You Be You

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Freedom | Posted on 21-01-2017

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Ah, the First Amendment. In our country, we are free to express ourselves. I am so grateful for that.

We can speak our minds.

We can be bold.

We can share our opinions.

We can take a stance.

And the magic is, we all don’t have to agree with one another. Our differences are what make our country (already) great.

With respect, you be you and I’ll be me.

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Wonder Cookies

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Baking, Humor | Posted on 12-01-2017

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I wrote about my fiberlicious cookies awhile back. Guess what? I created a new and wonderfully improved version.

I call this new recipe Wonder Cookies.

As in…

I wonder what’s in these?
Almond flour, chocolate chips, chopped dates, coconut sugar, shredded coconut, flax seed.

I wonder how much fiber they have?
A zillion grams.

And then, the next question would be…

I wonder where the nearest toilet is?

Chances are, if you eat too many of these cookies, you will wonder why you did.

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Kindness

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Connections, Gifts, Kindness, Travel | Posted on 01-01-2017

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Kindness. It is everywhere.

My mother and I traveled to the tiny town of Tlacolula, Mexico and experienced the hustle and bustle of the Sunday market, an open-aired market packed with coconuts, peppers, batteries, carrots, clothespins, papayas, shampoo, shoes, onions, chickens, hairbrushes–and people. It is a market where the villagers, rural people, and Zapotec women with their colorful aprons and ribbons woven in their braids, come into town to shop once a week.

With no Safeway or Home Depot or Walgreens, this is the place to purchase everyday necessities to the freshest produce, and everything in between. Shoppers fill their woven baskets, bargain, socialize, and eat freshly-made tortillas filled with meat and cilantro and crema from the food carts.

Amidst the crowd, a gentle man approached me. We talked for a bit in Spanish and guess what? He reached deep into the bag he was carrying to gift me two handfuls of pinon nuts that he grew from his tree.

I was so surprised by this gesture and gift. I instantly made a new friend 3,000 miles from home and will forever remember his kindness.

I took a selfie to show that amabilidad–kindness–is everywhere.

“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change.”
-Bob Kerrey

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#BigCabbage

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Connections, Happiness, Humor, Little Story | Posted on 19-12-2016

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What weighs 30 lbs., is comical, crunchy, and has its own hashtag?

#Bigcabbage.

We bought a big cabbage at the produce market for $5. Locally grown, it was a giant cabbage so big that it could be used for cross-training.

But first, we photographed it and posted its glorious girth on Instagram. Who knew that this cabbage of mine would make so many friends? Who knew that #bigcabbage could bring the world together, sharing smiles and gasps, one post at a time. I “liked” all the posts with #bigcabbage and met friends from around the world, including Japan and Kentucky, who shared the love of extraordinary produce.

My daughter carved a face in the cabbage. (She is really good with knives. You can read that post here.) It proved a wonderful, carvable canvas. We then enjoyed that head over the course of ten weeks. Did you know that the cabbage is one of the healthiest foods you can eat? A cruciferous vegetable packed with nutrients. Don’t take my word for it. Read more here.

Nutritious. Crunchy. Economical. Versatile. Funny.

There is nothing like bringing people together one cabbage at a time. #bigcabbage

Happy Monday! #bigcabbage

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Otis and the Geese

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Children, Children's Books, Grandmother, Growing UP, Memories, Relationships | Posted on 14-12-2016

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My grandmother used to read me the story of Angus and the Ducks. Angus, the curious Scottish Terrier, got into mischief. One day, he was off-leash and ventured on the other side of the hedge, encountering two ducks. They stared him down and proceeded to hissssss at poor Angus. This hissing scared the crap out of Angus and he ran back to the safety of underneath the sofa in his living room. He never ventured to the other side of the hedge again.

The thing was, my grandmother made the most amazing hisssssssing noise when she read that part. During my childhood, I made her read that page over and over. We both would get the giggles.

Fast forward 30 + years.

While on a run, Otis, the curious Yellow Labrador, and I encountered two hundred Canadian Snow Geese. We stopped for a moment to take it all in, with Otis nearly ripping my arm off. He was raring to go get into mischief.

The pause in our run made me reflect upon the wondrous moments reading about Angus with my grandmother. When I visited her–even until I was pushing 16–we would snuggle up to read Angus and the Ducks and we would giggle at the hisssssss. Every time.

