Monday, April 28, 2008


This is the 200th entry in the brief history of this humble little parenting blog. I wasn't really sure how to mark the milestone, clicking the "publish" button and sending something out into the world for the 200th time, and then Madison - whose teacher is a regular visitor - asked whether or not she could "post" something. Since she named this space, and has provided much of the inspiration for installments 1-199, that seemed like a great idea.

I asked her what she wanted to write about and she suggested providing step-by-step instructions for making the Play-Doh chips that appear above.

A little background on this.

I was walking by her room the other night and she called me in to show me her collection of colorful chips, which she keeps in a plastic container. I thought it was a cool little craft, something she came up with on her own. We actually made another batch during our weekend adventure. The combination of multiple colors produces some interesting marbling in the finished product.

So here without further ado is my first guest poster - Madison, in her own words. [She did the honors and clicked "publish," too.]


One day I was sitting in my room, very bored. Then I saw a few cans of Play-Doh. Then a light bulb went off in my head. I could mix the colors up. So I did.

The end.

How to make Play-Doh chips:

First - Get five or six cans of Play-Doh, any size.

Second - Mix them up.

Third - Pinch a little bit of Play-Doh, then roll into a small ball, about the size of a marble.

Fourth - Take the flat side of a plastic knife and, very gently, pat down into a circle.

Fifth - If needed, take the not-sharp side of your knife and put it to the bottom and go very gently around, smoothing the chip in case the Play-Doh cracked when flattening.

Sixth - If wanted, cut some of the circles in half. Let them dry over the next few days.

P.S. - Enjoy your chips.

[Play-Doh Chip, "The Wave," As Created And Photographed By Madison]

Found Weekend

We had the weekend I was hoping for, and my "no distractions" policy really made a difference. We got to all of Madison's sporting events, and with the exception of some loud complaining Saturday morning when she realized she was going to spend TWO of the next four hours standing around on the sidelines watching her sister play soccer and lacrosse, Ava was very good and gracious about it. We worked in some playground time to make the forced spectating a little easier to take.

She also perfected a system of playing her Leapster under a blanket, to maximize visibility and limit distractions on a day that turned out to be chilly and a little rainy.

After lacrosse practice we ran into a nearby supermarket to pick up some ice cream, and as we were driving home Madison said, "Dad, did you get your tookie on the Precor?"

"What?" I responded.

"Did you get your tookie on the Precor? 'Cause Mom said you couldn't have any more Honey Vanilla ice cream until you got your tookie on the Precor."

I did not, in fact, get my tookie on the Precor, but Madison - who reminded us several times that she had been left "in charge" by Gwen, agreed that I could have a few spoonfuls anyway.

We drove over to see my Grandmother Saturday afternoon, took in an early dinner at one of our favorite places before going bowling. As we sat down and dug into the bread basket, my Grandmother was saying something about feeling out of sorts the previous week.

"My head's in a bag," she said. "I've been doing some stupid things lately."

"Like smoking!" Ava said instantly, without looking up from the focaccia she was dabbing into olive oil on her plate.

The girls had a little argument on the way to soccer yesterday, when Madison asked Ava to give her another one of the cucumber slices she was munching on. Ava had already shared several pieces before we left home, and resisted this additional request. I encouraged her to give her sister one last courtesy, and she finally relented. "Just so you know, Madison," Ava said to cap the moment. "I'm not a fairy godmother!" Madison told me later she thought Ava was "magically vicious," a construction I'd not heard before.

Over the course of the weekend we played games, Play-Doh, read books, watched iCarly and really focused in on each other.

At one point when we were in her room, Madison said, "You know why it's hard without Mom here?"

"Why Maddie," I responded.

"Because I don't get a new bed every morning."

"Well, you know," I said. "You could make your own bed."

"I don't know how," she responded. "Mom does it with a special touch that makes me feel happy."

Gwen returned home mid-afternoon yesterday. And, as great as our weekend together was, I can say - without reservation and on all kinds of levels - we were happy.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Mr. Mom

I’ve got some Mr. Mom duty coming up this weekend, and as much as I hate invoking a designation that leads directly to the dopey, yet annoyingly self-satisfied, visage of erstwhile actor Michael Keaton, I can’t resist. Just another enduring gift to humanity from the mind of John Hughes, right up there with The Breakfast Club, a character named Duckie and the most artistically productive years in the history of one Anthony Michael Hall.

