Tuesday, September 7, 2010


My baby girl started Kindergarten today. No tears, no trauma, just walked on the bus and barely took time to throw me a wave goodbye. Made me so proud.

Coming home from school, my baby did not come off the bus. A Kindergartener emerged when those doors opened. The first words out of her mouth were not those of the 5 year old that stepped on the bus but the words of a school-age child. Her tone was different, her facial expressions more grown up and "know-it-all" and her body language was that of a child with confidence. However, the little girl is not all lost.

"So, what did you do in school today?"

"I learned English."

"Really, you learned English?" (now I'm thinking she means the subject)

"Yep, we learned how to speak in English."

"Well what did you learn to say." (I'm rather intrigued now)

"We learned how to meet someone new and what to say"

"Oh, ok. So what do you say"

"I don't remember."

Conversation dropped for the mean time but right before bed we're cuddling on the couch and someone on TV is doing something that must have reminded her about the earlier conversation.

"Yeah, that's what I said before Ma-om (the snotty way they turn Mom into a 3 syllable word) we learned Sign Language today."

"Celie, you didn't tell me you learned sign language today."

(lip snarls up and the attitude is now all over the face while the hand is on the hip) "Yeah I did, when I got off the bus I told you we learned Sign Language."

"Celie, you said you learned ENGLISH not Sign Language."

"Oh, well we learned Sign Language"

"What did you learn?"

"I TOLD you, we learned how to meet someone and say Nice to meet you."

"Well, show me."

"I don't remember"

"Celie you learned a whole sentence you have to remember at least ONE thing."


"Ok so show me one thing you learned from Sign Language than."

"Uno, Dos, Tres..."

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Poll: EtsyKids Design Challenge for August: Paisley

Smart sAss Baby is in a EtsyKids Design Challenge. This month's theme is Paisley, so I decided to take it and let the boys have some fun with the fantastic print. A true Smart sAss Shirt for a true Smart sAss Baby! Please check out the design challenge and vote for Smart sAss Baby (ccangel331) All it takes is two clicks of the mouse so easy your Smart sAss Baby can do it!

Poll: EtsyKids Design Challenge for August: Paisley

Friday, August 20, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see. [Inspired by SouleMama]

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Story of a Tubal

I know, kind of a strange thing to blog about right? I can only say that it is just a funny exchange of words that I thought someone out there might either relate too, or find amusing.

While there is a huge back story that runs behind this let's sum it up as to say that my procedure was scheduled for right after Charlie-Monkey was born and (not to my happiness) was canceled due to OR overbooking. I was then left to make new arrangements during my 6 week postpartum appointment, however now I have to go through the entire consult all over again because they feel that when you are postpartum you might have a change of heart, (all that gushy new mom feelings flowing out might make you decide to have another) little do my doctor's know, I don't change my mind.

So after much bitching and pouting and complaining (hey, I'm being honest) I schedule an appointment to meet with Dr. Moon......

Why do OB's feel the need to make you sit on that exam table half naked with nothing but a sheet covering you, a sheet that is barely big enough to wrap around you, so your be-hind is still hanging out right in front of the door to the exam room ready to flash anyone that might be in the hallway when said door opens. As if that is not bad enough you sit there half exposed waiting for what feels like an eternity while you listen to your doctor in the hallway shooting the breeze with the nurses and other doctors (whose patients are half exposed on their tables). Is this part of some secret OB joke?

So, there I am half naked and exposed and very aggrivated that I am doing this consult for the umpteenth time when the door blasts open and a petite little Asian doctor comes storming in the room guns blaring.


ummmm, yeah?

You understand this is permanent?

um, yeah

NO I mean it's IRE RE VERS A BLE

yep, kinda the point of having it done

NO, I mean you can't take it back, you will NEVER be able to have children again

yep, I know, kinda the point

NO, I mean like say something happens to your kid, you CAN'T have another

ummm, kinda morbid - but yeah, I get it

NO, I mean like if something happens and you get divorced and then meet a studly younger man who wants kids YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO HAVE ANY

yep, again kinda depressing scenario but I get it

NO, I mean you've got like 10 more good baby making years and you won't be able to have any

again, that's the point

*humpf* fine

Surgery scheduled, pre-opt appointment visit:

