Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Act Now! Limited Special Offer!

I have found the way to make millions. I have discovered a procrastination cure. Do you suffer from not vacuuming because you think to yourself, "I'll do that later?" Have you told yourself, "I really don't have time to clean (fill in the blank) now." End all that procrastination with my simple but exciting new non-procrastination program. Here's how it works. You simply have my 18 month old son ("Baby") stay with you for a week and anything you needed to clean or fix will be immediately put to the top of your priority list. For example, up until yesterday, I had been meaning to clean my toilet for a week. In just a few minutes, Baby just walked into the bathroom, threw some stuff in the toilet, stirred it around with the Swiffer mop and left a huge mess that I couldn't ignore. I also wanted to vacuum but thought I'd do it later. When Baby knocked the potted plant onto the floor spilling dirt everywhere, I was forced to put down what I was doing and vacuum. What I had put off for weeks, Baby manage to punt to the front of the To Do list in five minutes! What a fabulous system! But don't just take my word for it, just read these testimonials:

"Before I used the Baby system, I had been wanting to replace my screen door for months. When I got Baby, he immediately sent a large toy through the screen forcing me to go to Home Depot that very afternoon. Thanks Baby!"- Susi Farquahar

"I had been trying to redecorate my house but my many social obligations kept me from accomplishing this. Once Baby was in my house, he used permanent marker on my couch, piddled on my rugs and pulled down my curtains. As I write this the designer is on his way over to discuss new color schemes! I plan to tell all my friends about this great system!"
- Raven le Babe-Hunkmeister

So there you have it! End procrastination in your life! Send for Baby now! No, I mean it, like right now! Call today!
As an added incentive, the first caller will also get the Early Disobedience Warning Sibling. This sibling will go off like a car alarm the nano-second someone does something remotely wrong. No more discovering old messes or accidents, this kid will actually pre-warn you when someone's going to misbehave! You can be proactive in your day!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Making Pie for Becky

This is one of those "blogs about raising my kids." So if this kind of thing makes you gag, gives you hives or causes an ebola outbreak, click on by.

Anyway, another friend just had a baby. Yes, I know I just posted about a friend having a baby. What can I say except that I live in a fertile area (or maybe its the nuclear plant near by). So I'm making dinner for this friend, and I thought "Hey, I'll just make a quick chocolate cream pie for her." A more practical thought would have been to say, "Hey, I'll just jet over to Paris for croissants." I start by measuring out the cocoa powder and the sugar. I stop what I'm doing to unlock the bathroom door so the Baby can get out. I don't know how he managed to lock himself in. Then I separate and whisk three egg whites and stop what I'm doing to get the Baby out of the cat food, which he has spilled all over the floor and in the water dish. I heat the milk with the cocoa mixture on the stove and stop what I'm doing to get the Baby off the step stool and away from the house alarm system. Then I knock the pre-made pie crust onto the floor. Baby starts eating the bits off the floor before I can salvage the pie crust and use it (hey, the floor was just cleaned a few days ago!). I get Baby to stop eating momentarily so I can try to sweep up. I don't do a very good job as Baby is still trying to get at the pie crust bits and its hard to sweep and keep him away.

I continue to heat the cocoa and milk mixture on the stove and stop what I'm doing to get Baby away from the alarm again. I process graham crackers to make a new pie crust and stop what I'm doing to stop Baby from throwing Polly Pockets into the toilet. I have too many crumbs for one pie so in a fit of environmentalism (not wanting to waste the extra crumbs) I make another pie crust. At this point, I have a mess by the cat's eating area, pie crumbs still on the floor, water on the floor in the bathroom, Pollys in the toilet and Baby's clothes are wet. As he tries for a third time to set off the house alarm, I toss him outside in the yard. He's wet, he has no shoes, no jacket and its December. The way I figure it, he's not complaining, the interior of my house is safe for a little while and dealing with Child Protective Services has got to be easier than keeping up with Baby. Now I finish making my pies and clean the house of the various and sundry messes Baby has made.

