my baby

I don't want her to grow up. I want her to stay just the way she is. Forever.

Tasty Tuesdays - Kids in the Kitchen

Tasty Tuesdays: Kids in the Kitchen - Edition 1

Well, we've been doing Tasty Tuesdays for a few weeks now and I hope that all the Chester County Moms have been enjoying them! It's always helpful to find new ideas of things to make in the kitchen!

Tasty Tuesdays is now going to be doing a "Kids in the Kitchen" segment once a month. So, in addition to everyday meal ideas, this monthly Tasty Tuesdays theme will showcase extra kid-friendly ideas! Kids in the Kitchen posts will be mainly geared towards recipes and other ideas about the month's holiday (if there happens to be one that month)! So, get the kids together & enjoy!

Here's a fabulously delicious recipe for Easter! These would be great treats to bring to your child's classroom Easter Parties...they're a great alternative to cupcakes!

Mini Easter Cheesecakes
  • 20 chocolate or vanilla wafer cookies
  • 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped SNICKERS® Bars
  • 2 cups flaked coconut
  • Green food coloring
  • 2 cups M&M’S® Brand Speckled Chocolate Eggs
  • Mini muffin tin
  • Mini muffin paper liners
  • 1. Line muffin pan with paper muffin cups. Place one wafer cookie in the bottom of each cup, set aside.
  • 2. Mix cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla and almond extracts until smooth. Slowly add eggs and sour cream, mix until creamy. Stir in chopped SNICKERS® Bars.
  • 3. Spoon mixture into muffin cups and bake in a preheated 375ºF oven until set, about 25 minutes. Cool completely and refrigerate until ready to serve.
    To serve:
  • 4. Combine coconut with a few drops of food coloring to desired shade of green. Arrange on top of cheesecakes to resemble a nest. Fill nests with M&M’S® Brand Speckled Chocolate Eggs. Serve at room temperature.

For this & other great recipes, visit Bright Ideas.

Happy Spring!

Do you have a fun kid-friendly Easter recipe or idea you'd like to share? Leave us a comment and tell us all about it!

Sane Fit Preggers - Give Away

SANE FITNESS Preggers was not invented by a fitness guru who preaches endless hours in the gym and a diet consisting of no sugar, no carbohydrates and basically…no fun! Instead SANE FITNESS Preggers was invented by a wife, mother and business woman for women just like her, who never seem to have enough hours in the day. Beverley Caen is the perfect example of an overextended working mother and wife who has found a way to make fitness and healthy eating a part of her everyday life; especially when pregnant. With a little help from prenatally certified fitness expert John Cruz, this Wall Street career woman and mother of three has developed an exercise program that is safe and easy to follow, for pregnant women that want to continue exercising throughout their pregnancy. Once you are given the ok by your own obstetrician to exercise, Preggers is a complete program that begins in your 2nd trimester-- the stage in your pregnancy when your body starts to really change.

SANE FITNESS -Preggers Deck is the perfect little gift for yourself, your pregnant sister, daughter or friend, SANE FITNESS Preggers offers expecting women a sane way to stay healthy and active during this very special and exhausting time. The Preggers Deck contains 24 weeks of full-body workouts that you can do at the gym or at home with minimal equipment. The card set is enough to get you through your entire pregnancy. The contents of the box include 72 cards, an instructional brochure and a ring with a stylish lanyard, for conveniently transporting the card set around town. The suggested retail price of the SANE FITNESS Preggers is $24.95 and is available for sale by calling 1-800-429-5001 or at

So with all of that said.... we are really excited to offer a SANE FITNESS - Preggers Deck to one lucky Chester County Mom. To enter to win this awesome giveaway, simply leave a comment along with your email or blog link. We are adding a fun little twist to this contest. Your friends and family can enter the contest for you. So increase your chance to win and email everyone you know and ask them to visit and leave a comment along with your first name & email. The winner of this contest will be announced on April 3rd. The winner of this contest must be a Chester County resident and will be notified via email . The winner has 10 days to respond to the "You won" email and claim their prize. Good Luck!

Twitter 411...

Twitter is all over the news. So we thought we would try and explain what all the buzz is about.

Twitter is the fastest growing social network in the United States, and not just among social media strategists and techie types. Moms, baby boomers and even celebrities (Ellen - Holla!) are contributing to the growth in record numbers too. And, as Twitter grows, so does the wealth of applications and tools you can use to help you search and communicate on Twitter:

Knowing how many times someone tweets about a brand or topic has value, but knowing whether those tweets are positive or negative proves much more important. One of the more sophisticated Twitter search tools to come out in the past three months is Twendz. Twendz allows you to search for a keyword, whether a topic or a brand, and see the breakdown of sentiment. Learn more at

Tweet Scan is a Twitter search engine that works in real-time. It provides a searchable index of all of the public messages on Twitter, so you can find conversations, people, and tweets relevant to you. The best part is that Tweet Scan lets you filter by keyword, author, and date and you can get the results via email. Learn more at

So.. still not sure if Twitter is for you? With Twitter, you can stay hyper–connected to your friends and always know what they’re doing. Or, you can stop following them any time. You can even set quiet times on Twitter so you’re not interrupted. Twitter puts you in control and becomes a modern antidote to information overload.

