Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Date Night Haiku

Our once a month date
A well-reviewed restaurant
A great night we’re due!

Dressing is so hard
Damn! Where’s my new cute black top?
I rock the frump style.

Kids, cooperate!
Please, get us out of this house.
I crave six cocktails.

We forgot this world,
Hip, cool, beautiful people
Eating pricey food.

In the know banter,
We overhear.  Our whole world,
the focus: children.

Drink loosens the tongue.
Feel just a bit of that spark.
Oh yeah, it is you…

My love, the father
of my much beloved children,
not just a roommate.

“What’s wrong now?” you ask?
I don’t love what I ordered.
Whatever. It’s fine.

What do you mean, “You?”
No, just say it.  You think I
am always pissed off?

Let’s not go there, k?
I’m not the one who cannot
wash an effing dish.

God, it seems we can’t
sit in civilized comp’ny
and have a nice time.

That’s not how we roll.
We look away, chewing food,
amidst merry folks. 

Pay. Leave holding hands.
Yes, we’ll try again next month. 
Hope springs eternal. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

To all lovers of MelissaAndDoug!

Giveaway Monday
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a Train Table!

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The ABCs of Thankful Me

Aria, my little miracle girl.  She amazes me daily with her strong, fearless, sassy, funny personality.  I love her more every day and can't wait to spend more time with her.  

BodyHype.  The name is terrible - an homage to the New Jack style of the early nineties, dreamed up by a team of shady Ivy League boys, who at this point in their lives are probably extremely wealthy white collar criminals.  Nevertheless, thank you B-Hype for putting the shine in my college years, something I'm sure you continue to do for many a student at Ol' Nassau.

Compassion. When evident in day-to-day life, or when you read about it or see it on TV, it is life affirming.  It can move me to tears, and I wish it were more evident a virtue in business and politics.

Dancing.  My religion since I was 3 years old.  Thank you for being more than an art form, but an anchor, therapy, community and identity.

Extraneous calories.  Mostly in the form of Twizzlers, gummy bears and alcohol.  Yes, these things have zero nutritional value, but if you've ever spent the entire day outnumbered by children under the age of 3 and you DON'T need these things, you either don't give a shit or are the second coming.  

Facebook.  Sure, if you calculated the months I have spent learning about the minutiae, however noteworthy, of my "friends'" lives, I could have built a chalet out of toothpicks, but FB has put me back in touch with so many dear friends from my distant past that I have to be thankful for it.  


a tie between my girlfriends, whom I couldn't live without,
Gunn, Tim.  For some it's W.W.J.D? For me it's What would Tim Gunn say? I love this man.  I want to meet him.  I want him to be my own personal cheerleader.  He's smart, elegant, funny.  He shows that one can give straight up, honest advice sensitively, so as to make the recipient feel encouraged and motivated, but not patronized. "Make it work," and "I'm concerned" are two of my favorite things to say as a teacher/choreographer/adviser.  If someone can get me a meeting with him.  I'd be eternally grateful.  I'll give you, well certainly not my firstborn, but I'll think of something. . .   I cyberspace pinky swear! 

Hamm, Jon.  Lawdamercy! Never mind, I'm married...

Infertility.  We are blessed; we made it through with not one, but two, beautifully healthy, happy endings.  

My husband, the love of my life.  We've made a beautiful life together and two fantastic children.  

Keesha.  I may have entered my frumpalicious period, and yet, in the words of Stuart Smalley, "I'm good enough.  I'm smart enough.  And doggone it, people like me."

Leyli.  An amazing solo I got to do when I was dancing for Amy Marshall.  One of the highlights of my dance career.  

Mother.  My mother moved here to be with her only grandchildren. Her generosity is unparalleled.  

Nighttime.  My time. The kids are in bed and I can finally have time for myself - to lose myself online or spend time with my husband.  Ideally, it's time get dressed up, go out and remember that a fulfilling nightlife needn't involve the sofa, TV and Ben and Jerry's/popcorn/a barrel of wine.  

President Obama.  Yes, you are a mere mortal.  They can say what they will, but your symbol is a powerful one.  I am blessed to have seen your presidency come about in my lifetime, and blessed to bear witness to the old folks from the pre-Civil Rights era see your ascendancy as well.  

