Tag Archives: Uncategorized

Attention All Artists! BlogHer + Kirtsy = Opportunity…


Actually – the official line was “BlogHer + Kirtsy + You = A Stroke of Genius” – but my subject line was getting a little long.

This year, Kirtsy is teaming up with BlogHer to add art and fund raising to the Voices of the Year Gala at BlogHer 2010 (taking place August 6-7 in NYC). It will now be the Voices of the Year Gala and Art Auction, “curated” by Kirtsy.


Immediately after the community keynote, at a reception and Gala, the Kirtsy team and BlogHer are “working to transform the words and images of the keynoters into healing action for the Gulf Coast, with an auction of inspiring works that will live on after the conference, raising money to help fund the long-term recovery efforts the Gulf will need.”

The Gala space will also be a gallery featuring custom-commissioned art works that evoke the spirit of the Voices of the Year finalists. Then the works will be auctioned off post-conference, with proceeds benefiting the Nature Conservancy, “so that BlogHer ‘10, and everyone there, has the opportunity to contribute in some part to what will be a long recovery process for the Gulf.”

Want to be one of the artist who contribute to this effort? Well of course you do! BlogHer is huge and Kirtsy is becoming quite the online force to be reckoned with…so it’s an opportunity to get some incredible exposure.

Contact the Kirtsy team via e-mail to tell them you’d like to be a participating artist (see link below for a page with full details, including a link to the e-mail address).

And in the meantime, read more about the event on the Kirtsy blog and on BlogHer.

*Images via Kirtsy.

I Really Only Have One Question

Okay – so I never talk about TV here (which is funny because the number of programs I now watch exceeds what I consider to be reasonable or even healthy)…. But I have a question and I thought I’d put it out there.

I know there are many different views on last night’s Lost finale, and I’m not going to discuss them or say anything requiring a spoiler alert. I just find one specific thing unclear.

I personally loved the end and felt like it answered most of my questions. I thought it was incredibly poignant and beautiful. But I’m completely mystified by what exactly the bomb did. Juliet said that “it worked.” But how? Based on what we come to realize about the “sideways world,” it made me wonder what the bomb had to do with anything (this is based on the premise that it really happened of course).

So if I’m missing something very obvious – please enlighten me.

Where is Christian Shephard when you need him….?

Oh Right – I Almost Forgot the Cookies!

Typical. I say goodbye for a week or two and then remember something left undone.

I wanted to repost my cookie recipe as a little holiday gift. So here it is – NEWAND IMPROVED WITH PICTURES!

A long time ago, my friend Nancy and I offered to make desserts for a holiday party we were attending. She suggested that we use a cookie recipe she got from the Italian grandmother of one of her childhood friends.

We made the cookies, and then life as I knew it changed forever (as far as cookies go, that is).

We continued to make these cookies every holiday season after that. Even now that we’ve lived in different states for many years (and for a while on different coasts), we still maintain this holiday cookie baking tradition. As far as we know, the cookies don’t even have an official name. We call them Italian Christmas Cookies – but that’s not really accurate. They are not supposed to be holiday specific – we just choose to reserve them for holiday baking.

The cookies have become famous among people that know us and know of us (and are usually referred to as “the cookies”). And the coveted recipe has been gladly provided to anyone who requests it. We are also famous for our generosity.

I mentioned these cookies recently in one of my posts and wasn’t surprised to receive requests for the recipe. Instead of e-mailing it out upon request, I thought I’d just post it on my blog. So honor of the season of giving, I’m giving you…the gift…of Italian Christmas cookies. I know! Last week it was Redneck Neighbor, this week it’s cookies, every week it’s December giveaways… What can I say? I’m a giver.

But back to those cookies…

Italian Ricotta Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine the following in a bowl (in order):

1 stick (8 tbs) and 1 tbs butter
*Note: Cream butter before adding other ingredients.

