Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What Would the Lorax Do?

I love the Dr. Seuss book The Lorax. In fact, I love the story of The Lorax so much that I decided to be happy it had been made into a movie, even if I couldn't quite figure out how a big-bash Universal Pictures film was embodying the spirit of the original Lorax even a little bit.

With the movie coming out on March 2 (Dr. Seuss's birthday), I am feeling less and less enthusiastic about it, because The Lorax is being used to promote so many products of dubious worth that they make a Thneed seem like the most useful item in history.

And I think it kinda sucks corporate America can't leave even an icon of environmentalism alone.

So I was happy to see, as always, that the good people at the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood were on it - in part because the marketing of The Lorax has reached far into the classroom, most egregiously with I'm the Lorax, I Speak for the ... Mazda?

I urge you to take a moment to head over to Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and Take Action to Save the Lorax.

Add your name to the petition supporting the following:
I will not support or purchase any of The Lorax’s commercial tie-ins.
It is both cynical and hypocritical to use a beloved children’s story with a prescient environmental message to sell kids on everything from SUVs to pancakes. The Lorax in Dr. Seuss’s classic children’s book has more integrity than his current incarnation as the animated darling of Madison Avenue. If the original, notoriously reclusive Lorax ever agreed to appear in a film, he would say a resounding “NO” to any commercial tie-ins.
He would help children curb their consumption instead of promoting a slew of “greener” products. He would tell corporations to stop bombarding kids with materialistic messages. He would never immerse children in the false corporate narrative that we can consume our way to everything, from happiness to sustainability.
My family will celebrate the Lorax’s timeless message by enjoying the classic story – and shunning all Lorax-themed merchandise and promotions.
Will I be taking my kids to see The Lorax movie? Probably.

Will I be buying any Lorax schlock? No, because well... I care a whole awful lot.

Monday, February 27, 2012

How the Tooth Fairy Flies at Our House

This post is a couple of years old, I originally wrote it for the now-defunct NYC Moms Blog.

It's back again in honor of National Tooth Fairies Day, which is celebrated tomorrow. And yes, I think this makes it official that holidays have jumped the shark.

My daughter lost her first tooth today. This event was particularly momentous for her because she was, as she put it, "the very, very last person in my whole class and the whole first grade to lose a tooth!"

This afternoon, as the tooth hung tenuously on, she explained to me what would happen tonight when the Tooth Fairy arrived. For those of you who last knew the Tooth Fairy in the 1970s and '80s, let me tell you she has changed a lot since those simpler times.

For instance, did you know that the Tooth Fairy is no longer an individual practitioner? That's right, the Tooth Fairy of today is a member of the Tooth Fairy Collective, and you never know which Tooth Fairy will visit you. For one tooth, you might get a quarter. For another, a book. And sometimes, you get the Tooth Fairy who leaves a piece of gum or candy, even though that doesn't really make sense since you'd think the Tooth Fairy would be all about dental health, working in the industry as she does.

In addition, the Tooth Fairy Collective works very closely with the Sandman Union (Local 286), a member of which precedes the Tooth Fairy to make sure the child is completely and entirely asleep before the Tooth Fairy makes the exchange. I don't know about you, but in my day the Tooth Fairy worked alone. Since when does she need a male helper to be her advance man?

There are other changes as well. My daughter informed me you can leave the Tooth Fairy a note with a specific request. When I asked if she had written one of those notes she responded, "Of, course!"

When I mentioned she'd better make sure to put it under her pillow for when the Tooth Fairy comes tonight, she informs me, "Oh no, you don't need to do that. She can find the note wherever you leave it, anywhere in the house. That's nothing for her. If the Tooth Fairy can find Hailey's lost tooth on the playground, she can find a note anywhere in the house."

Wow. This new and improved Tooth Fairy really is something else!

And last, my daughter provided me with this final fact about the Tooth Fairy, who clearly has a lot more on her mind then her predecessor did thirty years ago: "Sometimes the tooth fairy gets really busy, and doesn't come even if you leave a tooth under your pillow. But don't worry if that happens, she always finds time to come the next night. Or at the very latest, the night after that."

For more tooth fairy fun, check out the Tooth Fairy Pinterest Board.

And for a few books, songs and funny stories of Tooth Fairy visits gone awry, check out my post at New Jersey Family magazine: Tooth Fairy Goofs and Tooth Fairy Fun.

Have you ever had a Tooth Fairy mission not go exactly as planned?

