Fable playing on my mother's piano, Thanksgiving

The following track was also sent to me by a friend. The awesome thing about this whole Track Tuesday "mix tape" project is that I have been introduced to some amazing bands/music I wouldn't otherwise have known about. There's only so much college radio a girl can listen to before she has to get out of the car. So thank you, all, for keepin' this boat a 'rockin.

76. Mama's Eyes, By: Justin Townes Earle


Desperately Seeking Potty Training advice... from myself and possibly others (Sponsored)

This post is brought to you by Quilted Northern Soft & Strong® which is sort of the light at the end of our potty-training tunnel. Thanks, Quilted Northern. You are as soft as you are strong.
The following is a letter I wrote myself seeking advice from myself. You see, for some reason, and I know I'm not alone in this, second children do not remind all mothers of their first-children experiences. So now, in the dawn of our potty-training-Fable days, I have found myself totally confused, forgetful and annoyed that I have no idea what the hell I'm doing. I mean... I've done this before. Three years ago, but still. Three years ago! That's like.... THREE YEARS AGO! I have underwear like WAY older than that. In fact, all of my underwear are way older than that. Womp, womp.

Anyway. Here's a letter my present self (Fable's mom) wrote to my former self (Archer's mom) in hopes that by asking for my own advice, I might motivate my dead brain to come alive with answers.
Dear Archer's Mom,

Hey. It's me, you. I'm writing you today because I know you've "been here before" and by "here" I mean, standing in the hallway of my house in a puddle of toddler pee. It's not as warm a place as you would think, Archer's Mom, and even though I pride myself on being pretty patient with my kids, especially when it comes to milestones, I can't help but wonder if I'm doing something terribly wrong.

Recently it has become increasingly common for Fable's baby pals to step out for a park playdate clad in brand-spanking-new BIG KID underwear. The (organic) cotton kind complete with elastic waistband that aren't made out of ... diapers. And then I'm like, "Oh, yeah! We're TOTALLY making all sorts of potty-training strides, you know us" except I'm totally lying because the only stride we've made has to do with Fable not pooping in the bathtub anymore.

Here's the thing, Archer's mom. I know people who swear by the "hold your kid above the toilet until he poops" philosophy but that totally weirds me out (I mean... we didn't do that with Archer, did we? I'm pretty sure we absolutely did not). I also know people who have done the "just put them in underwear until they figure it out" thing but that, in my opinion, is even worse. I mean... isn't it? I vaguely recall poopy pants in public being one of my absolute low points as a mother... am I right? And then there's the "naked potty training" option where you let your kid poop and pee all over the house until they (supposedly) figure it out. So, last week, I figured, "Hey! Why not?" and let Fable spend the day stoked off her nakedness. I put the baby potty in the middle of the bathroom and onward with our day we went. Until she peed all over the kitchen floor. And her toys. And the futon in the play room. And the hallway. And my office. And a pile of books. (Goodbye, books!) And then there was the poop behind the couch which I didn't find until.... uh... later. The last straw was when Fable peed on the tile in the hallway and slipped, falling with a giant kaboom on her head. On the tile! Head. Tile. Hard. Pee everywhere. Crying. Tile. Head. "NEVER AGAIN!" said I and swore off "naked potty training" forever.

Back to square one, Archer's mom. The baby potty is still in the bathroom but Fable has yet to use it. Sure we sit on it every night before bath. I bring her into the bathroom with me so she can faux/mimic my potty-doing. (Sorry, TMI) but so far, no such luck in the potty department. In fact, Fable's response any time I point out the potty or any toiletesque paraphernalia = "Pee, NO! mama!" Pee, no, mama. Pee, no....

I know Archer didn't potty train until he was almost three (for pee. Poop didn't happen until 3.5) and Fable's only twenty-six months but with preschool around the corner, I was hoping we'd have made at least some kind of progress in the potty-training department, or at the very least, sparked some interest?

Ha ha ha! Archer's mom! Not even close!

So, here's where you come in. What kind of tips can you offer me to get the ball rolling in this department? And I know what you're thinking. "Just go back in the archives of your blog, duh!" but that's WAY too much work. I'd rather spend the time writing you this letter in hopes you'll write me back. Friday, specifically. A response by 3:00pm PST would be preferable.

Thank you in advance,

Fable's Mom
AKA "Pee, No! in WeHo"

And now? I wait for my reply.

Doo-too-doo, doo, doo.... La, la. Wait by the Internet, la.

