A Memo To My Kids From The Department of Fairness

A Memo To My Kids From the Department of FairnessDear Children,

It has come to our attention that you two siblings have been engaged in consistent disagreements concerning the fairness of treatment in the household with respect to each other. Such arguments have increased in frequency to the point it becomes necessary for our department to step in and act as arbitrator.

We have reviewed your recent claims and deliver the following decisions:

Claim #288: In the case of “Who Got More Time On the iPad”, your parents made a judgment call based on who got dragged to the other sibling’s extra-curricular activities more often during the week, and have tried to find the proper balance between making the non-participating sibling perform homework, and keeping them occupied enough not to drive the other parents in the cramped waiting room at the dance studio crazy.

It is our decision that all iPad use will not be tallied and accounted for in equal amounts between the two of you as per your request, as your mother does not have the mental capacity to keep track of that kind of data. Your mother has asked that you cease and desist with all further complaints on this matter until you have children of your own that you need to shuttle around town.

Claim #7191: We find that there is no point in arguing over who received more Cheetos, as it has come to our attention that neither of you completed eating your peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and apple slices in the first place.

Henceforth, all crunchy side dishes will remain off the table until said “growing food” portion of the lunch is completely consumed.  Once this task has been completed, you will then receive a serving of Cheetos deemed appropriate by the Preparer of the Lunches.

Furthermore, the Preparer has rejected notions of counting out equal portions of desired processed cheese snacks and requires you to just get over it already.

Claim #553095: In response to the disagreement over which party was more injured in your recent physical altercation, and thus, deserved more attention, we offer this simple piece of advice: Keep your hands to yourselves.

Claim #1469370: All decisions regarding which television show you will watch on Saturday mornings will be made at the discretion of whichever parent has had more coffee.

You will be permitted a total of two shows, with one show choice per child. Should you begin to watch Woody Woodpecker, but decide midway to agree with your sibling and watch Phinneas and Ferb, you are thereby forfeiting selection and will not be allowed to choose the next program.

Our recommendation to you? Pick a show and stick with it.

Claim # 918882947750123:  With regards to accusations of devotion equality and child preference, make no mistake. Your parents love you both equally and fiercely. You are stuck with them loving you unconditionally and thinking you are the best thing since sliced bread.

To settle future issues of this nature, please submit claims to The Department of Hugs and Kisses.



How To Put On a Duvet Cover

We recently had guests come in to town, and prior to their visit, I wanted to make sure that the hardly-used guest room was all fixed up and comfy for them.  Clean sheets were put on the bed, a pretty picture was hung, fresh flowers were placed in a vase.

Only one problem remained.  I hadn’t gotten around to putting our newly bought comforter inside the duvet cover.

I knew there was a trick to this type of linen execution, and after a quick YouTube instruction from the Belle of Bedding, Martha Stewart, I performed something short of a miracle and put our comforter into a duvet cover.

Since I’ve got this thing down now,  I thought I’d share my new-found knowledge with you.

How To Put On a Duvet Cover.jpg


1. Lay your duvet cover on the bed, then line up the comforter to the cover.

2.  Slide the corners of top end of the comforter in to the hole of the cover and meet up with top corners of cover.  Tie the strings of the comforter and the cover together, if applicable.

3. Holding the two corners of the cover/comforter, pull up on the top edge of the duvet to allow the cover to fall down around the remainder of the comforter.

4.  Make sure the side edges of the comforter are on the side edges of the duvet cover, and shimmy the cover down to the un-covered bottom edge of the comforter.

5.  Match up the corners of the other end of the duvet to the comforter, and tie if applicable.

6.  Shake the covered comforter out to make it nice and smooth.

7.  Button up the toggles (buttons, loops, whatever you’ve got to work with).

8.  Stand back and admire your work.

9.  Realize that you’ve screwed up and got the short end of the comforter on the long end of the cover and have to start over.

10.  Not wanting to begin the whole process again, crawl in to the cover to untie the ties and attempt to rotate the comforter while pinned inside the cover.

11.  Crawl back out and realize your laziness only gave you more work.

12.  Start back at step 1 with the right sides lined up.

13.  Begin to curse under your breath and wipe your face, because you’re sweating now, you idiot.

14.  Wish you had just ponied up the extra $10 and bought the Bed-In-a-Bag deal at Target instead of trying to repurpose this crappy old duvet cover that you don’t really care about any more.

