Feminism – the new order

I cook in the kitchen, but I just can’t help my ear from nipping round the corner, just to check.

Girls!” he says with the breathy tone of mischief.
“Girls? What girls? Why didya say girls?”
Girls…..are recyclable.”
“Whatcha mean? Recyclable?”
Girls………you can use em again and again and again.”
“Yuck! What are you talking about you little ole dipstick. Mom he’s bein disgustin……again……I think.”
“I not being disgustin. I am being Mother Nature’s friend.”
“Yuck. Mom I think that sex education class teacher shouldn’t teach him nothin else!”
“No. I am been good to be green.”
“Green? Whatcha talking about now?”
“I am being saying that girls are green.”
“Shut up why dontcha.”
“No……girls are green because they recycle with their babies. They make themselves again and again and again with their babies. Ultimate recycling.”

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One heck of a Muffin!

5 Minutes for Special Needs

If you enjoy caption competitions and photographs, you may wish to nip along to“DJ Kirkby” over at “Chez Aspie” and test your brain power.

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How to make a Luigi cake topper decoration

You may not need this right now if you have little ones but this is a mere glimpse into the future.

You will need several tonnes of white fondant / sugarpaste or ready coloured packs available from Wilton. Start the project several weeks ahead of time to allow the figurine to dry thoroughly.

Start with the head, roll until smooth and mount on a stick.

Add features and details.

Shape body torso and hands / gloves.

Roll out lower body and divide into legs.

Mould the shoes.

Add each additional part with sugar glue [take a small amount of white fondant and add a few drops of boiled water until the required consistency is achieved.

Leave figure out of direct sunlight to dry, preferably hidden to maintain the surprise factor.

Pop on the cake, light the candles, step back and admire the view of unencumbered freefall delight.

Why bother? Because sometimes speechless really is priceless.

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Try This Tuesday

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Laws of Physics Kirby

Hosted by “Tracy” at “Mother May I,” but the photo-picture below will whizz you right there with one click.


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Today I have to spotlight my daughter, a tiny icon. You may remember that we had a “breakthrough” around here when my son decided that he both could and would draw, freely. It was pretty momentus for us.

His birthday was just around the corner and we take presents pretty seriously. We both favour the hand made kind of gift, the ones that take very little money but do require a great deal of thinking time and effort.

So this is a magical feat of artistry to me. He drew the pictures and his big sister transferred the images to the computer, coloured them in and then transferred them onto a t-shirt.

The gift was a hit. He was both mystified and delighted. that was the real gift, the gift to the giver. It may seem a little odd but it is all too familiar territory. We adults agonise over what to give, the right match, something that will give pleasure but 99% of the time, we fail.

It has been a long and tortuous path.

Initially if was basic. Either one of them would be absorbed in one of their favourite activities when a present intruded upon the scene. The present, whatever it was, would hold no interest, merely an unwelcome interruption. When whatever it was, when unwrapped, would still be of no interest, even if it fell into the category of their interests. The terms novelty and new, which are commonly attractive, were not so here.

In the beginning there were no words available which meant that we parents were quite at a loss to know what exactly had gone wrong. Over stimulated, over excited, wrong present? We guessed. We had no idea.

Later there were words, in-between the meltdowns, but they didn’t help much either. We learned that big present opening sessions were guaranteed to disappoint everyone. Far better to work on one gift at a time, over a long period of time. Opening presents became a finely orchestrated production. The key to peace was the ability to peek inside their skulls to see what it was that they saw and expected to receive. We lacked that ability. The disappointments and hurt feelings of all parties sapped energy. All we could do was to work upon their expectations, to accept less than perfect, lessen their investment in the unknowable outcome and sow many seeds in advance.

It’s not just the big occasions like birthdays, but the little casual occasions.

Americans are a generous race. There appears to be no occasion to small to exclude a gift for children; the dinner party, the visit, the play-date, they all include a little gem of ‘I picked this up, I thought you’d like it,’ words guaranteed to induce doom. Many a parent will pick up some candy on the way home from a trip or an errand. Something catches the eye. A reward for good behaviour whilst with a baby sitter, or merely the other parent. Guilt for time off, bribery or a swell of joy to share. It doesn’t matter what the motivation is, nor what the gift might be, they all result in misery.

