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Greetings from Spring Breakland! Hope everyone (who is off this week) is enjoying some R&R with their babes. And to those who are not (Hal for example, who is stuck at work all week while we frolic around pools and beaches and text photos to his phone of sand and sun and mermaids), cheers to you. 
photo 4-3  We miss you, Hal! On the bright side, you're missing out on many meltdowns!

...In the meantime, the dream of the 90s is alive in Speedy Ortiz. Let's crack some Zimas and blade on down to the park. In our minds. 



232. Raising the Skate by: Speedy Ortiz


xo


GGC

I'd like to buy a bowel... movement IN A TOILET, please!

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This week on Mom.me, I wrote about poop.

Which happens to the best of us.

(Just preferably in a toilet.)













Here's the thing. It's time...

For ten years I have wiped butts and I am very much ready to retire. But we have a very different beast with the twins than we had with Archer and Fable. We have two children who are the exact same age and multiply their willpower against each other and then BAM. 





And so, I write this post, as a song of solidarity for those of you whose kids aren't doing the things they should be doing yet. Because EVERYONE is late with something. At least, in my experience. Archer didn't speak coherently until he was 3. (Here are some old posts about Archer's delayed speech for those interested.) Fable didn't crawl until she was 13 months old. (Both Archer and Fable didn't walk until 18 months! Hell. Archer had a pacifier until the eve of his first day of kindergarten when he volunteered his "nunu" as tribute and it was never seen again.)

...In the meantime, I'll be here, staring into the abyss of exhausted options, hand on the wheel... muttering bad puns about "buying bowels" and "Vanna... wipes."
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You can read the entire post, here. 

GGC

Craft Services

The following post was sponsored by Seedling. Thanks, Seedling!
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The box came late Monday afternoon and in my head, knowing that this post was set to go live Thursday, I was like, "there's no way I'll have a post by then..." but by Tuesday evening, the kids were rocking their necklaces, finishing their capes, hatching their dinosaur eggs and excavating their excavation sites. By Wednesday morning, I was on the Seedling website bookmarking gifts for the kids' birthdays. 

Seedling, for those who (like me) had never heard of the marketplace before, is a one stop shop for creative kids and their parents looking to invest in quality items that foster self-expression and empower children to build their own adventures. Not only do they offer projects for kids of all ages (3-13+), they make it easy to choose what is appropriate for the age group you are shopping for. 

What's that you say? You would like to purchase a project for a seven year old STEM enthusiast? How about this? Or this? Or this or this or this?

Anyway. Because my kids are suckers for crafting (and I am not) I was especially excited for the kids to each pick an activity set -- Seedling graciously shipped us some extras as well --that I could oversee but not, you know, plan...

Here is what went down two (after school) afternoons in a row:

Day One: Monday 

Project #1 Bead Necklaces
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Bo and Revi didn't get the whole necklace thing at first and settled on a math game instead. They sat on the carpet for almost an hour organizing beads, counting them and making designs. 
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The only reason the beads ended up on necklace strings is because they saw Fable making one in the dining room. Otherwise, this would have likely gone on... which, note to self, "Jar of Beads" would make a great boredom buster... screw the necklace, this is HOURS OF ENTERTAINMENT RIGHT HERE CAN I GET A WHUT WHUT?
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Revi's necklace (strung by me. She needed some help.)
photo-4 Fable's necklace.

Project #2: Dino Eggs
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(These are all for me. JK.)
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***