Pilates.  An amazing form of exercise that taught me about the body, and (once upon a time) kept me in kick ass shape.  I was lucky to teach it for 4 years.  It has changed the way I teach dance.  My mother, in her 70s, is now studying it, and loves it.  In the hands of a skilled instructor it is truly, truly amazing work.  

Quiet.  Something that is so rare these days.

Riley.  My firstborn.  My son.  He's growing into an amazing little person.  I love talking to him, hearing what he thinks and having a front seat for the productions of his imagination.  

Sex and the City, a.k.a. the young Golden Girls.  Excluding the second movie, I’m a junkie.  If I flip past a rerun, I'm stopping.  The show is like seeing and hearing the spectrum of your best girlfriends except with way better clothing (or clothing that would convince people you were a coke-addicted, high class whore if worn during the day/in public).  Within any foursome of gal-pals, who (as with Charlie's Angels 30 years ago) hasn't assigned each friend a character? And, if you must know, I usually come out as Charlotte. The show finally showed women discussing the big S like guys (okay, way more than guys) while owning their strengths, intelligence, wants and frailties, all the same.  

My best friend of 30 years.  Biologically, I'm an only child, but I have a sister.  She is the godmother of my children, and although we are hundreds of miles away, we talk almost daily and are closer than ever.  I'm extremely lucky to be drop-everything-now for both happy and sad times with you, Lady T.

Underpants.  Cotton.  'Nuff said.  

Victories, small, and usually unexpected.  Like arriving to a birthday party on time,  getting your child to eat broccoli by stuffing them in tubes of rigatoni or just getting out of the house.  I'm grateful just to be able to recognize these as victories.  

Whole Foods, a.k.a. Whole Paycheck.  Some days you're the bastard stepchild of a crunchy health food store and Safeway, but gone rogue and on steroids.  Other days, you are a shining beacon of light.  I love you, I love you, I love you, even though $100 can equal a bag of groceries my one year old could carry on her pinky.   

X-chromosome.  Thank you for meeting your match to give us a girl the second time around.

You.  Because if you are reading this, I must be doing something just a little bit right.  I can't thank you enough for taking a seat for my show.

The Zoo.  A great zoo (on the level of the Bronx Zoo in NYC, the Brookfield in the Chicago area, etc.) is a treasure, relaxing and fun, especially for the kids.  Studying the movement of animals in their simulated habitats is a much needed escape into the otherworld of nature. 

What are you thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  

Monday, November 21, 2011


 Three years ago, I gazed upon a little face and held a tiny body. 
I figured out how to nourish him, 
comfort him and keep him happy.  
I gave him lots of tummy time.
Eventually he learned to sleep and to eat.  
To crawl and to walk.  
To play, to run and to jump.
To be social.  

Today I am in awe of the little boy he has become.
A generally great sleeper, and adventurous eater.
I am so proud of his spirit, his warmth, 
his ever-present desire to reach out to others.
His physical coordination, his great vocabulary, his curiosity and his imagination.

He continues to teach me how to be a great mom.

We keep growing.

Little man, we have so much more to learn!  
So much more playing to do! 

And I can't wait.  But I need to, because already time seems to be going faster and faster.  

You say you became a big man in the stroller.  
Soon you will be that big man (but not in the stroller).

I love you more than you'll ever know.

Happy 3rd Birthday, my little love. 

Happy Birthday.  

Friday, November 18, 2011

My Fellow Bloggerina

Dancing is a lot like blogging.  It requires talent, passion and dedication. It is constant work, requiring a solid commitment of body, mind, soul and time.  Some will be wildly successful; others will make a solid living from their craft.  Still others while capable, even talented, will soldier on, the foot soldiers of the blogosphere, doing what they do without a nickel to show for it, because they love it, because it feeds their spirit.   

Dancing was wonderful preparation for blogging.  As they tell clients at Career Transitions for Dancers, "If you've danced professionally, you can do anything."  You are disciplined and a quick learner.  Seeking an audience, you are used to putting yourself out there.  You know how to sequence and analyze means and procedures.  Not only are you accustomed to criticism, both constructive and otherwise, but a part of you thrives on adversity -- on doing the impossible.  While rejection hurts, it merely spurs you to keep going.

