Monday, December 24, 2007

New toys!!!

Nathan's second Christmas has started off with ... well, a tantrum if I'm honest.
Dear husband's parents bought him a Rock, Roll 'n Ride Trike. It's really cool - you can ride on it like a tricycle, be pushed around on it like a stroller or it flips around and becomes a rocking toy.
All was well with the world until the in-laws tried to show Nathan how to rock on it. It resulted in one of the biggest meltdowns my toddler has had to date.
We tried to show him how to rock again this afternoon and again results weren't positive. He does like riding on it and pushing it.
Hopefully tonight with my side of the family will be a merry Christmas to all and for all a good night!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

To a soon to be young mother: Whatevs

I feel the need to speak out about the latest Spears family debacle.
On Wednesday news broke of younger sister of Britney Spears, Jamie Lynn Spears, pregnancy. Jamie Lynn was quoted as saying she was "shocked" to discover she was pregnant.
Is it just me, or does that smack of being a little haughty or incredibly stupid?
For starters, anyone who is having sex -- ANYONE -- whether they are using oral contraceptives, condoms, etc., should NOT be surprised to discover they are (surprise!) pregnant. We've all had sex ed - the only completely safe method to sex is not having it at all!!
Moms across the US are speaking out against Nickelodeon network, which airs Jamie Lynn's show "Zoey 101." I've watched it, and actually found it enjoyable.
Usually I'm of the stance that whatever goes on in your personal life should stay that way and have no bearing on your professional life.
But when your professional life involves being an influence and pop icon to young, impressionable teens, I cross the line into agreeing with other mothers across the US.
If Nickelodeon doesn't stop airing "Zoey," it's as though the network is giving the OK for teen pregnancy. This is concerning to me.
And to young Ms. Spears: I was once a girl your age and I know what it's like to be that age. Be honest, you're not really that shocked, are you?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Are you lonesome tonight, today, every weekend?

I feel fortunate that, for the most part, my husband's hobbies don't take him too far from me. (Unlike my brothers-in-law, who ride motorcycles each and every weekend unless it's too cold. And by too cold I mean snow or ice is on the ground.)
But I know there are some of you out there who have husbands (or even wives) who are either fans of some sport or have hobbies that most likely leave you alone during the week or on the weekends.
I'm looking for you.
I am working on a story called "Loving the man (or woman), not the fan." If you fit into this category, give me a call at (704) 669-3330.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Are you an Emma or a Jane?

In Saturday's paper is a story about how pop culture and trends help determine what names will be popular.
Here are the most popular names over the decades, according to the Social Security Administration. Names are listed in order of popularity. The rankings don’t factor in different spellings of a name, so a popular name such as Mackenzie might not make it on the government list because there are so many variations in spelling. For more name trivia, go to The site lists the top 1,000 names by birth year and popular names by state, and chronicles how the popularity of a name has changed in rank over the years.
Boys: Jacob, Michael, Joshua, Matthew, Ethan, Andrew, Daniel, Anthony, Christopher, Joseph Girls: Emily, Emma, Madison, Abigail, Olivia, Isabella, Hannah, Samantha, Ava, Ashley
Boys: Jacob, Michael Joshua, Matthew, Andrew, Christopher, Joseph, Daniel, Nicholas, Ethan Girls: Emily, Madison, Hannah, Emma, Ashley, Abigail, Alexis, Olivia, Samantha, Sarah, Elizabeth
Boys: Michael, Christopher, Matthew, Joshua, Jacob, Nicholas, Andrew, Daniel Tyler, Joseph Girls: Jessica, Ashley, Emily, Sarah, Samantha, Amanda, Brittany, Elizabeth, Taylor, Hannah 1980s
Boys: Michael, Christopher, Matthew, Joshua, David, James, Daniel, Robert, John, Joseph Girls: Jessica, Jennifer, Amanda, Ashley, Sarah, Stephanie, Melissa, Nichole, Elizabeth, Heather
Boys: Michael, Christopher, Jason, David, James, John, Robert, Brian, William, Matthew
Girls: Jennifer, Amy, Melissa, Michelle, Kimberly, Lisa, Anita, Heather, Stephanie, Nicole
Boys: Michael, David, John, James, Robert, Mark, William, Richard, Thomas, Jeffrey
Girls: Lisa, Mary, Susan, Karen, Kimberly, Patricia, Linda, Donna, Michelle, Cynthia
Boys: James, Michael, Robert, John, David, William, Richard, Thomas, Mark, Charles
Girls: Mary, Linda, Patricia, Susan, Deborah, Barbara, Debra, Karen, Nancy, Donna
Boys: James, Robert, John, William, Richard, David, Charles, Thomas, Michael, Ronald
Girls: Mary, Linda, Barbara, Patricia, Carol, Sandra, Nancy, Sharon, Judith, Susan
Boys: Robert, James, John, William, Richard, Charles, Donald, George, Thomas, Joseph
Girls: Mary, Betty, Barbara, Shirley, Patricia, Dorothy, Joan, Margaret, Nancy, Helen
Boys: Robert, John, James, William, Charles, George, Joseph, Richard, Edward
Girls: Mary, Dorothy, Helen, Betty, Margaret, Ruth, Virginia, Doris, Mildred
Boys: John, William, James, Robert, Joseph, George, Charles, Edward, Frank, Thomas
Girls: Mary, Helen, Dorothy, Margaret, Ruth, Mildred, Anna, Elizabeth, Frances, Virginia
Boys: John, William, James, George, Charles, Robert Joseph, Frank, Edward, Thomas
Girls: Mary, Helen Margaret, Anna, Ruth, Elizabeth, Dorothy, Marie, Florence, Mildred
Boys: John, William, James, George, Charles, Joseph, Frank, Robert, Edward, Henry
Girls: Mary, Anna, Margaret, Helen, Elizabeth, Ruth, Florence, Ethel, Emma, Marie
Boys: John, William, James, Charles, George, Frank, Joseph, Thomas, Henry, Robert
Girls: Mary, Anna, Emma, Elizabeth, Marge, Minnie, Ida, Bertha, Clara, Alice