Day Two: Tuesday

Project #3: Rock Excavation
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Archer picked this activity set and IT WAS AMAZING. Fable picked the Snow Globe project, which resulted in a bit of a meltdown when our clay fell apart in the oven (my bad)  and was a little jealous that she didn't pick rock excavation as her activity, so Archer invited her to join him. HOURS LATER... They had their rocks. (And I am not even kidding when I say hours. They worked on this project after school two days in a row.) 
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Talk about an incredible lesson, right? I mean, METAPHOR CENTRAL. Watching Archer and Fable scratch the precious rocks out of the sandy mass was pretty poetic. What a wonderful lesson in not only excavation but LIFE. Five stars for this project. (And a slam dunk for those of you looking for fun projects for Spring Break and/or Summer.) 
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Project #4: Superhero Capes 
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(and masks)
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When these arrived Monday I had to hide them from Bo and Revi because I knew we wouldn't have time to finish them before bed. So. Tuesday, I picked the girls up from school early and brought them home to work on their capes. They were ecstatic and tore open their boxes in a record zero seconds.
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... and went to work.
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***
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***
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I cut out the letters and the butterflies and the stars and they did the rest. And then Bo decided to glue all of the pencils and glitter glue caps to her cape, which was awesome, until, you know... it didn't actually stick...
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Everything else did, though. And the capes turned out amazing.
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First thing Wednesday morning, the girls ran to where their capes were drying and put them on... and didn't take them off...  ever again.
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"Revi. I am your sister," - Bo Vader
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(Bo actually said that, btw. Her comic timing is her signature these days.)
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Meanwhile, Revi got WAY into the whole butterfly mask situation and went to bed with hers on.
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And away they went to fight the good fight. (And me during bedtime.)
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I feel like every child should own a cape. And every adult, too, for that matter. Revi told me I could borrow hers, though, so I'm golden. Thanks, Revi. (And thanks, Seedling. You guys rule.) 

***

Build, imagine, play! Seedling helps bring kids' ideas to life with kid-tested, parent-approved activity kits that encourage children to follow their own creative initiative. Register at seedling.com and get 25% off on your purchase when using code SEEDLING25. Offer valid one per customer; discount does not apply to past purchases, packaging, applicable taxes, or shipping and handling. Expires EOD April 9th, 2015
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I also have a build-your-own superhero cape + superhero mask (your choice of colors) to give away to a reader this week! To win? Tell me what makes the kid(s) in your life heroic. I'll choose one winner next Thursday, April 3rd. (US and Canada.) Good luck and may the fierce be with you...
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GGC

The Vegetarian's Guide to Cooking... An Entire Roast Chicken

The following post was written by my mom, WWW. It is the 2nd in a series of posts written for vegetarians looking to cook the occasional meat dish for their carnivorous family. You can read the first post, here. (Thanks, Mom!)
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Since I don’t eat meat, I usually bring a vegetarian meal when helping out a sick or recuperating friend. But recently, a friend asked for a chicken dish, so I decided to resurrect my tried and true favorite roast chicken recipe from our meat eating days. It felt really weird buying whole chickens—I haven’t bought any in at least 6 years—but I realized as I put the two organic, pasture raised birds in my cart that buying ethically raised chickens supports a farmer who has chosen to raise his/her chickens sustainably and ethically—and that’s a good thing.

Roasted chicken is one of the easiest and tastiest ways to cook chicken. It is a great company meal, or perfect just for the family. Ina Garten’s roast chicken is perfect every time. That’s why she calls it Perfect Roast Chicken! I modified the recipe a little and increased it to two chickens so you will have enough to feed your family and some left overs. If you roast two chickens, you need a large roasting pan, as the chickens will lay sideways in the pan. By roasting the vegetables with the chicken, you get a one-dish meal!

Perfect Roast Chicken 
(adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook)

- 2 roasting chickens (about 5-6 pounds each)
- salt and pepper
- 2 large bunches of thyme plus extra for the vegetables
- 2 lemons (preferably Meyer) cut in half
- 2 heads of garlic, cut in half crosswise
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
- 2 onions cut into thick wedges
- 5 large carrots, cut into 2 inch hunks
- 2 heads fennel, cut into wedges
- 2 parsnips, cut into 2-inch hunks
- 8 small new potatoes (if they are large, use fewer and cut them in half or quarters)

Preheat oven to 425. Remove giblets from cavity of chickens and rinse inside and out. Remove extra fat (very important!!) and pat dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chickens and stuff with the lemons, garlic, and thyme (evenly distribute between the two birds). Brush outside of chickens with butter or olive oil and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Put vegetables in a large roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and toss with salt and pepper and thyme. Place chickens on top of vegetables, sideways.
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Roast for 1 ½ hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and a thigh. Remove chickens and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil, letting rest about 15 or 20 minutes. Throw out the lemons, but squish out the garlic and add to the vegetables.
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Carve chicken and serve with vegetables.
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Note: If you want to make gravy, omit all vegetables except the onion. Then you can make a traditional gravy using the pan drippings and chicken broth.