Setting: Uncomfortable exam room. Character is again half naked on table listening to doctor laugh in hallway with other naked patients doctors. Door suddenly BURSTS open and petite doctor storms in


yes, Dr. Moon


yes, Dr. Moon


yes, Dr. Moon


yes, Dr. Moon


we can adopt Dr. Moon

*humpf* fine

Surgery done, recovery completed - post OP appointment-

Scene: Uncomfortable exam room. Character is half naked on exam table listening to her doctor laugh in hallway with other half naked patients doctors. Door BURSTS open and petite doctor barges in.


um, no Dr. Moon


um, I'm sorry Dr. Moon?


um, sorry Dr. Moon?


um, really sorry Dr. Moon? (I mean what else do you say in apology of your uterus? Is this something you send a card for "Sorry my uterus was in your way.)


well, think about it this way Dr. Moon - I helped you create a new policy. There's always a silver lining right?


Friday, July 23, 2010

Introducing my wonderfully verbal nephew Ben

My nephew Ben is about the funniest thing you have ever met in your entire life. I have repetitively told his mother that she needs to start a blog called Life With Ben or Bennyisms or something of that nature because the things that come out of this 6 year old's mouth are too much to handle with a straight face. This was our conversation during our car ride today after his Summer Camp Talent Show. He is in blue and I'm in purple. I'll let the story speak for itself...

Aunt Bridget when you start teaching Drama Kids I'll take the class and then I will be a great actor someday.

That's wonderful B-

Yeah and I'll also be in a band so I'll be like a fantastic rockstar

Sounds great Ben, wh-

Yeah and I'm also gonna be a WORLD famous author and write tons of stories and books that they are gonna sell ALLLLL over

You'll be a triple threat!

(Stops in mid ramble) What's a triple threat Aunt Bee?

Well that's someone who is good at all the arts, singing, dancing, acti-

Well why are they a threat? Are they dangerous
No, it just means that if you are good at all three things than your more likely to get jobs than people that are just good at on-

OH well then I'm gonna be a MILLION TIMES THREAT cause I'm gonna be good at like EVERYTHING and I'm gonna be the most famous video and computer game designer for my favorite video game company Pop Cap, but their not better than Nintendo they are just my favorite computer game designers and they do IPhone stuff too - so I'll be taking jobs from EVERYONE including you Cecilia - no offense - and well I'll take your jobs too but not your cheerleading jobs - you can have them because I don't want to be good at cheerleading thats for girls but I'll be good at everything else. AND of course I'm gonna be President - do you think Charlie is going to want to be President too? Who would you vote for Aunt Bee if me and Charlie were gonna be running for President, huh?
Well Ben, I don't think I can pick between my favorite nephew and my son. Why don't you be President and Charlie can be your Vice President because he is younger than y-
What's a Vice President? Well that is the second in command. He or she helps the President run the country and if something ever happens to the President the Vice President moves up and becomes the Presid-

So like if I die, Charlie will take my job?

Well that a bit morbid Ben but I suppose s-
Well than that won't work because I want to be President not Charlie. Maybe he can be in my band instead.
So Ben, how are you gonna have time to do all this AND be President of the United States too.

Well, that is quite simple Aunt Bee - I'm going to do all the other stuff while I am younger and then when I am older but not President Old I'm gonna be an author

Ben, how old IS President old.
I don't really know but it's old so I can do lots of other stuff before I do that. Cause I'll have plenty of time. So Aunt Bee anyway, are you gonna vote for me when I am President?

Of course Ben

Thursday, July 15, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see. [Inspired by SouleMama]

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Join me for a Sneak Attack

Many of you have heard me (or read me lol) talk about the Handmade Movement and their weekly Sneak Attacks. For those of you who don't know here is the reader's digest condensed version (for a more in-depth explanation go to www.handmademovement.com )...

Every week one member of the Handmade Movement picks 2 or 3 new and upcoming ETSY shops that have under 4 sales and surprises them with a night of sales and hearts (adding a shop as a favorite). It allows the new shop to get some exposure and love. Last month I was one of the shops "attacked" and know how exciting it is.

Today is my turn to do the attacking. I have picked three shops and at 7 PM tonight they will be announced on the Handmade Movement thread at http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?page=3&thread_id=6571745

PLEASE take the time to not only visit the thread and chat with a great group of people but stop by the shops I have chosen and show them some love through hearts and maybe even some purchases. Each shop has a good amount of items under $10 so they won't break the bank.

Don't forget to like the handmade movement on FB at www.facebook.com/thehandmademovement and check out the website at www.handmademovement.com. Enter to win this week's giveaway - a fantastic bracelet from Shades of Victoria on Etsy. Link for this giveaway is on the right of the screen on the website. Winners will be announced at Thursday's Sneak Attack.

