The Best $3.99 I Ever Spent


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Childrearing, Children | Posted on 07-02-2016

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The spotty lizard-snake whispered to us at Goodwill. Much like the snake that whispered to Harry Potter.

Except this was a lizard-snake costume. And it didn’t whisper; the price tag yelled: $3.99.

How could we not buy it?

My son already had his Halloween costume picked out three weeks prior. Spiderman. I let him wear it whenever he wanted. So he did. Daily. Until it became Spiderman shreds. Read that post here.

When Halloween came around, it was spotty lizard-snake to the rescue. Paired with his sister’s tights, it was a hit.

That was two years ago. Since then, that costume has been worn regularly. Worn to play video games. To play hide-and-seek. To sleep in. To lend to friends to wear to play video games, etc.

I’m not sure how much longer the lizard-snake costume will still fit. One day, it will likely return to Goodwill for another boy to get his $3.99 worth.

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on



Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Aging, Attitude, Fun, Life | Posted on 09-09-2015

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“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

-George Bernard Shaw

Thank you to my friend Gina who reminded me of this most excellent quote. And thank you to my husband who special ordered me a gallon of glycerin, the magic ingredient for giant bubbles.

A post shared by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

A post shared by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on


How Many Parents Does it Take To Change a Lightbulb?


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Children, Humor | Posted on 10-06-2013

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Three. Well, two really, with one observer.

The other night, my husband changed the lightbulb in my son’s room and reached up, up, up to the high ceiling.

Down, down, down dropped the little knob that screws into the light fixture, to hold the glass in place. You know, the piece that looks like a nipple?

If it were any other room, it would have been a simple fix. But this was my eight-year-old son’s room. This was a Legos-all-over-the-floor room. The knob could be anywhere! We searched and searched and searched.

Did it camouflage itself as a Lego? Did it bounce up and into a toy bin? Did it roll under the bunk bed? It took us 15 minutes to find the stupid knob. And when I say us, I mean my husband and me. Because my son got distracted and built a space vehicle of some sort.

Turns out, the knob rolled into the Cat in the Hat hat. Of course, why didn’t I think of that?

Lego's on the floor 003 (1)

Threads of Life


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childrearing, Children, Family, Health, Life, Parenting | Posted on 29-03-2013

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My grandmothers and great-grandmothers were quilters. I’m a fan. The colors. The craftsmanship. The history. The metaphor: the quilt representing life. Especially the crazy quilt. I read that while many quilts have a repeating pattern, the beauty of a crazy quilt lies in its differences. Remember the movie How to Make an American Quilt?

My youngest son had eye surgery two weeks ago. He had a lump on his eyelid that needed to be removed. Worried parents. Anesthesia. Hospital gown. IV. He was wheeled away down the long hospital hallway. Brave boy. I couldn’t hold back the tears.

An hour later, he  emerged from surgery, that brave boy of mine. With a patch on his eye, he looked small, but relieved. Three new stitches in his eyelid.


Two days of recovery at home. Then, back to school. Back to tumbling class. Back to normal life. Two weeks later, the stitches came out.

And we now have another block to sew into our quilt of life. Just with three less stitches.


I spotted this beauty of a quilt here:


Going Global, Baby!


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Children, Christmas, Dreams, Encouragement, Travel | Posted on 14-12-2012

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My seven-year-old son is learning geography at school. He hums the theme song to Indiana Jones…and wants to be him when he grows up. So that he can travel and study old things.

My young son’s latest interest is India. (Hmmm…I wonder where he got that idea?) 🙂

He has added up his dollars–they make quite a pile. He proclaimed that he needs $10 more and he’ll have enough to buy his own passport. With a passport in hand, he thinks that he will instantly start traveling. Like Doc Brown’s time machine. Zap! Calcutta!

May my dreamer–and future world traveler–get lots of stamps in his passport.

And I just may get myself a passport too…so that my son and I can zap off to India.

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Monkey Bars


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Children, Confidence, Playing | Posted on 04-09-2012

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The little boy pulled away from the crowd of children. The other kids were romping around the playground, chasing, skipping, playing tag. Laughing loudly, hollering.

The little boy was humming, smiling, quietly playing on his own. He balanced on the beam, climbed the play structure, did spins on the bars.

  • “Mom, look what I can do!”
  • His mother would look up from her book, “Oooh, cool! Great job, honey!”

The exchange of words and support made him smile. He continued to hum and meander.

The other eight children were tearing through the park: a colorful, loud mass.

The little boy climbed silently, slid peacefully, smiling and humming.

The kids invited him to join in. He didn’t want to. He knew them; they see each other every week at their older sisters’ soccer practice.

No. He was content to play on his own. To have his own space. To do what he wanted.

He sprawled out at the bottom of the slide and gazed up at the clouds.

The little boy’s mother sat alone on the park bench, separate from the cluster of soccer Moms who were huddled on the sidelines watching the girls practice. The mother was enjoying the late afternoon sunshine, with her book How the García Girls Lost Their Accents, looking up to smile and acknowledge her son. She read; she tweeted on her phone. She was peaceful and quiet. She, too, gazed up at the clouds.

She was content to read and tweet on her own. To have her own space. To do what she wanted.

After all, the apple doesn’t fall far from the monkey bars.

If you didn’t catch the little boy’s mother on the park bench, you can catch her on Twitter here: @PeskyPippi.

