Tag Archives: Jellybean

GoldieBlox Dolls: Just a Different Awful Stereotype for Girls?

GoldieBlox Dolls: Just A Different Awful Stereotype for Girls? What message are we sending when we say you have to reject femininity to be successful? Here are the answers straight from two teen girls' mouths. |Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms|

I am not going to lie. When I saw the GoldieBlox ad where a girl in overalls, armed with a hammer, breaks rank from the pink clad girls picking up Barbie dolls from a conveyor belt, and smashes a machine showcasing a robotic figure repeating, “You are beauty and beauty is perfection,” for the first time, I felt all tingly from the sheer “Girl Power!” of it all. I may have pumped my fist in the air and shouted, “You cannot shove me in a pink box just because I have a uterus!” But you’ll never know for sure because my only witness was my cat and I have thanked my lucky stars on more than this occasion that she can’t talk.

What can be proven is that I was so fired up I gave CNN.com this quote:

Ellen Williams, co-founder of the blog Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms, had an equally positive reaction. “It was about girls being more than their exteriors,” she said. “My 16-year-old daughter curls her hair and does her nails every week, but she also is in the robotics club and takes AP calculus.”

Here watch for yourself. It is so captivating.

I could not wait to show my teen daughters when they got home from school. They are accustomed to being part of my think tank so they didn’t even complain (too much) when I interrupted their streaming of Teen Wolf.

I looked eagerly back and forth between the two of them as the video ended. I could not wait to share this moment of womanly solidarity.

My 13-year-old, J, said, “That was creepy.”

My 16-year-old, G, said, “Why do they want me to be like a boy?”


I explained a little, “They are saying that you don’t have to conform to the standards of beauty set by Barbie dolls.”

G said, “What does it matter what toys I played with as a kid? Barbie is a woman, she can be whatever she wants to be. Why is it okay to hate her because she is skinny?”

So all this time spent worrying about Barbie’s bust to waist ratio and what it was doing to my girls’ body image was wasted time? They just saw her as a woman doing her thing. They were seeing the backlash against her as reverse discrimination.

There is nothing like your kids to make you take a good long look in the mirror. What did it say about my prejudices when I snickered because Barbie being an astronaut was ridiculous to me? My reflection said I might be the worst propagator of stereotypes ever. Why can’t Barbie have blond hair, a nice rack, and a propensity for aerospace engineering?

Ohhhhhh, I was starting to see their point, but they continued.

My 13-year-old elaborated on her doll critique: “What’s wrong with pink? Why do I have to wear overalls to be tough? Why does her hair have to look ratchet?”

My 16-year-old added: “You know, I’m like a unicorn when I go to my robotics competitions. Just because I curl my hair and wear make-up doesn’t mean I can’t program or do equations.”

And there it was. Their point was crystal clear. One stereotype was being traded for another. In essence the GoldieBlox dolls were projecting this message to them: You have to be like a boy to be smart.

It made me think, are people really asking girls what they think about the ads or just their moms? It was obvious my girls and I were looking at the video through two different lens.

My perspective was forged during the 1970s Women’s Liberation Movement when girls were encouraged, or maybe even ordered, to be as successful as they could be.

I dutifully marched along to the beat set by those liberated drummers. Fueled by the mantra “I CAN be anything I want to be” and a desire to live a more comfortable life than my upbringing, I became a doctor. Only . . . being an OB/GYN was funneling me down a pathway that led me away from how I wanted my home life to be. I was not really fulfilled by my career choice, and I quit. To be a stay-at-home mom. Gasp.

Believe me, it made it very uncomfortable to run into acquaintances when I visited my small hometown because in their eyes I went from shining star to a waste of brains.

But one hometown encounter once and for all squelched the shame of “letting all of womankind down.” I ran into a friend’s mom who I had not seen much since I quit my residency. She was my earliest positive memory of a feminist. One thing led to another during the conversation and we landed on my career change. And then these magically freeing words happened.

To paraphrase her: We pushed you girls too hard to just focus on career and achievement. We should have taught you to seek balance.

Balance. That is what the GoldieBlox ad lacks. It jarringly launches from the “be pretty and shut up” end of the teeter totter to smash the “be like a boy to be successful” end into the ground.

My 16-year-old pointed out that she liked the Always “Like A Girl” campaign so much better because she felt it projected she could be the kind of girl she wanted to be and do whatever she wanted to do.

It’s time to stop teeter-tottering from “beauty is a trap that leaves you with little choice” and “you have to reject femininity to be smart, tough, and successful.”

I want to live in a world where wearing lip gloss and understanding quantum physics is not mutually exclusive. I want it to be normal for baking and welding to coexist on a hobby list. I want women to feel like they can leave the house without make-up, but if they choose to wear stilettos, they aren’t lowering their IQs.

I just want women to be what makes them feel fulfilled and content. I just want them, me, to be happy human beings contributing positively to society. I just want balance.

In fact, I want to borrow GoldieBlox’s hammer and smash the teeter totter to bits. Stop the seesawing and let girls plant their feet firmly on the ground and just be.


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The Secret Oasis in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

My family loves Disney World. When we go, it’s the Park Hopper ticket all the way because we have our favorites at each and every park. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, it’s Expedition Everest. I mean c’mon, it’s a story, it’s a show, it’s an awesome roller coaster that reverses its direction and sends you spiraling backwards through the dark.