And, most of all, you understand that it's not always the best dancer who wins the prize.   

Unlike the dance world, which is inherently social, the major physical contact in blogging is with your keyboard.  I blog alone, preferably in isolation -- at home, dashing to my laptop while my kids nap, or late at night.  One thing that was so gratifying about dancing is that while I may have had to seek out jobs and thereby an audience, I did not have to search for my tribe.  My allies were right there beside me in classes, auditions, rehearsals and performances, fellow congregants in the church of movement.  

How would I find community in blogging, which, at first, was like being set out in the wilderness with some water and trail mix?  

I began reaching out to a few moms in Mommyblogland.  Some were nice, but it was clear we'd be acquaintances only.  Others willingly offered wonderful guidance and encouragement, acting as big-sister, as opposed to BFF figures. With other bloggy moms, it was like going to an audition and having the "it" dancers give you the once-over punctuated by a dismissive sneer.  

Those high-schoolesque moments sent me back to Selfdoubtia, with a stopover in Middle Fingestan.

But, I kept writing.  I kept reaching out to people, knowing that I couldn't be a likeable woman in real life and Pariah Jane on the Internet.  And finally I made friends, and began building my tribe.  

Gina Jacobs Thomas, my fellow bloggerina, at is one of my favorite new blogosphere chums.  When I saw her profile on (a amazing community and resource for mom-bloggers), I knew I simply had to "meet" her. It turns out that our lives are totally parallel (Ba-dum-bum! Dance humor!). Fellow mother of two, blogger, dancer, dance teacher, ex- New Yorker -- the list goes on.  We probably danced circles around each other, not in a dance battle kind of way, but in overlapping orbits within the NYC modern dance scene of the late 90s/early 2000s.  On top of that, our husbands even share two names!* Wonder twin powers, activate!

Collaboration was the natural outgrowth of our virtual friendship.  Gina was my fabulous Mom in the Spotlight post last week.  This week I am thrilled to have my first guest post, The Greek Meltdown Dinner, on her blog at  Please visit her blog, check out my post, and do stay a while - poke around a little.  I know you'll find some great reads.  Gina's a wonderful writer -- smart, honest, clever and funny.  MNS lovers, please show Totally Full of It some love via comments, FB, Twitter or the ultimate of blogger props, the equivalent of having a two year old run to you, jump in your arms and give you a big wet sloppy kiss,  a Google follow! 

*No, they are not the same person.  Yes, we are sure. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Get a Melissa & Doug 25% Off Coupon When You Take the North "Poll"

Melissa & Doug want you to tell them which of their educational toys you think is the best! Just click on the image below to place your vote in the North "Poll!" You'll Get a Melissa & Doug 25% Off Coupon** to use at just for voting!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mom in the Spotlight: Gina Jacobs Thomas

Gina Jacobs Thomas holds the titles of wife, mom, dancer, blogger, paper-airplane maker, princess/fairy costumer, pillow fort architect, and house D.J.  She lives in Denver, CO with her husband and two children.  As a modern dancer with the Hannah Kahn Dance Company, she performs throughout the year in venues large and small, as well as educational outreach programs in area public schools.  Gina moved to Denver from New York City in 2006 where she spent six years making dances with MOB Productions, directed by Mollie O’Brien. She has performed the works of Tere O’Connor, CompanyAmyCox, Jennifer Allen, Drastic Action/Aviva Geismar, and Laura Staton, among others.  She's also served on the dance faculty at Red Rocks Community College.  Her choreography has been presented in New York City through Joyce Soho and DanceNow Downtown, and in Colorado through University of Colorado's NeXus series.  In her spare time, she writes on her blog at

How many children do you have?  Boys?  Girls?
I luckily have one of each.

How old are your children? 
My son is five and my daughter is two (or as she would like me to tell you, she's two and a half).