Monday, November 05, 2007

Joyeux Noel in November

I have a dirty little secret.
It's not even a week past Halloween, and I'm already listening to Christmas music.
It's sad, right?
Christmas has ALWAYS been my favorite holiday. I love it. As a kid I'd stage productions of the Nativity with my favorite doll as Jesus and my other stuffed animals as wise men, etc. I decorate the day after Thanksgiving. I'm actually a little sad to put up the Christmas tree.
Christmas was a big deal in my family. It was - and still is - one of the few times my entire family is together under one roof. As a child that meant 8 grandkids (me included) running around opening gifts and eating candy and cookies.
Now we're all grown and our children are the ones running around waiting for gifts.
So I'll keep right on listening to Christmas music and reminiscing ...

Friday, September 28, 2007

A fair is a veritable smorgasbord

We had our monthly newsroom lunch yesterday at the Cleveland County Fair. While searching for something to eat, here's some of what I saw listed on menus: french fries (duh), funnel cakes, blooming onions, barbecue, fried Oreos and more.
I have to have vinegar fries at the fair every year. It's a tradition that began so long ago that I really don't remember it's beginnings, only that Cullers near the exhibit hall has the best ones.
A more recent addition to my "must-have fair foods" is Frito pie. It's really nothing more than chili beans over corn chips, but it's soooo yummy. I could make it at home, but it's just not the same.
I'm heading back out to the fair this weekend to see what else I can find to munch on.
(And two pop culture points to anyone who can tell me the inspiration for this entry's headline.)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Foogo forgotten

In Wednesday's Food section was a brief about a new type of Sippy cup, a Foogo by Thermos Brand.
I recently tested out the Foogo, and here's what I thought: It works great until you leave milk in it for three days.
I tried the Foogo one Saturday when we planned an outing to Gaffney. Granted, Gaffney really isn't that far from home, but I wanted Nathan's milk to stay cold for several hours. And depending on what I'm finding at the outlet malls, my shopping adventures can last that long.
I filled up Foogo and off we went.
The milk left in the cup stayed cold. I was actually rather impressed with the cup. However, when we got home later that day, I couldn't get the lid off. Muttering a bad word, I placed it in the sink with every intention of having my husband strong-arm it off later.
Several days later I remembered the cup ... after the smell of sour milk wafted up from the sink while I was loading the dishwasher.
By that point, I wasn't liking Foogo very much. The lid finally off, it now needed to be broken down to be washed. And there are lots of little parts to the lid. (Normally I just use a Playtex cup, which only has a plastic valve to remove for washing.)
I sent Foogo through the dishwasher and thought "That's that."
Even after three dishwashings the cup smelled terrible. It's stainless steel, so I thought it wouldn't keep stinking. I finally resorted to filling it with water and some bleach and letting it sit another three days. It still sorta smells. Stephen's put it up in the cabinet, but I haven't used it again yet.
So ... here's my opinion of Foogo: If you remember to dump the contents out after use, it'll probably be a great cup for you. However, I'll stick to my Playtex cups which are easier to use and are also touted as insulated. Thus far, I haven't had a problem with them. (Plus, they are cheaper. Foogo retails for around $15, whereas two Playtex cups are $9.99.)
Moms, let me know which cups you prefer.