Twitter Button from

Follow Us on Twitter: ChescoMoms

What's cooking?

Dinner at our house these days are anything but bland. See below for one of "Insane Mommy's" many creations..... for a price I'll cook for you too and toss in a bennie or two! :)

Sunday's Menu:

Beef Wellington, buttered corn, fresh spring mix with home made sour cream and honey dressing.
Dessert: YES dessert shortbread cake with fresh strawberries AND whipped cream!

This meal is sure to impress your husband's boss - or your best friend! Total ecstasy! Serve with a gorgeous Cab and he'll buy you whatever you want!

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

2 filets mignon, 1-inch thick
2 sheets puff pastry - Peppridge Farm Puff Pastry
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
4 Tbsp. Mushroom Duxelles (recipe below)
1 egg +one table spoon water for egg wash
Preparation Beef Wellington:
This is so easy and does not require any real skill other than following directions. It does, however, involve some steps - which I've included a photo tutorial showing how to assemble. What could be easier?!

1. Thaw puff pastry according to package directions. - takes about 40 minutes.
2. Filets are often irregular in shape, if yours are use a piece of kitchen twine to tie them into a round. - I did not have kitchen twine...should have checked my bedside table!

3. Season filets generously with salt and pepper. - I use kosher or sea salt and salt moderately - flavor is so much better than iodized salt.
4. Pre-heat a medium (10-inch) non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add butter and swirl in pan to melt.
5. Cook filets on both sides for about 3 minutes until well-browned, then brown the edges. Note: Regularly check the internal temperature of the filets, they should not be cooked past 120F at the center.*** Allow filets to cool, then wrap in plastic and chill for at least a couple of hours. In the meantime make the duxelles*. (pronounced dook-SEHL, is a finely chopped (minced) mixture of mushrooms, or mushroom stems, onions, shallots and herbs sauteed in butter and reduced to a paste).

6. Heat oven to 400F. Whisk together egg and 1 tablespoon water (egg wash).
7. Wrap the filets in puff pastry according to the steps below for Individual Beef Wellingtons. Brush with egg wash, and bake in center of oven until golden brown; about 30 minutes. ***Note: The filets are deliberately undercooked and then chilled to prevent them from overcooking in the final step. They should come out of the oven medium rare after the final baking.

Ingredients for Mushroom Duxelles:
1/2 lb.mushrooms (morels are great, but button mushrooms work)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter; divided
3 Tbsp. finely chopped shallot. Salt and pepper to taste1/2 tsp. dried thyme or 1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves1/4 cup dry vermouth, sherry, or white wine - I used vermouth as I drank the white wine while prepping!

Preparation for mushroom duxelle:
1. Finely chop mushrooms in a food processor.
2. Scrape mushrooms out into a clean, cotton towel and wring out as much liquid as you can over the sink. I DID NOT DO THIS - and it turned out fine!
3. Heat a large (10-inch) non-stick skillet over a burner set between medium and medium-high.
4. Add 1 tablespoon butter and swirl to melt and avoid burning.
5. Add mushrooms, shallots, a pinch of salt, a pinch of black pepper, and thyme.
6. Cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms appear dry and are beginning to brown; about 5 minutes.

7. Stir in remaining tablespoon of butter, and, when melted, the vermouth.
8. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vermouth has evaporated.
9. Remove from heat and cool.Note: Duxelles freeze well, so although this recipe produces more than you need for two wellingtons, you can save the remainder for future use.
What will you be doing tonight at 8:30pm? We're wondering what you have planned for Earth Hour 2009. If you'd like to share your plans with other moms in Chester County, please leave a comment or send us an email to Don't forget to include your first name and what town you live in. (Example - Sarah, West Chester)


Calling all bakers!

At the 43rd Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest in 2008, Carolyn Gurtz walked away with the million-dollar grand prize for her Double-Delight Peanut Butter Cookies!

This wife, mother and grandmother with a passion for baking was introduced to cooking at age seven and she hasn't stopped since then. One contest judge stated that Carolyn's recipe was "a new twist on an old classic." Other judges called out its simplicity and approachability and described it as a delightful taste that combines two classic cookies - a snickerdoodle and a peanut butter cookie.

Anna Ginsberg, a stay-at-home mom who you might know from her blog, Cookie Madness, earned the $1 million prize for her Baked Chicken and Spinach Stuffing in the 42nd Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest. At the 2004 competition, the 41st Contest, former librarian wrote her own page in history by capturing the top prize with her Oats 'n Honey Granola Pie recipe. Inspired by pecan pie, Conrad adapted a family-favorite pie and caught the judges' attention with its wonderful flavor and simple preparation.

All it takes is one easy and delicious recipe idea, so it's time to get creative in the kitchen for a chance at a million! One hundred finalists will win a trip to the finals, April 11 - 13, 2010, at the Waldorf-Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek hotel in Florida. Pillsbury is looking for original recipes that taste and look delicious, are easy to prepare and that families across America will love to eat. There are four recipe categories - Breakfast & Brunches, Entertaining Appetizers, Dinner Made Easy and Sweet Treats. Yum!

Entries are being accepted online between now and April 20th, 2009, at You'll also find contest details, including eligible products, prizes and the official rules, at the web site.