In the meantime, perhaps you have some potty training advice of your own? If not, you're welcome to leave a comment anyway. All commenters will be eligible to win a year's supply of toilet paper as well as a $50 visa check card! Winner will be chosen via random.org, announced next Monday, December 6th. Potty on, Wayne!


And now a word from our sponsor: For opportunities to win free Quilted Northern Soft and Strong® and help make the taboo talkable, join the conversation at www.facebook.com/QuiltedNorthern or on Twitter @QuiltedNorthern.


EDITED, Monday, 12/6: Congratulations to #105 semipseudo! You just won a year's supply of toilet paper and a $50 gift card c/o Quilted Northern! Woohoo! Thanks to all for participating!

C is for Cutie

Last week Hal took Archer to the store with a recipe for candy cane cookies he'd just torn from a magazine, a similar recipe, he said, to the one his mother used to make for him. Hal is the resident baker in our household as I am afraid of baking anything other than potatoes and have a phobia of recipes that require measuring cups. And mixers. And extract. Hal in the past has made all homemade cakes and cookies with the kids and I love him for it. Even when they explode and the frosting script is illegible. The greatest cake I ever did eat was the birthday cake Hal made for my 25th birthday. It caved in and was in a billion crumbs when he served me a slice. It was the sexiest thing I ever did see. I devoured my giant piece of cake before stripping down to my tassels.

The boys returned from the store with their hands full of ingredients including neon food coloring, which seemed to them a lot more interesting than your typical primary color whatever. Hal started from scratch, as he does, with Archer holding the measuring cups, them together mixing, rolling, baking.... and once again turned out the most amazing cookies I'd ever seen. Seriously genius. And I'm not just saying that.

"These are the COOLEST cookies I've ever seen!"


They did not look anything like the picture in the magazine. (They never do. That would be boring.) Nor did they taste anything like I expected they would (Ditto the above). To be honest the cookies were kind of terrible. They tasted like peppermint-flavored Play-Doh. We devoured them anyway. Even I couldn't get enough. Because somehow, even in their terribleness, they were the most amazingly delicious cookies I had ever had and I couldn't. Stop. Eating them. I couldn't stop!
Later on, after nursing my peppermint-play-doh stomachache, I totes busted out the tassels.

"You really liked my cookies, eh?"

"Not really. I sure do like like you, though..."


Wednesday, Various o'clocks, Legoland

On Wednesday I took the kids to Legoland. My friend, Meredith had a bunch of free passes so she invited me and the kids as well as my parents (Hal was still in LA working until Wednesday night. Sad face. Bummertime) to meet up with her and her boys for a day of delightful awesome. And it absolutely was. Thanks, Mere. We love you.


Eat Well: Six Days of Pumpkin

The following post was written by my mom, WWW. Thanks, mom!
pumpkin + coconut bread = me shoveling the stuff into my mouth as I edit this post - GGC

“Mom, Have you ever bought a fairytale pumpkin?” Rebecca asked me on Halloween.


She pointed to the buckskin colored Jack-o-lantern resembling Cinderella’s coach carved on her stoop and I gasped with delight. “Wow,” I gushed. “How beautiful it is.”

I had a vague recollection of seeing these pumpkins in the store, but I had never bought one nor did I know anything about them. The next thing I knew she was off to the store, soon to return with another large fairytale pumpkin.

“For you,” she said, handing me the fake looking pumpkin.

“Oh thank you, dear. But today is Halloween. Should we carve it now?”

“No, silly. I thought you might want to COOK with it. While Archer and I were carving ours, I happened to taste the raw pumpkin and it was AMAZING!! Sweet!! Delicious!”

After the Halloween festivities, I brought the pumpkin home, belted in the back seat of my car, and set it on our bar in the family room. Every day I stared at it. Every day I wondered what to do with it, whether I should cook it or just enjoy its beauty. It brought back lots of lovely memories of fairytales and make-believe and, between you and me, I almost could see it on wheels with mice for coachmen. But Rebecca had told me how delicious hers tasted and I was really curious to try it. Finally, last week, I couldn’t stand the suspense any longer and cut it open.

Usually when you open a pumpkin, most of its volume is made of air surrounded by a thin shell of meat. But I found that the fairytale pumpkins are different. They have a very small hollow area and thick sides, more like an acorn squash, so that one pumpkin gives you a lot of pumpkin meat, and by a lot, I mean A LOT. The bright orange flesh (the color of a yam) begged me to try it and as Rebecca told me, it was delicious raw…sweet like sugar and tasted more like a butternut squash than pumpkin. By the time I cut up the entire thing, I had pumpkin everywhere in my kitchen. “Now what am I going to do with all this pumpkin?”