15.  Get all the sides and corners lined up, then try to shake out the comforter to make the #(!@* ^% thing smooth again.

16.  Resist the urge to fling the whole project out of the second-story window when you realize that you bought a full/queen-sized comforter for what now looks like a king-sized duvet cover.

17.  Button those stupid toggles back up again, chalking up that missing button halfway in the center to karmic retribution.

18.  Figure that since this is the guest room, no one will give as much of a crap as you do.

19.  Shove the loose edge of the cover that doesn’t contain any comforter down into the footboard and hope no one ever notices.

20.  Place some ill-matched pillows on the bed.

21.  Walk out of the room and head for the chilled wine in your refrigerator.

22.  Put Martha Stewart on your shit list.


How about you?  Have you tackled this beast and survived?  I’d love to hear your tips!


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The Fox on Kid Tune Tuesday…

“Gina, have you heard “The Fox” song on Kids Place Live yet?”

My husband asked this question a few weeks ago, and I had to honestly answer that I hadn’t.   Since then, I have heard “The Fox”, and I still don’t really know what he says.

I know.  You’re thinking, “Wow, Gina, you’re a month late to the party.”  Yes, I realize this.  I wanted to feature this earlier, but had other time-sensitive goodies I wanted to introduce you to this month.

You know how I know I’m so late?  As of yesterday, the video for this song had over 95 million views. That’s right, 95 and six zeros after it. And it was released just over a month ago.  In it’s first two weeks on YouTube it garnered 40 million views.  That, my friends, is viral at its quickest.

If you’ve been hiding under a rock, let me fill you in.  “The Fox” is a zany song by the comedy duo Ylvis, Norway’s answer to “Flight of the Chonchords“, but without the intellectual sophistication of a “Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros“.  Picture Josh Groban and a hypothetical brother of Josh Groban making an oddball track about animals, and you may just come up with “The Fox.”

This band of brothers, Bård and Vegard Ylvisåker, created “The Fox” as a joke to launch the third season of their talk show in Norway, aiming to make it as bad as they could.  Perhaps that’s what makes it so alluring.  Flanked with folks dancing in a dark wooded forest in the vein of “Gangnam Style”, complete with night club laser beams and folks dressed in animal costumes, there’s no way anyone could look at this and think it was high art.

Speaking of “Gangnam Style”, lots of comparison has been made between these two.  Both songs and accompanying videos have gone viral and taken over the internet.  To a certain degree, both rely on outlandishness, a catchy hook and beat, and a sense of humor.  But there is also a common thread of conviction and commitment to performing seriously and passionately about something that’s outrageously ridiculous that makes it attractive to a certain audience, and you can count me as one of them.

Like when my brothers and I couldn’t get enough of Weird Al Yankovic as kids.  Listening to the antics, it felt like we were in on the joke.  And I loved every minute of it.

This song is an earworm of the stickiest kind. Listen to it once, and you’re bound to blurt out Fraka-kaka-kaka-kaka-kow! or Gering-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding! later on in your day.  And, truth be told, the guys of Ylvis do have good voices.

If you watch other videos from the duo (like “Stonehenge”) you’ll quickly realize this song was not created with the idea of being a kid song. But it’s silly and nonsensical, yet has an adult music feel to it with it’s Autotune and house music beat, and some kids are drawn to this kind of thing.

Because they probably like to feel in on the joke, too.

Besides, what seven year-old doesn’t like singing the double entendre of an elephant going “Toot”?


Preschool beauty secrets…

Her costume was set out.  Her makeup was laid on the counter, ready for application.  Her routine had been practiced 70 times that morning.

And Mommy was in the shower.

What better time to try her hand at this:


Yep, that’s right.  A mere hour before her first dance recital, my daughter had taken scissors to her hair while I cleaned myself up.

When I got out of the shower, she came bounding in my bathroom, a huge, proud smile on her face, and exclaimed “Mommy!  I cut my hair!”

I have to admit, I didn’t make the best choice.

What I should have done:  Perhaps acknowledge her pride and independence, not overreact but instead calmly explain that we don’t cut our own hair.

