Kids say the darndest (and most embarrassing) things

April 10, 2012 - One Response

They say kids say the darndest things – this is true, and always a source of entertainment.

The other day, a got a text from my four year old son’s pre-school teacher. She thought I would like to know that the class was learning about rhyming words. His example? China rhymes with vagina. I must have laughed for ten minutes. The teacher says he wasn’t trying to be funny, he was being serious. And he’s right, it does rhyme.

And sometimes I forget that small children are little parrots and you have to be careful – they repeat what you say. I’ve learned this the hard way. I went to pick up my daughter from a birthday party and she was standing there holding court with a group of parents explaining how an associate of mine wouldn’t do such-and-such “because she’s too cheap.” Woops. Fortunately none of these people know the person she was talking about and thought it was funny, but I was so embarrassed!

Along the same lines, my son was taking a karate class and the instructor asked the students if they liked karate. My son raised his hand and said “yes, because my mother paid good money for this.” I don’t think the instructor was amused (but the other parents sure were!)

Lord only knows the things they say to teachers and other adults – of which I am not aware. I’m not sure I want to know 🙂

Until next time,

Mindy Basara 





Watching from the living room window

March 12, 2012 - One Response

Dear Viewers,

This wonderful weather has been such a relief! Finally I can say to the kids “go outside and play!” and not have to coax them or worry about them freezing their rear-ends off. They’re allowed to play outside in our front yard unchaperoned – or so they think. (They don’t realize I’m peering at them through the living room shutters.)

I get a kick out of this birds-eye view of their shenanigans. I always find it entertaining to watch them create their own games. Yesterday they decided to lie one on top of the other on the skateboard and see how far they could roll down the brick walkway without falling off. One would start giggling, then the other would follow suit – then both would roll off in peals of laughter. It probably wasn’t the safest game they ever dreamed up but they were having such a blast, and getting along so well, I didn’t want to stop them.

They seem to fight less, have better teamwork and more creativity when left to their own devices. There is much more peace and harmony when (they think) Mommy’s not watching. Why is that? Whatever the reason, I will continue to encourage this “unchaperoned” playtime…and enjoy the show from the living room window.

Until next time,

Mindy Basara

Activity angst

February 27, 2012 - 5 Responses

Dear Viewers,

Do you ever struggle with trying to decide how many, and which activities your child should do at one time? I do. It seems that in this day and age if your kid isn’t involved in a different activity every day after school you are somehow failing them. I don’t remember being so “scheduled” as a young child. But back in those days there was no such thing as all day kindergarten either.

My husband and I have agreed to put a cap on extra-curricular activities. Our six year old daughter does one sport and one after school club at a time….right now that’s gymnastics on Saturday mornings and art-club Monday afternoon. Our four year old is doing a karate class at his pre-school. That’s it. Although that might sound like plenty, some of our friends have their little ones doing sports, dance, music, and scouts all at the same time. And they look at us like we’re crazy for not involving our kids in every activity under the sun. I suppose if the children asked to do all that stuff we would sign them up. But they don’t – so why force it?

Are our kids missing out? Will they be less well-rounded, less talented then their peers? Sometimes I worry about that. But ultimately the question that matters most to me is…are they happy?

I just wish we could go back to the days when it didn’t matter what your resume looked like at age 6.

Until next time,
Mindy Basara

Sunday dinners

January 31, 2012 - 7 Responses

Dear Viewers,

We are starting a new tradition in our family: Sunday dinners. I’m talking real old-fashioned family gatherings…in the dining room, with a table cloth and place settings, a more-elaborate-than-usual meal (a decent bottle of wine for mommy and daddy). I wasn’t sure how the kids would react to this – we usually eat rather casually at the kitchen table. I am pleased and surprised to find they are even more enthusiastic about it than my husband and I. Every Sunday morning my son asks if we are eating dinner in the dining room, and when I say yes, he replies with an enthusiastic “yeah!” My daughter has offered to help prepare the meals. She has numerous ideas, most of which involve salad for some reason.

I like this idea of family participation, so we decided to take turns choosing a menu, and the kids can help cook. I like this idea better than my hubby, who is a very good cook and a teensy-weensy bit of a food snob. But hubby does agree that it’s good to teach them cooking skills early (plus maybe they’ll take after him, and we’ll eat REALLY well all the time, not just when he’s cooking!)

We’ve had a few Sunday dinners and so far it’s been marvelous. We’ve all come to look forward to it – not just the food, but the peaceful time together, when we’re not in a hurry to go somewhere or do something. It’s a throw back to a simpler time. And it’s becoming more than just a meal…it’s now part of the fabric of our family.

Until next time,

Mindy Basara

I have a secret…..

