Monday, December 24, 2012

And that is how it's done...

Remember my Not-Christmas Cookies?

It turns out that this project wasn't new to Zoe. At her daycare last week....they were doing the exact SAME projects! But with much better results...

The woman who takes care of Zoe and two other children during the day has many more years experience than I do when it comes to caring for children and doing all of these crafts. And she had a really good tip for me.

Model Magic Molding Compound! (Click the link below to see on Amazon)

Crayola 57-4415 Model Magic Modeling Compound, 2-lb. Bucket, Asstd Colors, Four 8-oz. Pouches
And here is the link on Crayola's page:

It's light weight and molds easily. Needless to say...after looking at the ones she made, mine went in the trash. And next year I can do this project a LOT better. :)

Check it out:

She also added glitter to her cinnamon ornaments and I really like how she looped her ribbon to hang on the tree.  Better ideas for next year....because I am definitely trying this again for next year. :)

Need any last minute tech advice?  
Head over to Ask the Motherboard today for some last minute holiday tips and gift ideas.

Need a last minute gift idea for me?  Please take a moment to subscribe, like, follow or tweet about Ask the Motherboard.  I would really love some more email subscribers.  Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Not-Christmas Cookies

On Tuesday this week I made plans with a friend to join her and her children in making some Christmas tree ornaments. Our plans were to make salt-dough hand print ornaments and cinnamon ornaments.

These were craft ideas we had found online, through other moms on facebook and pinterest and all those other good, crafty ideas sites. Now, for me, these ideas always sound really great.

But like most of these ideas...they look better on paper than when actually done. :)

You have to picture the scenario...

Two eager moms...three hungry and slightly excited children.
Let's not forget the Labrador who was also hungry and excited.

We decided to start with the cinnamon ornaments. We were hoping we could make hand print ornaments with the cinnamon dough and be done with our project. That didn't work. It takes a LOT of cinnamon and some apple sauce to make these ornaments and we had a mini cloud of cinnamon in the kitchen while mixing the dough.

Of course the house smelled delicious! And even though the ingredients were apple sauce and cinnamon...these are not edible ornaments. Only, they smell like cookies. And they kinda look like cookie dough...and the kids were hungry.

Lucky for us, my friend's husband came home and got some mac and cheese started for the kids because at this point, they were all chanting they were hungry. (Eat! Cracker! More! Cookies!)

The cinnamon dough wasn't the right consistency to make hand print ornaments, so we moved on to the salt dough recipe. Now this recipe worked much better for making hand prints...but they still smelled good..and they still looked like cookies...and the house still smelled like cinnamon. A LOT.

Has anyone tried making these and successfully convinced their toddlers that these are NOT cookies?
Take a look:

Here you go hungry kids...touch these, make a nice neat hand print....and don't eat! haha. :)
Once we tortured them with making hand prints in the sticky dough...that they were not allowed to touch or eat otherwise...we moved on to the cinnamon ornaments.

For these we decided we would just cut with a cookie cutter. And of course through out this ...the kids were right on our tails. And they probably asked us about three times a piece (3 x 3) if they could eat these cookies:
They do look like cookies don't they?
But not edible. (too much cinnamon)

We realized about 3/4 of the way through our progress that if we do this again we should also make real cookies...and maybe make the real cookies first and then move on to these non-edible ornaments.

Of course, we probably could have tried eating them, they just wouldn't have tasted very good. :)

Want the recipes for yourself?
Salt Dough Ornaments:

Cinnamon Ornaments:

I'll be honest...I'm looking at my hand print ornaments...I won't be painting them. (not enough time) And I'm probably not going to seal them. (too lazy and scared of the hobby store this time of year)

But I think the MOST fun part....was hanging out with my friend and having our children play together, can't wait to do it again soon!  (or, um..maybe next year...we can hang out soon, let's just try the ornaments that are not Christmas cookies next year.) :)

Happy Holidays everyone!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Who's Your Daddy? Part two.

Remember when I wrote about Oscar's DNA tests?

