Tag Archive: family


After almost 9 years of marriage, and 2 kids, Valentine’s Day shifts a little. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows and unicorn kisses. Sometimes, it’s sneaking away for 2 hours during the restaurant’s slow time and eating carbs and drinking alcohol. Just us?

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We decided to go to one of our favorite local establishments. 1. Because they have an awesome beer selection! 2. Because they have really great food. If you are in Lake County and don’t regularly go to Firkin, I don’t know about you…
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As we were there, reminding ourselves of how much we actually do like each other, we talked about how great it will be when the kids are in high school, and we can just do this whenever we feel like it (this is not where you chime in and tell me all the reasons why that is not gonna happen. Just let me believe this.)

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We stuffed our faces pretty quickly with Warm Goat cheese in a spicy tomato sauce, Fried Oysters, French onion soup, and Spicy Pork Tacos. #notpaleo We enjoyed some Hopslam and some Affligem Blonde beer. Unbuttoned our pants and went to pick up the kids.
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It was actually a beautiful winter day with snow falling as we ate. Now I have a fire going and I’m happy as can be. 9 years with Brent and I can’t wait for 9 more. A couple that drinks together, stays together…
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I have discussed previously my love affair with Summer. It is by far my favorite season and I treasure it. But what about Winter? Well, let’s just say it’s complicated.
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In years past, I suffered through winter. I barely tolerated winter. I complained incessantly about winter. But, I had an epiphany this year. Bottom line, I live in Northern Illinois (practically Wisconsin) and I’m not going anywhere, anytime soon. So, what do I get out of suffering through the season? Nothing! In fact, the more you resist time, the longer that time feels.

I read an article about how people who live in Norway celebrate winter for brining them opportunities to do things they love but don’t do during other seasons. They celebrate things like skiing and being ‘cozy’ and reading by the fire. I decided that there are things I DO truly love that I get to do during Winter.

1. Reading- what better excuse is there to curl up with a book when the weather outside is frightful?
2. Fires- I LOVE having a fire going in the fireplace! Just ask my husband.. I would have one going 24/7 if it wasn’t too expensive. The fire is so delightful.
3. Hot Toddys- not sure how to spell that but I do love myself a warm drink. Whether it’s simply some tea or if it’s an adult beverage, a nice warm drink can warm your soul. And since we’ve no place to go…
4. Snow- I love the beauty of a fresh fallen snow! Nothing compares to it. The pure joy and amazement on my kids faces when they see that it finally snowed is enough to make you cry. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
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I plan to be as cozy as possible for the next 3 months and embracing what this time of year brings. Until March; then all bets are off! In March I’m sick of this bullsh*t.

My Idea of Summer

adirondack chairThank you baby Jesus, summer is finally upon us. I literally dream of summer all year long. In those desperate quite moments of February when you feel like you can’t take it for one more GD second, I close my eyes and think about June. I think about the sun on my bronze face and working in my garden and sidewalk chalk and happiness. And, it’s here! It’s finally here!

When I think about what I want to do with my summer… wait let me stop there for a second. Notice how I said MY summer? Notice I didn’t say my KIDS’ summer? That’s right. The kids are going to be fine no matter what kind of summer we have. Me, on the other hand, not so much. You see, my sister is the queen of summer. Not a weekend goes by where she doesn’t know about some awesome free summer event somewhere. Last year she brought us to a hot air balloon launching thing in Grayslake. It was very cool. And, bless her for not getting more irritated with me, but she sends me at least one email per week saying, ‘did you hear about the free summer concert series this weekend….want to go?’ And my response is usually something like, ‘maybe, we’ll see how the week goes.’ But, it’s all good. She likes to do that stuff. You know what I like to do? Sit in my yard listening to Bob Marley and drinking vodka (she likes to do that too…). I’d like to say that I’m joking, but I’m 100% serious. If I got to pick what I got to do on Saturdays all summer long, that would be #1.

