I am putting together a cookbook for my family that celebrates all the recipes that we have grown up with. I come from a long line of really fantastic cooks and bakers and I decided that there are recipes that we were in danger of losing. One that we almost lost is this recipe for … More Gold Cake
The house that we all lived in had a Target store in the backyard and was within a 2 minute walk to a BART station. Actually, the BART tracks and bike path were between us and the Target. We used the bike path pretty much all the time. We’d often cross over the bike path … More Berkeley Chronicles Episode #9: Neighborhood Watch
The move has happened!! It was weeks of taking small loads in our minivan and then a long and hard 4 days of “real” moving with a moving truck (and a few very excellent friends), but we managed to clear out our rental house and move to our new home. Our house looks like Boxlandia … More Transforming the House into Our Home (with Chandelier Update!)
OMG, people! It’s official! We can finally move into our house!! I’m going to hyperventilate and faint. The previous owners have just moved out and as of this week we can start bringing boxes into the house. And boy! do we have boxes! We didn’t bother to unpack most – at least I hope it’s … More The Move has Begun!
This is part of a two piece series I did for a Positive Parenting Conference. It is FREE from May 22nd until May 26th. All the speakers are amazing and have really learned a lot about how to help my children become successful, happy, and intelligent adults. It is well worth your time. 10 Simple … More 10 Simple Tools from Parenting and Psychology Experts that will Make You a Better Parent
After Kristi had fled from various responsibilities and lies and we’d kicked out Goth Boy we needed another roommate. As it turns out Sarah Beth had one for us. Before she had lived in Berkeley and become a professional caffeine pusher, Sarah Beth lived in San Diego with her boyfriend Fitz. Theirs was a highly … More Berkeley Episode 8: F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Crack Pixie
One of my latest gigs was to help out Sumitha Bhandarkar, the editor of AFineParent.com summarize some interview she did. These weren’t just any interviews. These were interview with experts in the parenting field: Psychologists, Parentologists, Therapists, and Counselors. The talks were about everything from bullying to emotional intelligence to getting cooperation to how the … More 6 Simple Perspective Shifts that Will Transform Your Parenting
Things are crazy here. Spring break was a disaster. We were supposed to fly back to Iowa and Minnesota and got caught in that whole Delta Flight-Canceling Fiesta that was going on. We were there. Ready to go. Bag checked. Mickey-D’s food choked down. And then …. Flight canceled. We were alerted to this fact … More OY! My LIFE!
We have 7 weeks before we can even begin to move into our new house. And that, I guess, is sort of odd. I guess that people usually buy a house and move right in. That has never been our experience. In our first house the owners needed a rent back for 2 or 3 … More Let’s Play a Game! Which Chandelier?? UPDATE – New Contestant!
I am always on the lookout for a new spring/summer dessert recipe. Something that can go to a picnic or other event to be shared by friends. Something that is different than a cobbler or crisp or a fluff and more than simply plopping down ice cream bars or fruit pops. (Although I wouldn’t snub … More Blackberry Custard Bars
As you may recall, we had put an offer on a house and had it accepted. It was like my boyfriend and I deciding to go steady. Well, today we got engaged! I know, I know. We actually bought the house so shouldn’t it be the wedding? I’m waiting to declare nuptuals until after we … More Oh My Actual God! We Bought A House!
One of the best things Kristi ever did was to rid us of our aspiring singer. He was bloody awful. Like listening to a herd of cats fighting with an amorous water buffalo. Singing was all he did all day long. He sang while he made his food. He sang in the shower. He sang … More Berkeley Episode 7: Goth Boy and the Peach
I’m obsessing. Just totally obsessing about our new house. Poor Mark. I am becoming such a pest about it! The first thing we need is a new chandelier for the dining room. So I’m scouring Lamps Plus for some ideas and presenting said ideas to Mark. Every night. But then in a weird twist of … More I am (becoming) a pest!
