Month: December 2010 (page 1 of 3)

A Box of Cheese

Every year as the New Year approaches, I think about all the ways I want to change – you know, resolutions and all – and I decided 2011 would the year of the clean and organized closet. I delved into it’s depths with a bucket of hot water and Murphy’s Oil Soap ready to get down to business when I found a Velveeta box full of Dave’s old cassette tapes.

Dave's box of cheese

I immediately halted Operation Closet Cleanse, grabbed the girl’s Dora the Explorer boom box and called for my husband. He stomped up the stairs and I eagerly greeted him with a presentation of his treasure box of goodies. The left corner of his mouth led the way to a full face grin as he said, “Wow, Leslie. These have got to be at least twenty years old.”

“What’s on them?” I asked anxiously knowing their contents could be something Ah-mazing.

“Gosh, who knows? Could be anything…”

I grabbed a tape, popped it in and pressed the star-shaped play button. “…here he comes to the ring, folks. Let’s see if he can do it tonight!” squeaked a voice that sounded like a hillbilly Peter Brady.

My eyes glimmered. “What’s this?”

“Oh…oh geez. I think this is me and my cousin…being wrestler commentators.”

And it was. They also did a radio show in which Dave played a number of characters calling in to request music. My favorite was a sheepish, stuttering husband who’s wife kept yelling at him to get off the phone. (Yes, he did both voices.) He wanted to hear Louie, Louie.

I was just about to declare this the single most glorious collection of cassette tapes ever assembled when he began to find mix tapes. By then the girls had followed the sound of roaring laughter to our bedroom.

“What are these?” Julia asked picking up a tape.

“Cassette tapes! This is what we used to play music on when daddy and I were kids,” I told her.

Lucy put one to her lips and blew into the end of it like it was a harmonica. “It not make music!”

“You don’t play them like an instrument. You play them on the radio.”

Five minutes later they were bouncing on the bed to Sir Mix-A-Lot’s version of Iron Man.

I learned that Dave knows all the words to Lady by The Little River Band. And that he didn’t realize You’re All I Need by Motley Crue wasn’t so much a song about love as murder. (That’s right, Jack Wagner.)

We sat together for a large part of the afternoon holding our breath during the silence between songs as we waited for a long-forgotten tune to coax memories from the dark places in our brains. We sang and danced and told our stories. I met a whole new part of my husband that day and fell in love with it, too.

This May Be the Best Book I’ve Ever Read (and it’s not even finished!)

Time off from school can be such a good thing. With hours to be idle, Julia has started a number of projects, but this is by far my favorite.

Julia's Notebook

She’s constructed a “notebook” from parts of a cardboard box and filler paper. She intends to write in it regularly through the next year. I think she’s off to a great start.

Entry #1, Christmas Day

Guitar entry

When I asked her about the picture, she told me, “That’s you clapping…and there’s daddy saying, ‘Settle down, Wife!’ because you were, like, really excited that I got a guitar.”

Entry #2, Box of Shame

Box of Shame entry

Okay, so maybe I’m a little proud mom-ish, but I think the kid is a little bit brilliant. And funny.

Entry #3, The Wii

Wii entry

Look at how pissed Dave and I look in that illustration. She totally nailed us. We really look that way.

I can’t wait to she what she writes and draws next. She’s quickly becoming my favorite author.

Make Your Own “Hourglass”

“Just a minute!”

How many times do our kids hear that? Here’s a way to help them visualize just how long that is: make an hourglass. Or in our case, a ten minute timepiece. Here’s what you’ll need to make it.

Hourglass Supplies


  • 2 empty plastic drink bottles, washed and dried
  • 1 plastic drink bottle cap
  • sand
  • funnel
  • duct tape
  • nail or other hole-poking tool


  1. Pour sand into one bottle using a funnel.
  2. Hourglass 1

  3. Use a nail or other tool to poke a hole in the plastic bottle cap.
  4. Hourglass 2

  5. Place the cap on the sand-filled bottle.
  6. Hourglass 3

  7. Invert the empty bottle, position it on top of the other bottle and secure them together with duct tape.
  8. Hourglass 4

  9. Flip the bottles over so the sand flows through.
  10. Hourglass 5

  11. You can use a clock to figure out how much time your “hourglass” measures and add or remove sand to adjust the time. (We used 8 oz. bottles and filled one 3/4 full of sand for a ten minute timepiece.)
  12. Hourglass 6

  13. Use your “hourglass” to keep time. We tried using ours in the morning to help us get out the door on time. It worked!

How will you use your “hourglass?”

Originally written for and posted on the now-defunct My OH! Momma website.

A New Year’s Haiku

I love the person
I would be if I could keep
my resolutions

From Our Family to Yours

Merry Christmas!

So This Is What Happens When You Whittle Your To-Do List Down To Just 1,000 Items

Over the summer, my mom picked up a brand new 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle for 75 cents at a garage sale and tucked it away. She’s a “think ahead” kind of person and told me it’d be fun to get out during the winter when it’s cold and we’re all cooped up, which is exactly what we did when I was a kid because that’s exactly what she did when she was a kid. Well, it’s winter and it’s cold and we’re all cooped up and Julia’s on break, so we pulled that puzzle out and set it up on the dining room table.