I also love the kids running around the yard, playing on the swing set, exploring nature, and not bugging mom. It’s summer for crying out loud. They need Mom to protect them, to feed them, to love them, but they don’t need me to be their super-companion. That what’s your brother/sister, cousins, and neighbors are for. That is what your imagination is for. I’m like all of our parents were, I lose my shit when my kids say they are bored. Any one who says they are bored can go inside and take a nap! This doesn’t mean we won’t also have a blast. We got a new and improved blow up pool- cooler than anything I ever had. We got pool passes. I like to do camp fires and backyard camp-outs. I love going for long walks. We go to the park. And, we are signed up for t-ball. There is going to be plenty of fun for the kids of course. That’s the best thing about summer- it is fun without trying. Bubbles, hopscotch, hula-hoops, and hoses. That’s all it takes.

I just don’t want to jam in so much, that next thing I know it’s September and I feel like I didn’t sit down. Some people like to pack in as much fun into every day as they can muster. I like relaxing outside. To me, that is fun. (It makes me sound so lazy!). I like reading my book in the sun. I like grilling out. I like sitting around fires. I like talking with my neighbors until you say, ‘Holy crap, is that what time it is?’ I like playing bags and drinking shandy. I like waking up in the morning and blogging on my porch while my kids watch cartoons. I like going to the farmers market and touching and smelling and tasting. I like when my husband asks, ‘what’s the plan for the day?’ and I get to say ‘nothing, no plan.’

That is, until we get a boat. And then that is what I want to do everyday. But, with the Marley and the vodka….

thumbs upTo make a relatively short story long…

Background:

You all know how I have turned into a little bit of a nut when it comes to health and wellness. I mean I guess I have always been this way, but in the last 2 years I have come into my own as they say. I was a tomboy turned athlete turned health studies major turned massage therapist turned health book reader turned blogger turned into what I am now: a super passionate advocate of healthy eating, lifestyle, and common sense living. Or at least that is what I want to be. And recently I just decided to take it to the next level.

Blind Eye:

You see, I have been so worried about the chemicals that my family and I have been putting in our mouths, and have turned a blind eye to the chemicals that we are breathing in and rubbing/spraying on our skin. I won’t let my kids eat Gushers, but clean the bath tub with bleach or spray the kitchen table with toxic chemicals? Sure! Why not?

The Universe is sending me a message:

So, most of you know that I participated in St. Baldricks this March. Well, as you can imagine, my bald head was a big conversation starter. I cannot tell you how many strangers started telling me all about their personal experiences with cancer. Either they were a survivor or lost a wife/husband/friend/child to this horrible disease. It was so difficult to hear all of the sad stories people were sharing, but I also look at those moments as an incredible gift. I can’t tell you how many times I started crying with strangers. It was almost as if the universe was sending me a big flashing sign saying ‘CANCER’. I know cancer is scary, and mysterious, and multi-factorial, and too complicated to simplify, but I do believe there are lifestyle changes we can all make to help prevent certain types of cancer, not to mention, other diseases (asthma, allergies, diabetes, chronic inflammation, etc.).

Then I remembered:

I have this vivid memory from last summer/fall when I had a wake up call from my bug spray. It was a cooler evening. I had very thin leggings on under my dress. I remember the bugs being horrible that night! The mosquitoes were ALL OVER us. My husband does not mess around when it comes to mosquitoes and only buys the deep-woods off. You know the stuff with like 127% DEET? Well, I sprayed that on. And then, an hour later, I sprayed myself again. Eventually we went inside because we couldn’t take it. When I saw my leggings in the light, I noticed that the bug spray was eating away at the material. The leggings were literally dissolving from the chemicals in the spray! I immediately thought to myself, ‘and I spray this on my children?!?’.

Enough is enough:

That memory was all it took. I decided to contact a friend that I knew was selling all-natural products from cleaning to skin care, etc. I did my research and then pulled the trigger. I now use and sell Shaklee. Shaklee has been around forever and has a reputation for being a ‘GREEN’ company. And not like fake green, really truly environmentally conscious and responsible. Every single product is safe and non-toxic. I am incredibly excited about it and want to share it with the world.

From now on:

I no longer need to worry about my kid walking over when I am cleaning the windows. I no longer need to freak out over how much ventilation I have when cleaning my tiny little bathroom. The cleaner that I use to wipe down the counters? I can also spray it on my kids to keep the bugs off. Oh, and my dad can use it to spray down his fruit trees instead of pesticides. Yes, it’s that safe. And they work. Like, really work.