People have a hard time understanding.

Children and presents seem a perfect match. A kid in a candy store or a toy shop. But not these children. If these children go to a toy store, assuming you can get them into the store in the first place, they may find one thing that they find attractive. It is probably something that they already have, something from their very narrow category of current interest[s]. It is far more common to find that there is no ‘one thing’ that they find attractive, unless you count the price stickers and the electric door.

No so long back, my eldest daughter had been away in Mozambique for a long time. On her return she brought gifts, tiny, local delightful, well chosen gifts, but it was crowded. She was out of practice but well intentioned. She took him aside for a special one on one session. She was so sure she had a match. She could cope, it would be fine, he would love it, they would connect after her absence. Joint attention, no pressure, in the zone. How could he resist? Every child would be at least intrigued. I watched her billowing confidence. Maybe this time? Don’t use the word present! Why not later when there are less people, less noise, less busyness. She was a cheerleader of presentation with simple language at his height, un-intimidating. He screamed as he hurled it across the room and lunged to the floor. The room went silent as everyone turned to take in the scene, the long lost sister and the spoilt little brother. Murmours of ‘jet lag’ whispered through the room as tears of abject disappointment spurted from both of them.

I could write on this one topic for hours, each little step, each moderated accommodation to bring the boys to where they are now, but I’ll leave it for now. I prefer to bask in the pleasure of witnessing my daughter’s first ever success, after a decade of trying she hit the right note, a harmonic tone that resonates between all of us.

So if you ever receive an invitation that includes the phrase ‘please, no gifts,’ try and be cruel to be kind.



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Percolation time

Today I am also over here at 5 Minutes for Special Needs Moms.

We’re late, me and my shadow, but I drop it off in any case, together with a quick apology, “I’m sorry it’s a bit late but I was a bit tied up at home.” I hear he little gasp, the sharp intake of breath but I’m in a hurry so I pay him no heed. So many things intervene, overlap and pass over. It is only later, much later, when I am buried in yet more things that the questions trip out in quick succession for me to thread them back to the source.
“Yes dear?”
“Who what?”
“Who it did?”
“Who did what?”
“Dah bad fing?”
“Which bad thing?”
“Tied you to home?”

p.s. if anyone knows how to switch off the Hindi trans-iliteration function on blogger, I should be most grateful, another accident. It is disabled but oddly, it is still works. I’m on a Mac so I couldn’t use this function in any case.

Pop over 5 Minutes for Special Needs Moms. as I shall be on my holidays for the foreseeable future.

Cheers dears

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Happy Times

Slurping Life
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Yes! Another year older.

So they should have been like this from a “book” called “Hello Cupcake” by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. It was a Mother’s Day gift from my daughter, to make my life easier.

Unfortunately they ended up like this!

I’ll tell you one thing for free, American cake frosting is ten million times more difficult than fondant. I now need to go on a crash course to identify different American candies. It has taken forever just to work out what a doughnut hole might be. It’s a fabulous book.

And please spare a thought and maybe a penny or two for “Judith” and her “Birthday wish.” On another note, if you’re into recycling but with an eye on the world, please check out “Green Eyes In Africa” a quite inspiring effort. We looked through our own tatty collection of shoes, both adult and children’s. So many of them were way past hope, too awful to donate to anyone, however I chatted with my “daughter” who lived for some while in Mozambique. She explained to her poor half witted mother that anything is acceptable as they can be refashioned and rehashed by those who are motivated. The non-profit is based in “Utah” but you can contact them to find your local chapter. Lastly and definitely leastly, maybe you could take a wee mo to say something “encouraging” to a little “chap” I know? Once summer gets going and we are free of school we hope to keep track of his creative “endeavours” as we know how to exploit techy types!