1 cup ricotta cheese

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg

1 cup sugar

2 cups flour

½ tsp salt

½ tsp baking soda


Arrange tsp size drops on cookie sheets (space 2 inches apart)


Bake for about 10 minutes
*Notes: The original recipe states 15 minutes. But it came from an old Italian lady who was probably working with a 1950s oven, so I doubt more than 10 minutes is necessary. I’ve found that my cookies are done in 6-8 minutes. They can burn easily so make sure to check them early. Since all ovens are different, I suggest doing a test batch of a few cookies the first time you try the recipe. They should remain pale on top but will be firmer to the touch when done. If you notice them browning a little – they are definitely done.

Makes approximately 48 2-inch cookies


Icing (optional – but HIGHLY recommended)

Warm 1 tbs and 1 tsp of skim milk in a sauce pan

Add 1 cup of confectioners sugar and ¼ tsp vanilla



Once the mixture has thinned (should be thin enough to drizzle over cookies), it is ready to use.


*Notes on icing: This icing dries very quickly, so you have to use it immediately. I’ve had the best results when I’ve kept the saucepan over a very low heat and held cookies over the pan to ice them.


Just watch your fingers. Molten sugar can give you a nasty burn. Also try to be exact about the measurements – whenever I add a little extra milk the results are disastrous. If it’s too thin it won’t dry. Finally – I usually make a double batch of icing for each single batch of cookies. I’ve never been able to stretch the original icing recipe enough to ice all 48 cookies.



Enjoy!

And NOW I’ll see you in 2010!

-Kate

Inspiration for Holiday Fashions AND Local Shopping

My friends at MYiLIVE recently posted a video featuring some of their DC member shops, and I LOVED the holiday outfits that the owners pulled together. Not only did the clothes look fantastic, they looked far more expensive than their price tags.

I also loved the idea of shopping at independent boutiques and supporting the small business owners. If this doesn’t inspire you to pull together your holiday looks at local boutiques, then you have definitely been brainwashed by your local mall. Go directly to the closest boutique or vintage shop for deprogramming!

Kate & Oliver’s Baby Soothing Service: We Make House Calls

Here is another repost to make up for the dirth of writing content on this blog right now. It’s one of my old favorites since it’s such a little window into what my life is so often like… And I give away Baby Whisperer caliber secrets that all new parents should know. So if you have a newborn at home, this is a must read!

The other night, my three year old son, Oliver accompanied me to our neighbors’ house to help soothe their baby. Actually, I was being consulted for my medical skills (if you call squirting saline solution up an infant’s nose and then finishing the job with a plastic syringe “skillful”). As a mother of three small children, I tend to command a great deal of respect in the knowledgeable mommy department. Which makes me feel very important – when I stop laughing.

I may not be the best choice for Rich and Cathy’s parenting guru, BUT I’m the fastest aspirator sucker in the West (or East since I live in Virginia). Oliver had a stuffy nose from the day he was born until his first birthday. And then six months later I gave birth to the twins who had their fair share of snot – though nothing to match Oliver’s prolific booger production. Bottom line: I may have to call the nurse hotline to get advice on constipation or vomiting – but I know exactly to do about a newborn with a stuffy nose.

Ironically enough, they really did think that Jack (the adorable two month old baby) might have a more serious problem. And when Rich knocked on our door to ask me to come over because Jack was having trouble breathing, I was expecting to find a baby gasping for air – and possibly turning blue, since I have a rather overactive imagination about this kind of thing. Instead I found a placid baby staring up at worried adults and comically snorting out breaths.

The reason that I brought Oliver with me is that I had been at BlogHer DC all day and since it was a holiday, the kids were at home and noticed my absence. I couldn’t leave the room without hearing a panicked Oliver calling for me. Somehow leaving the house didn’t seem like it would bode well for a peaceful bedtime. It was decided that he would have to accompany me on my house call.

It was about 8:45 p.m. when we arrived – just about the time that I usually start trying to convince Oliver that it really is time to put on pajamas and not just some crazy idea I dreamed up. Although he can’t read the clock, he can sense an approaching bedtime like a tracker hearing hoof beats from a mile away. (Does that metaphor work? Not sure…a little awkward…but I’m keeping it.) This is when he generally starts his redirection routine: “Hey look! It’s Curious George!” or “Sammach [sandwich] PLEASE” or “Uh Oh! Pee pee!”). So you can imagine how thrilled he was with our impromptu excursion.

