Friday, April 01, 2011

Nobody's Fool

Okay, maybe somebody's fool. Really, I'm just here today to remind you of some of the fantastic April Fool's tricks that I posted last year. If you can't find what you need there, FamilyFun has, like, a million. Nobody does prankster like those guys, is all I'm saying. (And no, the Evil Empire did not hold a loaded mouse up to my head to write that.) I still laugh when I think about sweethearted Ben leafing through the Chore Camp brochure. "It's just not what I pictured, but I'm sure it will be fun."

I also wanted to let you know how we're going to proceed here, and this is in part a result of your fantastic feedback, which I continue to cherish and also find incredibly useful. (I'm thinking that, collectively, we should become a life-coaching team: Got a problem? Let thousands of loving, smart, and compassionate people weigh in with their support of you! How much should we charge, though?)

Okay. What was I saying? Oh right. Mondays here will be recipes, like usual. And then Friday will be grab-bag day: a piece of randomness, a review, a craft, or a new feature called "Mama Lunch," which is a polite way of saying: something delicious that your kids, insanely, might not like. I am also getting and welcoming inquiries from folks (readers all) about advertising here. Family-owned businesses and the like. It is intoxicating to imagine supporting each other in our worthy enterprises, and please do email if this is of interest to you, even though I am currently replying with baffled enthusiasm. ("Great! What should we do next?")

Today's Friday grab-bag: a video of Ben and Birdy's Rube Goldberg Drum-Banging Machine. Ben's been studying simple machines at school--pulleys, levers, and the like--and then he was inspired by an afternoon at his friend Nico's house spent with dominoes, cars, and cans. The cat was my idea. Yes, there is wet food in the dump truck. Ew. And please forgive the quality of the film. But I cannot recommend enough that you try this at home.

Shabbat shalom, darlings.



  1. Love it! I wish I had something to advertise on your site! And I'm excited that we will get to have two bits of Catherine per week instead of one! Yay!

  2. Love that! Especially the happy jumping at the end.

    And as for advertising, I'd check out some crafting sites to see how they do it (mostly it's just people buying different sized spots on a monthly basis). And don't forget the standing links to your bookstore on the sidebar. SouleMama is a great example of how to do it. Here's the link in case you aren't already a fan...

    Good luck!

  3. miryboo10:34 AM

    *breathe sigh of relief* You're here! And I found you in Family Fun this month! Yay!!!

  4. have you guys seen this video? they had to start over every single time until it worked perfectly.

    xox e

  5. Anonymous10:41 AM

    Yay! My heart is singing! Mondays with Catherine will still exist! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

    Beth G. from South Jersey

  6. We did simple machines last year and it is fun for the kids, especially when the cat is involved.

    So glad you are continuing to post because I would miss you so much. Her Bad Mother posted on making a living from your blog just the other day and there is tons of info over there.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  7. I am posting quietly so my daughter won't hear that I printed out the camp brochure. My son didn't think it was so funny that we switched his underwear for Dad's! I love this holiday!

    Looking forward to Monday!

  8. I like a site called and she has ads on her page. She might be able to help you with how that works. We have communicated some and she seems VERY nice!

  9. Angela12:46 PM

    Hooray! Love the video - and excellent piles of Stuff in the background, makes me feel so much better about ours!! :)

  10. If the advertising thing gets too crazy, make sure you check out the helpful form letter from Jenny The Bloggess (she's hilarious)

  11. I love it! I am so grateful that you're continuing your blog.

    Here's my idea--can you compile all your wonderful recipes into a print on demand book (like at and/or a Kindle download. It's my understanding that you, as author, would get 70% of the proceeds from a Kindle book. I would be first in line to download/buy it.

  12. Teafortwo1:59 PM

    I have so just printed out the Chore Camp brochure. It's going to the bus stop, pronto. I did one for our neighbor's daughter who is 10 and I'm not really sure if she likes me too much. As for the recipes, I can't wait. You might look at naptimechef. She's got quite the thing going. I'm hoping to meet her at BlogHer Food in May here in Atlanta. I have a friend who bought tickets for her company and since I guest blog for her on occasion, I get to go!

  13. That sounds wonderful! I read many blogs that are full of advertisments, I get it that this is how they can continue to blog and pay the bills. So have at it! And I love that there will be two Catherine's a week.


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  15. Anonymous2:53 PM

    So cute.
    I miss your blogging like on babycenter, nice long stories of you and your family. I would hope for more of that if you have time.

  16. Catherine, like everyone else here, I love you for so many reasons - topmost being the sheer number of hours your family spends in PJs.

  17. I'm so glad you'll continue to post recipes! I don't have anything to advertise, but I have a weakness for buying handmade things. I promise to diligently click on your advertiser's ads. :)

    I love Corrie71's idea about the Kindle book. I'll be right behind her in line.

  18. So very happy to hear that you will still post recipes as well as random posts! Hope you can make the advertising happen. Good idea.

  19. Happy April Fool's!

  20. Allyson6:07 PM

    Now we're actually better off than before-- Catherine twice a week! And if you can figure out the internets, Catherine, so that you can replace your lost income with ad revenue, then you will be, too. I'll keep my fingers crossed!

