Help! I can't get rid of toys.


...I grew up believing my toys were living things. I was a quiet kid who spent her childhood collecting snails and having tea parties with stuffed animals and toys. I spent a great deal of my youth taking every one of my beloved toys to bed with me out of fear that one (or many) of them would feel left out. I had hammocks hanging in all corners of my bedrooms keeping stuffed animals safe and sound... and together... with friends and family.

I think my mom finally got rid of all my stuffed animals when I moved out, but she certainly didn't tell me about it because had I KNOWN, I would have been LIVID. Even now I can't help but wonder where my giant stuffed unicorn went... the one with the gold horn and the matching hooves... And is she happy there? Is she happy...?

I took the words I read in The Velveteen Rabbit to heart in those days, and I guess I never really grew out of the mindset I had as a little girl. I never stopped believing that the skin horse was right about the velveteen rabbit (and all things) when he said:

"Real isn't how you are made... It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.... It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby... once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always.” 
Eating with my crew, 1985 

Anyway, I BELIEVED this to be VERY true. I still have my most beloved "Woolfie" and "Mousie" here at the house because I loved their fur clear off and there is but one eye left between them and you could not pay me to get rid of them. They are living things to me. And while many of the toys in my house have never been loved that much, I feel the need to treat them all with respect? As a result, my house is overflowing with toys we absolutely do not need anymore, ahem...
...You can read my entire post, here...


My kids were off on Spring Break last week and we spent our time, as we always do, at my childhood home in Encinitas. This time, though, we had an extra -- my cousin, Emma, who was in town and stayed with my parents... with all of us, for the better half of the week.

Emma brought her guitar and every night before bed, came into the twins' room as I was lying down with them and played this song for them. For us. 

...And I cried because, I couldn't help it. Because her voice was so beautiful and the lyrics walloped me as I lay huddled between my girls in the darkness...

Oh my Mama
She gave me these feathered breaths
Oh my Mama
She told me use your voice, 
My little bird

She said sing sing sing sing sing sing melodies
And she sang sang sang sang sang sang melodies

Oh my Mama
She did give me fancy feet
I'll be dancing on
And I'll tap tap tap my toes
Into those creaking floorboards

Oh my Mama
She took my little hand and held on tight
Oh the Mamas
Give the waters of their wells
Oh the Mamas
Give the babies this very dirt we're walking on
Oh my Mama
She gave me these feathered breaths
And your Mama
She gave you those feathered breaths too

And when the sky drops all those feathers
And when the birds sing in the morning
I'll be a mama
I'll have a daughter
I'll be a mama
I'll have a daughter

And I'll give her melodies
I'll give her melodies

And she'll be
My little bird
And then she'll fly
She'll fly

...Because curled up between my little girls I felt like one, too. A mama, too, but also... like someone's little bird. 

I told Emma, before she left, that I wished we could bring her with us... to sing for us before bed and hike with us through flower fields and teach us how to climb rocks in our favorite dresses...
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Alas, she had to back to college and her life and continue on her path to world-domination. But this song reminds me of her. And the feeling that I get sometimes when I realize that just because I'm a mother doesn't mean I'm not also a child...

Because all mothers are...

Because sometimes we need lullabies, too.

Thanks for all the beautiful songs, Emma. We love you. 


269. Oh my mama by: Alela Diane

4 Reasons Why Schoola rules

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The following post is sponsored by schoola and their consignment for a cause. Thanks, schoola!
IMG_1499 one dress = two ways because day turns to night... 

First of all, how cute is this dress (pictured above). I got it on schoola, which, for those who are not yet aware of the awesome that is consignment with a cause, BEHOLD -- YOUR NEW FAVORITE PLACE TO SHOP/donate gently warn clothes to benefit your child's school and/or Malala Fund.

Which brings me to reason #1 why schoola rules:

1. Shopping Consignment is THE BEST

My love of consignment knows no bounds. 90% of my clothes were purchased at resale stores. Same goes for my kids who, when they're not wearing hand-me-downs, wear clothes purchased through buy/sell/trade at local consignment stores or online. Some of my most prized sartorial possessions lived many lives on many bodies before reaching mine, so when schoola approached me to partner for this post, I was like, OH HELLLLLLLLO. Because I was very much feeling like the time had come to trim the wardrobe.

