Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A Bitty Battle of the Bulge

Plain as day, there it was. A little pooch on my daughter's belly. From before she was born, I've tried all I knew to keep her from having the weight problem I've had since I was a few years older than she is now. I had been noticing that she was "filling out," but I wasn't prepared for the stomach that poked out as she tried on a new clingy-style dress. I'm trying hard not to overreact. But I often wonder what life would have been like if I hadn't been a "fat kid." My husband is tall and lean and has been most of his life. I had been drawing comfort on the fact that Faith was likely built like him and would be tall and thin, like a super model. Our mission now is to make sure she gets more exercise. We'll also reel in some of those bad habits, such as devouring a half-dozen Oreo's at a friend's house. And while we're at it, I need to teach her not to wipe her gritty Oreo hands all over her dress. This weight challenge is one of those parenting tightropes. Too much control and it could backfire, not enough and she could become a "fat kid." One decision I've already made is to go easy on the Easter candy. I've been picking up little toys and soaps and such for her basket instead of the aisle full of treats that awaits at any drugstore or supermarket. Pool season is almost here. We'll just have to lap up all the fun we can.
- Liz

Monday, March 26, 2007

Houston County High plant sale

Picked nearly clean by the time we got there an hour into the sale Monday! There are a number of beautiful Boston ferns left, but the tomatoes and flowering plants are going, going gone! Below, the kids responsible - and Daniel checks out the koi pond outside the greenhouse.

When you thought I wasn't looking

I was reminded of this as Daniel and I built a raised flower bed this weekend and put in daisies...

(Written by a former child)

A message every adult should read, because children
are watching you and doing as you do, not as you say.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you hang my
first painting on the refrigerator, and I immediately wanted
to paint another one.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you feed a
stray cat, and I learned that it was good to be kind
to animals.

When you thought I wasn't looking , I saw you make my
favorite cake for me and I learned that the little things can be
the special things in life.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I heard you say a
prayer, and I knew there is a God I could always
talk to and I learned to trust in God.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you make a
meal and take it to a friend who was sick, and I
learned that we all have to help take care of each other.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you give of
your time and money to help people who had nothing
and I learned that those who have something should
give to those who don't.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you take
care of our house and everyone in it and I learned
we have to take care of what we are given.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw how you
handled your responsibilities, even when you didn't
feel good and I learned that I would have to be
responsible when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw tears come
from your eyes and I learned that sometimes things
hurt, but it's all right to cry.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw that you
cared and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I learned most of
life's lessons that I need to know to be a good and
productive person when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I looked at you
and wanted to say, "Thanks for all the things I saw
when you thought I wasn't looking."

Just dandy-lions

It's hard to explain to your child what you never understood in the first place. I remember bringing in little bouquets of dandelions to give to my mother. She always told me that they were weeds. I watched as Faith snatched up a sunny dial of feathery petals from the backyard. "Funny," I told her. "I don't know who decided these were weeds and the rest were flowers." I suppose it's all in how you look at it. Or perhaps it is some particular horticultural distinction that escapes me. When Faith presented me with my dandelion delight, I thanked her and added it to the "flowers" I had clipped myself. It still looks like a flower to me.

- Liz

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Toy Recalls

Toys "R" Us is recalling about 128,700 of its "Elite Operations" Toy Sets in cooperation with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

The toy sets contain high levels of lead in the paint, which is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health effects. Also, the toys have sharp points, which pose a laceration hazard.

This recall affects three styles of "Elite Operations" toy sets. The military-style play sets contain light and sound vehicles, action figures, and accessories. Models included in this recall are: Super Rigs Transport Vehicle (Item # 087286), Command Patrol Center (Item # 920625) and Troop Carrier (Item # 773967). The item numbers are located on the back of the packaging above the barcode. Toy sets sold prior to January 2006 are not included in this recall. No other "Elite Operations" brand toys are affected by this recall.