Julia dove right in despite the “ages 12 and up” suggestion while I explained the best puzzle strategy: 1) Flip all the pieces over, 2) Find all the edge pieces, 3) Start with the corners and build the frame, then 4) Fill in the rest. She didn’t listen, but assembled the entire bottom right-hand corner in the time it took me to sort my pile of pieces into “edges” and “middles.” I told her she was pretty good at this puzzle business. She agreed. And the fact that she’s only half the minimum age requirement listed on the box wasn’t lost on her, either. She discussed this at length, going on and on about how it must mean she’s twice as smart as the average six year old. Until I asked her how to spell “humility.” Yeah, look that one up, kiddo.

The jigsaw puzzle

Over the next few days, we all gathered around the table at different times and in various combinations to work at the puzzle. Dave and I at 3 p.m., playing footsie under the table. Lucy in grandma’s lap and Phoebe in mine at 5:45 p.m. with Julia playing Christmas carols on the piano. My mom and me at 1 a.m., remembering my grandpa. With our minds focused on the task at hand, our hearts were left open to give and receive. We talked and laughed and sang as we connected the pieces. And our family. I can’t think of a better Christmas gift than that.

Recycled Gift Wrap Wreath

The holiday season is filled with loads of parties and gift exchanges that generate enough gift wrap debris that, if you laid it out, could reach the North Pole. I’m making that up, of course. I’ve done no research to support that assertion. I have no idea how far that even is. But you get what I’m saying. We use a whole lot of gift wrap. And even the most enthusiastic present-opener can’t destroy it completely. So, don’t throw those gift wrap scraps away just yet. Gather them up and breathe a little Christmas spirit into their shredded remains with this recycled gift wrap wreath!

Here’s what you’ll need.

Recycled Gift Wrap Wreath Supplies


  • A paper plate
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Gift wrap scraps
  • Hole punch (optional)


  1. Cut the center out of a paper plate. (We traced around a round object to make a neat circle.)
  2. Recycled Gift Wrap Wreath 1

    Recycled Gift Wrap Wreath 2

  3. Cover the plate with glue.
  4. Recycled Gift Wrap Wreath 3

  5. Stick on your gift wrap scraps.
  6. Recycled Gift Wrap Wreath 4

  7. To hang the wreath, you can attach a loop of ribbon. We used the hole punch to make a hole and looped a piece of string from a gift bag handle.
  8. Recycled Gift Wrap Wreath 5

  9. Deck your halls!
  10. Recycled Gift Wrap Wreath 6

Originally written for and posted on the now-defunct My OH! Momma website.

My Toddler The Mafia Boss and the Zhu Zhu Pet Luca Brasi

Our friend Will and his family gave the girls Zhu Zhu Pets for Christmas. They’ve been playing with them non-stop since they opened them. But this morning, the playing stopped.

Julia: “Lucy, where’s my Zhu Zhu Pet?”

Lucy: “It say goodnight!”

Julia: “Did you kill it?!?!”

Lucy: *maniacal laughter*

Julia searched for about fifteen minutes to no avail, so I finally intervened.

Me: “Lucy, where’s Julia’s Zhu Zhu pet? We need to find it, honey.”

Lucy: “He sleeping here…” She pulled the Zhu Zhu pet out from the cabinet under the fish tank. “…with the fishies!”

I double dog dare ya to check out Julia’s latest Pop-Tarts video and my recipe. BlogHer just may give you $100 for it.

Julia’s Pop-Tarts Theater (and a chance to win $100)

This is a compensated review by BlogHer and Pop-Tarts.

The Limited Edition Gingerbread flavor Pop-Tarts have a special feature: Printed gingerbread images on every toaster pastry. And, well, we just couldn’t help but play with our food.

What do you want for Christmas? Tell me in the comments and you’ll be entered to win a $100 Visa giftcard from BlogHer!

Some Rules:

*No duplicate comments.

*You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) Read the official rules for alternate form of entry.

*This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older.

*Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.

*You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

Visit the Official Rules.

Visit the Official site.

Visit the Exclusive Offers section for more chances to win!

Slow Down! You Move Too Fast. Let’s Just Look For Fun and Feel Groovy.

Before each of my children were born, I had nightmares about forgetting them. I forgot I was pregnant and got drunk. I forgot I put the baby in her car seat on top of the car and took off. I left the baby in her crib all day because I simply forgot I had a new baby. But when the babies came, I didn’t forget them at all – not even once. How could you forget something that looks this adorable?


I had such a hard time imagining how I’d handle a new child each time one was on the way. I couldn’t envision how I’d manage it and all I could see was my life as it was. But sometime after each new baby came, there was a shift and suddenly, I couldn’t remember how it felt to be without that child. I couldn’t think of anything outside the context of my children, even the past.

That shift has happened with Phoebe, which is wonderful and sad at the same time, because the “newness” is over. And if that feeling wasn’t enough, she made it real by rolling over for the first time yesterday. At 12 weeks and 1 day old.

That’s actually the third time she rolled over yesterday, so I can’t even call it a fluke. She can officially roll over from her belly to her back and I’m pretty sure she can go from her back to her belly. My dad said something about seeing her do it in her bassinet, but I don’t know, I was busy singing “LA LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” with my fingers in my ears. She’s been trying to do it on the changing table, but I have to stop her, you know, for her safety. I’m not trying to slow her down or anything. Although she really needs to slow down, don’t you think? It’s all going just a little too fast.

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