Hello Kitty isn’t a Cat…But that’s not All


Several weeks back you may have heard that Hello Kitty, the character developed by the Japanese company Sanrio, was not a cat.  According to her company of origin, she is a British schoolgirl.   Most likely, this is not news to you.  Pardon the late reporting– I know you rely on me for the most cutting edge posting.  I will pare the excuses down to three words, potty training twins.

Anyway, the reality of Hello Kitty caused quite an uproar.  Headlines like Hello Kitty is not a Cat.  Everything is a Lie. and Hello Kitty is Not a Cat Because Nothing Makes Sense Anymore were front and center on the internet.  I had to read for myself.

For forty years, Hello Kitty had been strutting her little white stuff with that chipper bow in her hair and is actually an imposter.  A British schoolgirl in Kitty’s clothing, if you will.   Updated reports on the Huffington Post indicate that while Hello Kitty is not a cat in that she uses a litter box and eats cat food from a can, she is “the personification of a cat.”  Yes, I think we get it.  I mean, what’s next, Kermit is not a frog, he is Italian accountant?

So far, my reaction falls in line with the masses.  But, what bothers me about this event, phenomena or whatever you wish to call it has yet to be stated.  What is most striking to me is that this entire chain of internet uproar was set off by a person called a Hello Kitty Scholar.  In Vanity Fair Daily, Surprise!  Hello Kitty is not a Cat, the author refers to  Hello Kitty Scholar Christine Yano.

Wait.  Hello Kitty Scholar?  A job exists where one spends their time studying Hello Kitty?  Let’s not fool around here, Ms. Yano has quite a distinguished background,  certainly not the pedigree I would have if I were a Hello Kitty Scholar.  In my case, I’d probably still be living with my parents and sporting my high school hairdo.

Speaking of high school, where on earth was this job choice at my High School Career fair?  I can recall being guided toward teaching, nursing…but hey Jill, when you grow up, you could be a Hello Kitty Scholar–never happened.

I imagine essay topics like The Hair Bow that Never Moves, or Why doesn’t Hello Kitty have a mouth? written in bright pink ink.  Hello Kitty notebooks would have been mandatory and textbooks would have been purchased at the mall.  I know I would have remembered the day I learned about Hello Kitty as a career opportunity.

And I probably would have remembered the day I went home and told my parents that I was going to be a Hello Kitty Scholar.  My parents were pretty flexible and supportive, but I think even they would have had difficulty wrapping their minds around that one.  I guess everything turned out for the best.

Jill signature makes the Big Commerce Blog again!


I know it’s probably not the best form to brag, but I just can’t help myself.  Just had to let you know that was shown a little love on the Big Commerce blog and I can’t help but write about it.

Check out the post Pinterest Marketing: 9 Creative Ways to Pin Your Way to the Top by Jessica Malnik and you’ll see mentioned.  Sure you’ve got to scroll to the bottom to find us, but we’re there waiting to be found and cheerfully telling ourselves that they saved the best for last!

Happy Pinning!

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PS.  Click here to follow me on Pinterest.   After all, that’s what the blog article is about, right?

Snickers Caramel Apple Salad from Chef in Training

apple snickers salad

Snickers Caramel Apple Salad is a super sweet and awesome simple dessert that I learned about on Pinterest from Chef in Training website.  It didn’t take much, right from the start, they had me at Snickers…

The ingredients are simple. Preparation is a breeze.  And when I served it, I had no leftovers.

Here’s what you’ll need.

  • 6 Snickers Bars (full size)
  • 4 Medium Apples -I used either Golden Delicious or Granny Smith.  I know they were green or yellow, but not red–whole lot of help I am…The Chef used Red Delicious
  • 1-5 oz package of Instant Vanilla Pudding mix
  • 1-16 oz tub Cool Whip, thawed to room temperature
  • Caramel Ice Cream Topping
  • 1/2 cup milk

As instructed by the Chef in Training, in a large bowl, whisk the pudding, milk  and Cool Whip together until combined.  Chop up the apples and Snickers bars to bite sized pieces.  Keep some of the snickers aside for decoration on the top, maybe a handful or so.

