I am so excited about #NoShameParenting. If you have been on Yahoo Parenting today, there are a plethora of articles covering all kinds of parenting decisions and styles. There is something for everyone there.

There have been times I have felt judged as a mom, and times I have judged others. My worst critic is probably myself, but if you ask my husband who his worst critic is… that’s probably me too. When I feel judged by others, my husband reminds me that not everything is about me. I can be quite imaginative when it comes to slights from others. Most people are just going about their day, and really don’t have time to consider you and your child/ren.

When I first feel the brunt of judgement, I try to consider if it’s just in my head. Considering how often I walk around with a scowl on my face, it is easy to imagine that scowl is directed at you. It isn’t. Concentration does that to my face, it crunches up, and my newly formed wrinkles, have given me a harsh look. I guess my youth serum is to become a little more vapid.

When people open their mouths, it becomes harder to imagine they aren’t directing their thoughts towards your woefully pitiful parenting choices. Like when I ran into the store to grab a gallon of milk and didn’t bother to put the baby’s shoes on. “Oh! What a cute baby! Aw, he doesn’t have any shoes!?”

Maybe that was just an innocent comment. Surely, that complete stranger in the store wasn’t meaning to pass judgement on me. My mother on the other hand was certainly passing judgement when she told me the baby looked “undernourished.”

Why? Why would me mother do that to me? Knowing that my child is exceedingly healthy, I still followed him around for weeks after that comment, trying to get him to take one more bite.

So I try to remember to be kind to myself and my husband, as parents. Starting there, it is easier to not judge so harshly when viewing other parents. Comment below about feeling judged or judging others.

Is My Toddler Drunk?

I really never thought I would have to Google “How to tell if your child is drunk.”  As a bit of background, I had my first taste of beer when I was three, as my dad thought it would be amusing to put his beer in my favorite Grover cup. Beer which happened to look exactly like my favorite drink at the time, ginger ale. When I had my first child, my mother told me stories of the women in Ireland opting for Guinness as their beverage of choice, you know, for the benefit of the extra iron (OMG, how did any of us survive to adulthood?). As it turns out, Guinness isn’t the best source of iron, and you shouldn’t give alcohol to your toddlers. So, why did I have to Google drunk toddlers?

Halloween haul.

An impressive Halloween haul for this ninja.

Children love candy. They love to get it. They love to hoard it. Mostly, they like to eat it. Just look at what will happen at the end of this month. We will spend loads of funds, that is really needed elsewhere, for a holiday hardly anyone understands anymore, so our children can go door-to-door and beg for free candy. You can’t really checkout at the supermarket without hearing the whine of a child desperate for that sweet stuff displayed right at child eye level. But what about things that look like candy, but aren’t? Or candies that are meant to be enjoyed by adults? Like chocolate liqueurs?

This is my tale of woe with candy laced with alcohol. My mother had brought home a Guinness milk chocolate bar from her recent trip to Ireland. I didn’t think much about it, and I didn’t really read the wrapper. But I really should have paid more attention to what my mother had given me. Last night my husband, snuggling the baby, said he smelled like Guinness. What!? How is that possible? We don’t even keep alcohol in the house. He had a bit of brown dribble on his chin and some chocolate on his hands. We quickly figured out, that he had found the chocolate bar, that I had opened a few days prior, and had helped himself to a pip or two of the Guinness flavored chocolate. So, my husband read the wrapper and it turns out the chocolate tastes like Guinness, because there is Guinness in it!


As I start to have this sinking feeling, getting scared now, I automatically state that good old standby “But the alcohol is cooked off, it’s not like he drank Guinness.” My husband continues to read, “This product contains alcohol <1%. Not suitable for children…” and finishes the dagger in my heart with “This product is intended for purchase and enjoyment by people of legal purchase age for alcohol beverages.”


Had I gotten our toddler drunk? I felt just awful, as I started to feverishly Google symptoms of drunk toddlers. I read off a list of things to notice in your child, “He will stumble and fall often.” Check. But he always does that. “He will put his head down and leave it there.” Oh my gosh, I do that when I’m tipsy! But it was his bedtime, and that’s how he normally signals that he’s ready to go lay down. “He will take your car keys, and swear he’s OK to drive.” Oh! What the heck! This is not a real checklist! It’s satire! I need real answers!

How could I have let this happen!? What was wrong with me? Why did I leave it where he could find it? I am a stickler for making sure things the baby shouldn’t have are far out of his reach. “We’ve got to take him to the hospital.” My husband was teasing me unmercifully about my mistake, enjoying being on the opposite end of one, could see I was visibly upset and decided to lay off me a bit, “He didn’t eat very much of it, let’s just watch him for a bit.” The baby stumbled over a toy and fell over, unknowingly feeding my worry.

