Saturday, December 31, 2011

Driest winter since the Donner Party!

Now I know why it is that people might actually eat each other even if they don’t get snowed in.  As you know from all my b*tching, we trekked all the way up to Lake Tahoe for a white Christmas, and got anything but.  The Donner Party is the ill-fated group of emigrants travelling near Lake Tahoe in the 1840's who got stuck in a snow storm and turned to cannibalism to survive.  Apparently it has been more than 125 years since Lake Tahoe has had a December that is this dry.  We’ve got the opposite problem the Donners had with the weather, but we’re about to go so crazy that we just might kill and eat each other.   
Here’s what we learned about becoming desperate in your quest to entertain the children with alternative winterish activities:

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Twas the night of Christmas . . .

. . . and all through the house everyone was stirring because they were on a sugar high and had so many new toys to play with there was no way they were going to bed!  It's 10pm and my children are on round 7 of Spy Kids 4.  I seriously think we're going to have to replace the DVD before we actually make it home!

Today I've got two lists:
1) 5 signs that it might be time to re-evaluate your holiday traditions AND
2) You might be Santa if . . .

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Over the river and through the woods . . .

To Lake Tahoe we go.  Another car trip and we all know what that means . . . surprise balls!  These things are like crack for the children.  From the moment we got in the car they started begging for them.  With our car packed full of so much sh*t we actually worried that we would violate the weight limits on bridges, we set out for a Nelson family Christmas in Lake Tahoe (the Nelsons are Heather’s mother’s family – the one that has 11 of her 15 cousins who between them have 11 children (and several of them are not even married yet).  The adventures over the next 12 days will give the Griswolds a run for their money.
It wouldn’t be a Dugdale family vacation without a few lessons learned early:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Camp Runamuk and the Winter Wonderland

Some people are addicted to crack. . . my name is mommy and I’m addicted to planning ridiculous projects that make a complete disaster of my house and make me go bankrupt because I cuss when they don’t work out like I thought they would. 
As we were getting ready to leave for our trip today I had Camp Runamuk with six kids, two projects and a lunch with my 92 year old grandma.  All of which had to be accomplished before 2pm.  I think my mother truly didn’t believe I was going to get everything accomplished when she saw my kitchen at 11am that was full of glue and tissue paper.  It was at that moment that I realized I need to admit my problem . . . I actually like to create chaos in my life. 
Today’s projects involved making sugar cookies and also snowmen with glue, tissue paper and apple juice bottles.
Here’s what I learned when you try to recreate winter in your kitchen and rush through sugar cookies:

Family fun in 32 minutes or less

I am always on the search for family fun that will be great for the kids, but not take forever with set up and clean up.  Plus, today we were running around so much that I didn’t realize until we got home that I only had 45 minutes to do family fun and leave to our next appointment.  Today, I found TWO projects that accomplished this task – chocolate covered candy canes and joyful tea lights.  Oh, and I found a use for the 32 pie plates – holders for all the elements of my family fun projects.
Here’s what I learned about turning things into your pantry to family fun:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Feed the birds . . . and then feed the kids

We’re reviewing all our photos to prepare for the holiday cards, calendars and videos that we do and I was reminded about all the family fun we’ve had this year.  Fun we’ve been missing lately because I've been busy realizing I should have failed 4th grade, oh, and I’ve been working a lot.  Well, this week Camp Heather and family fun is back.  It’s that week that every mother wakes up with night terrors about . . . school vacation.  Oh, wait, is that just me?!
To kick off Camp Heather family fun we did . . . what else . . . a cranberry project!  We made a cranberry wreath to put outside to feed the birds.  Then, it was on to a Rice Krispy treat project to feed the other animals in my life . . . I mean, the kids.
Here’s what I learned about projects with toothpicks and frosting:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

If you can't beat em . . .

. . . just buy stock in Hanes and purchase every color of sweatpant and sweatshirt known to man!  The Ego (middle child) has been killing me about her clothes.  She wears the same red hoodie every day and literally the nicest thing I can get her into to go to church is a velour sweatsuit.  In the spirit of giving and forgiveness, and complete exhaustion, I’ve decided to just give in.  And here’s what I’ve learned about accepting defeat:

Friday, December 16, 2011

The show must go on!

"I barfed on my boots". . . make that my sister’s boots, and my daddy’s car and on my Christmas dress . . . Here’s a mommy lesson I learned – when your five year old tells you her tummy hurts, is laying in your lap all through dinner, goes to the bathroom twice and says to you “going to the bathroom made it all better”, GET HER HOME ASAP!  Tonight we were eating dinner and on our way to a holiday show when The Id (the baby) told me her tummy hurt.  Like any mommy in the running for mommy of the year I chalked this up to another child tummy ache and thought she’d get over it if plied with ice cream. . . and then she barfed on her sister’s boots in the middle of a restaurant.  In the infamous words of BFF Molly’s 13 year-old little brother – F#*@ING FANTASTIC!

This is a photo of how mommy was feeling after the barfing started!  Ok, it's actually The Id throwing a tantrum at the Grand Canyon, but it just seemed to fit.
On the bright side, I did take the Superego and the Ego to the show and it was absolutely fantastic!  And yes, Karma’s going to get back at me for leaving Husband from Heaven with the barfing baby.  
The show we saw was Christian Youth Theater (CYT)’s Holiday Traditions.  Very professional show with fantastic sets and costumes and an incredible living nativity scene at the end.  They even had a live camel and sheep.  There are still tickets and the show runs through December 22nd.  You can check it out at  I highly recommend it as a great holiday tradition to start with your family.  WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY better than the Nutcracker!  J
And, following is a fantastic recipe for day 3 of cranberries:
Tiff’s Holiday Cranberry Salsa


Serves 4
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 minced jalapeno
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 2 ripe avocados, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup halved cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • Pita crisps or tortilla chips


1.   In a large bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, 2 tablespoons honey, 1 minced jalapeno (seeds removed for less heat, if desired), and 1/4 cup chopped red onion.
2.   Add 2 ripe avocados, cut into 1/4-inch pieces, 3/4 cup halved cranberries, drained well on paper towels, and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper; toss gently to combine. Serve with Pita Crisps or tortilla chips, as desired.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sugar and spice . . .

