Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thursday Thoughts- Merry Christmas Eve

'Twas the night before Christmas. . .

merry christmas I love Christmas. The lights. The poinsettias. The way people treat each other even if it's just for that little while. Snow- when it happens (they are forecasting it for toniiiiiggghhhttt!! Yes- that's my note of happiness). Being with friends and family. Lots of treats that we have only this time of year. Presents. Christmas stories and Christmas Traditions.

Maybe you like to celebrate The Nativity. You might be a big fan of Santa. Perhaps you celebrate Chanukah. But from where I'm sitting, they all have a common theme. . . giving. And for a little while, we all give to each other. We give gifts wrapped up in beautiful bows and pretty paper. But more importantly, we give to each other a little more of ourselves. We give more patience. More grace. We smile at people. We give hope by putting money in buckets for people we don't even know.

Whatever you believe, whatever your celebration, enjoy your Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,

(Karen and I will be taking some time off this holiday season, so we’ll be talking to you again in 2010, unless we just can’t help but to share something with you before then!)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009



I was SO on top of things. DH had bought 90% of the boys’ gifts on line (thanks, honey, but really, did you have to go WAY overboard?), I didn’t make Holiday cookies this year because of the whole Weight Watchers thing (I know myself, and cookie batter is one thing I have absolutely no control around), friend and family gifts were purchased, Christmas dinner was planned, decorations were up, cards were sent out… I was ROCKIN’!!!

Then Monday rolled around, and suddenly I realized “OMG, I HAVE SO MUCH MORE TO DO!”


So now of course I’m in panic mode. I still have to finish wrapping the gifts, taking care to use different wrapping paper on the gifts from Santa. Since I didn’t bake cookies, I need to get cookie tins or something of the sort for DH’s employees, and that needs to be done today since this is their last day of work until after the holidays. (I know, you’re wondering why this is my task, and not DH’s. Don’t go there, okay?!!)

Hey, wait a minute. That’s all I have left to do? Whoa! I got more done Monday and Tuesday than I thought. Yay for me! I’m not in panic mode any more.


So here’s hoping you have all your errands run and all your holiday tasks completed so you can sit back and relax and ENJOY your holidays!

Happy Holidays!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tuesday Tidbit- Those "Y" Chromosome People

Three days until Christmas! Every year I know it's coming and I begin planning and saving, so we won't go over budget. I get the Christmas shopping done and DH says,"What else do we need to buy?" And I say,"Honey, we're all done." And he goes out and buy more presents.

Why do they do that?

He's been in bed for about six days now. I finally put my foot down yesterday and said," I'm making the appointment with my doctor and if I have to throw you over my shoulder and haul you in myself, you are going." I knew he had had the flu, but something was lingering and I was afraid it would develop into pneumonia. He argued with me about it, but guess what the doctor said after he checked him out? Pneumonia.

Hmmph. Turns out I can be right after all. Who knew?!

I have a wonderful friend who does not imbibe. Ever. Yesterday, her facebook status update read: "I'm trying to get out of West County Parking lit." I knew it! Yeah, Christmas shopping will drive you to it.

Z1 broke the head off the Angel Gabrielle yesterday in one of our nativities. Par for the course. Beats last year's score or 3 ornaments, 2 nativity figures and a priceless recording of Z1 giggling when he was 9 months old. Nope, still not over it. Neither is he. He's still grounded from ever touching it as long as he is breathing.

Well, time to start wrapping. Let's hope I don't run out of tape. I HATE that!

Yours, wishing you a Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 21, 2009


Christmas is only 4 days away, and I’m trying my best to create a calorie deficit by then. But it’s not just Christmas I’m worried about. My mom and my sister are both coming in town the day after, so of course that means most of our meals will be eaten out. In fact, the majority (okay, all) of our activities will be built and planned around our meals.

