No prince required

Finally, the event all the media has been waiting for arrived and the royal wedding went off without a hitch. Or at least I'm assuming it did since I recorded the event and won't watch until later in the day. 

Found these rings at Michael's and was very tempted to buy one for funsies. They are replicas of Kate's engagement ring that once belonged to the late Princess Di. Wow, that is some sapphire!

I wish the newest royal couple many years of happiness with the hopes that, while their lives will not be normal, it will be as normal as possible. What does one argue about when you have maids and butlers to take out the trash?

Hmmm ... I wonder if Michel's put these rings half-price yet?


Random Thoughts

First of all, we're okay. The tornado that tore through the Birmingham metro area Wednesday evening was about four miles North of our home. While we are okay, my heart is heavy as the death toll continues to climb here and across the region. My sweet, sweet boy is ready to pack up his toys to give to the children who have lost theirs and it just about made me cry. Please send your thoughts and prayers to those affected as they clean up the damage. More coverage of the storm can be found at al.com.

The rest of the stuff I had on my mind seems rather trivial now. But I already had this picture ready to share. Comfort food sounds good right about now. Wishing everyone comfort and a peaceful day!

File under: Why didn't I think of that?! Found on Delia Creates
Also looking forward to making her Creamy Yogurt Pancakes.


Peeps battle royale

So it's after Easter now ... wondering what to do with all those Peeps sitting around?


ARM your combatants.

STICK in microwave. Start with 10-12 seconds and watch as they battle it out. (Microwave times may vary. It's like popcorn — don't let them go too long!)

DECLARE Purple Chickadee the winner over Sir Melts-a-lot.

EAT the loser AND the victor but refuse to let your mom get a good picture.

We brought this idea home from the McWane Science Center and their Candyology day back in March. Will was very hopeful the Easter Bunny would put Peeps in his basket for more battles. While lots of fun, there is science behind it. Rest easy knowing you're not filling your kids up with sugar, you're making them smarter!


We love Dolly Parton

Country singer Dolly Parton has big fans in this household. For more than just her lovely voice and HUGE ... personality. Parton started her Imagination Library in 1986 to put age-appropriate books in the hands of Tennessee children age birth to five. The program has grown to counties across the US to Canada and even the UK.

I feel fortunate that our county participates in the program. Will enjoyed getting a new book once a month and several have became favorites. While the selection of books varies, every child starts and ends with the same book. The first book is "The Little Engine That Could" by Watty Piper. Having turned five this month Will received his last book, "Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come!" by Nancy Carlson.

It's an impressive stack of books when you put them all together! Some of Will's favorites have been:

"Born Yesterday: The Diary of a Young Journalist" by James Solheim
"Llama Llama Red Pajama" by Anna Dewdney
"Easy Street" by Rita Gray
"Now I'm Big" by Margaret Miller
"Welcome to the Zoo" by Alison Jay
"Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy" by David Soman and Jacky Davis
"Take Care, Good Knight" by Shelley Moore Thomas

But just because Will is five does not mean books will stop coming with the mailman. I look forward to seeing what books will become Joseph's favorites as they arrive at our door.

Thank you Imagination Library!


DIY Easter: Treats for friends

I made these cuties for Joseph's classmates and filled with jellybeans. I'm quite smitten with them! I got the idea from Make and Takes.

I made a basket full of carrots for Will's classmates. The carrots hold candy and a Hot Wheel vehicle. I was going to try making Martha's version with crepe paper but time was running out. Instead I rolled orange cardstock into a cone, taped, filled, smooshed down the top and added green card stock stems.

Wishing everyone a Happy Easter!

DIY Easter: Bunny books

A while back, Silly Eagle Books posted a roundup of Easter egg books. It made me think, hey I should do a bunny book post. Yep, she did that too the next day. But I have a few different books in our collection and with Easter days away, now is a good time to share them. Since we've become obsessed with bunnies, adding bunny books to our collection has become my own obsession. (Of course, he doesn't want to read them since we read the same books night after night ... arrgghh)

I got this several years ago at my favorite library book sale. Will loved it. I loved it. "The pencil drew a rabbit ... the scissors made one too. Immediately the two rabbits were the best of friends." First published in 1982, board book in 2002. Sadly, this one may be out of print.

This is a cute series of seven books featuring finger puppets, published in 2009. Besides the bunny, there is a bear in his den and an owl in his tree, etc. We only have this bunny, but I think we really do need the bird version, "In My Nest."

One minute I was reading this post on Art Seiden, the next this book was on the way to my house from Etsy. While the story is okay, it's the rich, colorful illustrations from 1952 that I enjoy.

Another recent book sale find, published in 1983. It's cute ... the bunny gets cold so each page adds another layer to stay warm until at the end, he's too warm. Very simple text and pictures. I hope Joseph enjoys finding this one in his Easter basket.