Now I could complain about the hardships of raising up an 18 month old but no one stuck a gun to my head and said "Reproduce! And be quick about it!" And when I sat down to think about it, keeping up with Baby landed me a clean house and two desserts. That's pretty good return for a day's work.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I went to my 20th High School reunion. Actually, I was too cheap to go to the actual reunion so I went to a party my friend was hosting the next day. I had a lovely time and my heartfelt thanks go out to not only our hostess but my husband who spent the entire time keeping our 18 month old from trashing the joint while I socialized like someone who's been in a closet for the past year.
The party was all at once weird and wonderful. It was weird because everyone looked different yet familiar. It was wonderful to see with what ease everyone got along despite a 20 year absence. I told my husband it was like getting together with siblings I wasn't actually related to. Actually, better because I don't have any memories of my classmates getting me in trouble with Mom. The only difficult part was watching the old prom video. I'm sure a psychoanalyst would explain my cringing was the result of unacknowleged vanity. Or maybe despair at the lost of those cool dance moves.
Anyway, for those of you TFTD'ers tuning in, I have some questions that I didn't get a chance to ask. Seeing as how its my blog, I'll answer first.

1. Are you doing what you thought you would be doing?
Through high school, I envisioned being married and having a business career. Kids didn't really enter the picture. Now I'm out populating most of Italy.

2. What's the coolest thing you've done or have happened to you so far?
Outside of the obvious (ruggedly handsome husband and cherubic children), I think the coolest thing that's happed to me was getting my name in the acknowlegements of a published book.

3. At this point, we're all pushing 40 (gasp!), name something you want to do before you die.
Travel, only not like the flat broke college student I was when I first had the opportunity, or write a book.

4. Dunkin' Donuts or Starbucks?
Dunkin' when I'm with the kids, Starbucks when its just me.

Hope you all had a safe trip home!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Dinner's Ready!

I was asked to make dinner for a friend who just had a baby. This is what I made

Hungarian Beef Goulash
serves 6-8

3 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2 " cubes
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
4 ounces sliced bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
2 medium large onions, chopped coarse (about 2 cups)
1 medium red pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tblsp sweet paprika
3 tblsp flour
1 cup white wine
2 cup chicken stock or low sodium broth
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
4 large carrots, peeled & sliced 1/4 " thick
1/4 cup minced parsley
½ cup sour cream

1. Plan to make enough stew for friend's family and yours.
2. Defrost 4 lbs of chuck and realize that it's too much for one family but not enough for two. Convince yourself that friend's family is not as big and so 4 lbs will do. Cut into small pieces so as to make stew seem like it has lots of meat.
3. Realize that there are other ingredients missing. Hope friend won't notice.
4. Brown bacon, onions and beef separately while wondering why recipe is so fussy as to require browning everything by itself. Make comparison to children who don't like it when a sibling touches them.
5. Decide to use crock pot instead of oven because you just know better, that's all!
6. Use special sweet paprika that parents brought back from Budapest. Not having enough, supplement with paprika purchased at dollar store. Wonder if the two will cancel each other out.
7. Throw everything else into crock pot and hope nobody messes with it while you go see movie with husband.
8. Enjoy afternoon out with husband only to come home and realize that stew boiled down to dry meat. Praise God that the babysitter knew enough to turn off the crock pot before things really got charred. Wonder why you don't pay her more.
9. Fret and worry over what to do since it's getting late, the stew is ruined, your own dinner is still not made and the children are fussy.
10. Resolve to resurrect stew with more paprika, Goya tomato sauce (a little Mexican/Hungarian fusion cuisine) and water. Make children scrambled eggs for dinner.
11. Bring stew to friend at church and pray that they like it.
12. Be utterly surprised when they ask for the recipe.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Sad but True

My husband is a wonderful man. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. But (and you knew this was coming, didn't you?) a few days ago he brought me a McDonald's Monopoly game card. Now I'm hooked. I'm addicted. I'm convinced that despite what God has blessed me with, I'm going to win $1,000,000 by eating one more cheeseburger.
(I've got an extra Park Place, States Avenue, and Pennsylvania Railroad if anyone wants them. I'm also not using my 20% off Footlocker coupon either.)

