Consignment Sale – St. James UMC

Don’t miss the consignment sale at St. James United Methodist Church located in Brookhaven on Peachtree-Dunwoody Road this weekend.

I’ve been a buyer at this consignment sale for years and it is definitely one of my favorites in the Atlanta area. They usually carry clothes for boys and girls up to size 14 – 16. Now that my children are older and they’re starting to outgrow children’s size clothing, I’ve found many books, games and puzzles to purchase.

The sale will be held this Friday, September 26 and 27 from 9:00 am -3:00 pm. On Saturday, select items will be discounted 50%. For more information, visit



IMG_3409 IMG_3415





End-of-Year Teacher Gifts on a Budget

Are you like me and want to give an end-of year gift to your child’s teacher?

Do you also like to give a small gift to the other teachers – like art, music and gym?

What about the staff in the media center, the front desk and even the school counselor?

For my children’s home-room teacher, I went in on a class gift with other parents. But I really wanted to recognize the other teachers and staff that have made the school such a great experience for my children.

I came up with a simple idea. I bought a six-pack of Hershey’s candy bars and printed out a quick note on leftover paper I had from a previous year’s birthday party. I taped the candy bar to the paper and had my child sign it. I delivered them all to their mailboxes at school.

One of my children had over 10 people that  she wanted to thank. There’s no way we have bought gifts costing $10 or more, let alone the time and energy to go shopping. This idea may be small, but it at least showed the staff that we appreciate them.

Blue Suede Shoes? Nope. It’s Blue Suede Cake!

photo_2My daughter, Thing 1, was with me at Target a few weeks ago. She spotted several new cake boxes. The first was Tie-Dye cake, then Zebra cake and lastly Blue Suede cake. They are made by Duff of Charm City Cakes and looked really different. Since then, she hasn’t stopped talking about trying them out.

I decided that Easter week would be a great time to bake one of these cakes. However, when I went back to the store, I saw even more neat choices: key lime cupcake mix, watermelon cake mix with green watermelon icing and even a pink lemonade cookie mix all by Pillsbury. I almost bought the watermelon cake mix, but decided against it since Thing 2 doesn’t like most fruits. Yes – I realize that it’s not real watermelon, but watermelon flavoring. Still, I wanted something everyone in the family would enjoy.

Since my choices were expanded, I went home empty-handed and told my children all the choices. Thing 1 still wanted either Blue Suede and Tie-Dye. Personally, I love red velvet cake, but a blue cake just doesn’t sound appealing. Back to Target I went yesterday. The Duff mixes were priced at $2.99, while the Pillsbury ones were $1.50. I really wanted to chuck the entire idea. I looked at the Tie Dye mix and it seemed more complicated. Once the batter is made, it has to be divided in separate bowls and then the food coloring is added. Too much work for a box cake. So Blue Suede cake it is with a container of cream cheese frosting.

Since this whole thing started with Thing 1, I had her bake it. She’s not much of a cook, so this was a great experience for her. Surprisingly, she knew how to separate the egg whites from the yolk since the recipe called for three egg whites. After adding the blueberry flavor and color packet, the cake was ready to bake. For the next 45 minutes, the kitchen smelled divine.

After allowing the bundt cake to cool, it was time to melt the frosting over low heat. After a few minutes, Thing 2 (with Thing 1’s permission), poured the cream cheese icing on the cake.The finished product!

When we cut into it, it looked like something made for the Smurfs – blue cake with white icing. We sliced it and ate it — and guess what? It was delicious! Who knew a blue cake with a funky name (and from a box mix) could taste good?



Character Matters

The Entire Cast of "Disney's Jungle Book Kids"

The Entire Cast of “Disney’s Jungle Book Kids”

Last night, the daughter I call Thing 2 was in “The Jungle Book: Kids” at school.

She wasn’t the main character Mowgli, nor one of the sidekicks Baloo or Bagheera.

She wasn’t even a member of the Elephant Troupe or the Jungle Chorus.

She was props – specifically the person opening and closing the stage curtains.

When she began this year at school, her father and I told her she had to take part in one of three things this year: the Oratorical competition, the musical or the Talent Show. When she came home from the musical try-outs and told me she was on the props team, I wanted to say, “Props don’t count!”

The whole purpose of getting her to be in some sort of presentation was to draw her a little out of her shell. By nature, Thing 2 is social, but compared to me, she’s very shy. Her sister, Thing 1 is even more shy than that. I’ve always been an extrovert and have a hard time understanding non-people people.

I can be the Louisa Glasson and my children, the Dr. Martin Ellingham from the popular British show, “Doc Martin.” My children don’t have the best people skills and even though I’ve tried to help them, they are not interested in being polite and engaging in small talk.

The musical is for 4th and 5th graders. Last year, Thing 2 refused to have anything to do with it. The fact that she was on the props team was a positive baby step. But it was hard for me as a parent to be there. I mean, what do I take a picture of? The curtains as they’re opening?

I was so star struck at her age. I dreamed of moving to Los Angeles or New York to be an actress, dancer or singer. I was the only kid at my high school that had a subscription to “Playbill” magazine, which was filled with Broadway news and gossip. I could tell you everything about “A Chorus Line”, “Cats” and “42nd Street.” For fun, I attended musicals and plays at the Shreveport Little Theatre and the Marjorie Lyons Playhouse.

Here I was in a crowded cafeteria/auditorium among parents and relatives who had their cameras out and bouquets of flowers for their “little stars.” I felt so out-of-place. Why was I here anyway? I could leave and she wouldn’t even know if I was in attendance. But, I stayed.

After the show was over, she was beaming. She had fun and I realized this was a huge accomplishment for her. When we were leaving, we passed by the pictures in the hallway of the cast and crew. As a fundraiser, the PTA sold stars, cut out of yellow construction paper, for a quarter each. People would buy these stars, write a quick note of congratulations and tape them next to the person’s picture. I had purchased one for Thing 2 and thankfully a neighbor who is in the 1st grade also purchased one for her. Thing 2 was so excited that she had two stars. Then she said, “Look at ___’s picture. She doesn’t have any stars and she even had a singing role.” Thing 2 was clearly distressed by this so we turned around and she bought a star, wrote a note and placed it on the girl’s picture.

I realized something deeper was at place here. My daughter might never be what I aspire her to be. (I never became what my mom wanted me to be). But, she showed compassion towards someone else. That was character.

She may never be the visible star of a musical, but in the background she showed character. That’s the better thing.