I'm linking-up to Finding the Funny at Kelley's Break Room and My Life and Kids

Finding the Funny

Friday, February 24, 2012

Old Photo Friday: Me Ten Years and One Week Ago

This is me, in Nevada visiting the scenic sites of Hoover Dam and the Red Rock Canyon, exactly ten years and one week ago today.

One marriage and three kids later, I'm sure I haven't aged one bit.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Toy Fair 2012: Maileg Mice, Maileg Bunny Rabbits and Ty Monsterz

I was surprised at the Toy Fair how much of the Expo Hall was devoted to toys of the plush variety. Though I guess I shouldn't be surprised based on my own children's vast stockpiles of stuffed animals.

My very favorite stuffed animals I saw were by the Danish company, Maileg. They have adorable mice that come with their own matchbox beds:

There's even a milk carton mouse house:

And an Indian Mouse, named Moonbeam
who can live in her very own tipee:
Maileg also has fantastic rabbits that come in a range of sizes:

and there are plenty of "boy" rabbits, which I love because these toys are perfect for imaginative play for both boys and girls.

On perhaps the opposite side of the stuffed animal spectrum are Monsterz, the latest offering from Ty Brands (they also make Beanie Babies, and my children's current obsession Beanie Boos).

In contrast to Maileg's beautiful, understated paradigm-of-Danish-design booth, The Ty Booth was huge, overstated and even included these costumed characters roaming the show:

And people really wonder if European kids and American kids are being raised differently?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The American International Toy Fair 2012: The Owls Edition

I was lucky enough to attend the American International Toy Fair in New York City last week for the second year in a row. I've got all of my Favorite Toy Fair Finds over at and I'll be sharing more of the awesome toys, dolls, cars and stuffed animals I saw at Toy Fair 2012 here all week long as well.

First today, in honor of the Barista Kids mascot owl, I present some cool owls I spotted while at the Toy Fair:

I love this Madame Alexander Favorite Friends play doll ($44.95) wearing a "playfully pretty" owl print dress:

And here's a close-up of the owl print:

I also love these whimsical Owl Musical Pull Toys ($16) from Brooklyn-based miYim, a company committed to raising eco-consciousness in the home, and which produces only organic toys.

I'll be back tomorrow to share more great finds from the Toy Fair - mice, bunnies and even some monsterz.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Old Photo Friday: Ducks!

My brother and me, and two "ducks."

Update received from my mother:

They were geese not ducks.  I was going 2 use them as property guards.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

In my Inbox: Terrible News, Need Your Help!!!

Subject: Terrible News, Need Your Help!!!!

I’m writing this with tears in my eyes, my fam and I have been vacationing in Nigeria, unfortunately we were robbed at the park of the hotel where we stayed, all cash, credit card and cell were stolen off us but luckily we still have our passports and the ability to write runon sentences.

Image from BestWeekEver.TV
 It’s me, my wife(Stephanie) and our child/children(Julia). I’ve been to the embassy and the Police but they’re not helping issues at all. Am freaked out at the moment. We need a kidney. Send us your kidney. I am at my cousin Brad Gbogboade’s house. You remember Brad? Tall dude, heavy tribal scarring on his cheeks? Was really into the Phillies? Yes the Phillies. So, send that kidney to PO Box Ikeja (100001), Lagos State, Nigeria.
To locate your kidneys, start by putting your hands on your hips and then sliding up until you feel your ribs. Now if you put your thumbs on your back, that spot is right where your kidneys are. It may be easier if you have someone else make the initial incision. Use dry ice to wrap the kidney. Then and this is important you will need to wrap the dry ice in jewels. I know sounds crazy but this is the important part. Take all of your jewels and as much Currency as will fit in the FedEx Box and send it to my uncle Brad.

Why are you still reading this? Get cutting. For the love of Pete. After all the shit I’ve done for you over the years, your kidney is kind of the least thing I could be asking for.
I received this email today from my brother. Luckily, he and his family are totally OK.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

What I'm Thinking About Sunday Night: Ideas (and More Ideas) for Celebrating Valentine's Day with Kids

I went a little overboard this year making heart shaped foods and homemade Valentines in celebration of a holiday, that quite frankly, I don't care about at all. So why then all this Valentine's Day over-consumption?

I blame you, Pinterest. And I am staying far, far away from you, Pinterest for St. Patrick's Day, Cinco De Mayo, and April Fool's Day to make sure this doesn't happen again.

In the meantime, if you're looking for Valentine's Day ideas here are ideas, and more ideas, and then a few more...

5 Easy-to-Make Long-Distance Valentine's Day Cards - These are all easy (at least by Pinterest standards), and you don't need me to tell you how much the grandparents will like receiving them.