Take a look:

Here is my link. candicereimholz.myshaklee.com Check it out. Let me know if you are interested in anything. It can be confusing to figure out what everything is and does, so please ask if you have questions. Feel free to private message me at any time or commenting below(I recommend doing that before you place an order so I can help you get the best deals, monthly specials, etc.). Or, if you want to know more about the business end of things and getting involved, I can help you with that too. Honestly, no matter what type of wellness you are into, there is something for you.

I’ll be updating you all every once in a while, and highlighting a specific product now and then. I’m just really excited and think you would be too if you tried this stuff. 🙂

Thanks for listening.

A Piece of Peace

I before E except after C…. Shit, I don’t know.

It has been a while since I have blogged. I’m not even sure why. I love to write. Blogging makes me happy, but sometimes I don’t make it a priority. Isn’t it funny how that happens sometimes? We go on autopilot. We begin to do things that are easy instead of what ‘fills our bucket’ (I learned that one from my son). Instead of turning off the TV and reading, it’s easier to watch re-runs of big bang theory. Instead of going to bed at a decent time, and working out in the morning, it’s easier to have 1-2 more drinks and say f-it.

I want to get off auto pilot. I don’t want to ‘get through the week’, I want to live my week. I want to design my week. I want to enjoy each and every week that makes up my one life. That feels powerful to say. It also feels scary. To be in control of my week, means that there is no one to blame but me when things do not go as planned or if I screw up. Is that why we are all afraid of creating our own destiny? If we actually try and then fail, what does that say?

I am not 100% sure why I share this with all of you. I guess I would love to create a little community of consciousness. A community of people that choose their actions, foods, health, thoughts, lives. A community of people who don’t get lost in drama triangles and living for show and hypocrisy. Maybe I share it as a way to get these thoughts out of my head and into the universe. I don’t need any more doubt or guilt in my head. I’d like to save that space for peace and wonder and love and learning.

I had a great moment this weekend when my daughter was off swinging on her tummy and my son was running thru the yard and I just soaked it all in. I tried to see the world like my kids would- with wonder and amazement. I stopped my son and said, ‘can you believe a few weeks ago, this yard was covered in snow?’ He said, ‘yeah and now it’s green grass with bugs and warm air’. I smiled and paused, taking a mental snap shot and then he says while walking away, ‘mom sure does like nature!’ Ha. I do. I sure do like nature. I sure do like moments like this too. Real moments of consciousness and presence. Moments not on autopilot. Moments not on my phone. Moments of living the life I want to live. I want some more of all that.

So, I am on the third day of my challenge and I am feeling really great so far. As a reminder: no gluten, no sweets, no red bull, and no bad dairy. After all this time of talking about food, the question I get asked the most by far is ‘so, what do you eat???’. Well, here is what I have eaten since Sunday morning.

Sunday-
Coffee, sweet potato hash, sausage, egg, strawberries
Chicken, carrots, water
Ham, Brussels sprouts, red wine (1)

Monday-
Coffee, left over sweet potato hash and sausage, water
Mixed greens salad, lemon/olive oil dressing, chicken and avocado and bacon, water
Apple
Ham, kale, water

Tuesday-
Coffee, ‘green eggs and ham’- eggs with spinach and green onion and ham, water
Salad with hard boiled egg, cherry tomatoes, bacon, water
Cucumbers and cashews, water
(tonight will be) Apricot chicken, butternut squash, sauteed spinach, red wine

My energy has been good. I didn’t have the best night of sleep last night. I have been drinking a lot more water than I am used to which led to me getting up 3x last night. I am confident this will improve. Normally when I am eating and drinking right, I sleeplike a baby. But not a stupid new born baby, like a 3 year old that sleeps for 12 hours a night and wakes up all sweaty and crazy-haired. 🙂

I also am on Day 3 of my happiness challenge and am having a lot of fun with it. I am already spending so much time thinking about the things that make me happy. There were 3 things by 9am that I wanted to use as my # picture on instagram (@candysbrain), but decided to hold off. It is amazing what simply focusing on what makes you happy will do with your mood. I have also been walking around for 3 days singing, ‘because I’m happy…!’ like some kind of maniac. That is, when I am not harmonizing with my son to ‘Let it go’. He got his singing skills from his mama. Poor guy.

