Recipe For The Past 10 Days

I can’t…….I just can’t…even …write…full sentence today. Flight to England tomorrow, last day of school. Ugggghhhhh.


6 school events attended
1 last volunteering stint
1 pair of sandals destroyed at the kindergarten picnic
5 library books returned ON TIME!!
2 summer reading programs joined
2 pediatrician visits
3 dentist visits (one particularly painful!)
1 x-ray (thanks for the scare, pediatrician)
1  hair cut for one very wriggly child
1 final printing experiment for camp
1 Etsy order. Remember I said that someone always puts in an order the day before I go on vacation? Told you so.
5 huge bags of artwork, math assignments, and miscellaneous papers brought home from school.
4.5 huge bags of artwork, math assignments, and miscellaneous papers recycled
1 giant cleaning spree, which looks like it never happened!
1 disgusting chocolatey surprise found out the bottom of a backpack being cleaned out for travel.
6 loads of laundry done
4 suitcases open on my bedroom floor being filled
1 trip to Barnes and Noble for the kids to spend birthday money on travel games, crossword books and novels.
2 birthday parties that were too important to be missed
1 father’s day picnic
1 head injury (the six year old tried to jump from the sofa to a folding table, sigh)
1 emergency visit to the doctor.
4 meltdowns, one mine.
3 Winter festivals applied to
2 large orders of t-shirts for printing, and a very tired credit card.
1 expired credit card
1000 bills paid (well it feels that way)
1 coffee habit started. Seriously, this is the year I finally started drinking coffee!
2 big shopping sprees for my parents
2 surprise gifts left on my doorstep by a sweet neighbor, who sees me looking more and more frazzled by the day.
28 walks to the school bus stop
4 Zumba classes missed
1 big zit on my cheek (nice timing, mate)
1 rushed pedicure with a sympathetic friend
1 taxi to be ordered
1 sense of humor unbelieveably still more or less intact


Combine all ingredients roughly in a medium sized family home, bake with scorching Virginian sun for ten days, then drizzle with a bottle of wine. Leave to rest for seven hours at a high altitude before enjoying.

Chaotic Etsy packing
Rushed printing experiment
I will always have time to volunteer at the school
Can’t wait!

Time For a break…Almost


In 9.5 days I will be on holiday- this has been my mantra all day (friends in the USA, try as I might, I still can’t get used to saying vacation). I have been using this mantra to self soothe. I’m mentally tired, and sore from standing upright for 8+ hours at each of those fairs. I’m slightly sunburnt, I’ve just been to the dentist, and my mouth feels like a swarm of bees has attacked it. It’s time for a break…Almost.

First I need to do the following:

Grace some of the 50-odd events, that both of my kids’ schools have arranged for parents to attend as part of the end-of-school-year mania. Is it me, or are there more every year?

Get my screens ready for the big Fall/Winter print session, order all my onesies and hire an assistant, because September is a sneaky bugger, and I want to be on my toes when it jumps out at me.

Ideas for Fall/Winter screens

Let everyone know that I am going on holiday (this post is part of that effort), because interestingly, I always get a big rush of Etsy orders, only when I land on foreign soil. Why??

Shop/pack at some point. I always put packing off until the last moment, because I actually am really, freaking good at it, like some kind of  Samsonite-superhero. Shopping, on the other hand…ugggghhh. I have a list of things that my parents need from the US that requires me to frequent places such as Costco (shudder), and the pharmaceutical section of Target (a labyrinthine cruciatus) with a fearless heart and the look of grim resignation pasted on my face. I know, this is really interesting, right?

Return library books, put Summer Camp books on hold, buy teachers’ gifts, organize my summer camp enrollment folder, try out a new printing technique for the camps, do my post-fair banking, go to the dentist once more, make sure my kids eat, do something awesome for my long-suffering spouse on Father’s Day, do the laundry about eight times, and then…..


I’m off to England (and France!!) to see my lovely parents and be parented once again (sigh). This July I turn forty years old, and I am so ready to celebrate. Bring on the Pimms, good chocolate, croissants, sarcasm, old friends, picnics, nostalgia, crazy weather and lounging. London, I miss you, I even caught myself getting blurry eyed and nostalgic over an old episode of Rainbow on YouTube last night (look it up).

If I’m super productive, I may even get one more post in before I leave, wonders may never cease (but don’t hold your breath). Here’s to holidays and vacations!

Airport excitement
My choice of guidebooks!


The Happiness List

Right, I know that I’ve been a bit of a moaning Myrtle lately. The last two weeks of school/last two weeks of planning for my camps/ordering materials/getting ready to print for Fall/sewing things up totally before I leave for England, have meant that I have been so preoccupied that I have barely cracked a grin lately. But, as hectic as things are, life isn’t too bad, and I actually function better when I’m busy, idle hands…devils work etc, you know the saying.

