Middle Name Mellay

by Lucky Red Hen on July 1, 2011

My daughter is eight and doesn’t know how to spell her middle name. Is that bad?

It’s not like she has to use it anytime soon. There aren’t college applications to fill out, driver’s licenses to apply for, police encounters, or other legal situations that require knowing her middle name.

She at least knows how to pronounce it. And she knows it starts with a ‘d’.

See, that’s the other thing is that her middle name has a capital letter, just not at the beginning O_O



I just asked her what her middle name is and she said it. Then I asked her to spell it…

D, uh, A… no, I mean E, um… L? O X E?

Sad, isn’t it? Have we failed her as parents because we haven’t taught her yet? Should we sign up to be on Dr. Phil to discuss our dysfunction?

The other trick about her middle name is that it’s French. Poor thing is not bilingual.

Maybe this can be our summer goal… learn how to spell your middle name.

P.S. It’s not a made-up, wacky spelled nayme :p We got it from an artist we know (and have one of her painting’s). The girls in her family all have the same middle name (and it has an official crest as well!) I had told my best friend that if I had a girl, I’d name her middle name after her. Well, her first and middle didn’t work as well for my daughter’s middle name so we went with her last name, Low. It’s spelled differently, but sounds the same.

P.S.S. Because I know you’re curious… her middle name is duLaux (pronounced dew-LOW). Sometimes we pronounce it “deluxe” for fun, but as a nickname and not the proper pronunciation because paired with her first name it kind of sounds like a stripper :p

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After much online research, my 11yo settled on buying the Nerf N-Strike Recon CS-6 (they used to be called “Nerf guns” back in the day) at Target today.

We had several errands to run, so I suggested he put his quarter-filled film canisters in his camera case and wear it around his neck so it wouldn’t get misplaced.

After 10 minutes of trying on jeans at Value Village (these kids go through pants so fast), we were ready to go and that’s when he realized his jacket and money were GONE O_O

My heart sunk as I recalled the time I was a girl shopping with my mother and set down my purse. It felt like it had only been a second that I turned around but I’m sure it was longer. Time estimation does not seem possible when you’re a kid. Either something takes FOREVER or it happened in a SECOND. The purse turned up at customer service later, without my coveted wallet (white and tan leather with a horseshoe on the front) and 24 hard-earned dollars. I think I was more devastated about the wallet being gone than the money.

After asking a couple store clerks, we found out one of them saw them slung over a rack and put them in the Lost & Found. All was recovered, phew!

Even with extensive editing, this post is getting longer and longer… do you want to hear about my good deed? It’ll make up for the story coming at the end. A little yin for my yang ;)

Good deed: While waiting FORever (time estimation for me might be skewed too) for a VV cashier to count out a customers 40 paperback Star Trek books, having to start over a couple times and they weren’t all the same price, other cashier’s opened up and offered to ring up the next person. I wasn’t in a hurry and had already been waiting so long that I decided to stay put and wait my turn. Buuut, when the cashier finished ringing them up and waiting for the lady to write her check, THAT’S when she decided to tell me, “I’m sorry, I’m closed after this customer so you’ll have to go to another check stand.”


No. There wasn’t a sign or light indicating that her lane is closing/closed. Ugh. All that time being patient for nothing. When I turned to leave, my eyes met some puppy dog eyes (not really a dog and her eyes weren’t really doing the puppy dog look, but she did look a little nervous).

Long story short… this gal had $70 of dishes to return (the set was missing all the bowls) but VV doesn’t give refunds, only exchanges, and wondered if she could buy my stuff with her return credit and I’ll give her the cash (I NEVER have cash, especially that much, but this time I did and it was just enough.) I only had $10 worth of stuff to buy with cash, the rest was supposed to come out of our checking account (we’re on a stiff budget). I said, “I could use some good karma, so I’ll do it!” She couldn’t stop thanking me… profusely.

