with Lynne and Leslie

Being schooled by Half Pint: Five lessons from “Little House”

by SweetMidlife

“So that’s why we’re so messed up!”

I was sitting at the very nice bar of a very nice restaurant enjoying a cocktail and some cheesy spaghetti squash concoction from heaven on high and having a conversation with a new friend that swerved from the book I was reading, to childhood entertainment, to perhaps how watching too much “Little House on the Prairie” warped an entire generation. We nearly fell off our stools cracking up about how stark a reality NBC’s version of Walnut Grove was – “Bad things happened to those people every week and people just dropped dead!” my conversation partner said. “That just makes you nervous as a kid.

He ain’t wrong. About five years ago I went on a brief “Little House” binge and it blew my mind how much messed up stuff happened to the Ingalls and company, and it blew it even further when certain episodes triggered 40 year-old memories of experiencing them as a kid, and wanting to hide behind the nubby soft pilling of our family room couch and cry. That started me thinking of how many other lessons Gen-X learned at the hands of Laura and Mary, Pa and that sneaky Nellie. Some of them were terrifying, But all good.

Lesson #1: Death is everywhere. Over there. Over there. And even over there. Like I said, “Little House” was my first lesson in the law of the prairie. And that lesson was that the prairie – all of nature, really – wanted your butt dead. If growing up in Baltimore could be scary, Walnut Grove was the most gangsta schiznit you could imagine. Parents died in tragic wagon accidents. Little friends drowned. People got kidnapped. And don’t even get my started on Merlin Olsen’s wife and Mary’s baby dying in the fire at the blind school. I saw that happening as a kid, and remember feeling so panicked, like I could stop it if I could just get to the baby. That’s a bad thing to do to a kid. The show did not hide from the risks that these pioneers were taking with their family’s lives, because they were attempting to make settlements out of wilderness (Wilderness where there were already people living, of course. This story makes me not want to re-read the novels, because hello, racism!) And sometimes, wilderness was not feeling you.

Lesson #2: Hard work is a character builder. I have so many memories of scenes of people just doing laborious chores in the hot sun – including sweaty-cute Charles “Pa Little Joe” Ingalls – like putting up houses, throwing around hay bales, and making everyone sitting at home watching on the moving picture box seem like big fat fatties. Every time you saw people, they were working, whether they were doctoring, or teaching or preaching or cooking for all the various children and orphans that showed up. And it was instructive – my “Little House” play time as a kid, dressed in the Laura-like aprons and bonnets our Grandma Chuckles made us – usually included working at the General Store or in the one-roomed school house. It’s a good lesson.

Lesson #3: It takes a village. As a adult, I understood that the reason the Ingalls kept taking in kids was the Cousin Oliver effect – that when your kid stars get older, you just got newer, cuter kids. But in my youth, it made an effect on me because adoption, formal or otherwise, was just part of my family’s life. If someone’s parents were sick, they went to stay with someone else. If a friend was down on their luck, you invited them to stay or at least to dinner. That’s the way the Ingalls worked, and the way my family worked, too.

Lesson #4: You do not have to put up with bullies. Nellie Oleson was the WORST. (Watching as an adult, I can also say she was hilarious, in a wrong way) And she was always pinching people, threatening folks and generally being a bisnatch. And Laura, while vexed, did not back down, even though she was just a little half-pint. I wish I’d been more like her as a kid, honestly. Laura. Not Nellie. Nellie was wrong.

Lesson #5: No matter how many toys you have, sometimes there’s nothing more fun than launching yourself down a hill and smelling the flowers. Just watch your head, Carrie.


Saying Yes Even When It’s Scary

by SweetMidlife

Lynne here! Today’s post was inspired by a blogging link-up (where bloggers share their favorite posts as a way to network and whatnot) called “That’s What She Said”. Every week, they give you a quote and ask you to write a piece inspired by it. This week, we are to write on this..

Pretty powerful, right?

I am very very loud. And I have been adventurous. But I am also an over-thinker. A mulling-over-thoughts-ad-nauseum person. I am not saying that you should leap off of cliffs without looking. That can literally kill you. But I have found that over the last several years, I tend to toss thoughts back and forth, over and over, until the indecision torments me. And that ain’t good either.