Road Trip

This is one of those "What I Did During My Summer Vacation" blogs or "How to Survive a Road Trip with Small Children." Don't get me wrong, I like road trips. I'm not one to complain about being stuck in a minivan with five small children for two days straight. No really, I'm not. Done right, road trips are a great way to spend time together (that was not sarcasm) and see a little of our wonderful country. I figure with a good attitude and enough junk food, road trips can be lots of fun. Here are some of my tips.

Don't bite off more than you can chew.
We live in Rhode Island and our trip was to see my dear brother and his family in North Carolina. It’s a 12-hour trip. Factoring in potty breaks, food breaks and pulling over to make good on the threat "If I have to pull over...." it’s really a 24-hour trip. So we decided to break up the traveling over two days. We picked a point six hours away. Anymore than that with little ones and you're just asking for a mutiny. My children are wonderful but anyone will get ugly after driving for six hours.

The dollar store is my new best friend. We buy little toys and trinkets to give the kids every few hours or so. They get a new toy or activity book, we only spent a buck and if it gets lost, it's not a big deal. We also pack junk food that we don't normally have at home. Used judiciously, you'd be surprised how much good behavior can be extracted from a bag of M&M's. And I haven't even mentioned how well the kids responded to it! To keep the nausea and sugars highs to a minimum, I also pack beef jerky and peanuts. A word of warning: do not have a large ice coffee and then get lost somewhere with no bathrooms.

Have a sense of humor.
Some times things don't work out the way you had planned. We planned to stay at a suite hotel or getting two rooms. Instead, all seven of us ended up sleeping in the same room with the hubby and I on what is possibly the squeakiest bed on earth. Sufficed to say, not much sleep was had that night. Then there was stopping in Lebanon, New Jersey, which, for some reason, does not have a public restroom anywhere. We asked in every store/restaurant/cafe with the kids giving their best puppy dog eyes. No one would let us use the restrooms. They said they didn't have any. I guess people in Lebanon, NJ don't have to piddle. Either that or they go to Pennsylvania. So our choice is to fuss about it or have some fun making Lebanon, NJ the butt of every joke from here on out. Did you hear the one about how people in Lebanon......

There's also some funny stuff to be seen out there. For example: a bill board that advertised a Botox Bonus Card (get seven injections of this toxic stuff and get the eighth free!), Dietrich's Meat Market (no word of lie, on their sign "We Custom Slaughter! Campers Welcomed!"), a trucking company called Navajo with a photo of a pale-skinned, blue-eyed Native American on the side of the truck cab. We told some of our friends about what we saw but they didn't seem to think it was that funny. Perhaps it was because they weren't sleep deprived and hopped up on beef jerky.

Be flexible.
Passing a farm in Pennsylvania, we saw one of those huge 12-foot satellite dishes with a full figure painting of Jesus on it. Of course that got us pondering some theological questions such as: Does having Jesus on your dish bless what you watch? Was there a limit to that? Did Jesus on your satellite dish prevent adult movies from getting through or does it just absolve you of the guilt associated with watching smut? The point is our children were flexible and very patient as mom and dad drove back and forth down the same stretch of highway trying to get a picture of this. However, in an effort to make it to my brother's before dinner we had to pass up such enticing stops as the Sheep Skin Store, the Furnace Museum and the J. Priestly Museum (who would have thought you could find a museum dedicated to the wonder that is Jason Priestly?)