And it certainly doesn’t help that I actually gained 1/2 pound last week.romantic dinner I mean, really, who gains the week BEFORE Christmas? Me, that’s who! Then this weekend was a total bust. DH and I went out for a nice romantic dinner Saturday night (well, the restaurant was romantic, the candlelight was beautiful, the service was fabulous, the food was to-die-for, but, oh yeah, his seat was facing the bar where he could see the Saints/Cowboys game playing… not that he was watching!) where I ate WAY too much of course. Then our own pitiful football game on Sunday where it’s impossible to eat sensibly at a stadium, and out to eat again Sunday night after our horse-drawn carriage ride with the boys to see the lights.

spin class So now it’s Monday morning, and I’m getting ready to go to spin class at the gym, where I will be EVERY morning this week until Christmas, trying to build that calorie deficit. Oh shoot, I just remembered, I have a holiday lunch with a friend at an Italian restaurant today, so that’s a wash. Tomorrow I can be good, though.

**Sigh** Wish me luck!


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thursday Thoughts- No WAY!

So you all know I have been on a bent of simplicity, right? And with the Christmas Season here, I have to admit, there are still some things to which I would like to be able to continue doing. I LOVE sending out Christmas Cards. Last year, try as I may, they just did not get done. (Well, considering the fact that Z1 PUKED all over them during his bout with the flu, I'm sure my friends and family were quite delighted that I threw them away). It usually takes me about three evenings and by the time I am finished, my hand hurts horribly and I'm mentally spent. My list is about 100 people- relatives and lots of people I don't see through the year but still want to keep in touch with, and a lot of my in town friends. And I have always been taught that the proper way to address envelopes is in your own handwriting. No exceptions.

My husband has been after me for the last three years to put every one's name and address into a database and print label. I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I mean, what would people think? Would they be offended that I couldn't take the time to write out their names? This past fall has been one of the busiest seasons I have ever known. Either it's getting busier or I'm just getting old. (Yes, it's getting busier!) So DH took matters into his own hands. Generally, I cringe at the thought. Mind you, he's a fantastic man, but you know men, when they do something it is mostly functional, with not too much thought to form or style. They just get it done.

He typed all those names into his computer and printed out labels. Today, we did our Christmas Cards- and he is even sick with the flu!- in RECORD time. . . .

One hour and fifteen minutes.

I'm not even lying.

Or exaggerating.

It was unbelievably aMAZing!!!!!!

And as I sit and post this, I can hear the mail lady coming by to pick up our cards. I cannot tell you the relief I am feeling at this moment. Sure, I still have a few to get done. (When DH did the list, he mistakenly omitted some of my relatives. . . ) But the big chunk- DONE! (Yes, cue the angelic chorus and the clouds parting with the sun streaming in).

I think I'm hooked on this label thing. Well, maybe. We'll see next Christmas.

Yours, basking in the simplicity of our Christmas Cards this year,


Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I love having holiday traditions. As a child, I celebrated Chanukah, and chanukah we certainly had our share of traditions during those 8 days and nights. We’d light the Menorah, sing songs (with the dog howling in the background) and exchange gifts, always with our “big” gift saved for last.

But there’s nothing like forming our own traditions as a family with my own children and husband. (Okay, I have to admit, the Menorah has been replaced by the Christmas Tree and the Dreidel songs have been replaced by Christmas Carols and, well, you get christmas tree the picture!) I mean, Chanukah was fun, but it wasn’t ANYTHING like Santa and the anticipation of Christmas morning, you know? (Just a note to my Jewish family – it’s all done in fun, nothing religious about it in this household!)

So we have the usual customs of tracking Santa’s sleigh on Google Maps (well, maybe that one’s not so usual!) and putting cookies and milk out for the big guy. Then rushing to put everything under the tree and in the stockings after they fall asleep (luckily, we are blessed with 2 very heavy sleepers, so we never have to worry about them waking up!), eating the cookies and milk, and then falling into bed ourselves, exhausted. Only to be woken up at the crack of dawn so the boys can run downstairs to see what they got!christmas lights

But the one REALLY special family tradition we have is to take a horse drawn carriage ride through a beautiful light display called Winter Wonderland. It’s freezing cold, but we dress warmly and they have blankets for us, and we all snuggle together and look at the lights while we listen to the clip-clop of the horse’s hooves.

***Sigh*** Pure Magic!

So please share with us, what are your holiday traditions?


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tuesday Tidbit- The Best Eggnog Ever!