Another book sale find for the Easter basket. Who can say no to bunnies drawn by Tomie dePaola? Originally published in 1989 as "Too Many Hopkins." This paperback is from 1997.

A 1963 classic that, thanks to Will, I can recite. We are big Richard Scarry fans. 

I bought this book when it came out in 1995 (yes, well before I had kids) because it is the sweetest story of love between a parent and child. I'm not the only one — it's sold more than 20 million copies worldwide!

Found at the book sale with a matching "Quack." A great board book for younger readers. "Baby bunnies bump and bumble. Cottontails take a tumble." From 2005.

Do you have a favorite bunny book that I'm missing? Please comment while I go scour Etsy and eBay for a copy of Richard Scarry's "The Bunny Book."


DIY Easter: Easter trees

I work well on deadlines. I had a tissue blossom tree on my to-do list since the forsythias bloomed early in February (one of my favorite blooming plants!) but it took Easter looming for me to get it done. This is not so much an Easter tree but it is a nice and easy spring-time decoration. Seriously easy ... you need sticks, tissue and glue. Kids can help with this one.

A little more ambitious but not out of reach is an Easter egg tree. This is the work of my neighbor Christine and it is gorgeous. She said the hardest part of the whole thing was hollowing out the eggs but it actually wasn't that hard for her. She figured out the secret ... grab a bulb syringe (you know, that thing you use to get snot out of little ones' noses) and those eggs will be empty in no time.

She strung the eggs using ribbon and beads outside while the kids played and finished by the time the sun set. It is now a pretty decoration inside that can be saved from year to year. 

DIY Easter: Egg crafts

Here's my egg garland! You may remember it from the spring to-do wish-I-was-more-talented list. I give Modern Parents Messy Kids the award for best use of paint chips. 

And here's the garland my neighbor Christine made. She was inspired by my post but got hers finished way, way before me. We both used about 30-35 paint chips, cut in half to make two eggs per card. Go ahead and get you some paint chips now because this is THE craft for this spring season — easy, cheap and chic.

The boys and I made these Easter baskets filled with thumbprint "eggs" Monday morning. I got the idea from Silly Eagle Books. Sorry the picture is not the greatest. From left, the baskets are by Will, me and Joseph. I prepared the baskets the night before using paper I had on hand so all I had to do was open the paint for Will in the morning which helped keep him from losing interest. Joseph was more interested in painting his hand because that's what they usually do at school for various crafts. (They made the cutest butterflies using their feet recently!) I give this craft four stars for being quick and easy.

Here are a few more egg-related crafts that, for me, will have to wait until next year:

Look at these felt Easter eggs! I want to stay up all night and make a dozen or two!
Visit Clean by LuSa Organics for all the instructions. I would have to pair them with these felt carrots.

Easy Yarn Eggs via The Crafty Crow.*

Got a quick and easy egg-themed craft? Please share!

*FYI, The Crafty Crow is my go-to place for kid craft ideas. Just visited as I worked on this post and found a dozen things I want to make like these, and this and this too. Time to stop looking!


Happy Passover

Here is a timely post about Passover from my friend Vivi. She actually wrote it last year but I messed up our communication so it waited patiently for the calendar to cycle back around. I will now turn the floor over to her to share two recipes — broccoli potato knish and flourless chocolate torte.

Vivi here: Last year we needed an extra vegetable for the table. We decided to be adventurous and find a new way to do broccoli. Vegetable choices are a bit more limited during Passover — legumes are out for Ashkenazi Jews like my family. (Sephardic Jews will eat them). So, that means no green beans, peas or lima beans. We already had asparagus. 

Broccoli is not my favorite, but what if it was crusted in potato knish? Google yielded this gem:


   * 1 cup mashed potatoes
   * 1/3 cup matzah meal
   * 2 tbsp potato starch
   * 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
   * 2 egg whites or 1/4 cup Passover egg substitute
   * 1/2 tsp black pepper
   * 1/4 tsp salt
   * 1 cup fresh or frozen broccoli, steamed and finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl combine the potatoes, matzah meal, potato starch, onion, egg
whites, pepper and salt and knead together. Divide the dough into 6
balls and flatten each. Divide the broccoli evenly onto each circle,
fold over, and press edges to seal.

Generously coat a baking sheet with the cooking spray. Arrange the
knishes in a single layer and place the baking sheet on the bottom
rack of the oven. Bake for 15 minutes on each side. Serve hot.

I took some matzo meal, mashed potatoes and potato starch (no corn starch on Passover because corn is out). My mom cut — finely diced — an onion and we added it to the dough. Here's what it looked like:

We flattened dough balls, stuffed the knishes — to temper the broccoli taste, I added some spinach — and baked. People seemed to enjoy! One thing I would do next time is add some other filler to the inside. More salt or maybe egg and cheese. Yum.