I love asking this question of all interviewees.  How much sleep do you generally get?  Are you good about setting your own reasonable bedtime, or do you carve out downtime, social time, creative time from sleep?
I am completely cranky and useless if I don't get around 7 hours of sleep a night (post-kids, that is.  Before kids I could survive on much less).  I had to work very hard to get my daughter sleeping all the way through the night, as as payoff, both kids have been sleeping in until 7 or 7:30 lately.  Seeing how my husband and I have the same bedtime as the elderly, I'm getting a pretty solid 8+ hours a night.  Sleep is something I'm not willing to compromise on, for my kids or myself.  The kids are in bed by 8:30, so after that is my downtime.  We usually spend it catching up on our recorded TV shows or reading.   Social time is something we could really use more of, and we get the occasional date night about once a month.  In general, we spend a ton of our waking ours with our kids or doing kid things.

I ask this with awe and reverence.  Seriously. How on God's green for now earth do you manage to blog, dance, parent, (teach?) and have any time for yourself and/or your husband?  
I think my ability to manage my time, commitments and hobbies fluctuates from week to week!  Some weeks I feel like I spend more time (or too much time?) blogging and catching up with social media, then I feel guilty about it and spend the next week focused on being a more attentive wife and parent.  Lately I've been thinking I should be waking early and taking advantage of the kids' new-found fondness for sleeping in.  But when that alarm goes off, all I can think about are those 18+ months that I woke more than once a night to feed my daughter, and I fall back asleep.  

I've been able to continue dancing by having a very supportive husband...and a fabulous lineup of babysitters.  At this point in my dance career, I won't participate in projects that have me rehearsing in odd hours of the day and night with no consistent schedule.   The schedule that I have now is set in stone for the most part.  Thankfully, my time dancing is spent while the kids are in school.  Performance weeks can be tough, with the extra time involved in tech and dress rehearsals.  Some weeks I'm lucky and my husband is in town, but those weeks that he's traveling, I call on our trusty babysitter.  Shows and tech week are planned well in advance, giving me plenty of time to get things figured out.  

Where were you in your career when your children were born?  
I was dancing in NYC when I became pregnant with my son.  I found out I was pregnant two days before we found out that my husband got a promotion and as a result, we would be moving to Denver.  I was at a point with my dancing career where I had tired of the scheduling nightmare of trying to work a full-time job and dance with several small companies.  I had become bitter with all of the rejection I had received from years of auditions and was ready to get out of the concrete jungle.  So, the timing was kind of perfect.  When we moved to Denver, my focus was on getting our house in order and ready for a baby.  It took me a while to get back in the artistic mindset.  As a fluke, three months after I had my son, a community college called looking for a part-time dance instructor, and it just seemed like a great transition.  

How did you plan to fit motherhood into your artistic life?  How much did your plans evolve into reality?
I hadn't really thought too much about what dance life would be like after having a baby.  Moving to a new city while pregnant, I wasn't scouting out dance classes or companies.  Nor did I think there was much happening in this new environment.  But I happened to hear of some Saturday intermediate modern dance classes taking place at Hannah Kahn's studio five minutes from my house, and started taking classes again about five months post-partum.  It was a very slow entry back in to the dance community.  But soon I was asked to join Hannah's company.  The time requirement was completely manageable, and it was great that it was so close to home.  

A few years after I joined the company, I became pregnant with my second child.  Hannah was extremely accomodating, thankfully.  I took class all the way until my 39th week, was in rehearsals for most of my pregnancy (including dancing as a community member in David Dorfman's Underground at 7+ months), and was even allowed to bring my daughter to class after I came back.  My daughter, on the other hand, was not as accomodating, but that's another story.  When I just had one child, it was easier to commit to more than one project.  But with two kids and an oft traveling husband, it's difficult to be involved in projects where the directors don't have children of their own and can't understand the logistics of being a parent.  It's just not possible to drop everything in a day and show up to a last-minute rehearsal.  I'm not dancing as much as I'd like, but I'm satisfied.  I've been able to rent studio space near my house during the weekends to work on solo work I've presented in town.  At this point in my life, my mind is in another place -- I don't feel that creative spark or urgency to make work that I used to thrive on.  But I'm also okay with that.  The high I would get from resolving a choreographic problem in my work has been replaced by the pride I feel at making a puppet theatre from scratch.  