In my excitement, I made the rookie mistake of adding all of the Snickers.  So, my photograph is much less snazzy than the others that you’ll find on the internet with the Snickers on top.  All I had left was the caramel, so I did the best I could.

Stir the apples and most of the Snickers into the pudding and Cool Whip mixture.  Please, learn from my mistakes.  Drizzle with caramel topping and remaining Snickers pieces.  Chill for an hour before serving.


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The Wacky Holidays of August

Basket of Zucchini

Last week, after writing about nearly missing National Lasagna Day, I got thinking.  Actually, a comment from a reader got me wondering about whether a calendar of national holidays existed.   My trusty sidekick, Google, and I did some research and found that many calendars with offbeat holidays exist.  And because I know that I am your “go to” source for the latest, most vital information, a responsibility which I take very seriously, I am bringing information about another wacky holiday to you.  This time, I am giving you the notice to properly celebrate.

I am not going to tell you that August 6th is Wiggle Your Toes Day.  I am not even going to tell you that August 13th is Left Hander’s Day–which would actually be appropriate, because I am left handed.  I am here to tell you about the holiday that is August 8th–Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day.

Yes, Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day is an actual holiday.  After I realized that sneaking zucchini onto someone’s porch wasn’t a euphemism for something dirty, I learned that this holiday kind of makes sense.

According to, Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day was established by Tom Roy from Pennsylvania in an effort to deal with the annual abundance of zucchini that he and his wife faced.  In my “research” I discovered two important facts.  First, gardeners and zucchini growers typically grow more of this particular vegetable than they can consume.  Second, zucchini seems to be the neglected vegetable of the garden, as friends and neighbors do not seem to willingly accept gardeners’ offerings of their zucchini surplus–thus the need to pawn it off secretly under the cover of darkness.

Basically, the holiday is for zucchini growers to sneak out in the night and abandon baskets of zucchini on the porches of their neighbors.  All while hoping that their neighbors are not negating their efforts by doing the same.  Sounds fair.  Anyone gonna gather their zucchini and get out there?


At this point, I don’t have a garden, so I’m out.  But you can be sure I will get a giggle next time I see a zucchini.

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A Red Washcloth…source unknown

red-wash-cloth-canstockphoto21107440Last week, my daughter sustained a burn on her hand from sticking it in the wheel of our wagon.  See my last blog post, The Plastic Bag Trick.  This event led to a conversation on the subject of first aid with my friend, Jen.  My friend offered this little tip, although she couldn’t remember the source.  We both absolutely remember that it was neither one of us.  And Jen doesn’t have a blog, so it’s not like I’m poaching her content or anything like that.

The unknown, yet savvy source suggested adding a few red washcloths to your towel collection.  Then, the next time one of your children has an injury with a little blood, it will blend with the red cloth.  A white washcloth with red blood on it can be jarring for a young child, so in this case that image is no more.  This tactic can also be employed with squeamish husbands and wives or other loved ones.

I thought the red washcloth was a pretty smart idea.  I wonder if it was the same person whose idea it was to make the last few tissues in the Kleenex box beige so that you’d know you were running out–ingenious.

Now, I know this is stating the obvious, because my readers are a bunch of smarty smart folks.  But here I go anyway and I will italicize for effect.

***The red washcloth is not a first aid device.  This post is in no way, shape or form medical advice or a substitute for medical advice.  Please take your injured children to the doctor.  This is just a mommy tip.

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Don’t worry, I’m disappointed in me too!