I got married at 39, and had my son at 41, so I spent the majority of my life thus far as single and not a mom. And I don’t know how you can be sure of something but also worry at the same time, but that’s me. And before my wedding, then 2 years later when my son was a newborn, I felt God tell me that He had this, and that He was going to give me everything that I needed to be a wife, then a mother. That didn’t mean that it would be easy, and that I wouldn’t have moments when I wanted to run away from everyone who lives with me, or that I wouldn’t have moments when all of it is hard, when the tantrums seem unending, and I can’t seem to remember to change the laundry and have to rerun the loads over and over, and I feel that all that I do is apologize for things that I have neglected, moments when I have dropped every ball I was trying to juggle. But in those moments, under all of the noise, I remember that God promise, because in those whispers He was telling me just what the brilliant Miss Fey said above: that if I said “yes”, we would fill in the blanks. Because for every doubt, there are a million moments that confirm that I am actually not doing a bad job. Dare I say it, I am actually doing a good job. Because we laugh, and we smile, and we eat, even if it is later than I thought it would be. We thrive. And that’s worth all of it.


Some Stuff I Cooked, Part 1: Tasty Trumps Pretty

by SweetMidlife

Howdy! Lynne here. It’s been a minute because I have been having computer issues, which seem to have been resolved for now, so I’m back, y’all!

So, if you have read The Sweet Midlife at all (and if not, welcome!), you would know that while we aren’t a food blog, we have written before about what we eat, sometimes in relation to eating better, or because we were trying new vegetables, or just because we made something good. Well, this past week, I made some stuff and I want to tell you about it.

And I will say this going in. I am not the neatest person. I don’t know how to draw inside the lines. I have horrible handwriting and I always got an S- in elementary school penmanship. That is Satisfactory Minus. Yes. So even though I do a lot of cooking, and most of it tastes really good, it doesn’t always look great, so even though I will post Facebook statuses ABOUT what I cook, I don’t always post pictures OF what I make. Because it sometimes looks like my toddler made it. But this past week, inspired by Valentine’s Day, I got the idea to make some things that I had never made before, and that had the possibility of looking majorly crazy. I made a cake, but I will write about that in a latter post. But I want to tell you now about the first thing I made this week.

Someone on Facebook posted this recipe for boxes made out of chocolate. Kinda like a gingerbread house, but it is made out of freaking chocolate. And filled with candy. Isn’t this is a thing of beauty? This is the one from a site called Oh, Nuts, and not the one I made.

From Ohnuts.com. Not the one I made.

And it looked delicious, and since we were doing our Valentine’s Day celebrations at home, I thought that I would take a stab at it and add to the festiveness. And before I said to myself “You can’t do that, Sloppy”, I shared the picture on our blog Facebook page. And people started saying things like “Hey, if it’s ugly, the worst thing that can happen is that you have a bunch of chocolate to eat.”

And liking those odds, because leftover chocolate, I forged ahead. Even though I tried again to not do it. Because I got scurred. But emboldened by the fact that I told people I was gonna do it, I did it.

So, umm. it looked like this.

20150214_183409It’s lopsided, and some of it broke, and if it was a real structure, it would be condemned. But it made me smile. Because it actually stayed together and stood up on it’s own. All by it’s crooked, yummy self.

So my husband and son and I started eating it. And when we ate off the top, and one of the sides, my man complimented me on how nicely constructed the remaining pieces were. It looked like someone took the back seat out of a van and put it on my table. Or like something you see in a dorm. Behold, Chocolate Futon…

20150214_185125

Don’t you want to sit on it on a Friday night and get sugared up and make parallels between the purple aquarium lights of your friends’ roommates fish tank and “Purple Rain”, which is playing in the background? What? That’s just me? Okay. Because I totally did that in 1992. And no drugs or alcohol were involved! But back to the chocolate. You get it, right?

