Tag Archives: parenting

Frozen Pizza Derby

Took a break from preparing for Craftin Outlaws to have the Frozen Pizza Derby. This past weekend was supposed to be Snowmageddon here in Central Ohio, so I thought this would be a fun way to enjoy some family togetherness. Plus, as much as I love wearing aprons, I am not so enthusiastic about cooking. The smart folks at Wild Goose Creative host something called the Pizza Grand Prix. They have people and businesses make fancy pizza and they judge it. I decided to scale this down and call it a “Derby.”

Frozen pizza is not a hit here at our house. And we also can’t agree on a delivery pizza we all like. There are 5 of us, so go figure. Whenever I’m at the grocery I’m tempted by the low prices and tasty looking pictures to I decided to find out once and for all if there was a low-priced frozen alternative to 3 different kinds of delivery for my brood. Also, I decided to try this on the cheap, meaning cheaper brands. The boy is home from school and dang growing men eat a lot!

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Starting out, I was pretty sure the Meijer (store) brand one was going to be at the bottom. Girl #1 doesn’t really like cheese (i know!!) and loves a thick crust, so I was pretty sure she’d go with Freschetta. I was hoping to like the Dr. Oetker, because, well IT’S A DOCTOR! Must be healthy!

When I took them out of the boxes the Dr. Oetker looked the most promising. I figured it would have barely any spinach but check it out!

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Here they are all cooked

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And here…don’t be judging. Yes, that’s a pack of Fun Dip on my kitchen table.

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Everyone agreed the sauce on the Freschetta has the taste of frozen pizza sauce. It’s a taste I hope you are familiar with. Not great but not so bad you gag. The Dr. Oetker actually had too much spinach for my liking. Girl #2 said it was her favorite. It tasted like fresh-cooked spinach. Tons of fresh-cooked spinach. The boy and I both liked the DiGiorno. We had the mozzarella and pesto variety with a thin crust. Unfortunately, the thin crust took it out of the running for Girl #1. Mr. AmyD also liked it but added the caveat that the best part was just eating something to prevent dying in the night. Surprisingly, the only one everyone liked was the Meijer one. It tasted the least like frozen pizza sauce. It was also a full-sized pizza. The fancier ones were all smaller.

There you have it! No clear winners except one we can all eat with very little bitching and no one starves to death. That’s really all a mom of three wishes for.

Some Inexpensive Off-the-radar Gift Ideas for New Moms and Their Families

Since my pal, Olivia, is having her baby any day, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about good gift ideas for new moms and their families. As a mom to three kids, these are some of the best gifts I got or wanted to get. A couple might already be obvious to you but these were my favorites! Add your ideas too!

Food Delivery gift cards – Maybe you have a Cafe Courier in your area that picks up food from a variety of restaurants. A favorite pizza delivery place is great too. Anything that says “Here, let me feed you” is always appreciated.

Mow the lawn –  If your friend’s kid is born in Spring or Summer, for God’s sake, mow their damn lawn. Some people are persnickety about their lawns, so you might have to ask first. Usually, those people don’t have kids or their kids are grown anyway.

Shovel the driveway and sidewalk – Same situation, but in the winter. Just do it. Don’t ask if you can do it because they will say no.

Clean their house –  When you go over to “help,” don’t spend all of your time holding the baby, unless it’s so someone can shower or poop. Get your ass in the kitchen and wash dishes or empty/load the dishwasher. Clean a toilet. Fold laundry. Don’t ask. Seriously. Well, to be polite, you can say, “Where do you put your glasses?” or “Am I allowed to use bleach for this gross toilet?” or something. But don’t ask if you can do it. They will probably say no. When you are done, leave. Unless an adult is crying, then they may want you to listen. You can also stay so someone can shower or poop, like I already said.

Don’t offer advice unless they ask – not really a gift to some, but Dude, it’s a gift.

Sheets for the grownup bed – They will probably get lots of crib sheets for the sweet little one. Trust me, the grownup bed will get it’s share of poop, pee and spit up. They will need new sheets too.

Towels- See above. Actually, this one never gets old. A friend just got me towels for my birthday because she was tired of listening to me complain about the towel situation. If you have kids, they will poop, pee, and barf on almost everything you own, but towels and bedding seem to get the worst of it.

A puppy – no. never. NEVER. Unless you secretly hate them.

