Step Off, Carol Brady: What Alice the Housekeeper Taught Me About Parenting

Ann_B._Davis_1977
“Alice Nelson” from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY 2.0

I swear I could faintly hear the collective “aw” of humanity as I checked my Facebook news feed and learned that Ann B. Davis, better known as Alice from The Brady Bunch, had died.

Though I had grown up watching The Brady Bunch like millions of others, thanks to the magical gift of syndication, the sad news didn’t conjure up childhood memories. Instead, my mind immediately brought me back to 3:30 A.M. on any given night between March and December 2005. That was when my first-born would awaken for her middle-of-the-night feeding, and I often passed the time catching up on some golden oldie boob tube. It just so happened that my daughter’s sleep schedule coincided with the airing of The Brady Bunch on Nick at Night, and I would be lying if I didn’t say I came to actually look forward to my nocturnal trips back to the early 1970’s. In fact, I usually got annoyed if she happened to wake up a little later than usual, and I had to watch Hunter instead. 
Continue reading “Step Off, Carol Brady: What Alice the Housekeeper Taught Me About Parenting”

Five Things You Can “Consciously Uncouple”

You have all probably heard about it by now. Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin of Coldplay are “consciously uncoupling.” And the world just can not handle itself. Mind you, no one is wasting any good snark on the fact that the two are going their separate ways…because, duh, Hollywood. Rather, social media outlets are excited over the fact that the term “divorce” was apparently not authentic enough to describe the dissolution of Paltrow’s and Martin’s marriage. Continue reading “Five Things You Can “Consciously Uncouple””

Hi. My Name is Kelly. And I’m a Trend Killer.

A few months ago I wrote about my plan to dethrone the Rainbow Loom and offered multiple suggestions for new, cost-free, eco-friendly fads. Little did I know I needn’t spend all that creative energy trying to end the trend of jewelry made from glorified orthodontic rubber bands. I had unknowingly already set that wrecking ball into motion with the simple act of purchasing the Rainbow Loom.

Continue reading “Hi. My Name is Kelly. And I’m a Trend Killer.”

The Superhero Keg Party: A Battle for Superiority

Like many mothers of small boys, I am often asked to play superheroes. My son Michael has loved to engage me in this activity for a while now, ever since receiving a Batcave a few Christmases ago. As a five-year-old, he has come to act out the traditional superhero versus villain role plays, but when we first started our imaginary scenarios in the Batcave, he always simply wanted to “have a party.” All the superheroes were invited, including the multiple versions of Batman he owned, which he logically named Dad Batman, Mom Batman, Sister Batman, Brother Batman, and Other Brother Batman. The parties sometimes included the villains, and usually Continue reading “The Superhero Keg Party: A Battle for Superiority”

The French Toast Phenomenon: Why I Won’t Make Fun of You For Buying Milk, Bread, and Eggs Before a Snowstorm

Confession: I was one of those people at the grocery store yesterday buying milk, bread, and eggs in preparation for bad winter weather. But I’m not the idiot many Facebook statuses or this guy would have you believe:

I’m pretty sure most of the other people who were at the store with me aren’t Continue reading “The French Toast Phenomenon: Why I Won’t Make Fun of You For Buying Milk, Bread, and Eggs Before a Snowstorm”

My Plan for Dethroning the Rainbow Loom

Beanie Babies. Garbage Pail Kids. Pogs. Silly Bandz. The Pet Rock. Bracelets of the Friendship, Jelly, and Slap kind.

What do all these things have in common? Yes, they are all fads which kids at different points in history HAD to have. But they are also the worst kind of fads: the fads that make somebody rich by forcing poor parents to spend hard-earned money on crap we can already find in our homes: Beanie Babies=bean bags. Garbage Pail Kids=drawings of gross characters (my son makes these on a daily basis). Pogs=cardboard and poker chips. Silly Bandz=rubber bands. Pet Rock=rocks. Friendship Bracelets=thread. Jelly Bracelets=more rubber bands. Slap Bracelets=mini-blinds.

And now, there is the Rainbow Loom.

rainbow loom
Totally worth $15.99

I’m going to bet every parent with a school-aged child just grunted. Why? Because the Rainbow Loom is a pain in the ass. For those of you lucky enough to not know what a Rainbow Loom is, it’s basically a combination of Silly Bandz and friendship bracelets. In other words, it’s a super hybrid fad.  I would like to meet the genius who turned orthodontic rubber bands into the hot new must-have item among the juvenile set. And I would like this person to invite me over to his or her home mansion so I can sprinkle those tiny, brightly colored elastics all throughout it. Because if my daughter doesn’t manage to weave those little pieces of junk into a tight-fitting bracelet that cuts off the circulation to my hand, then they ultimately end up on the floors of every room in my house. And if they are all over the floors of my house, they aren’t in her little rubber band organizational case. And if that organizational case it empty, then I am tasked with spending another $5 on a small bag of things I used to get for free at the orthodontist’s office and made my teeth sore while correcting my overbite. And don’t even think about trying to use a coupon to help subsidy this new habit. Because those awesome weekly 40% off coupons at the hobby store can be used on pretty much everything…except the Rainbow Loom and its accessories. Bastards.