What I did:  Stomped. Her. Buzz.

A total killjoy, I yelled “NOOOOO!” and scared the crap out of her.  Then searched her hair like a mother howler monkey preening her young, trying to assess the damage.

And when I pulled away from her scalp to look her in the eyes, I was met with tears.  She had come to me, all excited and proud, and I had made her feel horrible.  What’s a mom to do?

Thankfully, she actually did a pretty decent job cutting her hair, creating a little fringe near her chin line in an updated “Rachel” for the preschool circuit.  It was still long enough to put back for her recital, so all was fine.  But I did have to have a conversation about how we don’t cut our own hair, because those snips are real.  Speaking from experience, bad haircuts are hard to recover from.

Still, I think there’s some merit there to her sense of self and beauty.  I wish that I could feel as confident in myself when there are markings on my face (in my case, zits and wrinkles instead of markers and Curious George stamps).  That it might not be a bad idea to not put so much stock in to how my hair looks.

So, I’ve come up with a few preschooler beauty tips to try and follow.  Because, seriously?  That girl could do anything she wanted to herself and she’d still be the most beautiful thing on the planet to me.

preschool beauty secrets

Less is less.  More is more. 

If a little dab of lotion works wonders, a huge blob should provide enough moisture to turn back the hands of time, circa the Newborn Era.

Matching is for ninnies.

Want to wear two garments of uncomplimentary shades in contrasting patterns? If you’ve got enough sass, then coordinating isn’t an issue.  You wear the clothes, they don’t wear you.

Jewelery is best worn in quantity.

See “Less is less” above.

Go au naturale.

Why bother wiping that peanut butter off your face?  Its natural (and organic if you swing that way) properties will provide just the right balance of foundation and protective barrier you’ll need to face your date night with confidence.

That Bed Head look is totally in.

No need for brushing that mane! Knots and matted sections really emphasize that wild side of you. Not to mention that avoiding a comb shaves time off your morning ritual.

If you’ve got it, flaunt it.

You should feel comfortable in your own skin.  So comfortable in fact that clothing is optional.  It’s all beautiful.  And clothing only gets in the way.

When in doubt, flash those pearly whites.

A preschooler’s precious grin goes a pretty long way, so why not try this fashion accessory out for yourself?

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The beast…

My daughter got this balloon at her birthday. A doggie balloon. Unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

It sits about four inches from the ground, with little paper-accordion legs that keep it grounded to the floor.  With blue bows on the ears and a happy expression on it’s face, it’s better than any kind of plain Mylar  “4″ I could have given my birthday girl.  Even if Dora, Hello Kitty and Merida had hand-delivered it.


The kids went nuts over this thing! It’s like the dog we aren’t able to have, what with my husband’s allergies. No fur, and, BONUS! no surprise turds scattered throughout the house.

I have to admit, the dog is pretty cute. When not in use, it just sits there happily waiting for attention.  You can even walk it with its attached string. Though, my kids prefer to sprint with it through the house at full speed and let it take flight.

After we brought it home from the party, it had taken up residence in my daughter’s room while she slept, right at the foot of her bed, so it was easily available to her when she woke up.

However, last night, she decided to have it stand ground outside her bedroom door, keeping watch over her room like the faithful helium companion it is.

Sounds harmless, right? Except that it scared the living shit out of me.

On more than one occasion.

I came out of my son’s door after saying goodnight, not expecting to see this brown floating thing at my feet. I stifled a yelp for fear of waking my kids, which gave way to silent cursing of my stupidity of being scared at something so childish.

And yet, it happened AGAIN a mere hour later. I went upstairs to put something in the play room and had my breath taken away, complete with heart palpitations, by the hovering sucker.

Just sitting there. Mocking me with it’s painted smile and pastel ribbons.

Is this a thing for me now?  Being terrorized by helium balloons?  Like those people that have a phobia about clowns?

Sure, I’m stressed and on edge.  And I guess I’m just not expecting to see this…thing in my hallway which catches me off guard.  In the light of day, this doggie balloon looks harmless and friendly.  Yet, when the lights go down, it sits and waits.

For me to forget.

Y’all, seriously?  I didn’t want to wake my daughter up this morning, because I knew I’d have to confront this beast.

This 8-inch vicious beast.