You know the drill…a post full of random bits of things that don’t go together.


I’m really happy that all of my tulips from Aldi came up.


I am not happy that the surround-the-bulbs-with-crushed-glass trick failed to deter the voles, and that all of the tulips except for those in pots are now dead.

At least I took a picture before they were eaten.


I’ve been thinking about how grateful I am for the grace my kids show me. Sometimes, I have a really hard time seeing anything but my mothering faults, but the four cards I got on Mother’s Day all said very lovely things, which I think were quite sincere.


I know good and well that I am not the world’s best mom, but I’m glad my kids somehow see me that way!

I can’t manage to save every cute/hilarious paper thing my kids produce, so sometimes I just take a photo and then recycle the item. Saves space and costs nothing!

I liked this exchange between Sonia and Zoe because of the juxtaposition of colloquial and formal language.


They’ve been writing fortunes (like you’d get in fortune cookies), and I’m hoping this one was meant for me.


(I think the other one says, “You will have a good time at the pool.”)


On the food waste front, I recently rescued some wrinkly potatoes by making a half recipe of scalloped potatoes.


And when we had many bananas ripen all at once, I did a little preemptive food waste fighting by cutting them into chunks and topping them with peanut butter. My kids love this and they can down a lot of bananas this way.


I could have let them go until they were overripe and then made banana bread or banana chocolate chip muffins, but this was significantly easier. And faster.


You know I’m a big fan of hand-me-downs.

Well, I saved all of my very-loved childhood dolls, thinking that one day my then-hypothetical children would play with them. How fun to hand down your toys to your children, right?

Given that I have three girls, you’d have thought my dolls would be very popular. But somehow, none of the girls have been interested in playing with dolls.

Last week, though, Sonia and Zoe got inspired, and so my Fisher Price My Friend dolls have gotten some love.


I suppose these are considered to be vintage by now.


Oh, man. I just looked it up on eBay, and yep, everyone’s calling them vintage. Dear me.

At any rate, I’m glad my beloved (vintage) dolls are being played with.


Signs of a good meal to come (in my opinion): Chopped onions and cilantro.



  1. says

    I love the notes! It always tickles me pink when Little Ones come out with phrases like ‘it shall be granted’! My four year old has taken to saying ‘meanwhile’; for example “could you get me something to drink; meanwhile, I will be in my room” … silly, but it cracks me up every. Single. Time!

  2. says

    My daughters played with my old Barbies for several years. It was fun to share those things with them, and brought back a lot of memories for me. My mom had sewn many of my Barbie clothes. You used to be able to buy Barbie sewing patterns at the fabric store. I wonder if you still can?

    Ripe bananas — perhaps not quite as healthy, but we split them open, add chocolate chips and mini marshmallows, wrap in foil and bake — banana boats!

  3. Stacy Williams says

    I still have my Fisher Price Mandy and Jenny dolls and my girls play with them every day! How neat to see them on your blog!

  4. Tina Ray says

    I had some left over pork loin that needed to get used up (I froze too many chops at one time) and I refuse to waste pork loin. I was trying a taco casserole recipe that I have. I cut the chops into chunks and put them in my food processor then prepared the pork like you would your hamburger meat for tacos. Yummy!

    Kristen..on a randome thought…My shutters on my house were really sun faded and really looked…shall we say tired? I had thought about replacing them but the cost was scary. I bought some 2X Rustoleum and gave them a good spray. They look fabulous. The before and after pics are great. The cost of the paint was certainly better than the cost of new shutters and now I have the spray paint bug!

    • Kristen says

      It is addicting, isn’t it? Suddenly you’re looking around everywhere for the next thing you can paint!

    • Emily says

      We spray painted our shutters too–very easy to do, and you couldn’t tell they’d been done by hand. Painting our front door was a different matter–and a very different result.

  5. Karen says

    Saving your pictures (scan, computer) is a great idea. I would only add that sometimes you save a few to the cloud. Computers can die, and take your photos with them if they are not backed up regularly.

  6. says

    You’re right Kristen, you are not the Worlds Best Mom – because that would be my Mother! But I’d put you right up there in the Top Ten.

  7. Barbara says

    For gardening tips, contact your local Virginia Cooperative Extension Office. They, or their affiliated Master Gardeners, can make appropriate recommendations for deer repellent products or practices. Master Gardeners in Henrico County, VA are developing a teaching garden using deer resistant plants. The Extension Offices are a great resource for not only gardening, but family and consumer sciences, nutrition, and 4H. Good info and very frugal – their services and intended to provide information for free! The information is relevant to your particular area and science-based.

