Happy Birthday from Netflix #Streamteam!


Every year, it happens.

October. October happens. October, with its leaves and its crisp weather and its pumpkin spice all up in my biz..

All good things. Yes.

Also, the birth of my husband, some six million years ago. And the wee first born, my preshus wee angel, WILL BE NINE YEARS OLD. (Hashtag howdidthathappen? timeisweird hewillbeshavingsoon).

The husband does not get the hoopla. He gets a cake, some really crappy cards from my kids, and a golf shirt. That, my friends, is the holy trinity of birthdays when you’re old and boring.

But, did you know? Nine year olds like to think their birthday is going to be second only to when Moses parted the Red Sea, except there will be no drowning and tragedy, and also, no biblical prophecy, so you know. Not as cool. But close.

I have failed birthdays before, y’all. This is daunting.


Birthdays Infographic.jpg

Friends, it’s not often that my television speaks to me in Old English, but when it does, I listen.

Here’s the deal – Netflix has created Birthdays on Demand. This feature offers your children their favorite characters in cute short clips wishing your kids a Happy Birthday.


I don’t know about you guys, but sometimes? A little bit of help really… helps.


Notice the oven mitt. It’s fitting.

So, how does this magic happen? Just open your Netflix and search “Birthday”! From there you can watch anyone from Barbie to Lego Friends to My Little Pony celebrate with you. Our personal fave? King Julien. Of course. (King Julien is kinda my spirit animal.)


Thank you, Netflix, for giving me yet another reason to convince my children I am a magical, wondrous woman who has Ninjago at her fingertips. This totally makes up for my frosting abilities.




As a Netflix SteamTeam blogger, I get to watch the awesomeness that is Netflix, and chatter about it on my blog. It’s a great gig.







Birthday Boy


My son just asked me if we could build Tatoinne in our living room.

Also, I am now looking up on the youtubes how to put the buns in the sides of mah hair. Because Princess Leia, you know.

Also, Darth Vader will be coming over, Saturday. I do hope the house will be tidy enough. He likes a tidy house.

Also, I am now trying to staple Yoda ears to the dog.

Ok, just kidding about that last part but the doggie Yoda ears are sooooo cute and they will not STAY ON because preshums doggums keeps shaking his doggie head.


Birthdays follow a basic template. It goes like this:


I can’t help it. I have this weird propensity to always say, “Let’s just keep it simple,” and then something in my brain sort of snaps and fizzles and I start creating a Death Star out of paper mache and hope. Red’s birthday is Saturday and I’ve been tweeting at Harrison Ford for TWO days now to make a surprise appearance and he STILL hasn’t gotten back to me.

Here is the culprit behind all this:

d:Screenshot 2015-09-10 12.03.38

The bat costume is there because I was in a hurry and couldn’t find a picture of him without a costume. Also, we do costumes a lot around here. Keeps it real.

But, the cuteness? Don’t let it distract you. He’s a master at manipulation.

I must go. Tatoinne wasn’t built in a day, you know.


An Open Letter to the Teachers Who Must Contend With My Birthday Cupcakes.




Dear Teachers:

Well, first of all, I guess you don’t HAVE to eat them. But still.

I feel your pain. I know you have twenty small heat-seekers in your room, looking constantly for sugar and way out of thinking in a logical pattern. I know it. And I know that you have twenty some birthdays to deal with, because, as you know. All these kids were born at some point.

And so, it begins. The birthday cupcakes.

First of all, I can vouch for quality control, here. Cupcakes are of the Betty Crocker variety. Also, it is VERY important to state that the frosting is home made.


The deal is, I cave. I cave every time. I tell myself:

“Keep it simple. Do not, do NOT look at Pinterest. Do not, whatever you do, try to figure out a way to make anything cute. Just stay away from the cute things. Cute is your GATEWAY DRUG, woman.”

It’s possible, you see, that in the past… the Pinterest searching had led me down the momsie rabbit hole and the next think you know…. I’m trying to make a Death Star with fondant and angel food cake.

And it would have WORKED too. Except that butter is all melty (darn you, saturated fats! I shake my fist at you!) and well, sugar and hope does not hold a Death Star intact. Not even a Jedi was gonna keep that travesty intact.

So, this time. I tried. I really did. I figured, an October birthday and cupcakes. Orange frosting and some chocolate chips and BOOM,  pumpkns for the little angels.

But you know and I do, that motherhood is often a gut-wrenching affair, fraught with difficult choices, and I was up against the wall.

The kid, you see, wanted to decorate them himself.



