Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Lucky Mess!

By Bectoria Crandall

Okay. So this post was supposed to go up LAST week, but due to an epic  failure, it didn’t get up in time, so… Happy St. Patrick’s Day!-belated as it may be.

The name of this post was SUPPOSED to be “Four Leaf Clover Hair” but I couldn’t get it to hold it’s shape so we’re rolling with the punches and calling it “The Lucky Mess”. It’s still very cute, so I think it’s post worthy.

My free spirited five-year-old sporting “The Lucky Mess”

My little girls enjoy celebrating special days by dressing up. Similar to my Dino Hair post, I decided to get a little creative and play around with hairstyles for St. Pat’s -a fun day of all things green. I was dreaming up St. Pat’s themed icons when it came to me… Four Leaf Clover Hair! Well, after trial and error, I didn’t attain what I was looking for, but feel that MY result was still very cute. Those more adept at hairstyling can probably get four little clover buns by following the steps below. If you’re like me and end up with something very different, I’m betting you’ll still be happy with the result.

What you will need…

Four Hair Elastics

A Leprechaun’s Lot of Bobby Pins

Green Ribbon


Section hair and make four ponytails forming a diamond

Using ribbons, affix ribbons to the center of each ponytail

Make ponytails into the shape of a bun by turning sections of each ponytail outward from the center and then curling the section around your finger. Once you have formed a curl with your finger, bobby pin it in place.

Repeat technique by making your ponytails into four separate buns

Sounds easy enough, but my execution was all off.

The “Lucky Mess” curly, ribbony fun!

Oh well. I’m still going to keep styling my girl’s hair this way with the mindset that I’ll be happy whatever the outcome!

NOTE: If you try this method and have some pointers, I’d love to hear them!

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YES! You CAN thaw it in the microwave!!!


I might be telling you too much embarrassing information about myself, but after SEVEN years, I JUST NOW learned how to properly defrost items in my microwave!  It works like a charm!  No more stressing out about forgetting to thaw the meat in my fridge overnight!   No more weird chewy pieces in the meat I tried to thaw just trying to “nuke it really quick”…  I love it!

How about you?  Do you know how to use your own appliances?  Don’t be like me!  USE your electronics the way they were intended!  Are you confused?  Don’t have the old manuals?  A quick Google search can find you electronic scans of 90% of the product manuals out there!

So now, go program your VCR!  Then come back and tell me how it went!

Categories: Education, Technology | Leave a comment

Campbell’s New Do

A follow-up to yesterday. It’s not too mushroomy. She still looks gorgeous! I think this girl could rock any look.


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It’s Like They Can Smell Scissors

Last week i shared with you a little of my crazy life.

Just yesterday I was sitting in the living room looking at my 3 year old daughter, Campbell, observing just how beautiful she is becoming and noting that her hair, which was once just some strange fuzz with a few wispy strands, was now long and flowy and in my opinion- striking. She bounces around and is in every way just as adorable as it gets. Her signature look for so long was cute little pigtails until recently when her hair looked gorgeous just down and “unfixed.” Frequently, as of late, my husband or I will say to the other, “Campbell is so pretty all of a sudden.” She has always been cute, but some of the baby-ness is leaving and being replaced with big girl looks.
This is her yesterday:


And then this morning happened. Before my husband or I had even opened our eyes, our 3 oldest munchkins had stealthily come down the stairs and started doing what they do. It wasn’t until I had fed them and showered that I began to notice something wasn’t right. This is not something you want to find on the floor in your living room:


Yep. Someone’s hair had been cut. But whose? And with what? Well, whose you ask? Everyone’s, that’s whose! How I had talked to all 3 of them and failed to notice their new dos is beyond me, though I’m going to go ahead and blame it on the total lack of sleep I had thanks to this dude:


Precious as he is, he is not one for getting some shut-eye anytime between the hours of 2-7:30 am, these days. And intelligent as I like to think I am, I stayed up until 2 am this morning working on a sewing project. Winning combo, I know.

Upon further investigation, I pieced together that Adeline (who is 4) managed to get her hands on my sewing scissors, which were inside a box above eye level behind several items.

It’s like they can smell scissors.

She cut a few locks from Anderson’s hair (her twin), who thankfully was already scheduled to have his hair cut tomorrow. She then cut a 6 inch long chunk from the right front section of her own hair. This pains me because she has NEVER had her hair cut and I LOVE her beautiful, long hair. This is Adeline’s hair:


We will probably have 6 inches cut off the rest of it to even it up, and I just can’t tell you how sad I am to do it.