January 11, 2012 - 2 Responses

Dear Viewers,

Today I’m not going to write about my kids, but another favorite subject – bargain shopping.

I love clothes, but I don’t like to pay a lot for them. I’ve learned over the years you don’t have to…if you know where to look.

My newly-found favorite expensive-clothes-on-the-cheap location is the Goodwill in the Southside Shopping Center on Fort Avenue in south Baltimore. Love, love, love….

I swing in there every now and again and always come out with something from Ann Taylor, Banana Republic or J.Crew for practically nothing. Today I’m wearing a green cashmere Banana Republic sweater that I bought for 10 bucks. Looks brand new. I also got a pair of cuffed, lined, wool pants from Banana for 10 dollars. So I got the whole outfit for 20 bucks – it would have cost over $200 full price in the store.

But the best part about this particular Goodwill is there are a lot of clothes that are just my style, in small sizes (I am very petite). In fact, I can purchase pants already hemmed to fit my vertically challenged 5’1 frame. So apparently I have a twin and she lives in south Baltimore and likes to donate her clothes. Whoever you are, I (and my bank account) thank you!

So now that I’ve shared my secret, what’s yours? Know any great places to bargain shop? Come on…spill it.

Until next time,
Mindy Basara

I feel the need, the need for speed

January 2, 2012 - One Response

Dear Viewers,

Happy New Year everyone. I hope you had a lovely holiday. Lucky for me I had the week between Christmas and New Year’s off, so we decided to head up to Wisp for a winter vacation and take the kids skiing for the first time. We had no idea how this would go over with an abudantly cautious six year old and an impulsively crazy four year old. But I have to say it was the most fun we’ve ever had as a family.

The first order of business was a lesson for the kids…unfortunately it was pouring down rain! But they were troopers and listened to the instructor -at least one of them did (that’s right, my daughter, the cautious one).

Then it was time to test out their new skills. My daughter gracefully – and slowly – heads down the bunny hill doing her “s” turns, just like the instructor taught her, then does a controlled snowplow stop at the bottom of the hill. Delightful. Then it was my son’s turn. I’m still having post-traumatic stress flashbacks. Apparently, “I feel the need, the need for speed” is his mantra. He flies straight down the slopes like a rocket…no “s” turns, no snowplow stop. He just crashes at the bottom. At one point he was heading straight for some machinery and I ran after him screaming like a mad woman at the top of my lungs “fall down, fall down!!!!!” He did. Just in the nick of time. Huge grin on his face. Later when we were getting ready to leave my husband says “did you hear a woman screaming? I wonder what that was all about.” Gee I wonder.

But there’s lots more to do besides skiing. We also checked out the snow tubing and a bobsled-like roller coaster. So much fun!

So we give our inaugural outing to Wisp Ski Resort a double thumbs up, and are already planning next year’s trip.

Hope your holiday was a memorable one too.

Until next time,

Mindy Basara

Elf on the Shelf = disaster waiting to happen

December 5, 2011 - 3 Responses

Dear Viewers,

Have you gotten on the Elf on the Shelf bandwagon? This is our first year. For the uninitiated…the Elf is a doll-like figure that sits on a shelf, or mantle, or whatever he or she can balance on, and keeps an eye on the kiddies. At night he/she flies back to the North Pole and reports in to Santa, then returns before morning and perches him/herself at a different location in the house. The children wake up all excited to locate the Elf’s new hangout.

Our Elf on the Shelf experience started off on the wrong foot when I ordered the wrong kind of Elf. Instead of going directly through Santa like I should have, I got him from When he arrived he was much larger than expected and was stuffed – like a stuffed animal. I explained to the children there are many different kinds of elves, and some are larger than their peers…like Daddy. They were fine with it. We named him Bart.

Having an Elf on the Shelf is fun for the kids, but another responsibility for the parents – if you know what I mean. There have been a few close calls. Because I go to bed about the same time as the kids, the Elf falls under my husband’s jurisdiction. The other morning (while I was at work) my son awakened Daddy by shouting, “let’s go find Bart!” My hubby says his eyes popped open realizing what he forgot to do. Numerous expletives ran through his head, he bolted out of bed – and the race was on. The two bounded down the stairs and just as they were entering the kitchen – where Bart had last set up shop atop the frig – Daddy made one of those “look over there!” moves, and “assisted” Bart to a new location – running full speed with Bart behind his back, shouting “Daddy has to go potty r-e-a-l-l-y bad!” Hubby tossed Bart on top of a bathroom cabinet just as his curious little boy was rounding the corner. Whew! I think my hubby’s blood pressure has yet to come down. He’s still mad at Bart for forgetting to switch locations.