On the way back we opted for the scenic route and took the Blue Ridge Parkway. Now when people make reference to "God's country," I know what they mean. Beautiful and scenic are understatements and I'm glad we took that route. However, going forty miles an hour would have meant returning to Rhode Island next year. So to limit our day to six hours, we decided to get off the parkway and take Route 43 back to the interstate. I should have known things would be hairy when the sign before Route 43 said, "You must be this tall to go on this ride." I've never seen so many steep twists and turns in a road in my life. If the Blue Ridge Parkway was God's Country, then Route 43 was the twisty little road to hell if you sinned.

Oh yeah, about the visit.....
We spent a lovely four days with the in-laws doing fun stuff. We took the kids swimming and my 15-month old son, known affectionately as Captain Chaos, proceeded to walk into the water like he was Mark Spitz. Going under a few times still did not cure him of this delusion. I got to ride a Segway scooter at the local science museum. An aside here: Christmas is coming and Segways are a great gift idea for busy moms you know and love! We also attended a church potluck. You have not eaten until you've gone to a southern church potluck. Can I get an Amen? My brother and his family were gracious hosts despite the fact that just before leaving, Captain Chaos knocked the hamster and his cage off the table. There were wood shavings everywhere with poor Mr. Hamster face down on the carpet. We spent a few tense moments staring at the hamster's butt looking for signs of life, but thankfully, all was well and we were able to depart with a clear conscience. Thank you guys, it was lovely.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

America: Land of the Creative

I just got back from a road trip to North Carolina. I was planning to write about that but then I saw this catalog and I just couldn't let the day go by without sharing what I found.
Oriental Trading Company is a lovely company in Nebraska that imports millions of dollars in disposable plastic doo-dads and gee-gaws begging the question, "Where's an environmentalist when you need one?!?" We recently got their Halloween catalog which I decided to read during lunch. Up until now I had been feeling that there was a certain something lacking in my life. Purpose? A sense of direction? Nay, its was item #DQ-K1248, the Hose Nose. This charming little item is a plastic nose filled with sour-apple flavored candy slime which you can suck out. Mmmm....candy slime....who needs Haagen Dazs when you got candy slime? Now you have to wonder, who at the candy factory knew that sour apple is the flavor closest to actual booger? Are there crusty bits mixed in? If I open the cap, does it just run out or do I have to pick it out? The description in the catalog also mentions that the candy slime is fat free! That's good because I was starting to get concerned about the nutritional value of my booger flavored candy slime. There are also straps to secure the nose to your ears. Well, didn't those kind people at Oriental Trading just think of everything! Do you suppose they had a test market group where one of the responses was "Well, the slime was certainly tasty but hard to eat as the nose kept sliding down my face. Ear straps would definitely help were I to be walking and trying to suck the slime out at the same time."
Now I love America but it concerns me that there are people who are paid serious money to create items like this. Where I can I send my resume?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I have a confession to make....

I think I'm a book-a-holic. This horrible realization came to me last Friday while I was in our local public library. The wonderful librarians set up a shelf off to the side where they sell books that have been taken out of circulation. I don't want to tell you how much they sell them for because I don't want the rest of you getting at my stash. Anyway, I saw a book I thought would be cool to read and dug through my purse looking for loose change so I could buy it. I seriously considered asking the librarian for a loan. I mean, I kind of know them since I'm there every week, but if you knew how cheap the books were you'd see how pathetic this all is. Instead, I sent my poor belabored 10 year old out to the car to get a dime that was in the coin tray so I could get this book.