. . . and less than 5 ingredients.  That’s the name of the game for me.  As we all eat our way through the holidays and hope that no one notices that we are wearing more and more elastic pants, I thought I’d share a few recipe ideas I got these last couple of days that were really helpful.  Plus, it’s been a slow news day and I have to keep up my 12 days of cranberries.
So Monday I had Bunco and it was pot luck.  Of course, the event started at 7pm and at 6:30 I had an “oh sh*t” mommy moment and realized that I was bringing the only salad and I had NONE of the ingredients.  My mom had shared a quick and easy salad recipe and by 7:15 I had gone to the store, made the entire salad and was at my friend’s doorstep with a fantastic salad and homemade dressing.  Of course, if you do this you may not want to enlist your father to shell the pistachios on the salad – he MAY play the "one for the salad, one for me" game which explains why I only ended up with half the bag in the salad.  Following are 3 great recipes that are easy and sure to be a hit.  And, most importantly, won’t make mommy insane!  Starting with the cranberries . . . .

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

News Flash: There are NO sick days for mommies

So here’s something that every mommy knows but we don’t really talk about because we know what can happen . . . if we get sick (imagine the super quiet voice that's whispering because if it says something out loud it just might come true).  Mommies don’t get sick days – paid or unpaid!!!!  On Sunday I was not feeling well so I locked myself in my room for the better part of the afternoon and evening.  This is the first time since my stay at home motherhood that I’ve felt this bad and here’s what I learned about mommy sick days:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

What happens at Girls Night Out . . .

. . . doesn’t always stay there . . . because some things are just too funny not to share.  The other day Husband From Heaven asked me “what do you DO at Girls Night Out?”  I decided to leave out the part about the strippers and body shots and just tell him “shopping, desserts, dancing, talking”.  I left out the full Bar part too (I brought cash for that, so he can’t trace how much I drank).  His reaction to hearing this was the same as my reaction to “what do you do at a football party with the guys” – he’d rather have his head stapled to the carpet than know any more details.
But, you all might be entertained by some of the things that took place during my Cherries Jubilee evening!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Holiday traditions . . . aren't really meant for 5 year-olds!

Ok, so I know that all of you were hoping that I would write about Girls Night Out and Cherries Jubilee.  Never fear, it will be coming, but it’s going to have to wait.  I gave my camera to Nana for the night so she could take family fun pictures while they babysit the kids, and like a moron I didn’t  download the photos first (hopefully she doesn’t get curious and download them herself, there’s some top secret stuff on there). 
Before I jump into my “lessons learned” for today, I want to give a shameless plug for one of my amazing clients.  On Saturday, December 10th (that’s tomorrow), the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum will have their brand new facility open to the public for free from 11am-4pm.  There will be an old fashioned “tricked-out” fire truck, snow on the building and all the exhibits that children can explore.  This is an amazing new facility you should check out before they officially open next Tuesday.  Also, keep it in mind for Winter Break.  You can check it out at
Ok, back to today’s post.  Instead of revealing all about Girls Night Out, I’m going to share what I learned about decorating for the holidays when you have absolutely no business doing so, and perpetuating holiday traditions that were invented before television and when the fashion trends were powdered wigs and brothels.  Oh, wait, that’s a Lady Gaga TV Special. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holiday confessions from a foul mouthed mommy!

My children (led by my sassy 9 year old) informed me this week that I now owe them $1 for every time I cuss.  Within 4 days I will have paid for their college tuition.  Even Husband from Heaven said to me “we should make that our vacation fund, we’ll have that collected in no time”.  Smart@ss!
Below are my holiday lessons that highlight my tremendous parenting skills (oh, and a random holiday decorating tip at the end):

Monday, December 5, 2011

Who needs fruitcake . . .

. . . when you can have Fruity Pebbles!  Today’s family fun was decorating the Christmas Tree and then making our own tree out of Fruity Pebbles.
The Fruity Pebble Tree was a fun family project that although it didn’t turn out exactly how it was supposed to, it did turn out really cute.  The recipe is right below the lessons from today.
Here’s what I learned about decorating the tree and making one of your own:

Saturday, December 3, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like . . .

. . . Christmas!  Y’all thought I was going to say something smart@&$, didn’t you?!  Never fear, that will come below. 
Before I do my post today, I wanted to encourage you to check out my guest post on the blog "3 P's in a Pod" about Holiday Torture, I mean Travel, with kids. 
Today I had a healthy dose of holiday cheer and have improved my attitude.  I attended the National Charity League Holiday Home Tour as well as the California Center for the Arts Tree Lighting and rounded out the day with a trip to see the Knob Hill house in San Marcos.  Was definitely a family fun day, but, of course, it was the Trifecta, so there’s some entertaining lessons learned along the way: 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Tis the season . . .