I love cookies. I love mixing them, baking them, eating them, and giving them away. They are the perfect size for an indulgent snack or for a light dessert. Chocolate Crinkles are one of my kids’ favorite cookies to eat. They are wonderfully chocolaty with a crunchy outside and chewy inside. They are such a … More Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
One year ago this week we were skiing in Kandersteg as a part of a typical day in our Swiss lives. Now we are almost 8 months into our lives back on the east coast of the United States. And it seems we are likely to remain here. Because we’re buying a house. We originally … More House Hunters: Maryland Edition
The winter holidays are filled with traditions. Growing up a lot of those traditions included food. Tons of food. And when I say “food” I mean “dessert.” Cookies specifically. Sugar cookies, thumbprints, peanut butter stars, chocolate covered pretzels, pecan tassies, chocolate drops, chocolate crinkles, candy cane cookies, and – a huge favorite – Russian tea … More Russian Tea Cakes
The Berkeley of my twenties was an era of experimentation. My experimentation was pretty tame, though, and limited to food, sex, and pot. (They didn’t call me White Bread for nothing.) I wasn’t even much of a smoker. Back in college I had made an attempt at coolness that ended after a case of strep … More Berkeley Episode 6: Dance of the Sugar Plum Ecstasy Fairies
I wrote this shortly after we’d arrived back to the US from Switzerland. Being here I realized how much parenting in the US is driven by fear. Fear of what could happen. Fear of what will happen. So I wrote How to Parent Bravely in a Culture of Fear. I hope it resonates with you, … More Parenting Bravely
I can’t believe it, but we’ve been back for 6 months. In a lot of ways it seems like we just left. In other ways it seems like we’ve been here forever. Life is filled with the mundane right now. The boys need to go to school. The laundry needs to washed, folded, and put … More 6 Months Back
So I WON!! I am a Kick Ass Woman! Thank you for voting for me. It actually means more than I thought it would. I’m really glad my writing is something you are enjoying. I’ll keep it up! xoxo
Quite a few years ago (so long ago it hurts to remember) I lived in Berkeley where everyone does yoga, experiments with veganism, and takes quick jaunts up to Napa for a bottle of wine that will go with dinner. My coworkers and I were constantly sharing recipes back and forth. One that I still … More Healthy Carrot Soup
As I wrote before, I have a few New Year’s goals. One I was saving to write about was building a deeper connection with my children. I’ve found that since we’ve moved back to America I am going about a thousand miles an hour and often the boys are left behind. Here are some ways … More 100 Ways to Connect with your Children
So remember the Kick-Ass Woman Award that I am nominated for? Well, the poll software messed up and the votes didn’t get tallied correctly. Please go and vote again! Click on this link! Scroll to the bottom and you can see a new poll there. Please vote! I would love to actually win! 🙂 Kick-Ass … More Kick Ass Woman Award – Re-Vote Please
It’s a new year, people. The dumpster fire that was 2016 is over and we stand basking in the shiny new-ness and promise that is 2017. I, for one, am full of the relief and hope that only a new beginning can bring. 2016 wasn’t all bad, though, and before I move on I want … More Thank God It’s 2017
Guys! I’ve been nominated for a Kick Ass Women Award by SynDolly. The award serves to acknowledge the work of small-time, non-professional women bloggers like myself. “It’s about supporting women who make us smile, laugh, cry, think, feel.” I am incredibly flattered and I find myself in good company. My 4 co-finalists are: Becoming She … More Kick Ass Women Award
I love cheesecake. Love it. It’s one of my favorite desserts to order when I’m out for dinner. I think my husband loves it more than me, though. He routinely requests it for his birthday and eats it for breakfast. “It’s practically like eating a bagel.” Given my husband’s love of cheesecake you can bet … More A Rockin’ New York Cheesecake
My childhood is filled with memories of my mom making banana bread. I can still smell it baking when I remember going home after school. Mom made it so often not just because we loved it, but mostly because my brother and I would eat 4 of the 7 bananas in the bunch and leave … More Banana Bread
This article appears at A Fine Parent, the online parenting blogazine. ************** You know what they say about too much of a good thing? Yeah, that’s kind of what visiting grandparents is like for us. Every summer and winter holiday we go to the Midwest for a long visit with both sets of grandparents. My … More How to Make the Most of Visiting Grandparents who Love Spoiling Children
It’s hard to believe, but we’ve been back in the states for 5 months now. In some ways it feels like we just got here and in others we’ve been here forever. I still dream about Basel, you know. I still dream through bizarre conversations with my friends Barbara, Kate, Rachel, and Sunrita. I close … More Settling Into a Target Christmas
October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but taking care of your health should just happen in October. According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation there will be 246,660 new cases of breast cancer this year and 45,540 deaths due to breast cancer. The earlier you can catch breast cancer the easier it is to cure … More Save the Ta-Tas!