Monday, September 24, 2007

History lesson

OK, my husband is notorious for watching what I refer to as "nerd TV." That is, shows on History Channel, TLC, Discovery, etc., that I'm not really interested in. (I'd just as soon be watching a comedy or reading a book.)
But last night I actually had my interest piqued by what he was watching. I heard the name Patrick Ferguson and thought, "Hey, I've heard of him!"
What Stephen was watching was a show called "Hillbilly: The Real Story." And part of the show was dedicated to the Overmountain Men and the Battle of Kings Mountain. It was incredibly informative and I really, really enjoyed it.
In case you missed it, the program airs again Thursday morning at 8 and then again that afternoon at 2 on the History Channel. Let me know if you watch it!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Only in my dreams

We were talking about back to school supplies this morning in the newsroom, which made me think about my old Trapper Keeper.
Then my mind wandered on to other items from my youth I'd like to see again. Here's a few I thought of - be sure to add your own in the comments.

- Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers (they actually still make these, although I haven't tried them.) I remember winning one at some Girl Scout Christmas party that was grape flavored. Man, it was yummy.

- Kissing Coolers. This too was a lip gloss that tasted terrific.

- Debbie Gibson's Electric Youth perfume. Remember the stuff? It was putrid pink and really didn't smell that good, but it sure brings back memories.

- Hyper Color T-shirts. They changed color with your body temperature. (And weren't good for dates.)

- Lisa Frank items. Was there any girl out there who didn't own at least one Lisa Frank pen, pencil, notebook or binder? (I wanted to design for Lisa Frank when I was a kid.)

Can anyone think of any others?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

It's more fun when the lights are out

It finally rained at my house tonight. (Thank you all who prayed for rain on Monday.)
I checked the rain gauge and it said about 1/3 of an inch. I haven't emptied it in a while, but my guess is that since it's been so hot and dry, it was probably accurate.
Our power was out for about two hours or so tonight, which was OK. We're on city water and have really well insulated hot water heaters, so we were still able to give Nathan a bath. And flush toilets - those of you on wells can relate to that problem.
With the remaining sunlight coming through the window, I read Nathan his bedtime story. Dressed in his shorts and t-shirt, he watched as I turned the pages and read "Diddle, Diddle Dumpling" and "Jack Be Nimble."
Now that he's in bed I'm thinking back to my own childhood and power outages. My parents' house had a sliding door on the back that led out to the deck. One particular thunderstorm (which not only left us without power but also struck our pump on our well) we opened up the back door to cool the house. It was probably about this time of year.
I remember lying in the floor on a blanket with the cooler night air blowing over me and falling asleep that way. No TV, no lights. Just me and my parents and the night air.
Maybe some day we'll be able to do something similar and Nathan will have a rich memory, too.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Spread those wings and fly

I've been out of the blogging realm a few days.
On Thursday, I moved my baby sister to college. I'm almost 10 years older than her, so I've always felt maternal toward her - and even more so in the past two years since our mom died.
I met Thursday with mixed emotions - elation over her going to college and (hopefully) having the best time of her life. It was also very, very sad for me. Not only is my mom no longer here to share in the pride and joy I take in Laura, but I feel as if I've lost my best friend. Thursday night I cried when her car wasn't in the driveway. And tonight during supper I automatically took three plates out of the cabinet only to realize I didn't a third.
It literally feels as though my baby bird has left the nest. I know she'll probably need advice (and will ask for it.)
For now, though, my best advice is this - spread those wings and fly.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