For more recalls - which I try to keep on top of - bookmark this site:


Wednesday, March 21, 2007


With much-appreciated help from the webmasters, I've posted some photos I took at the WRALL opener Saturday morning. The calendar still read "Winter," but the boys and girls of Summer were ready to Play Ball!

Middle Georgia Moms: WRALL pix

  • click here to view the photo gallery.

  • Tuesday, March 20, 2007

    Sayonara Mister Snowman

    The snowman's smiling face is headed for the drawer. The "Welcome Winter" sign is changing to "Welcome Spring." Faith really wanted to see snow this year. She's been talking about making a snowman all season. Perhaps next year. As for Mom, here, I can't believe it's time to change out clothes again. I'm cutting this short as I have sweaters to put away. Can my legs really be this white?

    Monday, March 19, 2007

    At the Cherry Blossom festival

    an unpopular position

    I've been trying to post for several days, but every computer I touch seems to turn on me!
    Anyway, I'm coming out this morning in favor of red-light cameras. I know this is a topic that has been much-discussed recently, and that I'm taking an unpopular position. But as I sat at the intersection of Watson and Houston Road this morning, I watched three cars breeze through the intersection after the light changed. Then I watched one run the red light on Houston. Finally, as my turn light changed and I started through my left-hand turn. And promptly slammed on the brakes as a gray and red older-model truck blew through the intersection, missing me by inches. As far as I can tell, the driver never touched his brakes. And I know he was going faster than the posted 35 miles an hour. The passenger had the nerve to flip me the bird. I'm soooo glad Daniel wasn't in the car!

    Thursday, March 15, 2007

    Haunted by the headlines

    Most days the bad news outweighs the good news in my job. That's the life of a journalist. Occasionally, there comes a story that chills my bones. I still can't think of Jessica Lunsford without feeling an uncomfortable tingling in my spine. My mind sees her smiling face painted up like a cat in a photograph aired on cable television news in the days after her disappearance in Florida. Then there's the image of her fingers poking through a plastic bag where she was buried alive underground. Her other hand clutched her stuffed dolphin as she drew her last breath. Don't even take me near thoughts of what horrors she faced at the hands of a sex offender keeping her prisoner. Her killer has received the death penalty, but unfortunately it won't end the abuse suffered at the hands of so many innocent children all over the country.

    Tuesday, March 13, 2007

    Hijacked by the beanstalk

    Renting movies has become a weekly event at our house. When we return last week's, we pick up new rentals. Faith's latest find was "Jack and the Beanstalk." When she brought me the case, I was thrilled to see so many names I recognized - Matthew Modine, Vanessa Redgrave, Daryl Hannah, Jon Voight, Richard Attenborough. "Great find," I thought. It was a movie for the whole family. Wrong. This is no fairy tale. (It actually said that on the cover, but the Blockbuster sticker covered that line." I had no idea the film produced by Hallmark and Jim Henson's Creature Shop would be so adult. I suppose I should have wondered when it wasn't rated. Granted, there didn't seem to be bad language or any sexual innuendoes or overtones, but it was a very grown-up movie. Faith handled it superbly and we did enjoy it, but I would definitely not recommend the movie for young children. For kiddies, it lays an egg and I'm not talking about the golden variety.
    - Liz Fabian

    Saturday, March 10, 2007

    A golden girl, for sure

    The ad campaigns certainly made it look like raisins were a good candy substitute for kids. Tiny red boxes with the brunette lady enshrined in yellow seemed like the perfect take along snack. But often by the time you got to those remaining boxes,the tiny orbs of sweetness were crusty and almost as hard as pebbles. At least that's what I seem to find in the back of my cabinets. Well, now I am sold on golden raisins. How can anyone resist their carmelly goodness in baked goods? If you can't tell, I just made a batch of muffins and opened a new box that was perfectly fresh. Of course I haven't seen the golden raisins packaged as snack size, but they are great. I also particularly enjoyed some Welch's dried fruit snacks I bought for Faith as a substitute for fruit-flavored gummies. Alas, the dried fruit still has added sugar, but I guess we're moving in the right direction.
    - Liz

    Friday, March 09, 2007

    school's out again?!?

