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Showing posts from December, 2010

The Santa Situation

"Mom, I must have been really bad this year," my nine year old said. "Why is that?" I asked. "Because Santa brought my friend a bike and all I got was little stuff. Santa must not like me much," she said. The terrible, horrible, no good Santa Situation aka the Big Dilemma aka the rough moment and what is a mom to do? Let me back up a bit. My husband and I decided a while ago to be very conscientious about how we handled the Santa situation and Christmas gift giving. We planned with an eye to the long-term. Here are key factors we considered: Both kids have birthdays in December, making it a massive gifting and receiving month, with the rest of the year pretty bone dry. Santa is a very special part of the holiday, but we didn't want the holiday to revolve around Santa or what Santa brings. Santa is a great morality tale/myth potential that's gotten way too diluted. The original concept of Saint Nicholas giving to needy and building out a concrete em

Last Minute Awesome Gift (and Stocking Stuffer) Ideas: The Hit Parade

Note: Read all the way to the bottom for the MUST WATCH kids' Christmas show, which will air on Christmas Day. Okay so here are the things I got this year for gifting that I actually thought were awesome. They meet my "I'd really give this to someone and feel great about it" criteria. Some were things I might never have thought of, but got offered as review. I admit I used a good deal of selectivity in agreeing to receive certain products to review, so there was always a good chance I'd like them, but let's just say some were hits and some were misses. There are also a few things I risked buying online and have since received, whereupon I discovered they were as awesome as I'd hoped. I'll distinguish what I found from what was sent for review. Here are the hits: My find -- Lillian Vernon I used to buy from Lillian Vernon frequently on gift-giving occasions. I'm not sure why I veered away. They have good stuff, you can personalize most of it, it inc

The Slacker Cook Triumphs Once Again With Crock Pot Cooking

It finally got cool here. I know, highs of 62 barely qualify as cool but there you have it: our average winter low here. It feels like early fall to me, and so that means I am whipping out the crock pot (and anyone who knows me knows how I love my crock pot: it's mass amount cooking, everything and the spice cabinet, tasty, aromatic, slacker cooking -- in other words, all my favorite ways to cook rolled in to one!). When I pull out the crock pot, I tend to also pull out a vintage cookbook. My stepmother gave this cookbook to me in 1989 when I moved into my first apartment -- solo living, like a real grownup, with rent, utilities, and everything. It's like feeling that taste of independence, doing it my way, anew. All while getting old-fashioned comfort cooking. You know what I mean? So, of course, my first foray for crock pot hot meal cool weather cooking is...chili. Hey. It's Texas. And of course I use a recipe straight out of this cookbook called Chili Con Carne. Except I