You have continued to dance professionally.  Can you talk about how you got back into dancing shape post babies?  All mothers have a new relationship with their bodies after pregnancy and giving birth - what's that new relationship like as a dancer?  
I think dancers tend to be more critical of their bodies then most women, and it only gets worse after having a baby.  In general, I felt like it had taken me 9-10 months to gain the weight, so it would probably take me that long to lose it.  I wasn't in any major hurry to drop a ton of baby weight, especially since I nursed my babies past the age of one.  However, the pressure of getting back in to dancewear is pretty daunting.  

With my son, I was put on 8 weeks of rest before labor, and then had a c-section, so I knew my body would need time to recover first before I could concentrate on returning to my dancing body.  My focus had temporarily shifted to teaching.  Things were harder, for sure.  The running I used to do before pregnancy to keep my stamina up was just too hard to work in and recover from.  Breastfeeding and lots of walking helped.  With my daughter, I had danced and worked out throughout my pregnancy, and so I felt better and stronger going in to the post-partum phase.  While I had the usual aesthetic stuff to worry about, what was more difficult to adjust to was how my body felt.  My pelvis was more unstable (and a few years older)  and I was more prone to injuries as a result of being more physically exhausted.  My daughter is over two years old, and I'm still not where I want to be.  Let's not even get started talking about my boobs!  I've found a fabulous physical therapist who has helped me get my pelvis stabilized.  And I try to work in some cardio and strength training during my daughter's nap times.

While some might disagree, a dancer's life is often nasty, brutish and short.  It is an art form, performance-wise at least, for the young. What has it been like for you, physically and emotionally, to have twenty somethings as your peers?
In most of the companies I danced in while in New York City, I was usually one of the younger dancers.  At 30.  It was a bit of shock working with Hannah's company and realizing I was the oldest person in the company.  The younger dancers definitely have youth working for them in terms of their facility.  My leg extensions aren't gonna get any higher than where they are now, my back isn't going to miraculously free up and move in extreme directions.  However, what I do have in my corner is experience and maturity. In some ways, I feel like I'm dancing stronger now then I ever have, and I have Hannah's physically and technically challenging work to thank for that.  

When I was 24, I wasn't concerned with artistry, but was more focused on getting the phrases right, or trying to throw in every ounce of energy I had.  I didn't know how to really embody someone else's movement and make it my own.  Or that it was okay to play with someone else's choreography.  I don't get nervous or anxious before a performance like some of the younger dancers might.  It's something I both empathize with and have to remove myself from.  And there is a certain healthy level of challenge that rehearsing with younger dancers can provide.  I think dancers as a whole are a youthful group of people though.  I certainly don't feel like I'm almost 40.  And Hannah's company, while young as an average, has shifted to include more marrieds-with-children than not.  We can all commiserate on lack of sleep and not having showered for days.

Has being a mother changed your creative approach or point of view?  Has it changed your teaching style?  If so how?
Before I had kids, I was so eager to please those I was working with, to the point of not listening to my own needs and wants.  There I would be in class hoping to get noticed, or in other's work trying to feel like I was making an impact.  Then my first child was born and I suddenly felt like life had more purpose.  Now it feels as if I've taken some of the pressure off of myself.  I guess I just don't take myself as seriously anymore.  That's not to say that I don't treasure my career or have gotten lazy.  On the contrary, I feel as if I appreciate that time for myself.  Which is why I don't spend energy worrying about what teachers and choreographers think about me.  I'm there for ME now.  Creating work has become more investigative and process-oriented instead of product driven.  And that has seeped its way in to my teaching philosophy as well.  I'm not as interested in how dancers look doing something (healthy technique aside, of course), but I get more excited when I see that they've experienced a concept I'm discussing. 

Do you dance with your children?  Do they take dance classes? 
We have daily dance parties around here.  My son has developed a wonderful love of music, to the point that he's humming almost constantly.  We can't be in the car without some tune-age.  My daughter started taking some dances classes at a local studio once a week - a tap and ballet combo.  I was hesitant to start her, to be honest.  I'm not hoping she'll follow in my footsteps.  But we were looking for something to do on Saturdays when my son was taking tennis lessons, and since it wasn't a Parent/tot class, it was a good way to "cut the cord."  She loves it, and her teachers are wonderful.  I love showing my kids the Legion of Extraordinary Dancers videos on youtube, and my son has created his own Robot dance.  My daughter loves to twirl and spin around with her eyes closed, the hopeless romantic.  