Gwen and her sister are leaving early today for a visit with their Grandmother and assorted other relatives, groupies and hangers on, returning late Sunday. I’ve been wondering how to spend the time with Madison and Ava – after thinking better of my original plan to shepherd the children through a Howard Hughes-esque odyssey featuring 60+ hours of television, innumerable pints of ice cream, sleep-deprivation and home-made pizza. Unfortunately, spring activities have already kicked in, so we’re not exactly dealing with an empty canvas.

Madison has soccer practice from 5 to 6 tonight, maybe we’ll do something fun for dinner after that. She has lacrosse practice from 9 to 10 tomorrow, a soccer game from 12 to 1, then another soccer game from 12 to 1 on Sunday. Yeah, it's that time of year. By some feat of divine intervention, Ava’s soccer squad is not practicing or playing, and I’m not exactly complaining, although I'll probably have to stop off at church on Sunday to thank God for sparing my life.

We may drive over to see my Grandmother tomorrow afternoon. She’s in her late 80s, but still very active and bowls in a league every week. The girls have had a few bowling birthday parties recently, which they enjoyed, so I figured it might be fun to all go hit the lanes together, grab some dinner and then return home for movie night. “American Gangster” and “No Country For Old Men” just hit our cable company's VOD listings. I don’t know much about either film, but based on all the critical acclaim they seem to be just what the doctor ordered for a family-friendly double feature.

The only thing I can say for sure is that it will be all quiet here in blog-land. I’m resolved to really embrace this bountiful supply of quality time with the kids, to focus in on fatherhood and stay away from computers (even Macs), e-mail, RSS feeds and cell phones. That means no new posts, no comment moderation, nothing for the next few days. I'm going to avoid the inevitable push-and-pull associated with trying to work in my own stuff by wiping that slate clean. These days are theirs. Consider us officially off the grid.

So have a great weekend and, in the immortal words of Larry Sanders, as overheard by Anthony Pellicano, “you may now flip.”

At least until Monday.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Oh Yeah? Hack This!

No school today, the girls are on break. This morning found Ava sleeping in and the rest of us sitting around the family room. Madison was eating some sliced apple (her current favorite snack) and sipping on some warm milk, watching Cyberchase after we shut down her request to begin the day with the madcap teenage high jinks of iCarly. Gwen was trying, between loads of laundry, to drink at least one cup of coffee while it was still warm. I was sitting with my own cup and her MacBook, scrolling through the roughly 684 stories that hit my RSS reader overnight.

I noticed an item from a typically great and helpful blog, Parent Hacks, under the heading "Four Parent Hacks For A Nag-Less Morning Routine." The piece, written by a teenage blogger about life in her own house, began with this:

"Every morning my mom officially declares war on: the alarm clock, then my sister, then my dad and then the toaster. You never know what to expect during my family's get-ready-for-school-routine and the only 'routine' thing about it is that it usually involves a lot of yelling and nagging. We actually miraculously managed to stop this terrible cycle by adding a few simple 'parent hacks' and I wanted to share them so you too can save your relationships, your day and your voice (if you are anything like my mom):"

Hmm, I thought, that sounds kind of interesting. We've certainly had our fair share of rough-and-tumble mornings, racing against the clock to get the girls to agree on a TV show, get them fed and appropriately dressed while tackling other necessary items like making overnight additions to Ava's Christmas List and reaching a compromise with Madison on how best to wear her hair some form of "up," in deference to the most recent seasonal lice outbreak memo from her school. It can get fairly intense.

So I enthusiastically alerted Gwen to my find, and indicated an interest – as the parent who gets to cap these brief interludes of insanity by leaving the house and spending the rest of my day with adults, and computers, enjoying leisurely lunches and the fact that no one is screaming "DAD" in my general direction every 30 seconds – in sharing this unsolicited Web-based wisdom.

She looked up from her Minnie Mouse mug and flashed me the kind of "you’re out of your depth" glance Bill Gates might have reserved for some dope who took him aside in the 1980s and said, "Billy, listen, Windows is fine, but they're kind of small spaces… you need to think bigger. How about this – DOORS!"

I began to read aloud.

The first "hack" revolved around packing lunches and backpacks the night before, so they were all ready to go in the morning when the kids were leaving for school.

"The girls won't let me pack their lunches the night before," Gwen said. "They say that the lunch isn't 'fresh' if it isn't made in the morning." Additional context here – Ava won't put a single piece of food into her mouth until she has held it to her nose and sniffed it, a level of culinary scrutiny to which I still aspire. Madison refuses to buy lunch at school, she says it's gross, and I'd argue the point if I wasn't so unbelievably proud of her for having come to this conclusion, on her own, at the ripe old age of seven.

