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  1. Friday, January 30

    Friday Show and Tell – Something Fun and Something Serious

    Today I have two things to share with you. First, I wrote a piece for Babble this week on feeding picky eaters, based on great input from a lot of friends and bloggers. It was actually really helpful for me personally to write this as I tackle feeding Owen (who is quite picky these days!). Click here to read the article – there is some great insight!

    owen my picky eater! from @janemaynard

    I also have something a little more serious to share for Show and Tell. See that cute guy there making a perfect picky-eater face? Well, our little Owen has pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough. The doctor confirmed Owen’s test results last night and now our entire family is on antibiotics as a precautionary measure.

    I am not here for a debate, I simply want to share our experience. We vaccinate our children and are firmly pro-vaccine, and yet, here we are, with a very preventable, potentially-deadly disease in our home. I am aware that the anti-vax contingency has been growing, but honestly, I thought that there were only a few small pockets where people had stopped vaccinating. Well, as I learned this week, this is not the case. There are many communities where schools no longer have herd immunity because the number of vaccinated children is too low. When that happens, these previously-eliminated diseases start popping up. California has been tracking district-specific immunization numbers since 2000, so it is a good case study of the phenomenon. Click here to see some great maps and get more info about California’s numbers. I learned that in our school district there are only 4 out of 15 elementary schools with immunization rates above 93% (the magic number for herd immunity) and our school is only at 84%. The neighboring district has 0 out of 5 schools above 93%. We live right in the middle of one of those red dots you see on all the maps. (Note: California is 39th in the country, so there are 11 states with worse numbers.)

    the growth of anti-vax sentiment in CAPhoto source: Washington Post

    In the last few weeks our community (North County Coastal San Diego) has had confirmed cases of both measles and whooping cough. My son Owen is 3 years old and has 3 out of 4 of his shots for pertussis (he needs to be 4 years old to get the 4th shot), leaving him about 15% likely to contract the disease if exposed. Sadly he was and he did get pertussis. Thankfully he is doing well and I can’t imagine how terrible the cough would have been if he wasn’t immunized (having the vaccination makes symptoms less severe). We are feeling lucky despite the fact he has pertussis, but also feeling that it is just so unnecessary that we’re dealing with this. No one should be dealing with these diseases.

    If you live in California, there is a petition for the state government to make vaccinations mandatory for all K-12 students in the public school system. Click here to sign. This month the federal government approved a pledge of $1B for vaccines to Gavi to save millions of children’s lives all over the world. It blows my mind that there are developing countries with higher vaccination rates than my kids’ school. We need to remedy that so all of us everywhere will be protected from these diseases.

    I do believe some of the unvaccinated children in the stats are, in reality, partially vaccinated. I’m really hoping that the resurgence of some of these diseases will be the kick in the pants we need to get our vaccination rates back up.

    And, as I said, Owen is doing well. The first two days of the cough were the worst. We actually went to the doctor at that point but were told it was a cold – we had no reason to think it was pertussis. Ten days later he was still having coughing fits and we also learned that there were, in fact, cases of whooping cough in town, so we went back to the doctor. Owen is being treated and is in good spirits.

    Thanks for letting me ramble. Obviously this is all I can think about right now. Have a good weekend!


  2. Saturday, October 25

    Friday Show and Tell on Saturday!

    Happy Saturday! I didn’t get a chance to publish this week’s Show and Tell post yesterday because I was at the AYA Summit for Women and Girls put on by ONE in Washington, D.C. It was AMAZING. I can’t even begin to process everything I saw and heard this week, which included meeting one of the girls who was kidnapped from school in Nigeria earlier this year. Needless to say, many tears were shed hearing so many inspiring stories. I will most definitely be sharing some of my week with you soon, but until then check out this news story the local D.C. CBS news did about the conference!

    review of 'washi tape christmas' by kami bigler by @janemaynard - spoiler alert, it's great!

    Today I would love to share a beyond-cute book with you that is perfect for the upcoming holiday season. My friend Kami’s new book Washi Tape Christmas came out this week. I received a copy and it is wonderful. I highly recommend it! You can buy it on Amazon, but if you buy it through Kami’s site you can get a signed copy! Even me, the most craft-averse person you will ever meet, is ready to dig out the washi tape and start creating!

    Here are a few posts I wrote for Babble this week:

    As always, please share your own stuff! And have a great weekend!


  3. Friday, September 26

    How to Make an Airplane Birthday Cake + Friday Show and Tell

    Okay, so there’s a lot of “mom stuff” I don’t do. I’m not crafty. I don’t make baby food from scratch. I am a terrible gardener. The list goes on and ON. But I do absolutely love making my kids’ birthday cakes. Every year they tell me what they want and I figure out a way to make it happen! For Owen’s 3rd birthday he requested Ripslinger from the movie Planes, or as Owen put it, “the green bad guy plane.” I was a little nervous but I pulled it off! The best part was Owen loved it and today he’s asked multiple times to see pictures of the cake. (That splash sound you hear is me turning into a puddle on the floor.)

    how to make a kids airplane birthday cake by @janemaynard

    how to make a kids airplane birthday cake by @janemaynard

    This cake was one of the easier ones I’ve done, so I have to share the step-by-step with you. Here’s how to make an airplane birthday cake!

    • Bake a 9″x13″ standard cake. I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe (which you can find in this linked post) and it made for a nice tall cake, which gave the plane more height. I doubled the frosting recipe in that same post, which gave me enough frosting for the crumb coat and final coat with a bit left over.
    • After you bake the cake, freeze it. Once it’s frozen, make one cut as shown in the diagram below, then flip one of the pieces so it lines up with the other piece perfectly when you stack them.

    template for cutting a 9x13 cake for an airplane shape by @janemaynard

    • The fat end of the triangle you created is the front of the plane – the smaller end is the back of the plane. Shape the front to round it off. Once the cake was done, I wished I had also angled the back end of the plane down a bit so that the entire plan had an upward slant towards the front of the plane, instead of just parallel to the ground (know what I mean?). Feel free to play with the shape or just keep it super simple like I did.
    • I used one of the pieces of cake I cut off the front when shaping the nose of the plane to create the cockpit on top.
    • Frost between the layers, and then follow the directions in my cake-making guide post for frosting (freezing cake, crumb coat, etc.) The beauty of this cake is you only need ONE COLOR OF FROSTING! Save a bit of white for the window, but other than that you can just make all the frosting one color.
    • For the wings and things, I used cardstock! Just cut them into the shape you like and then stick the shaped wings and things right into the cake. You can get colored cardstock or just color white cardstock with a permament marker the color you want he wings to be. (Since I was making Ripslinger, I also made the flames out of cardstock colored with permanent markers and stuck them to the side using frosting as glue.) Don’t worry, no marker transferred to the frosting anywhere!
    • The propellors were 2 popsicle sticks colored with black Sharpee marker, broken in half and then stuck in the front. I should have put a black circle of frosting or a Junior Mint on the front in the middle of the propellors. I didn’t, but you can!
    • White frosting and black piped frosting made the window in the cockpit, and chocolate chips, stuck pointy side in, served as the eyes.

    Show and tell time! I just have one quick share today. I put together a really fun post for Babble of CRAZY stuff my friends’ kids have eaten. It’s pretty awesome. Be sure to click through and check it out!

    As usual, feel free to share anything you like in the comments, it’s show and tell after all!