It may be natural, but I'm not a natural

In Sunday's life section we published a story from the Associated Press about breastfeeding, which included the Centers for Disease Controls goals for 2010 -- getting 60 percent of women to breast-feed exclusively for the first three months and 25 percent through six months.
The story also talked about how many women turn to formula, citing that most do so because of it's ease of use.
Breastfeeding is the best way to feed your baby. Studies show time and again how breastfed babies are sicker less often and are less likely to develop allergies.
But what if you can't breastfeed?
When Nathan was born last May I fully intended to nurse. And I tried. But after an entirely sleepless night followed by Nathan losing weight two days later, I began using the free can of Similac I was given at the hospital.
And for a month, I pumped breast milk. And barely got a thing.
Maybe I didn't pump enough, but I never had the symptoms of breasts full of milk. No engorgement, no leaking. So I fed my child formula.
I beat myself up about it for a while, until one day I was talking to my grandmother. Once she told me she couldn't breastfeed and my mother and her three siblings (who are all healthy as horses) were formula fed, the guilt fell away.
The story from the Associated Press reminded me again that the most important thing we do as mothers (and fathers) is do what is best for our children. And for me that choice was to ensure my child was getting something nutritious to eat.
I don't think feeding your child formula is the worst thing you can (and there are some out there who truly believe it is.) I could be doing much worse - like giving him sodas and tons of sugar. Or worse still, not feeding him at all.
Did anyone else face this dilemma as a new mom? I'd love to hear from you. Feel free to leave your comments, or if you like, e-mail me at

Monday, August 13, 2007

Yippee - it's WeeRuns time again!

I got a reminder card in the mail Saturday for WeeRuns.
If you haven't heard of it, WeeRuns is a children's consignment sale held twice each year in Rutherford County. (It's also held in other parts of the state and even in other states.) You can find gently used toys, books, shoes, clothes - even car seats and pool floats.
Last spring I volunteered for the first time. Volunteering is not only fun but earns you the opportunity to shop before anyone else. The clothes Nathan's been wearing this summer came from WeeRuns, and since he's outgrowing them rapidly, I'm glad it's coming up again.
Here's a link to the WeeRuns site, which has the hours and dates for the fall sale:

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Well I'll be a monkey's uncle!

Nathan's wearing his monkey pajamas tonight. We've joked about how my sister is a monkey's aunt. Which got me thinking....
I haven't said the expression "I'll be a monkey's uncle" in a really long time. In fact, I haven't even thought of it for many years.
What are some other mainstream expressions we used to use but don't anymore? I'm interested to hear what you think dear readers. In the meantime, I'll see what I can conjure up and write about them later.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Miss Quizno's? Then read this!

Quizno's isn't so far away anymore.

After closing earlier this year in Shelby, there's a new Quizno's opening in Forest City. I don't know any of the details other than I spotted the sign while out and about.

It'll be located on Oak Street across from Mi Pueblito. (Wal-mart is the landmark you're looking for.)

From the looks of the renovations, it may be another month or two before it's open.
In the meantime, visit the Quizno's Web site at

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Here's who you'll see at the furniture art show

Here are the artist's bios for the "Form, Function, Fantasy: Furniture as Art" show going on now through Aug. 31 at the Cleveland County Arts Council.