    Houston County kids have Monday off from school. And Spring Break is the first week in April - just two weeks away! So once again we are faced with the age-old question of what to do with the kiddies when those long days stretch before us. Here are some ideas:
    YMCA camp - the Houston County Y is having a remodeling special on their spring break camp. This is an organization I really support, and pretty much trust as far as nonprofits go. Plus, the kids burn a lot of energy during their time there.
    Macon Children's Museum - There's enough to do at this indoor playground to keep the kids busy for several hours. And at $5 for a family, it won't break the bank the way spending a rainy day at the movies will.
    Michaels - Take in a Saturday craft class, then get enough supplies to spend a day making the craft at home. One for grandma, one for aunt Kim, one for my teacher, one for the neighbor lady who occasionally baby-sits... P.S. - Don't miss the ice-cream making class at the cafe downstairs.
    Disposable cameras and a photo album - It's spring - so send the kids out into the yard or take them to the neighborhood park and let them find new things to practice their photography skills on. Budding flowers, new shoots on the trees, that squirrel that's been teasing the dog all winter... Then get Wal-Mart's one-hour developing for $6 and either an inexpensive scrap book or make one out of construction paper and string to tape the pictures in. It's not supposed to last any longer than it takes the teacher to ask, "so what did you do on your vacation?"

    Thursday, March 08, 2007

    No longer curious about George

    Now that I'm home in the evenings, I've discovered Curious George. Faith likes to watch him as I'm getting things ready for supper. I must say it is my favorite kid show at the moment. Not only is it adorable, but each episode teaches some important principle. The other night, it demonstrated balance as George was walking a tight rope and making mobiles. Another episode explained weight distribution as it relates to snow shoes. The thirty minute program features two stories followed by video of children experimenting with the same principles George encountered or they recap the story. You'll find Curious George on PBS, so check your local listings. We record it for Faith during the day. But what's up with the guy in the yellow hat? I don't see that he has a job, he leaves his monkey unattended most of the time and he wears ALL yellow. Maybe they should have called him "Yella Fella." Oh, I guess that job's already taken by that guy on the billboards promoting Yella wood.
    - Liz

    Wednesday, March 07, 2007

    a shot to the heart

    After months of fighting with Daniel every morning to get him dressed, fed and ready for school on time, I woke this morning to find him not only playing quietly in his room, but DRESSED and playing quietly. Hallelujah! He still tried the "I feel sick, mommy" gig to get out of going to school, so I said if he still felt sick after school we'd go to the doctor. Of course, then he felt fine. "I want to go to your work," was his next tactic. "Your work is school," I replied. "Mommy's work is at the paper." He thought on this for a while, and when I made to leave his classroom, he came up with a good one: "I want this to be your work." Oh, be still my aching heart.
    Don't forget the consignment sale starting today in the Riverstreet Crossings shopping center - behind Wendy's on Riverside Drive.

    Tuesday, March 06, 2007

    Protecting the precious

    Because I was out shooting video during our storms last week, it took me a little while to hear what happened here at home. The tornado siren was wailing as I pulled down the driveway, but the twister was miles away in the far western part of the county. Evenso, Matt thought he heard a "freight train" as I was getting into the car, so he wanted to be prepared. He and Faith have practiced fire drills and we've always told her we would get in the bathtub if a storm was approaching. The other night I asked where was her school book and she told me it was in the bathroom. She had stocked the room with essentials, including her baby doll. It turns out they didn't have to hunker down, but it's nice to know she's ready.
    - Liz