Earth Hour 2009, Saturday, March 28th at 8:30PM

#300 (Oh, and we're growing popcorn)

300 blog posts! Why fame and fortune have not found me, I've no idea.

In any case, #300 seems somehow noteworthy, so I'd like to take the opportunity to thank the folks who read my blog. Without the little people, where would I be? But seriously, I appreciate all of the feedback and encouragement from my witty readers. I'd also like to thank those who link to my blog, as that's always appreciated. I generally receive 50-90 visits a day, and many of those readers found me through those referring links. For the Boo Radleys who keep visiting my blog because you did a Google search and found an innocent post about fathers kissing their children, would you sick fucks please go away? Seriously, you need medication and, probably, prison time. I should just delete the entry, but dammit - I even did research for that one!

In other news, we are growing popcorn. I thought you'd like to be the first to know.

It took me a while to figure out what was going on. As I was picking A up from school a few days ago, one of the teachers remarked, "She sure is excited about planting sunflowers with you!" I gave her a puzzled look. "You're not, um, growing sunflowers?" she asked.

"Not that I know of. Also, we're not throwing the dance party she keeps chattering about."

A keeps bringing up this "dancy party" that she's throwing and told me that maybe I can come. Maybe - if I play my cards right, I guess. As far as I can tell, the dance party is separate from the Strawberry Shortcake party she is having for her birthday, though I would imagine that dancing is also welcome at that event.

Regarding the sunflowers, I did mention to A in passing that maybe we could attempt to grow some flowers when it gets warmer. I was thinking of petunias and such. I don't know the first thing about sunflowers. As you can surmise from the photo below (of a plant that resides in my home), horticulture is not on my list of skills. However, I do water the plants periodically and last time I watered this one, I couldn't help but notice that popcorn kernels were suddenly floating in the water. These, it seems are the seeds she has planted so far. When our first batch of popcorn starts sprouting, we'll be sure to invite everyone over for a snack. You are also welcome to dance while you eat our popcorn.

Celebrate Spring...and WIN!!! {Giveaway}

There's nothing like a shameless plug. But...the best part about this is that it includes a giveaway! And who doesn't like a giveaway, right?!'s officially Spring! It's a time of renewal and rejuvenation. And I can't think of a better way to celebrate that than with a giveaway!

So here's what's up for grabs...It's a 5 piece hair clip set called "Garden Party" from Lil Boo & Co. valued at $15.00!
Lil Boo & Co. is owned by a Chester County Mom

Click HERE for your chance to enter and win!!!

Sun & Earth Giveaway Winners!

Congratulations to Erika and ahillestad, the winners of our Sun & Earth goodie bag giveaway! We hope you enjoy using all of the fantastic Sun & Earth cleaning products that are coming your way!

Mark your calendars for our Earth Day week of green giveaways! You won't want to miss it!

Life if good

Hard to believe getting laid off has been such a positive experience. Wondering how I ever managed a career and taking care of my family?!?! I've been busy working on my research project for school - forensic psychology - which I've found to be facinating! AND, I've managed to maintain an "A" in the class without sleeping with anyone! Not that I would of course....but I am highly competitive when it comes to my grades.

My therapist - yes, I have a therapist now too - has encouraged me to make time for me and I'm doing just that. I just completed my first course in cake decorating and I loved it! I think I was the favorite in the class, or at least in my mind I was the favorite. The ladies in the class were quite surprised to learn I'd never made a cake before. I've enrolled for course two which starts in a couple of weeks and I'm hoping to master the art of fondant before the girls birthday in June! Yes.I'm.Going.To.Make.Their.Cake! The big question is WHAT I'll be making.....
"The grand finale"! Final decorated cake for course one! Not purr-fect, but much improved!

"My second decorated cake". Improvement....

"My first iced cake"! More crumb than icing.... we all gotta start somewhere.

The chicks started their first swim class on Tuesday and although little Miss Katie was a little nervous, she did finally stop crying. Thank G-d! I did NOT want to have to scare anyone with my out of shape bod! Oy. They were so cute in the big pool though. I had my concerns regardin the insturctor. I understand about not discriminating, but she's 100! It took her about 10 minutes to get in the water (the class is 30 minutes!) and get positioned to demonstrate laying on the belly when she fianlly got up class was over! I thought we were going to have to give her oxygen. I mentioned to Mr. Man that I believe she may be recovering from a stroke. Maybe the kids are rehabilitating her! I'll keep you posted. Chicks have class on Tuesday and Thursday. Abbey and Katie thought if was so funny that Miss Jane wore her clothes and shoes into the water. I explained that she was wearing a "wet-suit" and "water-shoes".....probably a good thing. :)
Abbey kept getting in trouble for floating off and doing her own thing... No surprise there!
One of the other mom's had to tell me to take the "sticky" covers off the lenses! Abbey kept complaining of not being able to see.....I thought it was because her eyes were closed. ha ha.