  • Susan Doggett weaves cloth and creates objects for the body, home and spirit. She earned her BFA from Converse College and has studied weaving and fiber techniques from many artists. Susan has been sewing since childhood, weaving for 2 decades and has in recent years added beadwork, surface design and doll making to her repertoire.
  • The Flights of Fantasy Doll Club is a cloth doll club that has been meeting for 20years and consists of 34 members. The ability level of the members ranges from beginning doll makers to advanced doll makers and designers. The club’s purpose is to further the enjoyment and appreciation of cloth dolls and doll accessories as well as enhance members’ skills in making them. The club meets the second Tuesday of each month in Charlotte and brings in a national teacher for a workshop once a year.
  • Matthew Martin’s wood working career began at an early age as he spent many years helping out in his father’s cabinet shop. This is where his passion for woodworking began and has continued to grow. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in Wood Science from North Carolina State University in 2000. After college, he moved to Colorado where he continued his pursuit of woodworking in a small cabinet shop. Matthew prides himself in visualizing a project and being able to see it through to its finished form. He takes most of his inspiration from the arts and crafts movement, but enjoys adding a contemporary twist to a traditional feel. He currently works alongside Roger Martin and Marc Stowe at Martin Cabinets in Shelby.
  • Fred Lee Mead Jr. was born in the Detroit suburbs of Southfield, Mich., in 1955. He showed an early interest in art and was taught to paint in oil at age 12 by his father, also an artist/industrial designer. In 1979, Fred graduated from Columbus College of Art and Design with a bachelors of fine art, with a double major in painting and sculpture and a minor in photography. In 1980, Fred moved to North Carolina for the climate and to begin an art career. Fred presently lives in Rutherfordton with his wife and children while pursuing his interest in art.
  • A North Carolina native, Nathan Rose grew up in Charlotte and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He spent the next 20 years in theatrical and exhibitory shops in California and Alaska building sets, props and furniture in a multitude of styles, as well as contemporary exhibits and displays. Missing the South and following a passion to build furniture of his own design, Nathan returned to Charlotte and started Rose Woodworks, specializing in custom furniture and cabinetry. As a result of frequent trips to the abundantly forested mountains of northwest North Carolina, Nathan began collecting and working with wood in its natural form. This is now the primary focus of his furniture. Nathan is a member of the Furniture Society, the American Craft Council and Carolina Designer Craftsmen.
  • Robert Silver is an artist-blacksmith. Robert prefers to create non-traditional, functional and sculptural items using his own designs. Robert began his career in art by creating beautiful one-of-a-kind kaleidoscopes in stained glass and brass and unique glass boxes. While incorporating decorative solder techniques in his kaleidoscopes, he became interested in the properties of metal and how its shape and color could be totally changed with the application of heat. By heating iron to red-hot in the forge, then hammering and shaping, intricate twists and scrolls are evident on the tables, clocks, candleholders and freeform sculpture he designs. Robert studied blacksmithing at John C. Campbell Folk School and has apprenticed with local blacksmiths, Stuart and Hill Willis. He is actively involved in the local and national chapters of ABANA (Artist Blacksmith Association of North America). Robert accepts commissions and his work is available at Tryon Arts and Craft, Tryon, at Blue Moon Stained Glass located inside the Architectural Warehouse in Tryon, at Twisted Laurel Gallery in Spruce Pine and at Twisted Iron Forge in Shelby. Robert particularly enjoys collaborations with artists working in other mediums. He has enjoyed working his metal around clay, woodcarvings, and stained and fused glass to create some very unique, one-of-a-kind pieces. One of his most unique kaleidoscopes was presented as a goodwill gift to the prestigious All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon, and several pieces, both glasswork and metalwork, have made their way to Ireland as gifts representing artwork from North Carolina. He and his wife recently closed their business, a custom frame shop and art gallery. Robert, now retired, spends most days at the forge where his favorite activity is creating signed tomahawks, war axes and knives.
  • Marc W. Stowe has enjoyed creating things for as long as he can remember. He gravitated to woodworking because it was his father’s hobby. Marc attended the Savannah College of Art and Design for two years where he studied art history and computer art. He enjoys building pieces that are both functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. His recent work reflects a conscious effort to “slim down” his forms in order to emphasize the incredible versatility of the wood. Marc lives in Polkville with his wife, Jodie, and works with Matthew Martin at Martin Cabinets in Shelby.
  • Rachel Watkins is a sculptor, artist, wife and grandmother who resides in Toluca. A native of Belmont, Rachel has spent most of her adult life in North Carolina, living for a few years in Myrtle Beach, S.C. A self-taught artist, she first received national attention in 1990 when her decoration of chicken breast bones, and creation of a life-size giraffe and other papier maché sculptures were highlighted on “The Home Show” on the CBS Network. Rachel has long been a “community activist” helping those less-fortunate through her non-profit organization “What Goes around Comes Around.” During most of the 1990s she received a great deal of press coverage for her work in helping women and children made homeless due to domestic violence and abuse. She has also initiated voting drives to get unregistered citizens registered to vote.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Chasing Nathan

Can you spot it?

The Cleveland County Arts Council is trying something new with their exhibits. Parents and kids can take part in a scavenger hunt while visiting the arts center.
The Arts Council provides a list of items to look for in the front lobby. After answering the questions, visitors return the lists to be entered into a drawing for food coupons for places like Papa's Pizza, Dairy Queen and other locations.
Children younger than 13 are welcome to take part in the hunts, said Arts Council staffer Violet Arth.
"It allows children to get familiar with artwork in a fun way," she said. "It's fun for parents and kids to do together."
For more on the current exhibit at the Arts Council, read the Aug. 9 edition of Spot.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Now that's my kind of art

The Cleveland County Arts Council is currently hosting a furniture as art exhibit. I visited today and was amazed at what I saw.
There is an accessory there called 4-1/2 men. Until Arts Council staffer Violet Arth pointed it out, I didn't see why the piece was so named. But ... the outline of the men are visible in the white space of the piece. It's incredible.
You can see some of the artwork and more information on the exhibit in Thursday's Spot section.