The second cashier rang me up but then realized she couldn’t do a return/exchange transaction so we had to reverse the transaction and go to a third cashier to actually get the job done. He was FANTASTIC, had a GREAT ATTITUDE, and bent over backwards (figuratively) to make us happy. Dangit why didn’t I get his name? Guh.


THEN we drove 25 minutes to Target for the Nerf gun Nerf N-Strike Recon CS-6 and some perusing. After all the perusing, we just had the gun to buy and approached the next-to-be-served checkout lane. The cashier was finishing up the previous customer with a pleasant attitude. She rang up the gun and gave the total due. My sweet, well-behaved, 11yo then handed her the first bundle of quarters (he had about $19 in quarters then some dimes, nickels and a few pennies for the rest… but MOSTLY ALL quarters.)

Claudia: (looking at her handful of quarters then back at 11yo and in a snarky tone) We don’t take over $5 in coins.

11yo: (blink.blink)

Me: What do you MEAN you don’t take over $5 in coins? Since when?

Claudia: My supervisor won’t let me take over $5 in coins.

Me: Then let’s get the supervisor. (who happens to be just several feet away)

Claudia (to the supe): They want to pay with over $5 in coins.

Supe: Then take it. (turning away with a slight quizzical look)

Claudia: But I’m not supposed to. Two people have told me that.

Supe: I’ve never heard that. Take the money.

Me (directed to the supe): Coins ARE money, aren’t they?

Supe (to me then to Claudia): Yes they are. Take the money.

She starts counting out the quarters. At one point she tries to back peddle saying that she, too, pays her daughter for chores in coins. But then she says…

Claudia: Well, I’d normally take the coins but there’s a backup. (motioning to the nice mom behind us)

It was 2:30pm on a Wednesday, nowhere near a holiday, with at least four other cashiers on duty with only ONE customer each… there was NO backup. And it isn’t hard to count quarters… four equal a dollar.

Me: Wait a minute. You said before that you aren’t allowed, but now you’re saying you would if there wasn’t a backup?!?

Claudia: Yes, that’s right.


I’ve been talking to my kidlets lately about how we say things. Say the word “sorry” in a sarcastic whine with your squinted eyes and sneer -or- in a humbled voice with upturned eyebrows and down turned lips; same word, different meanings.

Like in Three Men and a Baby when Tom Selleck reads to the baby from Sports Illustrated. It’s his tone of voice that soothes the baby, not the explanation of how the basketball star completed his layup and scored his umpteenth basket.

We had several cashiers that day: one at Les Schwab (I returned our chains; the clerk was slammed with incoming calls, an impatient older customer waiting after me, and she maintained her pleasant disposition the entire time, as did I), three at the first Value Village, one crummy one at Target, and one at the other Value Village (we were searching for a small lamp for the hall bathroom).

I KNOW how to behave with cashiers, I HAVE BEEN a cashier, I have a couple of Employee of the Month awards from past employment in customer service, so I am pretty sure I have a good idea of how customer service works.

“Yes, we have no bananas!”

There is no excuse for a cashier to treat someone unkind, ESPECIALLY a KID. And obviously by my momma bear rant, MY kid. If she was having a bad day (which I don’t think she was), she didn’t need to take it out on the customer, my son.

Lesson Learned: don’t punch rude people in the neck. Blog about it instead.

P.S. Told the cashier at the other Target today about the incident and she was appalled. She said that she’s been paid in pennies before, that it doesn’t happen very often, and that their store has nicer employees than the other one ;)

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Pretend like you’re coming over to my house, we’ve enjoyed visiting, and you’re about to (recluctantly) leave. This is what you’ll see on your way out!

A message saying, “Please Come Again!” and four of my favorite images printed on metal and hung together. They’re gorgeous in person, having a metal sheen that makes them POP! Plus they have dimension standing out from the wall, not pressed up against it.

Here’s looking into our teensie tinesie (how do you like my phoenetic spelling?) hall bathroom. Custom gallery wrapped canvas wall art (say THAT five times fast!) that’s perfectly safe in humid spaces.

