This Page

has been moved to new address

Fairly Odd Mother

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
body { background:#fff url("") 50% 0; margin:0; padding:0 10px; text-align:center; font:x-small Verdana,Arial,Sans-serif; color:#333; font-size/* */:/**/small; font-size: /**/small; } /* Page Structure ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { #content { background:url("") no-repeat 250px 50px; width:700px; margin:0 auto; padding:50px 0; text-align:left; } #main { width:450px; float:right; padding:50px 0 20px; font-size:85%; } #main2 { background:url("") -100px -100px; padding:20px 10px 15px; } #sidebar { width:200px; float:left; font-size:85%; padding-bottom:20px; } #sidebar2 { background:url("") 150px -50px; padding:5px 10px 15px; width:200px; width/* */:/**/180px; width: /**/180px; } } @media handheld { #content { width:90%; } #main { width:100%; float:none; } #sidebar { width:100%; float:none; } #sidebar2 { width:100%; } } html>body #main, html>body #sidebar { /* We only give this fade from white to nothing to browsers that can handle 24-bit transparent PNGs */ background/* */:/**/url("") repeat-x left bottom; } /* Title & Description ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { #blog-title { margin:0 0 .5em; font:250%/1.4em Georgia,Serif; color:#353; } #blog-title a { color:#353; text-decoration:none; } #description { margin:0 0 1.75em; color:#996; } #blog-mobile-title { display:none; } #description-mobile { display:none; } } @media handheld { #blog-title { display:none; } #description { display:none; } #blog-mobile-title { display:block; margin:0 0 .5em; font:250%/1.4em Georgia,Serif; color:#353; } #blog-mobile-title a { color:#353; text-decoration:none; } #description-mobile { display:block; margin:0 0 1.75em; color:#996; } } /* Links ----------------------------------------------- */ a:link { color:#488; } a:visited { color:#885; } a:hover { color:#000; } a img { border-width:0; } /* Posts ----------------------------------------------- */ .date-header { margin:0 0 .75em; padding-bottom:.35em; border-bottom:1px dotted #9b9; font:95%/1.4em Georgia,Serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.3em; color:#663; } .post { margin:0 0 2.5em; line-height:1.6em; } .post-title { margin:.25em 0; font:bold 130%/1.4em Georgia,Serif; color:#333; } .post-title a, .post-title strong { background:url("") no-repeat 0 .25em; display:block; color:#333; text-decoration:none; padding:0 0 1px 45px; } .post-title a:hover { color:#000; } .post p { margin:0 0 .75em; } { margin:0; text-align:right; } em { display:block; float:left; text-align:left; font-style:normal; color:#996; } a.comment-link { /* IE5.0/Win doesn't apply padding to inline elements, so we hide these two declarations from it */ background/* */:/**/url("") no-repeat 0 .25em; padding-left:15px; } html>body a.comment-link { /* Respecified, for IE5/Mac's benefit */ background:url("") no-repeat 0 .25em; padding-left:15px; } .post img { margin:0 0 5px 0; padding:4px; border:1px solid #cca; } /* Comments ----------------------------------------------- */ #comments { margin:0; } #comments h4 { margin:0 0 10px; border-top:1px dotted #9b9; padding-top:.5em; font:bold 110%/1.4em Georgia,Serif; color:#333; } #comments-block { line-height:1.6em; } .comment-poster { background:url("") no-repeat 2px .35em; margin:.5em 0 0; padding:0 0 0 20px; font-weight:bold; } .comment-body { margin:0; padding:0 0 0 20px; } .comment-body p { margin:0 0 .5em; } .comment-timestamp { margin:0 0 .5em; padding:0 0 .75em 20px; color:#996; } .comment-timestamp a:link { color:#996; } .deleted-comment { font-style:italic; color:gray; } .paging-control-container { float: right; margin: 0px 6px 0px 0px; font-size: 80%; } .unneeded-paging-control { visibility: hidden; } /* More Sidebar Content ----------------------------------------------- */ .sidebar-title { margin:2em 0 .75em; padding-bottom:.35em; border-bottom:1px dotted #9b9; font:95%/1.4em Georgia,Serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.3em; color:#663; } #sidebar p { margin:0 0 .75em; line-height:1.6em; } #sidebar ul { margin:.5em 0 1em; padding:0 0px; list-style:none; line-height:1.5em; } #sidebar ul li { background:url("") no-repeat 3px .45em; margin:0; padding:0 0 5px 15px; } #sidebar p { margin:0 0 .6em; } /* Profile ----------------------------------------------- */ .profile-datablock { margin:0 0 1em; } .profile-img { display:inline; } .profile-img img { float:left; margin:0 8px 5px 0; border:4px solid #cc9; } .profile-data { margin:0; line-height:1.5em; } .profile-data strong { display:block; } .profile-textblock { clear:left; } /* Footer ----------------------------------------------- */ #footer { clear:both; padding:15px 0 0; } #footer hr { display:none; } #footer p { margin:0; } /* Feeds ----------------------------------------------- */ #blogfeeds { } #postfeeds { padding-left: 20px }

Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Having my baby

Oops, did you think I meant a BABY baby? Oh, mais non.

I mean we're finally redoing our kitchen. My other baby.

Those who are home a lot may share my obsession with the kitchen, the "heart" of the house. The first day we saw it, I thought: "Not. My. Style."

But, redoing it was "Not. In. Our. Budget." So, I learned to overlook the wallpaper, the cabinets, the countertop, the ceiling fan. FOR OVER TEN YEARS.


mmmmmm. . .wallpaper border

But, I could not "overlook" the dishwasher that stopped working this spring. Or, the crappy stove whose lights stayed on even when it was off and whose oven door wouldn't shut all the way (making baking in July SO MUCH FUN!).


The cursed stove. And the painted, yes painted, faux tile.

I couldn't overlook the recessed lights that were dark and unfixable, making our north-facing kitchen even gloomier than usual in the winter.


Look how much light that blackened hole gives off! Don't be fooled by the camera flash.

So we have saved and budgeted and crossed our fingers and taken the plunge.
Don't worry: The little boy below? We're keeping him.


See that smile? He knows he will be eating out a lot in the next few weeks.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

When is a homeschooler not a homeschooler?

I live in Massachusetts which, in homeschooling terms, is an "approval state". This means that the calendar year your child turns six, you must send a "Letter of Intent to Homeschool" to your local school department. I then send my Lesson Plan for the year to the school district and, at the end of the year, send a Progress Report.

We now have a "new" way of doing things which has some people shook up a bit, while others are breathing a sigh of relief. It is a "Virtual Public School" and the first one just started up in this state this school year.

By joining this Virtual School, I would sign my kids up with the Greenfield (MA) School District which is actually more than two hours away on the other side of the state. My town would send this school a check for the amount in taxes they would use if he/she was in the town's school system (I've read it's about $3,000 per child, but don't quote me).

In exchange, I would receive a computer (don't get too excited; I've heard they are a bit old and creaky) and a complete curriculum from K-12. Oh and a teacher would be assigned to my child, and I would no longer call myself teacher but "Learning Coach" (oy, schoolspeak).

The other biggie is that my kids would be required to take the MCAS which is our mandatory standardized achievement tests.

Even with the evil MCAS, I have to admit my interest has been piqued. We now pay $20 a month for one of my children to do two subjects online. I have spent countless dollars on curriculum, some of it which I never use because I don't understand it, don't make time for it, or forget I have it (seriously).

But the initial reports I heard about the virtual public school were full of alarming details: Teachers will check your work daily! You can never miss a day! No flexibility! Six hours of busy work a day!!!!! (subtext: Your children will hate you, you will become a frumpy nervous mess and your house will start to smell!)

So, I've been asking around, reading the message boards, looking at the website. It's not like Massachusetts is doing something totally new: My very good friend does a virtual school in California and one of my fave online homeschoolers does it in Canada.

