This summer my parents introduced us to Chopped, a competitive cooking television show on the Food Network, and it has become an obsession in our family. On family movie nights, we pop a giant bowl of popcorn and huddle under the blanket for a Chopped marathon in lieu of anything Disney. And I hate to reveal this secret, but thanks to Chopped I actually enjoy … Continue reading Unchoppable

Little House, Big Memories

My junior high years bordered on miserable.  Every day I launched off the school bus, bolted up the driveway, and shed my back brace onto the living room floor.  At that age I was allowed to remove my scoliosis contraption for 4 hours each day, and I always spent my first hour of freedom with Laura Ingalls Wilder.  She was my daily dose of sanity. … Continue reading Little House, Big Memories

Back to School: Kids

We have catapulted straight out of summer and headfirst into another school year.  (This journey actually happened a few weeks ago, but I’m still trying to land on my feet and catch my breath!) The transition for the kids was a simple one:  same school, same friends, and even the same teachers as last year. If the kids had their way, they would have returned … Continue reading Back to School: Kids

Happy Birthday, Mario-style

I’m not a huge fan of commercial characters, but I have a soft spot for Mario and Luigi.  My brother and I spent many hours of our youth seeking secret passageways and power ups to help those cute plumbers conquer dragons and rescue Princess Peach.


A few years ago my husband actually found a classic Nintendo on Craigslist, and it was one of my best Christmas gifts ever.  (I trained from December to July, but sadly my brother was still able to defeat me, all these years later.)

Continue reading “Happy Birthday, Mario-style”

Toothless Again

It’s not Christmas, but someone in our house is asking for a few front teeth.  Both of Maggie’s have fallen out in the past two weeks, and we are embracing her stereotypical 6-year-old grin: I snapped photos of Maggie’s tooth fairy letters before they were whisked away by the little winged creature, but the fairy keeps ignoring her request to leave a picture.  Hmph.  At … Continue reading Toothless Again

Part 2: Or Not To Bee

Our son is obsessed with geography.  Looking back, I think it started with a road trip between Nebraska and Missouri the summer before he entered kindergarten.  He was contained in a car seat for seven straight hours, but thanks to a few road maps and a U.S. atlas he was as happy as tourist with a shiny new Canon.  He spent the entire drive quizzing … Continue reading Part 2: Or Not To Bee

Part 1: To Bee

Spelling bees are shockingly intense events.  I’ve been organizing them at my school for the past few years, and my heart simultaneously breaks for the kids who are eliminated and pounds with anticipation for those who volley through the final, tongue-twisting rounds. I serve as the pronouncer for our school bees, but I can still see the parents in the audience, nervously clenching their hands … Continue reading Part 1: To Bee