Remember - The Handmade Movement is not an official Etsy Team, there are no rules or membership steps to go through before you can join. By showing up and participating you are part of the group. Anyone and everyone is welcome at the Handmade Movement so stop by and help us MAKE SOMEONE'S DAY!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Veggies, Veggies Everywhere

Some of this week's shares - Beautiful

So Saturday is CSA pick up day. Remembering this last night and knowing that I hadn't even used up all the veggies from last week I decided to raid the fridge and try to use up as much as I could in one meal. Let me tell you it was fantastic!

I had a bunch of turnips left from last week that I truly had left in the back of the fridge because I am truly stupid about what to do with them. Feeling brave and adventurous I swept the Food Network online recipe database and came up with a Turnip and Edamame recipe that looked worth trying. A few adjustments and voila! A meal that neither I nor Andy could stop eating. The following is the recipe the way I made it, below that is the link to the original recipe. Choose for yourself

Turnips and Edamame

1 bunch of turnips peeled and diced
1 lb shelled Edamame (all I had on hand was frozen)
1 bag frozen peas (or if you are so lucky fresh)
3 Sliced Scallions (both the green and white sections sliced and kept seperate)
Pasta (I used mini thumbprints b/c that is what I had in the cabinet)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Garlic powder
Fresh Grated Parmesaen

Cook your pasta al dente and set aside
Place diced turnips in pot with 2 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 cup of water, salt and pepper. Simmer, covered for 5-7 minutes
Add the whites of the scallions, the edamame and the peas and one more tablespoon of butter and garlic powder and simmer for another 3-5 minutes
Uncover and simmer until the water is almost all evaporated - add pasta and allow to simmer until pasta absorbs some of the butter liquid
Throw in scallion greens and allow to wilt
Serve with a bit of fresh grated parmesan (I like cheese on my pasta - Andy had it without)

Here is the original recipe from the Food Network

This week's shares were absolutely beautiful. At Newcomb's where I get my shares from we are allotted a monetary amount based on whether we paid for a full or half share. This amount is "spent" in their market pavilion on any combination you want. I am allotted $14, most of the items are marked between .50 and $2 so I come out with a pretty good share of veggies. The market pavilion was filled today with the first really full harvest of the season. The peas were so fresh and green (as you can see) and they had fresh raspberries that I'm sure won't make it to the end of the day if the kids have a say about it. I ended up with the peas, raspberries, broccoli, two heads of romaine, cucumbers, eggs (a gift each week from the farm) and a basket full of tomatoes. Surrounded with veggies I realized it's been a few days since I had checked my garden for anything worth picking.

All five of my onions were ready! I've never grown onions before - quite excited to try them

Almost Ready
The first full harvest of the season

I love planting bean plants. They are the easiest and most fruitful thing I have ever planted. 6 bean plants will yield enough beans to make you not want to look at another one until next year! Definitely a staple in any garden. Unfortunately my tomato plants are not looking so good this year. It is the third year that I have used the Topsy Turvy. The first year I had beautiful and huge tomato plants. Last year I lost htem in the NE hail storms that reaked havock on us in June and this year one has gone on to a better place and the other is hanging on my it's roots (literally and figeratively). Next year I think we are back to good old fashioned ground planting. My herbs didn't make it - I think I put too much in the same pot. Also lost my strawberry baskets from too much rain. I never have luck with strawberries. All in all though everything else is looking healthy and growing big and green and beautiful.

Friday, July 9, 2010

What It Means To Be A Mom

What it means to be a Mom:

