Chicken Tortilla Soup with Lime Tortilla Strips

Daycare germs don’t often phase me anymore. Having been in the daycare system for six years now, I have a pretty tough immune system. This year, though, the back-to-school and daycare germs hit at the same time, leaving both Maddie and me suffering. It may have been 80 degrees outside, but we were in need of soup. (more…)

How to Help Children Handle Grief from the Loss of a Loved One

By Alex Robbins

How children handle the loss of a loved one depends on the child’s age and her relationship with the deceased individual. The support she receives also plays a big part in how she handles the loss. Losing a loved one can have a significant impact on children, and they need an adult’s guidance. If you’re an adult helping a child deal with the grief of losing a loved one, there are things you can do to help her understand what’s happening and find a way to move forward.  (more…)

A Pokemon Birthday Party

My little girl is not so little any more. Today she is turning eight years old. While I absolutely hate it, I also love it. When I think of my baby, I picture this:

But then she wakes up and starts talking, and I can only see this:Sigh. They do grow up fast.




This year, she wanted a Pokemon party. With a just a little preparation and lots of good friends and family, we had a pretty good time! I had to brush up on my Poke-speak first though, so I rewatched the first episode. If you’re considering a Pokemon-themed party, I suggest you do the same.

This gave me a great idea for the cake — or in this case, cakes. There are seemingly thousands of Pokemon, but one common (and simply designed) object is the Poke Ball. And hey, it’s round! So Poke Ball became the central design. If you watched the episode, you know that a wanna-be Pokemon master starts off her journey by choosing one of three Pokemon: Charmander, Bulbasaur, and Squirtle. So, I made three cakes and cut out the center of each. I stashed a Charmander in one, Bulbasaur in another, and Squirtle in the third, then covered them back up with the cut-out cake. (This was inspired by both the show and Ali’s super fabulous idea of hiding Shopkins in Riley’s birthday cake.) We iced them up to look like Poke Balls, and then Story had to choose one to begin her journey to become a Pokemon master. She dug it out with a spoon. Surprisingly, she chose the cake with Charmander, the one she wanted. Happy birthday to her!

Additional treats were pizza and a fruit tray, each designed to look like a Poke Ball (well, the pizza was only a partial success; I forgot the olives for the black band). Of course, we had red and white balloons, as well. It was a low-key, low-pressure, low-effort party, but I consider it a success!

 

Fried Green Tomatoes

I am a bad gardener. It’s true. But I’ve never found that to be a good reason to give up on the dream of having homegrown food, so I begin the fated adventure over again each year in hopes of a better return. This year, I succeeded! It wasn’t the success of a seasoned gardener. I lost a few plants to overcrowding and for some reason couldn’t get cilantro to grow. I did, however, enjoy my favorite arugula salad with my own arugula, and there was a solid week that I packed salads for lunch with my own green leaf lettuce. (more…)