And what I'm hearing right now is pretty interesting. There seems to be some flexibility in curriculum if the school agrees that what you are using meets their standards. You can tweak your schedule around a bit so that you can take a field trip one day, or just have a needed "sanity day". The teachers are available but not hovering and checking every last thing.

The one thing that irks me is that there seems to be some quibbling over what to call these new Virtual School students. Are they homeschoolers? Public Schoolers? Traitors to the cause?

Really? Give me a break. I don't care if you teach your kid math by counting the chicken eggs they collect in the morning, or if they run off every Friday night to a paid Russian Math class for two hours, or if they are enrolled in a public school curriculum two hours away: A kid who does most of their work at home, is a homeschooler.

Agree? Disagree? Feel free to discuss, but if you get nasty in the comments, I'm coming after you with my metal ruler. I am still the teacher after all.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


There is a Twitter stream going on today where people "thank a blogger": Those people who made a difference in their lives, either online or off (and sometimes both). I'm not sure how it started, but it's pretty cool to read the Tweets.

I'm having one of those weeks where it'd be so easy to just pass this one by with a "sorry, too busy. . .", but I have a moment of quiet and wanted to join the chorus of voices.

First, I'd like to thank every one who has ever stopped by and left a comment (yes, even you Anonymous). I'd have a hard time doing this blog without your feedback, and I still say a silent "yay!" when I see that I have a comment to read.

And, I'd like to thank Liz, my friend and now my boss, who got me interested in blogging and then asked me to write a review. That one review snowballed and now I am part of something so much bigger than I ever expected. Thanks Liz!

I'd like to thank my homeschooling blogging friends: the hilarious Nancy (who I'd link to but I think she's still "underground"---I first met her as Alpha Dogma and am so happy I found her new digs), the inspiring Jessica, the veteran, super helpful Karen, the compassionate Beck, the friendly Tracey, the supportive Deb. And to newbie homeschooler (though homeschooled herself) and new mom to baby #4, Kristen, thank you for your kind words and for listening to my advice!

I also want to send a hug to Summer, who I somehow lost when she changed blogs and is going through a really tough time. May things get so much better for you soon.

Thank you to Robin, who has been around for so long, always encouraging and wonderful. Same goes to Issa, my friend with the kind heart.

Thank you to the many amazing Shredheads who have supported me when I was trying to get into shape (and who will hopefully still be there when I decide to try again). Bill, you deserve a big thank you for being such a great, supportive motivator.

And, many thanks to my "Boston" blogging family who I love to see at the local events: Tania, Roxanna, Christine, Christine (we go way back!), Sarah, the power trio of Jane, Audrey & Sharon, Velma and so many others. You help me take this abstract "out there" world and bring it closer to home.

Before I go: I know I forgot you; I'm sorry! I'm getting tired! So let me send the last thank you to all of the bloggers who try to support and befriend instead of tear down and belittle. There is so much ugly in the world, I'm glad to have found people who are trying, in their own way, to make things better for us all.

Labels: ,

Friday, October 15, 2010

This Real Housewife of Jerseylicious

I started the day off like this:


And then I saw Jenny, The Bloggess and thought Oooooooooooo! A time-waster!


And now, oh noes, I look like Kim!

I'm going to start calling John "Big Papa".

Check out Jerseylicious and unleash your inner Snookie.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The good ol' days may have sucked

Last week, we went on a field trip a one-room schoolhouse that was opened in the mid-1800's.

The kids had loads of fun dressing up, pretending to attend school and even playing games like "hit the hoop with a stick".




As bucolic as it all looks, I think they got the gist of what life really was like: Getting up at 5am to help with chores, walking 2 miles to school, getting brought out to the "woodshed" by the superintendent if the teacher was mad at you.

Oh, and the privvy:


It's darrrrrk in there. . .

