I Should Have Been a French Parent

   We've all heard how American kids are spoiled, whiny, co-dependent little zealots who are permitted to survive on boxed mac and cheese while their mothers drift off to Zanax-land because their demanding darlings still won't sleep through the night at age four. Whether or not you agree with this is immaterial. This is how much of the world sees us. We give into our kids food cravings because we are afraid they will starve themselves to death. We permit them to wake as often as they want at night, always rushing in to sooth them at their first call. We spend our lives shuttling them from Gymboree to gymnastics from toddlerhood on, intent on giving them structured play time so they never feel bored. We play with them on demand so they never feel ignored or unloved, and push off our chores until they have finally drifted to dreamland, sacrificing our chance for some leisure time to catch up on laundry. We turn ourselves inside out trying to appease our little major generals. They rule our world. And they know it. The French, simply don't....more

Yes, That Photo Is Too Sexy for Any Yearbook

There is this big brouhaha going on about a Colorado high school student's yearbook photo. Sydney Spies, an 18-year-old Durango High School senior, and her mother are making the TV talk show circuit, claiming the teen's freedom of expression is being squelched....more
The only reason she is making a big deal out of this is simply: she is an ASPIRING model. She ...more

Legoland Florida: A Full Review for Parents and Kids

 Legoland is Florida's newest and most anticipated theme park addition. Located in Winter Haven (about 45 minutes south of Disney) on the grounds of the old Cypress Gardens, it is a brightly colored mecca for Lego lovers and fans. Be warned: it IS a park for kids. It is not like EPCOT or even Universal, which play to a definite adult audience as well.  Legoland claims its target audience is kids 2 to 12. I would say more specifically 5 to 11-year-old boys....more

When Grace is Gone

Her name was Ava Grace and looking back now, I realize she wasn't meant to be... The name was not definite —  it could have been Mia or Sera or Julia or even Jack as well — but the image of her was fully formed in my mind. Strawberry blond pigtails bounced as she giggled at  kisses blown on her belly; a smattering of inevitable freckles danced across her nose and cheeks;  her dimpled hands grasped a pink blankie, her fingers working the silky fabric as she drifted of to sleep....more
Some babies slip through our fingers and we were lucky to have them drift through our lives. 1 ...more

Beat the Back-to-School Shopping Blues!

It's that time of year again: school open house invitations are arriving in mailboxes, the smell of freshly sharpened pencils fills the air, and the newspaper is littered with back-to-school shopping ads.  Even though I live for the thrill of a great bargain, I will not be hitting the stores.  Except for a few notebooks and dry-erase markers, I will not be doing any back-to-school shopping. I finished my kiddo's clothes shopping months ago. Image Source: The Children's Place ...more
I couldn't agree more that shopping in a single "blast" is totally unnecessary. In fact, the ...more

Time Destroyed my Thyme: Failures of a Suburban Organic Gardner

I was Queen of the garden, guardian of nature, supreme ruler of the land. These photos showcase delectable memories...  ...of last year's amazing garden.   An army of multi-colored sunflowers stood guard against my garden fence, their bright and showy blooms following their namesake across the sky each day. Plump, warm tomatoes hung from sprawling branches no cage could contain and mingled with sweet basil and savory green onions.  Oregano and thyme trailed over the garden wall, perfuming the air each time we brushed past.  I scavenged through cookbooks and websites in search of new recipes to utilize the bountiful harvest.  Graceful flowers mixed with aromatic greenery covered tabletops and counters. The essence of summer permeated our home. ...more

Why I Deserve My "Mommy Wine"

 First came The Wine Sisterhood,  Girl's Night Out, Working Girl Wines, and Little Black Dress: sassy wines with snazzy labels targeting the growing women's wine market.  Then came Mad Housewife, Mommy's Time Out, and Mommy Juice:  wines marketed towards not just women but {gasp} Mothers. Why are Mommy Wines such a hot button issue?  The big brouhaha is over Mom wines has me in a sober stupor.  I was overjoyed the first time I ever spotted a bottle of Mad Housewife as I pushed my shopping cart full of toilet paper and a testy toddler through my local grocery store.  It might as well  have been illuminated by a ray from heaven.  How did they know I was a mad housewife?  They must have made it just for me.  I immediately popped a bottle of chardonnay in between the applesauce and fruit snacks even though it blew my grocery budget.  I didn't care.  I deserved a treat too. ...more

Thrift Store Shopaholic

I have a confession. I rarely set foot in real stores, yet my closets and drawers are overflowing. I was forced to buy two packs of hangers last week and cleared out the guest room closet to handle the overflow. My Kiddo has a wardrobe stocked with the next two sizes up just waiting for him to grow into. And I would rather slit my wrists than pay retail. ...more
I love thrift store shopping too. Growing up, our family had very  little money. Thrift stores, ...more

Wine Pairing Playlist for the Apocalypse

The final countdown is ON.    If I had my way I would be listening to the following playlist while hosting a wine tasting of epic proportions. One song, one bottle (or at least a taste of each).  No one will really care as 6 p.m. approaches.The List: It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)  by R.E. M. with Conundrum California White Rapture by Blondie with Rapture Cabernet Sauvignon (duh) Don't Fear the Reaper by  Blue Oyster Cult with Ghostly White Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley with Redemption Zin ...more

Survive the Raputure and Get Naked

Watch out world, a wild weekend awaits us all. The BAD News:  You had better party hard, kiss your kids, and knock as many items off your bucket list as humanly possible by Saturday.   Stop planning your Doomsday parties and trips to watch the aliens land in France in 2012 because you only have until this Saturday. ...more