. . . to be overcommitted, double booked and drive yourself f*#&ing insane.  Is it just me, or is it always the case that when you are completely stressed out, chasing three kids around a store and trying to check out as fast as you can, the song “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” comes on.  Seriously?!  For who?!  I can guarantee that for all of us mommies out there who are trying to balance cookie parties, Santa lists, open houses, holiday performances, charity functions, oh, and let’s throw in a two week break from school, this is NOT the most wonderful time of the year.  Though not everyone will admit it, we’re all just hanging on until December 26th when everything is finished and we can finally sit down to rest – for 15 minutes before we have to clean up the holiday tornado that just hit our house.
Ok, ok, mommy is a bit cranky after coming home from her two week vacation.  I’m back into the full swing of double booking and over committing myself, oh, and throw in my husband’s birthday and you’ve got a recipe for a mommy who can no longer tell if she’s coming or going.  I even missed a massage appointment today. D@MNIT! 
This afternoon I thought it would be a great idea to fit in the following within two hours: 1) The Id’s 5 year old photos (because I realized that I actually need to still take them while she is 5 and not 5 and 11 months); 2) purchasing the items to finish up an ancestry project for the Ego; 3) purchasing items for an adopt a family program that have to be turned in tomorrow; 4) purchasing toiletries for the Superego’s Girl Scout project that has to be turned in tomorrow (actually it was today, but you’ll see below why I forgot about turning it in); 5) prepping for an art corps class for the Ego that will be at 8am tomorrow; and, because my mother-in-law decided to have her son on December 1st, 6)  purchasing the items for and baking my mother-in-law’s famous banana cream pie for my husband’s birthday.  I’m being punished for taking that vacation, aren’t I?!  J
For your enjoyment, here’s what I learned in those two hours:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

50 years and still cruisin'

So, the whole reason we were on the cruise was because my husband’s parents were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.  The anniversary actually isn’t until December 30th, but this was our year to be with them at Thanksgiving rather than Christmas, so we celebrated early. 
I love this photo! 

It was such a special milestone to share with my in-laws, so today’s blog post is dedicated to them and all the things we learned while on our cruise.  Such as:
1)      Raspberry mojitos are the way to Grandma’s heart.  My sister-in-law, mother-in-law and I had raspberry mojitos one of the nights for dinner and at every meal thereafter grandma admitted that she had one!  Ok, there was only one lunch after that, but that’s a good thing because I’m certain that if she’d discovered those things sooner we would have never gotten her away from the drink cart!

2)      When you touch the wall of the Panama Canal with your husband because you’ve been told it will ensure your marriage lasts forever, be sure you’re both touching the same wall.  Apparently if you touch different walls your marriage will last forever, just not to each other!

3)      When you arrive with more luggage than your mother and father-in-law as well as sisters-in-law combined, you will be judged for your inability to pack efficiently.  We had THREE TIMES as much luggage as the rest of my husband’s family combined.  When we had to put our bags in the hallway we encroached on all of our neighbors and someone said “what, are you moving?”  Yes, we had 15 suitcases (and yes, most of that was for me and the girls), but in my defense, we had more than double the number of people and I did try to avoid having to wear the same underwear 4 days in a row.  Of course, I probably should have shared this approach with the baby who didn’t seem to change it despite having new underwear accessible to her. 
Congratulations to my in-laws who generously shared their wonderful celebration with us! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Up to our eyeballs in Alligators

We decided to take full advantage of all that southern Florida has to offer, so yesterday’s family fun was a trip to the Everglades for an airboat tour and some gator hunting.  Then, it was out to the beach for a bike ride and some Mexican food.
Here’s what we learned about floating above the gators, east coast beach living and why we should stick to Conch fritters and lobster bisque in Florida:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Two words . . . De-Tox!

Oh, I guess that’s only one word. . .  We have not yet finished our two week vacation, but I’m quite certain I’ve become an alcoholic.  I started my vacation with Sex on the Beach, and just yesterday had a Brazilian Hottie in Ft. Lauderdale.  And they were goooooooood.  Oh, wait, my mother-in-law reads this . . . My husband said he thinks I've had more mixed drinks in the last two weeks than he's ever seen me have.  He's right.  I just like saying the names of them!  :-)  I’ve also gained 10 pounds from eating two desserts a day and all the food I lay my eyes on.  It’s gonna take some serious triathlon training to get me back in shape.
We’ve almost survived 16 suitcases, 14 days, 5 Dugdales, and 1 mommy who’s sitting by a pool in Ft. Lauderdale wondering when the drink cart will pass by.  We’re at a Best Western, so I’m not sure they have those, but the liquor store next door might just do the trick.
We’ve had a tremendous trip that began in the happiest place on earth and then took us swimming with Stingrays in Cozumel, ziplining the rainforest in Costa Rica and traveling by boat through the Panama Canal.  We also had 2-3 hours a day when we had free babysitting on the Cruise ship, so we really can’t complain . . . but, this is my blog, and if I’m being perfectly honest (which I, of course, always am) . . .  24/7 with three children in an area the size of a walk in closet is a recipe for putting yourself into a looney bin. 

Yes, the Superego has the Ego in a headlock!
Currently the children are all on beach chairs that are 15 feet apart because the moment they get within a foot of each other it becomes the WWWF – Ft. Lauderdale.  I think there was actual smoke coming out of my ears when they decided to pick the flowers on nearby plants and throw them into the pool.  If there weren’t other people in the pool area, I may have actually thrown the children in with those flowers.
Needless to say, I’m looking forward to getting back to the insanity that is my normal life; but in the meantime, and for your enjoyment, here are a few things I learned about Family Fun – Holiday Torture, I mean Travel, style:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Holy Humidity . . .

. . . It was 1am and we had just landed in the home swamps and alligators, oh, and the second Happiest Place on Earth.  (Can't ever replace the original!)  I thought we had stepped into a sauna!  The girls’ photo yesterday was at the Orlando airport at 1am.  We had 15 suitcases, 5 Dugdales, 3 nights and 2 days to conquer Disneyworld!
On day one we didn’t get to bed until 2:30am and had to be up at 6:30am so that we could be ready to go into the Magic Kingdom park at 8am.  Really, we thought it was a good idea to fly in at midnight and follow it with a full day in Disney’s Magic Kingdom?!  We’re delusional.
Here’s what we learned about our two days in Disney World:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Traveling psychoanalytic theories . . .

