mexico have put together a great collection of ghoulicious Halloween recipes.

They are also hosting a Spookamole Recipe Contest, so enter your best recipe here - but hurry, submissions close at 11:59 pm on September 30.

I've entered my recipe for Ghoulish Green Brains, which was sponsored by Avocados from Mexico and Mom Central Consulting.

To read the full post on my (new! exciting!) product review blog, 1001 Things I Loveclick here.

I'll tell you how to make delicious green avocado ice cream:

and how to transform it into thoroughly creepy, ghoulish green brains:

And yes, my kids loved them.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wishing All a Happy, Healthy & Sweet New Year

This Wednesday night at sundown begins the year 5772 on the Hebrew calendar. My newly school attending son brought home the symbols of the Rosh Hashanah holiday: a bee, a red tissue paper apple, a watercolored fish, and this adorable pomegranate-embellished photo:

With his wee little handprint on the reverse side.

It was a perfect way to start a new year.

And because I like to celebrate all holidays with Animoto videos, I made one with photos from a few years past.

~ Happy Rosh Hashanah ~

And to all those observing...
Shana Tova Umetukah.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy First Day of Fall!

Today is the first day of fall.

The first leaves are starting to come down, and my kids eagerly reminded me that's it's almost time for "Leaf Village!"

What is Leaf Village you ask? It is a town I "let" them make last year out of the fallen leaves in our yard.

To create Leaf Village, one had to rake the leaves into neat piles that were then labeled "House," "School" and "Bench," the last one being designated the sitting-on pile. There was of course, also a town swimming pool. And yes, diving was permitted.

And even more ironic to me, all the neighborhood kids enjoyed helping to make Leaf Village - our yard being the only on the block where the leaves weren't miraculous blown away from a garden service while the kids were at school.

I can only imagine what their parents thought.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

R.I.P. Troy Davis

“The death penalty is a symptom of a culture of violence, not a solution to it.”
- Guadalupe Marengo, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Americas
I haven't followed the Troy Davis story until yesterday, when I saw the coverage online and the tweets trending on Twitter.

And despite not knowing much about the crime Troy Davis was convicted of, or of the legal process that ultimately concluded in his death, I know I do not support his execution. I am against the death penalty.

Yesterday's execution of Troy Davis reminds me why I am. Here is a man, executed, who might have been innocent. Here is a man, executed, who by just about all accounts did not have adequate legal counsel. Here is a man, executed, who is black convicted of killing a man who is white - a combination that makes it more than three times more likely he would be given a death penalty conviction.

To be honest, after reading more about the crime, I think Troy Davis is probably guilty. But that's the problem - I think he's probably guilty. And today, there is no probably left for Troy Davis.

And that is definitely wrong.
"I'd like to address the MacPhail family. Let you know, despite the situation you are in, I'm not the one who personally killed your son, your father, your brother. I am innocent. The incident that happened that night is not my fault. I did not have a gun. All I can ask ... is that you look deeper into this case so that you really can finally see the truth. I ask my family and friends to continue to fight this fight. For those about to take my life, God have mercy on your souls. And may God bless your souls."
- the last words of Troy Davis

Rest in Peace, Troy Davis.

October 9, 1969 - September 21, 2011
Photo from Amnesty International

Click here to sign Amnesty International's petition "Not In My Name" to abolish the death penalty.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

One of these plants is not like the others

It was, all the way around, a dismal year for my garden.

My tray of seedling tomato mystery plants I forgot to label ended up looking like this:

And because I look for meaning perhaps where there is no meaning to be found, I can't help but ponder why one plant - that I can only believe had the same soil, sun and water as her siblings - made it.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Huge Goodies and Gear Sale at - Ends on Wed. Sept. 21

From now until Wednesday, September 21, has a huge site-wide Goodies and Gear sale on tons of gear, clothing, nursery and babycare essentials.

To read more about the sale, go to: 1001 Things I Love:

Talk Like a Pirate Day is Today!