Undeterred by the lukewarm response to hack #1, I continued.

The second point had something to do with establishing a "launching pad" location in the house where all the items needed to get out the door in the morning were kept, to avoid having to hunt around for things under deadline pressure. It was clear the writer was talking about an indoor laundry room leading to the garage, but our house doesn't have inside access to the garage, just a back door off the kitchen, leading to a stoop. This is a point of some contention, and building this kind of enclosure is a planned improvement I've been able to successfully relegate to the far reaches of the "someday" file.

So I dropped a few key words as I relayed the item, a technique I've developed for use when reading stories to Ava that stray into the jarring or intense. Snow White is a good example, and through this selective editing process I've been able to convey the idea that the Wicked Queen actually asked her Huntsman to take Snow White out into the forest and leave her there, as opposed to, say, knifing her on the spot and ripping the still-beating heart out of her chest as confirmation of the kill.

Here is the launching pad item, with the words that were sacrificed in my ultimately futile attempt at obfuscation crossed out: "We created a part of our house (the laundry room connected to the garage) that was our 'launching pad.' This is where we put everything that we needed to take out the door with us."

"She's talking about a mud room," Gwen responded instantly. "Probably a laundry room right off the garage. We don't have a room like that. Do you want to build a mud room between the kitchen and the garage?"

At this point, my beautiful and knowing bride gave me a little look that said, "Is that all you got? Bring it on." Actually, I think she may have said, "Is that all you got? Bring it on." I'm not completely sure, having blocked this portion of the conversation from my memory.

A wise person would have stopped right there, "OK, OK, I get it, these people don’t know what they are talking about – as least as it relates to us. Mission aborted." But obliviousness at home is a character trait I prize in myself, something I inherited from my father, so on I went.

The third point revolved around presenting the children with large laminated checklists, to make it their personal responsibility to ensure they had everything they needed for the day – items like water bottles, softball bag, an extra bathing suit and towel for swimming.

"These kids are older," Gwen said. "Probably in high school. Ava is five. You want me to hand her a list in the morning and send her off to school without whatever she didn’t know she needed because it was written on a big card she couldn’t read?"

Well, look, if you want to put that fine a point on it... It was clear this wasn't going well, but we were three "hacks" in already and only one left. I cheerfully soldiered on.

The final tip talked about how this writer's parents had been able to move away from increasingly intense verbal reminders that it was "time to get up" or "time to get going" in the morning by setting an elaborate series of kitchen timers and alarms that the family could recognize as key milestones and progress indicators as they got ready to leave for the day.

I realized this item was a complete nonstarter before I even finished reading it, and Gwen confirmed this diagnosis when she said, "I'm not running around here every morning setting bells and timers and whistles all over the place… are you kidding me?"

I'm fairly sure they weren't kidding, and these helpful and well-intended tips probably work great for some people. As far as our preferred morning "hack," we'll stick with our tried and true approach, at least on some mornings, which essentially amounts to the following – batten down the hatches and commence the yelling!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Different Apple

Madison has been requesting "clear pages" on the computer again, so she can write poems and short stories. She's also been experimenting with different fonts and colored texts.

I came upstairs this morning and found this little gem open on our computer.

Girl President Redux

Madison was flipping through the photos on our digital camera the other day. When she got to the monument shots I'd taken on my recent trip to Washington, D.C., she asked if I had seen the White House when I was down there.

"Yes," I said. "I walked by there once."

"Did you see the President?" she asked.

I told her I didn't, and mentioned that he was actually out of town during my trip. I opted not to totally shut down the hopeful innocence of this 7-year-old's question by letting her know that it's almost impossible for a "regular" person to visit with the President - and left the notion floating out there, unsaid, that if he'd happened to be around I might have actually been able to pop in and say hello.

"I kind of want a girl to be President," Madison said, reminding me of our recent conversation on the topic.

"Not because I think she would do the greatest things," she continued, "Just because it's never happened and I think it would be interesting, and they'd probably write a lot of books about it. Non-fiction books."

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Weekend Pizza (At Home)

My little tribute to the amazing and gone-too-soon California pizza chef Ed LaDou generated a few requests for elaboration on the strategies we use to make pizzas at home, but we were in a transitional period between dough recipes at the time, and I didn't want to make any recommendations until we had a result we were thoroughly happy with. After additional experimentation and a successful round of pies last weekend I think we're there, so here we go.