I know, you all are wondering how I know how to spell "psychoanalytic", aren't you?!  Wikipedia!!!!
First, I'll apologize that I've been so sporadic at posting.  Between last week's "working mommy" rock that I was under and now spotty internet service, it's been a challenge.
Several months ago I posted about the nicknames for our kids – Superego, Ego and Id, so if you missed that post and are wondering why I use those names, check out their origin.  The kids have actually come to love their nicknames and this week we took it up a notch.  For our vacation I decided it would be fun to have various posts with the girls in the different destinations.  So I came up with the idea to make t-shirts they could wear on the first leg of our trip.  Not only were the shirts not going to survive more than one day of trifecta messes, but putting them in these shirts could minimize the likelihood they would get lost in the airport – we’d be able to tell the lady on the overhead announcement exactly what they were wearing and those looking for them would know when they had found the children. 
Here’s what we learned about day 1 of our family fun vacation with traveling psychoanalytic theories:
1)      Always test the material on which you are trying to iron letters.  I spent a good hour trying to get the Id’s letters on her t-shirt to stick and finally I lost my patience, removed the protective backing and decided I’d try to get them to stick by just using a cotton cloth, rather than the protective backing.  Well, rather than get them to stick on the Id’s t-shirt, I actually ironed “I am ID” on one of our cotton napkins.  SH*T!  Still haven’t figured out how they could stick to the napkin and not the t-shirt.  I tried to iron those letters every which way.  Well, now we have a story to tell the lucky guest that gets that napkin.  Of course, after this debacle that left me with no more iron on letters, I couldn’t leave the Id without a shirt; so I had to improvise and I made hers with glow in the dark puffy paint!  Thankfully she was none the wiser and loved it!

You can see how I tried to peel them off and re-use them.
I'm an idiot!

Whew, saved my own @$& on this one.

2)      If you nickname your children, you may not want to send them to school in their Superego, Ego and Id t-shirts.  Though I have not yet gotten the “Dear Mrs. Dugdale” note about this one, HFH (Husband From Heaven) is concerned about the message we may have sent to their teachers and friends who may not read the blog and fully appreciate our shenanigans.  Well, after learning of the pain in the @$& homework punishment WE received for having taken them out of school for 5 days, I think we’re even!  I actually had to put the girls' carry-on items into different bags because we had to take so much crap - especially for fourth grade.  D@mnit!

Not sure what's going on with Id's smile, but I think it's fitting!

 3)      Always carry an extra set of clothes for the children (and maybe yourself too) in your carry-on bag.  With five people there’s bound to be an accident with the drinks on the plane.  The real b*tch of today’s accident – it was MOMMY’S fault.  Daddy didn’t actually know this happened until much later, but I dumped an entire cup of extremely cold soda water on the Ego’s pants and anyone who knows the Ego also knows the trauma that this caused!  The accident was 2 hours into the 4 hour flight and we had a LOOOOOOONG way to go!  The only thing I could think of was to wrap the bottom half of her naked body (this was of course in the bathroom that was clearly not meant for more than one person) in the only warm jacket I had.  I wrapped her in it and then just prayed she didn’t pee in it for the next two hours.  SH*T!
Quote for the day “Oh my gosh, it moved”.  The Id’s observation of the wings of the plane as it was descending.  The look of joy was priceless.  Of course, this was right before she closed the windows and got into a knock down drag out fight with her sister about keeping the window open! 
I’m going to need a vacation from my vacation, aren’t I?

Day 1 of Where's the Trifecta
 If you know where they are, post a comment and
tomorrow I'll let you know if you're right!
Gives new meaning to the phrase "Hell's Angels"

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Radio Silence . . .

So this week I violated the most sacred of social media and blogosphere rules . . . not having fresh content!  (Can you hear the Al Roker echo?!) Well f*#@ those rules.  Between PMS, a “Dear Mrs. Dugdale” note about boogers, packing for 5 people to go on vacation for 14 days, and working 60 hours this week, mommy is cranky, tired, and not feeling very funny! 
Remember when you were a kid and your mom would say “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”  (for the full effect of how this should sound to you when you’re reading it, you need to go back and watch the Fresh Prince’s Parent’s Just Don’t Understand video – oh yes my friends, I sooooo went there) – and before I leave this topic - there was actually one year, 1997, when my mother decided it would be a great idea on the 23rd of December for our family to go to a public restaurant and air all of our grievances at dinner so that the following day we could be completely past all the hard feelings and have a fantastic Christmas.  This great idea actually resulted in a phrase that will live in infamy in our family . . . two fights and a cry.  We all can’t quite agree on who was crying and who was fighting at what point in the evening, but we do know that it involved my sister and I going at each other while my mother tried to appease both of us and my father, brother and at the time fiancé (now husband from heaven) all sat at the table just praying for a Christmas Miracle that it would end soon. 
Needless to say, after that we went back to the “don’t say anything at all” rule.  Along those lines, here’s my rule for my blog . . . if you don’t have anything funny to say, don’t say anything at all. 
I’m still not quite firing on all cylinders, but here’s what happens when mommy’s creativity and sense of humor go on vacation before she does:
1)      Your mother will actually call you to find out if you’ve left on your vacation a week early because she hasn’t heard from you through the blog.