Valentine's Day Cards for the Classroom - These amazing homemade Valentine ideas are all easy enough you can make enough for the entire classroom, and I gotta hand it to the Pinterest crafters: you people really are so incredibly creative.

Perfect Printables for Valentine's Day - Ah, printables. The perfect compromise between store-bought and homemade, all you have to do is print these out to share the love with friends and family, or as is just as likely, all your children's classmates.

Glad I Made It: Homemade Valentine's Day Cards - These cards are the handiwork of my very own kids.

Valentine's Day Breakfasts You'll Heart - Easy recipes for making a fun, kid-friendly Valentine's Day breakfast.

How To Make Heart Fried Potatoes in 22 Minutes - These heart fried potatoes are sooo cute, and cutting hundreds of hearts out of raw potatoes is such a good use of time!

Glad I Made It: Strawberry Hearts for Valentine's Day - The heart shaped food obsession continues with heart strawberries.

4 Valentine's Day Books You're Sure to Adore - Picks range from a zombie love-story to the toddler favorite Snuggle Puppy, so really, there's something for everyone.

Fun-Loving Sing-Along Songs for Valentine's Day - Lots of fun tunes to enjoy with the kids on this silly, sappy holiday of hearts and love.

And if you want even more Valentine's Day fun, from last year I've got handprint crafts and a nice collection of vintage suffragette postcards celebrating St. Valentine's Day.

And last, I leave you with the outtakes of all the other foods I have hearted or tried to heart after a night of drinking too much Pinterest.

And last, Scary Mommy has some pretty great Valentines Day cards, too.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Crafts and Snowflakes with Q-Tips

My daughter Kay was home today with a hurt hand - an injury she received while crouching by the side of the ATM and invoking her favorite alternate persona, Baby Fish. Unfortunately for Kay Baby Fish, while crouched she nudged a big piece of marble that fell on her hand, er or would that actually be her fin?

Ironically enough, this all happened on the way to a well-child visit to the pediatrician. But instead we came into the waiting room like it was an ER with Kay (Baby Fish had swam away by now) sobbing hysterically and her hand already swelled up to the size and color of a boxing glove.

Anyway, the hand still isn't quite right (although thankfully an x-ray revealed no break) so she stayed home today with me. 

As you may recall, last time she was home from school we made toothpick art:

Not to be outdone, today I brought out the Q-tips.

She made a bunch of cool designs:

and this awesome snowflake:

And while I will admit I sorta think she should've gone to school, as long as Kay Baby Fish was home, I'm glad we got to spend some time together and make these q-tip crafts.

For more fun snowflake crafts you can make with clever items like price tag stickers check out Simple & Striking Snowflake Crafts for Kids.

And yes, you can learn how to make a handprint snowflake here.

Glad I Made It: Homemade Valentine's Day Cards

Due 100% to Pinterest's complete and utter bad influence, I showed my kids ideas for homemade Valentine's Day cards, and let them pick what they wanted to make to give out to their classmates.

Let me fill you in on a little secret that no one tells you when you are enjoying Pinterest in your own crafty mom fantasy land: yours won't look even a little like whatever it is you're eyeing. (This is a lesson I should have remembered from my last Pinterest-inspired bout of creativity. But alas, I did not.)

Luckily for me, my kids are too young to notice (or they're just really, really polite). Here's what we made:

Kay "I sometimes go to first-grade" chose to make Play Doh Valentines. This involved a grown-up printing a circular label to go on top of the Play Doh container (we went with Tic Tac Doh! Be My Valentine!),

adding a heart sticker, and Kay signing her name.

Someone also needed to cut-out the label and affix it to the Play Doh container with a glue dot. This someone was supposed to be the child in my mind, but apparently it was me in her mind, so yes... it is mostly my handiwork.

Making these Play Doh Valentines was totally easy. But making them look good? Not so easy. Here is our Pin-spiration from Random Thoughts of a SUPERMOM!:

And here is our finished product:

With the Play Doh Valentines complete, next up was making Valentines that would be suitable for third-grader "I'm too cool for Valentines" Magpie. Her only criteria was not to include a message that could in any way imply she ever liked anyone at anytime, anywhere or in anyway. Her choice? You Rock! Valentines.

Again, the easy factor on making these classmate Valentine's Day cards is high. I cut out old-school hearts by folding pieces of construction paper in half, and Magpie used a glue dot to affix a rock or two to the heart. And, Magpie even wrote the Valentine's Day greetings all by herself.