We also love Dinosaur, or at least my husband and I do. Our girls, even though they’re in their teens, still claim we scarred them for life by taking them on it when they were little tykes after my husband convinced them it was just like the Finding Nemo ride. So what if it’s entirely in the dark, you’re threatened by meteoric destruction, and a T-Rex steams you with his breath? Save your money on therapists, Girls, if this is your biggest complaint.

This text actually happened.

This text actually happened. I already knew she was scarred for life, I just couldn’t remember the name of the ride.


Then there is the Kilimanjaro Safari. Not only does it always have animals you can see, it has a pretty intense story line about poachers, too. Any zoo can give you animals, but Disney gives you your hippos with a side of drama.

And then . . . we need a break since we have now trekked to all the far reaches of the park. And we found that break two trips ago at Rafiki’s Planet Watch, located in Asia near the Safari exit.

The Secret Oasis in Animal Kingdom | Travel and Disney World | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

It’s the negatives that make Rafiki’s Planet Watch special. Really.

  1. No crowds.
  2. No lines.
  3. No over-stimulation.

In a way, I hate to even tell you about because it is such a welcomed, peaceful respite mainly because it is so overlooked. Heck, we passed it over our first two trips when our kids were the smallest and we needed it the most. But apparently what I call peaceful, other people call boring. Puh-tay-toe, puh-tah-toe? Um, no. Those people’s brains have been melted by their smartphones. Don’t be those people.

Basically, you are devoting forty-five minutes to an hour to slowing down the pace and never having to say “C’mon, let’s go,” but still getting a fair dose of Disney magic. One thing though, if you’re hungry, grab something before you start. While there is a gift shop (of course), there aren’t many food choices beyond very light snacks.

It’s a lovely, short walk past lush vegetation to the very cool Harambe Train Station.

Ahhhhhh. Shade.

Ahhhhhh. Shade.

Of course the station and train are cool. It's Disney World.

Of course the station and train are cool. It’s Disney World.


It’s about a five minute ride to Conservation Station. Along the way, the conductor points out some of the sights. You actually see behind the scenes for the Safari where the animals are brought to rest. We have always been able to see animals, but pay attention now because you take a different route back.

Once you pull into the station, there is another lovely, yet slightly longer walk to get to the actual Conservation Station. But it doesn’t matter because it has all kinds of fun things along the way, including a Rafiki photo op.

He's all mine.

He’s all mine.

There are usually Cotton Top Tamarin Monkeys along the way, but their exhibit was being refurbished during our last visit.

There are usually Cotton Top Tamarin monkeys too, but their exhibit was being refurbished during our last visit.


It’s a discovery trail. Now is the time to meander and relax. Let the kids look at the displays and the backyard habitats. They can pick up a leaf without getting trampled. You’ll get to Conservation Station soon enough. Remember, you committed to slowing down for an hour. The hustle and bustle of Animal Kingdom will still be there when you get back. Promise.

There is a cool mosaic on the ground, but you'll just have to take my word and visit to get a better look at it.

There is a cool mosaic on the ground, but you’ll just have to visit to get a better look at it.


Once you enter, the murals are hugely fantastic and they provide a little sumthin’, sumthin’ for the Type A personalities in your group who NEED activities with goals. The artwork is positively dripping with Hidden Mickeys. I, for one, like to find them on my own. Maps are for cheaters, unless your thing is using the Hidden Mickey maps, then it’s totally cool. I am into clues though, so I’ll leave you with this, look in the eyeballs.

The murals start from the entrance and wrap all around.

The murals start from the entrance and wrap all around.


But the best part? AIR CONDITIONING! Sweet, blessed cool air. In a wide open space no less, with nary a thing to purchase in sight. You can set the little ones free from the strollers and let them stretch their legs.

Conservation Station Wide Open Spaces

Yeah, I just realized the irony of highlighting air conditioning in a conservation station, but it is Florida.

Inside there are sound booths, short nature films, and large animal cutouts. Live-feed video monitors that you can control let you observe animals in their enclosures. There is also a great reflecting pool where a preschooler (or a teen) can be occupied with a stack of pennies trying to float the coins into the animals eyes.

Bring those pennies, the money gets donated.

Bring those pennies. The money gets donated to Disney’s Conservation Fund.


Another unique feature is the research and care facilities located along the back wall. You can see vets and researchers actually working. One highlight is the veterinary treatment room. Animals are often given their yearly check-ups in the morning and you can watch it happen.

What a fun place to work.

What a fun place to work.


Hourly, there are cast members with live animal presentations. You can easily interact and get your questions answered.

One of my favorites from 2010. But that darn hawk would not look at the camera.

One of my favorites from 2010. But that darn hawk would not look at the camera.


But besides real animals, there are Disney characters too! Rafiki is usually there and often times, so is Jiminy Cricket and Pocahontas. They are character experiences almost like the olden days when you could just walk up without the long queues and fuss.

My kids were like, "We can just walk up to them?"

My kids were like, “We can just walk up to them?” Even if your kids are shy with the characters, there are always the cut-outs.


So, we’ve covered Hidden Mickeys, science, learning, characters, and air conditioning, but there is still more! The Affection Station is the most adorable petting zoo with the best washing up station ever. Kids can pick up brushes to groom the goats and pigs. There is a little stage nearby where 30 minute shows are given several times a day with animals not usually seen in other parts of Animal Kingdom.

Just a girl grooming a goat.

Just a girl grooming a goat.