    Carryout Critic: Johnny Carrino's

    Rstaurant: Johnny Carrino's Watson Blvd., Warner Robins
    Date/Time of visit: Saturday, March 3, 5:30 p.m.
    In/Out: Called ahead and was told the food would be ready in 25 minutes. Arrived about 30 minutes later and yep, it was ready.
    Cost: $27 for two adult meals (with enough food to feed 4)
    Recommendation: high

    I've lived in Warner Robins a year and my first visit to Johnny Carrino's was Friday. To make up for lost time, we got carryout Saturday!
    Chris got the chopped Italian Salad, which I had for lunch (and dinner Friday) and was amazed. Lots of greens, clod chicken, spicy pepperoni and bacon cooked just the way I like it - crispy and dry. Two (or three) kinds of cheese and a wonderfully light dressing. Not to mention, there's enough for at least two meals, or to feed me two meals and Daniel one dinner.
    I got the planked salmon - which came on the plank - and was crusted with some kind of nuts and honey. The salmon was packaged separate from its sides - angel-hair pasta and spinach. The spinach was perfect - not overcooked at all - and had a very light sauce. The pasta was a miss - plain and dry - but I didn't miss it at all in the meal. I just ate some of the yummy bread included with our meal - and the toasted pine nut oil concoction. And there's still some salmon in the fridge. mmm, leftovers.

    Monday, March 05, 2007

    Carryout critic: Italian Pie

    In a recent spate of "too busy to cook," I have been picking up - not fast food, but food, fast. That means carryout from some of our regular eat-out restaurants. I don't have enough to start a separate blog, but I'll post what I've found out here. Share with your friends!
    Location: Italian Pie - 738 Russell Parkway (478) 918-0084
    Date/Time of visit: Tuesday, April 27; 4:45 p.m.
    In/Out: under 10 minutes
    Cost: $17 to feed 2 adults and one child
    Recommendation: high
    My inital visit to Italian Pie on Russell was a stroke of desperation. The car had been in the shop that day, which meant running a bunch of errands after work (in base traffic) rather than at lunch or before work. So I dropped in. No calling ahead, no idea what I wanted. I just walked up to the bar on a sunny Tuesday afternoon and picked up a menu. Hmmm. So many yummy choices! But we've turned over a new leaf, so to speak, and are eating more vegetables in our house. So I perused the salad section and settled on two different options.
    Daniel and I had a grilled chicken garden salad. Not your usual, boring iceberg and tomatoes with a graze of carrots, mind you - the greens were varied and crisp, the veggies a delightful variety. For dad, I picked up a mediterranean salad with artichokes, olives and a bright assortment of "others."
    What delighted me most was the packaging. Keeping in mind they were serving up carry-out, the Italian Pie crew boxed my hot chicken separate from my cold greens. So when I got home, the greens were still crisp and fresh instead of half-cooked. Chris also loved the tomato pesto dressing - using half of it for his bread instead of on the salad. The servings were plentiful, even when Daniel asked for seconds!
    So I can't recommend Italian Pie highly enough if you're in that dinner pinch. Grab and go, without the guilt!

    Friday, March 02, 2007

    Faith and the eye of the storm

    Perching atop a storybook resting on a muddy pillow, was a Glenda the Goodwitch figurine rescued from the rubble of a Crawford County home. There's no telling where Dorothy rode out the storms that unleashed their fury across Central Georgia. Real cars were tossed about as if on a giant playroom floor, but this was no fun. I saw it all through the lens of a video camera today, but it was a colleague's photo that gave me the big picture. I wanted Faith especially to see what Grant Blankenship saw - and pause to consider the hurting children and their families who have seen their lives blown to smithereens.
    I also want her to know how people are coming from all over to help strangers. I will tell her how victims are praising God that no one was killed and thanking Him for keeping them safe. Tonight when I tuck her into bed, we will remember those who have suffered and I will make sure Faith realizes that people can lose all they have and still have everything they need.
    - Liz Fabian