I thought they looked pretty great:

But great as they are three-grade handwriting and all, they are nothing like the original Pin-spiration from

And last, my two-year-old Ziggy needed Valentines, but just a few. His preschool is Jewish, so there isn't any of that St. Valentine's Day stuff going on there, Baruch Hashem.

I made Ziggy's Valentines for him, using recycled crayon hearts we still had from when we made them last year for Earth Day. The heart crayon-size is just right for toddler hands, and I was happy these Crayon Heart Valentines only took a few minutes to make. Once again I just needed to cut-out a construction paper heart, glue-dot on the heart crayon, add a few stickers and write Happy Valentine's Day!

And while I couldn't be happier with how ours turned out, it sure doesn't compare to the original pin-spiration from WhipperBerry (or to a similar crayon Valentine that has been repinned over 16,000 times).

If you'd like more ideas for homemade Valentines, there are lots more here at Valentines That Make the Grade in the Classroom and on my Valentine's Day Ideas Pinterest Board.

Also? I will never degrade the value of a store-bought Valentine's Day card again.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Before we all get too pro JC Penney....

How quickly we forget...

Remember these tee shirts? And the controversy?

In case you don't remember, JC Penney was selling tees that said "I'm too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me." After a big online uproar and threats of boycotts, Penney's pulled the tees.

So when I was reading today everyone's pleas to please shop at Penney's this weekend, I decided to see if that was something I really would like to do.

Uh, no.

And this is why:

And the boys don't get much better treatment:

I know everyone draws the line at what is objectionable and objectifying to put on a child's tee shirt, so I understand not all of you reading this will think these phrases and slogans are all so terrible.

And while I wouldn't boycott Penney's over these shirts, I certainly wouldn't rush out to shop there this weekend, either.

Old Photo Friday: My Mom and Me

My mom's birthday was yesterday. We celebrated with the best soup dumpling ever at the Shanghai Cafe in Chinatown.

We also learned that if you have a waitress who (no judgement) doesn't speak English, she will assume anything you say is a request for water or forks.

As a last ditch resort, the waitress will also bring you spoons before giving up and going to find the waiter with the perfect English, who will take your order.

The whole experience made me feel for my toddler who pretty much lives this over and over again every mealtime at our house. He jabbers, I bring him a glass of water. What? You're still talking? Bring him a fork. And then eventually if he is still trying to tell me something, that's right, I bring him a spoon. And then he, brings me a tantrum. Finally, I understand your frustration, kid. I really do.

Luckily, our experience ended free of tantrums. And full of the best soup dumplings ever.

And now, for old photo fun, my mom and me in the 1970s:

Happy Birthday, Mom!

I'm taking a trip down memory lane every Friday until I get bored of digging around my old photos, or until I run out of material.

Have you ever tried soup dumplings? And if you have, tell me the best place to get them!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Gettin' Crafty with Craft Whores: The Children's Sock Phallus

A few days ago, I posted on this blog the adorable stuffed Amigurumi animals that my mom crocheted for my kids.

I shouldn't even have to add this, but for the record they were G-RATED Amigurumi animals.

Image Source

Anyway, the ever-helpful Deborah of Mannahatta Mamma left a comment on that post suggesting perhaps my mom should enter the Craft Whores contest, and well uh she did, or rather, is entering the contest here..

So without further back story, here's my sweet mother's entry: The Children's Sock Phallus:

Just the other day I was trying to pick-out some nice art for my grandson's room. I thought this photo might be nice, and emailed it over to my daughter, Anna, to get her thoughts:

Image Source
Without even thanking me for taking the time to find suitable art for her toddler son's room, she just writes back: "No."

So I thought to myself, "hmm, that's odd." And then I realized my daughter probably just wanted to choose his bedroom artwork herself, which I'm totally fine with even if we all know she is going to pick some totally pedestrian Curious George prints.

But then I had a bit of a grandma brainstorm - wouldn't my grandson love his very own sock phallus toy to play with? Sure, his mother is denying him a poster of a world-renowned artist and her penis sculpture, but surely she wouldn't also prevent him from playing with a sock phallus that was lovingly handmade by his beloved grandmother?

So, I made my dear grandson this:

Don't you think ever toddler should have his - or her - very own sock phallus toy? And, this is a perfect craft for anyone who doesn't know what to do with those spare mis-matched socks you find in the dryer.

Why make another boring sock monkey when you can make a one-of-a-kind sock phallus instead! Just put a little stuffing in the sock, stitch up the top to be as atomically correct as you would like, and voila! one easy-peasy sock phallus. And this craft is totally green and eco-friendly!

