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Our backyard earthquake kit

Not perfect, but better than nothing.

Not perfect, but better than nothing.

Here’s my “I Brake for Moms” column from today’s Everett Herald.

I didn’t have enough page space to say it, but restocking our  earthquake kit from two years ago was like opening up a time capsule. The outfit I put in there for myself? There was a nursing shirt! Whoa!

Part of what was inside.

Part of what was inside.

The major improvement I added this year was I bought a Mountain House Just In Case Essential Assortment Bucket from Amazon. It has a shelf-life of eight years.

I can’t help but thinking I could still be doing this all better. I bet if you’re an LDS mom reading this, you’re having a good chuckle about how pathetic I am. If so, feel free to share tips and links.  🙂

Happy Hanukkah Vacation


Okay, it’s not quite time for all of those candles yet! (My stock-Hanukka picture needs updating.) Anyhow, here’s my “I Brake for Moms” column from today’s Everett Herald.

Sunday morning rituals


My favorite Sunday morning ritual is one I can no longer indulge in because I can’t eat gluten. Have you tried the chocolate croissants from Trader Joe’s?  Mmmmmmmmm…..heaven.

But I digress. Here’s my “I Brake for Moms” column from today’s Everett Herald: http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20131117/BLOG5205/701279858/With-a-day-of-rest-we%26%238217re-ready-to-take-on-the-week

Ikea meets preschool is my signature style

Can you spot the Ikea?

Can you spot the Ikea?

Here’s my “I Brake for Moms” column from today’s Herald: http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20131110/BLOG5205/711109961/Theres-no-home-decor-that-children-cant-defeat


I wasn’t kidding about the ugly 1980’s wallpaper. Thankfully it’s gone now, but we lived with it for six years.


This is what it took to get rid of it.


And this.


Here’s the after.


Everything is painted now, but we do have one tiny wall of wallpaper up behind the china cabinet. Nobody is allowed to touch it!

It’s unscathed…for now.

The Best Christmas Present Doesn’t Cost a Dime


Here’s “I Brake for Moms” this week in The Everett Daily Herald: http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20131103/BLOG5205/711039991/This-Christmas-give-a-jar-full-of-memories

P.S. There is a very cool backstory to this column that I share on Teaching My Baby to Read’s Facebook Page.

Christmas gifts for grandkids (that won’t make moms scream)


It’s that time of year where Grandmas everywhere are asking their daughters and daughter-in-laws what to get the little ones for Christmas. Inwardly, moms are thinking “Not another video game! Not another junky plastic toy from China that I’m going to trip on!”

I’m sure Grandmas are thinking something too. Maybe it’s “I want to get something good! This year I’m going to be the favorite Grandma. First stop, Toys R Us!”

So much hope… so many good intentions…so much money–and so many toys all over the ground.

Well, here are my suggestions based on personal experience and my background in teaching. These are my top ten ideas that won’t make moms scream:



I love Baby Signs!  For our family, they really worked. Full story here.



Selective Leap Frog videos. Most of them are sub-par, but The Letter Factory and Talking Words Factory are both really great. Why I think that here.

Do-a-dot art stampers.  I LOVE them. Find out more here.

Place Setting Placemats. We haven’t gotten these yet, but I want them.

We love our Yoga Pretzel cards for kids. More info here.


Elementary School



The “Beethoven Lives Upstairs” audio CD series is excellent. More ideas for educational CDs here.

Another great idea is Snap Circuits, a Lego-type way to introduce kids to electrical engineering. More info here.


If you’re thinking of books, Tom Angleberger’s Origami Yoda books are very popular.

Tweens and Teens


My first idea for tweens and teens is to take them out to lunch at Sky City, on top of the Space Needle. Sometimes experiences are the best presents of all.


365 New Words-a-Year 2014 Page-A-Day Calendar

If you aren’t afraid of being “lame”, another idea is to buy them a word a day calendar. It’s never a bad idea to get a jump start on the SATs.

Purple Sunrise Cereal

If you’ve got a gluten-free, or health-conscious teen on your hand, then Purple Sunrise cereal from Camano Island Mills could be a surprising idea that says “Grandma’s pretty with-it”.

My last idea for your grandkids?


But them a puppy!

JUST KIDDING! Their mom would hate that!  😉

What NOT to do with Halloween Candy

What's in the pumpkin? Read to find out!

Here’s my “I Brake for Moms” column from today’s Herald: http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20131027/BLOG5205/710279971/Halloween-candy-A-treat-for-kids-and-a-trick-on-parents

Every Child is a Special Snowflake


Here’s my “I Brake for Moms” column this morning, from The Everett Daily Herald: http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20131020/BLOG5205/710209979/Neither-children-nor-teachers-fit-into-neat-boxes

My heart really goes out to kids and teachers right now, who keep getting treated as cohorts with outliers (that must be dealt with!!!) as opposed to unique individuals with unlimited potential.

Every child deserves a personal learning plan. That’s why I believe Afterschooling is so important.


MyPlate on My Budget continues to make me think


Here’s my “I Brake for Moms” column from today in The Herald: http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20131013/BLOG5205/710139973/Need-not-abuse-should-be-focus-of-debate-on-food-aid

For more information on the MyPlate on My Budget experiment, please check out the Pinterest board I created with Rose McAvoy of Our Lady of Second Helpings and Light for Life.

I have to add, I tried several times to write Rose’s name into my column from today, so that I could express my thanks for her help and support in March, but I kept running into a word count brick wall.

So let me say it now on my blog, Rose really helped tremendously during MyPlate on My Budget. I had her email address on speed dial!  Please be sure to click on over to her blogs and be inspired.

Germs are everywhere!


Were those hands washed?


My “I Brake for Moms” column from today’s Everett Daily Herald: http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20131006/BLOG5205/710069989/A-mom%26%238217s-job-has-benefits-sick-leave-isn%26%238217t-one-of-them

Trying to make cleaning your kid’s room more fun

A clean bedroom is a whole new world.

A clean bedroom is a whole new world.

My “I Brake for Moms” column from today’s Everett Daily Herald: http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20130929/BLOG5205/709299973/It-takes-an-archaeologist-to-find-a-kid%26%238217s-bedroom-floor

Why I eat Gluten Free

Paleo Lemon Bars

Here’s my “I Brake For Moms” column from today’s Herald: http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20130922/BLOG5205/709229991/Going-gluten-free-ended-two-years-of-agony–  Feel free to ask questions!

Infomercial Dreamer

My “I Brake for Moms” column in the Sunday edition of The Everett Daily Herald yesterday: http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20130818/BLOG5205/708189984/-1/blog5205#Even-faith-in-infomercials-is-rewarded-eventually

Why Safecar.gov has thoroughly freaked me out


Have you looked up your car’s safety rating on Safecar.gov?  Take a deep breath and knock on wood before you do.

My “I Brake for Moms” column in today’s paper explains what’s happened in our family once I looked up our Major Japanese Brand sedan: http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20130811/BLOG5205/708119981/-1/blog5205#A-mothers-car-has-to-be-able-to-take-a-beating

Hot Summer Nights


My “I Brake for Moms” column from today’s Sunday Herald: http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20130804/BLOG5205/708049989/-1/blog5205#Summer-livin%2526%25238217-is-easy-except-at-bedtime