2)      Your second grader’s teacher will send you a note informing you that she has had to remind your child repeatedly to stop picking her nose in class and to use a tissue, and could you please assist with this message at home.  Apparently the teacher believes that nose picking is something that we condone and encourage in our home and we’ve sent our child to her classroom with this issue just to torture her.  SHE’S SEVEN YEARS OLD FOR F*#& SAKE!  If you wanted to work with people who didn’t pick their nose all day, maybe elementary school wasn’t the best choice.  Whew, see, that sense of humor thing just slipped away again.  That was pure PMS rage!

3)      You will plan to take the Id’s (the baby) five year-old photo that you’ve put off for three months, only to have her completely injure herself the day before.  First she “got a rug burn” on her nose at gymnastics, and then her sister accidentally wacked her in the eyeball during a Wii baseball game (apparently the Ego thought her sister was a baseball).  The Id’s gonna be 8 years old before we get those d@mn pictures taken.

While we are on our cross country adventure, I promise to post periodically with our exploits, including my new game that is akin to Where’s Waldo – except in the Dugdalified version you have to find the Superego, Ego and Id while they are on their adventures.  I’ll also sprinkle in those things I’m grateful for that you COULD find at your Thanksgiving table as well, although they wouldn’t be the same as at my table because more than likely mine will involve a cuss word or two!
Can’t wait to spend Thanksgiving with you Grandma and Grandpa!!!!!  They’re probably going to get on a different Carnival Cruise ship, aren’t they?!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Expressions of gratitude you will NOT find at your Thanksgiving table

Ok, I haven’t had family fun for a couple days because I’ve been too busy being a working mommy and getting ready for a vacation, but I thought I would post today about Thankfulness.
Mommy has had a terrible, no good, very bad day – she had a car door slam on her foot, hit the wall with her elbow and had to see dentist to fix a tooth, and that was all before 9:15 am.  It got worse from there culminating just a few minutes ago in a smashed raspberry on the kitchen floor that was left there by the Ego (the middle child). 
So this got me thinking, as we begin the Thanksgiving season, I should talk about things I’m thankful for.  After all, this is the season when mommies everywhere are completely frazzled because they have 30 people coming to their house (several of whom they would probably not want to spend more than 10 minutes with – i.e. crazy aunt Ida), and between homework and holiday photos and shopping, etc. etc. there is no time to get it all done; But we have much to be thankful for and we should remind ourselves of those things from time to time. 
(For the record, my crazy aunt isn’t really named Ida, I have six aunts, so I changed the name just to make them fight over who it really is.) 
In addition to my trifecta, family and friends, following are the things I am thankful for.  Somehow I feel that these won’t make it into the “What I’m thankful for” conversation at the dinner table:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Your own personal crash test dummy!

Before I do my post for today, I’m very excited to share that I’m officially a guest blogger.  Check out my featured article at Fast Diet Plans -  How to be a heathly mommy and keep your sense of humor in tact. 
On to today's post . . . lately several of my friends have shared with me that my posts make them feel bad because they don’t engage with their kids in the crazy shenanigans that I do.  Ok, one of my friends said "it makes me feel like a slouch . . . but, I'm still not going to do all those things anyway.  You're just nuts!" 
Because this is a guilt free mommy zone, rather than feel bad because I’m a better mother than you, wait, I mean . . .  Ok, I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist J . . . rather than have mommy guilt, just think of me as your own personal mommy crash test dummy.  I have this status because I’m the only one dumb enough to try all these things that are in magazines or online posts that look like they will be sooooooo easy, and they end up sucking the living daylights out of you and by the end you and your kids are in tears.  I’m saving you from all of that and you get the benefit of only trying the projects and activities that actually work and are truly meant for busy mommies who have no time but want to fit in something that will be memorable for their kids.  Oh, and are intended for "dummies".  Lets be honest, I do not have time for recipes or projects with 15 ingredients and 25 steps.
Here’s how to take full advantage of a mommy crash test dummy:

Friday, November 4, 2011


Warning: The following contains many cuss words!  Mommy's MAD!
The last several days I’ve been thinking about re-posting my lice blog because it was so helpful to many people, and we’ve been in the clear for a while now.  Well wouldn’t you know that today the 2nd grader comes home and says “Mommy, FOUR kids in my class were sent home from school today with lice.” I became nauseous at that point.  After I picked myself up, I decided to use our electric comb to check the girls hair.  First up was the Ego (the second grader) – she was clear – shwew!  Next we move to the Superego (the oldest child) who yesterday and earlier today I noticed had scratched her head.  Wouldn’t you know it, I found TWO bugs, and that was only the beginning.  Luckily, so far, the Id, Daddy and I are also safe.  I’m crossing my fingers we’ve limited it to one child (who, by the way, is so traumatized she slept on the floor in the hallway – she’s afraid to go anywhere near her bed and there's no way we're letting her near our bed).  All three children slept with mayonnaise in their hair overnight just as a precaution. 
And, wouldn’t you know it, the day before all this happened “husband from heaven” (who every once in a while has an un-heavenly moment) got fed up with the lice infested stuffed animals taking up his garage space.  They had been in there for six weeks and were well beyond the recommended “quarantine time” so he decided it was time for the animals to come back in and he told the children to pull out all the bags and put the stuffed animals away. 
Here’s what happens when mommy goes out for a girls night and daddy’s in charge of “putting away” the stuffed animals.  Oh, and also what happens when you find a lice re-infestation in your house:
1)      Sh*t, d@mn, mother f*$&%#, son of a b!tch will all come out of your mouth in successive order, and it will be so bad that your 9 year-old will say “mommy, you already said that”.  Seriously, at this very moment I cannot think of anything worse than a lice re-infestation.  We’re making a hair shaving appointment immediately.

2)      This is what your living room will look like when the animals have been released, and it will still look like that when you arrive home at 11:00pm.  Sh*t, d@mn, mother f*$&%#, son of a b!tch, I should not have come home!