So, then I tried another one with the rest of the chocolate pieces, because all you have to do is remelt it and start over. And eat more of the leftovers. Yes. And this next one fell apart from the beginning, but it looked like a shelter of some kind, and I made some accessories, and my husband added my son’s brand new drugstore-bought school bus (which is already falling apart, so don’t buy those), and we got Candy Bus Stop.

20150214_193155So, yeah. My journey into candy architecture didn’t look like the original picture. But it tasted good. And more importantly: I DID THAT. I am branching out, doing the thing. Because the only thing worse than an ugly chocolate house is the chocolate house you never made. Because seriously, those things are delicious.

 


Last week I ate less crap, moved more and lost weight. Whaaat?

by SweetMidlife

It's working! Let's celebrate with fries. Or...not.

You know how insanity is said to be doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?

Ladies and gentleman – Welcome to the way I’ve been trying to lose weight over the last year. (Spoiler alert: Still fat.)

But for the first time in a long time, I got on the scale yesterday and the weight was three pounds lower than the week before, because…and this will shock you all – I worked out more and ate less garbage. Craziness.

The last time that I consistently lost weight – not just inches  but actual numbers on the scale – was more than a year ago during the beginning of my clean eating journey. I was strict about not eating anything processed, and working out at least four times a week, and it showed. Then my life got crazy, courtesy of a tiny person who came to live with us, and any extra energy I had went into clothing, feeding, diapering, cleaning and then re-diapering that person. Making my own tomato soup and getting up for 6 a.m. spin class?

Ha ha shut up.

Last summer and fall I had some luck moving the fat deposits, if not the scale, with Crossfit and a return to running. But I was still admittedly eating like crap. I would start out healthy for two days, only to have to eat something dripping in fried for work (I write about food and drinking and such) and then keep crapping it in. My Crossfit coach noticed my inch loss but encouraged me to start keeping food diaries again. I was afraid this was an attempt to get me to eat Paleo, a style of eating that I cannot as a non-regular eater of meat adhere to. Also I didn’t want them to see how often I have wine (every night) and yell at me.

So I kept spending the money on an expensive gym and either not go as much as I should, or going but then thwarting any progress with the eating. And it’s no surprise that I didn’t make any real progress losing weight. I’ve been doing this dance since I was a teenager, in one form or the other, and it’s harder every. Single. Year. You get older, more tired. Your metabolism sits on the couch and refuses to stop eating cheese. Your schedule has more work, more people, more stuff in it, equaling more reasons just not to be careful.

Then what changed? Last week I started at Crossfit again, and, like the dummy veil was lifted, thought “Maybe it’s time to put my resolve where my mouth and the things that go into it is.” So back on MyFitnessPal.com I went, where I found two close friends, one up north and one in Miami, making such great progress, not just with weight loss but with their exercise. They are killing it, y’all, and that made me so excited for them, because both are moms with big jobs and husbands and such. I wanted in on that club.

So I just went back to the club I was already in, writing stuff down and making myself go to the gym. Tuesday, when I got on the scale and it went down, I was mad for it taking this long. There’s nothing to it but to do it, as the Washington Senators sang in “Damn Yankees.”

Here’s me doing in. Took me long enough.


“How’d that get in my cart?”: The joy-ish of shopping with your partner

by SweetMidlife
Sometimes we have too much peanut butter. And sometimes, Husband buys excellent hot sauce.

Sometimes we have too much peanut butter. And sometimes, Husband buys excellent hot sauce.

Greetings. My name is Leslie, and I like grocery shopping. If you read this blog, you might notice that we post about food a lot, not only because we’re in the gym working on our fitness just like Fergie, but because we like food, which is why, unlike Fergie, we need to LIVE in the gym working on our fitness.

In my case I think that my weekly-ish visit to the supermarket and to the cool vegetable market down the street is also a function of my control freak-ism. As a single girl, it was about trying to control what I ate, which translated into what I weighed and, unfortunately, how I felt about myself. But now, I’m the primary meal planner for three people, one of whom likes meat and white pasta, two things I don’t eat, and the other of whom expresses his displeasure by wrinkling up his face or turning his head as the spoon’s headed for his lips, or just says “No” in a Hobbit voice and then runs away to play with blocks.