Christmas Tiiiiiiiime. . . is heeeerrrreee. . . (yes, that's the Charlie Brown Christmas Song). And with Christmas comes eggnog. I used to hate eggnog. I would practically gag when I tasted it. Then I married DH and his mother gave me the world's best eggnog recipe. At great personal risk, dear readers, I bring this recipe to you. So enjoy EVERY SIP!

*This recipe may be halved*


Beat 12 whole eggs
Beat in 1 lb. of powdered sugar
Add 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 cup of vanilla
Stir in 4 cups of evaporated milk, 1 1/2 cups of water and 4-5 cups of cream.
Top with a sprinkle of nutmeg and enjoy!

PS- Yes, you may add whatever you wish to the Christmas Eggnog. I'll never tell. :-)



Monday, December 14, 2009


Last week I told you about a 50% off sale we are having on our book, By The Book: How To Take Care of MY Kids, and I was very specific in frontcover2reduced saying that it was a ONE WEEK ONLY promotion, right? And I really meant it! But then I asked my AWESOME Facebook business associates to help me spread the word about it (I love social media!), and when I told them the end date, I told them it was December 20th, instead of December 13th. (I swear I was looking right at the calendar when I typed this. I guess I didn’t know what day it was or something!)

So, I certainly can’t go back and tell all those people, and everyone they told, that I goofed and the promotion ended already (obviously!), so… drum roll, please…




Okay, now just so you don’t think I’m going all salesy on you, I have a cute story, sent in by my sister, Margee about her daughter, Emma. (Well, “sent in” might be an over-statement. Actually, she emailed it to me and I am taking the liberty of repeating it to all of you. Is that wrong?)

This morning while Emma was in the pantry looking for a snack to pack, she asked me what ‘virgin’ means. I was a little surprised, but proceeded to tell her the most common meaning of the word. She looked thoughtful, re-entered the pantry, and asked, “Then what is extra virgin olive oil?”

Next time I’ll ask her to use the word in a sentence first.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Funny-Christmas Questions

When you become a parent, there are certain things you expect to deal with, to have to explain. And then there are the questions that you had absolutely no idea would come. One that I was remembering today came from Z1 when he was deeply into dinosaurs and them having everything to do with everything. Z1, in all his innocence wanted his dinosaurs to be a part of our nativity.

Z1: Mommy, can T-Rex eat the Wise Man?

M: No honey, he probably should not do that.

Z1: How about Joseph and Mary?

M: Not the best idea, either, Love.

Z1: Well how about Baby Jesus? He's already missing a hand anyway. . .

Please, feel free to add your Christmas Stories. We would love to hear them, even if it is only for our sense of "Yea, it's not just my kid!!!" :-)

Yours, off to finish some Christmas shopping,


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thursday Thoughts- Uhhhmmmm

Yes, esteemed readers, it is time for Thursday Thoughts. And my mind is clear as a blue June sky. My thoughts today are running all around- nearly schizophrenic. So here's a glance at my brain today:

1.) Why can I not go into Walmart without spending twice what I planned on spending?

2.) I wonder if Karen is going to be ticked at me for posting so late?

3.) Dagnbit, if it's gonna be cold, I better see some snow! My snow dance is not working and I don't know why!!?!? (Karen, are you dancing? C'mon, people! Dance for STL snow!)

4.) My friend and I exchanged Christmas presents today. We each bought the other one a ticket to the John Mayer concert in March. I love tax deductible Christmas gifts! (Is that wrong?)

5.) My songwriter friends are coming over for our Christmas Party tonight. Guess that means I better mop in the kitchen, huh. I've never understood that. Why do I spend sooooo much time cleaning up the kitchen floor before the party when by an hour into the party it's all mucked up again? Why don't I just wait until everyone leaves and do it only once?

6.) OH! Can't wait to unveil our new website in the new year. It's going to be so much easier. And the book is still on sale this week at if you are looking for an inexpensive, very unique Christmas gift for someone who is having a baby.

7.) I'm swearing off musical gigs offered to me that start by the person saying,"I KNOW it's your business and everything, but we'd have to do it for free. But you'll have so much fun! It's like therapy!" What you meant was that I would NEED therapy by the time we are through. But I digress. . .

