Category: Family

It’s not about the cookie

I have spent a lot of time hearing, “Hello, would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?” this month.
 Our daughter Madz has a goal to sell as many as Girl Scout cookies as she can. Okay, technically, she wants to sell 2,000, but I’ve curbed that number to, whatever we can manage.
 But, she sells, not me.
 I am transportation, management, supply and training. She’s the sales force.
 I know some parents find it easier to just take the sheet or cookies to work/church and sell for their daughter.
 Yeah, that would take less time and energy. And I wouldn’t have spent countless hours during the weekends sitting outside of businesses or in my car while she asked, “Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?”

And I probably wouldn’t have to sit by this smelly trash can.
 But while sit here with the wafting remains of whatever that is, she’s getting told:
 “No, thank you.”
 “Yes, when I leave.”
 “Do you have…”
 Some people are really nice and reaffirm much of what I love about living here. Others, well, they probably had a bad day and deserve some grace. Even if it is hard for me to give them.
 But, I’ve learned it’s not about the cookies.

Here’s what it’s really about:
 Watching your daughter learn to make change and having them count it back to her customer.
 Watching her ask for an additional sale when someone hands her a $10 or $20, and have the people actually agree to her sales tactic.
 Helping her learn to visit with someone with a disability.
 Watching her organize.
 Interacting with her as she asks me to do a specific task to help her organize.
 Watching her interact and learn to make small talk.
 Watching her learn to multi-task as she restocks her table and sells cookies.
 Helping her meet people who are different and who have different life stories.
 Helping her respond positively, no matter what she’s heard in response to her request.
 Hearing her answer questions posed to her.
 The real truth:
 It’s about spending countless hours with your girl, watching her grow and mature.
 That’s my take-away.
 So, yes, it’s easier for me to do it. But, what would we both miss if I did?
 And, besides, who’d smell this trash? 😉
 – Court


Saturday Family Fun Night

Every Saturday night is reserved at our house. We have a date night.

It’s pretty sacred, simply because it’s part of who we are; we’ve done it so long, that we expect to have time to focus on us and do the fun things we don’t normally do during the hectic week. And besides, the kids always get to do something fun.

The night starts off with homemade pizza. Down to the crust, this is one heck of a meal.

A while back, I started getting the kids involved in the meal prep as well. Since I have a 9, 5, and 4 year old, that varies quite a bit.

My nine year old can do everything from rolling her dough to putting it in the oven (with very active parental help). Then the 4 and 5 year olds can build their own pies, each with toppings they know they’ll eat.



My five year old loves tomatoes so he decided to try them out on his pizza. My four year old does not like tomatoes. But he adores black olives.

A man after my heart.

They don’t always eat as much as I would like, but they always seem happy to create their own meal.

Jay and I make a pizza with delicious grown-up toppings: roasted zucchini, onions, bell peppers, portabella mushrooms, and anything else we can think of!


Last night’s grown-up pizza had sauteed bell pepper, red onion, portabella mushrooms with sausage and pepperoni.

So, a little organization, the right tools, some hands in time, and an oven means Family Fun Night is well under way. And my kids are learning word like pizza peel. I like that. I know I don’t have to have pizza peels or the fancy-smancy pizza cutter, but I like them and they lend an air of ‘authenticity’ to the whole process. And I get to play with dough. I love what yeast does to flour.

After dinner, we do different things. Tonight, since Madeline is out of town, the boys have voted to play games on the PS3. To quote the 5 year old,

Dad, we have to play this while mom’s gone. She never let’s us play Star Wars.

I’ll have you know I absolutely adore playing Lego Star Wars. I Iove being Princess Leia. It’s the one place in the world where I can dress like this:

and go around yelling, “Scruffy Looking Nerfherder” or “I’d rather kiss a Wookie.”

But I digress.

Some Family Fun Nights are done with everyone enjoying the same activity (watching a movie, going to do/see something in town, etc.) and some are with everyone doing their own favorite thing here at the house. There’s no rhyme or reason – I just try to have a night where we can all relax.

We do these now because we know there will be a time when our kids are out and about and Family Fun Night will be one of those, “Hey, remember when…” moments. I’m cool with that as long as they have something good to remember!