(It’s up to you to guess which one’s my husband and which one’s the Toddler.)

Anyway,  because we should all be healthy, doing the shopping means that I get to control at least the dinner options of the household (Husband gets lunch at work, and I do buy Toddler’s food for Baby School, but iF a cookie or something gets in there I’m not there to police it, and a cookie isn’t gonna kill him.) (Yeah, I said it. Come at me, bro.)

I also do most of the cooking, and I’m the only one who remembers what got shoved in all the little drawers in the refrigerator or that we ALREADY HAVE PEANUT BUTTER OH MY STARS THERE’S THREE JARS OF UNOPENED STUPID PEANUT BUTTER IN THERE BEHIND THE SALAD WE NEVER ATE AND I DON’T EVEN EAT JIF ONLY YOU DO PLEASE EAT IT OR STOP BUYING STUPID PEANUT BUTTER.

It’s stuff like JifGate that make me kind of territorial about the shopping, and I usually do it by myself, during the day, when I don’t have to worry about Husband dropping duplicate items in the cart or Toddler having a random meltdown when he’s not allowed to reach out and shove everything off the olive oil shelf. (That’s never happened, but I don’t want to be the woman sheepishly asking the store manager about the oily pile of glass in Aisle 7.)

When Husband and I do wind up doing a joint trip, it’s usually during the weekend, when I’ve had time to clip coupons, make a list and check the store ad. I can’t organize my closet but I’m a staunch grocery lister. Go figure. So even if he runs off the rails in the meat or hot sauce aisle, I’ve got what I need and I’ve usually budgeted for the week, so a few odd sauces aren’t gonna kill me. It’s the random tandem midweek jaunts that can test my ability to zig and not zag, and that also test my ability to just shut up sometimes.

Husband and I both worked from home yesterday, and decided to hit the local grocery an hour or so before having to pick Toddler up from Baby School. This was supposed to just be a “shopping for tonight’s dinner” trip – I was making chili – so I had already Terminator-scanned the store from the door. I need ground beef for Husband’s portion, beans and tomatoes and such, a bottle of wine for me (not all to be drunk last night, of course) and yogurt for Toddler and me.

Husband was in line for Powerball tickets for last night’s huge jackpot, and you should not be shocked that we didn’t win, because if I had I would not be still sitting here writing this. (#truth) So I did a workman-like job of rounding the aisles and getting what I needed, and was mostly done when I heard my name and saw Husband making his way across the store with a full hand cart. And I swear the control freak in me started panicking, because he likes buying the same stuff over and over, even if we didn’t use half of it the last time he bought it and it’s still in the fridge hello Jif. But he is also a grown man who contributes to the groceries and it’s not fair to be the Food Cop unless it’s something really unhealthy that humans shouldn’t eat.

“Look what I got!” he said excitedly, offering two cartons of real actual juice without artificial things, which are excellent, fruit, the good burgers for the chili because he didn’t know that I already got meat, but which now form the basis of another meal, because why not buy a few days in advance? We’re here, right? And I felt my control freak shutting up. He did good.

(NOTE: I must also add that Husband’s real superpower is farmer’s markets. He finds the best cool little sauces and spreads, including the fish dip I ate all of, and this boss mango chutney he bought from his “hot sauce guy” at the South Florida Fair. Yes, he has a hot sauce guy he sees annually at the fair, to the point where when he didn’t answer his cell, I knew where to find him.)

There was absolutely nothing unhealthy in that cart, and besides the Soap Opera Digest “for me” that is totally for him and the fancy paper goods he gets, that I never do, because I am cheap, it was an excellent trip. He’s grown folk. Chill out Leslie.

So we get to the checkout, and I start seeing the numbers adding up. I had an arbitrary number in my head, and we were past that before I even put all the stuff on the belt. And I started panicking, not because I didn’t have the money to spend, but because IT WASN’T IN MY PLAN. And it wasn’t even a good plan, because we have to buy for the rest of the weekend sometime, so why not last night? I originally pegged it as a quick trip because of time constraints and because I didn’t have my coupons, but it actually took less time because I had an extra pair of adult hands and no tiny shelf-clearer in the cart. And if Husband is picking his own healthy food, he’s going to eat it. And that’s awesome.