Do not let the fact that the children look like they are
cleaning fool you.  I think those were the only
things they put away that night.  It's a show for the camera.

3)      After you have combed the children’s hair, you will need to boil the lice combs to kill any eggs or bugs and to sterilize the combs.  When you decide to put the combs into a pot that just happens to be boiling on the stove, you may want to first ask your husband if he had anything for which he was going to use the water he boiled.  Apparently he didn’t read my mind as to the need for a boiling pot of water, he was actually boiling water to be made into iced tea.  Sh*t, d@mn, mother f*$&%#, son of a b!tch, I should have checked.  Oh well, I got there first, and payback's a b!tch for the stuffed animal mess!

Seriously, again, lice sucks.   A few tips to protect yourself and your kids are contained in my previous blog Dirty Little Secret.  The primary differences I can deduce between the child that has lice and the other two; 1) the child with lice washes her hair every day (the other two it’s every other day or every three days) – lice like clean hair; 2) Suave coconut conditioner  - it wasn’t until yesterday that I realized the child with lice had not been using the coconut conditioner when she washed her hair, but the other two have been – lice don’t like coconut (or so the websites say).  We also have all been using only our own brushes.  DO NOT share brushes with anyone in your family!  My last tip - be ubervigilant, and do not assume it can't happen to you!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It’s midnight . . .do you know where your child’s hyperactive Daisy Troop leader is?!

She’s on the couch, watching the Housewives of New Jersey Reunion (on Tivo of course), while cutting out 12 d@mn craft projects because she just realized that she is leading a troop of 12 Kindergarten and 1st graders who probably can’t cut out the fingers on the hands of the Girl Scout Promise craft she is trying to have them make.  Oh, and she’s also counting out beads for a bracelet project. 
I finally succumbed to peer pressure (and lets be honest, my own control freak ways) to become the Daisy troop leader for the Id (the baby).  Yes, it’s because I love her more that I decided to be HER leader rather than the other two.  Did I just say that out loud?!  Actually, it’s because after 5 years of watching two other troop leaders, I’m finally confident enough that I can take all their tricks and use them for my own child’s troop.  That, and the fact that I couldn’t get any of my other friends drunk enough to say yes to this task!  This is another little secret that I learned – all the working moms wait for one of us stay at home mom suckers to take on this task.  It’s ok, I can say that, I was the “working mom” for 5 years.  Now it’s my comeuppance.
Here’s what I learned about entertaining and trying to teach Kindergarten and 1st grade girls about how to be a good leader:

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Great Pumpkin IS real

Halloween has come to a close and mommy is completely exhausted.  What began with a miniature pumpkin patch concluded with The Great Pumpkin.  The Ego . . . you know, the child who keeps writing “give me 20 bucs” notes to the tooth fairy . . . has now decided that she is Linus and needed to write to the Great Pumpkin.  Right down to the Nuh Nuh she now carries around (this is a name that she learned from BFF Molly’s son - it is how he refers to his blankie)! This kid is going to kill me with all her notes to fictional characters.  It means that I have to keep showing up and I have to take ½ an hour to write my left handed notes.  And, this one I could not screw up – there was no way I was going to be able to convince her that November 3rd was still Halloween and the Great Pumpkin was on a spy mission.
So, last night, to round out our Halloween family fun mommy became the Great Pumpkin and transformed the kitchen for the girls.  Here’s what I learned about the Great Pumpkin and Halloween night family fun:

Sunday, October 30, 2011

From Pie to Princess . . .

Halloween family fun and other shenanigans are ramping up.  Yesterday we had a “kids” party where Aurora, the three fairies, and oh yes, even Prince Phillip made an appearance, and today we carved our pumpkins.  Of course, it wouldn’t be a Dugdale Halloween without some mishaps and missteps along the way. 
Here’s what I learned about fully participating in the madness that is Halloween:

Saturday, October 29, 2011

She's my cherry pie . . .

WARNING TO THE NANA AND THE GRANDMA – The following will contain material that will make you wonder how you raised such inappropriate children.  You may want to stop reading right here. 
Last night my husband and I were invited to an adults only Halloween party.  This was the first “adults only” party we’ve been invited to in about 10 years, so I was really excited!  Anyone who knows my husband, of course, knows that he’d rather have his head stapled to the carpet than go to a costume party.  But, I found the perfect solution for the man who refuses to dress up! 
Anyone who knows me well knows about my obsession with cherries.  I love all things Cherry.  Cherry pie, cherry jam, cherries from Costco (they’re the best); you name it, I love it.  So when I was looking online for an appropriate (or in this case completely inappropriate) costume for this adults only party, I came across the “Hot Cherry Pie”.  How could I resist this one?!  The best part, this is actually a couple’s costume  - I’m the cherry pie, and my husband is the “Deep Valley Cherry Pie Eating Contest Winner”.  I dressed up as my favorite dessert food and all my husband had to do was wear jeans, a hat backwards and a baseball shirt with “Deep Valley Cherry Pie Eating Contest Winner” on the front – oh, and a 1st place ribbon.
Here’s what I learned about going to an adults only Halloween party as a dessert food:

Friday, October 28, 2011

Time out to take care of the bubbies

The housewives of New Jersey may not be speaking to each other, but I can use one of their phrases that I love – when Dina was on the show, every time they would refer to their boobs (which are enormous, by the way), they would call them bubbies.  It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so today we’re going to take a time out from Halloween family fun to bring attention to this disease and have some family fun with a purpose.  Today’s family fun was intended to teach my three girlies about something they will need to know as they grow into young women, and also bring a little lighthearted fun to a very serious issue.
I am certain that every one of us has been somehow touched by breast cancer.  Whether it’s a friend, family member or friend of a friend, we all know someone who has battled this disease.  My experience was with my friend Laura Roppe.  I won’t tell you her story because she will be telling it in a great book – Rocking the Pink - that will be released in March 2012 (and you can pre-order it on already - 
I will tell you that being with Laura on her journey taught me to cherish every moment and to also remember to fondle your boobs regularly to save your life.  You had to double check and make sure you read that right, didn’t you.  J  In all seriousness, Laura found the lump in her breast from a self exam and that is a lesson to all of us as to how important it is to be aware of changes in your body and to check often. Without any family history of Breast Cancer, Laura learned that she had triple negative Breast Cancer – the most aggressive and hardest to treat.  She underwent months of both chemotherapy and radiation.  Laura is now doing fantastic and before telling you about family fun with the trifecta, I’ll make one more plug – check out Laura’s video “I’m Still Here” on You Tube -  This is a song Laura wrote to Cancer during her chemotherapy treatments and is all about empowerment and triumph.  Also, if you’re able to get a kitchen pass and you live near San Diego, go see Laura and her band play at the Belly Up next Tuesday, November 2nd where you’ll hear “I’m Still Here” and all of her other great songs live!
Today’s family fun with a purpose was to make pink ribbon cupcakes.  I wanted a chance to talk to the girls about what Breast Cancer is and also have some fun with it.  Here’s what I learned about going pink with my girlies:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I want my mummy . . . meatloaf

So before I dive into today’s Halloween family fun, a couple stories.  Tonight I was driving home from a charity function (which I’ll mention more later) and it occurred to me . . . I missed a HUGE opportunity with yesterday’s post.  The title of the post should have been “Give ‘the finger’ to school lunches”.  I have never had so many people comment to me about how much they too hate packing school lunches.  My favorite comment came from my mother-in-law.  Here’s what she wrote in an e-mail to me:
I too hated to make school lunches - choosing to have them buy instead.  I never felt creative about lunches.  There was a time when [my son]* couldn't remember to take lunch money and I finally had to tell the teacher "No more lunch loans!"  She thought I was really cruel!
(* “my son” has been substituted for my husband’s name so as to protect the guilty).
The best part about this little story, at the very moment that I received this e-mail I had just hung up the phone with the school district’s automated system that said “Dear Mrs. Dugdale – the Superego (yep, the automated system calls her that too) has a school lunch account balance of negative two dollars and fifty cents”.  Now isn’t it interesting that we have three children at that school, all three of whom always have the same lunch scenario, and yet only one of them has exceeded her account balance.  Apparently the school lunch account apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!
Ok, on to family fun.  Today it was mummy meatloaf.  Here’s what I learned about making shapes out of an otherwise mundane dinner:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New meaning to the phrase "finger sandwiches"

I absolutely despise making lunches.  I know I cannot be the only mommy out there who feels this way.  I would rather risk that my children put all kinds of junk food in their lunches than have to make them myself.  Unfortunately for them, there is no junk food in our house, and I have actually convinced them that Veggie Sticks is junk food! 
Not sure what my aversion to this task is, but I hate it.  AND, I also am unwilling to let my children buy lunch everyday from the cafeteria.  So, until I can get a “Rosie” Robot to make the lunches for me, I’m stuck with it (this is, by the way, one of the things I miss about working motherhood – paying the nanny to make lunches).  I know, hard life.
Anywhoo,  today’s Halloween family fun was making skeleton sandwiches and jack o lantern oranges.  Here’s what I learned about making Halloween lunches:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Your very own pumpkin patch for Little People

So today I learned that Martha Stewart not only served time for insider trading, she also made her child wrap her own Christmas presents.  Alexis Stewart’s new book just came out and apparently she’s airing all her mother’s dirty little secrets.   Here’s what occurred to me - are you f***ing kidding me?!  The queen of all things domestic could not even be bothered to actually wrap her ONLY child’s Christmas presents?!  And then it dawned on me . . . some may think this is fraudulent – to create your entire persona around being domestic, crafty and always put together – when in reality, you’re so overcommitted you can’t even wrap your own kids’ presents.  To me, this woman is brilliant!  She created an entire empire that portrays her as the picture of perfect domesticity, and yet, she’s just like the rest of us with not enough hours in the day to get everything done (though I have to say that making your child wrap their own Christmas presents is a bit over the top). 
Here’s what also occurred to me.  I'd better pull my kids out of school and home school them so that they unlearn all their reading and writing skills and can’t ever write a book that will reveal all my dirty little secrets.  My girls would hold nothing back!  That’s why I have to reveal it to all of you first, before they can get to it.
OK, back to the pumpkin patch and today's family fun.  This was a project from Disney Family Fun and it was a miniature pumpkin patch made of Circus Peanuts.  Following is what I learned about making your very own pumpkin patch for Little People: 

Monday, October 24, 2011

From Wonderland to the Hood . . .

This weekend’s easy family fun began with a visit to the “Wonderland of Treats, Eats and Drinks” benefitting the Poway Unified School District Foundation, and ended with Mommy and 4 of her friends at the Poway Center for Performing Arts for a “Party in the Pit” watching Street Beat (a Theatrical Drum and Dance Show with lots of drumming and hip hop dance moves).  Mommy was hoping to end our weekend fun with a little Halloween activity, but you’ll have to read on to see how that went.
Here’s what we learned about too much sugar, partying with girlfriends and messy houses:

Friday, October 21, 2011

Exorcise the Demons . . .

Only Ace Ventura: Pet Detective fans will appreciate that line, but it so perfectly fits what happened this past week.  Mommies, by this post I am giving all of you carte blanche to get massages.  Oh, and cavities filled at the dentist office.  Now, the massages I’m getting are far from relaxing, but I am certain that by the time I’m done, I will have exorcised 37 years worth of demons from my muscles and tissues.  And as for the other demons this week, for the first time since I was a teenager I had two cavities that had to be filled. 
 Here’s what I learned about exorcising the demons in your body:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

When life hands you lemons, make lemon cupcakes!