Sleepwear that functions as clothing – The mom might want something that sorta looks like clothes but feels like pajamas so she won’t feel naked as she is wrestling a baby on the boob for the first few times. That can turn into a highway-style accident in a matter of seconds. Yoga pants are always a good choice too.

Sleep mask – Naps need to be taken whenever they can be got. A sleep mask helps with daytime naps. (Though hilariously, the first week the baby will sleep almost all the time leading the parents to tell everyone how easy it is. DON’T DISAGREE. Just laugh in the car on the way home. They will get theirs in a couple of weeks and then you can hug them while they cry and you  feel guilty about laughing a few weeks earlier.)

Magazine subscription – to something OTHER THAN a parenting or organizing magazine. Same goes for Pinterest. Those things are great, but right after having a baby, the last thing anyone needs is someone telling them they need to be more organized, energized, or more ANYTHING. What they have going on right now is plenty. My favorite at this time, and still is, is Vanity Fair.

A few flashlights with batteries – They’ll be stumbling around in the dark not wanting to wake the baby. Also, I was always one of those moms that was convinced the kid was going to die in the middle of the night so sometimes i liked to flash a flashlight to see if they squinted a little in their sleep. SUPER DUMB I know. But it gave me a sense of relief.

One more thing, ALWAYS wash your hands before touching that baby. I always felt like a dick for asking people to do that. Just do it. Don’t say “Should I wash my hands?” and put it on them either. Just say “I’m going to go wash my hands.” In this category also is Don’t Wear Perfume to Their House. Just don’t. It’s not going to kill you. My kids had trouble with this as babies and people would get offended when I asked them to put a diaper or blanket on their shoulder before holding the babies. Don’t wear perfume, just in case.

The best gift you can give is to just be supportive and available. Being a parent is wonderful but also scary at first as each of us tries to figure out our own parenting style.

 

 

 

 

 

Make this Bunny Centerpiece!

Happy bunny centerpiece

My daughter always wants to make decorations for whatever holiday it may be.  I like to decorate for Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, birthdays.  You know, the biggies.  This youngest of mine is like a tiny, tenacious Martha Stewart.  She’s always on me to decorate and rearrange.  Usually,  I relent.  See “tenacious” above.

So this weekend she said she wanted to decorate for Easter.  I suggested a banner.  Banners are my go-to for instant decorating projects. She’s done with banners.  The magic is gone.  She said she wanted a centerpiece.  (That’s another thing she likes.  She likes the table to be set with the food all set down the middle in a row rather than serving from the stove.  I’m a mom to three.  That’s a pain in the ass.)

When we make a decoration, we always use what we have on hand.  If you are crafty in any way, you’ll have some of these things on hand too!  If not, improvise.  Don’t go running to the store or your kid will think that’s normal.  Then your kid will tell my kid and I can’t have that nonsense.

Also, I didn’t consider this would make a good blog post until about halfway, so the pictures at the beginning are sparse.

Supplies:

Scrap of polar fleece, t- shirt or felt  (we had some left from a scarf project)

Thread or a sewing machine

Stuffing (fluff, whatever you may have.  Cut up old socks!  It’s also fun to pick a stuffed animal everyone hates but has kept out of obligation and tear the stuffing out of it!)

leaves

3 plastic cups

glue

You can trace this bunny

We first made the bunnies.  Fold your fleece.  The fold is the bottom of your bunny.  If you want to trace this bunny, just put a piece of paper up to your computer and trace it with a pencil.  Or draw your own.  We aren’t looking for perfection.  It’s about hanging out with your kid.  They don’t care if your bunny’s ears are crooked.

Start sewing on one side, go up around the ears and down the other side.  The nice thing about polar fleece (felt, t-shirt)  is that you don’t have to worry about fraying, so that means you don’t have to worry about turning it inside out.  Leave a hole for your stuffing.

Stuff it!  This is a fun job for the kid.  Use a paintbrush end or pencil to get the stuffing into the ears. My grandma taught me this.  Sew it closed.  This is also a good time to teach basic sewing because it’s a simple stitch around the edge.  Just in and out.  It’s also a great time to show your kid how to hold the thread so it doesn’t slip out of the needle.  An important skill.  My youngest is 6 and finally gets it.

Cut the top off of some plastic cups.  We used three cups leftover from a hotel.  That’s another thing kids love, cups, paper, and pens from hotels.