I thought that for this post I would focus on the things that have been making me happy (on the inside, I know my outside looks tired and grumpy!) over the past few weeks.

1.Planning my Vacation
Was it Thomas Wolfe who said “You can’t go home again”? Well he was wrong. I can, and I will. Despite being very happy in the US, I miss London so much sometimes, that I feel a physical ache for it. I’m ridiculously excited to share my beautiful city with my husband and kids. Even though it has sort of become a second home for my kids, and they have their own favorite things to do in London, I can’t wait to take them to the museums, and parks, and show them places that mean so much to me. I can’t wait to be able to get a decent cup of tea, and go shopping in Marks and Spencers, and say things like “you’re bloody having me on!” without getting strange stares. I can’t wait to take the bus or tube everywhere, to see pavements on every street and, of course, I can’t wait to see my parents again.

Neals Yard, London

2.Turning 40
Yup. This is the year I join the big leagues. Forty has always seemed like a good age to be for me. People always seem so much better, so much, for want of a better word, much-er,  (thanks Mad Hatter) after they turn forty. I’m waiting for a shed load of wisdom and muchness to hit me anytime soon. I’m ready for it. Already, just the thought of turning forty has made me approach life in a whole different, more daring way, and the year has been better for it. To celebrate this most momentous birthday, I’m spending a few days in Paris, flaunting my fine, almost-forty self. I shall sit outside cafes filling my arteries with liquid chocolate and eating croissants, and soak in the lovely muchness of it all (with my family beside me, of course).

3.Escapism: Okay, you’ve heard me say this before, but books are the mostest of the most when it comes to keeping this lady content. Having a good book to tuck into, an alternative world to retreat into now and then, actually helps me to be more chilled out and pleasant in the real world. Whenever I can’t go anywhere, and am stuck in the same surroundings for too long, I do my traveling through books.Over the past few weeks I have been immersed in All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doering, and The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, both of which I strongly recommend to lovers of good, meaty fiction. I’m currently reading NW by Zadie Smith, also a great read, and The Penderwicks series which, although it is a children’s series, is comfort reading that reminds me of Jane Austen  (sorry, I’m no good at book reviews, I always worry that  I’d be diminishing the book if I wrote too much about it).

More book recommendations!

4.Time travel: I have been connecting with many old friends lately. I visited an old work place and met colleagues and friends whose company I have missed sorely. Working from home, can make you forget how many kindred souls you really have in your life, it’s good to have a reminder from time to time. Soon, I’ll see even older friends when I visit London. I’m guessing embarrassing memories will be dug up along with the good ones, but It will still be wonderful. Note to self: no man is an island.

Indulging my inner child: Like any other mom I have my moments of ‘Leave me alone! Why are you taking so long to do everything? Why is my house always a mess! Aarrgh!!!! 
But, most of the time I love hanging out with my kids. Part of this is because I still like doing things that I did when I was a kid. My somewhat stunted maturity makes me an excellent playmate for my kids when there is no better option around. Here are some things I have done over the past week that have given me more pleasure than I should really admit to: riding a scooter really fast down a hill, then panicking and dive bombing into a bush; almost destroying my house with nerf guns; building ice cream sundaes with as many colors as possible, because everything should be rainbow colored; watching Zootopia, REALLY enjoying it, and then quoting parts of the dialogue with my daughter over and over again;  speaking in a fake Russian accent for a whole day. I can hear my husband’s exasperated sighs right now. Worry not, this won’t last long. I’m turning forty soon, apparently wisdom, inner calm and maturity are winding their way towards me even as I type this.

Drinking from public fountains? YES!

Working for Free
Like many of you, I too like to earn money.It is shiny and pretty, and it helps you buy cool things such as food, clothes, and the latest sparkly Gellyroll marker set at my local art store. However, I do often volunteer my time as well, and this makes me feel a different kind of happy. Recently, I helped teach a workshop on graphic design at a friend’s school, I set up a sixties themed art night at my son’s school, and I helped a neighbor make props for a eighties themed school event. Also, I work out with a bunch of 5-7 year olds at a PE club every Wednesday morning, it keeps them laughing; and this week I am going to help my daughter’s class learn about fashion in the fifties (nostalgia seems to be a thing this year!).
I’ll never forget that it was volunteering in schools that actually led me to becoming a teacher in the first place. The great thing about volunteering is that it can lead to unexpected inspiration, and a great deal of learning (those PE sessions gave me a lot of ideas for my summer camps, and the graphic design workshop forced me to get better at making slideshow presentations). Also, you meet some lovely people, and do good things. You can’t go wrong.

Volunteering at schools – Sixties Art Night
Volunteering at schools – Sixties Art Night
Volunteering at schools – Sixties Art Night
Project for a friend

This list could keep going, but I realize how much I have spewed out. I’ll save the rest for another post. Later, friends!