One of my favorite parts of the seder is getting to cook with my family (From left, Vivi pictured with her sisters Debbie and Melissa). Every year we make a flourless chocolate torte. We first started this tradition five years ago with the recipe in Joan Nathan's "Jewish Cooking in America" (Fabulous, fabulous annotated cookbook. My other favorite FAVORITE recipe in there that is also kosher for Passover is chicken breast stuffed with shiitake mushrooms and sundried tomatoes).

No offense to Joan but I didn't love the grittiness that almond flour gives a chocolate torte. So we've been using this "Joy of Baking" version instead, which just relies on whipped eggs to give the batter some body. (One year I did this by fork!!! Lucky to have a whisk this year, but sadly no electric hand mixer. Part of making your house
kosher for Passover requires putting away everything that has touched any flour all year ... bye bye mixer).

Be careful with the springform pan when you take it out of the oven!! My mom had a mishap two years ago at the seder and we ended up with chocolate torte all over the kitchen floor. It was a really sad day. Good thing that there are two seders a year. We all watched her very closely the next year. If you take it out of the oven a little early, it's even more delicious.

Thanks Christina for letting me take over your blog for a day. Happy Easter, happy Passover, happy Spring, and happy cooking to all!

No, thank you Vivi! Happy Passover to you!


Random Thoughts

I finally finished my egg garland. Pictures to come. I worked on it while watching TV which does slow me down. Throughly enjoyed the "Downton Abbey" mini-series from Masterpiece Classic. The ending left me wanting more though I'm going to have to wait a long time for season two. I plan to visit England one of these days. I would love to move there for a year. For now, I'm living vicariously through Design Mom who moved her family (six kids!) to France. 

As I type, Will is watching the Lego movie "The Adventures of Clutch Powers" for the third time. If you have a Lego fan age 4 to 8, rent it now. Age appropriate and funny. It's like they wrote it just for Will.

Volunteering my time this week to help a group of Tot Time moms put on a garage sale to benefit our wonderful library. If you are local, we have got an amazing amount of stuff this Saturday at Avondale UMC from 7 to noon. The gym is packed! Yes, I've already found some books to bring home.

I recently made meatballs using one of my new cookbooks "Mad Hungry." Big deal you say. I agree but it was something new for me. Watching the kids try new things every day challenges me to try new things too. Have you tried anything new lately?


A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

This morning a bird flew down our chimney and into the living room. He was very scared and I wasn't too confident either. But ALL BY MYSELF! I wrapped him in a towel and walked him to the front door. I'm proud of myself and proud that my boys got to see mommy handle herself well. 

Here's a bird that is welcome in the house. The Lego store here hosts free monthly mini-builds. Which translates into standing in a long line waiting to make something tiny but free. Will loves building. I love free. We made this little birdy in March.* I thought she needed a nest. And a little egg to sit on.

Now she happily sits on the mantle welcoming spring. I had a crazy idea to make a dozen more Lego birds and maybe some rabbits ... but this will do.

*If you do not live near a Lego store or can't make the monthly builds, Lego posts instructions online for a limited time each month. 


Random Thoughts

It's LEGOs 24/7 around here as we gear up for Will's themed party on Saturday. Thanks to all the other Lego parties blogged on the web, planning has been pretty easy. Working on decorations today and finishing the huge pinata. It's going to be our first "drop off" party which will be interesting. It is also our first boy-only party. I limited the guest list to five for my sanity. It was sad not inviting everyone we know but I can do that with Joseph's party. Which I'll have to start working on as soon as Will's party is cleaned up. Can you guess what theme we'll have for a little boy obsessed with bunnies?

Will finally watched Star Wars! All the way through this time. And he sort of liked it. Gearing up to watch Empire Strikes Back soon. 

Boys took spring pictures at school today. I can't wait to see them.

I'm pretty proud of myself ... I've painted six of the 10 walls in my weird angular hallway. I've been working a little bit at a time while the kids are in school. Nothing like a fresh coat of paint to brighten a place.

Went to one of our area's largest consignment sales today. I think I got a few good deals (The best? A Mulberribush long-sleeve T in Joseph's size for $2!) and some cute items for the boys to wear. I also looked at books and brought home some vintage treasures.



Will turns five today! I can't quite believe where the time has gone. It does seem like we were at the hospital yesterday but at the same time, it's all a blur. Will is smart, inquisitive and kind. This week he's told us he wants to be an architect, police officer who catches crime, an army ... the list goes on and on and changes hourly. He dressed himself this morning and can buckle himself in the van.

He wants to take the training wheels off his bike. I want to stop time. 

I know what we're doing after school!


1, 2, 3, 4 ...





To be continued ...