Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Last Day of School... A Retrospective of Waiting

Why yes, I am eating blue licorice and waiting for my sisters. 
As of yesterday, my kids are finally done with school. Today we had our first day of summer vacation, and well, I'm gonna be honest: it was loooong.

And while I won't miss hurrying out the door, making lunches, reminding about permission slips or nagging about homework, I surprised myself by finding one unexpected thing I truly will miss: hanging out in the car with my three-year-old son Ziggy while we were waiting for his sisters.

This year, Magpie and Kay decided they were too old for us to pick-up from outside school, so they'd meet and walk together past the crossing guard to where we'd be parked and waiting a few streets away.

While in the car, Ziggy and I would play all kinds of silly games, and he'd amuse himself with opening and closing (and then opening and closing again, and again) the sunroof, and turning the car lights on and off (and then on and off again, and again) and sometimes he'd head back to the back row which we called "the apartment."

Those afternoon pick-up runs were fun, and now they're over.
At least until the fall.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

MY UGO - Unidentified Garden Object.

You know that old saying, the more things change the more they stay the same?

Well, it appears that is the case right now with my constantly tended, and yet so fledgling, garden.

Last year I posted (with confidence, I might add) this photo and the caption "gardening success."

This year, I am posting the same photo but with the caption "Unidentified Garden Object."

Is this yellow flower I was so proud to have blooming last year, actually a weed?

And if so, why didn't anyone tell me it was a weed and not a flower I should be bragging about as a sign of my totally awesome gardening skills?

Oh well, flower or weed it doesn't really matter.

As my mom always says: weeds are just flowers that nobody wants.

And whatever this yellow flower is that is growing in my garden, I totally love it.

So tell me, what do you think? Is my Unidentified Garden Object a flower or a weed?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Perfect for Sleepaway Camp: Kids Stationery and Journals from Minted

Thanks very much to Minted for providing me with this opportunity to review heir fantastic designs. If you don't already know Minted, they are a site specializing in indie designs for everything from personalized greeting cards to wedding invitations. Also: I want one of everything on the site.

In just a couple of weeks, my kids are heading off to camp. With the biggest event being that my oldest, Magpie, is heading off to her first summer at sleepaway camp.

I am so excited on her behalf, but as the mom of a kid heading off to her first summer at sleepaway camp, I had no idea I was in for so much planning, prepping and packing.

Also, as it's her first summer at sleepaway camp I want everything to go as well as possible, which means I'm making sure she has everything perfectly checked-off on the packing list sent by the camp, and of course I want to make sure to hear from her while she's away.

Which means she needs just the right stationery, not only to write me her dear ol mom but also her friends.

We picked out stationery that Magpie loved from, which has an entire section of children's stationery, most which can be personalized with name and a photo.

Magpie choose this design:

but instead of adding a photo of her cute self, Magpie being Magpie, decided to personalize it with this photo of her holding not just one but five cicadas.

And of course, cicada stationery pairs perfectly with a cicada journal.

Because why choose a cute head shot for the cover of your journal.

when you can be a cicada whisperer.
Journal pictured here is $16 and can be customized with lined, graph, or blank interior pages. Cicada photo is of course entirely optional. To see all the journals for kids, click here.
Thanks again to Minted for giving me the opportunity to create one-of-a-kind items that perfectly reflect my daughter's unique style.

Seasoned parents of campers who have gone to sleepaway camp - please tell me, what do I need to know?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Instructions for my Husband: The pool and the bath are not one in the same

A big thank you to Nicole Yontz for being a guest instructor here today and explaining to her husband the finer points of distinguishing a trip to the pool from actually giving a child a bath.

Nicole is a stay at home mom in Arizona and a contributing parenting writer for She writes a personal blog at, and you can also find Nicole on Facebook and on Twitter so go say hi!

Dear Sweet Husband,

You’re a wonderful man that I love dearly with all my little heart. But. Yes, but. There are a few things we need to clarify here: one of them being the bathing habits of our child. You might want to have a seat because I’m about to throw some knowledge on you…

Swimming in the pool is not the same as swimming in the bath.

The other day when I asked you to bathe our offspring and then you didn’t, rationalizing that she was clean enough after having been in the pool for hours and hours, was the day that I realized we had a problem. You see there are serious fundamental differences between these two bodies of water that I will now outline for you.

• Is filled with water
• Makes hands and feet pruney
• Contains chlorine

• Is filled with water
• Makes hands and feet pruney

As you can see from my bullet points, yes, both the pool and the bath contain water and they both make little hands and feet pruney. I can see how you could get confused, I really can. However, the last point is the most important; the pool contains chlorine and the bath has this amazing stuff called soap. Chlorine is meant to clean germs and bugs out of the pool; it, however, does not clean toddlers.

So I hope I cleared up any misconceptions you may have had previously and I look forward to a clean and good smelling toddler in the future.

Your Adoring Wife

PS: If you need some tips for making bath time fun, check out

Thanks again Nicole for adding this important instruction to our growing list!

To read all the instructions for husbands, click here.

Monday, June 10, 2013

I may lack Internet, but I have spa night and cicadas

My Internet has been down since Thursday.