8.) My DH said the sweetest thing to me last night. I was dusting in the bedroom where he happened to be reclined in the bed watching TV. I was kinda having to move him to get the headboard done and he smiled at me and I said,"Yeah I know. You love me." And he looked at me with all sincerity and said," Yes, baby. I do. I've seen the future and I choose you." Where is my husband and what have you done with him? Or is he just trying to get a really nice Christmas gift this year?

Told you it was schizo in here. :-)

Yours, wishing you a relaxing evening,


Wednesday, December 9, 2009


It’s blustery cold here today in St. Louis. The temperature is 26 degrees, but I’m sure the wind chill is much colder than that. (For those of you who live in nice warm climates, the wind chill is how cold it FEELS, not how cold it IS!) And there’s snow blowing around. But I’m pretty sure it’s the same snowflakes just blowing, and not landing, because I’m not seeing anything on the

Missouri is the “Show Me” State, and we like to SEE things for our suffering. So darn it, if it’s going to be this cold out, I WANT TO SEE SNOW ON THE GROUND!!! Don’t give me this wimpy snow blowing around, give me something to show for all this cold.

It’s kind-of like when you get something that hurts you really badly, right? You don’t want to just limp along quietly or hold your arm lamely, you want something to show for it. Crutches, or a sling or lots of blood, or something that screams “HEY, I’M HURT. GIVE ME SYMPATHY!”

salvation army Or when you know you’re going to give your change to the bell ringer as you leave the store and the bucket is there, but he’s not. Who’s going to say “Thank you and Merry Christmas, Ma’am” to you and recognize that you put change in the bucket? Sure, you’re not doing it for HIM, but still… I’m just sayin’.

Okay, perhaps I’m given you a bit too much insight into my mind today. Maybe it’s time to shut up!


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tuesday Tidbit- Open Letter to the President (Part II)

Dear President Obama, About a month or so ago, I wrote you a letter about public perception and the use of media and the view of your presidentialness. I expressed that while I understood you wanting to be embraced as just like us, that you understood us, I was not ready to see you as someone just like me, rather that I wanted to view you as a brilliant leader of the free world. Your staff kindly sent me a form e-mail. While I doubt that those comments ever reached you, and the possibility of this letter reaching you is slim to none, I just wanted to tell you that I watched your address to the Westpoint Cadets the other evening. I have been following the entire process of your military decisions through the media. I just wanted to tell you, that in the process of making the decision and delivering that decision, you were everything I want the president to be. You thoroughly investigated all of the information, choices and consequences. You weighed it out. YOU made the decision based on the information at hand and what you believe the best course of action is for this country, even if you knew you would take a lot of heat from both sides. You delivered your decision in a clear, concise manner and addressed concerns and questions. Who knows what will happen and if this will truly prove to be the best course of action. But I believe that in the way you have handled this, clearly, you are fulfilling your role as a strong leader, one worthy of the calling of president. Thank you, President Obama, for stepping up and leading. Best wishes to you and the First Family for a wonderful Christmas, Melissa Bishop

Monday, December 7, 2009


Macaroni and Chicken Fingers was originally developed to help us sell our book, By The Book: How To Take Care of MY Kids. But, like most frontcoverreduced children do, it eventually took on a life of its own. So while it can be time consuming, it’s the “fun” side of our business! We get to vent, joke, ponder, and basically talk about whatever we want to here.

Every so often, though, we need to come back to the basics of why it began, right? (Yes, that’s the business side of me coming out, sorry!) But now is a perfect time to bring it up, with gift giving on everyone’s mind.

So basically, here’s what By The Book is all about:

By The Book is a workbook that parents fill out for their caregivers, whether it's for a nanny, grandparent, occasional babysitter, or anyone watching their kids. It's the most complete and comprehensive book of its kind out there, and it's packaged in a 3-ring binder so parents can update the pages as necessary. By The Book includes everything from basic schedules, to likes and dislikes, to emergency information, to household information, such as how to work the remote control.

frontcover2reducedSimply put, it’s a binder filled with pages that you fill out for your babysitter with information all about your little, or not so little, bundles of joy.

