Let me recount a phone conversation I had the other day. “Hello, ____ Vet Hospital, can I help you?” “Yes. I need to make an appointment for our new kitten.” “Great! Last name?” “Carlson” “And the pet’s name?” “Lord Durin Thunderbolt Orc Slayer.” “….. Say again?” “Lord. Durin. Thunderbolt. Orc. Slayer.” “Lord? -” “Durin Thunderbolt … More Somethings really do need explanation
March 14th! 3.14! It’s Pi Day! I finally have it together enough to share a pie recipe on the actual Pi Day. This particular pie is a classic French apple tart decorated in an escargot pattern. This is not to be confused with a Tarte Tatin where you use puff pastry and assemble and bake … More It’s Pi Day!!
Sorry for the long absence. Things have gotten really busy here! First, I have a middle schooler. I’m still reeling. Second, there is the house to deal with. We still have a few boxes to unpack and I just cannot get it together to finish this gallery wall I’m working on. (Hopefully before we host … More Too Busy with an Empty Fridge
I am obsessed with the Great British Bake Off. Like, so obsessed I’ve probably watched each episode of EACH season about 12 times. And as a baker myself, I find what they create so inspiring. A while ago my friend Barbara and her son made the Millionaire Jaffa Shortbread desserts that Sophie made on season … More GBBO Bake – Millionaire Jaffa Shortbread
This is an article I published on Monday at AFineParent.com about How to Make Resolutions that Stick. These methods come from my organization development training on how to make lasting change. If you really want to make a change in your life then these are 6 way to help keep you on the resolution wagon. … More How to Make Resolutions that Stick
I have about a hundred resolutions for the New Year zinging about my brain right now. Some are true, life-changing, capital-r, Resolutions and some are more in the realm of Goals for the Year. To me it’s all the same. Plus this is a list of stuff literally pinging around in my head. A list … More Resolutions for 2018
Here is my latest parenting article that is currently being featured at AFineParent.com. This is a trick that I use not only with kids, but with my life coaching clients as well. It can change your entire frame of mind about yourself and others. It was the beginning of the school year and my son … More The Magic Word that Every Parent Needs to Embrace
The holidays are here and with it comes holiday parties! Whether it is a holiday open house or a fancy party you need to have food. Lots of it. When I entertain I like to have hors d’oeuvres and little bits and bites for people to munch on. One of my go-to entertaining dishes is … More Goat Cheese and Green Onion Muffins
My friend Sandi posted a link to an article about the best bakery in each state. Imagine my surprise when Kensington’s very own JennyCakes was listed as the Best Bakery in Maryland. I have been a fan of JennyCakes since it opened in 2012. They started in small storefront on Armory Avenue behind Safeway. I … More A Visit to JennyCakes
In our corner of El Cerrito del Norte there weren’t many food stores conveniently located for those lacking a car. There was a Lucky’s (which became Albertson’s) about a mile away that we would hike to every two weeks and come home with our backpacks full and a plastic shopping bag on each arm that … More Berkeley Chronicles Episode #10: 99 Ranch Market
This article was originally entitled, The Power of ‘And.” AFineParent.com accepted the article and changed the title to the catchier “How to Go From a Buzzkill to a Top Motivator With One Simple Vocabulary Tweak.” We’ve all had it said to us. You’re boss has said it. “You did really awesome on the project, … More How to Go From a Buzzkill to a Top Motivator With One Simple Vocabulary Tweak
In my last post I told you all about fishing and hiking around Lake Louise. It was beautiful. Now I’m going to introduce you to Johnston Canyon and the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. After the big hike at Lake Louise we (I) wanted something a little flatter (for my knee). Barbara and I bent over … More SFC Trip to Banff, Part 2
Just when you thought our travels were over, we went off to Banff, the onomatopoeiadic capital of Canada. It’s the sound an exclamation mark should make. It’s also one of the most beautiful places in the world. The trip got all planned when I was on a Skype call with my friend Barbara. As you … More The Swiss Family Carlson go to Banff!!
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