Today, September 19, is National International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Invented by two (possibly three) presumably bored and inebriated guys back in 1995.

My kids love pirates.

So, on their behalf, we'll be celebrating today with plenty of arrrs, avasts, costumes and the always festive, hardtack.

Need help talkin' like a pirate? Check out this handy pirate-english translator. Now if I could just find a woof-english translator...

I just read the original Dave Barry column that started it all, and aye, that be funny, matey.

Will you be talking like a pirate today? My husband has assured me he'll be yelling "Shiver me timbers!" as often as possible at his office.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Instructions for My Husband: While delicious, bacon does not need to be included in every single dish you make.

I love bacon.

You love bacon.

And yet...

We don't need to include bacon in every meal, let alone every dish.

For example, when you cooked a delicious meal on Saturday night it was great that you included bacon in the home fried potatoes. It was a nice touch to wrap the steaks in bacon. But really, did you have to put bacon in the asparagus? Couldn't one dish be bacon-free?

As you know, I love bacon as much as the next person, but at least one dish in every meal should be bacon-free. One dish should also be low in sodium, but that is an instruction for another day.

Photo from the very awesome The Baconcyclopedia: The Ultimate Bacon Reference of Baconic Proportions.

This is my twenty-third instruction for my husband in the ongoing series Instructions for My Husband.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Kid is Turning Six

That's right, my kid is turning six tomorrow. I can hardly believe it. Especially as I still call her Kaby. Pronounced Kay-bee. Which is a combination of her name (Kay) and Baby. Kaby.

Six. It's gonna be awesome.

Happy Birthday, Kaby.

You're one in a gillion.

And because I believe all birthdays and holidays should be celebrated with an Animoto video, I made one of you through the years.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Just go to sleep: Sleepy's Dr. Breus offers advice for when you just can't.

This week is my kids first full week of school. And what always felt like an endless morning in the summer ("how is it only 7:45?!") now seems like it's going by in double time as I try to get everyone dressed, fed, watered and brushed.

So I was eager to attend the event "Back-to-School/Back-to-Sleep" at Sleepy's Fifth Avenue store to hear what tips the Mattress Professionals had to share with us amateurs.

Michael Breus, "The Sleep Doctor" and author of the book The Sleep Doctor's Diet Plan - Lose Weight Through Better Sleep shared a lot of great tips for kids, as well as their sleepy parents.

At the top of Dr. Breus' list:
  • Keep bedtime consistent. Try and have kids go to sleep at the same time every night, and wake-up at the same time every morning. Later bedtimes on weekends can lead to "Sunday night insomnia," for kids and adults.
  • Have a bedtime routine that includes a "power down hour." About an hour before bed, put all electronics away. Especially your mobile phone. No one should be sleeping with their phone. Leave it in a different room.
  • Teach kids to like sleep, and to be aware that a good night's sleep is an important part of staying healthy and being at your best during the day. Not to mention, well-rested kids tend to be less cranky.
  • Exercising during the day and eating a healthy, nourishing meal about an hour before bed are two great ways to encourage better sleep at night.
  • If you're an adult who has trouble sleeping, put the clock away. No good comes of staring at the clock and watching the minutes slip-by while you lie there, wide-awake.
  • Drink highly-caffeinated drinks first-thing in the morning, followed by less-caffeinated drinks later in the day. If possible, avoid caffeine entirely after 2pm.
And if all else fails? Dr. Breus suggests counting backwards by threes, from 100. I tried it myself, and I have to tell you, I was asleep in no time. Now, if only my two-year-old would be willing to give this trick a try...

Many thanks to Dr. Breus for the great suggestions, and to Sleepy's for a fabulous event. I received a gift bag and this post serves as my entry in a contest to win a Dr. Breus bed. My opinions are my own, as are the not one, but two, very comfortable (unmade) Sleepy's beds at my house.

My corporate sell-out fail.

