Thursday, April 30, 2009

Book Review: News of a Kidnapping by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

(apologies, I can't get Blogger to do the accent marks)
I FINALLY finished this book that I have been working on for months. It took me so long because I haven't been reading much but on top of that, I just wasn't that into it.
This book is historical in that it tells of the kidnappings of several Colombians during the early 90's by Pablo Escobar and his cohorts. While the truth of the story is fascinating and intriguing (and I did learn a lot about Escobar and drug cartels and political corruption), I felt that the book dragged on in a lot of spots and provided a lot of detail that was boring and unnecessary. Perhaps I was hoping it would read a bit more like a novel but it just didn't fully hold my interest. It's hard to imagine how societies can become so corrupt and lawless but in reality, this is the case in many countries now. People fear for their lives and the government, police, military, etc. are not in control (and when they are, they are often corrupt too). In any case, this shed a little light on the mystery of Escobar and the international drug trade by focusing on the plights of the kidnapped people, detailing their conditions and what happened throughout their captivity. I was disappointed though in the way the story read. Perhaps I expected more out of Marquez but then again, this is not his expertise either. Or maybe some of it was lost in translation. On top of that, it tells in detail about many different politicians and I don't have a firm understanding of the way the Colombian government works so their titles were a bit lost on me. Overall, I'd give it 2 stars.
I'm relieved to be done so I can move on to my next book - The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Too Tired Today

It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring. He went to bed and bumped his head and couldn't get up in the morning.

This is one of Olive's favorite songs these days (perhaps because it's been so rainy this spring that she's heard it a lot!) Today is another rainy day and we are so tired. We spent the morning with some good friends who live just far enough away that we don't see them often enough. On our usual 20 minute ride to their house, it took us an hour to get there because there was light rain. Why can't people drive when there is light rain? It's not like the torrential summer downpours we get down South all summer. Or the awful snowstorms they get up North all winter. It's just a little sprinkling of rain. Enough to make things wet but probably not even enough to register in the rain gauges. Yet it shuts down traffic. I'll never understand...
Anyway, I'm tired today and don't have much to say so am going to try to get a few things done and lay down for a quick snooze while Olive is asleep. Happy Rainy Day!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tuesday's Tip: Don't Forget Mother's Day!

Next Sunday, May 10th is Mother's Day.

There are lots of things to do for Mom - a card, a spa day, flowers, out to lunch, you name it. But the most special is just letting her know how much you love and appreciate her.

This year Mother's Day is both a bit happier and a bit sadder for our family. It's happier in the sense that I will soon be a mother again so feel I have a bit more to celebrate. It's sadder because we lost Dennis' mother in February and it won't feel complete without her.

Whatever your family traditions, be sure to embrace every minute with Mama, Grandma, and your kids and enjoy the day!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Spring Cleaning (or Nesting??)

I'm hit with the sudden urge to purge.

I'm ready to clean my house top to bottom, both with cleaning and cleaning out. I am giving away and throwing away and organizing. I'm not sure if it's spring cleaning or nesting or a little of both but I'm antsy and anxious. I've got closets to clean, rooms to organize, toys to toss.
In my quest for clean, there are a few products that I really like and thought I'd share. Now, I'm always looking for a cleaner and healthier way to clean my house so if you have a greener option, please post because I'd love to hear it.

The other day I cleaned out my oven because there was something nasty that had spilled over and was making my oven smoke each time I used it (and hence setting off the smoke alarm). I had avoided doing this because I am pregnant and probably shouldn't be cleaning the oven but this product claimed to be "fume free" (yet Lemon scented, hmmm??) Anyway, I used it and let it sit for a long time (2 hours) and I have to say, it did a pretty good job on my oven. It was FAR from fume free though - my house smelled like lemon the rest of the day. But it did the job.
Aaah...the magic eraser...this works for just about anything! I have been using it lately to scrub baseboards, Olive's table (that often ends up with food or crayon on it), the backs of doors covered in pencil, the mysterious part of our French doors that all have a streak on them, and (you'll never believe this!) for pen on a computer screen?!?!!? That's right, Olive decided at one point to take a pen to the computer screen. I thought it was a lost cause but Dennis did a little research and heard that the Magic Eraser was a great resource and IT WORKED! This thing truly is magic...
Tide To Go - I keep this in my car for "on-the-go" spills but find I rarely use it. Last week, Olive and I were eating strawberries and some juice ended up on my very light khakis. I couldn't find one of these in the house so I just went about my business. Later that afternoon, I remembered that I had it in my car and while I was out, I doctored up my pants, thinking it probably wouldn't work since it had been many hours before that when the stain was created but it did! It ALL came out. The downside: the smell of this stuff made me want to pass out but it did clean my clothes just like in the commercial.
Do you have any great finds??