I have read that book over and over to my children. But it never had the same effect.

I guess some things are best kept tucked away in the memory vault. Best kept as my own magical moments.

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Just Add Baubles

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Personal Care, Self, Women | Posted on 08-12-2016

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In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to forget taking care of yourself. Your mind and body. There are countless tips on how to reduce holiday stress such as letting go of your to do list, going for a walk in the fresh air, blah blah blah.

How about buying yourself a new bra or two? I’ve written about the power of bras before.

I mean, ’tis the season to put those baubles on display and let them shine! I took 15 minutes out of my day yesterday to try on bras and ended up buying myself a gift.

The gift of confidence. The gift of happiness. The gift of lift.

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Making Christmas

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Children, Christmas, Family, Parenting, Traditions | Posted on 05-12-2016

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You know the well-intentioned sentiment from The Nightmare Before Christmas, where Jack Skellington and the Halloween Town folks “make Christmas” as best they can? That’s what it’s like around here during the weeks leading up to Christmas. Full of preparation and excitement and good intentions. It is my job as a parent to make a nice, fun, and memorable Christmas for my family.

Making Christmas
Time to give them something fun
They’ll talk about for years to come
Let’s have a cheer from everyone
It’s time to party

My husband and I have made Christmas for our children over the years. A combination of family traditions: cutting down the tree, baking cookies, Christmas movies and music, setting up the nativity scene, putting up lights, donating presents and time, counting down with an advent calendar, decorating the tree with ornaments from childhood, and visiting the mountain where there’s guaranteed snow.

This year, our Christmas tree was cut down, brought home, and dressed in lights. Then it sat for a week. Nearly naked. With no ornaments. Maybe this will be the year that lights will do. Why bother with ornaments this year?

Then. Guilt hit.

What about the hundreds of sweet ornaments collected over the years and so carefully wrapped in Chipotle napkins? Stuck in a bin for another year? I simply could not let this happen. The ornaments needed to do their part to make Christmas special.

What about the homemade ornaments our children have made over the years? The beaded candy cane. The teddy bear with the googly eyes displaying a photo of my son taken in Kindergarten (he is now 17). The Star of David made with popsicle sticks. The snowman made from a cinnamon stick. The Snoopy with the googly eyes made by my husband when he was in Kindergarten. What??!!

What about the special gifted ornaments? The starfish with pearls, gifted to me by my mother-in-law when we were in San Diego. The little drummer boy gifted to my husband at his birth. The glass icicle gifted to me by my husband. The painted horse my mother gifted my daughter while visiting Phoenix. The coyote “couple” singing hymns we were gifted when we got married. The glass frog ornament with a tutu I gifted my daughter in 2003. The set of three yellow Labradors my daughter made for me from clay. Angels. Owls. Mittens.

What about the prized purchased ornaments? The pea pod with the three smiling pea faces representing each of my children. The dozens of tin ornaments my mother and I bought in Mexico. The pickle my daughter and I bought at the mountain general store. Mermaids. Frogs. Poinsettias. A dolphin. A tomato.

Each ornament has a story. They are filled with memories that reemerge every Christmas season.

On Saturday night around 11:00 p.m., we had an impromptu family celebration. Let’s have a cheer from everyone. It’s time to party. We ate Skittles and hung our ornament–both by the handful.

All the while, making Christmas. Together.

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

Kids These Days

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Children, School, Technology | Posted on 28-11-2016

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Kids these days. Sigh.

When I was a kid, I played with sticks.

Not really. Actually, I did. I would flip my Big Wheel upside down and move the pedals ’round and ’round until the wheel was moving so fast that I could sharpen sticks with it. Then I would poke my sister. Giggle.

Adults are always complaining about “kids these days.” How technology is corrupting them. Kids these days don’t even know how to tell time or write in cursive.

Actually, that is a fact. Some of the “basics” I grew up with aren’t taught in elementary schools anymore because the Common Core State Standards curriculum has replaced those skills with others. Once, the third grade teacher sent home the how-to-tell-time packet. Years later, I’m not so sure if my fourteen-year-old daughter can properly tell analog time. A quarter past two. Half past four. A quarter ’til three. But. She can program a video game because she took a coding class. And she knows all of the bones from head-to-toe.

Cursive is no longer taught in most U.S. elementary schools. My eleven-year-old doesn’t know how to properly sign his name. But. He has crazy keyboarding and video-editing skills. He makes hilarious-and-clever movies and uploads them to YouTube. And he knows how to add and multiply and reduce fractions. I didn’t learn how to do that until high school.