Okay, that is my update for now. Did anyone come up with their own challenge?

023I went to the new Trader Joe’s in Libertyville yesterday and I was just so inspired! Maybe it was because I am happy to have TJ’s closer to home, maybe it was because it was 50 degrees and sunny after a spirit-crushing winter from hell, but I don’t think that was it. I think it was because I felt like a French Lady at the Market. Can you picture it: some classy woman, dressed well, red lipstick, stopping at the market and picking up a few ingredients and some wine to bring home to her family? This imaginary family then sits around a table for hours enjoying each others company and the delicious food. (If you haven’t learned this about me yet, I have quite the imagination). In this fake scenario, there is none of the typical issues most of us face: no time, kids fighting, family complaining… It is a happy place and I want to live there more often. I am going to live more ‘European’.

In many other countries (France, Italy, Spain, etc.) the food that people eat and their relationship to it is vastly different than our experience in America. Of course I am making extreme generalizations here so if you take offense in anyway- you’re missing the point. In Europe you are less likely to see someone loading up their cart at Wal-mart every other week with convenience food and industrial size tubs of cheese balls. We have become obsessed with saving a buck and saving ourselves calories. We care more about how much fat is in something than what ingredients are in something. Exhausted moms are like zombies in the super market aisles asking themselves ‘will my kid actually eat this?’ On the other hand, people in Europe buy full flavored fresh foods without obsessing over calories. People in Europe don’t avoid chocolate, but they also don’t wolf down a Butterfinger on their way home from work. They ENJOY the chocolate.

When I went to TJ’s, I had no plan and no list. I knew I needed a few dinners, and I was out of wine. I walked the store and picked up things that looked good and fresh. I grabbed a fresh salsa we’ve never had for my husband. I got a whole chicken that I made last night, and I have some fish and soup for tonight. Add in 5 bottles of wine, fresh fruit and veggies, and call it a day. I didn’t bring home anything I am going to regret having in my house. I didn’t buy any food that will sabotage our diets/healthy eating. But most importantly, I didn’t ‘shop-down’ to my kids. I didn’t buy something breaded, bland, and beige for them to eat. I didn’t buy some food-like product that is easily palatable so I can get thru dinner without complaints. I simply bought food. When we ate chicken and roasted veggies last night, so did the kids (Will told me cauliflower is not his favorite). When we eat fish tonight, so will the kids. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t live in some weird bizarro world where my kids love everything I make, but they do know that what mommy makes for dinner is what’s for dinner. There is no back up dinner; there is no snack later because you didn’t eat your dinner and there is CERTAINLY no telling mommy that the food is gross! (I will actually be blogging about feeding kids soon so be on the look out for that).

Lastly, food should be wonderful and exciting and fulfilling and fun and delicious. Food shouldn’t be depressing or worrisome or filled with guilt or boring or stressful. People talk about love-hate relationships with food. There should be no hate. By choosing foods that are real and fresh and yummy and preparing them to nourish your family, you will never need to worry about calories again.

So, you can either be:

That frazzled, crazed, hurried woman at Wal-mart, fighting the crowds, cursing people under your breath, schlepping around 3 weeks worth of convenience food, obsessing over how many calories is in your lean cuisine and your vitamin water, wondering if your kids will eat pork chops or if you should just get nuggets for them, and going home feeling crabby and wanting to order pizza.

Or, you can be:

That stylish, calm, collected woman at the ‘market’ smelling the produce and smiling, placing carefully selected ingredients in your basket, bringing home new and exciting flavors for your family to try, and never again worrying about calories or fat because you know that when you focus on nourishing your body and soul, you will never be unhealthy.

It’s all in your head, and you can have that experience too. Just decide it

Our family eats about 90% paleo, so that means we eat a lot of eggs! Like a lot of eggs. I am constantly searching for ways to keep eggs interesting for my kids. I already have mom guilt about never letting them eat store bought cereal and toast, so when I hear ‘eggs, again!!!!!’ I cringe a little. 

One of my favorite resources since making the switch is the Nom Nom Paleo website and blog. I think it’s because of the sheer quantity of recipes available. It also helps that I have liked everything I’ve made from that site. Here is what I made this morning, but I encourage you to see for yourself

Frittata Muffins-

-1 lb. ground beef (grass fed if possible), you will probably only use half of the meat so either double the recipe up and use all of it or do what I did which is freeze half of it so that when I make this again next week, I won’t need to brown the meat again. 