Hot town, summer in the city

Baby, it's hot outside. So hot, that I expect the soles of my American Eagle ballet flats to melt to the pavement.
I've been trying to think of ways to keep cool. Since there's also drought conditions in our area, turning on the sprinkler and running around isn't the best idea.
So here's what I've come up with - I'm going to think myself cool. Mind over matter to beat the heat.
Here goes:
- Remember the ice storm a few years back. Imagine you are one of the trees coated in ice. It's cool and quiet in your crystalline cocoon.
- My favorite ice cream in kindergarten was orange creamsicle. I remember it only cost 15 cents to buy one of those yummy ice cream bars. (I'm feeling cooler already.)
- In college (in an un-air conditioned dorm) we tried opening the refrigerator door and pulling cool air out of it with a fan (now that I pay an electric bill I wouldn't do this.)

Do you have any ideas? If so, leave me a comment. I'll publish your ideas in Sunday's Star in the Life section.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Happy birthday!

Today is my colleague Graham Cawthon's birthday. My husband, Stephen, will also be celebrating this weekend - he turns to big 3-0 Monday.
Until I became a mother, my birthday was all about me. I never really thought about what it meant to my own mother. If not for her, I wouldn't be here at all.
January 20 was cold the year I was born. It was snowing and my mom - who had toxemia (preeclampsia) - was induced. Her blood pressure was so high it's a miracle I'm even here. Suddenly, Jan. 20 wasn't just another day - it turned into the day her first child was born.
May 21 is the same for me. Nathan was due May 28, but decided to try and make his way into the world a bit early. My water broke May 20 and I labored the afternoon into the next morning, when at 8 a.m. my OB decided a C-section was in my best interest.
Just like my mom, I'm going to make a big deal out of Nathan's birthday, and it will be his day. But in the back of my mind now I'm not only going to think about Nathan and how wonderful it is to have him every May 21 (and every second of every day, for that matter), but I'm also going to send a silent thought to my own mother - she gave me the most precious gift ever: my life and a chance to create another life.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Here comes serendipity

My son, Nathan, who's almost 15 months old, has recently been adding more words to his vocabulary. His first word was Dada, followed by Mama (my favorite!). Recently he's added ball, walk and just yesterday Laura (my sister's name and his favorite aunt.)
New research is suggesting that baby's really do begin learning language well before they ever say those first words.
According to a story published Thursday by the Associated Press, once babies have mastered easy words like mama or ball, they move on to harder words (like serendipity), resulting in a "word spurt" around 18 months.
The article also points out that rather than buying technologically advanced teaching toys for your toddler, just read and talk to them.
I'll admit, it seems easier sometimes to sit Nathan in front of a toy, especially when I'm trying to cook or clean. But reading to him every night before bed is our time to snuggle. It's replaced his bedtime bottle, and I'm glad. It's a ritual we can share together from now until he at least hits puberty, I reckon.
Need some ideas on teaching your toddler language? Visit the National Institute for Literacy at

Rock those curves

I'm so excited!
Prime Outlets in Gaffney, S.C., is getting a Lane Bryant.
I called the outlets this morning - the store opens next Friday, Aug. 10.
I don't have any other details, but if I get them you'll hear it here first.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Wonderful Wonder Boxes

I was at Cleveland County Memorial Library recently working on a story about the new Harry Potter book (more on that in another post.)
While I was there librarian Delores Ashworth mentioned to me the Wonder Boxes. Curious, I asked what they are.
Not only was I informed, but I left with one that very day.
Wonder boxes are essentially a box filled with books, puppets, puzzles, DVDs or videos and CDs on any topic you can imagine. There's wonder boxes on various holidays, being an older sibling and even nursery rhymes. (Nursery rhymes was the wonder box I brought home for Nathan, my son.)
Designed for all ages of children, most wonder boxes can be checked out for around three weeks. Holiday wonder boxes are usually in high demand close to the holiday in which they pertain, so check out times may be shorter then.
Nathan enjoyed the items in the wonder box. He's almost 15 months old now, and is very interested in taking things apart and putting them back together. There was a wooden puzzle with the Three Billy Goats Gruff (a nursery rhyme I'd all but forgotten.) He loved it.
Keep in mind with the wonder box too - you have to keep up with everything in them. (A challenge for anyone with a curious toddler like Nathan. He's been known to hide things in his toy fire truck, the refrigerator, the cabinets and even in a jar of change.)
For more information, contact the library at (704) 487-9069.

