Christmas in July


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Celebrations, Childhood, Childrearing, Children, Christmas, Holidays, Love, Magic | Posted on 30-07-2016

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Talk about Christmas in July!

On a recent vacation to Branson, Missouri, we heard there was a Santa Claus convention, bringing in jolly old fellas from across the country and around the world. In fact, many of them stayed at our hotel! Even without their red and white suits, they were easy to spot with their friendly smiles, white beards, and twinkly eyes. We proceeded to be on the lookout for the real Santa Claus.

One winked at us in the lobby. Maybe he was the one? One argued with the front desk clerk about his pillows. Definitely not him.

The next morning, one thousand Santa Clauses were to be in a special parade at 8:00 a.m.

You know how the early bird catches the worm? In our case, the early riser catches the Santa Claus. My eleven-year-old son and I practically ran, hand-in-hand, with giddiness. (My oldest son and daughter opted to sleep in instead…their loss!)

Seeing so many Santa Clauses, Mrs. Clauses, and elves was quite a magical sight! But which one was the one? It was like Where’s Waldo.

Smitten and with a bit of boldness, we greeted the nice gentlemen one by one and asked to pose for a photo. How could they so no to my sweet boy? They could not.

My son wished them Merry Christmas and many said see you on Christmas Eve. One showed my son a special Hawaiian signal. One showed my son his compass hidden in his sock. One let my son hold the special sleigh bells. One gifted him a magic candy cane.

After our encounters, we narrowed it down to three Santa Claus possibilities.

We left with happy hearts, curious minds, and shit-eating grins.

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Merry Christmas


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Holidays, Humor | Posted on 24-12-2015


Have yourself a merry little Christmas.


Have yourself a merry ginormous Christmas.


Have yourself a merry little Christmas.

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He Wore a Pocahontas Dress


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Celebrations, Childhood, Childrearing, Children, Holidays, Kids, Life | Posted on 30-10-2015

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Behind-the-scenes one Halloween.

I bought a Pocahontas dress for my youngest son. So he could match his big brother, who proudly spent his own money on the feather headdress.

We pushed “Pocahontas” in a stroller when we went trick-or-treating, refilling his hands with Tootsie roll pops, to keep him happy.

My daughter was a bunny and wore her pink cowgirl boots. We didn’t notice that they were on the wrong feet until three hours later. Clomp, clomp, clomp!

That was one Halloween. There have been dozens of Halloweens with children. Dozens before the children.

Going through old photos of Halloweens past, I enjoy reminiscing. The photos didn’t make me sad. OK, maybe a little.

Where did the time go?? They grow up so fast!! 

Adults always make those comments about children. I think those comments are irritating. I mean, time flies. Children grow. That’s how it works. Enjoy the moments. Enjoy the memories. Move on and have more moments. Make more memories.

While those October 31, 2006 moments (and the candy) were quickly gone, the memories and backstories will always remain.

Happy Halloween!

One Halloween…

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The Carpet of Many Colors


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Celebrations, Easter, Holidays, Memories, Traditions, Travel | Posted on 03-04-2015

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My mother and I once traveled to Antigua, Guatemala to take in all of the ceremony, spiritualness, history, and beauty of Easter Holy Week, or Semana Santa.

For me, that trip was life changing.

We witnessed the making of alfombras, “carpets” made from tiny flower petals placed in the streets. These ornate, detailed carpets were found throughout the streets of this historical town, readied for throngs of processions of the devout. Hundreds of purple-robed men would carry a statue of Jesus on the cross, high above their heads, with marching bands playing mournful music. More information about Semana Santa in Guatemela can be found here.

That was the most colorful and powerful Easter I have ever spent. Although we took this trip 25 years ago, the memories are still as vibrant as the amazing alfombras.

Today, I reflect on that holy trip and how I am so thankful for my mother and her continuous support, love, and teachings.

Happy Easter.

alfombraPhoto by Marina K. Villatoro.



Is Your Refrigerator Running?


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Holidays | Posted on 25-11-2014

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Is your refrigerator running?

We boldly would ask with a straight face, suppressing giggles. When we were kids, we’d dare each other to crank call strangers. We’d randomly pick phone numbers from the phone book.

The stranger would usually answer yes.

Then, you’d better go out and catch it!

Slam down the phone! Giggle! Snort!

Two weeks ago, my refrigerator stopped running. So, we bought a new one, pronto! Because, Thanksgiving!

Thankful, indeed. I am thankful that I can afford to buy a new refrigerator and that I can stock it with yummy things (sometimes gaggy) to eat, to nourish my family. And that we can buy extra to give to those less fortunate.

Strangers Families in our town. With food drives at my children’s schools in full force, the kids lug in bags of non-perishable food items. Last year, enough food was donated to feed 200 families for a year. Maybe this year, collectively, we can help 250 families. Whether it’s donating time, giving money, donating food items, or simply smiling at a stranger and spreading good cheer, everyone may feel a little happier, more connected, and thankful.

My new refrigerator–now stocked with a turkey, Thanksgiving fixings, and ingredients for pies–is a symbol of so many things I am thankful for:

Children. Love. Health. Connections. Happiness. Nourishment. Family.