I'm actively still pursuing career opportunities. Although there is nothing out there -(trust me - there isn't!) I'm kicking around the idea of professionally cooking for families. I've discovered there's quite a market here in DC for such a service and there is a real need. Besides, I'm good! Tell me what's your pleasure. Beef Wellington? Salmon Cakes? Orange Chicken? Salmon Wellington with spinach?? Cesar Salad? I can do it all.... I'm thinking the food network!
We've booked our trip to Florida and are counting down the days. We're staing at the Contemporary two nights and are taking the chicks to the Magic Kingdom while there. We've got a whirlwind trip planned starting in north east Florida and working our way down the coast ending up in south Florida for a splashy wedding. I know I will be leaving Florida with a heavy heart after seeing my sisters.....boy do I miss them.

My 30th class reunion is coming up this summer - and this fall. I went to two high schools and am going to both. I don't know where the years went! Anyway, planning a couple trips for that. Might want to get my butt back in the gym. I do have a reputation to uphold. I'm working on legs as skinny as the ones below....oh g-d do I have my work cut-out for me!

And the winner is...

Local middle school students participated in Chester County's 2009 Youth Essay Competition and we are happy to announce that, YingYing Shang, a student at Fugett Middle School is the winner of Chester County’s 2009 Youth Essay Competition. YingYing presented her essay, "Jeanne's Cigarette", on 3/5/09 at the Chester County Book & Music Company, along with 15 fellow finalists in support of National Kick Butts Day.

Congratulations, YingYing, on winning the essay competition and to all of the other kids that participated... you all Kick Butts!!!!

1st place: YingYing Shang, Fugett Middle School, "Jeanne's Cigarette"
2nd place (TIE): Hope Corry, Great Valley Middle School, "In Memory Of Mom" AND Devonne Moore, Phoenixville Area Middle School, "A Smokey Story"
3rd place: Emory Saia, Great Valley Middle School, "Guardian Angel"
4th place: Jack Halliday, Great Valley Middle School, "The Day My Life Changed"
5th place: Meaghan Young, Lionville Middle School, "Big Tobacco Shouldn't Be Big"

Caitlyn Burruss, Great Valley Middle School
Danielle Autieri, Saint Joseph School
Ellie Delany, Phoenixville Area Middle School
Hannah Weisman, Charles F. Patton Middle School
Justin Herget, Great Valley Middle School
Kenneth Ramondo, Great Valley Middle School
Olivia Warrington, Fred S. Engle Middle School
Paige Rodgers, Great Valley Middle School
Peggy Findeison, Saint Joseph School
Will Miller, Phoenixville Area Middle School

Chester County’s 2009 Youth Essay Competition - Winning Essay

Jeanne’s Cigarette
YingYing Shang
Fugett Middle School

Jeanne always smoked. Her house smelled perpetually like cigarettes. The short stick in her hand never seemed to disappear; that puff of smoke always surrounded her in a sort of cloudy haze.

Jeanne died last April, of a heart attack. Who exactly was she? My babysitter, my neighbor, but also, and most importantly, my friend. Portland, Maine is scenic, picturesque, but when that chill, New England breeze blows, it seems rather cold and deserted. Jeanne was the opposite – warm and friendly. When my parents looked for a babysitter, she volunteered. She had that Maine lilt to her talk and frequently lauded me as “brilliant” because I had skipped a grade. Her greetings were always curt, and she never placed much on formalities.

A glass of milk, an apple, a pear. Some sign that the immense world out there would accept me. Those were the things Jeanne provided. That unmovable faith in me. As a rather ostracized fourth grader without many friends, Jeanne gave me the reassurance that every kid needs. She had a large family, and quickly pulled me into it. For my ninth birthday, she baked a cake, and invited her granddaughter who was my age. Those little things that show qualities like kindness, compassion, concern.

Even when I moved to Pennsylvania, she was one of the few people that still kept in contact with me. She still sent presents every holiday, every birthday. I’ve moved so many places, and it was such a rarity to find someone who actually cared about me no matter where I was. Every Christmas, that big box that always came represented someone out there who genuinely cared.
A heart attack was what killed her. More specifically, smoking is what killed her. Even when talking to someone, even when holding a lengthy conversation, she never snuffed out the cigarette. Packs and packs of cigarettes over time had harmed her health, and that showed in her persistent cough. After a couple of months of staying at her house everyday after school, I picked it up too. Only in retrospect did I realize what I was doing: secondhand smoking. I had asthma and bronchitis for two years because of that. If that is what it did to me, three hours a day, for five days a week, then what did it do to her?

She wasn’t even that old – in her early sixties. If it hadn’t been for her nasty habit, who knows how many years it would have added to her life?

Jeanne was my friend. An old friend. A real friend. But when I close my eyes and envision her once more, here’s how I see her:

Sitting at her dining room table, with the shades pulled down halfway. Eyes half closed. On the table is a pack of cigarettes. In her hand is that short stick, with that wisp of smoke trailing off into the air.

Jeanne died last April. Smoking.


march pics

My sister Danielle blogged about these delicious cookies 2 days ago. So yesterday I felt out of sisterly duty I better make them too. I'd made them before and loved them, but rarely indulge because:

  • They are a Martha recipe. Martha recipes=time consuming

  • They are a Martha recipe. Martha recipes=delectable, perfect, blissful eating. I eat way to many of them (because they're the size of 2 cookies in 1. So you feel as though you are only eating 1, when in reality you're eating two cookies with a sugary peanut butter filling inside)
  • Major stomach-ache when finished eating
But just in case you want to indulge also, here's the recipe:


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Tanner and Kate really have been best buds lately. It has been wonderful. Kate has been really sick and yesterday I had to get stuff done, but she wanted to lay on my lap. Tanner offered to let her lay on his lap and she happily did. He made her laugh, played with her hair and smiled down at her. Usually the first word out of her mouth in the morning when I get her out of bed is "Nanner". Of course it's a very bi-polar relationship, it has it's extreme highs and lows, but overall, they are so happy together.

