Category: silly ramblings

The Perfect Mothers’ Day Gift

By , May 9, 2010 8:08 am

Is it a new DVD player?  A subscription to People magazine?  A case of anti-aging miracle pills?  What could say “I love you Mom” more than a miracle weight-loss drink or anti-stretch mark cream?

(By the way, these examples are extracted from actual Mothers’ Day gift suggestions that I received via email at Unplug Your Kids from eager marketers!)



All real moms will understand. (Take note marketers.)

Happy Mothers’ Day!

PS. This was my actual gift from my 4 year-old this year, presented with great ceremony!

White Slipcovers

By , February 10, 2010 11:18 am

BLAST FROM THE PAST POST (Originally published on May 23, 2007) – Having fun digging out some old stuff!


I did a silly thing.

With child number three, we finally outgrew our small kitchen table. I ordered this great table with the green chairs from West Elm. The table arrived and I LOVE it! It looks fabulous in my green kitchen area and is nice and big for meals, homework, projects (clutter), etc.

But…I ordered the cushions too. The chair cushions are a lovely, minimalist white. WHAT WAS I THINKING??? They have washable covers, but do I really want to be removing cushion covers and washing them every day? I have enough daily laundry to do without adding more to it. Plus, what about spaghetti sauce? Will that come out or will I need to dye the covers red to match the stains? Maybe we should just eat white food from now on. Potatoes, pasta, milk, ice cream (vanilla)…

This reminds me of one of my pet peeves. Decorating magazines that feature “families” with cute little blonde curly-haired angels running around the immaculate garden in adorable white outfits. These families always have elegant minimalist living rooms in varying shades of white with sisal rugs. The room is completely decorated with “flea market finds” and boasts (and this is the kicker) a WHITE SLIPCOVERED SOFA on which the family greyhound is reclining comfortably.

The glamorous, yet natural-looking mother always offers up some savvy decorating wisdom, such as: “Seek out flea market pieces that have good bones.” Or, “I like to decorate with white slipcovers because you can just pull them off and throw them in the wash!” With a house full of toddlers and sofa-sleeping greyhounds, this mother (or her maid) must be washing her slipcovers five times a day.

My slipcovers would be living in my laundry room. My sisal rug would have cat barf on it (How does one clean cat vomit out of the fibers of a sisal rug anyhow? With a toothbrush?). Do Lazy-Boy recliners have “good bones?” Where do I find a flea market near me? We have garage sales, thrift stores and a “swap meet,” but unless your decorating style is “Early Salvation Army” or involves antlers, you might be a bit disappointed with the availability of elegant antique bargains where I live.

So, this brings me back to my dilemma. What do I do with white kitchen chair cushions? I am simply not as brave as those “magazine moms.” Mine are in a box in the attic to be brought out when my children are in college.

PS. I thought about cleaning off the table for the photo, but decided that it was more interesting to simply capture a moment in time from a “real mom’s” house. I hope you appreciate my honesty.

The First Day of School (That Almost Wasn’t)

By , January 7, 2009 7:18 pm

My littlest baby is now three.  A “big girl.”

On Monday, just three days after her third birthday, she was scheduled to have her first day of Montessori preschool.  After 8 and a half years of  continuous togetherness with one child or another, I was REALLY looking forward to that first miraculous day of school for the last one, and the promise of several hours of solitude.

My imagination soared:  loud music in the house (and NOT “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”), a good book, maybe even a trip to the bathroom without an audience!

But when I awoke on that much anticipated morning, what should I see out my bedroom window:

Snow.  Lots of snow.

Mom of the Year Moment:  Was my first thought of the day – “Oh, look at the lovely snowy scene!”

No.  My first thought was:  “OH NO – A SNOW DAY!!”

I had waited three years for this first day of school and it was going to be a Snow Day!  Serves me right doesn’t it?  The cruel irony of it all.  I just wanted to put my pillow over my head and go back to sleep.

In fact it turned out to merely be a two hour delay, what a relief!

Despite my excruciating Mom Guilt over the depth of my joy on my baby’s first day of school, I was able to pull myself together enough to rock-out in the kitchen to some extremely loud music, unsuitable for children.

I can now set all guilt aside since it turns out that she loves school, and I love my mornings alone.  So far, we both seem to be benefiting from the arrangement!

Out of the Mouths of Babes

By , September 5, 2008 9:44 pm

6 year-old son out of the blue at dinner last night while eating cherries for dessert:

“Why did George Bush chop down a cherry tree?”