Thursday, April 23, 2009

New blog template

How do you like this new blog template?? I got it for FREE at There are lots to choose from and it's very simple to do. Check them out!


I try to read the paper in the morning over breakfast. I must admit, I don't do it every day and I don't read every story. But I get the headlines and highlights. I also read the Metro section of the paper to find out what's going on in our area.

This week, there have been two separate instances of a husband killing his children, wife, and then himself. This is so sad in so many ways. In both cases, the men were facing financial difficulties. One of the men left suicide notes, the other did not. I'm not sure what they are thinking but it seems that they are ashamed of their financial problems and possibly trying to "spare" their families the embarassment, guilt, etc. of dealing with it. It's so sad when you think this is the only way out. The even sadder part is that they took the lives of those who loved them too.

I also read this morning about a top financial guy from Freddie Mac (I think, don't quote me on that) that also committed suicide. These are the incalculable costs of a recession. It's not just that we're not buying luxury cars and overpriced houses. People are in it so deep that they can't figure out another way out.

So I just say that if you or someone you know is facing financial difficulties, there are lots of resources to help. You're not alone. And please know that if you ever got into any kind of trouble (financial, legal, whatever), there are people who are there for you and will not judge you.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Goodnight Mom

While perusing through some old magazines to decide which ones to recycle, I stumbled across this cute little excerpt from Parenting Magazine (November 2008) edition. In each magazine, there is something at the end called "Last Word" which usually gives me a good chuckle. Reading this one was no exception. It's based loosely on Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.

Goodnight Mom (with apologies to Margaret Wise Brown)

In the messy green
family room
There was a telemarketer
ringing the telephone
And a crying toddler
because his brother
just popped his
red balloon
And a picture of --

The cow jumping over the moon
(which someone colored on
with permanent marker)
And there was a missing
teddy bear, and a girl with
gum in her hair

And one to be scolded
And laundry to be folded
And a very hungry spouse
And something stinky in the house
(that no one else seemed to smell)

And a comb and a brush and a colicky
baby who just won't shush
And a frazzled mommy screaming #*%#@

Goodnight messy room
Goodnight scribbled-on moon
Goodnight cow getting out while she can
Goodnight telemarketers and the
popped balloon

Goodnight long-gone teddy bear
Goodnight cereal bar smeared all
over the dining room chair

Goodnight spitup
And goodnight leaky sippy cup
Goodnight much-too-little house and
goodnight grumpy spouse
Goodnight comb and goodnight brush
And goodnight to a certain 4-year-old
who just needs to hush right now I mean it

Goodnight Elmo
Goodnight toys we'll pick up tomorrow,
or the next day
Hello chardonnay and TiVo--
"me" time finally - Sarah Jio

Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's

Hurry to your nearest Ben & Jerry's today between 12-8pm for a free cone! Delicious, sinful ice cream FREE!!!!! You can't beat that. Especially if it's a nice spring day where you live. And if it's not, a scoop of ice cream will make any day better! Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Strides for Success

Are you a runner, jogger, or walker? Do you enjoy helping women and children?

Come join us for the Strides for Success 5K & 1K Fun Run/Walk on Sunday, April 26th, 2009 at Fairfax Corner Shopping Center (11950 Grand Commons Avenue) in Fairfax, VA. This event is put on by the Junior League of Northern Virginia and proceeds go to benefit women and children in the Northern Virginia area through various outreach projects such as our Back to School Health Fairs, JamPacks (stuffing backpacks for kids who wouldn't have school supplies), shelter projects, and a partnership with the Children's Science Center, among many other things.

The event is lots of fun and features two separate races - a 5K and also a 1K Fun Run/Walk. Strollers are welcome in the 1K only but sorry, no dogs or headphones allowed. Last year, Olive and I did the 1K Fun Run and let me tell you, it was FUN!

Registration Information: 5K: $30 through April 20; after April 20 the fee is $35.
5K Children 10 and under - $15.00
1K Fun Run/Walk: $20.
Children 10 and under $15.

This year, I am much too big to participate so I'll be volunteering instead. This is a great event with lots of fun for the whole family. There is also a post-race brunch and a tent with children's events. The 5K starts at 9:00am, the 1K will start shortly thereafter, around 9:15am.

For more information, please visit where you can register.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Check out PIXIE BOWS!!!

My dear friends and colleagues (Holly & Sharon) have been working on their Pixie Bows business for quite some time. They finally have their new website up with their fresh new designs. Their styles are pretty much all that Olive wears and gets so many compliments on them. I'm really excited about their new line, with lots of new funky clips besides just pretty bows. I will soon be carrying them on Little Pink Pansy too so go visit them at Pixie Bows and post here which styles/colorways are your favorites so I can be sure to include them on the Little Pink Pansy site too!