But, if they have any doubts about what life was like just over a hundred years ago, they just need to look at this class photo:


Phew. I think this was before Smile and say cheese! was invented.

Labels: ,

Friday, October 08, 2010

Let's go shopping!

(check out the giveaway at the end!)

I usually avoid taking the kids clothes shopping like the plague: Isn't that why online shopping exists?

But Thursday, I brought the three kids to check out the new OshKosh B'gosh store opening not too far from where I live.

Why? To see these people:


I also went because my oldest has been lamenting she has nooooooo clothes. And when I switched her bureau from "warm-weather clothes" to "cold-weather clothes", I found out that she wasn't kidding. One shirt. No pajamas.

We call this "restocking"

I didn't forget my other bambinos. They got stuff too. Though they were too busy making faces in the fun-house mirror next to the changing room.


OK, so I did too:


Fun-house mirrors add 10 pounds to your hips. And to the top of your head.

Admittedly, I had no idea what OshKosh clothing looks like. . . it just hasn't been on my radar screen. I'd now described it as easy-going, every-dear wearable clothes for kids that are somewhere between affordable and "Oh-My-This-Is-Only-How-Much?Give-Me-Two."


And check out this little guy! If only my six year old wasn't past the age of letting his mother dress him in cartoon reindeer. Sigh.


Holy Overalls! Too cute for those little half-pints out there.

In the end, we left with four shirts, three sets of pajamas, a button-down shirt and a pair of gray boys' pants for about $120; OshKosh kindly gave us bloggers $50 gift cards* when we entered the store, surprise!, so my total was even lower.

The prices are great, just make sure you pay attention to the many signs that list what the discounts are (percentage off vs buy-one-get-one; if I had paid attention, my shopping bag could have included an additional set of pajamas for the same price). Most of the discounts I saw on the signs were upwards of 40% off, so get ready to do some calculating!

I was also given a $25 gift card to give away to one of you. It can be used at any OshKosh B'gosh store, or online, so no need to live in my area. I'll select one reader randomly to get the gift card---just leave a comment below and let me know the one thing you saw on the OshKosh B'Gosh website that you'd love to get for your child. (CONTEST IS CLOSED: Congratulations to Commenter #4, Mami2jcn, for winning the gift card!)

*OshKosh B'gosh gave all invited guests a $50 gift card for spending and a $25 gift card to give away, as a thank you for coming to the store. No post was promised, nor did I even know we were getting a gift card before we agreed to attend.


Greater Boston area peeps, listen up! Visit the new OshKosh B'Gosh store opening event in Braintree's South Shore Plaza tomorrow, Saturday, October 9th between 11am - 2pm. Bring a pair of your child's outgrown, gently-worn jeans or overalls and get a new pair for only $7! This Denim Drive benefits Cradles to Crayons. And your wallet.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: How to teach really confusing history

Do you remember in the mid-1800's when Russia and Great Britain fought to get control of Afghanistan?

Yeah, I had no clue. . .


But now I know that the Playmobil Russians tried to convince the My Little Pony Persians to join together to overthrow the strongman dude in Afghanistan and gain the upper hand against those Star Wars British in India * . . .

*you can read the rest of the story in The Story of the World, Volume 4: The Modern Age, pages 25-29**

**the kids still don't really remember it, a week later, but hopefully some day all this stuff will pay off

Labels: ,

Monday, October 04, 2010

Window Shopping

This post originally ran on New England Mamas. I'm going to be pulling some of my favorite posts over here to keep them all under one "roof". Hope you don't mind the repeat if you've seen this before.


Would you ever consider moving?

Fairly Odd Father (otherwise known as my husband) asked the question casually, having just returned from a week-long conference in North Carolina (
really nice weather!, the people are so friendly!).

I paused before answering in the most passive-aggressive manner possible, saying:
Only if it is for a year, and we don't have to sell the house.

In other words,

I love this little corner of the world we have carved out for ourselves. Our house is neither grand, nor brand new, nor all that unique (colonials being a dime a dozen in New England). But we are surrounded by trees and have the kind of neighbors that make you banish the thought of a fence.

