Friday, January 30, 2009

Little Black Dress/Little Red Wagon hit mailboxes today!

After months of planning, creating, selling, writing, strategizing, scheduling, interviewing, writing, photographing, designing, tweaking, writing, proofing, editing, mapping, writing, circulating, meeting, marketing and WRITING, we proudly announce the premiere of Little Black Dress/Little Red Wagon Magazine, which officially hit the first round of mailboxes TODAY!

We will send out the online flipbook version SOON, but here's a little sneak peek at our covers:

Aren't they grand?! The cover model is my dear friend Jenica, with her son Owen. (See, it pays in life to have beautiful friends. You never know when you might need to slap one on the cover of your magazine!) And didn't Summer do a GORGEOUS job with the photography?

Thank YOU, again, to our awesome designer, Tiffany, and our two talented photographers, Summer and Jennifer. You guys knocked it out of the park. WAY out.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Need a Laugh?

Why you should always double-check your child's homework.

A first-grader handed in this drawing for a homework assignment:After it was graded and the child brought it home, she returned to school the next day with the following note:

Dear Ms. Davis,
I want to be very clear about my child's illustration. It is NOT of me on a dance pole on a stage in a strip joint. I work at Home Depot and had commented to my daughter how much money we made in the recent snowstorm. This picture is of me selling a shovel.
Mrs. Harrington

(I got this on an e-mail today and thought someone else might enjoy the humor.... ;-)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Whole Raw Chicken: A Rite of Passage

Raising four kids, my mom was Master of the Chicken. I can't remember a week that didn't involve me eating a chicken part of some kind, and most of my childhood memories are infused with the aroma of boiling livers on the back burner. (Being the days of pre-cholesterol awareness, my parents actually paid us to eat them! The abuse we suffered.)

So, as I have made my own way into adulthood and now into motherhood, I always knew I could count myself as a "real woman" when I mastered The Chicken. I quickly discovered that chicken breasts are a breeze, but every time I encountered an entire bird in the poultry aisle, it always looked so...well, chickeny. I prefer denial when I eat my meats. If it looks like it might bock at me, I shy away.

But, in these economic times, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, and so one day in Walmart, feeling brave, I put a couple whole birds in my cart. Actually, to be accurate, I put them in produce bags in my cart. They looked like they might ooze something onto my hotdog buns.

I took home my little featherless friends and after scouring, Barefoot in Paris and Southern Living, I came across a winning combination. What joy!

Here it is, my passage into womanhood, my recipe for a WHOLE chicken!

1 3-5 pound chicken (devoid of gross inner parts)
olive oil
1 lemon
fresh or dried thyme
lemon pepper
1 whole onion

Preheat oven to 400. Rinse chicken inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels. Arrange breast-side up in lightly greased dish (13x9x2). Tuck wings under and tie legs together with kitchen twine, if desired. (It tastes the same spread eagle.)

Rub outside with olive oil. Cut lemon in half and squeeze juice all over chicken, including inside cavity. Put lemon halves into cavity.

Rub (or put sprigs of) thyme under chicken skin on breast meat. Sprinkle more thyme on chicken, including legs and wings. Sprinkle thyme (or put sprigs) inside cavity. Sprinkle lemon pepper all over outside.

Slice onion into skinny wedges. Separate onions, sprinkling in pan around chicken and tuck a few inside cavity. Slide several onion slivers under skin on breasts, too.

(You can also put potato wedges and carrot slices in the pan to bake with the onions: a one-pot wonder!)

Bake for about 18-20 minutes per pound. Check for doneness: when juice runs clear when a knife is inserted between body and leg and when meat is white throughout depth of breast.

Not only does this chicken taste unbelievably good, but it's like a really yummy aromatherapy session while it's baking. (Yes, I just totally set myself up for a Jeff Foxworthy one-liner.)

Welcome to womanhood!

Dare to Reclaim Your Chosenness

Bug is sick today. But his runny nose and congestion have not depleted his energy level any. He's finally down for a much-needed nap, and I'm stealing a moment of alone time at my desk. The gray morning has turned into a beautiful afternoon. A sunny window, a quiet house, a sleeping son and a new journal: it's the small pleasures that make life rich!