It's been terrible for my deadlines, but otherwise I'm doing OK with this sudden break from my constant and beloved companion.

And it's given me time to have Spa Night with my daughters:

and to help the kids build a cicada zoo, a cicada circus, and my favorite: the cicada farm.

Note: by "help" I mean telling them, "Do not come near me with those things!"

We've also had the usual 873 end-of-year school activities, here's my fourth-grader on her way to the chorus performance:

What have you been doing? And more importantly, what have I missed online?!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Finding the Funny - June Edition

Before we get started with June's Finding the Funny, I'm teaming up with a few of my co-hosts to bring you an awesome giveaway!

Sara from Cormier Creative is a fabulous graphic designer and has helped countless women bring their blog (and brand) to the next level. She recently gave Anna at My Life and Kids a total brand makeover (see her magic here) and today, she's giving away a FREE Facebook cover design to one of you.

Cormier Creative Giveaway

Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. (And be sure to visit Sara at Cormier Creative!) Giveaway ends on Sunday, June 16 at midnight.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

June Finding the Funny

Meet the Hosts:
Anna @ My Life and Kids
Kelley @ Kelley's Break Room
Robyn @ Hollow Tree Ventures
Kerry @ HouseTalkN
Julie @ I Like Beer and Babies
Keesha @ Mom's New Stage
Meredith @ The Mom of the Year
Anna @ Random Handprints (that's me!)
Ellen and Erin @ Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms
Toulouse @ Toulouse and Tonic

The Rules

Link up an old or new funny post. Link up as many times as you want (we're serious.) The party is open until Friday at midnight. The earlier you link up, the more clicks you'll get. Click around and meet the other funny bloggers that are linking up. Follow the Finding the Funny Pinterest board. We'll all be pinning our favorites throughout the month. We don't ask you to link back to us or include a button on your blog, but we do ask you to send out a tweet or post about the party on your Facebook page. Be sure to use #findingthefunny.
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Monday, June 3, 2013

Week in Review: New Jersey Farmers' Markets, A Fantastic Cookbook and A Boonton Book Signing

Much like last week, I don't have much to report.

For Wonders of Westfield I wrote about where to find Jersey Fresh produce, farmers' markets and CSA farm shares.

Pictured above: my kids enjoying a farm share hat, the healthiness which is clearly somewhat mitigated by the booze and ice cream cones in the background.

For New Jersey Family, I got the chance to interview Kelsey Banfield, who wrote The Naptime Chef, which is one of my most very favorite cookbooks. You can read the interview here, as well as her recipe for Sticky Orange Drumsticks.

So while I have not have written much, I have had lots of fun afternoons with friends and family.

Photo by American Vernacular Landscapes
Oh! And I almost forgot - for those of you near Boonton, NJ we're having a book signing and reading for I Just Want to Pee Alone, this Friday, from 5:00 to 8:00pm.

Thursday is also the opening of Boonton's outdoor arts installation, Dogs on Parade, so it should be a fun night. If your Jersey-local, please come!

What do you have going on this week?
My son has his last day of preschool, and my older ones are in the final countdown for summer to begin.
And me? I'm looking for the perfect Pinterest ways to celebrate the first day of summer (totally wish that I was kidding, but I'm not) and my efforts at being a grown-up are still going strong. I'll be back with a full report on that soon.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

June Declared "Being a Grown-Up Month" at Random Handprints {Day 1}

That's right everyone, I have declared the entire month of June "Being a Grown-Up Month" in honor of all of the undone things on my to do lists, and all of the appointments that have not been gone to, or in fact, even made yet.

So what does Being a Grown-Up Month mean here at the Random Handprints corporate offices?

I think, unfortunately, my Being a Grown-Up lifestyle for the month of June might be at odds with "Blog in Any and All Spare Moments," which is what has led to the need for Being a Grown-Up Month in the first place.

I'm going to go blogging light for the month, with hopes that it only takes one month of being a respectable grown-up to make it possible to then take the rest of the summer off from doing what feels like every single boring things in the entire world.

Today, the first day of Being a Grown-Up Month, I did a pile of things that have been on the to do list for-evah:

- Took the kids to get Passport photos.
- Filled-out all the stupid paperwork that has to be completed to get a passport.
- Made all the photocopies that had to be done in triplicate, one for each kid, and came to the conclusion that Passport procurement is a very good reason not to have a large family. Or, not to travel internationally if you do decide to have a large family.
- Took all of this to the post office and then waited in the longest line in the history of the whole entire world to turn-in all of this stuff.

And as if the Passport getting was not enough, I also went and got the tire replaced on my car. (To be completely accurate, I got my husband to go and get the tire replaced, but still, it sorta counts on my list because it's my car and I did have to be the one to bug him to go, which is no easy task, let me tell you.)

This being an adult stuff is exhausting, and did I mention boring? But despite fully admitting its boring-ness, I'll totally be updating throughout the month the rest of the things I complete in my quest to be caught-up on the life maintenance by July 1.

What's the state of your to do list? Anyone want to join me in Being a Grown-Up Month?

The endless looming of things to do is apparently not only a problem for me. Read this hilarious take on responsibilities on The Onion.

{Keep Reading}

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