A few weeks ago I told you about the Connected Hearts Journal being funded on Kickstarter. Well, it has been fully funded! Meaning that if you order or pay into the Kickstarter you are for sure getting a journal. And if you want one there is only 30 hours left to get one for yourself … More Connected Hearts Journal
Pumpkin season doesn’t end with October. It’s a wonderful fall vegetable and the stews and breads made with pumpkin are perfect through the winter, too. Today I had to do yet another snack for curling. With 3 family members in 4 different curling leagues I’m probably going to be making snacks a few more times. … More Ruthie Ellis’s Pumpkin Bread
About two months ago a little picture showed up on my Facebook feed with the words: “Chestnut Hill Harry Potter Festival.” Actually, a guy I’d never met before posted it and tagged my good friend Margaret. She is a big Harry Potter fan and everything of “Harry Potter” origin finds its way to her attention. … More Looking for Harry Potter in Pennsylvania
It’s October and, if you look on the shelves and in Starbucks, you will see that pumpkin and pumpkin spice season is upon us. I’m not as excited as some about pumpkin, but I do love me a good pumpkin bar. I have a recipe that Mrs. Mabel Forsyth contributed to the Floyd County Cowbelle’s … More Pumpkin Bars
Something I do as an Organization Development professional and a Life Coach is journaling. Not so much that I become a navel-gazing moron, but I write down enough so I can sort things out in my head. All OD pros do it. We’re taught to journal as part of the training. It becomes second nature … More Journaling the Journey: Writing Makes Everything Better
My Dad used to take us fishing on Sundays after we got home from church, which gave Mom 5 to 6 hours of precious alone-time, or at least time without us shouting and fighting and making a mess. We would come home to a clean house, a cake on the counter, a roast in the … More Chocolate Bundt Cake with Cheesecake Filling
Life has been moving at breakneck speed lately. So much faster than when we lived in Switzerland. So fast that I feel like I’m dropping my Swiss-life intentions behind me as I’m rocketed along. But I do try to keep all those life intentions clutched in my hands and tucked inside my head. One of … More Hiking to be Swiss
In an effort to cram in as much as I could into my last month I took an Indian curry cooking class! Basel has a fairly large Indian community. There are a number of specialty food shops and quite a few curry restaurants around. I have always loved curry and I was excited to be … More Cooking Curry!! A Swiss Family Carlson Adventure
We are officially back in DC. Actually we have been here for 2 weeks, but it doesn’t feel that long. My Mom and I drove across the country from the family farm in Iowa and pulled into the driveway at 7pm on the second day of driving. The first day of driving was filled with … More Culture Shock
When Mark was first assigned to the BIS in Basel I never dreamed how much living in Switzerland would change us. Other than the language barrier, I thought getting around there would be breeze. We would move in, live there for 2 years, and then just fly on back to the US. Easy-peasy. How different … More Switzerland has Ruined America for Me
It’s been 5 weeks since we left Switzerland for America. First we went to Minnesota for a blissful time with Mark’s parents before Mark had to go back to the reality of DC and work and I drove down to Iowa with the kids to visit my parents and wait for our stuff to arrive … More Moving is Complicated
This is an article I wrote that has been published on the site http://www.AFineParent.com. We all have have moments of anxiety. Here is how to help your child, and even yourself, through those anxious moments. How to Help Your Anxious Child Grow Up to Be a Happy Person by Malinda Carlson. (This article is part … More How to Help Your Anxious Child
Back in the late 1990s the California economy was booming and interest rates were lowering. Refinancing a mortgage was fairly common. (Or so my economist husband informs me…) Apparently our landlord Burt rose of his haze of booze and pot smoke long enough to figure this out, too, and we were given notice to expect … More The Unexpected Banker: Berkeley Episode 5
We have moved. Officially. We have given up our keys to our wonderful apartment, tearfully hugged friends who have become family, taken our flight, and are in the United States. I just canceled my Swiss Half-Fare card for the trains. We need to mail our legitimization cards back to some office somewhere now that the … More The Surreal Nature of Moving
This article was just published at AFineParent.com. I am thrilled to be a contributor to this web magazine and share my parenting experiences with all of you. How to Raise a Good Sport by Malinda Carlson. (This article is part of the Positive Parenting FAQ series. Get free article updates here.) Good game, high-5; Good … More How to Raise a Good Sport – especially when you have a competitive child.
Previously, we ate our way through the streets of Amsterdam. Somethings never change. What else doesn’t change is that we tend to stumble into some of the more interesting parts of a city. Like the alley in the Red Light District where we witnessed a negotiation between a horny 30-something guy and a dark haired … More Thelma and Louise Find Art and Red Lights
As my very last trip in Europe for this Swiss experience my BFF, the Thelma to my Louise, flew out to join me on a trip to Amsterdam. I’d only even been in Amsterdam as an entry point into Europe. I think almost every American has been to the Amsterdam airport. Shaun hadn’t been to … More Thelma and Louise go to Amsterdam!!
One of our missions here was to visit all 26 cantons in Switzerland. It took us 2 years, but we actually did it. We started in Neuchatel just after we’d arrived in Basel and finally, a month before we leave here, we finished in Glarus. My husband wanted to hike in Glarus. He lured me … More The Last Mountain to Climb – Glarus
It wasn’t all big cities and spas on our trip to Iceland. We also explored the great wilds of the interior. The house we rented was just north of Sefloss in a middle of nowhere place that seems to be undergoing some development as a vacation rental spot. The houses are far enough apart that … More The Wilds of Iceland