Don’t get me wrong. I think fads are fun, especially ones that promote creativity and artistic skill. But wouldn’t it be nice if something would catch on with kids that didn’t involve sweatshops in Taiwan?

Far be it from me to simply complain about something yet remain inactive. So I have taken it upon myself to suggest some candidates for new fads in children’s play…and none of them will cost you a dime. As a bonus, they all have that “reduce, reuse, recycle” thing going for them, because they are all born from crap already lying around your house.

1. Produce Bag Twist Ties Sculpture Kit

twist tie thinker
“The Thinker” a la twist ties.

You guys, we’ve had a goldmine of endless hours of play sitting in the bottom of our refrigerator produce drawers ALL THIS TIME. They twist. They bend. You can turn them into pretty much anything in the whole entire world. And when you run out, all you need to do is head to the grocery store to pick up some more apples. Which brings up another amazing quality of this toy: you can bribe your kids into better eating habits: “The more bell peppers you eat, the more twist ties I can get for your sculptures.” I don’t know, but I kind think this one could be a “Parent’s Choice” Award Winner.

2. Marker Caps Manicure Setmarker cap manicure

Until someone figures out a foolproof way to teach kids that the caps go back ON the markers after they are finished with them, this fad will likely enjoy some good longevity on the market. And you don’t have to use any harsh chemicals to remove them…or risk your child setting all her nail polisher remover-soaked cotton balls directly onto a bathroom shelf, adding yet another piece of household furniture to the “claimed by children” list. As for all those dried-out markers, sorry. The idea ends here.

3. Granola Bar Wrapper Headband Makergranolaheadband

We can finally all be free of those overpriced Lululemon headbands. I mean, my kids eat granola bars like they are going out of style, but it’s also apparently not in style to throw away the wrappers. Because they litter my house with them. No worries. Now our daughters can use them to make stylish headbands that promote adequate daily fiber intake and Puritan modesty, instead of ones that might become see-through if their heads exceed the maximum circumference deemed acceptable by some sad excuse for a CEO who doesn’t know how to apologize to his customers and all of humankind.

4. Dog Hair Knitting

So I was kind of joking. But this is apparently a real thing. There is even an eHow article on how to knit a dog hair sweater.
So I was kind of joking. But this is apparently a real thing. There is even an eHow article on how to knit a dog hair sweater. Source: The Other licensed under CC BY 2.0

Think about it. It’s cruelty-free fur, and your floors will have never been cleaner.

5. Crayon Stubs Mosaic Kit

Um, pretty freaking awesome.  "Crayon Mural" by Kelli Wilke is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Um, pretty freaking awesome. “Crayon Mural” by Kelli Wilke is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Pretty self-explanatory. I wouldn’t mind buying a new box of crayons approximately every three months if I knew the nubs would end up someplace other than the bottom of random drawers, under couch cushions, smashed into carpets, and melted inside my floor vents.

So, what do you say, fellow moms and dads? Should we take the matter of fads into our own hands? Create the next big thing every kid in school has to have (and already does)? Keep our money for more important things, like college tuition…or splurging for heated seats on our next car purchase?

Let’s keep tiny rubber bands where they belong: in the metalled mouths of middle schoolers.

Do you have any more ideas for free fads? I’d love to hear them!

Perfection Pending
I’m linking up! So can you!
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Rule #1 in Sexual Education: Wear a Turtleneck

For this week’s Remember the Time Blog Hop, Emily and I want to hear about your days in *shhhh* sex ed class *giggle.* While you are letting all those repressed memories come flooding back, here is my post on the subject to get you in the mood…

Fifth grade. Fifth grade was the magical year. The year we were deemed ready. Ready to have all revealed. And what they revealed was everything we ever wanted to know about sex…along with Continue reading “Rule #1 in Sexual Education: Wear a Turtleneck”

Remember the Time…A Stranger Called? (Halloween Edition)

The topic for this week’s Remember the Time Blog Hop (Halloween edition) is that time we were flippin’ freakin’ scared out of our minds…or anything else Halloween related. Unlike the last time we focused our nostalgia on fear, feel free to unleash your tales of ghosts, goblins, ax murderers, and real life horror. Now go find your security blanket and join me for my own trip down Nightmare on Elm Street. Continue reading “Remember the Time…A Stranger Called? (Halloween Edition)”

Confessions of Childhood: My Barbie Was a Floozy

Saturday mornings were strictly reserved for three things at my house when I was growing up. Cereal. Cartoons. And Barbies. In that order. After stuffing our bellies with Rice Krispies and catching up with the “Muppet Babies” and “The Snorks,” my sister and I would retreat to our room for hours of play with America’s beloved doll.

But there is something I feel the need to confess after so many years Continue reading “Confessions of Childhood: My Barbie Was a Floozy”

Kids’ Shows Are Annoying…And They Should Be

Hey moms and dads. I know you know where I’m coming from. It is the background music to the soundtrack of this phase of our lives. I’m talking about kids’ shows. And I believe they fall under the genre of annoying.

But why wouldn’t they be? Their target audience is kids…and to be blunt, kids are annoying.

It is hard not to get irritated Continue reading “Kids’ Shows Are Annoying…And They Should Be”