Have you made a sock phallus toy recently? Please link-up your photos in the comments below, or head over to the Craft Whores contest and enter your awesome-sauce creation there!


I set the date on this post to February, 2012. I'm not sure the world - or my blog readers - are quite ready for this, although clearly the Craft Whores are more than ready for it.

You may be reading this if you have any kind of feed auto-sending thingy of new content. So insert either "I'm sorry" or "you're welcome," depending on which one is appropriate.

Thanks to The Suniverse and The Bearded Iris for their uh inspired contest


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Blue Blankie

For anyone who ever had a blankie, or a child with a blankie, could there be any sight sadder than this one?

Thankfully, we found lost-but-not-forgotten Blue Blankie right before nap time.

Also, is it just me or is this the first thing you thought of when you saw the blankie-in-the-snow photo?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

What I'm thinking about Sunday night: Not the Super Bowl

Oh, Sportsball. It means nothing to me. I feel a little sorry for my husband, because I can't even pretend to be a tiny bit interested. And he cares a lot. A lot as in he believes the Phillies winning the World Series in 2008 was a sign we should have another child (true story).

The littlest Sportsball fan.
So tonight my beloved is watching Sportsball at his brother's house and I'm home happy as can be watching last week's Downton Abbey and tonight's brand-new episode of Luck.

Besides watching non-Super Bowl TV, I've decided to start reading books again - something I pretty much gave-up cold turkey when my first baby came home from the hospital eight years ago.

I'm in the middle of the super-amusing Confessions of a Scary Mommy by Jill Smokler of And, my inability to put down the book may result in a few scary mommy confessions of my own by the time I'm done. 

I'm also reading Beautiful Swimmers, which is a history of blue crabs and the Chesapeake Bay crabbing industry - and it is utterly fascinating. I can't believe with my love of all things blue crab, I had never heard of this book (which was published 30 years ago) until my brother brought over a copy for me to read last week.

Now that I'm a born-again reader, please let me know any good book recommendations!

I am also still making lots of heart-shaped food, I've got directions for heart shaped strawberries and heart fried potatoes as well as over thirty more heart food ideas on Pinterest. Because what I lack in Sportsball interest I make-up for in my love of Kawaii-style food.

Note: None of these links lead to anything that might possibly lead to money for me, in case it seemed like they did.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Glad I Made It: Strawberry Hearts for Valentine's Day

Every since I made heart shaped fried potatoes last week, I've been heart-ing every food I can.

It's gonna be a rude shock to my Kawaii-loving kids when they have to back to go "regular" food once Valentine's Day is over.

While creating most heart-shaped food is based upon using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, you can make strawberry hearts free-form, since they're already pretty much a natural heart.

All you need to do is slice the strawberries in half, and then use a knife to carve a little v out of the top of the strawberry, and you're done.

Here's how our heart strawberries turned out, the kids enjoyed decorating their plates:

Heart fun for everyone!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Old Photo Friday: My Cat Casper

When I was five, my beloved grandfather "Gramps" gave me a cat for my birthday. She was a beautiful black and white cat, and I named her Casper, after Casper the Friendly Ghost, my favorite TV show.

Secretly, I knew it didn't make sense, as my Casper was not a white cat, but still, I loved T.V.-Casper and knew it was the perfect name for my cat, whether she was ghostly white or not.
With Casper.

After a few days with Casper, it became apparent that either Casper or my older brother (who it turns out, is deathly allergic to cats) was going to have to go.

In an incredibly rookie move my mom asked me which I'd like to keep, my cat or my brother. I looked at the lady like she was an idiot, and replied like it was the most obvious answer in the world (because to a five-year-old it was) "THE CAT!!!"

The next day, Casper was gone. I was shocked, incredulous - "But I TOLD YOU I wanted to keep THE CAT!"

And yet, despite my crying, wailing, and hysterics there was no reversing of her opinion.

Casper was relocated across the street, in what can only be described as the cat's lucky break. Casper went on to live a long, indulged and incredibly happy life with an elderly, retired and kind couple who gave the cat - really my cat - her very own room, as well as an entire other room just for her cat toys.

And me? I got liberal visitation rights to see Casper.

Visiting Casper in her new home.

And the knowledge that despite all appearances to the contrary, a great wrong had happened here.

I'm taking a trip down memory lane every Friday until I get bored of digging around my old photos, or until I run out of material.

I'm linking-up to Yeah Write, click here to read more stories from this incredible writing community.
read to be read at

{Keep Reading}

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...