It is 49 minutes before day’s end as I sit here at my keyboard.  And I feel like I’ve let you down.  I am not sure I will publish this before day’s end.  I pride myself upon being “in the know.”  Being on the cutting edge. And absolutely in the loop–a real mover and a shaker.  Just in case you haven’t picked up on the sarcasm here, actual movers and shakers just move and shake, they don’t run around talking about it.

Anyhow.  I dropped the ball.  The past few days have been a bit chaotic, more than my typical life in a blender.  (and I’m  not a referring to a margarita blender –again, because that would actually be kind of cool).

I was driving home about 15 minutes ago, when I heard on the radio that today was National Lasagna Day.

Really??? I thought to myself.  First, I was stunned that National Lasagna Day would occur in the summer.  It just doesn’t seem to fit the picture in my head.  Sitting outside in shorts and flip flops on the patio your patio, enjoying the summer weather, sipping a cool refreshing drink in the summer heat and eating lasagna?  A respectable Italian lasagna would make a mockery of your average plastic summer plates.

I wonder, are all the other “National Whatever You Want to Honor Days” taken?  Am I missing something?  Is today the birthday of the inventor of Lasagna?  Then it would make sense to me.  Because I can’t wrap my head around the idea that all of the winter or fall days, when lasagna would really hit the spot, were already occupied by some other holiday.

And by the way, how does something get to be a National day?  Who do you go to to apply for such a thing?  I mean, I know where to go get a passport, but if I wanted to start National Peeps Week–don’t you dare act like you’re surprised–where would I submit the paperwork?

I digress.  My real point in running to my computer as soon as I got home was to say Never Again!   Next year, I will celebrate National Lasagna Day, and I will subject you to reading about it.  I can’t tell you whether it will be meat lasagna, vegetable lasagna or what I will have in store for you.  Let’s just say, I’m living in the moment.

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***Am I the only one who thinks it a little odd that there is a cherry tomato posing on top of my lasagna image with a leaf of basil laying next to it?

The Plastic Bag Trick


The other day, in an effort to stop the movement of her wagon, my daughter Giuliana stuck her hand inside its wheel and ended up with a decent sized burn on her left hand.  My husband and I have done our best to keep the wound wrapped and protected as directed by our pediatrician.  In the meantime, my daughter has continued playing and mixing it up with her brother Charlie like a trooper.

Last night, at bath time, Giuliana began to resist getting into the tub.    When we asked “Why,” she said that she didn’t want to get her hand wet.

I understood, or at least, thought I did.  I thought that maybe the water hurt her wound and told her that I had a plan.  We headed to the kitchen where I took out a plastic bag and asked for my daughter’s hand.  Giuliana approved of my methods, and confidently offered me her hand….her uninjured hand.

At this point, feeling like she’s been through enough, I let her be the boss.  I wrapped my daughter’s good hand in the bag, tied a knot.  Victoriously, she turned and marched to the bathtub looking like a surgeon holding up two sterile hands.  She climbed into the water.  One bath, two dry hands.

Oh well.

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Giraffes Can’t Dance…or can they?

giraffes can't dance

Yesterday I found my new favorite children’s book.  Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees is an adorable story about Gerald, the giraffe who can’t dance like the other animals in the wild.  Gerald’s inability to participate in the annual Jungle Dance makes him a bit of an outsider.  Think Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer–who wasn’t invited to play in any reindeer games.

With the help of a wise cricket, Gerald learns that he can dance, he simply needed to find the music that worked for him.  And when he does find his music, Gerald does back flips.  He even strikes a pose reminiscent of John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.  No, really…it’s in the book.  And of course, in true storybook fashion, Gerald gains acceptance from the other animals.

Giraffes Can’t Dance is a wonderful board book for young children, and brings with it a message for all of us.  Find your music….and Dance!

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On Friday nights, they have a guy who makes Balloon Animals…


On Friday nights, a local chain restaurant hosts a man who makes balloon animals in their dining room.  A relative suggested we check it out.  Sure, I thought.  Balloons animals.  That sounds like fun.  We packed up and headed to the restaurant.