Six days later I had made the following: 2 batches of pumpkin soup, four servings of roasted pumpkin with caramelized onions (cassolita), roasted pumpkin with other root vegetables, two huge loaves of pumpkin bread, two pumpkin pies, and 2 pans of plump pumpkin enchiladas. All of this with ONE PUMPKIN costing $4!! And although I felt like the pumpkin was multiplying in the kitchen and could never be used up, after I had made all of this I thought to myself, what a waste to take these guys and use them for Jack-o-lanterns! Not only that, fairytale pumpkins, it turns out, are the SWEETEST and tastiest squash you can eat.
Their true name is Musque de Provence and, as the name suggests, they’re originally from France. On the outside, they look like they were carved out of wood, but inside of them is an orgy of orange flesh, succulent and delicious. You might be able to still find some at farmer’s markets but pumpkins in grocery stores, unfortunately, have disappeared. (Has anyone else ever wondered where they are whisked off to after Halloween? Pumpkin cemeteries? Pumpkin factories? Pumpkin heaven?) If you can’t find one, grow one next summer—my research shows they are easy to grow—or wait until October and they’ll be everywhere. Buy a couple in early October and cook up the meat, freezing the raw pumpkin or cooked puree for future pies, breads, or main dish meals.

When preparing fresh pumpkin for recipes that call for a puree, either mash with a potato masher and then mash again in a sieve to get rid of excess water, or process in a food processor and then drain in a sieve. Let stand for a half hour, or quicken the process by pushing the pumpkin down with a fork or masher.

Here is my week of pumpkin recipes for you to enjoy:

Day 1: I substituted pumpkin (for squash) in my Squash-Apple Soup
cut pumpkin for soup!

(I made a double batch and froze the extra for future meals)

Day 3: Roasted pumpkin, potatoes, parsnips, and carrots with olive oil and salt and pepper

Day 4: Pumpkin pie
(I made two and froze them before cooking them—used the Libby’s canned pumpkin recipe added less sugar because this pumpkin is SWEET!!)

Day 5: Pumpkin Coconut bread (see recipe below)

Day 6: Pumpkin Enchiladas with Mole Sauce (see recipe below)


Pumpkin Enchiladas with Mole Sauce
(I used the mole sauce recipe from February 1998’s Bon Appetit’s Chicken and Green Olive Enchiladas and then made up my own recipe for the pumpkin filling.)
8 tablespoons (about) olive oil
1 cups finely chopped onions
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons hot Mexican-style chili powder (or a milder chili powder if you wish)
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 ounce semisweet chocolate

3-4 cups cooked pumpkin, roasted, peeled, mashed and drained in a sieve
1 ear fresh corn on the cob, kernels removed, or 1 cup frozen corn
¾ cup cooked black beans
4 T fresh cilantro

16 5- to 6-inch corn tortillas
1 pound Monterey Jack cheese, coarsely grated (about 4 1/2 cups)

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic, oregano, cumin and cinnamon.
Cover. Cook until onion is almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Mix in chili powder and flour; stir 3 minutes.

Gradually whisk in 4 1/2 cups broth. Increase heat to medium-high. Boil until reduced to 3 cups, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes.
Remove from heat. Whisk in chocolate; season with salt and pepper. Cool.
Roasted pumpkin
Peel and mash roasted pumpkin with a potato masher.
Put in a sieve and mash some more.
Let sit to drain out excess water. When drained, add corn, beans and chopped cilantro. Mix well.
Heat 3 tablespoon oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tortilla and cook until just pliable, about 20 seconds per side.
Transfer to paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tortillas, adding oil as needed.

Spread 1/3 cup sauce in each of two 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dishes. Lay tortilla in sauce. Spoon 3 T cheese on each tortilla. Add ¼ cup of pumpkin mix and a little sauce on top. Roll up tortillas.
Arrange seam side down in prepared dishes. Repeat with remaining tortillas. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover sauce and enchiladas separately; chill.)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Top enchiladas with remaining sauce, then sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Cover with foil; bake 20 minutes (30 minutes if chilled). Remove foil and bake until sauce bubbles, about 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes.... and SERVE!
These are WAY yummy - GGC


I got this recipe from my friend, Mary. It makes 2 large loafs so you can freeze one for later.