  • No longer being allowed to enter a bathroom alone EVER AGAIN
  • Taking a shower faster than it takes the baby to wake up
  • Knowing whether the poopie diaper smell lingering in the air belongs to your child or another because you know what your child's poop smells like (you say eww but you know it's true)
  • having super sensitive hearing that can pick your child's cry out of a dream filled sleep or a busy store
  • Answering "What" every time you hear someone call "Mommy" whether your child is with you or not.
  • Never having an outfit that doesn't have a coordinating spit up stain somewhere on it.
  • Having the coordination to answer the phone, read your emails, talk to your husband and rock a bouncy chair with your foot all at the same time
  • Knowing every word to whatever new pop sensation is "in" this week and having them play over and over and over and over until you hear them in your dreams
  • Even though you hated it as a kid - Knowing spit REALLY DOES clean everything
  • Your pocketbook contains more child amusement items than actual adult things
  • You don't even bother wiping the spit off your face from the sloppy kisses
  • The underneath of your couch cushions has become a hiding place for barbie shoes and crayons
  • Finding yourself hanging upside down over the bed at 3 AM frantically looking for the pacifier that fell out of the bassinett before the screaming wakes up the whole house
  • You've never actually called a pacifier a pacifier
  • You have named all of your infants toys for him - his lovey, the boobear, the mimi
  • Mastering the one arm pick up baby maneuver
  • Getting over the germophobia issue you had prior to your first child
  • Catching yourself singing children's songs in the car - when your by yourself
  • If you find yourself purchasing baby wipes in stead of cleaning supplies because they work just as good and are much more handy
  • Your idea of a good restaurant is now one that doesn't roll their eyes when you walk in with two in tow
  • and taken from a online submitter....You know you are a mom if you realize wanting a baby is the dumbest, craziest, most idiotic wonderful idea you ever had. From Monica Williams

{this moment}

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see. [Inspired by SouleMama]

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Slacking off

Born to Brine

What Would Julia Do?

Quilter's Make the World a Warmer Place

Material Girl

Best Buns

I have truly been slacking off on my promise to myself that I would write here at least twice a week. It's not like I don't have a million of things in my head that I want to write down but the hustle and bustle I have been in lately has not given me time to do anything but run around like a chicken with my head cut off.

I have started on my line of Career Shirts for Adults. I love the way they are coming out and enjoy coming up with new sayings and designs. My hands can't keep up with my brain and I have over 50 one-liners written on my desktop Stickies app. I posted some of them with this post, feel free to comment suggestions. I welcome the constructive criticism. I am hoping to have them uploaded to Etsy by the end of this week.

Another great accomplishment for Smart sAss Baby is the sale of my custom shirts at a local shop here in NY. Salon Texture will be featuring Smart sAss Baby T-shirts in their front gift area! What a exciting milestone for me. I also got to design my first custom order for a great customer this week.

In addition to all my other endevors I have most recently become a Madison Handbag consultant. Just another way to support Handmade! All of these fantastic handbags are sewn locally in Troy, NY by a team of talented seamstresses. Customers can host or attend a party and custom design their bag by chosing one of the 18 different designs of pocketbooks and over 70 designer fabrics. They are a great quality product and I'm really excited to be representing them, especially since I have spent so much money purchasing them it will be nice to start making money off of them LOL

Off to bed for me - more to come I promise.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see. [Inspired by SouleMama]

My First Treasury

Decided to try to put all of my favorites in one place and create a treasury dedicated to my little monkey man. All things Ape.


Feel free to click and comment and let me know what you think.

I promise to update on the Summer of Self Improvement soon.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Worthy Cause

My local friends and followers have most likely heard about the tragic house fire that claimed the lives of 6 children between the ages of 1 and 12 this last weekend. Now I have learned that the Mother, Samantha is in critical condition and has recently developed a fever and possibly an infection. Friends of the family are organizing a benefit and silent auction to help this family in anyway they can. Imagine not only losing your most precious possessions (your children) but your material possessions as well. This family has suffered more devestation than any of us can ever imagine.

I have been putting feelers out to my wonderful Etsy contacts hoping to rally some donations for the silent auction they are holding in a few weeks. I myself am donating a gift certificate and have already received a donation from fellow Sneak Attacker Beadsoul (www.beadsoul.etsy.com) and my new EtsyMom teammate Mimi Marie Designs (www.mimimarie573.etsy.com). Please show these shops some love for helping out this family.

If you would like to donate towards this silent auction you can either email me at bbauer612@gmail.com or the host of the benefit Robin Beagle-Renaud via the benefit page on facebook (see links below).



Saturday, June 26, 2010


Andy and Cecilia -A Girl and her Daddy
Collin's Park June 2010

I love to work. I like getting out of the house, doing something productive and I love my profession, teaching. It is what I do, and I am good at it. I have always said that while I admire stay-at-home mom's I could never do it, that I would go crazy with bordem.

Becoming unexpectedly unemployed has been a huge stress on my family and especially me personally, but it has also been an unexpected pleasure too. It has allowed me to slow down and really enjoy mommy-hood which is something I have never really been able to do.