But aside from stress, the Elf on the Shelf does provide some entertainment. My son can be heard “confessing” to Bart and pleading his case for whatever it was that he did to his sister. He begs, “please tell Santa it was an accident.” Not sure if Bart is buying it.

So for the next few weeks, we will have an “Elf on our back” so to speak. But come Christmas Eve, Bart will fly back to the North Pole for good…until next year that is. I have to admit, I dread the day when the children no longer look forward to Bart’s magical visit. So for now, I will enjoy our ride on the Elf on the Shelf bandwagon.

Until next time,

Mindy Basara

Santa’s watching

November 18, 2011 - 3 Responses

Dear Viewers,

I know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but I felt it necessary the other night to break out the “Santa’s watching” threat with my son – a notorious envelope-pusher. He was being a real stinker at the dinner table and instead of sending him to his room I casually mentioned that Santa is currently putting together his naughty and nice list and is watching VERY carefully. His eyes got real big, his jaw dropped and that “uh oh” look came over his face. He paused for a moment and said, “how long has he been watching?” All year, I replied. I could see the wheels spinning…imagine what he must be thinking: “darn I forgot all about the Santa thing.”

Naturally, his behavior improved dramatically. But now he’s a little obsessed with his standing with Santa, keeps asking if I think he’ll get presents. He’s thinking a lot about it and asking some tough questions. “Who has gotten on the naughty list before? Everyone I know gets presents.” And…”how does he see me and everyone else at the same time? Does he watch the whole time or just some of the time?”

I’m glad to see he’s taking this naughty-nice concept to heart. I realize the Santa threat is a parental cop-out, but whatever works….at least from now until Christmas morning anyway.

Until next time,

Mindy Basara

Love letter to my little girl

November 9, 2011 - 7 Responses

Dear viewers,

Today I feel compelled to write a love letter to my little girl. I’m in a sappy kind of mood — so bear with me.

Every child is born with unique qualities and abilities. Some are gifted academics, others are talented athletes. My 6-year-old daughter was born with a remarkable sense of empathy — it’s the characteristic I love about her the most.

Since she was very small, she has been able to read others’ emotions and is genuinely concerned about them. I recall when she was about 3 years old, my husband came home from a very difficult day at work. He didn’t say much at the dinner table. She studied his face intently and in a soft little voice, said “Daddy, what are your troubles?” I was amazed that a 3-year-old could sense that he had had a bad day — and wanted to help.

She is constantly nurturing the pets — they adore her and follow her around like the pied piper. And, she is so kind to her little brother. The other day he hurt his finger on the swing set, it was really no big deal, but she felt so sorry for him she gave him half her bag of Halloween candy to make him feel better. There’s a convenience store I frequent that gives out lollipops to little ones. If she’s there with me and her brother isn’t, she always remembers to ask if she can have an extra lollipop for him. For her birthday party, she wanted to personalize the goody bags for each of her guests so they could have specific goodies that she knows they particularly like. (That request was not granted — way too much work — but the idea was quite thoughtful.)

She’s a pretty little girl, and people often remark on her physical appearance. But it’s a beauty that radiates from within that I see when I look at her face.

Expectant mothers have many hopes and dreams for their child. When I was pregnant with her, I prayed that above all else she would be kind. I got my wish.

Until next time,

Mindy Basara

“Mamma, mamma, mamma, mamma.” Agh!

October 31, 2011 - 11 Responses

Dear Viewers,

When I was growing up, I remember my exasperated mother telling me she was going to change her name. Huh? What would I call her besides mommy? I didn’t understand. Now I get it. I REALLY get it.

My children must utter the word “Mamma” a thousand times a day.(That’s what they call me instead of “Mommy” for some reason). I am not exaggerating when I say 90% of their sentences begin with “Mamma……”. Sometimes it’s a question – “Mamma, can I have some milk?” Sometimes it’s a statement – “Mamma, I need to go to the bathroom.” They never begin with the word “Daddy…” What’s up with that?

After awhile “Mamma” starts to sound like nails on a chalk board,or the seagulls from the movie Finding Nemo. Remember them? Incessantly repeating “Mine, mine, mine, mine…..” But in my house it’s “Mamma, mamma, mamma, mamma…”

Not only is this annoying for me, it drives my husband crazy too. On a recent long car ride it was hour after hour of “Mamma” this and “Mamma” that. He got so fed up he told them no one was able to say the word “Mamma” for the remainder of the ride home. There was dead silence for quite awhile. It’s like they didn’t know how to speak English unless they began with “Mamma”.

I know, I know. some day when I can’t get them to speak to me at all, I will miss the sound of “Mamma”.  But for now, I wish there was some variety in the way they address me. “Your Excellency” works for me…..:)

Until next time,

Mindy Basara