Friday, March 29, 2013

fresh breath for toddlers

Mason loves to carry around small bottles that he can shake and make noise with. I've filled a couple of empty pill bottles with rice or beans, but he adores the container of cinnamon sticks, and when he recently opened it and began sucking/chewing on one of the sticks, I realized this "toy's" true benefit: these sticks freshen his breath!

Sure, it looks a little like he has a brown cigarette in his mouth--not the image I want for my toddler--but his breath smells so fresh and good, just like he's been chewing Big Red gum! I admit that I encouraged his sucking on the cinnamon stick after he recently gobbled a healthy portion of some garlicky pasta salad, and I was gladly rewarded with sweet, cinnamon kisses before nap time.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

llama llama

Is anyone else as obsessed with Anna Dewdney's llama llama series as Mason and I are? He loves these books, and so do I. We read the ones we have probably ten times a day, and I'm not sick of them yet, which is saying something!

This author's ability to rhyme blows me away, and her illustrations are  beautiful and perfectly capture the emotion of each page.

Check out this author's work if you haven't already!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Google Reader alternative?

I got a notice last week that Google Reader will be shut down this July, which gave me a mild panic attack. Now I need to find and learn a new program to manage all the blogs I read. What program do you use, Gentle Readers? Which one do you like the best?

Thursday, March 21, 2013


The very first restaurant I visited in Athens, Georgia, in the spring of 1998 was Mellow Mushroom, with my soon-to-be dear friend Katie. I was interviewing for graduate school, and Katie was nice enough to host me during that time. That restaurant became one of my favorites while I lived in the South and I missed it when I moved to DC in 2000. But I recently learned that Mellow Mushroom has migrated north, and there's a location in Adams Morgan, so out I went with the DC Moms this past Monday night. You can read about my recap of the experience here.

Monday, March 18, 2013

little gardener

Mason only slept an hour one day recently, so he got put to work in the yard.

He raked.

And broke up the ground with the pitch fork to prepare it for new grass seed.

He played in the dirt

and destroyed a couple of freshly planted pots.

Mason also walked all over a freshly planted bed.

The good news? I DID get all of my winter crops planted, including my vertical beds.

And I had the best little helper!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

egg in a frame

While I am on the subject of eggs, who eats/makes an egg in a frame? Brad had never heard of them, let alone eaten one, until I made one for Mason recently. I grew up with these treats.

I prefer heart-shaped frames for my eggs--another great use for my Valentine's Day cookie cutter!

Monday, March 11, 2013

refrigerator space saver

Brad thinks my practice of cutting off egg cartons as I use the eggs is totally weird, but I happen to think it's brilliant. Why waste precious refrigerator space on a huge egg carton that only has two left inside? (Side note: my fridge does not have one of those nifty storage units for eggs.) Does anyone else do this? I can't be the only one!

Here's my tip: start trimming from the end withOUT the expiration date. I only had to make that mistake once.

How do you save space in the fridge?

Friday, March 8, 2013

spring surprise

While pulling out last year's dead flowers and leaves, I discovered a wonderful surprise: the tulips I planted last fall are starting to come up! I had forgotten about them!

Have you discovered any spring surprises yet?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

deeply disturbing

In my cooking class last week, one of my four-year-old students took a whiff of the cinnamon glaze we had just made and loudly and clearly said, "That smells like sex."

What is this world coming to?!

Monday, March 4, 2013

babysitter baffles

I don't need babysitters often. Thankfully, Mason can accompany me most places and I am blessed with a strong network of other stay-at-home moms who are willing to swap childcare when last minute needs arise. I've never struggled to find a babysitter either, despite my little grump's occasional unfriendliness and frequent mommy clinginess, but I have had some strange things happen with a couple of sitters.

One afternoon, I left Mason in our home in the care of our next door neighbor, a college student, and someone we've known for years. Brad came home in the evening, after the sun had set, to find Mason and the sitter in the living room in almost complete darkness, except for the glare from her laptop screen. Mason hovered near the window--probably attracted to the street light--sobbing. The sitter barely looked up from her screen when Brad came in--you see, she had a ton of school work that was due. Even though I usually err on the side of providing too many instructions, I didn't realize I had to be explicit about two things: we're paying you to be attentive to our child and please turn on the living room light when it gets dark!

After another sitter left, I got Mason up from his nap to find a take-and-toss straw sippy cup, like this,

that was (initially) full of milk in his crib. Unsurprisingly, the milk had leaked all over his crib mattress, sleep sack, and blankets. Mason slept with his head in a pool of milk, resulting in crusty and smelly hair. How he managed to sleep nearly three hours under those conditions, I have no idea. In her defense, perhaps she accidentally left the cup of milk on the crib's ledge, and he reached up and pulled it into the crib with him--that's entirely possible. But the thought of her laying him down with a cup that obviously leaks blows my mind.

Do I always need to state the obvious? Yes, it seems, I do.

What babysitter baffles have you experienced? How did you handle them?

Friday, March 1, 2013

spring planting

Happy March (and the beginning of spring planting season)!

I'm trying two new plants this year: blueberries, for my boy who loves them so much he may just turn into one, and asparagus, because it's my favorite green vegetable.

Starting today, I am busy clearing out the flowers and plants that finally died in January, pruning rose bushes, and planting cold weather crops: mesclun greens, arugula, romain lettuce, spinach, and sugar snap peas. In April, I'll plant everything else.

I experience many more gardening failures than successes each year, but I love how my hope springs eternal each March. Squirrels, insects, and drought could not be further from my mind right now.

What are you excited to grow this year? Are you trying anything new?