He was equally enchanted with “baby Jack” and did a lot of pointing and Cousin It-like babbling (Oliver’s version of talking) about him. And he happily watched as I examined my patient. Diagnosis? A lot of snot plugging up Jack’s nose. Prognosis? A very uncomfortable and sleepless night for everyone that lived with him. But a little saline and aspirator action would help.

Because I’m all about sharing my gift. I held the baby and made Cathy do the work as I guided her through the complicated process. Step one: have someone restrain flailing baby as you insert the saline bottle in the nostrils. Step two: hold the bottle over each nostril for approximately three seconds. Step three: wait a few more seconds for the saline to do its work. Step four: continue to hold baby’s arms – now that he’s most likely gaining Incredible Hulk strength and can beat you senseless with his fists – and use the aspirator to remove “the obstruction.” Note to new parents – saline for babies will drip, so you don’t have to squeeze the bottle. I made this mistake for an entire week of Oliver’s life until I finally realized that I was powerwashing his brain with saline.

It was only after we finished the procedure and started trying to soothe a hysterical Jack, that I noticed Oliver’s agitation. He was horrified by what we did to that poor sweet baby and hovered around us as if he was trying to figure out how to snatch Jack and make a break for the front door. And when I imagined the scene through his eyes, I had to admit that it probably looked like something that would happen in an alien abduction. It was definitely time to go home and watch some Barney.

So we said our goodbyes to the happy little family (translation: shell shocked parents and wailing infant) and made our way back. As soon as I closed our door though, I knew that it wasn’t going to work. Oliver just stood there, lips quivering and tears streaming, asking for baby Jack. What could I do? I took him back.

I didn’t even bother knocking since barely five minutes had passed, and sure enough, we found them just as we left them – trying to calm Jack down. Oliver gave me a “do something!” look – so I took Jack and did another one of my baby voodoo tricks on him.

When George was a newborn, he had bad reflux and upon the suggestion of another twin mom, I purchased the Itsy Bitsy Yoga Book. Apparently yoga poses help with reflux. Since George couldn’t exactly lower himself into a downward dog position, I had to read the book and do the little exercises with him. The only really useful piece of information that I took away from that chapter of my maternity leave was that if you hold a baby out in front of you with their head in your hands and their feet at your chest, and then quickly squat down and slowly rise up over and over again – the baby will be instantly soothed. It’s absolute magic.

While it did look ridiculous, my squatting routine did the trick after just a few drops. I continued while I spoke with the exhausted parents and watched out of the corner of my eye as Oliver relaxed. Since it seemed as if my work was done, I returned Jack to his mother and hustled Oliver out before the crying could begin again. No such luck. The wailing started as we were walking out the door.

This time we didn’t even make it into our house, Oliver charged back without me. I told Chris that we were returning and asked him to come with us. I don’t even know if Cathy and Rich were surprised to see us. All I could say was, “yeah…we’re back.” I returned to my squatting routine, Oliver found Wonder Pets on the TV and Chris opened a beer. We certainly do know how to make ourselves at home.

One problem with the Itsy Bisty Yoga soothing magic is that it’s impossible to sustain for long periods of time. This is the exact reason why people hate going to the gym. It’s hard. Unfortunately – Jack was a grumpy boy, and the minute I would stop, we would start crying. Since Oliver refused to leave Jack in his time of need, I was starting to wonder if we’d ever get out of there.

My solution was for Rich and Jack to escort us back to our house. This ALWAYS works when Oliver doesn’t want to come inside after playing with a neighbor’s dog. Now instead of fighting with him, I just ask the owner to come back to our house for a few minutes (maybe I should write a book – I’m just full of great advice!) So we applied the same principles to the crying baby. Have I mentioned that I live in a townhouse? This story sounds a lot less bizarre if you know that we’re only walking about 20 feet door to door.