But, even more than our home or neighbors, I feel at home in New England. As autumn starts dipping its toe into our state, I get that familiar feeling of anticipation over the show of colors that will soon be everywhere. Leaves will fall so we can crunch them under our shoes. Apples will ripen so that we can eat them right off the tree. The nights will get cooler so that we can sleep with an extra blanket on the bed.

And, then, with any luck, we'll get snow. I'm not sure why I get so excited about snow, but school cancellations are thrilling to me. I hop on the computer to check the cancellation list like a 15-year-old; this practice is made more peculiar when you realize that I am neither 15, nor in school; in fact, we homeschool so are not affected by the weather.

Fairly Odd Father pointed out that North Carolina has four seasons. . .sort of. Well, no snow, he admitted. To which I said,
and that is good because ? ? ?

(I'm fickle, though. By February, I'm done with the snow; by May, I'm done with rain; by August, I'm done with humidity; and by November, I'm done with all those leaves in our yard).

Name a place and I can tell you why I wouldn't want to leave here for there.

Friends new to Southern California gushed:
We're finding that it's as nice here as everyone says it is! But, the lack of rain (less than an inch in the first half of the year) unnerves me, and there is that lack of snow to liven things up.

Other friends are in Kansas, and I have spent many fun days in Chicago; both may be lovely places to live, but I would need to be flown out to an ocean every few months. Plus, I once lived in the tornado belt and heard that siren enough for a lifetime.

After visiting Portland, Oregon, I thought it came pretty close to an ideal place to live, but it is r-e-a-l-l-y far from my mom and my sister's family, and it seems to rain an awful lot. Love snow, don't love rain.

I've also visited Austin, Seattle, Colorado ski country, San Diego, Washington DC, various parts of Florida and Arizona, New Orleans, New York City, the Jersey Shore, parts of Pennsylvania, Costa Rica, the coasts of Canada, and a bit of Europe. In every place, I see something that helps me to understand why someone would want to live there---either it is lovely weather, great culture, fun people or beautiful scenery (or any combination of these).

But, I keep coming back to my home in Eastern Massachusetts, a place with its own version of lovely weather, plenty of culture and history, people I love, and scenery that can stop me in my tracks.

We have agreed, though, that we would consider moving to a new state if the opportunity arose.

What could get me to leave my town, my state?

Why, it could only be the land of Ben & Jerry's, maple syrup, Burlington, snow and rolling hills: Vermont.

For Vermont, I'd risk it all.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, October 01, 2010

The Fickle Exerciser

I've fallen off the wagon.

For a while this spring, I was running a few times a week and doing The Shred again. I felt pretty damn good about myself.

And then life fell apart for a while in late spring and lay in a crumpled heap until we started to pick up the pieces in late July. Unlike many, I do not exercise when stress levels get too high: I curl up into a ball and weep.

August was better emotionally but a whirlwind of travel and house guests, though I did manage to eek out a few runs and a bike ride. Those runs were exhilarating and amazing while up in the New Hampshire mountains.

I ran a 5k in September. Yes, ran the whole thing, albeit s-l-o-w-l-y. But that is the extent of any formal "exercise" I got.

Now it is October 1. My clothes are a bit tighter but not obscenely so. I feel like doing sit ups, but part of me thinks, "why?"

I have been a short-term exerciser for as long as I can remember. Sometimes "short term" lasts a year, sometimes it lasts a week. But it has never, ever been as routine as brushing my teeth.

I read Bill's post "How Badly Do You Want It?" and came up short. Oh sure, I'd love to look like a marathon runner, or maybe even just a really fit version of myself. But how early am I willing to get up? Am I willing to give up my time working in the morning, or evening, for this? Do I try to fit in a half hour of exercise while the kids are reading or coloring or scattering Legos across my living room?

How badly do I want it?

How badly do you want it? Do you make the time for exercise? How?

Labels: , ,