My favorite LBD (which, isn't really LITTLE so much as its classic and comfortable and SUPER versatile for day to night living, which for me, is very casual these days) is a schoola find and I heart eye it so much. 
IMG_1370 dress -  schoola
necklace - the didi jewelry project
boots - rag & bone
IMG_1541 dress - schoola
vest - gap flannel - old navy
glasses - dolce & gabanna
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ED: When it comes to consignment, my shopping tips are twofold:

- Black is the new Black: you will NEVER lose when purchasing black dresses, pants and tops from consignment shops. Here's onetotally dig:
- Go big or go home: I'm all about the LOUD pieces when I'm shopping consignment. For example, this TUCKER dress, which I own in a different print and adore:
This is also something I will buy if you don't:
This is lovely, too. Very MSCL when paired with a flannel and some docs:
And this, which may be ideal for the Spring wedding you are attending next month:
....As for kids, there are no rules, especially when your kids pick out their own clothes. I don't even bother trying anymore. Those days are LONG gone. 

My twins picked the below outfits from the schoola website but there are HUNDREDS of items out there waiting to be resold and reworn in grass and trees. 
IMG_0970 2. Schoola makes it easy to CLEAN OUT YOUR CLOSET FOR A CAUSE:

Whether you're looking to donate clothes to raise money for your school (or ANY school) and/or benefit Malala Fund, schoola makes it easy for kids AND adults to clean out their/our closets to benefit schools and/or Malala Fund. (40% of the proceeds go directly to schools in order to help fund music, art, field trips and physical education.) FINALLY you have a reason to get rid of all of those things you never wear...  YOU HAVE A REALLY GOOD REASON!
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Simply choose which school you want your clothing sales to benefit, mark the school on your envelope and that's a wrap! 
ED: My kids chose their school to benefit because "we want to help our school have more art and music..."

Which brings me to...

3. Schoola is a GREAT way to involve kids in charitable giving
IMG_1568 IMG_1390
Revi helped me go through her entire closet to find items to benefit Malala Fund. We discussed what I was working on, why I was working on it, and why collecting clothing was actually helping others. She even went through MY closet and selected all sorts of items I was willing to part with/not willing to part with quite yet...
IMG_1573 IMG_1572 IMG_1450
Other ways to involve kids: showing them how to start a school drive to benefit their school! I LOVE the idea that kids can get involved in school fundraising in a way that doesn't include door to door solicitation (the worst). Starting a schoola school drive is EASY and FUN and non-confrontational. Awesome. 
4. Donating is easy. AND FREE! 
All you need is a pile of clothes ready to donate and the pre-paid envelopes in which to send. (Go here and here to request for donations bags!) Drop them at your nearest post office and VOILA! DONE DONATED. And the shopping? Even easier... 
To find out more about schoola's shop-for-a-cause program, go here. And thanks again to schoola for sponsoring this post.

Schoola is offering $50 in schoola credit to 5 readers. To win? Share your favorite school memory using the hashtag, #WhyISchoola on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Let us know how your experiences with art, drama, tech, music, PE, sports and/or field trips enriched your childhood and helped shape you as an adult. What do you hope for current and future generations to be able to enjoy in schools? Contest ends April 1st, 2016. Good luck! 
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Eat Well: BYOBrunch

The following post was written by my mom, WWW and was originally published a million years ago.  Thanks, Mom!
Easter means brunch in the garden to me because that is how our family has always celebrated it. For years, we went to my grandparent’s house, owned since the early 1980’s by my late brother-in-law’s family. My mother always made her famous macaroni and cheese to accompany the meat-centric menu of ribs, ham, and turkey. When David was young, he dreamed of his Nana’s mac and cheese, counting down the days to Easter in anticipation (I think he preferred it to the Easter candy!) This is a very rich and high fat dish—not really a recipe for this “Eat Well” blog, but I am including it at the end for the sake of tradition.