Maybe at the dinner table, I’ll be asked: Mom, what’s a crank call? What’s a phone book? 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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Every Day is Mother’s Day


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Celebrations, Childrearing, Holidays, Life, Love, Mother, Mothering, Uncategorized | Posted on 09-05-2014

“Don’t forget Mom this Mother’s Day!” say the ads.

What the?

How about today. Next week. Last month. Every day.

I am reminded that every day is Mother’s Day because every day I exchange words, hugs, kisses, pats, meals, moments with my children.

Watching them thrive and grow. Seeing their passions. Experiencing their strong personalities (ha!) Every day.

I am so proud, blessed, and thankful to be their mother.

Happy Mother’s Day, Week, Month, Year to all of you wonderful mothers! Including my own!

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Somewhere Over the Rainbow


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Celebrations, Children, Family, Holidays, Ideas, Recipes | Posted on 17-03-2014

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St. Patrick’s Day is upon us. And we kinda make a big deal out of holidays. Around here, we are party animals!

Three out of five people in our home still believe in the magic of leprechauns and squeal when we see rainbows. So, a perfectly magical rainbow cake was in order.

I used a recipe from Betty Crocker. However, instead of (ho hum) white frosting, we made it green. Duh! And added rainbow sprinkles for some St. Patrick’s Day flair.

Step aside, Betty Crocker. Somewhere over the rainbow is Pippi. Who spent two hours of precious weekend time creating a little magic. And the squeals of delight made it. Totally. Worth. It.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! May you believe in the magic of rainbows.

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Step Aside Betty Crocker

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Love and Chocolate (Lovin’ Chocolate)


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Children, Holidays, Love, Memories | Posted on 14-02-2014

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Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.

Except when it comes to Valentine’s Day. As a child, I always knew what I was gonna get. A box of chocolates. And not just your everyday drugstore box of chocolates. My mother always gifted me a one-pound box of See’s chocolates. Nuts and chews, of course. My favorite.

This was back when you couldn’t order See’s online. Yeah, because there was no “online.” You had to go to the special See’s store where the workers wore black and white and often had blue hair. Not because they were emo, but because they were old. It smelled heavenly in there. And you’d wait in a long line and pay with cash or check. Because they didn’t accept credit cards. And they would give you a sample chocolate. Usually a piece of chocolate with gaggy, pink filling.

But the nuts and chews–especially the chews–were the best!

I can just taste the gooey caramel. The crunchy almonds. Milk chocolate that melts in your mouth. I can hear the crinkly papers.

My very own box. Golly, my mother sure loved me! If I wanted to take to take just one bite out of a chocolate and put it back, I could. If I wanted to eat three, then four, then five in a row, I could. And did.

And if I wanted to eat the whole box of chocolates in one day? You betcha!

This picture is me with my awesome mother, when I was eleven years old and had the metabolism of a gazelle. 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all! May you eat all the chocolate you want.

That's me with my mother. #love

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Simply Christmas


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Children, Christmas, Holidays, Memories, Mothering | Posted on 25-12-2013

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You can take your imported, glass-blown, fancy-schmancy ornaments.

I’ll take my ornaments made from chubby little fingers and glitter and yarn and glue and frozen orange juice lids and pipe cleaners and popsicle sticks. Each was made especially for me.

Merry Christmas!

#Christmas simplicity

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#Christmas simplicity

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#Christmas simplicity

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#Chrsitmas simplicity

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#Christmas simplicity

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Big Fat Bulbs


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Christmas, Grandfather, Grandmother, Grandparents, Holidays, Memories | Posted on 18-12-2013

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Remember those giant Christmas lights people used to hang on their houses? C9s in technical terms. Before the icicle lights. Before LED lights.

Those C9s are slowly becoming a thing of the past. We still have some ol’ C9s strung across our roof line. This may be their last year. Their paint is chipping. Practically every bulb has been replaced. The strings have been staple gunned so many times, I’m surprised we haven’t been shocked.

These jumbo lights remind me of Christmases past. When we’d drive up to my grandparents’ ranch-style home in rural Missouri. Bright red and green and blue and orange glowed, framing the window with a tree strung with the same big fat bulbs. Yeah, total fire hazard!

“Come in to our warm and welcoming house!” The lights beckoned. My grandmother would cook up and serve everyone minute steak and mashed potatoes and sliced bread and gravy. She would play carols like O Holy Night on the piano, while I would munch on stale peanut brittle. And we watched The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson while my grandfather ate his bowl of butter brickle ice cream and dozed in his chair. And I curled up on the shag carpet with my childhood blanket. I will always remember the happy, comforting, warm feeling of family and love that enveloped me. Maybe some of that warmth came from the Christmas tree lights that emanated so much dang heat. 🙂

If we’d run an errand, my grandfather would (thankfully) unplug the Christmas tree lights. Which is what I do still. Each and every time, out of habit, even though my tree has cool-temperature mini lights. When I reach down to unplug them, I smile and think of Christmases past.

Here’s wishing you the warmth of Christmas!


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