That about covers it. Conservation Station is a great place to meander, recharge, and have a lower key Disney experience. It’s just a short train ride back to the hub bub.


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Fabulous Gifts For Teen Girls

Fabulous Gifts for Teen Girls

We’re not much for the Black Friday hoopla, but we can get down with Cyber Monday. How can you beat shopping in your pajamas or while you’re at work–on break of course <ahem>. So we’re making lists and checking them twice and hoping we can get some steals and deals for our teen girls. Even if these gifts don’t go on sale, there is a price range for everyone. All 16 gifts have been Daughters of the Sisterhood approved, so behold . . .

Our Sweet Sixteen Gift Guide

Conair 1875 Watt Thermal Shine Styler

Conair 1875 Watt Full Size 4-in-1 Hair Dryer

This is the best dryer EVER. Seriously. Erin almost stole it from Ellen while they were on vacation together. Good thing Ellen’s daughter Coco (15) does not let it out of her sight. It dries thick hair fast–like Ellen’s thick main of hair in under 20 minutes–and the smoothing attachment is a miracle. No more hand numbing contortions with a brush AND a dryer. The results are so good, it minimizes your flat iron time if it doesn’t eliminate it altogether. Best part? It’s way under $25!


SEPHORA Makeup Academy Palette 2013 Blockbuster Limited Edition Set

Sephora Makeup Academy Palette

This might not be a steal, but it will get you squeals of delight and isn’t that what gift giving is all about? Plus, if you need that special shadow for that one special outfit, it’ll be as close as a trip down the hall.


Divergent Trilogy Box Set
Divergent Series Complete Box Set

If your teen hasn’t discovered this series yet, get this set in your shopping cart right now! Set in a futuristic dystopia where society is divided into five factions that each represent a different virtue, teenagers have to decide if they want to stay in their faction or switch to another – for the rest of their lives. According to Ellen’s girls, this series is a real page turner. The movie for the first book came out in March of 2014. We are firm believers in reading the book before the movie. Firm. Believers. So hurry up and get into this series before the rest of the movies drop.

And if you like Divergent, The Maze Runner is another great option . . .

Fabulous Gifts for Teen Girls - Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms
The Maze Runner (Book 1)
The Maze Runner DVD or Blu-ray
The Maze Runner Dylan O’Brien Poster

Fans of dystopian literature will love The Maze Runner. (Confession: Ellen enjoyed the series immensely, too.) Please, please, please start with the book before moving onto the DVD. While the movie is exciting and pretty great, the book is full of rich detail that could not be crammed into the film. But speaking of details, the main character played by Dylan O’Brien is pretty easy on the eyes. This poster is topping Ellen’s daughter’s wish lists since they were fans before The Maze Runner even came out because of his role on MTV’s Teen Wolf.


JKase® 3-in-1 Camera Lens Kit Wide Angle Lens + Macro Lens + 180° Fish Eye Lens for iPhone 5
Universal 3 in 1 Camera Lens Kit for Smart phones (including iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, HTC, Motorola and More), Tablets, iPad, and Laptops
We know that is a lot of words for a link, but to simplify–IT IS PURE AWESOME. If your teen is lucky enough to have a smartphone, then you know it’s a prized possession. Be a hero by making it even better with lenses that zoom, take wide angles, and produce cool fish eye effects. And it’s under $20! Best part? You might even be able to surprise her because she doesn’t even know she wants it.


Sodastream Jet Starter Kit
SodaStream Fountain Jet Home Soda Maker Starter Kit

We’re not sure if the SodaStream is practical, but it sure is fun and that’s what gift giving is all about in our families. And Ellen’s family can attest that it’s also tasty. Ellen is not a big soda drinker, but even she is a fan of the mywater flavor essence (althooooooough, the root beer is pretty good). One great convenience is that the SodaStream doesn’t need any batteries or electricity to operate. It’s powered solely by the compressed gas carbonator that comes in the starter kit. Pretty cool.


Would You Rather
Would You Rather? Board Game – Classic Version
We are huge fans of board games here at The Sisterhood. We play them at family gatherings, on  random cold Saturday nights, and even on New Year’s Eve. This game is a favorite of all ages on those occasions, but it made the teen gift list because it is also a big hit at slumber parties. Maybe if you pull out this game at the beginning of the evening, you can avoid your own sleepover disasters. We’re rooting for you!

When we have a little more time, and some quiet, Clue is always a favorite. The intrigue gets us every time.

And if you have A LOT of time . . .

Risk Game
Because who doesn’t want to rule the world?


Mini Donut Maker and Cookbook
Mini Donuts Cookbook
Sunbeam Mini Donut Maker

Ellen’s family has such a fun time with this gadget.You can make a huge batch in no time because the donuts bake so quickly. The cookbook is really worthwhile, too. Ellen’s daughter recommends the Red Velvet recipe on page 49 (and so do Ellen’s hips as a matter of fact). One other tip: wooden chopsticks are great for lifting the donuts out.


Innergie PocketCell Portable Battery Pack

Innergie PocketCell – Portable Battery Pack and Charger with USB Magic Cable Trio
This is the gift of power for your teen and the gift of peace of mind for you. Never fear a dead phone again–works for a variety of phones with the same Magic Cable (it has different adapters that you can flip around). Ellen can attest the battery pack holds it charge for quite a while just waiting to rescue you.


Soft Chevron Sheer Infinity Scarf
Soft Chevron Sheer Infinity Scarf
Infinity scarves are hot and this one is sizzling with its chevron print. It comes in a multitude of colors so you can give them to all of the teens in your life without them complaining about being “matchies.”