These days we celebrate in my mother’s spectacular garden where the children hunt for dyed eggs nestled between Madeira geraniums and nasturtiums.

Watching my grandchildren squeal with delight at discovering a brightly colored egg reminds me of the thrill I got 50 years ago, hunting for eggs in this same garden. After the hunt, we gather at the long picnic table under the rose covered pergola for our new traditional menu of challah French toast with Vermont maple syrup, fresh berries, freshly squeezed orange juice, and quiche. This is a gluten rich meal, so this year I will be making a crustless quiche for Rachel and me. The challah French toast? Not so easy. There are no gluten free breads that can match the light and airy consistency of this delectable bread.

Challah French Toast
1 large loaf challah
2½ cups milk, vanilla soymilk, rice milk, or almond milk
6 eggs, beaten well
1 teaspoon vanilla (if using plain milk)

Slice challah into thick slices (about ¾-1 inch).
Beat eggs well and beat in milk. Add vanilla (unless you are using a vanilla milk substitute). Lay challah slices out in a large shallow dish (or several dishes). Pour milk and egg mixture over the challah, turning the slices over a couple of time to make sure they are evenly placed in the liquid.
Let sit for 5 minutes. Flip the slices over and let steep in the liquid until it is absorbed (about 10 minutes more).
Heat a well-buttered griddle or large frying pan on medium heat until sizzling hot. Fry the French toast on both sides until golden brown
(make sure they are cooked through…they will begin to puff up). Put in a low oven to keep warm (200 degrees) until all French toast is done. Serve with real maple syrup, berries, and yoghurt and or cinnamon if desired (vanilla yoghurt is yummy on this!) Makes about 12 pieces of French toast.
topped with fresh fruit, yogurt and syrup. delish!


Most quiche recipes call for cream or half and half. I don’t like using either of these as they are too rich for me, but if you use regular milk, the quiche doesn’t set as well. I have discovered that goat milk is a little thicker and when used in a quiche, sets beautifully. You can also use soymilk or other milk substitutes…just make sure they are PLAIN and unsweetened.

(makes one large or two small quiches)
1 homemade piecrust for a 9 inch pie or 2 bought (I like these ones)
4 large eggs
2 cups milk or unsweetened milk substitute (I use goat milk)
¼ t salt
a little grated nutmeg (optional)

If homemade piecrust, roll into pie pan, prick all over, and cook in preheated 425 oven until golden brown, about 12 minutes. If using bought piecrust, cook according to directions on package.

Beat the eggs and milk together and pour over filling of your choice into cooked and cooled piecrust.

Cook quiche at 375 for 40 minutes or until a knife in the center comes out clean.

My favorite quiche fillings:

1. Leak and Spinach (or chard) with cheese (goat, goat cheddar, or feta): Saute sliced leaks in olive oil until tender. Add about a half a pound of spinach and cook until just wilted.
Add leeks and spinach to the bottom of cooked pie shells. Sprinkle cheese on top of vegetables. Pour egg mixture over.
2. Caramelized onions and mushrooms with Gruyere or cheddar cheese (I use goat cheddar): Slice an onion thinly. Cook in olive oil on medium heat until caramelized, about 10-15 minutes. Note: pictures below = without crust/gluten free.
Meanwhile, cook sliced mushrooms (about 12 oz) until brown. Add some fresh herbs if desired (I like thyme with this one). Lay onions and mushrooms in bottom of pie shells. Grate about 6 oz of cheese (more or less if desired) on top. Pour egg mixture over and bake.

To make a gluten free crustless quiche, assemble as above in a well-greased pie pan and cook as directed. (See above! No need for crust!)


And for old times sake...

Nana’s Macaroni and Cheese
(This can be made for an army by doubling, tripling, or quadrupling the recipe).
1 lb LARGE elbow Macaroni
1 quart milk
1 stick butter
1/2 cup white flour
1 lb Extra-Sharp Tillamook cheese
1 lb (maybe a little less) extra-sharp Cracker-Barrel Cheese (for top)

Grate cheese, keeping the two cheeses separate. Melt butter and mix in flour to make a roux. Take off heat and SLOWLY add milk, stirring constantly, so it doesn’t make lumps. Put back on heat and stir on medium high with wooden spoon until it comes to boil. Immediately take off heat and add Tillamook cheese, stirring into the hot sauce.