Have your children seen you dance?  What do they think?
Both of them have seen free, child-friendly performances that I've been a part of.  Usually those shows are short and geared towards a younger audience.  My son came to Hannah's latest show this season in an actual theater and had a great time. Hannah's choreography is pretty traditional and accessible, which helps, as I don't think he would have been too keen to see some of the more post-modern, theatrically slanted work I'd done in NYC.  I made sure to put the comps in my son's name and let him feel special. I have to say, I was more nervous that he was out there watching me then I'd been in a long time.  After the show, he was waiting in the lobby, and I have never felt like there was a more important audience member to impress.  He's at an age now where he can watch dance and pick up things, and it was great to hear his take on the show.  Plus, he got to stay up way past his bedtime, how cool is that?

If asked, what advice would you give your fellow company members about dance and motherhood?
One of my fellow dancers just had her first baby today!  And all I could tell her before she delivered was to enjoy those first few weeks, to not be in a rush to get back, because those first couple of weeks are so sweet and hard and precious.  You never get those back.  Dance will always be here, your baby's first of everything won't.   Know that it may be harder than you expect, but it might also be easier.  Try not to fight your body, it's been doing some very difficult and rewarding work.   Hope that your baby will be agreeable to being shuffled off to class and rehearsal, but don't beat yourself up about it if they have other plans.   It's okay to hire a babysitter so that you can feed your creative self.  Your expectations might have to change, but being a dancer and a mother is a wonderful merger of occupations.  

Monday, November 7, 2011

Seething Serena's Glossary of Marital/Parental Dysfunction

bedrage -  A sudden onset of fury felt by the hard-at-work parent when his/her lazy-ass partner casually announces s/he is going to sleep.  

crumblivioius: the inability to see crumbs.

napkaverse:  a refusal to employ napkins when snacking, usually due to a crumblivious condition.

D.I.N.W.Y:  Do. It. Now. Will. Ya?  Another firestarter.  If you wanted it done in an hour, tomorrow, next week, you could put it on your to-do list and stress about it.  The reason you asked for help is so you so could have it done, while you worked on something else.  Not exactly neurosurgery, folks... 

dish limbo - dishes that have been merely rinsed, but not washed, and sit, in dubious status, on the edge of the sink. The crumblivious partner, obviously guilty, will feel no shame. 

funnication - the sin of having too much fun with or without your children. Punishment will appear in the form of epic meltdowns, an accident or a return to frequent or pre- 6 a.m. awakenings.  Retribution might also include attempting to parent in an asstacularly hungover and exhausted state. 

I.D.E.A.H.: I. Do. Everything. Around. Here. (Smiling, natch!)

napgotiation: the conversation necessary to enable one party to abstain from childcare duties in order to rest. Issues related to I.D.E.A.H. and P.I.L.S. (see below) often figure prominently.

parental deafamation: the accusation that one parent deliberately sleeps through nighttime wake-ups and/or feedings.  

P.I.L.S.: Parental Imbalance of Labor Syndrome. the clear and infuriating idea, held by both parents, that partner-dear doesn't do s--t.

shaded buffet:  cheerios and other meal debris lying under the table, thereby serving as a readily available snack for your child(ren).

sickotage: the heartbreaking, maddening, yet obligatory cancellation of the one damn time you decide to take a break and do something for yourself because of your child’s sudden illness.

tantrumic dissonance: the uncontrollable urge to giggle at your child's Oscar-worthy meltdown even as you are pained by her distress.

televignorance: 1.  paying no heed to the idea that any or all TV is detrimental to your child.  (eg. Steve displayed extreme televignorance by watching reruns of The Sopranos with his two year old on his lap.)  2. losing oneself in a television program as your child, unsupervised, engages in precarious activity. (eg. Steve’s televignorance allowed little Ava to go Jackson Pollock all over the playroom walls.)

W.H.U.M. (rhymes with dumb):Wouldn't Happen Under Me.  The feeling that your child sustained a fall or other accident because of the negligence of your coudn't-take-care-of-a-pet-rock partner.  

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Halloween Hypocrite

 I love candy. 