Jack continued to be fussy at our house, and Oliver wouldn’t go upstairs with me. I couldn’t do one more squat if I tried. As it was, I was worried about being able to walk the next day. Chris said he’d give it a shot. Apparently – he is the secret weapon of our baby soothing service. He just held Jack close and rocked him while making shushing sounds. Within minutes, the baby was asleep. I was a bit suspicious and thought Chris may have learned that Ninja trick of pinching the side of someone’s neck to make them pass out… Either way – he seems to have a gift. Why he wasn’t using it on the twins when they were newborns and woke up every 20 minutes at night? I’m not sure. But it certainly did work on Jack.

It’s too bad that we don’t plan to have anymore babies, because DAMN – we’re good! But we really don’t plan to have anymore babies. I can barely control the ones that I do have. Who knows? Maybe Oliver absorbed everything he learned that night and will become The Baby Whisperer for his generation. Or more likely he’ll just cultivate an unusual fear of nasal spray and develop the disconcerting habit of entering his neighbors’ houses without knocking.

Shopping for Hope

I’d like to alert all of my readers to an online shopping event that will benefit a family in our vast, yet oh-so-small-world blogging community.

During this week, seven blogs, including 7 Clown Circus, Adventures in Babywearing, Buried with Children, Mayhem & Moxie, Mama’s Losin’ It, Scary Mommy and The Extraordinary Ordinary will promote a three day auction called, Blog, Bid, Hope to raise money on behalf of The Liz Logelin Foundation and Anissa Mayhew.

Anissa is a 35 year old blogging mom of three who is currently recovering from a massive stroke she suffered a few weeks ago.


One minute she was planning a trip with her girlfriends and talking about Thanksgiving dinner, and the next she lay unresponsive in a hospital bed.

She and her family need help.

I have never met Anissa. In fact, I was only marginally aware of her blog until her stroke. But I want to help – simply because I can.

The Liz Logelin Foundation was established by Matt Logelin, who started blogging after his wife, Liz tragically died just hours after delivering their daughter Madeline.


From there, he started the foundation to honor Liz. His goal is to financially assist families who are dealing with the loss of a loved one and struggling to move forward.

He wants to help.

Simply because he can.

And isn’t this a much better world when we all try to help others – for no other reason than seeing someone in need and wanting to help? Simply because we can?

So – having no prior connection to Anissa or Matt, I’m up at 4:00 a.m. making time to tell their stories and ask you for your help in kind.

They need your help.

They need to you to shop.

Me? I read the first few paragraphs of this and say, “Just stop already – you had me at ‘shop.’ You had me at ‘shop’….”* And my guess is that most of you reading this would concur.

SO on tomorrow, Wednesday, December 9, visit the following blogs and start shopping for hope.

7 Clown Circus

Adventures in Babywearing

Buried with Children

Mayhem & Moxie

Mama’s Losin’ It

Scary Mommy

The Extraordinary Ordinary

The items up for bid come from the generous donations of mom-preneurs who offer blog designs, toys, art, accessories, baby gear, and more in their online shops. (The group credits Laurie from Tip Junkie for helping to make this happen.)

Each host site will offer a different selection of items, so be sure to visit all of them. Bidding will begin at $10 and bids will increase at $2 increments. If you see an item you’d like to bid on, just leave a comment on that item’s post stating your price.

ALSO, Aiming Low, a community site started by Anissa, is hosting a “Shop for Anissa Day.” On December 10, they will present a list of on-line shops who have promised to share proceeds from that day’s sales with Anissa’s family.

This is a great way to bang out some of that last minute holiday shopping while truly embracing the holiday spirit. So much better than fighting the crowds at Target (Shhhh. I’m just saying that Target – you know how much I love you.)

AND FINALLY (yes Virginia – there is an end to this blog post*), if you don’t have any more gifts to buy or just don’t have the funds to make larger purchases, you can always:

1. Accept Matt’s challenge to to “skip the latte” and donate 7 dollars on the 7th of every month. I don’t think he’ll mind if you do this retroactively this month…

2. Donate directly to Anissa and her family by sending money via PayPal to: anissa.mayhew@gmail.com, or give to The Liz Logelin Foundation.