-1 small onion chopped

-Handful of spinach ripped up

-1/2 cup shredded cheese

-heaping tablespoon plain yogurt (full fat), you could use kefir or cream or milk if you wanted probably

-6 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350

Brown the meat and onion in a pan and then let cool. 

Scramble eggs, yogurt, cheese and spinach in large bowl. 

After the meat mixture is cool, fill up the muffin pan or silicone muffin cups half way with meat.
photo (25) Top the rest of the way with the egg mixture. (I actually topped with more cheese too).
photo (26) Bake for 20-25 mins. or until knife inserted comes out clean. 

I like my baking cups because they don’t stick at all! 
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You can also use whatever types of seasonings you are in the mood for. I wanted them to be kind of like tacos so I chose salt, pepper, garlic, cumin, and paprika. Very tasty. Kids loved them and begged for more. 

 

 

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photo (21)My daughter just provided me with a little ‘aha’ moment the other day. I was watching the make-over episode of the Biggest Loser and one of the contestants came out of the dressing room in a red dress. My daughter looked up at the TV and said, “Look Mommy, a princess!” She said it with such joy and wonder on her face. In her mind, this happy smiling woman in a dress WAS a princess. Mind you, this woman had no make up on, her hair wasn’t done, and she is still ‘over-weight’ based on our standards here in the states. This is no offense to this woman; she is simply still on her weight loss journey. None of this mattered to my 2 ½ year old. It really got me thinking.

First of all, I was so proud! I was proud that she has not been influenced by me or by society or by Disney to think that only skinny is beautiful. She can still see a woman who has genuine happiness on her face and call her a princess without any discrimination. I don’t know how long this will last, or even how long I want this whole princess fantasy to continue, but right now I am going to enjoy it.

What this should teach us though, is we are not born to discriminate, or hate, or make fun of, or think less of other people because of their appearance. We are born knowing that every human being is equally amazing and beautiful. We know this instinctually; we know it down to our bones. We learn otherwise, and incorrectly so. We are taught that “mommy doesn’t like to look fat in her jeans” and that “the chubby kid gets picked on the most” and that “there are no fat models” and that “the pretty girls get attention”.

It’s the same thing with racism. Remember that awesome Dennis Leary quote, “Racism isn’t born folks. It’s taught. I have a 2-year-old son. Know what he hates? Naps. End of list.” How true is that?!? And, if I introduced Ellie to 2 men and said, “Joe likes boys, and Mike likes girls”. She would say, “Okay…look at my pony.” She doesn’t care. Are they going to be nice her? Are they going to play Candyland? She’s on board.

We need to be conscious of our behavior, what comes out of our mouths, and our body language. A five year old girl is completely capable of interpreting an exasperated sigh as her mother looks in the mirror and doesn’t approve of what she sees. She is completely aware of the things you enjoy and focus on. If your coffee table is filled with Cosmo and US weekly instead of literature authored by women or books about science and the arts, she will notice. If your ‘down-time’ is watching Real Housewives or The Bachelor, she will notice. Not to mention the message this sends to our sons. Are we teaching our sons to value a woman for everything that she is capable of, or are we showing him that our value as women comes from our appearance?

It’s a lot of pressure, right? Yeah, parenting isn’t easy.

Just today to my husband I said, “I really need to focus on my diet. I am shaving my head in a month and I can’t be bald and chubby.” Granted, this was not in front of my kids, but it still came out of my mouth. I heard me say it. How many times a day do you insult yourself? If you had a friend that spoke to you that way, you would have ditched her years ago. And, my husband heard me say it. How annoying we must be to our husbands…. The person who loves us more than anyone else on the planet, the person who we trust with our lives, our future, our children, and we don’t believe the nice things they say to us.

I want to think like a 2 year old. I want to do what makes me happy. I want to value everyone equally (except moms, moms are the best). I want to play so hard that I fall asleep while eating. I want to be unashamed of my feelings and say what’s on my mind. We think that kids don’t know much, but they are so much wiser than we give them credit for. We could all learn a lot from them if we were actually listening.