Fuzzy Socks
Fuzzy Winter Socks – Set 3
Girls love fuzzy socks. The end.


Remington Pearl Digital Tapered Ceramic Curling Wand

Remington Pearl Digital Ceramic Tapered Curling Wand
If your girl has long hair, this is THE curling iron that gives those trendy soft spiral curls. And this one won’t break the bank. Don’t be frightened off by the lack of clip: think no weird crimps at the bottoms of your curls. THAT is so 1988. But don’t fear third degree burns either because this one comes with a protective glove to protect your girl’s fingers.


The North Face Half Dome Women's Hoodie

The North Face Women’s Half Dome Hoodie

Teen girls love The North Face like they are embarking on a daily trek to Mount Everest instead of just traipsing into Chemistry class. This hoodie is one of the more economical ways to gift it. When you click and your size selection you will see that most of them are Prime eligible.


Anchor Bracelet
Sterling Silver Rhodium Plated Anchor Bracelet
Anchors are “in,” but this bracelet is sweet enough to survive the trend. It’s not too pricey either, so cry, “Anchors away!” and add it to your cart, Matey! (Please tell us you read that last part in a pirate voice. Please.)


One Direction Duct Tape and Calendar

One Direction 2015 Calendar
One Direction Duct Tape
One Direction is still going strong and since you can’t invite the lads over for dinner at least they can be with you all year long with this calendar. And in case you didn’t know, duct tape is B-I-G, so One Direction duct tape? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!


Okay and one more for good measure . . .

boot socks
Crochet Lace Trim & Buttons Knit Boot Socks Black
Cold weather is all about the boots and adorable socks peeking up above them is the trendy way to go. Their feet will be extra warm in these. Now if we could only convince them wearing coats was a “thing.”


And just one more . . .

fit bitFitbit Flex Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband
Got an athlete who also likes tech? This helpful little tool tracks steps, distance, calories burned and active minutes. It also monitors quantity and quality of sleep and might just convince your teen it is time to get off of Netflix and get some more shut-eye.


Well, that last one was a little pricey and this one is super cool, so one more . . .

Gift Guide for Teen Girls
Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Film Camera
Shake it like a Polaroid picture! We know, this camera is by Fuji, but it gets better reviews than the instant photo camera by Polaroid, and that is what is important, all super fun retro hip hop songs aside. Your girl will love the novelty of seeing a photo print out instantly and you will love the nostalgia. The credit card sized prints are vintage-y and kitschy enough to appeal to anyone’s inner hipster.

Watches Made From Wood

Need some gift suggestions for the teen boys in your life? We have those right here!

Great Gifts for Teen Guys--Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Need even more ideas? Check out this great super-size guide!

Holiday gift guide for teens and tweens | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Hope these lists give you some help, but we aren’t done. If you’re not an Amazon kind of person, Ellen has one more suggestion. How about adopting a kitten? One size fits all. (How fast are you scrolling back to the top now?)

Merry Christmas Pebbles

There is more to teens than shopping. Read our other parenting articles about teens here.

-Ellen and Erin

This post contains affiliate links. Except for the kitten. That is Pebbles and Ellen is keeping her. We’re sure you can find your own kitten.



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Thanksgiving Tribute to Teens. Seriously.

Yeah, I said it. And I’m saying it with true sincerity. I am thankful for being the mother of teen daughters. Well, technically I have one teen and one tween, but my baby is about to turn thirteen and that is way close enough. Excuse me while I sob into her baby blanket.

Thanksgiving Tribute to Teens. Seriously.

But I don’t have the luxury of sobbing for too long. See, I’m hosting Thanksgiving dinner for the first time in about a decade. My memory is a little foggy but I’m pretty sure the first step to preparing for dinner is to completely switch the furniture between your living room and dining room and give then deep cleanings like they haven’t seen in five years.

No? THAT explains why I’m going insane, but just so you don’t lose faith in me, I did stop myself from going to Home Depot to get a gallon of paint. Okay, I had to turn the car around, but I’m NOT painting and that is the important thing.

But I firmly maintain it’s not delusion spurring me to sing praises to that often maligned teen demographic. I still feel like some of you are skeptical, but you’ll be true believers by the end of this post.

Tens Reasons I’m Thankful to Have Adolescents

1. They completely cleaned the basement rec room and ALL of the bathrooms . . . even under the toilet seats. I know.

2. They schlepped in all of the groceries for our feast, although they were mysteriously unavailable for the actual shopping. Apparently, I’m not raising dummies.

3. They have scrubbed and peeled a mountain of potatoes with protests so faint I could barely hear them through my earbuds.

4. Coco (15) is making the pumpkin pies. And not the fake “she ‘s baking” nonsense you do with wee tikes that takes twice as long and is twice as messy. She even cleans up. I KNOW.

5. They are doing laundry even as I hide in the closet writing this post.

And lest you think I just like having teens for the free labor . . .

6. They provide my cover story for

  • my One Direction infatuation
  • my intense interest in all things Hunger Games
  • my awkward love of Just Dance
  • our getting VIP tickets to see the Cake Boss
  • my viewing of TLC bridal shows like there’s going to be a test

7. I have tons of extra accessories and shoes to choose from now.

But most importantly . . .

8. They make me laugh. I appreciate their wit, their charm, and their comedic timing.

9. We can have for real discussions about books, movies, travel, music . . . and One Direction. Did I mention that before?

