Author Archives: Jeanne

In The Driver’s Seat

One day I took my son to our local park where he climbed, swung, slid and ran for a grand total of 30 minutes. He had that “I’m kinda over this, mommy” look on his face so we went to the car where I proceeded to change his diaper before making the trek back home. Well, after the change, he got up and spent the next hour exploring the back of my SUV. Jack crawled over the seats, played with all the buttons (the hazard lights being his favorite) and fiddled with all the loose change I had in my console.

Ever since that day his favorite jungle gym is my SUV and he looks forward to spending time flipping blinker switches, turning radio knobs and sticking peanuts in the charger outlets. While we still go to the park we always make time for him to play in our car. Do you have a kid that has a unique place to play?

Holiday Photo Fails Are Wonderful

This year Jack met the Easter Bunny for the first time and he was none too thrilled to do so. He didn’t cry, but he certainly wanted to bolt off the giant orange rabbit’s lap. This photo is the only one the photographer took because Jack would not sit still for another. I love it. It’s perfect.

We had a similar reaction this past Christmas with Santa as well. Being held by a stranger with a bushy beard and a fuzzy red suit was not Jack’s cup of tea. Honestly, though, I enjoy the photos where he isn’t sitting on the Easter Bunny’s or Santa’s lap with a huge grin on his face, posed. I prefer a natural reaction – whether positive or negative. I know in the years to come when we look through our family photo album (will we have albums in the future?) we’ll be talking about the story behind these photos and laughing our tails off.

Do you like to take holiday photos? Do your kids like to sit with the Easter Bunny and Santa? Share your stories with us!

Our Unplanned Landscaping Project


I have lived in my house for twelve years and during that time I had a love/hate relationship with my 30-foot tall Chinese Elm Tree. Love, for the summertime shade it provided during 100 degree heat. Hate, for the millions of horrible little leaves it would drop every single fall and throughout winter. This past December, however, ended my roller-coaster relationship all together – it fell during a severe windstorm.

On a cold December morning I woke up early, went into the living room, and turned up the blinds like I always do. I could not believe my eyes. This gargantuan tree had fallen over during the night without me, my husband, or my son hearing it. The tree had fallen square on our lawn and missed my son’s room by a couple of feet. It really was a miracle that there was hardly any damage. I say hardly, because the damage that was done was mostly underground, and we hadn’t a clue anything was wrong at that point.

About a week later, when the main trunk was removed, we realized what damage had occurred. Our sprinkler system was history. This tree that had been decades old had wound thick roots all around the PVC pipes and ripped them to oblivion when it fell. In addition, all of our brick work had been destroyed and the shade we relied on so much in the summertime was gone, meaning we’d have to find some other way to help our home stay cool.

We are in the first phase of our unplanned landscaping project – installing a new sprinkler system. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been to OSH or Home Depot to buy PVC pipe fittings and sprinkler heads. Did you know that there are different ratings for PVC fittings? Schedule 40 PVC pipe fittings, schedule 80 PVC pipe fittings….it kinda gave me a headache to try and sort out what we needed. Thank God my husband did all of that. We’d have a new rock garden if it wasn’t for him.

With our pipes buried and sprinkler heads adjusted, we are finally about ready have sod planted. It will be so nice to have real grass to walk on instead of dirt – and fewer muddy footprints tracked through our living room. In the next stage, we’re looking at getting brick work done so we’ll have some sort of sitting area available to us again, but we’re not sure how that will fit into our budget. Maybe we can do it ourselves and save a few bucks. The one item we really want to get, even if it means not having brick work, is a metal pergola. Even though it is only Spring, our house can heat up rapidly. We will probably go with one we found online and call up a few friends to lend a hand installing it.

Even though our landscaping project was unplanned, it has given us the opportunity to remake our yard into something new – which is an exciting prospect!

Double The Pleasure, Double The Fun

Toddler Tollhouse Cookies


For the last two years I’ve been fitting in what little baking I do during my son’s naps and after bedtime. Waiting to start baking until 8 p.m. after a long day of chasing a toddler can be a little challenging. Last week I decided he was old enough to “help” mommy in the kitchen and see what it’s like to make cookies. I pulled up his little stepstool, got my ingredients and tools together, and said a little prayer that my kitchen wouldn’t be totally destroyed.

To my surprise, my son stood on his stool patiently while I creamed eggs and butter, sifted flour and leavening, and mixed it all together with a hand beater. He particularly enjoyed helping dump cups full of chocolate chips into the bowl, although at times I think he would have been just as happy to eat the measuring cups!

After scooping out the cookies we put them in the oven and watched them melt and mold into our Tollhouse treats.

We also had cookie dough left over, so we stored it in containers for freezing. I think after this experience I’ll be doing more baking with my son at my side.