A Little Boy, A Little Wasp, And A Big Ear


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Advice, Camping, Childrearing, Children, Family, Life Lessons, Memories, Parenting, Summer | Posted on 06-06-2012

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I was reminded of a how a little boy balanced on a little log on a little camping trip. And how the little boy accidentally pissed off a little wasp, whose little nest was hiding in the little log. The little wasp proceeded to sting the little boy’s little ear.

And how the little ear transformed into a gigantic ear. 

Screaming little boy. Ear growing by the minute. Red ear. Sad boy. Freaking-out parents.

Camping. Allergic reaction to a sting. No ER for miles. What’s a family to do?

Shuffling through our first aid kit, that had been cobbled together in the last minutes of packing…Ah, Benadryl.

“Let’s try this before we drive for hours to the doctor.”

But he won’t take the tablets.

“I know. Let’s try breaking them in half and putting them in the chocolate pudding.” No, that didn’t work.

“Let’s try shoving them down his throat.” No, that didn’t work.

The little boy was wearily watching to see what other food we would sneak the medicine into. We played it off nicely. Another word for it: lying.

“We’re all out of medicine. Here, Sweetie, drink some Sprite. I bet you’re thirsty.” Hoping he wouldn’t spot the powdered tablets dissolving in the bubbles.

Ah, the innocence of a four year old. Gulp. Gulp.

Within minutes–like a magic potion–he passed out in his chair, munching on Doritos.

When he awoke, his big ear was reduced to a medium ear. He was fine.

But the wasp-sting-in-the-ear-story has become forever stitched in our family’s memory quilt.

Sometimes, something so little can have such a big impact. Going through our family’s photos–and seeing these two pictures–brought back so many vivid memories. I can almost hear the wasp buzzing.My little son. With his sockless feet. With his scraped-up knee. With his Wall-E jammy shirt. With a gigantic bag of Doritos, bigger than his torso.

That log is still there at our campsite. Now, every time we approach the log on our annual camping trip, we take a peek inside. Just to make sure. And there is a little tentativeness when my son takes his first step onto that log to play our balance-on-the-log game.

Remember when…

Is a Horse Faster Than a Car?


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Animals, Boys, Children, Magic, Mothers and Sons, Nature, Parenting, Questions | Posted on 05-05-2012

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I love kids and their gazillion questions.

My son asks while running down a hill, “Is a horse faster than a car?”

“Uh yeah, horses are fast,” I blurted out. Magic answer. Quick answer. That’s all he wanted to hear. Hell if I know.

Then I went home and looked it up. Dang, I was wrong. According to Wikipedia:

Any car in good working order is faster than a horse on a good road. The top speed of a race horse is around 40 mph and that is only for a few miles. Horses can go where cars can not and so would be faster if crossing streams and jumping gullies and hedges is needed.

But sometimes kids need magical answers. My child was running like a horse. In that moment in time, he was a horse.

Wikipedia and your boring facts: you can suck it.

Simply: Thank You


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Celebrations, Childrearing, Children, Christmas, Family, Friends, Life Lessons, Manners, Mothering, Parenting, Technology | Posted on 26-12-2011

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Mama always said, “When you get a present, be sure to write a thank-you note. It’s the right thing to do.”

Times have changed, but manners should not.

In lieu of forcing your children to write thank-you notes to their gift-givers, simply take a picture of your child holding the present (gift card, ugly sweater, Legos, whatever) and email the picture to the gift-giver. Or post it on Facebook.

Presto. Done.

A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Whew, no thank-you notes looming.

Manners? Check. Make Mama proud.

Just another helpful tip from Pesky Pippi. 🙂

Mom, I Need to Bring Peanut Butter to School for the Mexicans…What??


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childrearing, Connections, Holidays, Ideas, Life Lessons, Mothering, Traditions | Posted on 08-11-2011

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When my oldest son came home from school last week announcing, “MOM! I need to bring peanut butter to school to give to the Mexicans who live in dumps!” My jaw kinda dropped. My immediate reaction was wow, those are not kind words. How not politically correct. I need to teach this young man about world culture. Pronto.

Lost in translation? Sadly, no. Turns out, he was right. At school, my son is learning about these young children in Mexico, who have nothing. No family, no food, no hope. His teacher says many of these kids live in real garbage dumps in Mexico where they salvage food and clothing, whatever they can find.

The teacher began his pilgrimage to Mexico several years ago and returns annually. He rallies his students to collect peanut butter every year. Why peanut butter or manteca de cacahuete? Protein. Peanut butter is the cheapest source of protein and doesn’t have to be refrigerated. Every January, the teacher drives to this poverty-stricken area to Hogar para Ninos to take the load of peanut butter down to these kids. Here is the website of the organizing group:

As we are looking ahead to the holiday season. We are entering the season of sharing and abundance. It’s time to share and spread the abundance around. Chunky or creamy?

And I know there are poopy naysayers who are like, “Why do I need to help them thar Mexicans? We’ve got our own problems. Let’s take care of our kids first. Forget about them. They don’t speak even English. They speak Mexican, don’t they?” [sic]

Well, you see, in my eyes, it IS our job to help nourish every child. Whether here or there. It IS our job to teach our children to be kind, to do the right thing, and to think of others.

And that, my friend, means stocking up on some peanut butter. Pronto.

Because if there’s a truck driving down to Mexico, I want to make sure it’s filled to the brim with manteca de cacahuete and love.