Then she cut Campbell’s hair. At first glance, you don’t really notice. (I didn’t, for the first hour I was awake!)


But from the side view, it’s pretty mullet-y.


It’s hideous. And now she’s going to have to have it all cut and will likely be sporting a mushroom look for awhile.

Seriously. I just.. wha? I, I just….. I don’t…. (sigh).

I know it will grow back. (But it took 3 and 4 YEARS respectively for it to grow this long!) I have since taken a chill pill and a deep breath and realized it’s not the end of the world. I have gone through the house and moved all the scissors to even higher ground.

Just thought you all might like to hear how my morning started. Hopefully it encourages you that if this crazy lady is surviving, you might be able to pull through as well. Hang in there!!!!

Categories: children, Family, Hair, Multiples, Parenting | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Meatless Alternative to Wow Your Crew

So you’re trying to eat more meatless meals. You recently watched Food, Inc. or Fat, Sick And Nearly Dead and have sworn off chicken, pork, beef and even fish. But if you have to eat one more Boca burger you might just fall off the wagon. Or you’re halfway into March and still going strong with your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier, but you’re getting into a rut and hoping for some variety. For the next few weeks, in addition to crazy updates regarding the zoo in which I currently reside, I am going to share a post each week with a delicious, vegetarian (and sometimes vegan), healthy recipe for you to add to your repertoire and hopefully avoid burnout. Whether you’re committed to a meatless lifestyle or not, these dishes will be great additions to your menu and will come straight from the 4SmartyPants test kitchen!


I love these as an alternative to crab cakes, which are exquisite, but are not part of a meatless diet and derive their richness from mayonnaise and expensive lump crab meat. What’s great is that these babies are a fancy-shmancy impressive item to bring to the table, but are so easy, and can even be made from leftovers! (I won’t tell if you don’t!) In fact, that’s how they came to be. I served a wonderfully filling and beautiful dinner one evening of sautéed Brussels sprouts, baked sweet potatoes, tomato slices and brown rice pilaf with almonds. I always make extra brown rice, because I love to eat it reheated, and I use it the next few days in various other recipes.

The next day I found myself about to reheat the same meal, when I decided to come up with something new. Sweet potato cakes! So easy.

2 baked sweet potatoes (poke holes and microwave in glass dish 6-8 minutes, cool in fridge)
1 cup cooked brown rice, chilled (recipe follows)
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/4 cup finely diced green bell pepper
1 tbsp finely diced jarred jalepenos
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

Scoop flesh from potatoes and combine in bowl with all ingredients except oil
Form into 1 1/2 inch thick patties 3 inches in diameter
Heat oil in non-stick skillet over medium/high heat
When oil is hot, add sweet potato cakes to pan and cook 3-4 mins on each side, or until heated all the way through and each side has caramelized.

Top with snipped chives and a cilantro leaf. Serve with a mixed greens salad. Enjoy!

My kids LOVED these, which surprised me a little. But it’s great because they are allergic to milk, eggs and peanuts, and this is completely safe for my little people who are often relegated to a sunbutter sandwich while everyone else enjoys the good stuff!

You don’t have to feel the least bit guilty about devouring these tasty treats, sweet potatoes and brown rice are both SOO good for you, with 0 sat fats, and high in dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals, as well as complex carbohydrates which promote the SLOW rise of blood sugar, making them good components of a diabetic diet. Also: NO cholesterol! You won’t find such stats with crab cakes.

What meatless dishes do you find yourself serving up most often? (And share your recipes!)

Brown Rice Pilaf with Almonds

This is not exact, which is one of the things I love about it. But it turns out perfect each time.
I fill a 5 quart pot (a dutch oven, but any pot with tight-fitting lid will work) 3/4 full with water, then drop in an extra large vegetable bullion cube. I put it on medium/high (because it’s enamel, if it weren’t I’d turn it to high) and wait for it to boil. Once it starts to boil, I add approximately 2 cups of brown rice and a minced garlic clove and 1 tsp of onion powder and stir once. I cover it, turn it to med/high (if it had been on high) and set the timer for 30 minutes. I don’t touch the lid! After 30 minutes, I turn off the heat and remove the lid. (If there is any visible liquid, I drain it and return the rice to the pot immediately.) I stir the rice, replace the lid and allow the rice to continue steaming for 10 minutes with the heat off. While it is steaming, I toast 1/2 cup of sliced raw almonds in 1 tbsp olive oil in non-stick pan. Add almonds to rice and enjoy! Best brown rice, ever!!

Categories: Entertaining, Family, Food, Party Planning, Social Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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