    I was printing out the camp brochure when my nosy daughter snuck a peek at my screen. Damn. Maybe next year. I did convince her that she might have to repeat 5th grade, though, so that's something. (It's not as cruel as it sounds; she hasn't been doing her homework lately, so I wanted to put the fear of God (or her teacher) into her, and this seemed like a good two birds, one stone sort of opportunity.
    Love Ben and Birdy's Rube Goldberg video, complete with striped pajamas. What does it say about me that, even though I've never met your kids, I think about them every time the Hanna Andersson catalog arrives?
    Also, Shabbat shalom to you, as well, my favorite fellow half-Jew! Now I have a sudden urge to bake some challah. If only I had a trusted recipe online.... If you post a challah recipe, I'll send you my famous matzah ball soup recipe.
    Sorry for the long comment-- I am over-excited at the news of twice-weekly Catherine!

  21. Allyson6:10 PM

    One more thing-- Ben will love this video:

  22. Allyson6:10 PM

    Dammmit, Emily, you beat me to it!

  23. I love the look of your blog! I'm so glad you'll be posting twice a week!

  24. Anonymous7:43 AM

    Bravo! A million times I shout, bravo! the entire thing; this new plan, to the video, the Shoop, o God, the Shoop!
    Catherine, thank you! You have inspired me and opened my eyes to authors and games and food that has changed my little life forever.( have you read the latest Maria Kalman, And the Pursuit of Happiness,.....o my!)

    May peace pour out on you!!

  25. Anonymous7:48 AM

    O that auto-correct makes me cuckoo. Yesterday I tried to type that my heart was achy, and it changed it to Schubert. Schubert!

  26. Janet2:53 PM

    This sounds great. I'm wondering what could possibly be in the Mama Lunch recipes that kids won't like, since some of your recipes are already pretty adventurous, in a good way, that is. Looking forward to anything you have to say, as always.

  27. So excited to get to read you twice! Love the pants, by the way!

  28. Jennifer7:57 PM

    So glad to hear you will be continuing the recipes! I love your writing and your meal suggestions!

  29. I love your Goldberg machine! Especially the cat-start-off :) And great minds do think alike - I went to find the OK Go clip for you too. :)

    So glad that the end of Dalai Mama doesn't mean the end of us hearing from you - Birdy and my Little Guy are both getting so big now, but I still remember reading Week 28 when Birdy was still snug inside you and tLG was in me and we knew didn't know their wonderful little selves yet and I was so very pleased to have found you.

    Don't the years zoom by.

  30. I'm almost embarrassed to say how excited I was when I read that you'll be posting twice a week. Twice a week!!! Woo hoo!!!

    I agree with Wendy that the SouleMama blog is a good model for how to include advertising on your blog. I trust her advice, and have shopped at a number of the online stores she recommends.

    If you recommended companies, I'd be very excited to check them out (like I have been with the books and board games.)

    Two times a week!!!!


  31. I'm so happy you'll still be posting, and twice a week at that!
    I'm glad to see so many suggestions for how to add advertising to the site. Hopefully you'll find something that works and pays the bills.

  32. Anonymous7:57 PM

    So happy and relieved to hear your plans! I've been reading some of the older Ben & Birdy columns on this past week and am so inspired by your thoughtful perspective. You help me to be a better mom, Catherine, and to cherish these amazing years. Thank you!

  33. I had my best April's Fool day EVER, thanks to you, Catherine! My kids (10 and 12) totally fell for chore camp (apparently, I am such a task master that it didn't seem out of character for me to be proposing it). The best part was when they started trying to find the silver lining: "Hey, we could come home and start a cleaning business" "Well, and it couldn't ALL be chores, could it?" Your milk trick was also completely fabulous. And the doughnut tree seeds (from Family Fun) . . . mwwwwhahaaaa... A big thanks to you, Catherine, for all you've given me and my family over the years. Good luck with your newest adventure!

  34. Allyson8:23 AM

    Ok, this has nothing to do with this post, it's just a website that I think Ben and Birdy (and you) would love.

    It's live web cam of an eagles' nest, complete with two brand new eaglets and one set to hatch any day! My kids are totally hooked. Enjoy!

  35. Anonymous11:18 AM

    Hooray! So glad you are determined to make a go of this. Others have mentioned you could model your ad stuff after Soulemama, another blogger I love. I often think you're a lot like her except you aren't quite as "zen" and seem to curse a lot more (I mean this in the nicest possible way :-)
    And the Mama Lunch feature? I'd be alllllll over that!

  36. I especially love the striped pajamas. Is it like living with the Cat and the Hat?

    Also thrilled you'll be posting twice a week! I can't believe I missed the opportunity to put out the chore camp brochure - my boys are perfect ages for it. I did remember some of your fooling food ideas but grant writing got in the way of pulling any off. Next year, next year.

  37. Denise9:00 AM

    Love it! My son LOVES Rube Goldberg machines and frequently creates them in our house. So fun and creative!

  38. Awesome drum-banging machine. I'm so excited that we'll now have two posts a week from you!

  39. Anonymous3:17 PM


    I do love your blog! Thank you so much for continuing. It is like getting a big hug :-0

  40. pfomby11:40 PM

    Just saw the video - that's totally awesome! I love using a cat as the trigger for the chain reaction.

  41. Anonymous12:50 PM

    Okay, I'm thinking it is crucial/essential/important/to be done without delay!, that you inform we, your readers, the exact details of the STRIPED PAJAMAS?!! I know that you enjoy thrift shopping... have there been more than 1 pair of these pjs? or have they been lengthened as the years go by? or do you buy them new from hannah anderson, in a bigger size?! There is much history here for we, the long time readers! (with love and hugs, from 2kidslife)