Which means that on Halloween the one with the problem is me.  Not my kids.  I'm sure someone out there in this phenomenal nation of ours has a, say nine month old, who was permitted to eat his weight in Smarties, but as for my younguns, at 18 months and 3, they're simply too little to gorge.  My little girl didn't understand why trick or treating wasn't an eat as you go type deal, so I let her have a cookie and some M&Ms en route, to avoid carrying a fully tantrum-ous Dalmatian from house to house.  After dinner, the kids had a few treats, and then I put their stash up high up in a kitchen cabinet.  For them it's pretty much out of sight out of mind. 

But not for me.

Everyone who knows me knows that I heart candy. Chocolate's okay, but what I like is CANDY- Twizzlers, Mike and Ikes, jelly beans and gummy bears.  It is a wonder I have a tooth in my head and don't weigh 300 lbs. If someone could somehow get the vitamins and minerals of veggies, fruits, proteins and whole grains in gummy bears I wouldn't know what to do with myself.  Many moons ago, when I was on tour dancing in Germany and discovered Haribo, a colleague said she swore I was going to turn into a gummy bear.  And as much as there is is how much I'll eat.  Honestly, if you put me in an airplane hangar and filled it with Twizzlers I could eat myself clear in a matter of days. 

My kids biggest Halloween problem, therefore, is Mommy appropriating, i.e. eating, their loot. 

The October 31st edition of Mamapedia Voices, featured the post What to Do with Halloween Candy by Amy McCarthy of (  I think her suggestions are great, but extremely unfair.  Mama needs some candy too!  My growing offspring do not need candy, but for this body, #$%& it. And I mean, really, the only way to keep me off candy is to wire my jaws shut.  So here are some great ways to keep the Candy Train going for weeks, months even! If you like my piggyback top ten lists, such as Ten Habits of the Mom Who Knows When to Say, "Aw, Fuhgeddaboudit!" and you like candy, you will, to quote Meshell Ndegeocello, dig this like an old soul record!  
What to Do with Halloween Candy by Amy McCarthy of and commentary by yours truly...
1.  Recycle it. Practice instant recycling. Screen the candy your kids bring home. After throwing away any unwrapped goodies, take out any candy your children don’t like or you don’t want them to have and then send that candy back out the door with other trick-or-treaters.
MNS: Yes, tell the kids that candy is horrible for them, and you will not allow them to spoil their appetites, ruin their teeth and fill their precious growing bodies with rubbish. Leave them with a few pieces that they can have for now.  What you don't want them to have, i.e. your favorites, should certainly not go to other people's children.  That's just wrong.  Recycle it, indeed. Right into your purse.  

2.  Freeze it.  Put the chocolate bars right in the freezer to save them for later. Frozen chocolate takes longer to eat, so children can’t wolf it down so quickly. 

 MNS: This is a marvellous idea.  If you're in the Chicago area right now, it's a bit warm out.  Chocolate should definitely go in your freezer for now -- of course way in the back, by the mystery meat, where the kids won't see it.  As soon as it gets cold again, put it in your car.  That way it's frozen and right where you need it for yourself, or, if push comes to shove, as a dose of car ride Stopthatwhiningnow! 

3.  Bake it. You don’t have to freeze the candy to keep it fresh. Kept in an airtight container, it will last long after Halloween. Later, you can bake surprise cupcakes. Push a soft candy into the middle of the batter in each cup before baking. Decorate the icing with more candies. You can also substitute bits of chocolate bars in your favorite chocolate-chip cookie recipe.

MNS:  Oooooooh!  The thought of a Heath bar chip cookie is making me want to do kartwheels down the street.  But, there’s one problem - not eating the candy before the cookies get made.  Sure you can put them in an airtight container, but then you’ll be tempted to grab one when temptation strikes. I suggest you hide them, or put them in a safe! Just remember the combination or where you put them so your greedy ass doesn’t wind up with NOTHING!

4.  Melt it. Save chocolate to bring a taste of summer into your home long after you’ve put away the sunscreen. Melt chocolate for s’mores any time of year. Place a chocolate bar and a marshmallow between two graham crackers on top of a paper towel. Microwave for about 20 seconds.

MNS: Even better, melt it, and on a morning when you can tell it's an “I am the Universe’s Personal Toilet Day,” put it in your 9 a.m. Kahlua coffee.  Now if that's not delicious therapy, I don't know what is!