So, my blog is all kinds of a mess right now. I tried to make a quick-and-easy change to the page layout so I could add ads to the page and I'll be one of those people who earn money while I sleep.

But now my dear lil blog is all busted.

But tomorrow is another day, and I will apply my very-limited-it's-practically-nil technical and design skills and I'm sure it'll be back to normal soon enough.

In the meantime, thank you for your patience.

And if you have any advice for color scheme, design or anything else leave me a comment!

Update: I think I've fixed-up the blog as well as I'm going to be able to with my mad design and technical skillz. If I've overlooked something that doesn't work or looks all kinds of bad, please tell me.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Erev 9-11

Tomorrow is 9-11. A decade after the horrible events of September 11th. An anniversary that matters very much here in New York City, and an anniversary that I sometimes get the feeling matters much less in other places.

Here, anyone who lived in or near downtown Manhattan remembers the day. Like it was yesterday. I have my own tale of September 11, though it is more a story of where I wasn't than of where I was - Stamford, Ct.

One year after September 11th, I remember waking up in my Upper West Side apartment to the sound of a lone bagpipe in the early morning. We knew it was coming from the firehouse on the next block over, which had suffered terrible losses that day. My husband and I recall that chilling sound every year on the anniversary of September 11th. Tomorrow will be no different.

Four years after September 11th, I was full-term with my daughter. My doctor had my due-date recorded as September 10th, but at my prodding, admitted it was September 11th, but that she thought it was best to move it a day for reasons she wasn't quite willing to articulate, but which I understood. And I won't lie - I was hoping the baby would wait a few days past that day to make her appearance, as she did.

This year, marks a decade since September 11th. Ten years. That fact alone leaves me in disbelief. But so does everything else. How has so little changed since that day?  The global issues that brought us to that point our still here, maybe not worse, but certainly not better. I would have thought more would have changed in ten years, in international relations, in progress towards a greater tolerance of cultural and religious differences. That ten years later the mere thought of a mosque near grand zero would not be thought of as a "slap in the face."

And as much as tomorrow will be a day of horrific sadness and remembrance for many - way too many - I hope it will also be a day when we all think of what we could do to make the world post-September 11th a better one than it was pre-September 11th. And, perhaps, that is the best way we can honor those whose lives were lost, or forever changed by loss, on that day.

The photo above of the World Trade Center towers was taken by my brother. He has more images of the towers here.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Handprint Crafts for September - Apple Trees, Fall Foliage and the Rosh Hashanah Holiday

Here in the northeast, September is all about apples, much like October is all about pumpkins. (Note: I am not jumping on the Halloween-in-September bandwagon. There will be no talk of Halloween here until October 1 at the earliest.)

There is no shortage of handprint crafts focusing on apples. In addition to the back to school apple handprint craft featured here last month, there are also lots of great options for making handprint apple trees.

I love this family apple tree from I can teach my child, where each person can add a red painted-fingerprint apple to the tree made from green construction paper handprints - each person gets to add one of these, too.

I also love this handprint tree from Three Peas in a Pod which really captures the changes colors of the fall foliage, I know my kids would love to make this one. The leaves are made with fingerprints. Too cute.

I also love apples and honey to celebrate the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. This year the holiday falls on September 28-30. Creative Jewish Mom always has the best holiday crafts, and Rosh Hashanah is no exception. Two of my favorites are:
the wine cork stamp apple cards:

and the bubble wrap apple cards:

To see lots more great Rosh Hashanah ideas, visit Creative Jewish Mom.

This month also brings the autumnal equinox on September 23, but I'm not sure how exactly to celebrate that with a handprint craft. So if you have any ideas, please let me know.

Happy September crafting!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Multi-colored Duck Brand Duct Tape - We're Obsessed

My kids have a new obsession - multi-colored duct tape (by the brand Duck Tape).

I gotta admit I'm kinda into it too - which should be obvious from the photo above, because if I wasn't totally into it, would the five-year-old really have TEN rolls of five-dollar-a-piece duct tape?