And bottom line: IT MAKES A GREAT GIFT FOR ANYONE WITH KIDS, but especially for new parents or parents-to-be. Anyone like that on your gift list this year?

So… THIS WEEK ONLY you can get 50% OFF a hardbound book (either cover) of By The Book by using coupon code BTBKHOLIDAY at checkout on our website.

So hop to it, and spread the word!


Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Funny: The Toilet Flapper and the Damsel in Distress

Dear Readers,

Please welcome guest blogger, Ru Brea. Enjoy!
I have to of my toilets has not been working for over a week. You know the thingy which is connected to the other thingy, that moves when you push the handle down? Yeah that...well it broke. I have been feeling quite defeated and hugely inconvenienced by actually having to climb the steps to go to the bathroom. I also feel it has been quite unjust for me to have to be the one to dive into the back of the toilet (which although I logically know has clean water - still makes me feel like I'm putting my hand in pee) every time one of my children forgot it was broken - which has be A LOT! Anyway, I got back from work tonight and thought "Darn it...I'm going to conquer this thing" "It will be fixed" I declared in my slightly overzealous heart. I proceeded to try remove all the knick knacks and patty whacks that have accumulated on the shelf I have behind the toilet. The first sign of things to come was my inability to lift and remove this shelf from behind the toilet. Not to worry...I plunged on anyway...determined. So I had to do most of my attempting to remove - some part of the thingy- without,fun....My reasoning was I needed the part to take to one of my favorite places - Home Depot - to give proof of what I needed. I'm done with going there and giving vague information to the "specialists" there. They always ask for sizes and dimensions, and weights, and everything I have NO idea about. Anyway...I was not successful in removing any part of the thingy or the thingy it was attached to. 7:32pm arrived. I jumped in my car...determined "This toilet will flush tonight!" and off I went.

Now, I also have to confess that I have changed my approach to going to Home Depot. When I used to go there and immediately find a salesperson (which would take FOREVER) and I would proceed to pour out my complaints, confusions, and requests for assistance. Upon the completion of my dissertation in ineptitude, the salesperson would always ask me aforementioned questions which would leave me further confused...and without the part I needed. They would always leave me with an assigment "You need to gome home and......then......after......if......and come back" Well, after a few frustrations and near cursings...I have given up on that approach. I now use the "Damsel in Distress" approach (a.k.a the D.I.D. approach)...and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Yup, I DID it! I go into the aisle which I think holds the part I need. I then look around for or wait to see a guy in jeans- now..if the jeans are clean...I don't even bother with the Damsel in Distress approach. He's probably just as lost and confused as I am - but will pretend to know what he's doing. Anyway, when a guy who looks like he hasn't slept well in 3 years, who's wearing paint smattered or better yet smeared jeans, some type of work boots, and who has hands that look like the helped drag the blocks for one of the pyramids in Eygpt shows up I begin my appoach. First, you wait until he is near by...close but not TOO don't want to be obvious. You then randomly pick up and look at several varities of the same thing...if you can...turn them in funny directions making it obvious you have no clue what you are the perfect moment (this takes time to develop - be patient) just as he begins to turn his head to look at the nutcase playing with the _______ heave a heavy and heartfelt sigh. One slight modification I have had to make is due to my height. If said gentleman is significantly shorter than me I slouch...this then becomes the Discouraged Damsel in Distress (a.k.a. the D.D.I.D) approach which is equally effective. Anyway, after the sigh and his "Can I help you ma'am (I love the ma'am part but would much rather hear "miss"...yeah I know, the years for being called miss have floated downstream)- turn and use the best wide eyed, dear in the headlights, woe is me expression you can muster. Now, be careful, if he suspects you are acting he is likely to back of never pays to over do! Anyway, that usually leads to advice that really helps.. along with the actual part you need.