(The many possible responses that suddenly filled my mind are not publishable here since I don’t “do” politics on my blog, but I have been laughing to myself about it all day!)

The Junk of Others

By , May 14, 2008 10:58 pm

This past month I have probably spent close to 60 hours sorting through other people’s castoffs while my 2 year-old rolled around in the dirt.

Every year my children’s small but worthy, financially challenged Montessori School holds a giant yard sale, and every year I volunteer to help sort. I never work the sale because, although I find the sorting process rather fascinating in an odd way, I simply can’t deal with the actual feeding-frenzy atmosphere and depressing desperate bargaining of the sale itself.

The sorting experience is really quite enlightening however. I can share a few tidbits here.

What I have learned from five years of sorting through other people’s junk:

1) People all have different tastes:

This year I had the pleasure of discovering the number one most revolting looking and smelling giant “hand-dipped” candles I have ever encountered in my life (picture “chocolate – cinnamon – banana – lavender – cat pee” fragrance in candles looking as if they had been lovingly hand-dipped in vomit). Resisting both my gag reflex and my urge to toss these misplaced treasures into the trash, I optimistically priced them at 10 cents for the pair (other candles of that size, more acceptable to my taste, went for $1.00 each). Guess what? A lady stopped by and excitedly purchased them WHILE WE WERE STILL SETTING UP!!!

2) Sorting other people’s castoffs day in and day out makes one a little weird:

Another item that sold during set-up was our mascot: The lime green teddy bear in sunglasses and fancy flowered hat who, when you squeezed her paw, sang the Beatles song: When I’m Sixty-Four. Unlike those candles, I was a bit sorry to see her go. After hearing so many repetitions of When I’m Sixty-Four, I was beginning to think I NEEDED that bear. Perhaps it is a good thing that she was sold to someone else.

3) If you give desperate Christmas gifts to someone unlikely to appreciate those gifts, they WILL end up, unopened, in a sale like ours:

Some examples of obviously desperate Christmas gifts that the poor recipients were eager to dispose of: a John Wayne coffee mug new-in-box (NIB as they say on Ebay), several ornate photo frames with syrupy, sentimental sayings (also NIB), an electric quesadilla-maker (isn’t that what frying pans are for?), dubious-smelling candles (nothing like the 10 cent candles though!), and an actual nose hair trimmer (I don’t think I have ever seen one of those before), among others.

PS. Check out the Christmas Unplugged posts for more information on how to avoid that “have to give something” feeling.

4) Check the titles of the books you turn in (unless you plan on dropping off the box anonymously after hours):

If you have a whole box full of self-help books along the lines of How to Live With a Cross-Dressing Husband, or How I Overcame My Gambling Addiction, whether they are your books or your long lost cousin Debbie’s, then you might want to consider dropping them off after-hours. Although my friend and I who were sorting the sale were nice enough not to take notes on who made the revealing self-help book donations, others might not be so kind!

A fascinating fact: people’s books reveal a lot about themselves. Amateur psychoanalysis is a fun way to pass the time while sorting and pricing stuff.

5) Americans have A LOT OF CLOTHES.

Gold lamé jacket in East Podunk Arizona anyone?? Didn’t sell.

6) Simple donation etiquette:

Please don’t just tip the toy bin into a garbage bag and hand it over. Usually there is a considerable amount of useless junk and trash in there that needs to be thrown away. It is WONDERFUL when people bag up small pieces of toys and tie or tape the bag on to the main toy. Ziplock bags are perfect of course, or you can recycle grocery store produce bags. They are transparent, fairly large, and free. Please wash clothes before donating. If puzzles and games are missing pieces, or you only have one sock in a pair…please don’t donate. Make the sock into a puppet instead, or toss or reuse the remaining game/puzzle pieces somehow. (Unplugged Project anyone?)

7) (Warning: cliché ahead!) “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.”

Very true. A lot of people found treasures at our sale last weekend (“chocolate/cat pee candles” for example) and we made $5,000 for our school!!


I believe that everyone should spend 60 hours in 3 weeks sorting other people’s junk. I felt like an earthworm. Not only was I helping recycle all that we humans consume, but I had a lot of time to think about how much “stuff” we have in our part of the world, and how disposable it all seems.

This year, the amount of clothing we acquired is what struck me the most. I have many thoughts on clothing (enough for at least one thorough, or several “chapter” posts). Beware: I might inflict those on you soon.

Photo thanks to Wikimedia Commons.

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