How much me is too much?

Although my blog may leave the impression that nothing is sacred (poop seems to come up more often than it should), one topic I have purposely dodged lately is weight loss. Suffice it to say that I continue to fight the good fight, though I seem to lose more rounds than I win. Speaking of losing, may I share a pet peeve with you? It's the word itself. No one seems to know the difference between lose and loose. If you visit some of the message boards on the Weight Watchers site, everyone is crowing about how much weight they want to loose. These are the same people who bust out with, "I need advise!" Or even, "I should of . . . " Oh, it maketh me weep. I don't mean to be a language snob but criminy!

I haven't discussed my weight battle recently because, well, after a while the whole thing gets a tad embarrassing. I should've slain this demon a long time ago, right? Alas, no. I may stab it, tie it up, and throw it under my bed, but it lives on. It comes to me in quiet moments and says, "Hey, you remember that there are Girl Scout cookies in the pantry, right?" I ignore the demon but then it sidles up to me and hisses in my ear, "Don't forget - they're thinnnn minnnnntsssss!" I can eat an entire sleeve of the Girl Scout thin mints in one sitting. I have a male co-worker who has been trying to gain five pounds for all the years I've known him. I can accomplish this feat in a single weekend.

At the moment, and it is truly the briefest of moments, I am at my goal weight. Maintaining it is the hardest part of all (significantly more difficult than losing the weight in the first place). I should confess that when I selected my goal weight as part of the Weight Watchers program, I chose the highest possible weight in the range for my height, minus one pound. I've known this body for a while now (I'm an old, old, old, old, old lady, after all) and it's told me flat-out that it does not intend to be 120 pounds. If I were a sixth-grader or had lost my legs in a tragic accident - then maybe.

I wish I could travel back in time and pull myself aside at my wedding. No one ever gets back to their pre-wedding fighting weight, but I would at least warn myself not to let things get too out of hand. Or at least not to allow the denial to last quite so long if they did.

I have struggled with my weight for much of my adult life, but it got the better of me in the early years after P and I got married. My weight gain essentially followed a path through four miscarriages (from 1999 through 2003). With each loss, I cared just a little bit less about myself and this stupid, defective package that I came in. Brownies couldn't replace my babies, but it sure seemed worth a try.

By 2004, I was almost resigned to the idea that I would not be a mom. My mother said to me, "Claudia, you have to find a way to make it happen. You just have to find a way." I think I really needed that little nudge. My husband wanted children but isn't really the proactive type. He's more the "que sera sera" type. A close friend of mine became pregnant that summer and somehow, envisioning her as a mom helped me to formulate a vision like that for myself. I scheduled a meeting with a social worker at an adoption agency very soon thereafter.

I am not in any position to give weight loss advice, but I will say this. If you have a friend or family member who is overweight . . . whatever you do, do not take them aside and tell them that you are concerned about it. I know that may seem counter-intuitive, but trust me on this one. My husband was very wise not to say a word. If he had, I would not have changed my eating habits. I simply would have gone to greater lengths to hide them. For anyone who is overweight (and unhappy because of it), they must simply come to their own moment where they want change and are willing to work for it. I had my moment in July of 2005, when I saw some photos of myself with my beautiful new baby girl. I just couldn't deny it anymore. There I was with my elasticized waistband and my doughy appendages. I joined Weight Watchers in September of that year and have attended the meetings ever since. I currently weigh 67 pounds less than what I weighed that summer. I have been as much as 70 pounds under my starting weight, and as little as 50 pounds under.

My daughter was obviously a catalyst for my directional shift. I have often told my friends that I know I will be doing lots of things to embarrass A as she grows up, and I didn't want my weight to be one of those things. Singing in front of her friends, sitting behind her at the movie theater when she is on a date . . . ah, I can hardly wait.

Sweet Princess Sing Alongs

Once upon a time there was a girl that loved to sing. She would sing for anyone, anywhere, and at any time! As a child she loved to sing beautiful songs from her favorite princess movies and entertain her family and friends. As she grew older her love for singing continued, as well as her love for princesses! She noticed that many children in her community shared her love of music and princesses and she decided to find a way to bring her two favorite things together. She began to entertain as a princess at children's parties through lovely SingAlongs to make others happy! This is how Sweet Princess SingAlongs came to be and all of the children who have experienced this sweet treat have lived happily ever after!

Give your child the royal treatment by hiring their favorite princess character for your next party! With a variety of packages available, you are sure to find something to suit your needs. This magical experience will bring your child's dreams to life and is the perfect way to make their birthday party the most memorable it can be!

Information including party packages, samples and testimonials can be found by clicking here.

Kids say the . . .