What’s your favorite family fun idea? Does it have a meal to go with it? I’d love to hear your ideas!

Here is a link to our Family Fun Night Pizza Dough (or at least the latest version).

Preschool agony

Just because it’s summer and I’m off for a couple of weeks doesn’t mean the learning has stopped.

I’m the meanest mom ever.

I digress.

John Alan wanted to work on his letters. But we found his letter practice sheets like this:
Since these are laminated sheets, they don’t totally act like dry erase when left on – forever.

So it was either a lot of elbow grease or try a solvent.

Alcohol to the rescue!

Although drinking alcohol sounded more fun than trying to rescue a few pages I opted for rubbing alcohol on the page with a minimum of elbow grease. 20130628-151934.jpg
They turned out well and didn’t take forever!

Here’s to rubbing alcohol!

This has got to be yummy.

My family and I traveled to Colorado Springs this summer.  We were fortunate enough to stay at The Garden of the Gods Club and Resort.  We were treated to some of the most delicious treats.  My favorites were their granola (yummo) and their oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

Well, look what they’ve posted on their blog today!  A recipe from their Executive Sous Chef Casey Higgins for his family’s “High Altitude Chocolate Chip Cookies“.

I’mma putting this on my list of things to try.


Every once and a while, as a parent, there are tough choices to make. But sometimes, hopefully, you can see the benefit of your choices.

Isn't he precious?  First day at his new school.

Recently, we made the choice to move John Alan to a new school. It was an agonizing choice. We would have three kids in three different schools, with three different schedules. But, long term we felt that it was an option that was good for John Alan.

So, Sunday night was go time. I made his lunch, packed his backpack, etc., etc,. and just worried.

What if no one liked him?

What if he threw a fit?

What if…

We started off the morning a tad bit rough, but John Alan made it through. We walked into school and we met his new teacher, Mrs. Gray. I was able to talk to her for a while and John Alan settled in. I picked him up that day after school to a huge “MOMMMMMAAAAA” and there was a smiling, beaming face!

Today, he all but ran into the school (he would have if it hadn’t been raining). I carried his lunch, backpack, you know – did the mom thing.

Mrs. Gray saw me and told me, “You know, you need to let him carry his things. We trying to build independence.” I silently laughed. This is the kid that needs very little encouragement to be independent. But, lesson noted. I handed him his backpack and helped him find his name. After he was all organized, he ran down the hall to start his day.

Tha’ts such a nice way to start your day. Knowing your kiddo’s happy.

Pick-up today was just as good. He came running out, and was talking about his new school, asking the staff if they’d do this with him. He was making friends.

But, the truth came tonight. I don’t want to blame it all on his experience at St. Mary’s, but we had a breakthrough.

There are certain triggers that make life very unpleasant to experience with him and tonight, he got a hold of one of those triggers. However, tonight, I told John, “You have three minutes. When that’s over, it’s time to get ready for night-night. No fits.”

I mozied about doing my thing and about three minutes later John walked up and handed me his trigger.

I. WAS. SHOCKED. And overjoyed, and pleased. It took me a minute to realize what he’d just done. But when he did, I praised him. Jay stopped what he was doing to praise him. It was a truly beautiful moment.

Now, like I said, I don’t know if it was St. Mary’s, or if it was turning four, or what – but whatever it was – I was so grateful for the maturity he expressed tonight. It was a validation of what a big boy he’s becoming!

Now we can’t wait to have Reed at St. Mary’s as well. I am so pleased to have had this experience so early. I’m praying it’s a lasting affect and not just a placebo!

I’m the worst mommy in the world

I have precious few moments in my day; however, I have enough to do what I’ve signed up to do. Except when I out-think myself.

After John Alan’s hugely successful Pirate Party, I planned on posting all sorts of pictures of the event. It was a cute party. He had a tremendous amount of fun.

I sat down to look at some of the pics, but instead started messing with the settings on my Canon. In doing so, (wait for it…..)


In essence, I think I lost all of the pictures.

The treasure dig.

The cake.

The inflatable-sword fight.


Hopefully, I can figure out how to retrieve them, but I honestly had to back away from the camera. For fear of losing it.

Consoling words are appreciated.