I tried to distract the little bugger. I offered to let him lick the bowl. I even gave him the option to use sprinkles. But no. He would not be deterred.

I know. It was tough for us all.

So, dear teacher of my now eight-year-old, let’s review:

  1. I totally had a vision for those cupcakes.
  2. Motherhood is all about vision.
  3. Children are all about blowing that vision right outta there.
  4. As God as my witness, Blonde did wash his hands.

Just by the by… Blonde is anti-sprinkles. It’s another of those little quirks about him that I find a bit troubling, as we ALL KNOW that sprinkles cover a multitude of sins. In fact, I pretty much think sprinkles are God’s candy, and we should use ’em on broccoli. BUT, did you know?

Red, is pro sprinkles. I give you… HIS cupcakes:


Feast your eyes on those babies. Crunchy.

I sign off, with much love and many hugs for being the teacher for my wee blonde, because you, Dear Teacher, are AWESOME ON ALL  THE LEVELS FOR TEACHING HIM. And some day, I will be sending you some thank you that does not involve frosting.

Until then, go for the one on the upper right of the box. It’s the only one I could get to before Blonde decided he was Paul Hollywood.


Paul Hollywood’s Tired Mom

Aka Momsie

Aka the one with sprinkles and chocolate chips all over her kitchen. Like, all over. Forever.



Happy Birthday, Daddo

Folks, it’s about to get all GEEZER CENTRAL over here.


My dad is celebrating his birthday today.  Which one? I have no idea. I just know he’s getting really old.  And I also know this post will irritate him…  because this is how he feels about birthdays:


So, you know, it’s not a big festivity or anything.



Ok, so here’s a little rundown on the great and mighty Jim, also known as MY DAD:


He’s a little bit of this:




Mixed with this:Cary-Grant.8



Plus a whole heck LOT of this:MV5BMTI5ODQ5MDgzNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMzA5NzE5._V1_SY317_CR7,0,214,317_AL_

And, the poor man, he had to be also some of this:




And, finally, just a SKOTCH of this:



But really?  The man is all his own.  Rather hard to pin down.  Sorta an enigma.  A Jim enigma.  A Jimigma.

For example:  This is how it rolled at our house on Saturday mornings, around 7 am, back when we were sleepy teenagers.  In the house of Jim, “sleeping in” was an urban legend, sorta like spotting Bigfoot in the backyard or getting out of mowing the lawn.  Not gonna happen.  Wanna know how he chose to wake up the troops?

By blasting the soundtrack to Victory At Sea on his record player.  BLASTING. IT, I tell you.

And the ill-humored teenager, all curled up in teenagered, sullen sleep, was rocketed out of her bed to the sound of fifty billion violins and some melodic bombs.

If you have a teenager? Get the soundtrack.  It works.  Causes a bit of trauma, but who’s keeping track?




Happy Birthday to one of my favorite people ever.

I love you, Dad!




*The lawyer says he doesn’t know if I actually have any followers in Milwaukee.  Sigh.  Milwaukee, where’s the love?

Friday Funny

Due to today's topic of AGING, I have inserted a sweet picture of two rocking chairs.

Due to today’s topic of AGING, I have inserted a sweet picture of two rocking chairs.

Recently, a dear friend of mine had a birthday. I haven’t asked him yet if he could be the subject of my post today, so we’ll call him…

Carl Oscar Isaacson.

It was rather well-aged birthday.  Like a nice cheese.

My friend will remember his birthday, and many more.  But he got me to thinking about aging…  how all those women with great bone structure tell you on the tellie to “fight” it and “combat” it and “lift” “spurn” and “DEFY” it.  I kind of wonder if those ads would just be a bit more forward and use additional words like: “hoist” and “heave” and “sag” and “plaintitive cry.”

Aging sounds like the flu.


Anyhow.  Carl is a non flu type in his “golden years” (I think this means “Old-ish” but I used my thesaurus to be kind).  He is superannuated, yes, but he is hilarious.  And young.  And has more energy than my toddlers.  And full of LIFE.  And I doubt very much that he has ever thought to “DEFY!” aging.  Madeleine L’Engle said, “The great thing about getting older is you don’t lose all the other ages you have been.”  Carl would agree, I think. (Like I said, I don’t know…  he hasn’t been updated on the fact that he is my topic today, but he’s pretty mellow.  I think.)

Happy Birthday sweet friend.  The following is for you (saucy language and all).  Cheers.


A poem about getting old

Screenshot 2014-01-10 10.16.07

*(small voice)  Don’t fire me, Carl.

J is for Joyride


grand tourismo.

Two weeks ago, I left mah babies.  I left ’em. I did.