10. They are my very favorite people in the world and not just because I made them. They are beautiful inside and out. They make every experience more enjoyable because they are interesting people. I mean c’mon, look at Jellybean’s Medusa Turkey.

So goes my tribute to adolescents. Be sure to throw it in my face when I have my next teen induced breakdown. You’ll probably have to wait a whole 15 minutes before that happens.


What are you thankful for?



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Boy Bands Are For Cougars Too

I originally wrote this post in the Fall of 2012, but it was time to give it another whirl since I am fresh off of seeing One Direction live with my daughters. Today seemed liked a good day to do it since my ears finally stopped ringing from the hysteria of 19,000 screaming girls. But don’t sign me up for martyrdom just yet. Read on. -Ellen

Ellen as a Directioner


I’m not exactly over the hill, but let’s just say I can see the crest without squinting. So a “What the fudge?” might be expected when One Direction is discovered on my iPod, Twitter feed, DVR, and Instagram. (Holla for the new secret boards on Pinterest.)

But I have a free pass. One Direction permeates my life, because I have 11 and 14 year old daughters! They are my ticket out of creepy Cougarville. Truly. I can barely write this post, because I’m waiting to push the record button to catch 1D on The Today Show. I can’t record the whole two hours. Are you mad? Our DVR is bursting with classics like Three o’clock High and Caddyshack. I need room for The X-Factor tonight. And I swear I’ll get around to watching those seven episodes of The Ellen Show.

But I have a confession to make. I may have a wee bit of a crush on them. Stop dialing Child Protective Services. They’re all legal. Granted I could have given birth to any one of them without starring on Teen Mom, BUT my beer pong career would have been cut tragically short. As the saying goes, “Familiarity breeds infatuation.” Or at least that’s the truth with boy bands. Stop rolling your eyes.

Come on! Look at these guys! They are adorable.

One Direction Lads

Don’t know who they are? Well for the love of teen angst, tear your eyes away from The National Enquirer in the checkout line and glance at the journalistic staple that is Us Magazine. They are a group of British and Irish lads thrown together by Simon Cowell after they auditioned on the British edition of The X Factor. Their first album Up All Night went straight to number one on the Billboard 200, selling 176,000 copies in its first week, making One Direction the first British group in history to achieve this feat with their debut album. The Beatles didn’t even do that (although back in the day, you had to do more than know your mum’s credit card number and click a button to buy music). They are being called the reinvention of the “British Invasion.” Impressed?

And you know you can relate. How many of you had your own boy band crushes growing up? Or had to pretend to listen to your girlfriends gush on and on about them?

Now raise your hand and hang your head if you were thinking YOUR boy band was WAY better than One Direction. Time  mellows the horror of acid-washed denim. I understand, but you got to admit that Cowell weeded out ALL of the goon factor when he put 1D together. Not talking about you, Justin Timberlake, never you. You’re the anti-goon.

So ‘N Sync was a little after my time, but I can remember my own infatuation with Duran Duran. Now, they were NOT a boy band. They played their own instruments for mullet’s sake, although Simon Le Bon might have fancied a bit of Auto-Tune vocal sweetening after a hard night of partying.

But I LUVVVVVVED them. I collected their magazines, t-shirts, buttons, albums, 12-inch singles, and biographies. All without the help of the internet. I had to mail order some of these treasures from the ads in the back of Tiger Beat for the love of archaic practices. Can’t you envision me explaining that to the grandkids?

I also had to sit tensely poised to hit the record button on the VCR for Friday Night Videos to catch me some Hungry Like The Wolf. Wait a minute.  I’m still doing that to this day because I’m too lazy to dump the DVR onto the external hard drive. Just goes to show you that the more things change the more they stay the same. But back then, there was no replay redemption with YouTube and Hulu. And you had to walk barefoot uphill to the VCR through a blizzard. Being a fan was a full-time job that paradoxically sucked away all of my babysitting money.

And apparently the kind of infatuated fandom that blossoms during adolescence worms its way into your very soul. When my daughters started showing signs of Fan Fever, I found myself drawn to the flame. I sat with them glued to YouTube reviewing the history of 1D’s formation on The X-Factor. I watched the fan diaries and the movie parodies. I watched their Saturday Night Live performance frame by frame so we could analyze their expressions. And oh yeah, I listen to their music LOUDLY every single day. It gives variety to the One Direction soundtrack stuck in my head.

I have done all of this without even a smidgen of patronizing indulgence. One of my greatest blessings from having children is getting to produce and partake in the childhood of my dreams. But to get to relive one of the bright spots? Just wonderful.  I love sharing it with them without one shred of cynicism. I’m actually jealous of all of their access, but it was more than a little bit fun to dump out my old school memorabilia box with them.

The baton is a bonus

Thanks, Mom, for saving it for me. My band infatuation was my training wheels for love – safe practice for when the real experience came along. And thanks to My True Love, Frank, for fulfilling my final Duran Duran dream — Going to a concert!


Well, it was almost my final dream. Now if only that great bassist, John Taylor, would follow me back on Twitter. It’s @SensibleMoms. Just sayin’.







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Pintershit: The Nail Polish Edition

Today’s Pinterest rant is targeting nails. Full disclosure–I’m not a big fan of painting my nails. It’s not because I’m not girly or I don’t think it’s pretty. It’s just I’m a perfectionist and I can’t stand smudges or chips and my life is a smudge and chip inducing maelstrom.