3. Just pass on this message. Write a blog post, e-mail some friends, forward the links via Twitter or Facebook… Word of mouth can be a very powerful thing.

And now – I am going back to bed. This whole social networking for good business is exhausting.

*Please excuse the gratuitous Jerry Maguire reference AND the Miracle on 34th Street nod. It IS 4:00 a.m. you know…

Shopping for Hope

I’d like to alert all of my readers to an online shopping event that will benefit a family in our vast, yet oh-so-small-world blogging community.

During this week, seven blogs, including 7 Clown Circus, Adventures in Babywearing, Buried with Children, Mayhem & Moxie, Mama’s Losin’ It, Scary Mommy and The Extraordinary Ordinary will promote a three day auction called, Blog, Bid, Hope to raise money on behalf of The Liz Logelin Foundation and Anissa Mayhew.

Anissa is a 35 year old blogging mom of three who is currently recovering from a massive stroke she suffered a few weeks ago.


One minute she was planning a trip with her girlfriends and talking about Thanksgiving dinner, and the next she lay unresponsive in a hospital bed.

She and her family need help.

I have never met Anissa. In fact, I was only marginally aware of her blog until her stroke. But I want to help – simply because I can.

The Liz Logelin Foundation was established by Matt Logelin, who started blogging after his wife, Liz tragically died just hours after delivering their daughter Madeline.


From there, he started the foundation to honor Liz. His goal is to financially assist families who are dealing with the loss of a loved one and struggling to move forward.

He wants to help.

Simply because he can.

And isn’t this a much better world when we all try to help others – for no other reason than seeing someone in need and wanting to help? Simply because we can?

So – having no prior connection to Anissa or Matt, I’m up at 4:00 a.m. making time to tell their stories and ask you for your help in kind.

They need your help.

They need to you to shop.

Me? I read the first few paragraphs of this and say, “Just stop already – you had me at ‘shop.’ You had me at ‘shop’….”* And my guess is that most of you reading this would concur.

SO on tomorrow, Wednesday, December 9, visit the following blogs and start shopping for hope.

7 Clown Circus

Adventures in Babywearing

Buried with Children

Mayhem & Moxie

Mama’s Losin’ It

Scary Mommy

The Extraordinary Ordinary

The items up for bid come from the generous donations of mom-preneurs who offer blog designs, toys, art, accessories, baby gear, and more in their online shops. (The group credits Laurie from Tip Junkie for helping to make this happen.)

Each host site will offer a different selection of items, so be sure to visit all of them. Bidding will begin at $10 and bids will increase at $2 increments. If you see an item you’d like to bid on, just leave a comment on that item’s post stating your price.

ALSO, Aiming Low, a community site started by Anissa, is hosting a “Shop for Anissa Day.” On December 10, they will present a list of on-line shops who have promised to share proceeds from that day’s sales with Anissa’s family.

This is a great way to bang out some of that last minute holiday shopping while truly embracing the holiday spirit. So much better than fighting the crowds at Target (Shhhh. I’m just saying that Target – you know how much I love you.)

AND FINALLY (yes Virginia – there is an end to this blog post*), if you don’t have any more gifts to buy or just don’t have the funds to make larger purchases, you can always:

1. Accept Matt’s challenge to to “skip the latte” and donate 7 dollars on the 7th of every month. I don’t think he’ll mind if you do this retroactively this month…

2. Donate directly to Anissa and her family by sending money via PayPal to: anissa.mayhew@gmail.com, or give to The Liz Logelin Foundation.

3. Just pass on this message. Write a blog post, e-mail some friends, forward the links via Twitter or Facebook… Word of mouth can be a very powerful thing.

And now – I am going back to bed. This whole social networking for good business is exhausting.

*Please excuse the gratuitous Jerry Maguire reference AND the Miracle on 34th Street nod. It IS 4:00 a.m. you know…