Coconut Walnut Pumpkin Bread

3 ½ cups four
2 cups brown sugar (I put ½ cups because this pumpkin is so sweet)
½ cup sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1 ½ tsp
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup milk or coconut milk
4 large eggs
1 ¼ cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and dust with flour two 8”x4” loaf pans. Sift into a large bowl the flour, brown sugar, sugar, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. (note…I didn’t sift…I just mixed well with a fork). In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, oil, milk and eggs. Stir pumpkin mixture into dry ingredients, mixing only to combine. Fold in coconut and walnuts. Divide batter between the two prepared pans. Bake at 350 until top of bread springs back when pressed gently and a tester inserted in bread’s center comes out clean (50 minutes- 1 hour). Allow bread to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out of pans. Allow bread to cool completely on a wire rack.
GGC here again. This is what right now looks like. Yum!


Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Much love, laughter & light!



Fable's dandelion

The following track/video was sent to me by a reader named Jeni. (Thank you so much, Jeni!) It's a beautiful song (one I'd never heard before Jeni sent it along a few weeks back) and has quickly become one of my all-time faves. In fact, this band is blowing my mind across the board. You can hear/see more of them here and here, here and here. Gorgeous, I do declare.

Take it away, boys and girl!

"Momma once told me
You’re already home where you feel love..."

75. Lost in my Mind by: The Head and the Heart


What a Trip

convertibles are windy
Before I had kids I got away often. Weekends, weeks, months, even. Because that's what you do when you're single. You get in the car and drive or hop on a train or an airplane and live in London for six-months, crash on the floors of friends of friends in Paris for the summer. You buy tickets with your last five-hundred bucks and worry about the consequences later. You go out and don't come home for three days. You sleep in the car on the side of the road with seats extended back.

"Those were the days," it's so easy to say. But those weren't THE days, they were just different ones.

I recently met a guy at a bar who told me he never wanted to have kids because he never wanted to stop "moving around." He liked to travel, he said. He needed to travel. He liked to be his own person, take care of himself without feeling obligated or responsible for anyone's life but his own. He didn't want to settle down. I totally got it- some of those feelings never change. Sometimes knowing you're responsible for the well-being of little lives is so overwhelming it paralyzes. Still, his assumptions weren't entirely true.

"You can still get the hell out of dodge, you just can't do so spontaneously..."

My girlfriends and I had been planning our Vegas getaway for months, ever since my friend Dana won a gift certificate to Las Vegas at an office party. We joked about renting a convertible for weeks before we thought, "fuck it! Why don't we?" It wasn't exactly the '66 thunderbird we had in mind but close enough.
top down '<span class=
And even though it took about fifty miles for our Thelma and Louise "throw caution (and headscarves) to the wind" fantasy to become a "this sucks! my hair's a mess and I'm freezing!" reality, it was still well worth the $60 bucks a head to rent the car.

I started packing the weekend before I left. All three of us did. Twelve pairs of shoes between three girls for one night of dancing. You never know, you see. You never do know.

Six hours and three pit-stops later we landed at our suite where we unloaded bags of clothes and danced around in each other's scarves. We ordered champagne and painted our nails against the backs of magazines with ipod's shuffling. Did each other's makeup, hair.

We talked about our past experiences in Vegas, about exes and sexes, about the various Palm Springs adventures that Dani and Dana had taken over the past few months - rented houses for pool parties with friends, the trip Dana would be taking the following weekend. All their non-parent non-married-life stories of wild weekends and travel and rocking-out-life-career-kick-ass-awesome.

In the past I would have been jealous, quietly envious of their adventures and having to miss out on them. But not this time. Last weekend was totally enough and I enjoyed the hell out of every minute of our time together; hitting the sheets at 5am, smoke damaged, still vibrating from the "unce-unce" of the dance floor, our voices hoarse from screaming "Tiny Dancer" into the microphone of the Karaoke dive we crashed after-hours, my grilled-cheese breakfast at 2pm, the drive...

Not twenty-four hours after arriving in Vegas, we turned around, headed home, and as we did I thought back to the dude at the bar and how there was a time, when like him, I would have been sad to go home.

I don't feel that way at all anymore.

Not even close.


Sequined pants are an occasional must. So are convertibles. And old friends willing to plan new trips two months in advance.
let the <span class=
windy bitches
windblown and loving it...
mad <span class=
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<span class=
Thanks for the memories, <span class=
."These are the days."
the head loves having the top down