No? You can go read about it here:
and here:

I realized the other day that it had been WAY over 21 days and I hadn't heard back from the lab. So I wrote them an email and they got back to me the very next day. It turns out they had my phone number incorrect...and someone else with a very similar phone number as mine got the "results" phone call. They must have been so confused! :)

But last night my phone rang, and it was the geneticist from Mars Laboratories, and she was very excited to finally talk to me! You see, she had a very interesting time with Oscar's DNA. Because from the pictures I sent, he was clearly not an American Eskimo.

She also asked me if he was in my wedding, because one of the pictures I sent was from our wedding. And he was, he was the Best Dog. :)

Anyway, back to my story. The geneticist told me all about how they ran the tests and how they come up with the results. The computer came up with 11 potential family trees for Oscar and they all concluded with 100% American Eskimo.  Huh? How?

Well, did you know that the American Eskimo was originally the German Spitz? Yep, back in the 1940's the name was changed to American Eskimo when no one wanted dogs (or anything) called German-something.  But the breed is exactly the same...with the "new" American variety favoring white colors. German Spitz come in all different sizes and colors which is our best guess as to why Oscar looks the way he does. Somewhere in his history is the genetic makeup that made him black and white. But according to the DNA tests, he is still 100% American Eskimo or German Spitz on both sides going back three generations.  The geneticist said that if they were going to really try and pull another breed out of his DNA, they might be able to say Mini Schnauzer or Pomeranian. (which again, are both German dogs) But the problem with that is that she said she couldn't really count those findings. Every dog from the Great Dane to the Chihuahua came from the same original DNA, which is why even amongst "purebreeds" you will see some differences. She said something like 945 markers for American Eskimo and 9 for Pomeranian and 4 for Mini Schnauzer.

The geneticist said she feels confident, even with his black and white markings, to call him a purebreed American Eskimo dog. How cool is that? :)

Now when all of this got started, I did contact a breeder to ask if it was possible that he could be a purebreed and she said no way. She actually had a lot of pretty smart things to say about DNA testing and how it just wasn't possible.  However...when I contacted the place where I got Oscar, they told me that his mom was a purebreed and the dad was a mixed breed American Eskimo. SO...I'm guessing that Dad was a German Spitz with color...and Mom was American genetically speaking and with DNA testing..that would make them the same breed.  I bet the owner of Oscar's dad doesn't actually know what he is. :)

And no offense to the breeder (she had a PhD after her name, but no idea for what...) I think I am going to go with the scientist on this one. I had a second breeder say no way he was American Eskimo and that he must be part Border Collie.  I think they were both wrong.

And I am surprised that neither one mentioned the German Spitz after seeing his pictures.

You can read more about the German Spitz here:
And more about American Eskimo dogs here:

So long story short...Oscar is a purebreed American Eskimo, otherwise known as a German Spitz!
How crazy is that? He isn't a mixed breed after all!  Now you might come no one has ever suggested that he might be German Spitz? Because you don't really see them here in the USA. I'm sure if we had traveled to Europe with him, that no one would bat an eye at his unusual color and size and shape. :)  Because he isn't that unique...keep reading. :)

Want a reminder of what he looks like?

I decided to do a little research on the German Spitz myself...and look what I found:
Don't these two look like they could be cousins? I found them on this website:

And this one here...this could be his mom...really, the resemblance is amazing:

What I do that Oscar is one of the best dogs I have ever met in my entire life. He has brought me so much happiness. I never really cared what kind of dog he was, I was simply curious, and now I know!

I think I might say American Eskimo, with a touch of German Spitz.  Maybe. It might be more fun to say he's purebreed and then get the funny looks. :)

So if you got a mixed breed American Eskimo dog in Massachusetts, specifically near Ware, MA or Palmer, MA sometime in 2006...your mixed breed might be pure...and a sibling of mine. I would love to find his siblings or his parents. :)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Supermom alert!