My Family Fun Shenanigans have apparently inspired some of my friends to embrace their inner creativity.  So, I decided to post other people's family fun on the blog today.  If you've got a great family fun suggestion, please send it to me.  I'd love to post it!

Following is a story from my friend Laura who also has her own all girl Trifecta.  The difference is that hers are 5 years older than mine, so now I know what to look forward to (i.e. when your make-up somehow disappears, hair supplies are no longer your own, or when boys come to your door with roses and ask your child to homecoming – EEEK!).

Last week Laura woke up to a flood in her kitchen and this is what she shared:

My goal throughout this experience is not about being environmentally friendly, but rather making my life easier.  How long can I go before I have to wash dishes in the bathroom sink?  Tonight's dinner consists of kabobs, salad, and lemon cupcakes- all made on the grill.   I even managed to not drip any batter on the cupcake pan because that would mean I would have to wash it.   

Here’s what Laura learned about her flood/grill experience:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Glass Houses . . .

So today I stepped on a piece of glass in my pantry, and it got me thinking – when you live in a glass house, if you’re not careful, it can end in bloody feet.  This thought process may have also been because the droplets of blood that came out of my foot made me lightheaded and prone to crazy thoughts.  It was either that, or homework time with three children and not having any f*#&ing idea how to complete this math problem – “Write an equation where 64 is the product of a prime number”.  I actually had to Google this question to get any semblance of an answer.  At what point can I tell my 4th grader she’s not going to need to know that so long as she marries well?! 
Here’s what I learned today about being a momma and judging other mommas and their kids:

Sunday, October 16, 2011

You know you're a Tri Diva if . . .

Today was my last Triathlon of the season and I went out on a great high note.  I finished in 1 hour 27 minutes – I swam without a swim buddy for the first time and had my fastest bike and run times yet.  Now, 6 hours later, my body is screaming cuss words at me.
As I was waiting in the transition area at 4:45am this morning I began noticing a few things about triathlons that were cracking me up, so I decided to share them with you too.
You know you’re a Tri Diva if:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pumpkin in the oven . . .

Below are the recipes that I used (and slightly modified) for the pumpkin pies yesterday.  In blue are my “between the lines” instructions.  Thanks already to my stay at home mom friend Becky for her helpful suggestion to follow the instructions on the canned pumpkin, but use pureed fresh pumpkin instead of the can.  I’m going to try it!

Fresh Pumpkin Pie (modified from – 4 ½ stars on All recipes – 0 stars from the Dugdales
1 medium sugar pumpkin (at my pumpkin patch they were called “trickster” pumpkins – maybe this should have been my first clue – they “trick” you into thinking they will taste good and in fact they do not!)1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pastry crust (I used G.F. recipe below)
½ teaspoon of ground ginger
½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon of nutmeg (I added this)1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup honey, warmed slightly
½ cup milk (I used whole milk)
½ cup heavy whipping cream
Cut pumpkin in half (use a saw to cut the d*#& thing or you will completely dull your knife) and remove seeds (use an ice cream scoop). 

Lightly oil surface and place cut side down.  Bake at 325 degrees until flesh is tender when poked with a fork (about 45 minutes – even when it feels tender, give it a few more minutes to make sure – this part can be deceiving). 
In case my family or close friends questions whether I actually did this.
Cool until just warm.  Scrape the pumpkin flesh from the peel.  Either mash or puree in small batches in a blender.  (Yes, a blender will work for this part if you don’t have a cheap one like mine.  All my blender did was push everything out to the side and almost burn out the blade – DO NOT USE A BLENDER to puree – use a food processor).
In a large bowl blend together 2 cups of the pumpkin puree, spices and salt.  Beat in the eggs, honey, milk and cream.  Pour filling into pie shell.  Put pie on a baking sheet (this is a secret that no one tells you in a recipe, you just have to know this because your momma tells you.  Also, be sure to not overfill the pie shell because it will go all over the counter and your baking sheet and will smell like burned tar when it overcooks in the oven).

Bake at 400 degrees for 55 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from the edge comes out clean.  Halfway through cooking cover the pie with an aluminum foil tent.  Otherwise you will completely burn the crust.  Yep, this is another one of those “mommy” tricks.  I even had to call mine.  Cool on wire rack.
Anyone who can tell me what I might have missed in baking this recipe, or what I can do differently to change the taste, I’m open.
Pamela’s Gluten Free Crust – I made no modifications to this one.  It was very good other than the burned parts that were completely my fault.
1 bag Pamela’s Gluten Free Bread Mix (do not use the yeast packet)
8tbsp unsalted butter, chilled
8tbsp shortening, chilled
7-8 tbsp ice cold water
In a bowl, cut chilled butter and shortening into Pamela's Gluten-Free Bread Mix with two knives or a pastry knife until small pea sized pieces form. (Just mash it together as much as you can take – there may be some pea size pieces, and there may be some bigger ones.  It will all bake out).  J

Slowly add water until dough comes together, not sticky. Add 1 tsp additional water if dough is too dry. Do not over handle dough. Roll out half the dough between two sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Peel off top paper and invert into a lightly greased pie dish.

Yeah, I added a photo because it would be helpful to see this.  I read it wrong the first time!  :)

Peel off second sheet and fix crust edge. Bake on lower rack in oven. Bake unfilled crust in a 350° oven on bottom rack for 35 to 40 minutes. Or, bake filled with your favorite filling. Dough can be frozen for later use, wrap in plastic and freeze. Thaw completely to use.