Enjoy! 

 Love, 
 WWW

"You are the first drop of rain in a hurricane."

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Over the weekend, and in response to Friday's post(s), the lovely Sarah Z tweeted me the following link, which led me to the poetry of Clementine von Radics, which led me to her website, which led me to this video:


And yes, I know I've been asking everyone to watch videos more than usual, but this stuff is AMAZING and deserves as many eyeballs as are out there.

Bravo, lady. Thank you.

(And thank you, Sarah, for introducing me to her work.)

***

The other day, I started a round of applause in a room full of people who  completely intimidated me. It was the first time in my life that I had the courage to do so and it was in the last place I would ever have expected to feel brave in that way.

And brave might be the wrong word because it wasn't a big deal in the scheme of things... but the power I felt when the room erupted in applause was something I will carry around with me for a while.

Instead of cheering quietly in my head, I was disruptive with my support. And it made me feel like MORE than just a person in the audience. It made me feel like I was a part of the conversation. 

We are all in this thing together... 

There have been many times in my life when I wanted to clap--to applaud a speaker for having the guts to say the things that nobody wanted to say. But instead, I sat quietly out of respect for her... for the audience--something I feel most of us probably do.

And, yes, there is a time and a place for that, too. Of course there is. But in these days where so many people band together to bring others down, I feel like, more than ever, we should show our support when we can.

Knowing how good it feels to be on stage, hearing someone cheer you on, and now knowing how empowering it feels to do the cheering, I kind of think that we should all just stand and cheer when we feel the need to...because when has silence made a difference?  When has silence brought about change?

We need to make noise--to cheer and applaud and be active when we feel moved to act.

There is a line in Clementine's poem that says, "You are the first drop of rain in a hurricane," and it reminded me of that feeling. Of breaking the silence with a clap. 

I need to do this more often. I need to take this feeling out into my life. 

In the span of three minutes of listening to Clementine's poem, that line became my mantra. That line has become my advice to my children, to myself and to anyone who has ever felt the urge to break the silence with his/her applause.

And then last night, with those words in my brain, I watched Monica Lewinksy's TED talk. Have you seen it? You should see it. Here it is.: 



In her speech, Lewinksy tells about public humiliation, of survival and cyber-bullying... of the empathy crisis... and our quickness to detach from the people on the other side of the screen. In her words:


Listening to her speech, I thought of a recent story about a boy who didn't receive one RSVP for his birthday party. When it became public, thousands of people responded... Thousands came to his aid. My Facebook feed was wallpapered with his supporters.

It was a hurricane. And it was beautiful to see. 

And yet, I kept thinking about all the boys who didn't have that kind of aid...the girls who didn't get any RSVPs to their birthdays. 

Where was their support? 

Where was their first drop of rain? 

The Internet has the power to empower. To make and break lives. For that boy last week, one person started the hurricane. One person broke the silence and stood up to applaud in a silent room. One person said, "hey guys. Let's do something."

What if I could be that person for someone?

What if you could be that person for someone?

Certainly we all have it in us. (We are made of water, after all.)

It is very easy to jump on a bandwagon--the positive kind, the negative kind--but what about starting our own? What about speaking up, not as a group, but as a singular person?

What about realizing the power of the individual? 

One raindrop. 

Just one. 

For if a simple clap of the hands can lead an entire audience to applaud then what about... and how about... and what if.... 

We are powerful as a group only because someone somewhere has started something.

We are on this bus only because someone somewhere, at some point got behind the wheel and without permission, started to drive. 

In Lewinksy's words:


Minority influence. 

Because someone is always first. 

The good fight is never fought by a crowd that suddenly, and all at once, decides to do something. 

All good fights are led by first moves.

You are the first drop of rain in a hurricane. 

Go, then, and fall with all your might. 

tumblr_nkio54RArt1rj6ib4o1_1280 photo via clementine poetry

GGC