Unfortunately, I was unable to use my approach tonight...there were just store "specialists" around. So I had to do the unimaginable...figure it out on my own. What does that mean for me? I GUESSED! I wondered down the toilet aisle, came back and picked up something that said "universal" on it...and off I went. Now I also have to confess that tears came to my eyes in the aisle - but...I did not let them fall...."I AM WOMAN HEAR ME...FLUSH! I left and came back to the house...entered the bathroom and began the instructions. I am so glad that they included "Turn off the water first" I wouldn't have thought of that...haha...anyway after a brief 5 minutes ...drum roll please...I got the toilet to flush..! TADA!!! No Damsel in Distress approach required. Yippeee!

What does this mean for the future? Hopefully, I will be less traumatized by things needing repair in my home. I have to be honest though....I'm not throwing out the DID approach...I just works too well.....Yeah I'm weak...but at least I'm honest! LOL


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thursday Thoughts- Planning for Christmas

We survived through Thanksgiving. It was actually pretty nice, especially since I didn't do a lot of clean-up. :-) But now we are full steam ahead to Christmas.

Here at the B house, we are fully decorated. That's our tradition. The day after Thanksgiving, up go the wreaths and garlands, with an abundance of white lights and poinsettias. You can never have too many white lights and poinsettias.

But you all know that I have been on a simplification path. Usually, by this time in the year, I have shopped for nearly everyone on my list. In fact, I'm down to wrapping presents and baking and that's it! Yet, here it is, Dec 3, and I have four presents purchased. OY. I am in deep, deep trouble. To be fair, I've been completely overwhelmed lately with other projects, but the fact remains, I have some heavy duty catching up to do.

So I'm keeping it simple. Most everyone at school? Getting the same gift. The service people in my life? All getting the same gift. Family members? We drew names. That cuts out about 18 gifts. Seriously. So today, I'm making the master list. I'll check it a million times to make sure, draw up my plan of attack, keeping it simple.

I'll start with the things I know I can get online because I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE online shopping. Why? Because I can visit a ton of different places all while in my pjs drinking cocoa by the fire. Unabashedly American, I know, but I love it. Then I'll make the list what's left and driving path. And off I'll go- AFTER I change out of my pjs and throw a ball cap on. :-) I'm keeping it simple this year and I'm loving it.

Yours, drawing up my plan of attack with more fierceness than the CIA,


Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I love guest blogging! Isn’t that funny, because when Melissa and I started this adventure 4 years ago, she was the writer and I was the “business-person.” Now our roles have definitely blurred into each other’s, and I’m loving it!

So this has absolutely nothing to do with the title of this post, does it? (Ha, great writing, Karen!) So here it is: I was invited to write a blog momologie post on a great blog, which is an extension of the website Momologie. If you’ve never been there, please check it out (and not just saying that because I’m on there!). The best way I can describe it is that it’s “grown up family stuff.” (I know, another sterling example of how my writing skills have developed!) They have wonderful family tips, but with class and style and maturity. If you like what you see, sign up for their daily newsletter. It’s free, of course! (Okay, I admit that sometimes it’s a bit too classy and mature for me, but probably not for you!)

frontcover2reducedYou can find my article here.  And it’s not just a blatant sales piece to get you to buy my book, (although if you want to buy it, you can go to!), but it actually gives helpful advice how to really enjoy your time away from your kids so you can come home refreshed and relaxed.

So take a look. It will be like getting 2 blog posts for the price of 1 today!



Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tuesday Tidbit- We DID Survive Thanksgiving

Hello, faithful readers. That was QUITE the day before Thanksgiving! Wow! But I did manage to make a FABULOUS dinner without maiming, torturing or drawing blood from any family member. I'm so proud of me.
Curiously, my DH must have read my blog that day. On Thanksgiving Day, while I was cooking most of the day, he cleaned the basement, the main floor, set the table (and I mean china, goblets, silverware, the works), poured my coffee after dinner and did the dishes- ALL WITHOUT BEING ASKED. In fact, my kitchen was cleaned up three times this past weekend and not by me. Twilight Zone? Alternate Reality? I'm not sure, but I'm not complaining. I'll take it.
So the apron and tiara have been put in a safe place until the Christmas Baking Craziness kicks in and I need to let them know who is in the kitchen. I promise, I'll take pictures and post. :-)

Yours, hoping everyone had a wonderful holiday and is fully recovered,