6 Excuses You Won’t Be Using Anymore


To see or dream about Hawaii symbolizes relaxation and leisure. You are trying to escape from your daily problems.”


Last night I had a dream that I was swimming in crystal clear, warm waters on a beach in Hawaii.  

I remember floating in the water, riding down small waves, watching a pod of orcas swim merrily past, walking on soft, warm, white sand…it was glorious.

Everything was clean. We weren’t purging stuff in our house.  The heater wasn’t broken.  I am not thinking about broken furniture. I wasn’t trying to figure out how to re-home a piano, or a train table.  I wasn’t thinking about trying to re-home a puppy.  Christmas wasn’t around the corner…

Can I just say that anyone who tells me that getting rid of stuff is so easy can go jump off a cliff?

I have tried Freecycle, Craigslist, Facebook, homeschooling groups and word of mouth. The only emails I am getting (and I have gotten a few) are people telling me they can’t take it.

Why exactly send me an email saying you can’t take it?  How does this help anything?


I know, I know…


During seasons of frustrations, it can be easy to fall into a season of excuses.

Here are excuses I don’t want to hear, from me or anybody else:

  • “You have no idea how hard I have it.” –This just reeks of narcissism and self-importance, which doesn’t help anybody else but your ego.
  • “It’s not personal.”  –I bet it’s personal to somebody. Maybe not you because you are a robot?
  • ‘STRESSED? You don’t know what REAL stress is!’ –I have a feeling we all do, and claiming your stress is more stressful may or may not make the entire situation more stressed.  
  • “I can’t”. –You can’t fly. That’s about it.
  • “I’m busy” –I reject this statement at the gate. It is irrelevant to any conversation, and is purely an excuse. I have to hold back every passive-aggressive retort with my entire being when I hear this.
  • “I don’t know.” –Find Google. Type it in. Educate yourself.  Done.


There ya go…6 excuses you won’t be using anymore!

Now go enjoy coffee with a candy cane straw. You’ll feel better.


Parentology During The Holidays: Holiday Foods. Nailed It.

Those who know me…I mean, really know me…know that I suck at baking.

I don’t know what happens in my normally useful kitchen and competent brain when I start baking.  Everything just unmercifully falls apart.

Normally, I am a great cook.  I mean, heck, my first blog was for my recipes at Tamarah.org

Screenshot 2014-12-10 11.28.30

Come for the gluten free kids’ recipes, stay for the “20 Shades of Quinoa“!

Honestly, I just started that blog because I kept losing recipes I liked, and I was sick of the struggle.  I was tired of misplacing recipes, or forgetting which book they were in.  A blog has them all in one place!  BooYa!!

Now, I am no PioneerWoman BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION.  I try to organize the food so it looks nice in the photos, but I have crappy lighting and one or two really nice plates (for the most part).  So I don’t take Tamarah.org very seriously – it’s just for me, and if anyone is interested in the recipes, that’s totally cool.

So I feel pretty free to declare that I am not in the Competitive Food Business.

The holidays are competitive enough as it is: why would you go out of your way to make it harder??

Like these people.  Thanks guys.

1) Make An Olaf Pancake!

Are you kidding me.  An olaf pancake.  I’m happy if they are round.  End of pancake.


2) Make A Gourmet Christmas Cake!


9776Christmas_Cake561credit…because this is not my cake.

 Cakes are not my strong point.

Cooking?  Yes.  Baking?  No.

I know I’m showing my hand here, but case in point…this was the last cake I made:

Screenshot 2014-12-10 09.23.19

The way a good friend of mine put it: “It looks like a boob.”

I wouldn’t say that about the cake, myself. The baker though…very much, after this mess.

(The problem is I ran out of eggs and used egg replacer instead, and it fell apart.  And some other problems. Like gravity.)

3. Gingerbread Houses.





gingerbread-optimus-primeOh come on!

I’m sure I have some resentment that my architectural skillz consist of getting 2 pieces of graham crackers to stand up at all…but honestly. If I got my house to even look remotely like this box, it would be monumental:


4) Appetizers.

11047af368332ac27090f5807da69421How is that going to stay up…?


a65f854d16bb3ffaccf400fcec379675I kind of like this idea…

5) If you don’t have a “Nailed It” moment this Christmas, you just aren’t trying hard enough.

Listen, some people love to bake. Some people actually know what they are doing (and aren’t completely impatient) with crafts.

But if you haven’t “Nailed It” at least once, you just aren’t living life to its fullest.

With the biggest flops come the largest laughs…and laughter is the reason for the season, amiright?

Pintrosity. For the rest of us.


Parentology During the Holidays: Santa.

When I first began my Parentology journey, I thought Santa would be…fun.

remote_image_1328529590Not that kind of fun.


Why wouldn’t it be?  You start on Christmas Eve when the family shares hot cocoa in front of a fire with the kids, as you read “The Night Before Christmas” together.  Once you are done, the children rush off to bed believing that Santa will traipse gingerly down the chimney to deliver hand-crafted gifts for very good little girls and boys in the middle of the night.