My daughter knows that when I take a bath, I'd really like to be alone (she can't comprehend why I would not want the company of a three-year-old during moments of attempted relaxation, but I believe she at least understands the concept). I want to read a book and sip some wine - and I'd like to do these things all by myself.

Sunday night was bath night for the kid. As I stood in the doorway, she gave me a serious sort of look and repeated what she had heard me say so many times.

"I'm taking a bath and I need to be alone." She jutted out her chin for emphasis. I should add that she was not exactly lounging in the warm water and reading a novel. Instead, she was sitting on Uniqua from the Backyardigans, wearing her Little Mermaid washcloth on her head, and feeding purple foam soap to Gretchen.

"I can't leave you alone," I replied. "You could slip and hit your head and then you might fall into the water. I don't want you to die, I want to keep you safe."

I hadn't intended to pull out the big guns quite like that (I even startled myself a bit when I said it), but I did want her to know that bath time isn't just about flooding the tile floor and drinking murky bathwater (why why why do kids do that?) Water, as we know all too well, is far from innocuous in so many ways. [Insert Hurricane Katrina flashback here.]

She frowned. "I'm not going to die, Mama."

"Of course not," I reassured her, smiling. "Not until you are an old, old lady."

She, apparently mishearing me, replied, "Yeah, you are a old, old, old, old, old lady."

There were so many "olds" in there that I lost count. Now, my mom was only 18 when I was born, but she seemed pretty old to me when I was a kid. My sister once asked our mother, "Did they have pens and pencils when you were a kid?" That went over about as well as you are thinking it did. Nonetheless, I can imagine that in a three-year-old's mind, anyone older than she is, well, old.

I may be a little long in the tooth, but I am not as mentally infirm as my daughter seems to think, however.

When I picked her up from Kindercare on Monday, her teacher informed me that my little buttercup had a) poked a kid in the eye with a marker and b) pinched another classmate during storytime. I pulled A aside to have A TALK with her.

Me: "Did you pinch someone?"

Her: "No."

Me: "Really? You didn't pinch anyone?"

Her: "No"

Me (realizing my interrogation techniques were failing miserably): "Who did you pinch?"

Her: "Autumn."

I learned this one through my years as a volunteer for Boxer rescue. When someone surrenders a dog, we've learned to ask questions several different ways in order to get accurate responses. Has your dog ever bitten anyone? No! Has your dog ever nipped at anyone? No! Has your dog ever snapped at anyone? Well, there was this one time . . .

I never did get a confession on the other crime. When I pressed her about it, she just kept saying, "Because I said I was sorry!" Her circular logic confused me after a while, so I gave up.

Tasty Tuesdays

This week's Tasty Tuesdays is: Pasta!

Everyone loves pasta, right?! It's definitely the "go to" meal in our house. We love pasta. The best part about pasta dishes is that they are so versatile. It doesn't just have to be thin spaghetti noodles and red sauce...there's so many options! Here's one of my favorite pasta dishes...I discovered the recipe in Kraft Foods magazine a few years's so yummy!

Creamy Bow-Tie Pasta with Chicken & Broccoli
What you'll need:
3 cups (8 oz.) farfalle (bow-tie pasta), uncooked
4 cups broccoli florets
3 Tbsp. KRAFT Roasted Red Pepper Italian with Parmesan Dressing
6 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1-1/2 lb.)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups tomato-basil spaghetti sauce
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA 1/3 Less Fat Cream Cheese, cubed
1/4 cup KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese

How to Make It:

COOK pasta as directed on package, adding broccoli to the cooking water for the last 3 min. of the pasta cooking time. Meanwhile, heat dressing in large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add chicken and garlic; cook 5 min. Turn chicken over; continue cooking 4 to 5 min. or until chicken is cooked through (170ºF).

DRAIN pasta mixture in colander; return to pan and set aside. Add spaghetti sauce and cream cheese to chicken in skillet; cook on medium-low heat 2 to 3 min. or until cream cheese is completely melted, mixture is well blended and chicken is coated with sauce, stirring occasionally. Remove chicken from skillet; keep warm. Add sauce mixture to pasta mixture; mix well. Transfer to six serving bowls.

CUT chicken crosswise into thick slices; fan out chicken over pasta mixture. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese.

For more pasta recipes and other great dishes, go to Kraft Foods. You can even access the Kraft Foods Magazine for here to see what recipes were scrumptious enough to include in their quarterly publication!

Do you have a favorite pasta dish that you'd like to share? Leave a comment on this post with the link to your "go to" pasta dish!

Taking the blog private...again

So I know I've done this before (made my blog private), but recently I made my blog public. I can't even sleep tonight worried about it. Sooooo, if you happen to read my blog and couldn't access it before because it was private OR if you peek in on it and would like to continue to do so, then just leave a comment with your email address and I'll send you an invite before I make it private again.

If you could view it before, when it was private, then your name is still on the list, so you don't need to give my your email address again.

Sorry for the hassle.



