April 23, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things

Road Trip!
Hanging out on the back porch
Wonderful Colors!


Flips & VW

This post is on the summery side as it has been a beautifully warm weekend here and it is inspiring all sorts of warm images...too bad it is supposed to rain again in a couple of days. Living it up while I can!

April 13, 2012

Book Review: Cinderella Ate My Daughter

Peggy Orenstein, of Schoolgirls fame, recently wrote a thoroughly thought-provoking book about raising a daughter amid our grossly overly-pink girlie culture titled Cinderella Ate My Daughter. If you have a daughter, I would say that this is a must-read although reading it may make you more terrified than when you began it. You know from the onset of meeting your daughter that it may be a hard road ahead but this book really nails that idea on its head. The world is such a different place than the now-so-seemingly-innocent one that you and I grew up in (that statement alone should give you worry). She concludes, albeit a bit skeptically, that there is hope. You can raise an independent and lovable girl - it just takes some mindful choices in the beginning and following through to the bitter end (supposedly around 13 when they just stop listening to you).

Here is a oh-so brief summary (seriously, go get this book - at the store or at the library - it is worth your time):

Peggy is a journalist who has spent much of her career writing about issues that face adolescent girls so when she is expecting a child of her own she prays for the boy that wasn't to be. Of course, she has a girl, how silly of her to think otherwise. So when her toddler girl becomes infatuated by princesses (despite never have read princess stories) she decides to dive head first in to this crazy pinkalicious world of baby/toddler/tween girls and what this could mean for her future.

"According to the American Psychological Association, the girlie-girl culture's emphasis on beauty and play-sexiness can increase girls' vulnerability to the pitfalls that most concern parents: depression, eating disorders, distorted body image, risky sexual behavior. Even brief exposures to the typical, idealized images of women that we all see every day has been shown to lower girls' opinion of themselves, both physically and academically...The pursuit of physical perfection was recast as a source of young women's "empowerment." Even as new educational and profession opportunities unfurl before my daughter and her peers, so does the path that encourages them to equate identity with image, self-expression with appearance, femininity with performance, pleasure with pleasing, and sexuality with sexualization. I didn't know whether Disney Princesses would be the first salvo in a Hundred Years' War of dieting, plucking and painting. But for me they became a trigger for the larger question of how to help our daughters with the contradictions they will inevitably face as girls."

Family Fridays: Monkey See, Monkey Do

My daughter has always had a knack for eavesdropping and repeating anything and everything she hears. Toddlers are good at eavesdropping. They are quite stealth actually - there they sit, minding their own business, deep in play but all the while listening for any new word or catch phase they can use as their own. You go along with your conversation, taking note that the kids are minding you no attention what-so-ever - so you may drop a few swear words to make your point clear or describe the "idiot" who didn't help you one bit at work. Needless to say, my daughter has been heard saying "did Sebastien shit his diapers again?" or "damn it" while dropping something not just once but several times. These are not phrases I am proud of but they are phrases of life so be it. I don't think they will offend anyone too terribly.

Alas, there is one phrase that has stuck that I am afraid will offend someone and indeed it already has. My husband is always calling the tigers at the zoo "stuffed" as they rarely ever move and seem to be in the same lounging position no matter what season or time of day you go to view them. Maya picked up on this quite quickly and recently came home to say that the stuffed tigers were sleeping...again. Apparently she mentioned this aloud while watching said sleeping tigers and made the boy next to her cry. He apparently knew what "stuffed" meant and didn't seem to find the humor in my husband's animal description.

But there are good things that come from paying attention to the words swirling around you - they pick up on the good ones too. You will hear my daughter say "please" and "thank you" appropriately and willingly which makes my heart burst every time. Having good manners and respecting other people is on the top of my "to teach my children" list and I am happy to say that it is a lot easier than I had anticipated. Monkey see, monkey do.

April 11, 2012

DIY: Necklaces

Here are some fun necklaces that are ridiculously expensive but may be worth giving it a DIY try...
Isabel Marant
Erin Considine

Happy Birthday Boy

April 10, 2012

Edible Wednesdays: Fried Green Tomato

I am excited to try a fried green tomato BLT this summer...sounds so delicious. Here is how you would do the Tomato part: 

green tomatoes
fresh mint and chives
panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
garlic powder
salt & pepper
1. Whisk 2 eggs. Season with pepper and finely chopped mint and chives.
2. Pour flour into a bowl, season flour with salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder and set aside.
3. Pour panko bread crumbs into a bowl and set aside.
4. Cut green, un-ripe tomatoes into 1/4 inch thick slices. Pat dry.
5. Dredge in flour, shake off excess.
6. Coat both sides with egg mixture then into the panko!
7. Fry in very hot oil until crispy and golden on both sides. Drain on paper towel.
8. Salt generously with kosher salt.
9. Serve with lemon wedges.
10. You can hold the fried tomatoes in a 200 degree oven on a rack for about 30 minutes.

Exterior Tuesdays: Yard Ideas Take Two

I have a problem. I like to rearrange my yard too much. As I have mentioned before, due to a large falling cedar tree, the yard HAS to be rearranged this year whether I like it or not so might as well so a little itty bitty more than required to make it perfectly lovely. I am hoping this will be the last time...here are my inspirations:
Thinking instead of gravel, patches of grass

April 9, 2012

Monday Memo: Blow Ups

I made a huge collage-y/painting of a llama for my daughter's room when she was a baby and she loved looking at it - still does. So I am thinking of making another one for Sebastien's room...here are some options. Scary or cool?

April 7, 2012

Happy Easter Weekend

We are off to the mountain to search for eggs in the snow and celebrate Sebastien turning ONE! 

April 6, 2012

Book Review: Bringing up Bebe

So the library finally released the much anticipated and talked about book by Pamela Druckerman, Bringing up Bebe. I must say, it did not disappoint. I was a little wary because some of the reviews I read were not that favorable but it truly was a good read. It may be because I have a soft spot for the French, but all their practices made perfect sense to me. This lady moved to Paris to be with her love, ended up staying and raising a family in the city of light. She quickly realized there was a huge difference in the way the French were raising their families versus back home in America. Coming from a journalistic background, she set out to find out why. She is careful throughout the book to not side with the French per se but to simply acknowledge what they were doing differently.

Here I tried my best to summarize her points:

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