Parents will always find something to complain about. But look at all that is right with kids and their education these days.

If we stop complaining long enough to listen, we would learn a thing or two from our children. Because kids these days are so smart! Between my three, they can add negative numbers, analyze Catcher in the Rye and other literature, debate the pros and cons of each Presidential candidate’s platform, solve for x, y, and z, write a persuasive essay, read music and play the clarinet, explain the significance of the Bill of Rights, program a video game, cite the periodic table of elements, define each part of a cell, explain carbohydrates vs. proteins, and type a thesis without looking at the keyboard, then upload it to Google Drive.

Between school, peers, and their devices, kids are learning to analyze, rationalize, debate, articulate, appreciate, and communicate. There will be time to practice signatures at home. On their iPads. With a stylus. 🙂

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Big Things

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childrearing, Children, Connections, Emotions, Family, Life, Love, Motherhood, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters, Mothers and Sons | Posted on 21-11-2016

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It’s the little things in life that matter.

Whatever.

Around here, it’s the big things in life that matter…to me.

My husband. He is 6’3″ and his heart is equally as big. He is always up for a hike, buys me my favorite movies like Love Actually on Blu-Ray, and scrubs down the inside of the splattered microwave without me asking.

My oldest son. He is 6’4″ and tells me he loves me every time he walks out the door. At 17, he’s gone more than he’s home. School, work, friends, gym. So, I hear it a lot.

My daughter. She’s 5’9″, now taller than me. She is as fun as she is sweet. Kind as she is talented. Lovely as she is loving. All that and more.

My youngest son. He now reaches my chin, having grown three inches since summer. He is a joy to be around. The twinkle in his eyes indicates that he is up for an adventure. Or that he ate the last four Oreos.

My dog. At 115 lbs., he pulls me up the steep hills when we run together (whew!), takes up 3/4 of the bed when he stretches out, and is the best popcorn-catcher I know.

Big grocery bills. Big piles of laundry. Big smiles. Big laughs. Big hugs. Big love.

Big gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving!

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A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

Sweat, Braces, and Love

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Advice, Communication, Confidence, Connections, Conversations, Growing UP, Life Lessons, Sports, Teenager, Teenagers, Women | Posted on 15-11-2016

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The question was posed in email by the head soccer coach to all of the parents: Can any of you help out this season? I need an assistant coach to help run practices and be at the games.

I can. But I will not.

I mean, I have other things to do. Like work, like family, like my own exercise. Surely, another parent can volunteer.

Then I thought: I have coached my daughter and son’s soccer teams before. I play on a rec team as an adult. I know a thing or two about the game. I do love to be around kids. Maybe it won’t be too much of a time suck: practice twice a week, one game every Saturday. And whaddya know, my nearly-14-year-old daughter encouraged me to coach. (That was enough for me to say yes right there…um, my teenager wants me there?!)

I’m in!

I filled out the background check and took the concussion test and sudden cardiac arrest test. I showed up to the first practice a little begrudgingly. I mean, it was still hot August and I could have been kicking back at home with Otis in the shade. Plus. So many teenagers. It was a little daunting.

A few fathers showed up to volunteer and then disappeared after the first practice. Looks like they are stuck with me!

I was warmly welcomed and surrounded by 17 young women full of chatter, giggles, hormones, and braces–as it is with 13- and 14-year-olds–and I was instantly comfortable. I made the right choice.

Within 10 minutes, I knew everyone’s name.

Throughout the season, I gave feedback, high-fived, shouted encouragement, joked, gave pats on the back, talked 1:1 on the sidelines. Assistant coaching was so much more than helping the players improve their soccer skills. I was a supporter, a listener, an encourager, a guider, a trusted friend (and occasional chauffeur).

Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays. Those were soccer days! A chance to make connections, be a positive influence, and build confidence.

Navigating life can be tough for young teenagers struggling with self-confidence, peer pressure, school demands, family issues.

Sure there were foot skills and dribbling, conditioning, building a strong defense, and taking shots. But there was oh so much more. It was a supportive team that built each other up. The players as individuals truly cared for one another. We learned and grew.

That Fall soccer season, I received so much more than I gave. I know for a fact that I was surrounded by sweat and braces, and love. #winning

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