Meanwhile, cook macaroni until al dente (don’t overcook). Wash with cold water to keep from cooking more. Butter sides and bottom of large baking dish. Add Macaroni to dish and pour sauce over it, stirring well. Sprinkle topping cheese on top. Bake at 425 for about an hour or until it bubbles in the middle and it is brown and crusty on top. Enjoy! 



!!!!!!!!!!!!! Infinity !!!!!!!!!!!!!

"... to us romantics out here that amounts to HIGHHHHHH TREASON..."


268. Left Handed Kisses by Andrew Bird ft Fiona Apple

we cannot shelter our children from the things we want them to stand up to

Depending on how old and how interested in politics your children are, chances are the topic of Donald Trump has come up. And if it hasn't, it probably will. And if it won't,well... you might want to bring it up anyway. Because for the first time in our living history, a PROUD BULLY is winning his party’s presidential nomination. 

Don't get me wrong. I don't understand how anyone could support Cruz, either. His ideas are just as scary (if not scarier) to me than Trump's. But he doesn't deliver them like a frat boy before a hazing.

And surprisingly (but at the same time, not at all surprising at all) a large part of America LOVES that about him. Because he's "tough" and "speaks his mind." Because he knows what it's like to be a rich white person struggling in America? Because bullies make you feel safe when they're your friends.
Bullies make you feel like you can do and say anything without consequences. 

Racist things. 

Sexist things. 

Hateful things. 

Trump is what happens when bullies are rewarded with attention, which is why I think Trump, in all his awfulness, is presenting parents with a FANTASTIC allegory to discuss and dismantle. Like The Emperor's New Clothes in real time. Or Yertle the Turtle with a Combover. 

Trump is a cautionary tale come to life. And I believe the ONLY good we have to gain from his presence is our willingness to discuss WHERE Trump comes from and WHY we must do what we can do to keep hate-built Frankensteins from rising to the top in the future. 

And Trump? Well, he's a child. And it’s VERY easy for a child to understand him because he is no different than the bullies on the elementary school playground. He’s an insecure kid who is acting out violently because he KNOWS he will continue to get attention when he does. 

Kids get that. 

Hell, Archer got that within two seconds of hearing Trump debate for the first time. 

"This guy is more like a toddler than a man." 


...I've always felt it dangerous to teach children to do as I say... Hell, even the idea that all children must respect their elders is bullshit as far as I'm concerned. There are plenty of elders who do not deserve to be respected. There are teachers who get away with treating students like shit. And there are leaders in our nation who do the same. 

Because challenging authority is, in many cases, doing what is right. And Trump is a great example of what happens when the bully emboldens half the playground to join his team. 

...Last week I read the following article about a girl who recorded her teacher saying HIDEOUSLY insulting things to her in class. HE WAS WRONG and she knew it, so she stood up to her bully, even though he was her teacher -- even though she (and every other student) is taught to LISTEN and RESPECT authority figures.

Yeah, except when, NO. 

Just because you're a teacher with tenure doesn't mean you can get away with abusing your students. Just because you're an officer of the law doesn't mean you can get away with shooting people. 

Calling out authority figures for DOING THE WRONG THING isn't just "OKAY," it's IMPERATIVE. 

And our children should know that. They should know that growing up doesn't absolve a person -- or group of people -- of childish behavior. That children have just as much a right as anyone to challenge authority -- to call out bully behavior whether it's from a peer at school, a teacher, or a presidential candidate.
...Trump is representative of what our country has ALWAYS tried to hide about itself -- its systemic racism, classism, sexism, thirst for violence. He is, in a way, releasing all of the skeletons America has in its closet. Trump forces us to look in the mirror and to face our shit head on. ALL OF US. Children, included. Because when we don't include our kids in the global conversation, we are saying that their voices don't matter -- that their opinions aren't valid -- that they don't have control to make change. 

And they do.