When I was working full time I would jump out of bed at 5:30, shower, get ready, get Celie ready, pack our bags, jump in the car to be to work by 6:45-7, give Celie breakfast at work while I prepared my room, worked till 5:30, home by 6, quick dinner, clean up, bath for Celie, some TV, bed for Celie and then pretty much bed for me not long after. Weekends were lost doing all the things there was no time for during the week, chores, visiting, housework, homework. GO, GO, GO, MOVE, MOVE, MOVE!!!

Now-a-days while Celie still gets up at 6 (would you expect anything less from a 5 year old), we cuddle in bed till we feel like getting up, or till Charlie starts screaming for food. We do things WE want to do. If we want to stop by the park, we stop at the park. We stay at home in our pajamas if the mood strikes us. We have re-discovered arts and crafts, quality time and each other. I became a teacher because I love working with kids, now I have the time to work with my own.

I am not going to say that I don't miss working. I do, I like the challenges and changes of work and I enjoy being productive in that way. I'm also not saying that I won't be going back to work because we could never afford that. What I am saying is that when I do go back, I will make sure that I don't lose what I have learned about myself and my family this summer. I won't run through life rushed and flustered, I will continue to take the time to enjoy these precious years with my babies. I will make sure the memories they have are not of nothing but work and school
but quality time with us.

Friday, June 25, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see. [Inspired by SouleMama]

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How Does My Garden Grow

Purple and Regular Basil

Sage, Pineapple Sage and Thyme

Green Peppers

Yellow Squash

Green and Yellow Beans

Thursday, June 17, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see. [Inspired by SouleMama]

Etsy Sneak Attack Team

Last week I had the pleasure of having my new little project featured by a extra special group on Etsy. The Sneak Attack team is a group of handcrafter's on Etsy that pick a few shops on Monday's and Thursdays and bombard them with sales and hearts (the equivalent of FB like's for my non-etsians). On Thursday I received an email from one of these wonderful ladies explaining to me that my shop was going to be featured in an extra large sneak attack that was happening that night. When I went on my shop page to check I had doubled the amount of views my items had received, gotten numerous hearts on my items and even made my first sale. It was overwhelming and wonderful, I had always known and said that there were some of the nicest people in the Etsy community and this proved it.

Today, while hanging out in the Sneak Attack thread waiting for the next attack to begin I read that one of these wonderful ladies had blogged about last weeks attack and included all the shops featured on her blog. Again, overwhelming and wonderful news for all of us "novice" shops.

If your already an Etsian please take the time to check out this group of fantastic people and support their movement to give novice shops some exposure. If you are not an Etsian already WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

The Handmade Movement - Brains behind Sneak Attack, check it out at
http://www.handmademovement.com/ or their shop at http://www.etsy.com/shop/sneakteam

The T-shirt Lady - Thanks for the feature, check out her blog and become a follower at

Make sure to give these special people some love!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Newborn Quirks

There are so many things I forgot about newborns. This quite shocks me because it's not like I didn't work with them all the time at the daycare. I mean I spend tons of time with babies but it isn't the same as living and breathing one 24/7.

Things I forgot about newborns:

-They have an uncanny ability to spit up on the only inch of your body and/or theirs not covered by a burp cloth or bib

-Their need to poop minutes after you have just changed their diaper

-The wonderfully fun experience of how the bath relaxes them tooooo much, and then your stuck re-bathing them....experienced Mom's do not need me to go farther into detail than that.

-How after said bath they only stay clean for about 10 minutes because something is always coming out of some orifice

-How after YOUR bath/shower YOU only stay clean for about 10 minutes because something is always coming out of their orifices

-Their smile can make you beam with joy and cry with amazement at the same time

-That adorable little stretch thing they do where they stick their neck out as far as they can while clenching those fists tight

-They can sleep all day, anywhere EXCEPT for those times when you have to make a really important phone call or are in a crowded store

-No toy will ever be as totally engrossing as a ceiling fan

-you find that you have lost an hour or sometimes more because you couldn't stop staring at them

Leave your "newborn quirk" in the comments box for all to share in.

Monday, June 14, 2010

No Kissing Allowed

Since the birth of Charlie my husband Andy has had a renewed since of family. It's not that he hasn't always been a wonderful husband and father but watching Charlie's birth reminded him how precious his family is. The same thing happened after the birth of Cecilia.

Andy is not much of a PDA (public display of affection) kinda person. He has been this way ever since I met him. He will not spontaneously kiss or hug or even hold hands unless initiated by me or Cecilia but recently he has made it a point to kiss the entire family goodbye each time he leaves the house. You know the kind, a quick peck kind of kiss. Well this has begun to stress my daughter out something fierce.