To bee or not to bee

What have you been watching this summer?
My household has been tuned into fillers - that is, television series to get us through until the fall TV lineup returns.
We've tried both "Don't Forget the Lyrics" and "Singing Bee." I was sure "Lyrics" was going to be better - former N*Sync-er Joey Fatone hosts "Bee," where "Whose Line" alum Wayne Brady hosts "Lyrics."
I was wrong.
"Singing Bee" - at least for me - far outshines "Lyrics." Where "Lyrics only features one contestant during each episode and moves sooo sloooowly, "Bee" has several contestants at a time. While the concept of both shows is the same (remembering words to popular songs), "Bee" offer several variations on the theme, using various strategies to narrow down the competition.

The only real series I've watched this summer is "Kyle XY." I have to admit, this show sounded a little far-fetched for me, but I tuned in half-way through last season and got hooked. It's a great show for my family - love stories for me and my sister, and scientific, geeky stuff for my husband.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Tax free weekend plans

I love the sales tax holiday. I'm really looking forward to shopping this weekend.
I already know that clothes will be tax free, but did you know diapers are also? Apparently they're considered an article of clothing.
I mentioned this over lunch yesterday and Cassie asked me if I had a closet free for storage ... actually, my sister's should have a little room since she's headed off for college.
Think of it - all the money I could save with no tax and coupons.
I wonder if Pampers are on sale anywhere this weekend?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Leaps and bounds

This week seems to have been an especially busy one for my little guy.
On Tuesday night, Nathan said his first word - "dada." Boy is his daddy proud.
Yesterday afternoon he woke up from his nap and when I went to get him out of his crib, he was trying to pull up on the front rails. Then this morning he was sitting up in there. Guess it's time to lower the mattress.
It's amazing to watch him grow. I just know in another month or so he'll be walking. And it's scaring me.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Snow Day!

I've decided even Mommies need Snow Days.
Yesterday's weather (albeit not so bad) was enough to close Nathan's daycare for the day, leaving Mommy with a day at home.
It was so much fun.
We played in the floor, read books, drank juice and ate peach puffs.
But the best part of the day? Nap time.
From 2 to 3:30 yesterday Nathan and I napped in "the big bed." (Mommy and Daddy's bed.) We snuggled and snored, wiggled and snoozed. It was wonderful, peaceful and just plain nice.
I'll be glad when we get some real snow next time - enough that Daddy can stay home and play with us, too.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Making baby food

Here's a preview of my two-part article about making baby food that will be published in The Star beginning Jan. 31. Click here to watch video of my cooking lesson with N.C. Cooperative Extension Registered Dietician Nancy Jones.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Rose, Donald: Think about your kids

Have you been following the ongoing feud between Rosie O'Donnell and Donald Trump? It all started with Rosie commenting on Donald's affiliation with Miss USA (you know, the underage drinking stuff.)
This all started before Christmas. Which means almost a month has passed and the mud-slinging is still going on.
Both Donald and Rosie have young children. (Donald's son is either a little older or a little younger than my very own Nathan.) I think it's high time they each decided to let this little battle go and consider their children.
After all, the most important role we have as parents is to set a good example for our children so they'll grow up to be responsible, independent, caring adults. And by battling over silly, childish things like Donald and Rosie have ... well, instead of being adults/parents they're acting like seven year olds on a playground.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Baby food, baby food, baby food

Have you seen how much baby food an 8 month old can go through? Trust me, those little jars, when you're buying them, seem like they'll feed the baby for a while, but the truth is, they go fast.
So that's why I'm enlisting Cooperative Extension Dietitican Nancy Jones to help me learn to make baby food. Are you interested? I'd love to have others try it and compare the cost-effectiveness and taste of it to the ease and convenience of picking up Gerber.
Let me know. You can e-mail me at