  8. El says

    Had to chuckle about the dolls – I had found one at a rummage sale last year and it brought back such great memories I had to pick it up – and the next week I found a sewing pattern for clothes for the same line of dolls at a thrift store!

  9. Susan says

    I feel bad for your poor tulips! My husband told me to give up on a garden because everything I plant gets eaten by gophers, rabbits and deer. This year, I planted strawberries and lettuce in pots (covered with bird netting.) So far, they are doing well in pots. My fenced in garden has stubs from cucumbers that were eaten as well as green pepper stalks. So far, my tomatoes are blooming (but no actual tomatoes yet) and I have small zucchinis. Last year, the tomatoes didn’t get attacked until they started to ripen. I have the plants covered with bird netting but that didn’t work last year. I’m not positive but rabbits or gophers got underneath the netting. Any suggestions? I’m determined to harvest some tomatoes this year!!!!

    • Rebecca says

      Rabbits generally can be kept out with a 4 ft fence that is burried 1 ft into the soil. With gophers the best thing I have found is to dig out your garden space 2 ft down and lay chicken wire under the garden and attach your fencing to it, so they can’t burrow under it, or have raised beds sitting off the lawn.

      Deer are a whole other story. We don’t deal with them but my grandmother has been gardening in northern WI for 50 yrs and the only thing that keeps them out is a 10 ft fence. Yep, 10 ft. My grandfather built a permanent fence around the garden with a door for her to keep them out.

  10. Candace says

    I just wanted to say that I often end up with more bananas than I can use at one time, so I freeze the ones that are in danger of going bad to use later in smoothies. When I’m ready to use them, I run them under warm water until the peel softens, then I unpeel them, chop them up, and put them in the blender with the other ingredients.

  11. Ruth says

    I also passed My Friend Mandy on to my daughter, mostly as an experiment to see if we should ever invest in an American Girl doll. (We found we should not!) She plays with her sometimes, though, and the doll clothes that come with some of the girls’ clothes from Kohl’s fit Mandy pretty well. (Not the most frugal idea, but fun for this non-seamstress.)

  12. says

    My daughter recently asked if every kid thinks their mom is the “World’s Best”. I said, in an ideal world, yes, but sadly that is not always the case. Every kid with the “World’s Best Mom” is very lucky.

    Beautiful tulip photo! I am going to go check your muffin recipe.

    • Emily says

      You might try adding bloodmeal to your soil when planting. I’ve used it on the surface of the soil to keep critters away–one application lasts all year here–it’s good for the plants, too. I haven’t had to deal with voles; you might need to mix the bloodmeal with the soil down at the levels where the voles burrow.

  13. Darlene K. says

    I saved my daughter’s (now 41) Mandy and Jenny dolls and all the clothes that I made for them and gave them to my granddaughter. While she has her American Girl dolls, the old ones are her favorite. I didn’t sew very well but those 70’s style clothes have held up pretty darn good and she thinks that they are wonderful.

  14. Barb says

    I haven’t tried it myself, but I have read that putting hair down the voles hole will make them re-route elsewhere and not into your garden! After you cut one of your kids hair, maybe try sticking some down there. It’s free, so worth a try!

  15. Reese says

    So I was imagining a vole to be some sort of badger/possum mixture of a creature on a small scale. THEY ARE SO CUTE. Sort of like a small furry mouse. With fangs. And claws. I’m sorry they’re eating your flowers, but least it’s not a possum problem? :)

  16. Linda H. says

    My Friend Mandy!! I treasured that doll when I was little. I can even remember that vinyl-like smell she had.

    • Kristen says

      Yep! I have two of those and I have a Mikey doll as well. My sister had the Becky doll and my friend had Jenny. So, we had all the bases covered!

  17. Mary says

    We applied Milky Spore to our yard & it is now mole/vole free! This stuff expands every year & one application is good for around 15 yrs. This was recommended by our local nursery. It was a bit expensive up front, but was worth it!

  18. Jessica says

    I understand the passing down problems of dolls. I had Samantha, the America Girl doll from my childhood in the box, kept neatly, that I gave to my daughter. You know a couple of weeks later, they retired her. *sigh*

  19. says

    Kristin, this is my first time to find your site and I am thrilled. The people posting to you are AWESOME! I am not a young mother, nor homeowner but I do have friends and family who are. The tips and suggestions here are so worth passing on. To think I came here for a recipe and got so much more than I bargained for. I’m 65 yrs. young, living in an apartment and caring for my mother (now 84) who suffered a stroke and lost her speech. I never cared much about cooking and baking but now, even though my mother is a picky eater, I just love trying new recipes. Thanks!

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