I now have a full fridge, and some yummy, healthy things to eat, and I don’t fear badness in there. The multiple peanut butters? That’s another story.


Love That Doesn’t Stay On Your Nerves

by SweetMidlife

Morning! Lynne here.

My toddler son loves the Nick Jr. show “Lalaloopsy.” He asks for it, and it becomes like a battle cry sometimes (LALALOOOOOOPSY!!), so I am happy when it is actually on, since I keep forgetting to record it. The show was based on a popular line of rag dolls, and it’s set in Lalaloopsy land, where everyone is a little girl with button eyes and it’s about friendship and teamwork and such. On yesterday’s episode, Dot Starlight (who is the black Loopsy but whose name I am glad that I learned so I don’t have to keep calling her Black Loopsy. And I am black, so it’s okay) is setting off on a mission to the moon. So while she is in her ship, all ready to go, and while all of the other Loopsys are ready to send her off, some other Loopsy’s pet mouse gets into the bottom of the rocket and eats the engine. I mean, just gets all in there and messes it up. I was highly annoyed. When the Loopsy in charge of the countdown gets to “Blast Off!”, nothing happens. Upon further inspection, they realize that the engine is jacked-up, and they realize that the mouse was to blame. And I was all ready for them to blast the mouse, and for the show to be about responsibility for selfish rodents. But the Loopsy that the mouse belonged to was like “Was it you?”, and the mouse kinda shrugged, and the episode went on. Apparently, the whole episode was about how Dot’s friends try to recreate a moon launch for her since she had her hopes on going and NOT about revenge and mouse shaming. And I have to admit that I had a hard time letting the mouse thing go. They wouldn’t have had to buy cheese and recreate the moon if not for that mouse. I know it wasn’t the point. But I had issues with that mouse.

Last night, my husband and my son had a very extended clean-up time, where my son picked up all of his toys, one by one, and put them away in the wagon where they live. I was very, very impressed with my husband’s patience, and happy for a clean kitchen area. But apparently, I was resting on their laurels, because when we got up this morning, my son had gotten some of the toys back out and left them on the floor on my watch, which I apparently missed, since I am more comfortable with clutter than my husband is, and more than I should actually be. My husband asked if I could stay on top of the boy and his putting away of stuff, and although this is well and good, I was annoyed. Even though he was right. Even though this is something we are working towards on all fronts. Even though the evidence was there in all of its multicolored plastic talking glory (because toddler toys all talk). For a second, I didn’t care. Because I got called on something. And it annoyed me to be corrected. And I am not a fan.

Trying to get my self together, I sat down and read the daily Bible verse that is emailed to me every day, and it was from 1 Corinthians 13. If you have ever been to a Christian wedding, you have heard this passage, the one that goes “Love is patient, love is kind.” Everyone loves those verses. They seemed like they would make me feel better, so I read verses 4 and 5 in the New Living Translation of the Bible, and it continues like this..

Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.

Well, I can get with jealous and boastful and rude, but the proud part stuck in my side a little bit. Stuck with a plastic toy.

It does not demand its own way.

But wait, what about the time that he…? Wait. I am doing it, aren’t I? Carry on.

 

It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.

Oh, snap.

It was like the mouse that ate the engine grabbed my son’s plastic dump truck and smacked me in the face with it.

I couldn’t see past the wrong that the mouse did so that I could see the beautiful act of love that those Loopsys did for their friend. The mouse thing happened, but the Loopsys focused on moving forward and helping Dot achieve her dreams.

I was letting my irritation at being caught at being less than perfect make me annoyed at my husband, who knows that toy clutter happens, but wants to work through it so we are stewarding our stuff, and doing it in the most respectful and loving way possible.

Because stuff gets messed up bu other people, and I won’t do things right all of the time, but love shouldn’t let us stay there. It should propel us to keep going. To believe the best, to hope the best, to not let hoped for-justice and annoyance to set into our bones and our relationships. That kills.