In my journal, I've copied a passage from Henri J.M. Nouwen's Life of the Beloved. Here's what I'm pondering on this sunny Monday afternoon:

"We have to dare to reclaim the truth that we are God's chosen ones, even when our world does not choose us. As long as we allow our parents, siblings, teachers, friends and lovers to determine whether we are chosen or not, we are caught in the net of a suffocating world that accepts or rejects us according to its own agenda of efficiency and control.

"The great spiritual battle begins--and never ends--with the reclaiming of our chosenness.... Our preciousness, uniqueness and individuality are not given to us by those who meet us in clock-time...but by the One who has chosen us with an everlasting love, a love that existed from all eternity and will last through all eternity."

Hmmm... I've just added another (not-so-small) pleasure to my simple afternoon: knowing I'm chosen. That's quite a nice thought for a Monday.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Timeout (for Moms)

Bug has turned two early. He hasn't technically reached his second birthday, but for all intents and purposes, he's already there. Being "two" has brought with it many grand ideas (like climbing on the stool to reach the light switch to reenact Saturday-Night-Fever-strobe-action in the kitchen). And being two has also brought many Bug frustrations, particularly if he is unable (due either to inability or parental intervention) to carry out said ideas.

And so Timeout has become a new visitor to our household. Just tonight, for example, Bug was visited by Timeout when he let fly his noodles at dinner. One of my friends used to say that their child was two and "very, very ridiculously good at it." Ditto.

As proud Mommy to this accomplished tot, I have discovered that I, too, need a timeout on a regular basis. Or, more accurately: time outside the house. I need time to reconnect with the still, small Me dwelling below the surface of Mom-me.

And so, on a fairly regular basis, I schlep a book and a journal to a retreat center near our home. Wooded, secluded, silent, sacred. Perfect.

Regardless of the place, I hope you have a sacred spot in the midst of our bustling world. A spot where you can be alone, be quiet, be still. Just be. A place where you, too, can take a timeout.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Vagoo Geegee!

Well, today I signed Bug up for a two-day preschool program for the fall. I think it will be great for him to be around a group of other children in a semi-structured environment. He's a very social little guy. Hunk asked me what I hope Bug will learn at his new school, and I said, "Sitting." High hopes!

We went to the school this morning to register, and Bug had fun running around everywhere. He poked his head in all the closets and asked, "Vagoo geegee? Vagoo geegee?" Apparently, his greatest concern is whether or not they have a vacuum cleaner.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Extra! Extra!

We approved the first official proof for Little Black Dress/Little Red Wagon Magazine today, and the presses are rolling! We should be able to pick up our copies within a week. (Yes, Mom, I'll mail you one). We'll send out the link for the online flipbook version SOON!

I have to give a quick shout-out to three very talented ladies who helped to make this issue happen: our gifted (and patient) designer, Tiffany Westbrook, and our two incredible photographers, Jennifer Harris and Summer Adams. Ladies, you ROCK! It's been an honor to work with you on our premiere issue.

Check 'em out:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Today's Episode

Hunk and I have this little thing where he'll call during the day and ask, "What's today's episode?" Over the past (almost) two years of Bug's life, the episodes have ranged from "Giggles and Grins" to "Holy Crap!" and everything in-between. (I'll spare you the details of that latter one....)

Today's episode is: "Fling the Food." Dog food, that is. Across the kitchen floor. Now, normally the dog food is very much OFF limits, but this game produced so many shrills and peals that I couldn't resist snapping a few shots before calling it to a halt. This game, in case you want to repeat it at home with YOUR kitchen floor, goes like this:

Toddler finds a plastic cup in the laundry room. Mommy is checking e-mail in the kitchen. Toddler fills the cup with dog food. Mommy is still checking e-mail. Toddler runs, laughing, into the kitchen carrying the cup, with the dog in hot pursuit. Toddler takes a piece of food out of the cup and flings it with glee across the linoleum. The dog scurries--fur flying, paws skidding--to chase it down and scarf it up. Squeals of delight issue from toddler. Repeat.

Hilarity all around.

Friday, January 16, 2009

All About The Box

Bug was thrilled the other day when I went to Garden Ridge and came home with a big, beautiful box in the back of the car. Mommy was thrilled about the big, beautiful (on-sale) chair inside the box, but to Bug it was all about The Box. So, this was our afternoon:

And then, because I'm one of THOSE moms, we had to go make some text-to-life connections. We read:

Christina Katerina was my FAVorite book when I was a wee one.

