birthday cake

Kid-Approved Birthday Cake in Ten Minutes for Ten Dollars

By Jac

My personal experience with baking is that it’s usually a lot of work and a lot of mess for something that is either gone immediately or could be bought at the store with a lot less hassle. But I do understand that for children and birthdays, having a cake is essential. This is especially true for my second daughter, whose personal “love language” is candy. This year, her party fell at a busy time for our family, but I definitely did not want to let her down, so I reused an idea I first used at her third birthday. We were both happy with it both times, so I thought I’d share. Get ready to be super impressed with my extreme skills. My extreme finding-a-shortcut skills. Continue reading

The Question

By Juli

It was a little past her bedtime when I tucked in my precious six-year-old for the night, since reading time with Daddy had gone long this evening. She was being extra cute tonight, too, and she knew it. Curly blond locks wild, as usual, and splayed out in all directions on her pillow, while she looked at me with those deep brown eyes — eyes so deep you could lose yourself in them. Then she furrowed her soft brow and pursed her little lips — all signs that I needed to lower my face closer so I could be the recipient of a very wet kiss. I obliged, and she pecked me right on the mouth a few times, while she looked at me, moon-eyed.

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“I love you … Ma-ma …” She said in the sleepy baby voice that I always fall for. Continue reading

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Automatic-Flush Toilets are the Worst

By Jac

We went on a road trip this summer, which meant 24 hours of driving, but much more than that when you factor in stops with four children. We knew that taking kids on a trip like this would be a challenge, but for the most part it went better than we had expected. Except, of course, for one fairly significant problem.

We gave it a good try, really, but it turns out that we can’t ever go on a road trip again. Or out in public, really. Because going out in public means using public washrooms, and we are done with those. You see, we’ve met our nemesis, and we admit defeat. I simply cannot experience this public menace even one more time, at least not until my kids are much older. I’m speaking, of course, of the automatic-flushing toilet. Continue reading

7 Ways To Improve Your Relationship with Vegetables

By Juli

If you are like me, you have a “just fine” relationship with vegetables. By “just fine,” of course, I mean that you’d be willing to go on a polite date with vegetables, listen to the boring stories vegetables tell and even laugh at vegetables’ jokes, and have a perfectly fine evening with vegetables because you know vegetables are good for you, but the whole time you are eyeing that saucy creme brûlée at the next table, or that salty, greasy bad-boy bag of chips that your friend is with.

And, if you’re like me, this isn’t just the case for yourself, but for your whole family as well. Let’s face it — at snack time, who wants to reach for a handful of carrots when there is a bag of delicious salt and vinegar chips in the cupboard? Of course the obvious answer is that you should not purchase the chips in the first place, but life is short, so instead of smack-talking chips, let’s fix that relationship with veggies. Continue reading

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Here’s why we were late for lunch, Grandma …

By Juli

9:28 AM: Me, to my children: “Okay, Guys. You both need to get dressed. We’re leaving for Grandma’s house just after 11 AM.”

Children go into their room. Sounds of laughter and playing.

9:42 AM: Walk into room. Both children are still in pyjamas, but now they are sprawled on the floor playing with toys. UPDATE: Room is now a huge mess.

Me: “KIDS. You need to get dressed. I just did the laundry and there are TONS of clean clothes in your closet. Please. Get dressed.” Continue reading

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Reasons I Love My Kids’ Father this Father’s Day

By Juli

It’s Saturday night, and tomorrow is Father’s Day, so that means it’s time for me, Juli, to start thinking about Father’s Day. Thank goodness for elementary school because the crafts and cards are all taken care of. All that’s left to do is this blog post list listing the reasons I appreciate my baby-daddy, Spence.

Caution: this list might get a bit steamy, so be warned. This ain’t your grandmother’s baby-daddy appreciation list: Continue reading

our potty

I’ve Potty Trained Four Kids, and Here’s What I Know

By Jac

I’m delighted to report that my youngest daughter is completely potty trained. That is, she wears underpants all the time and I rarely have to remind her to go. So this means that I am DONE WITH DIAPERS for the first time in over eight years! Considering that she’s my fourth child, I feel I’ve learned a few things about potty training. Here’s what I know:

(NOTE: I’m not talking about that thing where you get your baby to use the toilet at four months or whatever. I have no experience with that and I have done no research, and I’m already finished potty training so you don’t have to teach me about it. It seems to me like it would be a ton of work for the parents for a very long time … but if you swear by this method, you’re welcome to tell my readers about it in the comments. But it’s not what I’m talking about here.)

1. Bribery works: Continue reading

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Reasons my daughter won’t wear that

By Juli

Lately my five-year-old daughter has become increasingly picky about her clothes. This is made exponentially more frustrating by the fact that I continue to buy her cute clothes that she will never wear, it is getting harder and harder to get her out the door on the morning, and also, with what she ends up wearing, the teachers at her school probably think that she is homeless.

I have stooped to bribing her to put on the odd Christmas or Easter dress, but for the most part, she lives her life looking like a Rainbow Brite bag lady, slummin’ it up all over the place, and she loves it. When I ever so gently (or ever so forcefully) attempt to choose her clothes for her, here are some of the very REAL reasons that she has given me for why she could never wear the things I have chosen: Continue reading

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How the Light Gets in; Thoughts For My Perfectionist Child

By Jac

I see you there, crumpling up the paper when your crayon accidentally goes outside the lines. I see you struggling with your math homework, so frustrated because this doesn’t come as easily to you as the reading and the science, and that means you hate it. I hear you banging on the piano keys when a song is just too hard to learn. I hear you yelling at your little sister when she doesn’t play the game the way you think it needs to be played. You want to get it just right, don’t you? You want whatever you’re doing to be perfect, and you get so disappointed and annoyed when the vision in your head doesn’t match the reality. I know you, my love, and I know that it’s so frustrating for you when things don’t go right, when you are not living up to your own very high expectations for yourself. And I see how you feel such regret and sadness when you lose your temper and hurt someone else in the process.

I have news for you, though, and you may think it’s bad news. Continue reading

Star Wars Birthday Party 6

I threw a Star Wars Themed Birthday Party …

… Because I forgot to set a low bar for the future. I mean, really. When G said she wanted a Star Wars themed party and that she’d already mentioned it at school and some of the kids were really excited about it (“I said I MIGHT have a Star Wars party, Mommy. MIGHT!”) I decided to just invite her whole class of 20-ish children. What else was I supposed to do? Invite only the girls to a Star Wars party? I know Star Wars is for everyone and lots of girls are Star Wars fans, but that just seemed like it would be a bit of a disappointment for some of the boys G is friends with. I didn’t want to invite just a few kids, because some of my daughter’s best friends don’t care about Star Wars … so how do you choose who to invite? So I figured that it would just be fun for everyone to host a short, Saturday, no-meals necessary, low-pressure birthday party. And then we genuinely did have a pretty good time planning it, and the party itself was great, thanks to the fact that I coaxed a few of my friends and my Mother to stay and help run it. Continue reading

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