They also have a blog that will keep you updated on their business and feature some great hair accessories. You can also follow them on Twitter.

Post a comment and let us know what you think!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spring Break

We are now officially on "Spring Break" from Olive's school. Since we did our big trip a couple of weeks ago, we are now taking it easy and just enjoying being home (and getting to see our teacher friends that we don't see too often!) Today we went to a fun concert of a local kids band - Rocknocerous. Olive is all talk when it comes to live music. She was so excited to go to the "concert" and showed me all the dance moves she was going to use when we got there. But, as is often the case, we arrived and even though there were about 5 or 6 of her friends there, she got shy. My child, SHY. Which is really funny if you know her - she's anything but shy, but for some reason she gets quiet in this large groups sometimes. Nonetheless, we had a great time, then enjoyed some spring break eats (chicken nuggets and ice cream) with friends and made a day of it.

If you haven't heard of Rocknocerous, check them out. Their music is catchy and fun and they do lots of local concerts in the DC area. They also have CDs for sale as well as other paraphenalia (you'd be surprised at the number of kids who show up to these things wearing their band t-shirts!). A good compromise for parents and kids alike!

Friday, April 3, 2009

When things go right...

Today we had some furniture delivered to our house. The delivery window was 10-1 so I figured that we'd probably be seeing the delivery guys around 1:30 or 2:00. Of course, today was a day with downpour rain and "severe thunderstorms" predicted. Olive and I hit the grocery store early to be back just in case they came on time (which I doubted). However, will wonders never cease...they were here and gone by 11:15 and in the brief time they were here, the rain stopped and there was even almost some sun! Not ten minutes after they left, the downpours returned.'s the little things that can make or break your day sometimes. Happy weekend!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Daily Life with Food Allergies

A year ago, I would have looked at this tantalizing picture of peanuts and licked my chops before I dug in. Now, all I see is poison and fear.

Olive has a peanut allergy. I had no idea what a different life you lead when you have to worry about every food you taste. Dennis and I both LOVE peanuts. Some of his favorites are peanut butter and Reese's Cups. Some of my favorites are boiled peanuts (a Southern delicacy) and my world-famous (ok, not really) peanut butter pie. When I was pregnant with Olive, I ate trail mix every day as it was one of the only things I could stomach. Now we have to avoid peanuts. But not just peanuts, all sorts of nuts and other things that do not contain nuts but were processed in the same facility as nuts. etc. etc. It's an exhausting process but one you learn to deal with.

Recently though, there have been a few occasions where it was not so easy. While in Florida, I sat down with my parents and went over everything about her allergy, showed them lists of things to avoid, taught them to use the Epi-Pen and the appropriate dosage of Benadryl, and what things were typically pretty safe. While they listened, their joking response was, "I'll just take her to McDonald's every day." Haha, except I'm not sure how joking they were. I want them to be comfortable feeding her if we're not around and I'll really need their help when Baby #2 comes and it won't be much help if Olive is running up to me every little while asking, "is this safe?" I know, people who don't have to worry about this on a daily basis don't get it (I surely didn't until I had to) but it's still frustrating.

On the way home from our trip, Olive and I were nestled in for a little snooze on the airplane when all of a sudden my nostrils were filled with the delicious scent of peanuts. WAIT! PEANUTS??? I thought all airlines quit serving peanuts on planes?!? I have not been on one flight since we found her allergy (about 6 months ago) that had peanuts! And I realized that the man sitting next to us had just finished his bag. I almost went into super panic mode. My blood pressure started rising and anxiety kicked in. Luckily, Olive slept through all of it, unscathed. She was not directly affected by the peanuts in the closed air but it made me worry about her exposure and was this adding toxins to her system (raising her IgE levels) so that her next reaction will be more severe and she will have more of it in her little body??

We arrive home and a couple of days later, I went to have a bite of my healthy chocolate (dark chocolate plums, a great antioxidant) that I've given to Olive several times. For some reason, I decided to look at the label again and almost dropped the bag on the floor. Right there on the bag it did claim that it might contain peanuts and tree nuts. OH NO!! However, it was not listed near the ingredients as it usually is so somehow in our other eatings of this, I had missed the warning. Again, panic attack.

So as you can if there aren't enough things for us to worry about as parents, food allergies are a frightening and constant worry. If there's a kid at school or coming to a playdate at your house etc., please be aware that these can be life-threatening and are a major concern to every parent who deals with it. Be sensitive to our seeming hypochondria as we are just doing our best to protect our precious children.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

little pink pansy on Facebook and Twitter

Now my business (Little Pink Pansy) has both a group and a page on Facebook. Find our page and "become a fan" for updates, discounts, and more!

We've also just started on Twitter so sign in and follow us @ littlepinkpansy!