And. Ya’ll?    It. Was. The awesomest.

It was the best leaving I have ever done.  It was so good, it wasn’t even an “I love you guys, mommah will miss you so much and gosh I am sorta sad I’m leaving” kinda bittersweet all “awwww” leaving.  Nope.   It was more like an Ethel Merman  “CLEAR OUTTA MY WAY FELLAS VA VA VA VOOM I AM SO OUT OF HERE I AM ALREADY LEFT” belt it out brand of leaving.  My leaving was paired with its own musical number,  an air horn, and some confetti.   At 4 a.m. I actually high kicked it to the car.  When I was patted down in the airport I just smiled and announced proudly: “My kids are at home!  Without me!”  The TSA guys were non plussed. But anyway!  I leaved so well that I kinda passed up the leaving part and just lived.

For three whole days.

In da Yew Nork Big City, ya’ll (as the blonde calls it.)


It’s da statute of livery!

I am now going to write a book:

How to Leave Your Sweet Baybies in the Care of Well Meaning Husband and All Without an Ounce of Guilt, I Swear.

  Some chapters:

1.  The husband WILL feed them.  Even though he doesn’t seem to know where any clocks are. Or how clocks even work.   But the cat will remind him.

2.  Toothpaste can stand in as a snack.

3.  If you didn’t actually see the pee, it didn’t actually happen in the living room.

4.  Texting covers a multitude of sins.  Hearing those sweet baby voices is like reality television; once you get sucked into the soft timbre of three year old lisping, you’re on that phone every hour for another episode.

5.  Your blonde one will not resent you for missing his birthday.

Sigh.  I know what you’re thinking.  You were all… “You GO girl!! We all need time out for ourselves! We moms NEED that time away!  Look at you with your rollie suitcase and your new shoes from Target!  You even wore lipstick!  For the TSA guy!  You GO lady!  You GO on that trip and you… Wait. WHAT?

“WHAT KIND OF MOTHER ARE YOU? YOU LEFT YOUR SWEET FIRSTBORN ON HIS FIFTH BIRTHDAY? To prancercize your way around some big city?  Tramp.”

Hold on, I can explain. I guess. Sorta.  My girlfriends wanted to meet up in New York City. It was planned a long time ago, evidently prior to the creation of calendars because when I booked the trip I was completely unaware of one small conflicting detail:  the blonde precious one’s  5th birthday and all.

  Booking the trip and chatting crazily on facebook:  I was all.. I am so there.

My peeps:   *squealing*  “Yay! the girl from Kansas is coming!  Quaintness!”

 I was all…”This is so not in the budget.  But I am so there.”

They were all… “It’ll be OK!  It’s a chance to spend horrible amounts of money on cabs and shopping! Denial!  Denial! “

I was all… “So can’t afford this, but we could  Ebay the cat…”

Peeps:  “Yes!  Sell it!  Denial!  DENIAL!!”

I was all…  “But hmmm that date looks suspect – I think something mighta happened on it, like perhaps 5 years ago I spent a good 10 gajillion hours in the hospital trying to remove wee blondie from mah nether regions…??”    Oh, snap.

Still, I was all… “I’m going.   Yep. I am in.  Nether regions are all fine now, and I’MA  GOIN’ TO DA BIG CITY!  WHOOOO HOOOOOOOOO! Birthday smirthday.  I’ll pay for the therapy later wee blondie.” (And there went Momsie – step ball kick, step ball kick, right out the door.  Future Rockette.)

And my people, it was good.  It WAS.  The trip was one of those girl times that we need once in a while – full of non stop chattering and cupcakes and lox (not together) and excellent sights.  New York is alive and well, I have to to tell you.  That city has verve, I tell you.  And I never use the word verve.

Amidst its streets,  I suddenly had the superpowers to dodge and weave and hop into cabs as a New York heir apparent.  I even attempted to avoid looking  like a tourist by not snapping pictures every 5 minutes.  (Trying to take pix on the subway while also all cool and New Yorkie?  Doesn’t work. )

 And I was very very lucky to have a brilliant husband who kept the boys fed and watered while I was being ridiculous.

The JOY of spending time with these women.  Oh la la…


I heart you, New York.  You big lug, you.

  So here is my Guilt Free New York City Top Ten:

10.  JFK has a lot of great shops where you can spend blood money on small plastic toys that will frost over that guilt with great big dollops of “I GOT PREEEEESSSSENTS MOMMAH IS AWESOME BIRTHDAYS CARRY OVER EVERYTHING IS ALLLL RIGHTY.”