Let’s talk about those smudges. The moment I become incapacitated in any way– say, my butt hits a toilet seat, my hair drips with shampoo, or my nails are freshly lacquered–a tremor in the biosphere occurs triggering an explosion of “MOM!!!!” Can’t let wet nails prevent me from saving the day.

But I’m a resourceful gal, let’s say I sneak under the radar and manage to vamp up my nails. What’s the point of all of that effort when my maelstrom of a  life hasn’t changed? A manicure doesn’t stand a chance against my to-do list of mulching the flower beds and scraping the black gunk from around the kitchen faucet. Contrary to urban legends, I use my hands for more than clicking the remote and popping bon bons.

Soooooo, just don’t paint my nails and the frustration is gone, right? WRONG! I have daughters. Daughters who are 12 and 14. Every time I call to them for assistance there is some kind of nail polishing going on. Hmm, maybe I’m THEIR tremor in the biosphere.

Me: I need these clothes folded.

Jellybean: I’m finishing the topcoat on my nails.

Me: The dishwasher needs to be unloaded.

Coco: Oooo, sorry, I just started painting my nails.

Me: The trash needs to be taken out.

Jellybean: I’m painting Coco’s nails. With stencils!

Me: Seriously, you need to clean the toilets.

Them: We’re simultaneously painting each other’s nails.

Me: I give up. I’m going to Target.

Them: Can you pick us up some base coat?

So what’s the problem? Nails dry and they can carry on. Well, the problem is Pinterest. Once again Pinterest has upped the ante.


You can’t just slap on a coat of polish and call it a day. Oh no! There must be designs and glitter and themes. Painting nails takes eleventy forevers plus two hours. My girls get to their tasks eventually, but not on my time schedule. You know that an unloaded dryer or dishwasher is the equivalent of a jackknifed tractor trailer on the chore highway. Nothing is moving along or getting done until they are cleared.

Now my heart is not made of acrylic. They do have some pretty cute results.

Free hand zebra stripes--the Sistine Chapel of nails . . . except they take longer.

Free hand zebra stripes–the Sistine Chapel of nails . . . except they take longer.


But Pinterest won’t just stop at time consuming. As always, it crosses from “Wow!” to “What the Heck?” to Pintershit in the blink of an eye.

Pintershit The Nail Polish Edition


1. Ok, THESE are the Sistine Chapel of Nails.

Who has time for this? The intricacy makes my head spin.


2. And these are the Van Gogh of Nails.

Get this woman an easel and some pastels. Talent like this should not be wasted on an art medium that is going to get wrecked the moment she has to do something major . . . like actually participate in life. Doors don’t open themselves, People. Well, unless they are automatic . . . or revolving.


3. WTF are up with these?

At least the above two examples are attractive. An utter waste of time, but attractive. These are just weird. I’m torn between two interpretations–the abstract representation of my dreams swirling out of my grasp as time marches on and choices become narrowed OR bird poop sliding down a window.


4. I think I wasted a WTF on number 3.

These are fuzzy. FUZ-ZY. I guess they would come in handy for a chronic nose picker during hay fever season. You know, because they’re extra absorbent.


5. Paying homage to my Savior on your nails?

Okay, that might be okay, but WHAT is that creature next to the baby (alien) Jesus? Is it a sheep? A pig? Chupacabra?


6. “I know what we’re gonna do today.”

Waste some time on some cartoon nails! Maybe these Phineas and Ferb nails should go a little deeper undercover; although I have to admit Perry is looking kind of sharp.


7. Let the games begin!

Oh I’m not talking about Tetris. The only game she’ll be playing is “Find the piece of mommy’s bizarre nail in the macaroni and cheese.”


8. Nails, lips, and a meme!

Extra bonus points for the nails matching the lips. That paint doesn’t look toxic. at. all. Speaking of toxic, have I been sniffing too much polish remover or does her bottom lip look like Grumpy Cat?



9. Art?

I’m assuming this is art, but I’m wishing it wasn’t. I’d be pretty careful wiping if you know what I mean.


10. I am not alone.

Robyn from Hollow Tree Ventures writes for the hilarious site Craft Fail. She shared an attempt that our friend Anna of Random Handprints made at copying a Matzoh Manicure. She eventually nailed it, but this try might be more mange than matzoh.



Oh Pinterest, you know we love you, but sometimes you lead us astray.



Pintershit Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms



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Sisterhood Party Pride

We have said it before and we have to say it again: We love to party! And not just for birthdays, anniversaries, and such. Heck, if it’s a day that ends in “Y”, somebody bring the beach balls and the booze and let’s crank up the jams. Anyway, here are. . .

10 Parties That Make Us Proud


1. Irish Girls Do It in Bright Green

I just love that this Irish girl married into a Polish family with a fun-loving real-life Irish Grandmom. We love our GiGi, and all of the fabulous parties that happen on her favorite day each year!

st.patrick's day collage

2. Inside This Box is a Fabulous . . .

Road Trip. With five kids and birthdays that come in bunches, we don’t always go the traditional party route. Often times, we hit the road to celebrate. In fact, Biddie and I are still basking in the glow of our great Northeastern Adventure to celebrate her 13th birthday this past summer.