To be clear, the baby ended up being fine. But that was definitely a lesson for me. In my mad Googling, I came across a story of a mother whose child had food allergies, and how one day, one time, she assumed the chocolate cookies had the same ingredients as the vanilla ones ended with not one but two E.R. visits and some scary experience with Epipens. I thought about how I took for granted the packages I brought into the house, barely reading them, if at all, to check that it’s not just all sugar and preservatives. I should really be paying closer attention to those nutrition labels. Maybe if I had, this wouldn’t have happened. If only, if only, if only…

Yeah, I didn’t get much sleep last night. The guilt ate me up and spit me out. So, why would I share this horribly embarrassing story with the world?

When I had my miscarriage a month ago, the support came at me, consistently and persistently. Even when I wasn’t ready to hear that it wasn’t my fault, everyone was certain to keep reassuring me. These things happen, sometimes. We don’t know why.

In a world where even the smallest parental missteps are broadcasted on social media for the entertainment of all, being a parent has never been tougher. When you aren’t nearly as perfect as you normally are, you would not want everyone in your social circle to take that one moment to judge you. So take a moment today to be kind to that mom or dad you see struggling a little bit. Maybe they aren’t a bad parent, but are in the throes of a bad moment. From now on, we are going to stick to Brookside Chocolate:

After eating some yummy Brookside chocolate covered cranberries.

After eating some yummy Brookside chocolate covered cranberries.

And be thankful that in your quest to become a supermom, you have never has to ask yourself, “Is my toddler drunk?”

… yet.

A Recipe from my Sister

My family just returned from a trip to Ireland. My sister, who is an amazing cook – especially when it comes to desserts, fell in love with some Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Bars she had in Ireland, and came home to figure out the recipe. This is what she came up with:



1 cup organic or regular creamy peanut butter, divided

3/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup sugar

2 cups graham cracker crumbs(or twelve 2 1/2 x 5 inch crackers)

½ a jar of Caramel ice cream topping.

½ package Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels


2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs (twelve 2 1/2 x 5 inch crackers)
1/4 c. sugar
3/4 stick butter

Melt butter. Blend in crumbs and sugar. Press into 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool before adding peanut butter caramel mix.


  1. Melt peanut butter and caramel in medium, saucepan over lowest possible heat, stirring constantly, until smooth. Spread over graham cracker crust in pan. Let cool before adding chocolate topping.
  2. Melt chocolate chips in and spread over peanut butter filling evenly.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until chocolate is firm, cut into bars.

Note: add more peanut butter or caramel to your taste.  The caramel topping sweetens the peanut butter but if you want more peanut butter taste, add another ¼ cup to the recipe.

Enjoy all!

Couch Cruising

As part of our weekend activities, the family went out this past weekend in search of our next couch.

I bought a love-seat when I purchased my home back in 2011, but the family has grown considerably since then. I got a really great deal on a clearance 3-piece set for $400. I thought I had struck gold. Now, movie night build up my guilt as my husband and I snuggle on the love-seat with the littlest one, and the older children find room on the floor. It bugs me that everyone can’t have a seat. It has to be a really great movie, for the kids to stay sitting on the floor. Most times they get up and saunter off to their room, and we all know why – no one wants to sit on the floor!

It is also uncomfortable when we have guests. After the baby was born last year, my mother and sister dropped by to see him. Of course, I let them sit, and I just ended up standing there, hovering. It was awkward.

So, this will be a great improvement to our living-room, our comfort, and our social life!

In the store, I felt lost. I really do not know much about buying furniture. My first apartment in college, my roommate had furniture, I just brought my bedroom set from my parents house. In the first house I rented, I had the futon from my parents basement as a couch, and a table that my landlord had in storage, that she was nice enough to let me use. We have all been there, in the beginning when you are getting old furniture for free, buying used furniture and filling your space with mismatched pieces.

Now, if it was a car, I’d know exactly what to look for, and even if I didn’t, do you know how many car buying guides are available online. You can get advice from anywhere. Furniture buying advice can be a little less useful. I searched for reclining sectionals and found a guide that explained that you had to ad a few inches to the size of the piece, to account for the reclined position. Thanks, that’s super helpful.

I had asked the salesman to put the name of the couch we were interested in on the back of his card, so I could look it up and do some couch research this week. He just wrote “Menwa” or perhaps that scribble is “Manwa” – either Google search turns up no information. I think he didn’t give me the name of the brand of furniture, but rather the style. This could be in error, not understanding what I was asking, but it could have been on purpose. If I had the brand name, would I learn terrible things about the piece, and learn it is not the couch for us?

It’s so important that we pick the right piece, as I plan on having it for a long time. My older sister lucked out and found a great couch at a discounted price, because someone had custom ordered it and then never picked it up from the store. We all laughed at her and her huge couch, but the laughter has died down over the years, as the couch is now 18 years old and still is going strong.

Now, I know what you are thinking, “Didn’t she just post about being in debt?” Yes, I did. We did not buy anything this weekend, as I not only want to do some research, but also, we will be saving up to pay cash.

So look for future posts about furniture shopping and resources to find the right piece for your space.