9.  When you come from a small town with one (I know. But it’s awesome) stoplight, and you exit those big glass doors of the airport out to the street:  New York can be a bit… honkish.

8.  You start to talk with the accent real fast.

7.  The accent then starts turning all New Jersey.  It’s all right.  You blend.

6.  You attempt continuing with this accent when you get home because it’s awesome.  Weird looks occur.  Your ego shrivels a bit and you move on with your life.  Sigh.*  Good bye cool New York hipness.

5.  When your cab driver says, “Look, they’re shooting over there,” and you blurt out, “WHO?” and the guy chuckles at you, you realize you just hit the big fat tourist zone again.  No one is getting shot.  It’s a television show.  Be calm.

4.  WAIT… they just film stuff here, like all the time?  A little part of your brain poofs with the amazingness of it all.

3.  No one in New York has seemingly heard of tater tot casserole. This is madness!  I tried to explain the totty golden goodness,  and I was met with just silence and a lot of blinking.  This is a major flaw in the awesomeness of New York,  but I worked past it. Next time I’ll come bearing gifts.  Not sure how Mr. TSA will deal, but I can handle him.

2.   When you walk out of your Brooklyn bed and breakfast because it’s morning, and you want to go outside!  and then at the stoop you make weird eye contact with a  bunch of sullen slouchy dudes lounging up against their (?) cars and they just kinda stare at you…  and you opt for the next logical step: You start waving at them excitedly because, Wow!  This is rather different than your front porch back home!  Where are all the Big Wheels?   You realize you should be wearing a sign that says:  Overly Enthusiastic Tourist!  Very Happy to Be Here!  I’m Not Scared!

1.  You love this city.  Almost as much as you love the girls you are visiting.  The whole weekend is just an interlude of “Heart  and Soul.”

But here’s the best ending to the best weekend I’ve had in a long time:

Home.  Two a.m.  Front porch. Front door.  Squeaky floorboard.  Bags dropped to floor.  Up stairs.  Pat the cat.  Pat the husband.  Open green door. Two boys.  Strewn on the beds like Gumby dolls.  One red.  One blonde. Hugs and kisses on cheeks so soft and warm with sleep.  The scent of boy and sleep and soap and tossled hair.  Arms wrap around.  “Mommah… I am so happy.  You’re here.”


And then…  JOY.

Photo on 9-18-13 at 10.00 PM #2

My heart. He’s five.

For those of you who would like to learn how to blend:

*How to Talk Like a New Yorker

 Image 10-14-13 at 8.45 PM

Tuesday Takeout


It was my son’s 5th birthday recently.   (I was gone.  I know.  Next post will tell all.    “J” is for leaving on a Jet plane and please don’t Judge me).

Here’s the deal:

It’s Fall, my favorite time of year, but also the time of year when I have three birthdays with three birthday cakes, Halloween costumes to create, our town’s Swedish festival (more costumes, only Swedish, a bit of a quandary), and probably something else that’s all creative and such, but I forget.  I’m stressed.  And all I know is every time I go on Pinterest for ideas something inside me dies a little.

Especially because – Birthday cakes, ya’ll.  Birthday cakes freak me out.

Let me explain how my (nutball) head works:

   Head:  Let’s start a project!  Yea!! Something crafty!  You are sooooo  crafty!  

   Actual Ability:  Girl.  Move away from the crafty.  You don’t got this. 

   Head:  Here we gooooo with the crafty!  Makin something FAB-U-LOUS!!  This is gonna be soooo awesome!

  Actual Ability; Do I have to remind you about the chalkboard paint incident?  

  Head:  That?  Nah…  And look!  Glitter!  Sparkly…

  Actual Ability:  Sigh.  I warned you.  Shall I call your therapist now or wait until you start to really see-

  Head:  Holy crap.  This kinda looks like poo. 



Look at me. All innocent and perfect in my Halloween cute widdle ghostie perfectness.




I tried.  I really did.  But eventually, I just ended up with this:


I’m not very pretty, but I taste yummy. Honey toddler don’t care.

Here’s the deal.  If you really want to make something cute this Halloween, throw some candy corn on it. Candy corn is cute.  And if you’re like me and like to, um, sample those little nuggets of pure corn syrup while baking, the sugar fix will hit you so fast you won’t even notice cute or not after about three handfuls of these suckers.

OR:  you can do this:  (Sent to me via my sister, who felt sorry for me with my lack of craftiness.  She is the crafty one in the family, not me.  Thanks sis.  😉  

Scary Skull Cupcakes

Screen Shot 2013-10-14 at 2.31.04 PM

Thank you, Betty.