This picture is one of my favorites though. When Biddie was 10, she was obsessed with the First Ladies. Sorry, 1D! Martha Washington was her first real pin-up! Her birthday was the weekend of the Obama inauguration that year. All she wanted was to get to Washington, DC. Here she is scanning the White House windows looking for a glimpse of one of the Obama girls. Still one of my favorite birthdays ever!

White House

But other times we play it straight and we get. . .

3. The Party That Proved Just How Smart I Am!!

Eddie LOVED all things Star Wars the summer he turned four. We had a pool party and these lightsaber pool noodles were the party favor. Cheap, easy to make, and 10,000 times better than a bag of Dollar Store junk. Every mom and kid loved them! And some still have them!

But there is always a fly in the punch. Check out Eddie’s face behind his cool cupcakes. Darn kid’s ruining my boast! I swear no exorcism was required.



4. True Fans Party on Opening Day

Who parties on the opening day of the Liverpool soccer season? Maybe the family that left their North Caroline beach vacation early to see them play on American soil last summer. This might be taking the term Soccer Mom to a whole new level, but I don’t care. I’m hoping these crazy family traditions are gonna be the things that get these kids home for a visit every once in a while after the big, wide world scatters them to the winds.



5. 40 IS Fabulous!

Especially when you do it Sisterhood Style. We always treat our buddies well on their special day, but this party for our friend Lauri was the best! We went kayaking on the river near her house. Her family even had it planned for us to paddle up to a dock for some beverages and snacks along the way. Kind of like a Kayak Crawl.




Erin’s proud party moments turned out just like her: all over the place and fabulous. I’m going to stick to the traditional  birthday party genre. We take the mantra “Go big or go home” to heart around here when it comes to celebrating those special days.

1. Pandamonium

I love to have my house stuffed with happy girls.  I also love our family tradition where the birthday girl gets her very own personalized cake to dive into with abandon. The theme for Jellybean’s 12th birthday was pandas, so with 13 girls sleeping over, it was pandamonium. Get it??

Panda Collage Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

2. Monkey Business

In fact, this is the party where the personal birthday cake tradition was born by chance. So take that Pinterest. I was able to develop fun family rituals long before you rolled up on the scene.

Monkey Cake Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

3.  Letting the Cat Out of The Bag

Jellybean got our cat Sparkle for her 6th birthday. Imagine my delight when she came downstairs ready for her indoor bounce house party dressed in her kitty cat Halloween costume. Melt.

The Kitty Cat Collage Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms


4. Ginormous Water Slide For The Win

I LOVE throwing little kid birthday parties. Coed teenager parties make my palms clammy. For our first one, I got this huge water slide as a distraction. I should have thought about the bathing suit factor.

Water Slide Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

5. Back to the Good Ol’ Days

Alright, let’s forget the teen years, I’m starting to break out in hives. Let’s go back to when all I had to do was transform our basement into the American Idol sound stage. And upon review, I apparently also transformed our backyard into a superstar themed obstacle course for about a bazillion little girls. Did I mention “Go big or go home”?

Superstar Birthday Collage


In case all of this party pride is making you a little nauseous, don’t forget the New Year’s Eve when Ellen made everyone actually gag with this little gem of a Pintershit drink.

Taste Testers


Also, don’t forget to check out the other bloggers over at Monday Listicles who responded to Stasha’s prompt 10 THINGS YOU ARE PROUD OF. Feel free to join in on the fun.


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Pintershizz: Buyer Be Dumb

Shopping can be fun, boring, necessary . . . or it can be frivolous. Let’s face it; it’s really the buying that gets us into trouble. Most of the time we are Sensible, but every once in awhile, there is that purchase that just makes us shake our heads and say,”What in the name of all that is rational were we thinking?”

Erin: We’re not talking about an impractical splurge like this:



Ellen: Yeah, these are ridiculously pricey, don’t really rock out with yoga pants, and would inflame my plantar fasciitis, but at least they can be hidden in a closet.

Erin: These shoes are so expensive I would probably have to display them on my mantle for the next decade and call them art to justify delving into the college funds for them. On second thought, my youngest is five,  and they probably won’t even be using books by the time he goes. 

Ellen: It’s really cute we’re talking about these shoes as a hypothetical bad purchase when I have THIS actually in my house:


We like to call it The Monster Bed: Where blankets and stuffed animals come to party.


Erin: That is one big, fabulous bed. I’m not seeing the problem.

Ellen: I feel like I should size the picture so that it spills over into the margins. You know, so that you get a visceral feel for how massive The Monster Bed really feels in my daughter Jellybean’s (12) room. This is as much of the bed as I could get in the frame because, as it was, my back was pressed against the wall.

Erin: But she LOVES that bed.

Ellen: But at some point she is going to move out and then we are stuck. It can’t be a guest bed, because getting into that thing as an adult is AWKWARD. The way the steps are arranged  makes you have to hunch over and crawl up there like a hobbit. Grandma could never make it up there.

And it weighs a gazillion pounds. She wants her room repainted, but this bed can’t be moved. We are actually just going to paint around it. That makes me shudder.

Erin: If you squint your eyes, that idea might actually pass for Sensible. It would be easier just to deal with the wonky paint job when you finally get that thing outta there by taking a sledgehammer to it and throwing it out the window. Remind me again why you bought it?

Ellen: Well, mainly because Jellybean needed a bed since we had whisked her daybed down to the newly finished basement, but really because she fell in LOVE with it. I justified the purchase because of the storage possibilities.

Erin: Jellybean is a good girl, she deserved it.  Those drawers are fabulous.

