You Can’t Hide, You Lying Child!



Yep, that’s my little guy.  Isn’t he cute?

And, yes, that’s permanent marker on his face.

Don’t you love the trouble two children can get into when you’re not looking for five minutes?  WHY can’t I just have five minutes of peace?  Is five minutes really too much to ask?  FIVE MINUTES!

The best part of the whole thing is that my six-year-old daughter, Bess, tried to convince me that her three-year-old brother, Harry, drew that on his face all on his own, with no assistance or prompting from her.


Harry can’t even hold a marker, much less draw on HIS OWN face a perfectly symmetrical Native American design.

Apparently, the child thinks I’m an idiot.

So, what do I do with that?  I mean, it’s not okay for her to lie to me.  I want her to feel comfortable telling me the truth, even when it’s difficult, so that when the time comes that it’s really difficult (like, you know, “Mom, I’m pregnant” or “Mom, my best friend is using heroin and she wants me to try some”) she knows I’m approachable and reasonable.  I will not beat her with a stick or send her to live with some distant great-aunt who will make her eat gruel and scrub the floors with a toothbrush.  We all make mistakes, me especially included, and it’s all good.

And really, it’s not even like it was a good, believable lie.  It is quite thoroughly obvious that if there were only two people in the house besides me, she was the only one of the two capable of that degree of fine motor control (not to mention diabolical thought).  What is the appropriate way to react to such a whopper?

I just said, “Bess, I don’t like being lied to,” and I walked away.  I didn’t yell or anything, and the only consequence was that Bess got her face washed with soap (not just water), which she hates.  I felt it only fair that if Harry had to endure multiple face scrubbings involving surfactants, that she should too, and her face could use some washing anyway so really it was more an excuse to impose good hygiene on her than it was a punishment.

I’m not sure if that is the appropriate response, or if it will only invite further untruths in the future.  Did she get away with it?  Did she feel guilt?  I’m at a loss.

Advice welcome, please post below.

Binge-Worthy Broccoli Recipe

Photo courtesy of Flickr user miwaza

I haven’t shared any recipes here before, but this one is too good not to pass along.  My kids liked it, and I actually BINGED on broccoli.  It is SO good.  But a word of caution: eating too much broccoli in one sitting may have unwanted side effects, so proceed with caution.  You know what I’m talking about.

It’s from Mollie Katzen’s book The Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without – I took it out of the library but I think I may buy it for my personal cookbook collection.  This recipe looks like a lot of instructions but it’s really just “cook the broccoli and toss it with the dressing made of vinegar, mustard, honey and oil”.  Easy.

Broccoli, Apples & Red Onion in honey Mustard Marinade (I didn’t add apples because I didn’t have any in the house and it was still so so crazy good)

1 large bunch broccoli (1 1/2 pounds)

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon minced or crushed garlic

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons lightly-colored honey

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (or, in Rachel Ray-speak, EVOO)

3/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

1 medium-sized tart apple, thinly sliced

freshly ground black pepper to taste

Put up a large saucepan of water to boil.  While waiting for this to happen, remove and discard the thick lower stems of the broccoli, and cut the thinner upper stems and tops into medium-sized spears.  Measure the vinegar into a medium-large bowl.  Use a small whisk to stir constantly as you add the mustard, garlic, salt and honey.  Keep whisking as you drizzle in the oil in a steady stream.  The mixture will thicken as the oil becomes incorporated.  By now the water should be boiling.  Turn it down to a simmer and add the broccoli.  Let it cook in the water for 1 or 2 minutes, or until it becomes very bright green and tender-crisp (to your liking).  Meanwhile, place the sliced red onion in a large colander in the sink.  Pour the broccoli and all its water over the onion in the colander.  The hot water will wilt the onion slightly upon contact.  Place the colander of vegetables under cold running water for a few minutes, then shake to drain well.  Transfer the vegetables to the bowlful of dressing.  Use tongs to toss until the broccoli is well coated, adding the apple slices as you go.  You can serve this right away, or cover and let it marinate in the refrigerator, where the flavor will deepen.  Serve cold or at room temperature topped with freshly ground black pepper to taste.  If you are not going to serve this right away, you might want to leave out the apple slices and add them shortly before serving.

Mama, I See a Star!

courtesy of Flickr user SigmaOrion

Harry is toilet trained.  My oldest started kindergarten and got her first loose tooth, and my baby is toilet trained.  I can’t believe how fast time is going!

Yesterday my mom was here to watch the kids so I could do some yukky yukky paperwork, and she was extra especially helpful and gave Harry his bath before she left.  She put him in pajamas, and based on my bragging that he is even dry through the night, she must have assumed that he should be in underpants and not a pull-up.  (Note:  While he is dry when he wakes up pretty much every morning, I am not willing to bet sleep on it so I do still put him in pull-ups at night.)

At bedtime, when I asked my daughter to use the bathroom one last time, Harry said, “I need to use the potty too!”  I said, “No you don’t, you’re wearing a pull-up, go to sleep!”  That’s the spirit, right?

I bet you can’t tell what comes next.

One AM:  “Mommy, I TOLD YOU I needed to use the potty!”

“Yes, you did Harry.”

“I TOLD YOU Oo-ma put me in undahweahs.”

“Yes, you did Harry.  I should listen to you better, shouldn’t I?”


So we got all cleaned up and changed, but after all that action Harry was not very interested in going back to sleep.

“Mama, my eyes hurt.”

“I know honey, that’s the Sandman telling you it’s time to go to sleep.”

“The Sandman from the beach?”

“No honey, Mr. Sandman is magic, he comes to make your eyes tired when it’s time for you to go to sleep.”


And so the night went.  After awhile, Harry lay his head on my shoulder and put his hand on my face, pushing my head so that it rested on a pile of soft blonde curls.

“Mama, look!” He was breathless with excitement.

“What?” I said, in a tone that may have sounded a little bit like snapping at him.  Seriously though, it was like three in the morning at this point and I’m a tired mama.

“Mama, I see a star!”  Sure enough, the clouds that had kept the sky a soul-sucking shade of grey for the past three days (maybe four, I lost count) had parted and there was one big bright star in the sky.  Harry hasn’t seen many stars lately.  I’m a little nutso about bedtime so the kids are ordinarily asleep by the time it’s dark enough to see them at night, and sunrise is still pretty early.  So this was big goings on for Harry.

“Yes, honey, I see it!  I see the star too!”  Sharing life with a three-year-old is pretty fun sometimes, even when you have to be awake at three in the morning (and not in a fun way).


A Few of My Least Favorite Things

So, I have spent the summer concentrating on actually living a MOGO life rather than spending so much time reading and writing about it, which is why I haven’t been posting much.

Over the last few weeks, though, a few things have been knocking around in my head of things to write about – things that bother me.  Here are a few:

1.  Corn fields with Genuity signs posted next to them ~ what is that?

2.  Hotels that say that if you hang up your towel they won’t take it and wash it after just one use to conserve water and energy, but take them and wash them anyway

3.  Teacher appreciation events at our new school that are sponsored by Nestle

4.  Hotel glasses that are individually wrapped in plastic.  Really?

5.  The fact that everyone at our new school is addressed as “Mr.” or “Mrs.” or “Ms.” or “Dr.” ~ except the custodian.  He’s “Jose”.

So many problems, so little time!