It's not the fact that he kisses her and Charlie goodbye. That seems to be alright in her book, it's the fact that he kisses me goodbye that has gotten her shorts in a twist. This protest of our kissing was originally brought to my Mother's attention Saturday night when Celie voiced her disgust over it and even decided that a NO KISSING sign needed to be made for our living room. Of course Andy and I have found this absolutely hilarious and take every opportunity to torture the child. Announcing things like "Don't look now Celie - I'm gonna kiss Mommy goodbye" or other obnoxious announcements that bring a smile to her face but also that not again look.

This morning I was told that kissing in the living room is disgusting and that we were only allowed to go into the bedroom if we wanted to kiss. Of course all this attention has stressed my poor NO PDA husband and we are now back to our old "see you later, love you" routine. Well, it was nice while it lasted.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things

Miss Celie is heading to the big times this year, Kindergarten. I love this time in a child's life because it is the only time ever that they are over-the-top excited to attend school...if they only knew.

We received our "new student" paperwork this week with all our directions on uniform purchases, schedules and even summer homework. School has not even started and the kid already has homework and she couldn't be happier about it. Again, if only she knew.

So our homework for the summer is reading at least 10 books off of a pre-determined list and drawing pictures of her favorite part of each book. She is required to bring this homework with her on her first day. Now for anyone who doesn't know me well, I am a children's book fanatic. I own over 1000 children's books that I have collected over the years. This is an extremely expensive habit that I finally put a cap on a little under a year ago (and withdrawl has been wicked). So needless-to-say I own more than half of the books on this predetermined list given to us by the school.

But the point of this post is not about how many books I own but about the wonderful children's books that are out there that are not known by most parents. When I read this list I found that it was filled with the usual suspects; Eric Carle, Leo Lionni, Dr. Seuss, Jan Brett. While I am a humongous fan of these wonderful artists of the written word I also feel that so many wonderful new authors are not represented here. Many parents have these staples already in their collection. Almost every child has been exposed to our favorite Hungry Caterpillar or Sam-I-Am but what about the Leonardo that Terrible Monster, Stephanie and her ponytail, Grandma and her feather bed or even Marsupial Sue.

I don't think anyone should go through life without experiencing the brilliance of Robert Munsch. The man is a storytelling genius. His stories are written to be read out loud with feeling and humor. His characters are children that are always smarter than the adults and characters around them. The adults are hysterical and over dramatic and are always great for a laugh. If you have not ever experienced Robert Munsch please, please do. While your at it, experience his books in his own voice by listening to him read them himself http://robertmunsch.com/books/ I have everyone of these downloaded on CD's that Celie listens to all the time while flipping along in the books. Of course I own every Robert Munsch book ever written and couldn't even begin to decide which is my favorite story.

Another wonderful author that is meant to be read out loud is Mo Willems. Many people are familiar with that hysterical Pigeon and his love of buses but what about poor Leonardo the Terrible Monster, Edwina the Dinosaur that Didn't Know She was Extinct, Trixie and dear ol' Knufflebunny or poor wired Gerald the Elephant and his more down to earth friend Piggy. These characters are destined to become your child's best friends. They are loveable, funny and relate able. I highly recommend these becoming a staple in your library, you will love reading them as much as your child loves hearing them but if you can't make a fool of yourself don't bother. These books are only meant for adults who don't care about screaming while reading, making funny voices and taking on the high strung characters with feeling.

I could go on for hours about all my favorite friends. Like I said, I own two bookshelves full of great and wonderful books but always go back to my favorites. The ones that are the most fun to read out loud, to share with a group or just my daughter.

My Top 20 Favorite Kids Books (in no particular order)
(this was originally a list of 10 but I just couldn't get rid of any)

1. Paper Bag Princess - Robert Munsch
2. Leonardo the Terrible Monster - Mo Willems
3. Skippyjon Jones - Judy Schachner
4. Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon - Patty Lovell
5. Take Me Out of the Bathtub - Alan Katz
6. Owl Babies - Martin Waddell
7. Little Pea/Little Hoot/Little Pig - Amy Krouse Rosenthal
8. Stella Queen of the Snow - Marie-Louise Gay
9. Good Boy Fergus - David Shannon
10. Gossie - Olivier Dunrea
11. The Kiss that Missed - David Melling
12. Grandma's Feather Bed - Christopher Canyon - John Denver
13. The Daddy Mountain - Jules Feiffer
14. Llama, Llama Red Pajama/ Mad at Mama/ Misses Mama - Anna Dewdney
15. Looking for a Moose - Phyllis Root
16. Moose Tracks - Karma Wilson - Jack E. Davis
17. My Friend is Sad - Mo Willems
18. Alice the Fairy - David Shannon
19. Millicient and the Wind - Robert Munsch
20. Marsupial Sue - John Lithgow

I invite you to comment with one or some of YOUR favorites.