I came home, put my new acquisition on top of the other books I have lined up to read and then it hit me. I have two books up stairs in my room that I'm reading. I have one downstairs that I read when I'm waiting for water to boil, cookies to bake, or the baby to finish eating, etc. I have one in the basement I read when I'm on the elliptical trainer. Not to mention the two books I have on reserve at the library waiting for me to pick them up. I think I have a problem.
My other symptoms are as follows:

1. I have a love/hate relationship with the New York Times Book Review. I love it because its like reading five books in the space of a half an hour. I hate it because I end up adding six more books to my list of books to read.
2. I actually get irritated that my favorite authors are still writing because that means more books for my list.
3. I have to take a rolling suitcase to the library to take home all the stuff I borrow. The librarian actually called me personally at home once to let me know that library was going to be closed for a holiday.
4. I can't listen to NPR without adding two more books to the list.
5. About 95% of what I say to my ever patient husband begins with "You know I read somewhere that..." He actually can't recall if he's read a book or if I read it and talked his ear off about it.
6. I don't read much fiction at all because it takes time away from other categories of reading like, oh say, "The History of the AK-47" or "Economics for the Common Man" or the story behind the Cocoa Nut Grove disaster.
7. I once considered hiring a babysitter when six books I ordered arrived all at once in the mail.
8. I will read the note or bibliography section in a book to find more books to read. I've gotten to the point where I'm recognizing a lot of the stuff I've already read.
9. This is perhaps the most tell tale sign of all. I avoid going into Barnes & Noble or Borders because I end up fantasizing about having a open end charge card and going nuts in the store ("Stop complaining honey! Just empty out the U-Haul at home and bring it back for the second load!!")

Now some of you might say, "Well at least you're not addicted to alcohol or drugs!" Honestly, I think both would cost me less money and time. I can drink a beer in 10 minutes. I've spent three solid hours in a chair reading. If I went to a 12 step group, I'd probably just end up discussing addiction-related books I've read.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

more things to chuckle at

I love how people use language sometimes. Some recent examples:

1. Pepsi Max
I have a sibling who accused me of shilling for Coke recently when I was actually making fun of them (Coke that is, not the sibling. I would never do such a thing to my beloved sibling. No. Honest. Really.) In the interest of parity, I shall now bust on Pepsi.
I recently saw in my local Stop n Shop "Pepsi Max". Hmmm, what makes it "Max" you say? Looking on the can, all I could find was that it was an "invigorating" soda. Goodness me, is this a soda that comes with a cold shower? $10 off your next purchase of amphetamines? It took degrading myself by watching "The Bachelor" to see the commercial that mentioned the added ginseng and caffeine. How much more of a buzz do you need from your beverage that ordinary caffeine and sugar don't supply?

2. Village of the Damned
A little liberal arts college in the bucolic New England mountains has on the map of the campus "Village of Learning" This struck me as funny. Is it really necessary to point out that on this spot on the campus learning occurs? What else is there? The Town of Eating? The Hamlet of Sleeping? What else would go on at a college but learning? Or should I say what else should be going on? I could understand this sort of marking on a map for a preschool. You know, differentiating between the learning area and the play area but for goodness sake, if you're paying some serious cash for college, I would think you could figure out where the learning is happening on your own.

3. Curiously... curiously...curious?
A friend of ours was recently described as curiously soulful. Is this like "I didn't know you could be soulful?" or "You're introspective in a Curious George kind of way?" Just what was the author trying to say? "You're so corporate I didn't know you had a soul?"
I had to go to my trusty 1828 Webster's to look up curiously. It is defined as "With nice inspection, inquisitively, attentively" as in "you have inspected soulfulness with attention". It is also defined as "With nice care and art; exactly, neatly, elegantly" as in "You are neatly soulful. Those other guys might be sloppy but you are elegant in your soulfulness!" The last definition is "In a singular manner, unusually" as in "Wow, you're focused in you soulfulness, how unusual" I dunno. Just playing with words.
Anyway, for something so hard to define it is not a unique description. I got 63,800 hits when I Googled "curiously soulful". One was for a punk Korean group, one was for an alternative music group called the Clogs and one was for the old time musical Carousel. You're in good company Mark.

Love or Why do I hurt myself?