Gather some leaves.  We picked some up from around our bushes.  Spread glue around the outside of your cups and glue on the leaves.  Overlap your leaves so no cup shows through.  If you don’t have leaves, cut some out of green paper.  If you don’t have green paper, use white paper and color it or go through magazines and cut from the pages with green on them.  DO NOT GO TO THE STORE!

Put your bunny in your cup!

We then put our bunnies in a pie pan and cut some pieces off the bushes and put those in there too.  Then my daughter had some tiny pinch pots she made out of play dough and wanted those in there too.  I’m sure by the end of the week, this pan will be filled with all kinds of stuff.  More is more, right?

It's a bunny party!

We think it’s cute and it was fun and I hope you think it’s fun too!

Sending them off on their way

Today is going to be full of wonderfully sad and poignant moment courtesy of my kindergartner and my co-worker, Kara.  I couldn’t even tell the story of my youngest meeting her first teacher yesterday without crying, then having Heather laugh at me! (but only because she’s been going through the same thing and Kara can barely stand to be around us).

Kara goes back to school in a few days and today is her last day until Thanksgiving break!  yikes!  Kara started as an intern.  She could tolerate my mouth, crabby mornings, loud and messy kids and my sloppy home-keeping ways, so I gave her a job.

She’s not going to like that I put that picture in there.  Kara also has her own Etsy shop! Go there and look at her stuff.  and follow her on Twitter.  She rarely swears and has good manners, and yet we get along rather well.  Kara has really become part of our family and it’s going to be hard taking up the slack!  Heather and I, road-weary battleaxes that we are, haven’t yet deterred her from parenthood or turning into an adult.  amazing.

Oh sweet little Ellie!  Today is her first day of school.  I can’t even believe it.  Ellie is hilarious and can have fun anywhere so I think she will love it.  That’s all I want to say about that.  It makes me a little sad to think that she won’t be here to interrupt the sewing.  I’ve not had this much time to myself in a long time and I’m not sure I’ll like it.

one of my favorite pics

Who knew this stay-at-home mom gig would last 7 years?!  We’ve been growing AmyD slowly all this time and now I guess it’s time to get at it, right?

It’s the Toy Appliance Derby!

Today is the day my kids have been waiting for!  We are having the Fake Appliance Derby today.  It’s Spring Break and I want to make staying-at-home-when-your-friends-are-out-of-town fun.  This is a herculean task, my friends.

Currently we own one Easy Bake Oven, two Candy Factory Jewelry Makers, one Snoopy Sno Cone Machine, One Girl Gourmet Cupcake Maker and one Girl Gourmet Cake Bakery Set.  Don’t judge.  I have a big, doting family and I am the youngest.  My kids are adored by the relatives.

Here was the scene at the kitchen table:

The Suver kids aren’t here yet but they are on the way.  So, 6 kids, 3 moms, and loads of fake food that you can eat.  Writing this, my stomach hurts.  I ate lots of cake batter.  ugh.  But we had so much fun!  The kids ate so much candy and baked goods, then ran around like lunatics.  All in all, it was a success.

Here’s Debbie hula hooping to burn off sugar

And here’s Kristin, refueling with some coffee in my JD Salinger mug.

I hope no one vomits tonight.  I guess that’s the wish of all moms.

I just want some applause…..

Often on the blog or in interviews or twitter or whatever, I mention my happy life.  I feel guilty sometimes because it’s such a happy life!  Good kids, hot husband, my own business making stuff.  Not a lot bothers me.  I don’t get too ruffled if something goes awry.  USUALLY…so today, here you are, I want to share a little of my day yesterday.  At the end it all ends well, so you’ve got that waiting for you!

Two-hour school delay = two-hour work day delay.

In prepping my apron delivery to Whole Foods, I needed to print some tags.  I keep them in a file on my computer desktop so I can print them when I need them.  We have a whole new shebang here computer-wise, so I spent an hour looking for them in the computer.  Looking for things on a computer is hard for me.  I consider “looking for something” to be walking around, picking stuff up, looking under it, looking elsewhere.  Physical movement I can DO to find something.  Looking for something on a computer is click-click-click-click .  My brain and my nervous system don’t work like that.

No labels.