Friday, June 11, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see. [Inspired by SouleMama]

Monday, June 7, 2010

Smart sAss Baby

So when I said this was the Summer of Self Improvement I wasn't kidding. I have decided to overload myself with tons of new projects and pretty much cram everything I have ever wanted to do into the shortest amount of time possible. I'm also loving every minute of it!

I am so excited about my newest endeavor, please give a round of applause for

Smart sAss Baby - attitude tee's for kids with attitude

I have taken my love for amature graphic design, mixed it with my love of children's clothing and added my desire to craft and created a new pet project.

Each design has been created unique by me, some of the sayings are my originals, some are good ol' favorites but each shirt has been designed for Smart sAss Baby by lil 'ol me. The greatest part is...if I don't end up selling anything I will still have fun and it will all be stuff Charlie and Celie can use and wear! Win/Win

I have about 19 designs already done and uploaded into the shop and I am working on more each night. I have tons of ideas and am so motivated to keep creating!

Hope you all browse the shop and give me your feedback. Anything you'd like to see created. All ideas welcome. Facebook page to come with coupons and special offers!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Is this really mine?

Have you ever stood back and wondered, did I get the wrong kid?

Now don't get me wrong I love my daughter and all but if she didn't look just like my husband I would really think she was switched at birth. She is nothing like me.

I am a teacher, it is my passion and my drive in life. The arts and literacy has always been things that I had a passion for. When I teach I teach through books and art. I have more children's books in my collection than most people have adult books (I have 10 shelves full and bags and bags of overflow). When I used to walk into my classrooms the kids would look for my books first and acknowledge me later. Reading out loud has been called my talent. Most children love to have me read to them, except my own.

Ever since Cecilia was born she would rather do anything than sit down with me and a book. She loves to look at books herself. She has a basket full in her room and is constantly strewing them across the floor but goddess forbid I try to read her one. "No thanks Mommy."

It's not just the reading either, she is a small fashionista (I can't even match an outfit together), she wears nail polish and likes mani-pedi's (the only time my nails get painted is when I actually paint something and get it all over myself), she stares at herself in every mirror she passes (if I had my way there wouldn't even be a mirror in the house), and the worst of all - brace yourself - she wants to be a cheerleader! A CHEERLEADER for goddess sake, in high school I used to throw gum in the cheerleader's hair during those damn pep rally things and now my own flesh and blood wants to be one. It's like punishment for something I did in a past life.

I have started this whole Summer of Self Improvement as not only a self-reflection project but a mother-daughter bonding project as well. I know being shoved into a "sibling" role when you have been an only child for 5 years is rough. Cecilia loves her baby brother but there is definitely an attention competition starting. She has gone through a lot of transitions in the last few months. Some we were preparing for and others were a bit of a surprise. I thought this would be a great way to spend some quality time together that was only for us. Yeah, Cecilia doesn't feel we need this time I guess.

Not only was my cooperative garden shot down for reruns of ICarly and my plant signs a total chore for her but the puzzle project she has been pestering me to do is a total bust. We started tonight so gung-ho to begin this great big project, agreed we would do a little each night and keep it all organized in our new puzzle roll up thingy. We opened the box and decided to sort the pieces and work on the frame. Of course the damn TV was so much more important than finding the yellow frame pieces. Thought I was outsmarting her by not letting her change the channel to Spongebob or some other Nickeloden show. Comes to find out Top Chef is as interesting to her as ICarly, that or she is such a junkie she doesn't care what she watches.

After a painful hour of separating inside from outside pieces I mistakenly got excited that now we could actually start the fun part of this project and that maybe she would begin to get into this with me. WRONG! The minute I suggested we start by finding the pieces with writing on them I got the huge obnoxious sigh and "we REALLY have to keep going." Another project bites the dust. I'm learning a lot this summer. I think maybe Kindergarten can't come fast enough, this bonding thing might kill me.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Demon Baby

So of course the baby Gods couldn't have given us a break and they blessed us with a very opinionated and pissed off little man. Our little Charlie monkey is very particular about what he likes and does not like and he is not afraid to voice his opinions in a very loud, very angry way.