I don't know why I keep doing this. This insanity has got to stop. Yet every year its the same thing. The kids do some reading for the local library reading program. As a result, they earn a ticket for a free meal at Home Town or Old Country Buffet AND WE GO THERE AND EAT!!!! Why does this upset me? (bad language warning here) BECAUSE THE FOOD SUCKS!!!! It sucks out loud! It sucks in ways that are ineffable! How do the execs at this company sleep at night? I paid $11.00 for a buffet that included a steak that looked remarkably like a Payless faux leather shoe I threw out last week! They had the nerve to charge me $3.00 so my son could eat a 1/4 cup of instant mashed potatoes, a box mix cookie and call that a meal! I half expect to look in the kitchen and find piles of Stouffer's boxes on the floor with ex-cons chained to microwave ovens chanting "pull back plastic, heat for ten minutes, remove carefully and serve". Add this to the fact that everyone and their dog is walking around the buffet with their unwashed hands sniffing and snuffling (sneeze guard, my foot!). Just what is that mysterious smell by the ice cream machine!?!
But the children love it. They're so happy when I suggest we go. And why not? Where else can they have a carbohydrate extravaganza for dinner along with a dessert buffet? My one child ate a piece of bread, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese and one fish nugget (batter dipped, of course). The Department of Youth and Families should be storming my house about now yelling, "How about some nutrients with those sugars?" But again, the children love it and my short term memory fails me, so every year we go. Next year, please, for the love of all that's good and tasty, some one call me and tell me to stop the madness.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

GO RVing!

Well, if there is a cult for people who like to RV, sign me up! I just got back from a four day trip and I am hooked! Yes folks, you heard right! I spent four days in a large tin can with five kids under that age of 10 and I liked it! And it had nothing to do with winning the big bag of 15 candy bars! Could I use any more exclamation marks? I don't know! Let's find out!

We rented a 28 foot class C RV (that's the kind that looks like the off spring of a Ford van that mated with a Winnebago). It had a small kitchen, a bathroom with a shower and a bedroom in the back. We rented the rig from a lovely place in East Providence called E-Zee Rentals (clever name, eh?). After packing the rig up with provisions, we headed out to New Hampshire, North Woodstock to be exact, in the more than picturesque White Mountains. Between getting a bit lost in Manchester, stopping for lunch and taking our sweet time in the new ride, it took us about six hours. We arrived at the wonderful Woodstock KOA campground (co-ah or kay-oh-aye, take your pick, either way they were very helpful) late afternoon, hooked up the utilities in about 15 minutes and voila! Camping without the hassles!

Apparently we were not the only ones with this brilliant idea because the camp ground filled up fast, but despite all the campers, it didn't feel like the beer line at a Red Sox game. The camp ground had a play ground, a pool, a miniature golf course (putt-putt for all of you west of New York) and a pond to fish in. And let me tell you about the activities! One evening the girls went with Dad to a s'mores roast. The next day, they played kickball with a group. We took a hay ride, drown some worms in the pond and went to an ice cream social. But the highlight of the trip was candy bar bingo. In the last round, the "cover-all" in Bingo lexicon, Hannah, who only minutes before came back to the table after being punished for whining about the game, won the grand prize of candy, 15+ bars! The only down side of the trip was when I was playing a game with Justin in which I thought for sure I was losing (no comments from y'all!). Seeing as how I was so behind in points, I made the bet that who ever wins would have to dump the waste tanks. Wouldn't you know God has a sense of humor and I won by 2 points! Moral of the story here kids-DON'T GAMBLE! IT STINKS!

All this fun despite that fact that my first experience with an RV (when I was a kid) included a very stinky bathroom and a brother that threw up on me, so I wasn't expecting a whole lot. However, not only did we have fun camping, but on the way back we found a yard sale and a buy one get one free fireworks store. With Dwight Yoakum on the iPod and we were havin' a good ol' time!