First off, making pizzas at home is easy, and fun, and is a terrific family activity because the kids can choose their own toppings, work their own dough and really get into the mix of things. Unlike, say, carving a turkey or rendering a batch of pork fat. There's no crying in pizza, as long as you keep the little ones away from the oven, and we've found this meal to be a great and casual option for ourselves or when we are hosting small groups of relatives or neighborhood friends.

We have experimented with a number of dough recipes, and the best ones all have one thing in common - they require this special combination of flour, water and other key ingredients to spend at least one night together, "resting" in the refrigerator. Yes, this extra time and lack of spontaneity really is worth it.

For many years we stuck with the "basic" and the honey wheat dough recipes in the California Pizza Kitchen Cookbook - and they were both very good. Then a foodie friend of ours sniffed at the idea that we were building our majestic pies on a foundation prescribed by two lawyers from LA who had launched what was, essentially, the McDonald's of pizza-land. Appropriately disgraced, we went looking for something a little more serious and substantial.

And we found it on the Web in a recipe by renowned baker Peter Reinhart. We make both the plain/white dough he outlines and also a wheat version we've customized to our own liking. The plain/white is perfect for red sauce, the wheat works very well with assorted "healthy" toppings like roasted chicken, spinach, mushrooms, caramelized onions, goat cheese or dollops of ricotta.

If you follow Reinhart's recipe exactly, right before you decide to scrap the pizza idea and rip your teeth out you will have been tortured by a number of very specific steps - chill the flour before using it, cut the dough into little individual pie-sized pieces before it rises, chant leavening mantras over the bowl while beating a small drum and burning eucalyptus leaves. I'm not sure how much of that is really necessary, we prefer a simple and streamlined approach.

You will need:

4 1/2 cups of unbleached white flour (we like King Arthur or Gold Medal "Harvest King")

1 3/4 teaspoons of salt

1/4 cup of good olive oil

1 teaspoon of instant yeast (sometimes this is called "rapid rise" yeast - it is NOT "active dry yeast," which is typically found in the refrigerated section of the supermarket, and needs to be activated with warm water and some kind of sugar before it will work)

1 3/4 cups of cold water

Combine the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and the water and stir with a spoon until the mixture becomes clumpy and impossible to move without causing permanent damage to your carpal tunnel region, then ditch the spoon and get your hands in there to knead the dough for a good five to seven minutes - until the ingredients are integrated and able to be formed into a dense ball. Drizzle a little olive oil into the palm of one hand, use it to coat the ball evenly and place into a glass bowl with enough room for your creation to double in size. Cover with plastic wrap and put into the refrigerator overnight. Now stop thinking about pizza for the rest of the day. Go make a salad or something.

The "healthier" wheat version of this dough uses the same ingredients and technique as outlined above, except we start with a mix of 3 cups of whole wheat flour and 1 1/2 cups of white. We like King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat Flour. This is a sliding scale, and if you wanted to amp down on the rusticity you could use 1 or even 2 cups of whole wheat flour and the rest white - just find a way to get to 4 1/2 cups in total. This also provides a good opportunity to get all Cyberchase with the kids by involving them in complex math calculations. "So if Hacker uses 1 3/4 cups of wheat flour, how many cups of..."

The above recipe will make enough dough for probably 4 to 6 small/medium-sized pizzas, so plan accordingly, depending on how many people you are feeding. We usually make a batch of each kind so we can experiment with a variety of pies and either freeze whatever is left over in Ziploc bags or just throw it on the pizza stone to make a nice hunk of bread for later in the day or even the next morning. One basic rule applies here, especially given the effort and one-day delay - don't run out of dough. There's probably no greater sin than filling your house with people who have been promised home-made pizza, only to wind up apologizing profusely and searching for the number to Domino's.

Here's a little photo progression illustrating the wheat dough preparation.

[Dry ingredients, mixed, waiting for the water and olive oil.]

[This is about as far as you'll get with a spoon, time to get your hands into that bowl. Recently washed, right? We're not looking for incidental flavor enhancements here.]

[Punch the dough down along the sides of the bowl, then flip it over and repeat. This is a good way to integrate all the dry remnants into the mass.]

[After five to seven minutes of poking and prodding, you'll get to this.]

[Covered in a bit of olive oil and ready for bed, i.e. a night in refrigerated lock-down.]