Come the brink of dawn, those bleary-eyed children will rustle you out of bed with shouts of squealing joy; and over a comforting cup of black coffee you get to watch your children marvel at the vision of brightly colored boxes on Christmas morning, excitedly scurrying in their new pajamas, finding the boxes with their names.

That’s how I thought it would happen.  It isn’t that ridiculous of an expectation, I don’t think.


What really happened was that my kids didn’t believe in Santa.  For years.

vintage_christmas_victorian_santa_claus_chimney_postcard-rf8a989e16ed94613b4d482e5ffb5d8a7_vgbaq_8byvr_512What a nice old man, sneaking into our home at night while we sleep!


Because it goes against everything we have taught them about strangers and making sure the house is locked at night to make sure robbers can’t get in (we have break-ins and house-robbery trouble in our town).

The idea that we would allow this guy named “Santa,” who we don’t actually know and isn’t family, to come into our house, while we were sleeping, and no one is concerned about this…made no sense to the kids, and they just didn’t buy it.

At all.

Because this is what they heard:


“Firefighters struggle to rescue trapped man in chimney in late-night burglary attempt.”

 So, on the plus side we still have our Christmas Eve traditions.  We do read “The Night Before Christmas” in front of a fire together.  We still leave the tree empty that night, and when we are absolutely sure the kids are sleeping, for serious, we fill it with the brightly colored presents, one of which is from this mysterious Santa person, that we have lovingly wrapped and wait for them to wake up in the morning and fill the house with only the joy a happy child can bring.

I don’t have a problem with introducing my kids to the mystery of Santa.  I think it is a fun tradition for kids, and it is certainly more fun now, as parents.  Naturally, we spin the Santa-thing a little more and not only give the children a gift from Santa, but also from Elvis, The President of the United States, Bugs Bunny, Mr. T…and whoever else we can think of.  The names are associated with the gift, so if it is a music CD, it is from Elvis; if it is a packet of tea seeds for a garden, it is from Mr. T; and so on.

Maybe the idea of Santa sneaking into the house was never fun, but our hand-crafted Christmas mornings have always been fun.

I don’t think Christmas traditions have ever really been set in stone, and they tend to change as times change.  So even though we don’t have the Norman Rockwell Christmas I expected when we first started Parentology, I think our dynamic traditions definitely fit our family the best.

And that kind of is the whole point of Christmas morning.

The Reason For the…Grinch

I am not a Christmas person.

 Play it again, Charlie.

I know, I know. It’s the reason for the season. The magic of the season.  Bringing out the Christmas cheer.  I don’t know, I’m sure there’s more platitudes out there, but I can’t think of any off the top of my head.




From a mom’s point of view, it is just a month of madness.

1/12th of the year is devoted to Christmas.  Christmas shopping. Christmas parties. Christmas snack lists. Christmas outfits. Christmas plays about how Christmas should be about Christmas.  No more running into a store without being blasted with glittered sleds hanging from the ceiling, and endless singing about the simpler days in life.  We are also inundated with crafts, decorations and DIYing.  If you have toilet paper rolls and tempra paint, you’re good to go.

Let me sum up Pinterest right now:

pinterestchristmasI think I’m sweating Mod Podge.


I know some people (see: most people) love Christmas.  They are the ones who stop the presses once Elf comes on and feel joy…honest to goodness joy in their souls to hang mistletoe above their doorways.

real mistletoeNo touchy.

I know this sounds like the Grinchiest of perspectives, but I assure you I am not a Grinchy person.  For the most part.  I just hate the whole month being devoted to false hopes and busy schedules and crazy aspriations for parents to provide the most idyllic holiday for their families (which seems to add up to 1/12th of the budget for the entire year).  I struggle with birthday cakes, alone.  I am not going to nail Christmas celebrations, decorations or invitations.

I’ll give you a turkey, thoughtful gifts, craft beer, a fire and stunning conversation.           That’s all I got, bub.

It is December 1st and already I am feeling the overwhelming commercialism of the season.  It is stifling, and I can barely think above the clatter of sleigh bells.


So I have decided this :

This is not going to be my December.


I will be doing crafts with my kids this month, because I love doing crafts with my kids.  We will be drinking apple cider with candy canes soaking in our cups, because I am a sucker for hot cider.  The kids have already begun to sing carols in the car, which is totally fine by me. I have a cart on Amazon ready to ship, filled with Christmas gifts I know my family will truly enjoy.

However, I am not going to go insane.  I am not going out of my way to find the Christmas experience.  I am actually going to limit the Christmas movies.  A Barbie Christmas Story?  No.  Christmas in Connecticut with Barbara Stanwyck?  An overwhelming yes.

My mantra for this season has to be honest to myself.  I just don’t get into a lot of Christmas stuff…but I love taking my kids around SanFrancisco and showing them the decorations and ice skating in Union Square.  I may not like decorating my house…but I love watching the kids go nuts stringing garlands and hanging ornaments.  Christmas may not be my time of year…but I love spending time with my family, and we can do Christmasy stuff together and I will love that.



So, here is my mantra this Season:


Even one ornament too many can bring you to your knees.


But if you focus on the people, and not what is on the tree… maybe it won’t be so bad.