People who you  love can annoy each other, but it doesn’t stay there.

Love gets over it.

Love gets over having to declutter.

Love gets over having to declutter.


Five reasons your toddler needs a job. Like now.

by SweetMidlife

baby area

This is Leslie, writing from what’s left of my living room after the toddler we live with tornado’ed through it like a giggling brushfire this morning. I had heard tales of tiny humans and their destructive capabilities for eons – and had observed the evidence in many a friend’s bright colored plastic-covered backyards, the sippy cup farms in their back seats, and the Stockholm Syndrome look the parents have when they get out of the house for an hour, like “I really like wearing clothes with zippers, but isn’t there somewhere I should be?”

I now have those things – the  sippy farm, the living room-turned-Chuck E. Cheese. I also have some stuff that used to work that doesn’t work. The person responsible for that is adorable, the light of my life, and unemployed. Because he is less than two years old and McDonald’s frowns on employing toddlers – his verbal skills wouldn’t cut it in the drivethru. But here are five reasons I wish they did:

1) Because he breaks stuff: As part of his development, Toddler is an explorer. He’s a pioneer. He’s all about figuring out stuff with his hands, and we encourage things like opening and closing doors, knowing the difference between up and down, in and out. But that’s become an exploration in taking the remote from UP on the coffee table and throwing it DOWN on the floor, or taking the expensive iPhone charging cable OUT of the computer and then shoving it back IN, causing it now to charge like snail juice. If he were a teenager, this would mean his allowance. But he doesn’t get an allowance. So…yeah.

2) Because he can’t drive: The closest thing Toddler has to a workplace is Baby School (otherwise known as day care), and he has set hours, just like he would if he were a Wal-Mart greeter. And if those hours, as well as his doctor’s appointments and such, conflict with that yoga class I wanted to go to, or a Happy Hour invitation…Well, he can’t drive. Or afford a cab.

3) Because he can’t stay home by himself: and babysitters won’t just come to your house and watch your cable. They likes cash.

4) Because he won’t stop growing out of his clothes : And Gymboree won’t just come to your house and watch your cable.

5) Because he’s a picky eater: Brother eats a lot. All I’m saying.

Why does YOUR toddler need a job? Tell us below!!


If You Can’t Say Something Nice (About Yourself)…..

by SweetMidlife

Hi! Lynne here!

A few days ago, my friend Wonderful Angie asked her Facebook friends to write something positive about themselves in the post’s comment section. She really wanted people to brag on themselves, and give themselves some good press.

“This is great!”, I thought! “How nice to have people build themselves up and focus on their positives! I am all about this.”

And it took me a minute to think of something to say about myself.

And it wasn’t just me. I saw people chime in with funny comments about the post, but it took awhile for people to actually say actual good things about themselves.

I get it. No one wants to be boastful or jerky, or like those contestants on “Project Runway” who see their own artistry and wonderfulness and will gladly tell you about it in the loudest way, while cutting down everyone else in the room. But there is something in- between being conceited and beating yourself up every day. And we do that easily. We can quickly name our faults, and all of the things that we haven’t gotten done and the weight we need to lose and the high levels of hot-messness that we have achieved (Can I get a what-what on that one?).

But there is something good about all of us. It could be something that you do, like that thing you cook really well, or that you answer all of the clues on “Wheel of Fortune”. Or something that you do for someone else,  like that you call your grandmother once a week and listen to her talk about her day, or that your cats are nice and shiny because you take such good care of them. Or maybe it’s something internal, like you are a good listener (because Grandma!!), or that you are patient. Or maybe you accessorize well. Or maybe your shoes match today. That’s something.

Whatever it is, there is something about you that’s good, and maybe recognizing that thing, no matter how little, will give you the push and the confidence to deal with the not-so-fun stuff that you have to do. Maybe it will show you that you are worth the effort that you put into this living thing. Because you are.

So, tell me one thing about you that’s good! Spill!! Tell us in the comments.

I will start.

I am resourceful. I re-purposed the bag that comes with your new sheets as a case for my kid’s plastic drumsticks that he always loses.