Cheers dears

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Unusually, we drive home from school in relative peace and quiet as the boys’ word bank reads empty. My daughter and I chat. I am fascinated to learn about her new hang out, a cool place for pre-teens.
“Mom……..I was wondering?”
“Maybe Mr. B could take me to the 7 11 to spend my allowance?”
“For a treat.”
“A treat…..maybe we should all go. I’ll treat you all. You can save your pocket money.”
“Yeah Mom!”
“So which would you rather have? A nice healthy juice and a broccoli sandwich or chocolate milk and a doughnut I wonder?”
“Slushy and a doughnut!”
“What about you chaps?” Silence continues.
“What would you like as a treat from the 7 11 guys?”
Silence. I concentrate on driving in heavy commuter traffic. “You ask them dear.”
“Hey you guys!”
“What would you rather have? A disgustin healthy sandwich on yucky brown bread and sugar free juice or a delicious Slushy full of chemicals and a doughnut slathered in chocolate and filled to the brim with E numbers?”
“Okay. So I have proposition one and proposition two. Which do you want?” She repeats the choices with ever more colourful language and descriptions. Silence. “Geez guys. Proposition one or proposition two?” She repeats the choices in purple prose, hand gestures and more animation than you find in the average cartoon caper. “So? Come on! Answer me!”
“Firstly……proposition one is……..long and…… proposition two is……… I dunno what yur talkin about.”

And not a meltdown in sight.

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Bent out of Shape

I run in from the garden with a bent package stuffed under my arm to remove half a dozen red hot rechargeable batteries from the tumble drier, along with a disassembled home made scorpion. The noise is enough to make my ears bleed.
“What a dipstick!”
“Who is being dipstick?”
“The post man.”
“Dah…..post man? What is dat being?”
“Not what, who….”
“Who is dipstick? Who is post man?”
“Er not post man,….. mail man,…… mail person er…..mail carrier.”
“You are word trouble.”
“Pardon? Attack? Who?”
“Me? Attack whom?”
“No…..you are be an English attack.”

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Chocolate Coronary Cake

5 Minutes for Special Needs

16 ounce tub of Cream Cheese at room temperature
6 ounces of Graham crackers crushed
4 ounces of butter [salted]
16 ounces of milk chocolate

Melt the chocolate
Melt the butter stir into the chocolate
Add the cream cheese and stir
Tip in the cracker crumbs and stir
Pour into an old ice cube tray lined with cling film / saran wrap.
Chill until cold
Turn out onto a plate and pull off the plastic.
Slice no wider than your pinky finger.

This is a chef’s original. It was supposed to be chocolate cheesecake but when I checked, we only had half the ingredients. Then I thought…..chocolate, crumbs, butter, cream cheese………… how bad can it be?
Yes he was completely speechless at first bite, but the victory dance that followed said it all.

If you enjoy caption competitions and photographs, you may wish to nip along to“DJ Kirkby” over at “Chez Aspie” and test your brain power.

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How to make a moss stick

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Devil’s Ivy is an attractive plant with dark green leaves with yellow streaks and marbling. It’s real name is Pothos [Epipremnum aureum] but commonly known as Devil’s Ivy or Golden hunter’s robe or Ceylon creeper.

Whilst it hales from the Solomon Isles, it is also the most common houseplant around. I am reliably informed that it is only toxic if eaten in very large quantities.

Most people cultivate it by allowing it to cascade down from a high point but since it is really a climber it will really thrive given some support in the form of a moss stick.

As it turns out, moss sticks are unheard of in my local Home Depot, so that made for another very curious conversation for another time.

All you need for this tackle, apart from the plant is a bag of moss and an interesting stick, freely available from most wind blown beaches, string and elastic bands. It’s a good idea to check the source of your moss to make sure it hasn’t been raped from your local rainforest.

Wrap the moss around the stick and secure in place with string in the same way that you would truss a joint of meat.

Try This Tuesday

As some people may already know, string is one of the many tools of torture around here and hence this task can easily be modified for those averse to string, knots and tying anything, by using elastic bands. Elastic bands are also hideous, but slightly less hideous, just slightly less hideous enough to allow tentative digits to come in contact with moss.

Lastly, do not permit a moss stick to have house room if you share your accommodations with a dog. A stick, even if covered in moss, is still a stick. It’s like a present: a tantalizingly wrapped stick.

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