My wee one's FAVorite book.

Vroom-Vroom-Vroomy-Vroom-Vroom! Buggy at the Wheel!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My favorite new nailpolish!

A classic red from OPI, named... Little Red Wagon! A big thanks to Angela ( for sharing this with me!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

spa day at the dentist's

You know you're a mom when you walk out of the dentist's office after an hour and feel like you've just had a spa day. An uninterrupted hour, lying down in a chair, watching a TV, reading Star-- are you kidding me?? They could have shoved an elephant in my mouth and I would have said thank you.

Monday, January 12, 2009

the one thing

When I was in third grade, we took a "following directions" test. My teacher handed us a piece of paper with a list of directions on it, numbered one through ten. The numbers were instructions of things to do with the paper, like number one said, "draw two lines down the middle of this paper," and number two said, "fold the paper in half and then unfold it," and number nine said to cut the corners off the paper.

Well, I went to TOWN on that paper. I got out my ruler and I was drawing the straightest lines you've ever seen. And I had the crispest creases for step two, and I was like Edward (Safety) Scissorhands on step nine. Looking around the room, I could tell I was doing The Best Job.

Now, a couple kids, I noticed, at the very beginning, just got up and turned the paper in whole (gasp) to the teacher. Idiots.

And then... I got to step 10, which said, "Ignore steps one through nine. Put your name on the paper and turn it in."

I was furious; it was all a trick! Then I noticed the tiny directions that, in my Quest To Be The Best, I had failed to read before I began. A line at the top of the paper said, "Read all the directions before you begin."

All my effort, for nothing. My perfect creases and measured lines didn't matter. Only one thing had been required: put your name on the paper and turn it in. It was such a simple assignment, and I had made it so complicated.

The other day I was driving home, and a rainstorm had just passed, leaving the late afternoon sun bursting through storm-drenched clouds. Rays of sun were streaming down, tracing their way from heaven to earth. It was so
glorious. It was one of those moments in life when clarity strikes. It was like God was speaking to my heart, saying, "Only one thing is required."

I got it. Maybe for the first time ever, I got it. I can put away my ruler and my scissors. I can stop looking around to see how everyone else is doing. In life, there are no steps one to ten to follow. Only one thing is required, and for me, that one thing is to know God. To realize His awesome love for me. To write my name in the Book of Life, so to speak, and turn it in.

A wise man said it this way, "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" Not much. What an epiphany for this student of perfectionism. Only one thing is required, and it's the simplest task of all. Just be still and know that He is God.

Monday, January 5, 2009

little black dress, little red wagon

Our biggest news of the year is... no, no, we're not expecting, silly. We've started our own business! This past fall, the local magazine I had been editing for the past three years suspended publication, and instead of throwing in the towel, we jumped at the opportunity to publish our own magazine. In early February, we're launching a local woman's and parenting magazine called Little Black Dress/Little Red Wagon.

Check us out at: (You can click on "read us" to sign up for a free e-subscription!)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

holiday cheermeister

Know what I've discovered? Christmas is a heck of a lot more fun when you have a toddler in the house. It's not easier to decorate (the ornaments were on permanent rotation on the bottom branches), and it's not easier to shop for gifts (I'm sure Banana Republic appreciates the 85 Cheerio souvenirs left in various and sundry corners). But it is more FUN. We have vicariously rediscovered how to really "do" Christmas. If you're ever lacking the holiday spirit, try Bug's recipe: Get your mom and dad to sing Rudolph 81 times in silly voices and then eat five cookies for dinner. Guaranteed glee.

The Matrix

Okay, so where have I been? My brother thoughtfully set up a blog at Bug's birth two years ago, and I kept up with it for a bit, but never really got into the whole blogging thing. So, I was kind of reluctant the other day when Hunk suggested I set up a blog to go along with our magazine. I let him set one up and started dabbling around with it...and know what I discovered? There's a whole blog UNIVERSE out there! It's like this whole Matrix world. So, I've plugged into the Matrix, but I think it might be a good thing. At the very least, maybe I can keep everyone posted on our comings and goings a little easier...