We were a few minutes early.  Really, I should be writing about how we pulled that off, but let’s leave that topic for a different day.

As we waited in the parking lot in our family mobile, I could not believe what I was seeing.  People were exiting the restaurant carrying unbelievable balloon creations.  Not just balloon animals, these were works of art.

From my car, I saw monkeys hanging on palm trees and bananas, rainbows and flowers that were at least 4 feet tall.  As a child, I had seen balloon animals, but they were mostly four legged animals.  Dogs and giraffes…pretty basic stuff.

With much respect for the balloon animal creators of my youth, I must say that even the simplicity of a balloon dog is way beyond my own ability.  My expertise is limited to filling balloons with water and running around the yard tossing them at each other.  Ask me for a balloon animal, and I’ll give you one.  You just have to decide whether it’s a worm or a snake.

We went into the restaurant and barely contained the children enough to order our meals.  The kids were craning their necks to see the young man furiously making things like giant 5 color rainbows, mermaids and Ninja Turtles.  As a little girl who knows her mind, my daughter decided what she wanted.  She told me.  She told everyone at the table.

I was a little apprehensive.  It sounded like a big ask, and I wondered if it was even part of the man’s repertoire.  This was all new to me. I tried to buffer what I thought might be sure disappointment by suggesting that she might have to choose something else.  But we would certainly ask.

We waited our turn as the children stared, mesmerized by the cheerful man with the balloons.  As we approached the front of the line, my daughter softly conveyed her request to the man.  I stood near her, tempering what seemed to me like a lofty goal, by sheepishly asking, ”Do you even make that?”

“Sure I do.” The enthusiastic balloon maker chirped as he immediately got busy twisting and building.

Balloon animals have come a long way, haven’t they?


Minnie Mouse Balloon Animal


Now I wonder what the life expectancy for this little beauty is…I may not be cooking dinner next Friday night.

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Now for the Peeps Week finale… Rocky Road Peeps Fudge


I mentioned the other day that sometimes I approach recipes using the wing it technique.  This project, another late night special that had to be ridiculously simple, was no different.  Remember, I am having fun with Peeps, not auditioning for a show on the Food Network. Using the Super Easy Rocky Road fudge recipe, I substituted Marshmallow Peeps for the mini marshmallows and ended up with this awesome Rocky Road Peeps Fudge.


Here is the recipe that delivered this super easy creamy fudgy awesomeness.

2 cups of semi sweet morsels

1-14 oz can of Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

3 cups Chopped Marshmallow Peeps

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts.

All you have to do is put the morsels and condensed milk in a large microwaveable bowl. Yes, I used the microwave–judge if you will. Microwave on high for a minute and stir the mixture until the chips are melted. Then add the vanilla, chopped Peeps and chopped nuts and stir. Truth be told, I felt a little guilt when I was chopping the Peeps, which I find confusing because how is that different from sinking your teeth into them?

The mixing part was not exactly smooth, because the fudge mixture was so jam packed with fixins that it looked like I had completely fouled up the fudge. What started out looking like a bowl full of Peeps and nuts that someone accidentally added a little fudge to, ended up looking like fudge after all. The original recipe suggests a 9×13 pan, but I used an 8×8 glass pan lined with parchment. I poured the mixture in and smoothed it as much as it permitted with a spatula. I placed a second piece of parchment on top and smoothed the top of the fudge by pressing down with my hand.

I left the fudge in the refrigerator overnight and this morning, it tasted great. It was probably a huge parenting misstep to slice it up and let my kids taste it at 8:30 this morning while I was photographing it. Because I am not sure that the nearly three year old brain understands that fudge after breakfast is a one time thing. I guess I will work that struggle out when it presents itself.

Happy end of Peeps Week 2014, we made it. I must confess that I have at least 10 unopened packages of Peeps left. Any suggestions?

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