Once the dough has spent the night rising slowly in cold isolation, it is basically fair game. You can use it that day or the day after that, but if you plan to wait longer you should probably freeze it - there is no warranty expressed or implied in these time estimates, we always make our pizzas the next day.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator about two hours before you are going to use it, you can punch it down at this point and fold it back over on itself, reforming the ball - it will rise again while it comes back to room temperature. When you are ready to start forming your own individual pizzas just use a knife to hack the mound apart into whatever size you feel comfortable working with. You can't get this wrong, seriously. Have a little extra flour on hand to dust the individual pieces, which will make them easier to work with, and then just pull and push and cajole the dough into thin circles, the flatter the better.

About an hour before you want to fire up the first pie, put a pizza stone in your oven and set it to 500 degrees. This is important - you have to give the stone time to absorb the heat for more than just a few minutes before you try to cook on it. Don't burn the house down (again, no warranty expressed or implied), 45 minutes to an hour is fine.

Now onto the toppings. As I said above, we really make two basic kinds of pies. Red sauce, featuring our favorite Sunday Sauce, on plain/white dough with shredded mozzarella cheese (and a little grated Locatelli sprinkled on top), and wheat dough varieties that feature a much wider array of toppings. Our favorites on this canvas include pieces of roasted chicken, sauteed spinach and mushrooms, caramelized onions, clumps of goat cheese, ricotta and, of course, mozzarella. Roasted red peppers actually make a great topping on either base. Ava isn't a big fan of red sauce, so she loves when we make pizza at home because she gets to have just dough (either kind) with cheese - which is actually a nice option, although she yells at you if you try to steal one of "her" slices. Lightly drizzle a little olive oil onto the pies before they hit the oven, it makes a difference.

When you have a piece of dough more-or-less ready for the oven, stretch it out on a pizza peel (we have a wooden one we like, but there are many kinds) on top of a light dusting of corn meal or farina. The small grains will help the finished product slide off the peel and onto the stone, and believe me when I say you do not want to get hung up at that point in the process - you want to flick that pie off the peel and into the oven with confidence. They will take anywhere from 8 to 12 minutes to cook, depending on the thickness of the crust. Let the condition of the bottom - color, texture - be your guide on when they are ready to eat.

Anything is fair game when it comes to toppings - basically whatever you like to eat will work on top of a pizza, so go crazy and start experimenting. But less really is more here. I've told myself this about 100 times, and there are moments when I still don't believe it, but I always regret it after the fact. You are not stuffing a sandwich, this isn't a Subway commercial, the star is the dough - which you are appropriately enhancing with the toppings and flavors you choose.

Overloaded pizzas don't cook right, and they don't eat right, and they are generally a mess. Don't waste your precious ingredients (all fresh and top quality, of course) and the time and effort that goes into this multi-day endeavor by pulling an Icarus and flying too close to the sun on wings of pepperoni. Apply the self-restraint on the pizzas and cut yourself some slack on the wine. You'll thank me. Honest.

Now go and get ready for tomorrow's dinner.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Random Frozen Plug, For Bees

My favorite ice cream of all time was a Haagen-Dazs flavor called "Honey Vanilla," which was criminally inexplicably discontinued several years ago. There have been a few other worthy contenders to the throne, notably Baskin-Robbins Chocolate Chip, Ben & Jerry's HEATH Bar Crunch, even plain old Haagen-Dazs Vanilla was serviceable enough, but nothing really came close to the subtle perfection of the Honey Vanilla I remembered from my youth.

A few months ago I became aware of a new Haagen-Dazs creation, in their "reserve" line, called Hawaiian Lehua Honey & Sweet Cream Ice Cream. I made a point of finding and buying a pint, only to be thoroughly disappointed by a product that was, in my opinion, far too rich, and marred by slightly sickening golden swirls of bland sweetness running through the vanilla base. I guess that was the prized "Hawaiian Lehua Honey," oh well. Manufacturer and key ingredient aside, it wasn't close to what I was looking for.

More recently, I was doing a little late-night rummage through our freezer and found a surprise Gwen had left there waiting for me, a pint of this. I got a spoon, opened it up and was immediately transported back in time, back 20 or 30 years, to that same amazing and singular experience. Perfectly integrated clean and delicately well-balanced flavors, a lingering honey finish, and without the over-the-top assault of the flawed "reserve" version. It was phenomenal. Haagen-Dazs Honey Vanilla is back. They're calling the new incarnation "Vanilla Honey Bee," but they could call it toasted asphalt and wouldn't have any problem with me, as long as it tasted like this.