Tanner and Kate:
  • Very into "Sleeping Booty". Yeah. I wrote it correctly. That's how they pronounce Sleeping Beauty. Sleepy Booty's castle, Sleeping Booty Movie, Sleeping Booty @Disneyland
  • Tanner tells Kate on a regular basis, how "booty-ful" she is. = )
  • The other day, Kate and Tanner were playing in the car...Kate driving and Tanner in the back. I asked where they were going and Kate responded, "To Temple. Get married." I asked Tanner about it and he said they were marrying each other.
  • Tanner sings "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" from Mary Poppins all the time, but he says, "Super California...Mom what's next?"
  • Kate speaks in plurals. For example if I talk to another toddler or hold a baby, she'll run up next to me and say, "Mines Mommy" or while she's counting she'll say, "One, two, three, four, five, six, (and here come the plurals) sevens, eights, nines, tens, elevens, twelves" etc.
  • Kate says, "I love you Mama" all the time. It melts my heart.
  • Kate and Tanner are constantly pretending with their stuffed animals. The regulars are Buzz, Woody, Dumbo, Mater, Minnie, and a few dollies. Their stuffed friends get sick, tired, hungry and cry all day long and Tanner and Kate take care of them.
  • Kate lives on almonds, dates and strawberries. It's unbelievable the amounts of these she can eat.
  • This morning I asked Tanner if he was going to finish his waffle and he responded, "No, it's too windy outside."
  • Kate says "crap" now. She doesn't say it with any anger in her voice though. It's a very sweet, soft "crap" when she drops her dollie.
  • Yesterday Kate was wearing my shoes and I told her I liked them. She responded, "I got them at the library. Do you like them?"
  • Working away. Marketing like crazy.
  • As soon as he walks in the door, it's non-stop playing with the kids until they go to bed. He is AMAZING with the kids. He is Tanner's best bud, and he calls Kate his little girlfriend.
  • Tells me each night in bed, "we should stop eating treats." I respond, "go ahead Shad, you can do whatever you would like". He'll say, "but you need to do it too, if you make treats, I'll eat them." I have to gently remind him that I gained and lost 50 pounds with each child I've had and I don't remember him working out and dieting along side of me. I actually remember a couple of instances where he just had to have some Cold Stone and he pulled over and bought some, eating it right beside me while I had none. He also says, " I think we should do Nutrisystem". I repeated, "go ahead, that would be great hon". He said, "I think we should do it ogether. It'd be easier for me if you did it too." Result: yesterday he bought a Nutrisystem kit for himself. I did not.
  • He's so happy and such a wonderful Father and husband.
  • Pretty sure I have an ear infection in my left ear and a gigantic zit in my right ear. Confession: I rarely, if ever get blemishes on my face. I could count on one hand the amount I've had in my whole life. HOWEVER, they love to show up in my ears. Deep in there, where they are incredibly painful. Odd, isn't it?
  • Taking a photography class soon. I'm excited for it.
  • Starting to take pictures of more families, people, and individuals in my ward. I'm loving the experience and how much I'm learning from it.
  • Loving my life right now. This is such a good stage. The kids sleep at night, they eat regularly, Tanner is potty-trained, they play really well together, they talk and I can understand them. I'm loving the stage they're at right now.


My husband earned a prize of sorts at work. He was invited to choose a piece of crap from a catalog. He received a similar invitation a few years ago, which is how we ended up with our Dustbuster (AKA cat-litter-sucker-upper - its sole use in our home). While AIG executives enjoy their bajillion dollar bonuses, our little clan makes do with small household appliances. What did he choose from the catalog du crap this time, you ask? A set of walkie-talkies.

The package arrived in the mail a couple days ago. P opened it, inserted batteries in the hatch of each unit, and handed one walkie-talkie to the kid. I don't know which of them was more excited about this little prize. I never saw the catalog myself, but I'm hard-pressed to believe that there was nothing even vaguely useful in there. I questioned the wisdom of his selection. He just kept repeating, "But it's got an eleven-mile range!"

Him: We can use these if we get separated at the state fair!
Me: Or, we could just use our cell phones.
Him: Yeah, but that costs money and these don't.
Me: Actually, no, it doesn't cost us anything to call each oth-
Him: Or when you take the kid to the park!
Me: You're right. These will be very useful.

He couldn't be convinced that we have no earthly use for walkie-talkies, so I conceded.

Now, every evening, the two of them split up and then talk to each other on their walkie-talkies.

"Father! What are you doing?!"
"I'm watching TV!"
"Father! What are you doing now?!"

It's extra fun for me, because I can hear A in the other room yelling into the walkie-talkie, so essentially I get to hear everything twice. They also tell each other knock-knock jokes via walkie-talkie. And sometimes, they push the button just to laugh.

Why I say "one" when someone asks me how many children I have is beyond me.

Sun & Earth GIVEAWAY!!!

Last week, The Chester County Moms Blog was invited to the Sun & Earth offices in King of Prussia, PA to meet with their AWESOME team and get a very fun, kid-oriented tour of the plant where they manufacture all of their safe, natural, non-toxic cleaning products. Our kids even got to decorate their own bottles of Sun & Earth All Purpose Spray Cleaner and watch their bottles go down the filling line!

Sun & Earth is serious about the environment! After many years of watching advertisements claiming that petro-chemicals with mysterious names were the best way to clean house, Sun & Earth set out to prove that non-toxic cleaners can clean as well or better than more well-known national brands. They knew people wanted products made with non-toxic ingredients that didn't sacrifice performance. After extensive research, they developed cleaners that clean and shine beautifully and have an appealing fresh citrus scent. Their cleaning agents are from plant, fruit and vegetable oils that are non-toxic to your family and safe for the Earth.

