Monday, April 14, 2008

Lunch Box Blues

So, many of you know that I'm nearly famous for my lunch box kit. It came up in both my parent teacher conferences for the WG. Apparently, she's just as anal about it as I am. Anyhow, I'm always searching for something beyond peanut butter and jelly. Since the WG isn't a lover of cold cuts, it's tough. Here is my most recent find.

Lunch Box Pizzas (Adapted from All
WG loves these tiny half muffin/half pizzas. Admittedly, I do too. The only struggle I have is how to not eat two or three as they come out of the oven. They refrigerate well, and she doesn't mind them at room temp.

1 (7.5 ounce) package refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1/4 cup pizza sauce
Toppings of your kiddos preference (I use finely diced red onion, red pepper and chopped olives for WG)

3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella
I separated each each in half. I use the flaky layers biscuits so it's easy. Then, press each half into a greased muffin cup. Spoon 1 teaspoonful of pizza sauce into each cup. Top each with 1 tablespoon of cheese and your toppings. Bake at 425 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

My Clothes are Not So Comfy

I am going to loose my mind! I've brought home scores and scores of new pants for the WG to try on and nothing is "comfy" enough. The people at the mall hate me. My retailer friends hate me. I keep buying things, bring them back. Buying things, bringing them back. I am exhausted and ready to let her go naked.

We have four problems.
1. She doesn't like any stiff fabrics. Jeans are out. Most khakis are out. Most everything is out.
2. She doesn't like hook and eye closures. They're too tricky when she's in a hurry to potty. Plus, they pinch her.
3. She doesn't like anything that's too tight in the inseam. But she also doesn't like it too loose. Must be just right for Goldilocks.
4. She doesn't like anything that isn't pink, sparkly, floral or frilly.

She won't wear tights, so until we're into full-on spring, we're stuck in pants. Oh, and ditto for leggings. She hates those too. And yes, I've tried Hannah Anderson's slouchy leggings. They're currently keeping the drawer warm.

So, I've bitten the bullet and called Sherri - the delightful manager at Charlotte's Oilily store - and asked to relieve her of every elastic waist pair of knit pants she has in WG's size. She has two pairs of Target sweats that pass muster. And three pairs of Oilily knit pants. That's it - that's what the kid will wear.

I'm open for suggestions. But please, make them good. You're reading the blog of a woman who has darkened the door of damn near every retain establishment in three cities. From Old Navy and Gap to Talbots and Gymboree. From specialty boutiques to web retailers - my only big hits have been Oilily's knit pants, Juicy Couture terry sweats, BCBG velour sweats (and only some of those) and Target's Circo brand sweats. I kid you not.

How am I going to get this girl into some real pants? Or, I dare say, a skirt? Have ideas? I'm listening. In the meantime, tell me it's a phase. And someone, uncork a bottle of Chardonnay.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

What to do with the craft room?

I am in a phase of re-organization. It hits me every now and then. I feel the need to declutter and simplify - make our life work in the space around us.

Right now, my main focus is my craft room/office. It's the space where I sew and embroider, where I store my scrapbooking supplies, and store all my miscellaneous craft and magazine goodies. But the space has some problems. First of all, right now, it's packed to the gills. There's bins of fabric scraps, hundreds of paint colors, glitter, my oil paints and easel, back issues of my favorite magazines, archived issues of my magazine, and so much more. Plus, I need at least two workstations - one for my computer and one to for sewing. And I'd like it to look clean, and clutter free so I can actually relax in there as well.

So, I'm planning a redo. My first thought was to have some streamlined, professional cabinetry built in. So, I headed to the Chapel Hill Lowes and made an appointment with a designer, who was terrific. I chose a Kraftmaid cabinet and a quartz counter top. His design was simple but attractive, with lots of storage for my tiny scrapbook stuff. But I had a bit of sticker shock when I saw the price. $9K installed.

Next stop, Pottery Barn, where I perused their Bedford Collection of office furniture and hutches. While these are really attractive and reasonably well-built (I actually owned a lot of these pieces in my previous house) they don't give me a lot of vertical storage in the hutches. And then there's the bigger problem, they're really massive and don't fit in my 9X12 room.

On to Pottery Barn Kids and Pottery Barn Teen, where I hoped to find the same type of furniture, on a smaller scale. No dice. Most of the options were nearly the same size as the adult offerings and I still had the limited wall storage.

So, I headed to the Internet, where I searched IKEA. My favorite was this gorgeous collection. It gives me lots of wall storage plus two workstations. And the price makes my giddy - I think I can do it all for under $3K. But given that this is where I'll spend much of my time and I will likely be really hard on the surfaces, I'm a little worried about furniture that I have to put together. Is this IKEA stuff really durable enough for working on every day?

So, today, my mom, the kids and I headed for Furnitureland South. If you haven't been there, you should really go. My sales rep is Todd Needles and he's terrific. He's helped us with TONS of furniture in our house. Plus, Furnitureland South is about 40% off retail price - seriously. People from New England drive all the way down to North Carolina to buy here. Lucky for us, it's about an hour away. Anyway, Todd helped me narrow down the million square feet (no kidding) of showroom space to the Loius Loius Collection from Stanley. The price is right on this collection (about $5K) but my big concern is the peninsula desk, which will seriously eat into the floor space in the room. There will be 4 feet of walk space around the desk if I choose this option, and I'm worried it will look too crowded. Plus, I can forget room for a chair or the credenza that's in there now....

So, here I am, just about back to square one. Wondering what in the heck I should do. I would love to do the built ins, but worry that I will be putting money into a space that will never see returns when we sell the house. (I do think many people will see it as a wonderful homework space for kids, though). I want it to work for now, but I know we won't be in this house forever. What to do? What to do?


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Back and Paying for It!

I'm back from Las Vegas and the kids are out of control.

My phenomenal friend Trinity took amazing care of them. When I returned, not only had they had outings (The WG tried that kiddie bungee bounce for the first time) and stayed on their schedule, my house was cleaner than when I'd left it. They loved their time with Miss Trinity, as they call her, and WG says she misses her already.

I doubt it's that they are high on sugar - Trinity is not inclined to indulging their sweet tooth. But they're acting like it. They're all screeches and squeals - jumping, giddy balls of noise.

Perhaps they are actually genuinely that excited about our return. Mel contends that's the case, and it's one of the reasons he looks forward to his homecomings. He feeds off their excitement.

But I find it a little jarring. Where are my kids? They've got to be somewhere inside that walking, talking, scream? I know it will take a little time for things to return to normal, but having left them so rarely (nearly never) I don't have a lot of experience with the return. I planned a lot for the going away, but not at all for the homecoming?

Perhaps a should have scheduled a full day lie-in, where we all hung out in jammies, watched movies, ate snack food and cuddled? But of course, I've returned to 175 emails, flats from the printer, and a mountain of work to do. And did I mention two kids that can say "momma!" 475 times per second?