I felt like Supermom last week. We had three holiday parties last weekend and I had cooked and cleaned and prepped and shopped and wrapped presents for it all.  And on top of that, when the parties got started and I got compliments on all of it...I felt great.  I felt like "Yes! I can DO this! I can work and cook and clean and be a mom! Wooo!!"

I even read a book.  From start to finish.  A few minutes squeezed in here and there.

And then I realized I gained a couple of pounds and I didn't get that extra workout I wanted to get in. And about two days later you couldn't tell that I vacuumed.  

And I felt ....defeated.  And then I started thinking about all the things I need to worry about. Which I haven't been writing about...because I can't talk about it yet. (don't worry, I will when I can, I just don't want to jinx anything)

And then I read this article, I had read it before and forgotten about it. But I came across it again this morning and it reminded me....breathe, you are fine...and for goodness sake...KEEP IT SIMPLE!

I need to read this blog post about once  a week to remind myself that I don't need to do it all:

Anthony and I had a nice dinner out with Zoe last night and on the way home we were discussing the cleaning articles I shared the other day, the one that explained how women are judged by the home they keep. And he said that couldn't be true because he wouldn't judge a woman by how clean her house was...and then he said:

"When I go to someone's house and it's spotless, yep, I judge them. I think wow, you must have no life because you spend all your time cleaning." 

He was joking, I think.

I don't know if I should be happy that he doesn't judge people....or more concerned he doesn't care about how clean the house is....hmmm.

When I'm 120 years old (I'm staying optimistic) and I'm at the end and I'm looking back on my life, I want to remember time spent with my family and experiences and places I visited. Not that I spent every minute worried about everything all the time or that the house wasn't clean.

I have a sign in my kitchen that I should probably look at more's there as a reminder.
"My house is clean enough to be healthy and messy enough to be happy."

And one in the living room:

That one helps me relax my shoulders once in a while.

I can't do it all and I shouldn't try to do it all. I should just do what my family needs me to do, and then a little extra for myself. That is all.  And be happy. And relax.

Maybe lose a few pounds. :) (sorry...had to sneak that in)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Favorite Disney Movies

Favorite Disney Movies...almost everyone has them.

Mine fall under different categories.

I have my favorite princess movie. (First it was Sleeping Beauty...but now I love Tangled)

I have my favorite of all time. (The Lion King)

And my favorite non-cartoon. (The first Pirates of the Caribbean)

But really, I enjoy them all. I can't think of a single one that I wouldn't want to watch.  Anyone out there have one that they don't like to watch?

As my daughter gets older, I imagine she will have her favorites as well. And maybe once she picks a favorite and watches it for 100th time, I may finally have one that I don't want to watch. :)

But I think she has her first favorite.

Remember the story at Sam's Club?  Where she stopped and stared at the giant tv?

I had picked up the movie Bolt after she showed an interest in the movie (or an interest in the doggy on the tv). The first night we had the movie, I put it on for her and she didn't seem to be too into it.

But about a week or so ago, she came out carrying the movie and pointed at the case and said "dog!".
I had put her Baby Signing Time dvd's on and normally she is very happy watching those. (And so am I, it teaches her sign language!). But today she wanted me to turn Baby Signing Time off.

She brought me Bolt and said "On! on! on!" and then pointed at the tv (at Baby Signing Time) and said "Off! off! off!".  So I guessed that she wanted to watch Bolt instead.

And she sat in her chair and watched it...sort of. She walked around the house and would come back to it, but she definitely liked it.

Fast forward to last night after dinner. She grabs a couple of DVD cases (I should probably move those...) and brings me Bolt again. She points at the case and says "dog, on!"  I asked her if she would like to watch Bolt and she said yes.  (which is really cute because she says yes very clearly but in a high-pitched voice)

So I put it on. And she watched it. (Most of it this time) And when Bolt was on the screen, she would say "dog!" and when Mittens was on the screen she would say "Kitty." and when the pigeons were on the screen..."BIRDS!".  So it's teaching her animals?