Not only are their products environmentally friendly and safe for our families as well as incomparably effective, but Sun & Earth is a local company. By purchasing their fantastic range of products, you are getting all of the benefits of supporting a local business AND further helping the earth by not buying products that had to be shipped from great distances just to reach you. You can find Sun & Earth products locally at area Giant and Acme markets. You can also purchase Sun & Earth products directly from their website! Don't have Sun & Earth products in your local market??? Request it by name!

We'd love for you to give Sun & Earth products a try... we KNOW you won't be disappointed. In fact, we have an awesome Sun & Earth goodie bag to give away to 2 lucky Chester county Moms Blog readers! This bag is stuffed with full-size bottles of many of Sun & Earth's best selling products, including:

Sun & Earth All Purpose Spray Cleaner

Sun & Earth 2X Concentrated Laundry Detergent

Sun & Earth Ultra Fabric Softener

"New" Sun& Earth Xtra Concentrated Dishwashing Liquid

Sun & Earth Liquid Hand Soap

Sun & Earth Dishwasher Detergent Pacs

Sun & Earth On the Spot! Instant Stain Remover

And, all of this comes in a fantastic reusable, foldable Sun & Earth Bag!

**These giveaway bags are valued at over $45, folks! Don't miss out on a chance to win these fantastic cleaning products. All you need to do is leave us a comment in this post telling us your favorite Sun & Earth product. If you haven't tried them out yet, take a peek at their website, and tell us what product you'd most like to try first! Make sure your entry has your email address included, please!

This giveaway will close on Tuesday, March 24th at Midnight. The 2 lucky winners will be announced on Wednesday, March 25th. This contest is open to Chester County residents only. One entry per person. All duplicate entries will be deleted. And, again, please remember to include your email in your post!**

Good luck and safe cleaning!

Children’s Consignment Sale benefiting St Matthew's Lutheran Church
Saturday, March 21, 2009
8:00am -1:00pm
* * * 50% Off Sale starts at 11:00 * * *
St Matthew’s Lutheran Church
2440 Conestoga Road
(on Route 401 east of Route 100)
Chester Springs

Gently worn top quality spring/summer children’s clothing from size newborn to size 12.
Gently used games, puzzles and toys including outdoor play toys, ride-ons and bikes
CD’s, DVD’s, videos, books, baby equipment, strollers, and maternity
You may pay with either cash or check. Checks may be made payable to St Matthew School’s. All sales are final.
Over 50 sellers are consigning a large selection of gently used children’s clothes, toys, books and large equipment, including maternity, baby equipment and outerwear
Snow, sleet or hail.
An event not to be missed!!!

St. Patty's Day Open House

What a great turn out we had for our open house. The kids had fun playing many games and getting prizes. We all enjoyed eating green food and playing at the park.

rita's Welcomes Spring!

For the past 16 years, Rita's has been giving away a free, regular size Italian Ice to each and every guest to mark the first day of spring! This is a sweet date for Italian Ice lovers, as each year, hundreds of thousands of our guests visit Rita's in search of the first taste of spring.
A Philadelphia-born springtime tradition, the 17th annual Rita's giveaway will be held on Friday, March 20, 2009 from noon to 10 p.m. at participating Rita's locations.

Click here for more information or to lacate a Rita's near you.

She's got your eyelashes

I took the kid to my Weight Watchers meeting on Saturday morning. She's reached the age where she is actually capable of being reasonably quiet for thirty minutes while the members chat about the almighty struggle. The ladies at Weight Watchers adore the kid. There is nothing that gets a group of women (mostly middle-aged) going like a little girl with a head full of ringlets. Moreover, a little girlie-girl who refuses to wear anything but dresses - some of them all but eat her alive.

A woman I've known for a few years happened to be sitting next to us. A climbed onto my lap and I rubbed her back as I listened to the group leader speak. Connie leaned over and said, "She's got your eyelashes!" I'm assuming she doesn't know that my daughter is not the fruit of my loin, so I simply smiled and nodded. This daughter of mine . . . she is my sharp-witted pistol, my wee companion, the fulfillment of a dream. I can shape who she is in many ways, but one thing I can never take credit for is her DNA.

I imagine that Connie saw the two of us sitting there and wanted to say something nice. People like to look at parents and children and point out similarities. Apparently finding nothing else, she came up with the eyelash compliment. It was tantamount to saying, "Look at you two with your identical livers!"

Truth be told, A does resemble her dad a bit. And goodness knows she takes after him in lots of ways. The other day she asked to watch Noggin after I picked her up from school. However, her dad was recording "Wolverine: The X-Men" and I was recording "Dr. Phil" (cuz I'm all intellectual like dat). The DVR will not let you watch a third program while two others are being simultaneously recorded. I decided to stop recording The X-Men (what, you didn't think I was going to ditch Dr. Phil, did you?). Well, the kid went into hysterics and demanded to watch the X-Men. So, I let her watch it even though a) her father was not home and b) I'm not entirely sure if the content is appropriate for a three-year-old.

I always thought the resemblance was a bit stronger before she grew hair:

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