Here is a list of things Charlie does and does not like...

He does NOT like to be swung or rocked - therefore he hates the $50 swing I purchased.

He does NOT like to vibrate - Therefore he does not like the vibrate option on his bouncy chair.

He does NOT like to be on his back for any amount of time - Therefore he does not like the $20 bouncy chair I purchased (so the vibrate button isn't really an issue)

He does NOT like his car seat

He does NOT like powdered formula - so I am stuck purchasing the twice as expensive ready to feed liquid kind

and last but not least he DESPISES the car - so there will not be any long road trips in our near future

He DOES love being on his stomach - which probably means he will crawl early

He DOES love his Munchkin Nightlight and Sounds machine

He DOES love his boppy pillow - but only if he is placed on his belly or side

He DOES love his Fisher Price Rainforest Mobile

He DOES love to eat - but only if it's juice or ready feed formula

Now normally when our little man has one of his flip outs you can get him to calm by simply changing his position. You may have to try 3 or 4 to find out where it is he wants to go this particular time but eventually he will stop. His favorite is laying over our legs on his stomach. Now, the catch is the car. When little monkey man flips out in the car we obviously cannot switch his position. I think the police would not take kindly to me driving with a newborn strewn over my legs, might be me.

I spend half of my driving time listing to Cecilia ask me what he is crying about and the other half reaching back during red lights to try to plug him back up with his binky. Unfortunately, little man doesn't give a rats behind about his binky when he is in the car. He does not want to be silenced and is completely vocal about that. Now this might stress out some of those "never let your child cry" people but I have found the best way to deal with this uncontrollable child is to let him get REALLY, REALLY pissed off. Yep, I'm a mean mom go ahead and say it, I'm comfortable with it.

See, when you try to console him too early in his little tantrum he merely spits the pacifier back at you or smacks your hands out of his way in disgust. He is obviously not ready to stop screaming his complaints at you and expects you to be sensitive to this. So I say let him get it out. I turn up the radio, roll the windows down and sing my heart out. When I hear him get to the point of true aggravation, I mean real I hate my life why aren't you listening to me anger I reach back and plug him up. By this time he is so angry and can't remember why that he realizes anything is better than the kill-your-braincells screaming he's been doing for the past 10 minutes. Now just because he has stopped screaming does NOT mean that he is not still really pissed off at you and that he is going to stop bitching his complaints at you though. For proof of this see video. (I especially love how he takes a short break and then adds another point to his case)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Holiday Weekend

This weekend was sort of a review of our week. The kids decided they wanted to do more tie dye because Ben hadn't gotten to do it the first time around. I have to say I'm getting much better at this. I am mastering the rubber-banding process and actually got some nice patterns on the shirts this time. Benjamin seemed to like this much more than Celie and he was very meticulous in covering every inch of fabric with dye. He also insisted in using each and every color in each shirt he made. Celie on the other hand just scattered paint on her shirts and was left with a lot of white space and a little color.

We finished up the shirts with iron on transfers I had bought for Charlie. Celie ended up stealing one for her shirt that said 'Shake, Rattle and Roll' she loved the shirt so much she put it on the minute it left the dryer. She even traded a dress for it and if you know my daughter you know that is big time stuff. She is currently sleeping in it as well. Glad to know she enjoyed at least one project we've done.

My sister came over this week and saw the plant signs we had made for the garden. She loved them so much she insisted we make some for her garden so while Ben was spending the night we whipped out the wood planks, outdoor paint and printed vegetable pics and decorated another 18 signs. Ben went for a Plants VS. Zombies theme and drew pictures of the many sunflowers and zombies that terrorize the video game all over his. They came out rather cute. Celie was already bored of this project having done it two days earlier so she ended up painting maybe two of her signs and then ran off to play on the swing set leaving me the job of painting the rest. Oh well, Toni got her signs and we had a bit of bonding time.

Next week I think we will take on the 1000 piece Wizard of Oz puzzle my uncle purchased for Cecilia a few months ago. She has been pestering me to let her open it since she brought it home and I have been putting it off for selfish reasons but since this is the Summer of Self Improvement I have no excuse not to open and tackle this monstrous puzzle. Maybe we will even seal it and frame it when we are done. I can only hope this project will keep her attention and it won't be another I take on alone. Will keep pictures of our progress along the way and post them when we complete it. Happy jigsawing!