By the end of the movie, she started to know that the dog's name was Bolt. Not a bad first choice for favorite movie. It has action, adventure and family. But most of has a dog.  Which is her favorite animal.

Even Oscar will watch it. :)

More on Oscar tomorrow...I heard back from the lab about his dna tests. :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Women vs Men: Cleaning Style!

I read a great article this morning. It put a lot about my life into perspective.

To be honest, it actually made me relax my shoulders a little bit. I felt a little bit better about myself.

It's an article about Housekeeping.


This article was discussing the differences between men and women when it came to housework. And I realized that I wasn't alone in how I felt about the housework. And it even explained some of my "craziness" about keeping a neat and tidy house. It was like a giant light bulb going off above my head!

And it also made me understand a little bit better how my hubby's brain might be working on the same subject matter.

But the best part? I don't always articulate my point of view very well. In fact, I tend to lose a lot of arguments because I'm not very good at representing my opinions logically or with fact when having a "discussion" with my hubby.

So when I run across an article that just says it so much better than me....I get a little excited.

Here you go, here's the article:

(I'm amused at the term "chore wars".)

Now if I can just get Anthony to read this house might get cleaner.  And I might learn to relax and not try to make it perfect. :)

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Too Many Devices.

You know you have too many personal internet/tablet/pc type of devices when you can't walk into a Best Buy without setting off the theft alarms. Twice.

I walked in to return something and I was convinced it was the box I was returning.

But then I set them off again as I was leaving. I'm going to assume it was one of the computer like devices in my purse. I should probably carry less stuff, but right now I need to carry all of them.  I should have less by the time Christmas rolls around. I'm setting up and reviewing a tablet right now for my niece which will also turn into an Ask the Motherboard post.

I really wanted to get one of those cute little wristlets that holds your smart phone and an ID and some cash (like this one from Kate Spade: iPhone 4 wristlet) but I can't because now I have to carry an EpiPen.

Have I written about that yet?

My new allergist wants me to carry an EpiPen in case I have a problem with my food allergies. Normally I would roll my eyes at this because my "food" allergies are just Oral Allergy Syndrome. Which is just a localized reaction, nothing to really worry about, especially if you can cook your fruits and veggies before eating.

Or process them so much they hardly resemble food anymore.
We can blame my tree and pollen allergies for this.

BUT...we did some blood work and it turns out that I have reactions to apples, bananas and some tree nuts. Which means that it isn't just Oral Allergy Syndrome. It's an actual real allergy.

What. A. Pain. In. The.....neck. :)

So now I carry an EpiPen which means I will never have a cute little wristlet, because did you know that they are HUGE and that they make you carry two. Just in case the first one doesn't work.


PS...who said I'm bad at telling people what I want for Christmas...I suggested two items this week!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Feeling naughty!

It's that time of year when parents let their children know....Santa's watching so you better be nice!

Don't want to end up on the naughty list now do we?

I was thinking this morning that I was feeling a bit naughty. You see, I'm on a diet and I had a piece of dark chocolate. And when you get a really high quality dark's SO good.


But it feels like cheating on my I'm doing something I shouldn't when I indulge in one of those amazing pieces of chocolate.  So that is why I was feeling naughty.

I'm not usually a chocolate person. My favorite candies are usually the fruity sour kind. I'm a big fan of Sour Patch Kids, Nerds, and Sour Strawberry Straws.

But every once in a while, I have a small piece of dark chocolate.

Did you know that it actually helps you to maintain your weight balance to indulge in a small piece of chocolate once a week?  Just make sure it's a good one...if you only get one piece, you might as well make it the best you can get. :)

Mmmmm, chocolate!

This one is my favorite.  Just in case you were considering sending me some chocolate. ;)
It even includes a love letter in every wrapper.  So if you were thinking of sending me a love can cheat and just get me this. :)  ( my hubby reading this?)

Chocolove Xoxo Strong Dark Chocolate Bar ( 12x3.2 OZ)

And if those don't work...there is always chocolate covered strawberries.  Just sayin'.