Ellen: It can’t be justified. This is what we use them for:

Where candy goes to rot. She doesn’t so much like to EAT the candy as to HAVE the candy.


Erin: You know what would make you feel better? A good ol’ round of Pintershizz. There are much dumber things to buy for the home than Monster Beds that bring your children joy.

Laugh at the whole Pintershizz series here.

Laugh at the whole Pintershizz series here.


9 Things Pintershizz That Put Your Insensibility On Display

(Working Title in Japan: How to Have Fun With Grandma)

1. Actually Have Your Children Swinging From the Ceiling

Ellen: Really!?! That’s my basement.

Erin: I just thought it would be helpful to point out The Monster Bed was not alone in your house.

Ellen: Weird. Helpful is not the word that came to mind.




2. Chairs That Look Like Something the Cat Coughed Up

Erin: Okay, all poking at you aside, how about this one?

Ellen: Now that is Pintershizz! I wonder if you need a distemper shot to sit in it.




3. Chairs That Force You to Use the Words “Phallic Symbol”

Erin: Here, Grandma, we saved a special seat just for you!

Ellen: Gives a new dimension to awkward family moments.


4. Fridge of the Future

Erin: You just place your food in the gel to keep it cold. How could this not be a fabulous addition to a household with kids?

Ellen: I’m going to start working on the baby proofing for this now! We’ll be rich!

The Blob Refrigerator

Source: yankodesign.com via Mary on Pinterest


5. The Bathmat That’s Bringing The Feel of Outdoor Plumbing Back

Ellen: A bathmat for those of us who don’t have enough dirt, mold, and mildew in our bathrooms already.

Erin: Super duper shiny bright side? It can double as a litter box.

Moss Matt



6. Because It’s Easiest to Find Pintershizz in the Bathroom

Erin: Yep, this toilet seat  scale weighs you “Before” and “After.”

Ellen: Gives scientific quantification to the term “Dropping a load.”  Yet another thing for Grandma to enjoy at your house.

Toilet Seat

Source: yankodesign.com via Sara on Pinterest



7.  When You Want Agility to Be the Gauge for Who Can Use Your Facilities

Ellen: Grandma would be s*** out of luck with this rodeo toilet.

Erin: Waa waa.

Rodeo Toilet

Source: jwz.org via Sisterhood on Pinterest


8. For the Animal Lover/Contagion Fan

Ellen: Have you ever wanted to pretend you worked in a Biohazard lab while washing your dog? Want no more!

Erin: I’m sure you could use it with kids too. Nothing wrong with wrapping your kids in plastic while lovingly bathing them.

Ellen: Plus picture this curtain WITHOUT someone’s arms in it. Opens up the opportunity to explain to Grandma why your shower curtain looks like a giant tandem prophylactic.

Contagion Shower Curtain

Source: solutions.com via RaVae on Pinterest



9. One of These Pins is Not Like the Other

Ellen: We’ve had a good time presenting home products, but sometimes you have to twist the theme to accomplish a goal: like poking fun at your blogging buddy. We began this post at my expense, but we’re ending it at Erin’s.

Erin: You do know I’m right here? What are you talking about?

Ellen: I’m referring to when you asked me where to get a laser pointer, aka “Blinding Device”.

Erin: Well, it is for Science Olympiad for my middle boys—refraction and mirrors and all that. It’s so cool . . .

Ellen: What did your homeschooling neighbor say when you asked her if she had one?

Erin: I believe her exact words were, “Are you crazy!?!”

Ellen: Well I found the pointer for you. If you’re going to go that way, you might as well go full on Pintershizz.

Laser scissors

Source: thinkgeek.com via Carmen on Pinterest


Erin: Wow.

Ellen: Just tell the boys not to run with them. I’m sure it’ll be fine.


 -Ellen and Erin

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Spinning In Circles

Thanksgiving has us thinking of circles — circles of love, circles of family, circles of friendship, circles of life . . . and now you’ve got The Lion King song blaring through your head. You’re welcome.

What Thanksgiving didn’t leave us with was a lot of spare time for blogging. Erin and her brood spent the better part of the week with her family only to drive back for two and a half hours to drop her girl child off at Ellen’s house for Jellybean’s (12) rockin’ sleepover. This sleepover went much smoother than some in the past and for that Ellen is grateful. With 14 girls there was the potential for much to go wrong.

So we’re thankful that Monday Listicles only required us to share 10 photos from our cell phones. THAT we can handle.


Ten Circles

1. Circling Above

Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History


2. Dupont Circle Studs

Renaissance Hotel Lobby Dupont Circle Washington DC


3. Circle of Passage

Rowhouse Dupont Circle


4. Sweet Circles


5. Circle of Ducks

Duck, Duct, TAPE!


6. Cucurbita Sundial

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere


7. Circles of Relief

Survived a Sleepover with No Fodder for the Blog!

8. Circumference of Pie

Erin’s Aunt makes each kid their own pie for Thanksgiving dinner
Yummy AND sweet!

9. Psychedelic Circles

Cloud Gate aka “The Bean” Chicago, IL

10. Grammatically Questionable Circle

Found on the Christmas Bazaar Baked Goods Table


So in the end, we are thankful for being able to find the funny in every day. We are also grateful to Jessica Betke at Jesse’s Spot for making blogging fun and easy this week. We love ecards too and her funny Thanksgiving post made us giggle. Finally, this week and every week, we are also appreciative of Stasha for providing such a fun place to land every Monday.


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