Mostly, we have the rolls (and rolls) of Duck Tape so we can make these cool flowers:

Photo from

But as we have TEN rolls of duct tape, please crafty readers, tell me... what else can we make?

Also, Liz, I'm really glad you can shop again. Because the first thing I thought when I saw the enormous bin of Duck Tape at the store was that your craft room really needs some.

{This post is absolutely compensation free. My daughter's happiness with her tower of duct tape is payment enough.}

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

{Wordless Wednesday} First Day of First Grade (and Third Grade, too)

Today my kids started school. Here's Kay all first-graded out.

And here they are together, the first-grader and the already jaded third-grader:

It seems like just yesterday I was sending Mapgie off to first grade, and Kay to pre-k.

Tomorrow the little guy starts Nursery School. And I guess in four years, I'll add his first grade photo here, too.

For now, I'm working on explaining to him the baffling concept that an ice cream cone and a shoe cone are not the same thing.

Happy Back to School! How did everyone's first day of school go?

Monday, September 5, 2011

{Erev} Back to School

Tomorrow my kids go back to school. The oldest to third grade, the middle one to first grade, and the baby (who's two) to nursery school.

I will officially have an empty nest (Sort-of. Does school from 9am to noon twice-a-week count as an empty nest?)

We had a great summer. It might have been impossible to extract any more fun (from a kid's point of view) out of it then we did - trips to the beach, overnights at grandma's in New York City, amusement parks and water parks, mini-golf, sleepovers with friends, visits from older cousins, airplane trips to Florida... I'm tired just thinking about it all.

And there was ice cream. We ate lots and lots of ice cream this summer. Sometimes with two spoons.

Not to mention a trip to the ER. Oh yeah, and a major hurricane - which will perhaps be their most memorable experience.

And in case it's not, they'll at least always remember these boardwalk thrill rides:

Ocean City, MD
Ocean City, MD
But that is all in the past now. Summer's over, and another school year will begin tomorrow. And right now? As I'm writing this at 9:16pm.... I wish they would all just go the f*ck to sleep.

Here's to high hopes for a great school year ahead, though I know some things like endless pick-up lines and never-ending lunches to pack will never change.

And it's hard to believe we could top last year.

Last day of school, June 2011.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

JC Penney isn't the only one who doesn't think girls can do homework

Today the Internets were abuzz with this gem of a tee shirt from JC Penney: I'm too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me.

My brother even sent me a link about it.

Then I read a post about it at Scary Mommy, so worth your click-through to see the designs of her alternative tee options.

And a post from Mom 101, Sexism is complicated. Now excuse me while I put on some Alanis and feed my cats.

And then the post from Uppercase Woman with an awesome, but unfortuantely unprintable title for my "family friendly" blog.

And finally I found Stark Raving Mad Mommy's post, which also included a nice list of 8 other equally appalling tees.

Then I read a lot of self-congratulatory tweets about the power of social media, as it appears JC Penney is no longer going to sell the shirt.

But why stop with Penney's stupid shirt? It is really a victory that this misguided shirt was removed from their shelves because a bunch of moms complained and told them they were appalled? Wouldn't the real victory be if we lived in a world where JC Penney never even thought to make such an offensive shirt in the first place?

This shirt is just one example of offensive marketing towards girls, the list goes on and on. In fact, I posted a list of three offenders back in June. Not to mention my continual distaste for Skechers marketing "shape-ups" sneakers to girls as young as seven.

And a quick look today at Forever21's site shows that a girl doesn't need a brother to do her homework, the family dog should be able to do it just fine. Or at least better than a girl.

Removing one offensive shirt from JC Penney's clothing line isn't going to change the larger issue of gender stereotypes. But supporting the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood - an organization which addresses these issues as well as the sexualization of children in the media and the prevalence of advertising in schools - now that, well, it just might make a difference.

What do you think? What's the best way to make a real difference?

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