"But it's not really camping!" you say. "So what?" I say. We had a camp fire, we ate s'mores, we saw lots of trees, and we came back smelling smoky. But unlike "traditional" tent camping, we all slept well, didn't have to shake the dirt out of every thing we brought with us, could escape the bugs, kept the food cold, didn't have to put up a tent, could play a game at night with the girls in the cool, well lit comfort of the back bedroom, and had more than enough room to pack all the stuff we needed. I do have to agree though that having a satelite dish TV hook up is a little over the top. Some of the other rigs I saw were larger than my house. At that point, you're not camping, you're relocating.

So, I will now be accepting donations for the Dawn Kerr RV Fund. Contributions are not tax deductible but those who donate will receive a postcard from the next KOA site! For the rest of you-GO RVing!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

So Much to Chuckle About

1. I swear it's not my fault! I was born this way!!
This is from Intimate Issues by Linda Dillow & Lorraine Pintus ("This book changed my life!!"-Dari Mullins)

Researchers at Queens' University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, discovered that girl babies move their mouths more than boy babies even before birth. Ultrasounds performed on pregnant women showed that twenty weeks into gestation, girls made about 30 percent more mouth movements per hour than boys.

Chatter on ladies! It's your birthright!

2. Coke Plus
Yes folks, believe it or not Coca Cola has come out with a diet soda with vitamins and minerals. Healthy junk food! No, honest! Really! Somethin' yer mamma would be proud of! I looked at the ingredients list (yes, I know, dumb idea) and could hardly pronounce a word in the list. But hey! What do I care? To heck with the grilled chicken salad with a glass of lemon water! Pass me a Coke Plus!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day Ladies!

It's that joyous time of year again where we can sit back and say "I ain't cooking tonight!"

My darling babies, without whom I would not qualify to celebrate this day, ask me every year what I want for Mother's Day. Every year I tell them "peace and quiet" and every year they roll their eyes and mutter something about me being difficult to shop for. So I thought I'd help them out by making a list on my blog (which I haven't visited for so long that I actually found cobwebs when I tried to log in).

1. A Left-Over-Nator
This device will remove all food substances from my refrigerator that have become inedible, cheerfully wash out the funky storage containers and gently inform me in the morning that what I was planning on serving tonight is no longer available. The optional "Alternative-Meal-O-Matic" would be appreciated.

2. A caramel latte delivered to my door every day at 1:30 during quiet time (iced during the summer, please)

I'm getting a little tired of these brain trusts informing me that I am worth $130,000. What as I suppose to do with that information? Bean my husband over the head with it? If he doesn't respect me now, some pithy little article like this won't open him up to a new reality. To find our self worth in a monetary amount is to miss why we do what we do in the first place.

4. A Universal Toddler Translator
Now the bible tells me I'm not suppose to frustrate my kids but when I need to ask my Farsi speaking two year old to tell me again what it is he's point to, I'm not sure I can abide by that rule.

5. A Sock Coordinator
I want someone to find the missing mate for each sock in the large box sitting in my hallway. This person will also be in charge of sewing on missing buttons, patching knees in pants, alerting me prior to 9:00 pm that the girls have run out of clean underwear, and keep my boys from going out in flood pants.

6. A self cleaning high chair with shower attachment
Anyone who's fed a baby spaghetti will understand what I mean.

7. Some sort of pharmaceutical (wow, I spelled that correctly!) that will cure my 1 year old of his intense desire to play with dangerous items.
He has $300.00 worth of baby toys tested to be educational and more fun than a weekend in Vegas yet he always manages to find the one sharp pencil on left on the floor and run through the house with it.

8. A 5 minute exercise/dental health plan
I want to be able to get all the benefits of exercising regularly (including weight training) and floss and brush and rinse and flouride my teeth six times a day all in five minutes. That way I can devote the saved time to watching Russian traffic videos on Youtube.

Well, that's my list for now. It's not too much to ask for, is it?