I try to print the invoice.  New version of Excel on the computer.  Can’t find the print button.  Seriously.  I kept hitting something that saved it as a pdf, and also erased the last invoice.  I did this about 10-15 times.  My husband is in IT, and when he makes a website that has any kind of loading features, he puts a notice for the user that says “Please wait while your files are loading/your computer is working” because he lives with me.  I keep clicking.  Annoying, I know.  I’m a seamstress.

Get delivery done.  Pick up kids.  Open a beer.  Husband home.

Emergency cat visit to vet. (cat is ok,btw) I call vet at 5:50, they say I can bring him in at 6:30.  I make dinner and get it on the table and get the cat in the carrier by 6:27!  Damn straight! (and this wasn’t microwaved either: fried chicken, broccoli, noodles)

I get home from vet at 7:45

Eldest daughter reminds me that tomorrow (which is today) she has to dress up like her favorite book character, Clarice Bean.  She wants the dress to look like this….. or this

We get her measured, dress cut and sewn by 9!  We didn’t have a cardigan, so we cut a long-sleeved t-shirt down the middle and shazaam!  I didn’t have the exact fabric on hand, but we got it done!

Oh, and my foxy husband ran the house while i went to the vet.  Don’t want to skip on passing out the credit.  Oh, AND, he cleaned up the cat mess.  AND, read bedtime stories to the kids.

So thanks!  I feel much better.  It wasn’t really a terrible day.

A few crafty (and not crafty) things for your kids to do without you!

Been thinking about this a lot lately.  I love crafting with my kids.  It’s fun.  It’s a bonding and learning experience.  We get to share creativity.  All of these things are true, but that’s not what this is about.

Sometimes, I may have an unexpected deadline and no sitter.  Or maybe I just don’t want them in my grill all the time.  And yes, I know they should do things without me, and they do.  This is for the times when they don’t really want to and you need them to.

Yeah, I think she's gifted

1. Make a banner or garland! Whatever the season, find an object that you can cut out in paper or felt that is about 6 inches tall.  For instance, we did pumpkins in the fall, hearts near Valentines Day, trees in the summer.  I usually cut about 10 per kid.  Then I put glue  and sequins, glitter, buttons, yarn etc on the table and they decorate them.  (While they are doing this, I sew an apron, or do laundry or sneak into the bathroom and read.)  When they are finished, we use a hole punch and poke holes in the tops of these things, or the sides depending on what it is, and string them together.  Now we have a garland! Hang it above the kitchen table or on the fireplace.  Ta-da!

Making a Christmas Tree Garland

2. Wash potatoes.  Seriously.  They LOVE it.  When my kids were really little, like just barely walking, I would give them one potato and a bowl of water.  They would wash their potato for at least half an hour.  Potatoes are dirty, people!  Now that they are 7 and 5 (the 15 year old isn’t into this one), they take them into the bathroom and wash them in the sinks.  Give them toothbrushes or scrub brushes and let them go to town.  A couple of towels are good too.  It’s fun to play in water, dirty water, and also then at dinner, I have clean potatoes.

3.  Put all the kid-friendly craft supplies on the table and don’t say anything.  This is not a sure thing but usually, if you just start making something they will want to see and join in the fun.  We have a TON of supplies and kits and whatever else.  So I put it all on the table and start making a card.  They will want to be sure you aren’t having fun without them and wander over.  When they get involved, slowly walk away.  I know! If you are judging me right now, you either have a nanny, or have one kid.  This one sometimes backfires.  Not a good one to do in my house when they haven’t slept or are just being jerks.

4.  Window crayons.  If you don’t have these, you should.  They are just crayons that write on the windows and easily wash off.  I am in love with window crayons.  We have a sliding glass door to the patio (slab) and they love it. Which sort of leads to the next one…..

5. Give them a spray bottle of water and two small towels or washcloths.  Two because they will want one to be sort of dry.  If you have any glass doors in your house, this is really great.  Let them spray the water on the window and wipe it off.  Over and over and over and over.  My 7 year old isn’t really into this one any more,  so I have a variation.  She washes the baseboards.  SERIOUSLY!  For her, it’s not an annoying back-breaking chore that you won’t ever get thanked for doing.  It’s a fun thing to do with a spray bottle of water.  And she doesn’t soak the floor because she’s 7.

Those are the ones I think are the easiest.  I didn’t even get into old lipstick and fingernail polish, putting socks on their hands and letting them dust, or putting wet socks on their feet and letting them mop the kitchen (so fun!).