I'm mentioning this now because, if the company's Web site is to be believed, Vanilla Honey Bee is a "limited edition" flavor that will only be available through December. If you are even slightly predisposed to vanilla or honey, do yourself a favor and don't miss it this time around. We're doing our part here to boost sales to the point that they'd be crazy to stop making the stuff, but we can use all the help we can get.

The return of this epic flavor also seems to be part of a broader initiative that Haagen-Dazs has undertaken to raise awareness of the increasingly dire plight of the world's honey bees, and the potentially devastating effects associated with their mysterious decline. They've put up a pretty amazing site with more information on the situation. It's no Bee Movie - which our whole family loved, by the way (good job, Jerry) - but is well worth a visit.

So go out and buy a pint of Haagen-Dazs Vanilla Honey Bee, I'm willing to bet it won't be your last. You might even save a bee, and the best ice cream in the history of the planet.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Welcome signs of life are appearing in our backyard.

In a couple of months, this little bundle of leaves will have turned into this.

Fired up the grill tonight and ate dinner outside, at the girls' request, after an extended bike-riding session.

We like this time of year.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Christmas In April

One of the most interesting things happening in our family at the moment is watching Ava's mind develop through the concepts she invents, embraces and won't let go. When we returned from our trip to Disney late last year, she told us almost every night for weeks that she wanted to go back and "live there," a sentiment she continues to express from time to time, in vivid detail. Whenever we let the girls know about a planned vacation, Ava is the one who asks "in how many days," and "for how many days," basically every day, until we leave.

A couple of months ago, out of nowhere, she said she wanted to start working on her Christmas List, and since we try to live in the land of "anything is possible" - as opposed to, "well, let's see... you're almost a year early, so let's say no for now" - we dutifully wandered over to the iMac and opened up a new file called Ava's 2008 Christmas List.

Every few days, typically before she goes to bed or right after she wakes up, Ava will request an addition (or additions) to the list, and the document has continued to evolve, our own little Rosetta Stone into what she's currently thinking about or fixated on. "Don't forget, Dad, I want to put this on my Christmas list," she'll say. "OK? Don't forget." The presence of the list has also offered an early opportunity to apply seasonal shock and awe, in the form of an occasional threat to hit the delete button, which has proven to be an extremely effective disciplinary technique in moments of severe distress.

We're not doing a lot of editing right now, since we still have more than eight months to come up with messages able to convince our headstrong and very specific 5-year-old that there really is no such thing as a robot able to deliver Rice Krispies on demand, or need for her to have gift cards to a supermarket, or that much Play-Doh in the world.

Here is the current list, as dictated:

All the colors of Fun-Tak

Silly Putty


Medium cans of Play-Doh, every color

Foamy paper, no sticky backs

Little cans of Play-Doh too

Mickey’s Christmas (movie)

Shrek 1 and Shrek 2

Two big Leprechaun books – one what they are like, another how to catch them, and learning how they talk and what they like to eat and what movies they like

Three books about outer space

Two books about (school) principals

One book about dinosaurs

Three BIG Dr. Seuss books

All of the iCarly movies

One big fairy tale book… three little pigs, the wolf, etc.

Big Cruella De Vil book – fat

Big Pocahontas book, with a lot of the Pocahontas stories in it, big and fat

One huge ballerina book with all the steps

Another pack of medium cans of Play-Doh for my shop

Robot that has Chocolate Rice Krispies and they will give them to me and if I want milk on it too they will give me milk too

Different robot with regular Rice Krispies, same thing

Little robot that will clean up any room, and one that will play with me when I’m outside

Robot that can dance with me, and will sing and take my radio’s place. And a ballet one that will teach me some ballet moves

Play-Doh robot that will make big cans of Play-Doh

Sand Play-Doh in every color

Lady and the Tramp 2

Knuffle Bunny 1, 2 and movie

Eraser pack and a box of erasers, medium-sized box with lots of erasers in it

All the Alvin and the Chipmunks movies there are… on one disc

Gift cards – from Stop & Shop, Fairway and Five from Target

Big box full of all the gift cards from all the stores in Aruba, Vermont, home and Disney

To be continued...

Friday, April 04, 2008

Fantasy, Meet Reality

See, I predicted that getting a pet would be good for 75 to 80 phone-it-in posts a year, and with two already this week we are right on track.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


In Washington, D.C. for a few days on business. Luckily enough, my trip coincided with a certain seasonal festival they celebrate down here. Guess which one.