What life lesson have you learned from your kids?

photo (1)Anyone with young children know that the question of ‘what do your kids want for Christmas’ is one of the hardest questions to answer. When they’re older they want specific items, when they are younger they either don’t know or they want everything. Or, they are like my 4 year old nephew who only wants swords, even though he has 5 swords already (not to mention all the swords he makes out of every day household objects). And, I don’t know about you, but I have 2 kids and my house is full of crap! I have no storage space and every inch is covered in plastic toys. My kids have so many toys, we don’t even know what to play with any more. So, if you’re anything like me, this guide is for you! This is what to ask for this year, especially from the grandparents.

1. Experiences, not stuff! Maybe the grandparents or aunts/uncles want to take them to the zoo or the children’s museum or to a movie or to a special over-night outing (think Key-lime cove or some indoor water park, etc.). The kids will have so much fun, they get to enhance the relationship with the kids, and the parents might get a chance to get out and shop themselves (or nap).

2. Lessons, not stuff! My mom is getting both of my kids swim lessons this year instead of more traditional presents. My kids are going to be thrilled, they get to swim every weekend in the boring Jan/Feb months, my mom doesn’t have to run around town trying to figure out what to get, I don’t have to pay for the lessons myself, and we don’t have to bring another f’ing version of Elmo into our home. Everybody wins! (think also gymnastics, ballet, karate, etc.)

3. Family fun, not stuff! My dad is getting our family passes to Great America. Instead of them trying to figure out 4 separate presents for our family of four, they only need to buy 1 thing. And, instead of them buying stuff they we’ll be sick of by February, we will be able to enjoy this gift all summer long! (think also pool passes, museum memberships, vacations, etc.)

4. For the babies…. When our kids were really little and truly didn’t know any better, we asked for diapers and formula and wipes and pajamas and money for day care and….. You get the point. Babies really don’t need too terribly much for the first 2 years. They have fun unwrapping presents, playing with the paper and boxes. They don’t care that it is a box of diapers. Help them help you, ask for what you need.

5. For the parents…. Sure I love gift cards, sure I love crock pots, but what I really want is a baby sitter. I want a baby sitter that is easy and consistent. What if you asked for an over-night baby sitter once a month for six months? Or, every other month all year long? Did I just blow your mind? Something consistent too, like the 3rd Saturday of every month. Just think if before the year even started, you had scheduled/planned date nights simply built into your calendar. You’re welcome…

6. The chip-in…. Last year we did a combo birthday day party for both kids. Everyone was asking what to get and I had NO ideas. The only thing we actually wanted was a swing set for the back yard but those are too expensive. So, what did we do? We asked all of the family members to simply chip in whatever they would have spent on a present and we pooled the money together. We ended up getting a really nice swing set, and again, made it easy on everyone else.

What NOT to get:

1. Noisy bullshit! We don’t need anymore singing teddy bears or harmonicas or yo gabba gabba dancing monsters or any of that rage inducing non-sense. It will shortly ‘run out of batteries’ or ‘go to sleep’ or ‘I don’t know what happened sweetie, you went to sleep and it just disappeared…’

2. Plastic crappy cheapness! I don’t want ANYTHING that can possibly be gotten in a happy meal. You know the toys that cost $3 and will last about 3 minutes… I don’t want them, they don’t need them, stop the insanity!

3. Parental supervision needed toys! I love my children. I swear, I do! But, there are literally a million things I can do with them. If there is anything I need, it is toys they can play with without me. I need stuff that gives me 15 minutes to attempt putting dinner on the table. I need something the little one can play with when I am helping the big one with his homework. I need something the big one can play with while I am trying for the 13th time this hour to get the little one to ‘pee pee on the (m’er f’ing) potty’.

4. Lastly, I just don’t want a slutty barbie. My daughter is 2 and I really don’t want to go thru the whole barbie thing. Doctor barbie should NOT be in platforms and a mini skirt! I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. I would love her to play with a reasonable, normal looking female doll. The ONE barbie she has is in a mini-skirt, no underwear, and a pink stripe in her blonde hair. I will not start the unrealistic craziness that is barbie as long as I can help it. I also resent the fact that my son gets science and building toys and my daughter gets a pink shopping cart. Do better- entire world.