5.  Stuff it. Gather the leftover goodies and stuff them into a (homemade or store-bought) piñata. Crack the piñata open at Thanksgiving or wait until your child’s birthday.

MNS: Pinata my ass!  Stuff that %$&@ right in Mama's mouth!

6.  Create it. Professional artists create sculptures from candy, why not kids? Make mosaics with hard candy. Cover sturdy cardboard with wax paper, aluminum foil or paper. Then instead of tiles, use candy to create a design and “grout” it with stiff icing. To make sculptures, stick soft candy, apples and marshmallows together with toothpicks.

MNS: That's right, play with your food!  Spread it out on the floor and admire the shiny colorful wrappers hiding sweet deliciousness inside.  Create a lovely design on the floor.  Set the scene for some choreography!  Pirouette around the M&Ms; leap over the Snickers! Do x-rolls next to the tootsie rolls!  Cabbage patch by the Sour Patch Kids! It’s all good!  Once you've worked up a good appetite, dig in. You deserve it!

7.  House it. After Halloween, kids can’t wait for Christmas. Save Halloween candy for gingerbread houses.

MNS: Another simply brilliant idea.  Make a gingerbread house for every room.  (No, not the bathroom! Even if that's one of the only places you might get some privacy. As if!)  That way you can have some candy no matter where you are in the house.  Just make sure to put it on a high shelf, out of the kids' reach, oh, and if you have a bug problem, eat up quickly!

8. Wear it. Make a candy necklace. You’ll need an assortment of lollipops and colorful candies with twist-wrap ends to make this idea from the National Confectioners Association. Cut a 14-inch strand of thin twine or fabric ribbon. Tie one end of a wrapper of candy or lollipop stick tightly to one end of ribbon or twine (leave about two inches of ribbon free for tying at the end). Attach candy by knotting the ribbon around the wrapper ends or lollipop sticks until the necklace is complete. Leave two inches at the end. Tie the ends together and wear the latest in edible jewelry!

MNS: Now this is a bit silly.  With the way your wardrobe looks you might as well wear sandwich boards that read, I STOLE THESE CLOTHES FROM THE GOODWILL BIN.  IN 2003.  Why would you want to draw further attention to your Project Shunway style? And as for your kids, do you want them to be teased? Don't get me wrong, I'm all for keeping one’s candy close at hand.  Ever hear of bra cups?  Sheesh...

9.  Decorate it. Create Christmas ornaments from candy. To make a train, take a long pack of gum and glue on round candy for wheels, a square piece for a smokestack, and something round for the bell on top. Attach a loop of gold thread or ribbon for hanging. Look at simple geometric illustrations (such as are in coloring books) for other ideas. Coat your ornament with an acrylic sealer so it won’t deteriorate and you don’t draw bugs.

MNS: Sure, I love ornaments and decorations that double as treats! But to put glue on perfectly good gum and hard candy? Simply criminal. That’s what candy canes are for – all near the top of the tree so the kids don’t have to undergo the harrowing process of having dental work on their baby teeth.  Really, it’s for the whole family’s benefit.  As for mom, what’s a root canal, anyway? You gave birth, didn’t you?  You could pass a kidney stone through your nose and go right back to making dinner. 

10. Share it. Take your leftover candy to the office. Even if your co-workers who are parents are sick of the stuff, chances are your younger colleagues will relish childhood memories as they reach for another Mary Jane or Butterfinger. Or better yet, fill a coffee can with candy and bring it to your local nursing home, homeless shelter or a charity for the staff to enjoy. Add a note that says, “Thanks for all the good work you do.”

MNS:  Yes!  Gather it all up and put it in a bag.  Plan, no resolve, to take this somewhere, but then bingo, you now have car treats!  Now you have a sweet friend to calm you as you sit in traffic, circle around the same 4 blocks looking for parking or waiting for Clarita the Club Ho to finish sexting her latest at a red light.  In a few weeks your Halloween stash may be gone, but your husband and children are on to you and are staging an intervention. 

And not to steal any thunder from the venerable Herman Cain, but if you love candy, and if after yo’ kids went trick or treating you don't have any, don't blame yo' kids, don't blame yo' huzband, blame yo-self!"

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