I is smart. I is kind. I can find places to put my kid's stuff.

I is smart. I is kind. I can find places to put my kid’s stuff.

Your turn!


What to Wear: A Stitch Fix Update or I actually bought some clothes!

by SweetMidlife

striped dress

This is Leslie, and this is me, Spanxless, in a fitting dress. And I only slightly look like the anaconda that ate Jon Voight.

This striped dress came in my second Stitch Fix box yesterday, and I admit to being dubious, especially since only liking one necklace last time and having such great luck actually picking things out last week at Runway Consignment. But the gamble remains the same – last week I had more luck with stuff that was chosen for me, and even though the Stitch folks don’t know me, I was willing to give them a try again.

stitch paper

This box was actually more successful – I’m not sure if the stylists are checking my Pinterest boards, one of which I set up to give them hints of what I like, as was suggested (Cross-promotion is magic!), but it was pretty close.

I liked the necklace you see above but not enough for $28. The pants were great, but I just didn’t feel like spending $78 on them. Great pants are hard to come by so I sort of regret that, but I am convinced that now that I’m familiar with this brand, Liverpool, I can find them cheaper elsewhere. I may be wrong.

There was a devastatingly soft heather zippy cardigan in the box, and I am always drawn to slouchy heather. But I live in Florida, it’s heavy and I don’t need a statement piece of fleece here. If it’s too nice to wear to the gym, I can’t wear it all the time – very seasonal for a season we don’t get. And the slouchy neck top was cute but not special.

However, the dress up top was special. I knew it from the moment I opened the box, and I couldn’t wait to try it on. I was working at the time at home and made myself wait until I finished to play in the box. When I did it was the first thing I threw on, and while it wasn’t great without Spanx, those elastic wonders made it look perfect. The above photo is this morning, au natural, because I wanted to see what it would look like. Not bad. But I’m packing the Spanx in the gym bag. #nocommando

So that’s me for this week. I think I’m gonna keep this for a while and see what happens. What are YOU wearing?


Lynne Reviews “Pop Goes Lullaby 4″ by Jammy Jams, Kid Music That Won’t Make You Want To Punch Yourself

by SweetMidlife


Hi! Lynne here!

I have a 2 year-old, and thus spend a lot of time watching and listening to things aimed at my kid. Some of it is very good, while some of it makes me want to tell my son that my computer is broken so we don’t have to listen to one more horrible, horrible song that sounds like it was sung by elves on drugs. I don’t even know what that means, but it’s bad.

 

This is why I was excited when we got a chance to listen to kid music that promised to not make me sad.  Jammy Jams is a company that produces lullaby music that relaxes and prepares your little ones for bedtime but also entertains parents, because the songs are lullaby versions of popular songs that grown-ups know. And they have collections for all kinds of tastes, including soothing takes on hip-hop and rock. The CD I got to hear is “Pop Goes Lullaby 4″, the latest in Jammy Jams’ low-key tribute to current popular music. AND I LIKED IT. The songs are played on xylophones, marimbas, and other instruments that give them a breezy, happy tropical feel, so while your baby is being taken to La-La Land, you feel like you are being taken to Key West. And I could use a trip to Key West. This volume features lullaby versions of recent hits by Katy Perry, Meghan Trainor, Sam Smith, Taylor Swift, among others.  Having “Shake It Off” played while I was rocking my kid made me smile because I love that song, and also because he was being asked to shake off the awake-ness. See, it all works!

Now, this is where I admit that upon first glance, I only knew half of the songs covered on this album, and that is because at 43, I am not the average age of a mom of a toddler. This means that I am not as familiar with some current chart-toppers, but that is another cool thing that this CD did for me: it made me go back and listen to the original versions, and introduced me to some really great music that I didn’t know (I preferred the Pop Goes Lullaby versions to some of that, actually). So, if you are looking for good music that will really aid you in putting your kids to bed, but will also make you happy at the same time because it’s based on good music that you like too, check it out (you can listen to samples and buy the CD here, as well as on Amazon and iTunes. Seriously, you and your kids, but also you, will really enjoy it.


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