These photos were taken a couple years ago at a nearby park. I was trying out lenses to see which one I might like to get next (the Canon 50mm 1.2f L lens, thankyouverymuch, birthday is coming up). The kidlets weren’t dressed for a photo shoot or coordinated for permanent wall art, but I used them as test subjects.

The piece on the left is four images of them making different poses every time I pressed the shutter button. The piece on the right is of them holding hands (not sure they’d be as willing to do that anymore, so I’m glad I captured their sweetness when they would let me). It’s actually not a technically sound image. My highlights are blown out, my shadows are too dark, and I’m not sure that anything is in focus.


“How does it make you FEEL?”
– Joe Buissink

Images of my kids make me feel extremely happy. That is why they hang on my wall. Not because they’re award winning.

The metals, on the other hand, are ROCKIN’ technically sound images :) Here’s a closer look (including the reflection of the dining room chandelier on Lisa and Eli’s faces, woops) of them before hanging.

…and a little snipet of my slipper :D

Here’s another way to get dimension with our unframed canvas painting. It’s stapled to the wall (where the creases/folds are) and stuck on the right side with painters tape. It reminds me a bit of my grandma, Lucille, who’s been gone for a long time.

The art on the left is by Adde duLaux Russell. It’s three separate canvases, making packing/moving a breeze. We met her in Seattle after seeing her one-winged angel silhouette painting (that’s not hanging in our house, unfortunately, it’s on a wall in a Sun Valley home instead). We’ve had it about nine years now, and every year we swap Christmas cards… how sweet is THAT?!?

The photograph on the right is of aspen trees in American Fork Canyon, UT, by Russell Gunther. His brother and I traded it for a quilt. I had already committed to making a baby blanket for their 5th baby, so he said (after trying to gift it to me and I wouldn’t take it for free), “I’ll trade you this for a quilt,” thinking that meant the baby blanket. But I talked to his wife about making a simple adult-sized one for him for fun, in addition to the baby blanket, and she agreed that it’d be funny.

Well, after trying to find the perfect fabric (I was seriously just going to get two pieces of fabric and sew them together, super easy) and coming up empty, I switched gears on accident and decided to try a design I’ve NEVER even come CLOSE to doing (nor had I ever made anything bigger than a baby blanket). This is what my 2 piece blanket turned into…

…well over 400 pieces in a Bullseye Design, cut in four’s and reconstructed. P.S. That’s not him, that’s his son holding it for me the last time I was in town so I could get picture proof that 1) yes, I did make it, and 2) yes, they actually use it.

We have more art hanging in our home, so maybe I’ll have to post another tour to show you the rest. By the way, all these photos were taken with my cell phone. You’d think I’d use my real camera, but no.

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[warning: rant to follow]

When do you decide that enough is enough with your kid’s elementary school? How far is too far? Where is the line? What do you do when you don’t know what to do?

I am NOT an educator (that’s the schools job). I have NOT been taught how to teach (that’s what teachers go to college for). I do NOT profess to know how a school should run (that’s why we have education professionals).

I am just a mom who wants her kidlets to have a consistently positive learning experience around other kids who behave decently. Is that too much to ask? I guess it might.

We can’t change the language that a third grader brings to teach my non-cursing children. Yes, I KNOW that’s going to happen, but it happens a LOT (especially younger) and it’s disgusting even though people may say/feel that it’s “just how it is these days.”

How about NO, that is NOT how it is going to be these days. How about we all agree that there is a NO CURSING policy at all elementary schools? Wouldn’t EVERYONE that is a parent to elementary students agree to that? Even cussing families, don’t you think they could agree that 5-11 year old kids should refrain from dropping the F-bomb at school? My third grader came home with a discipline form because he was caught passing a note in class that read (spelled correctly), “You s__ g__ f__ a___.” These are words he has NEVER heard/read outside of school. A kid in his class giggled and told him what to write. Yeah, my kid didn’t know better to not listen. Peer pressure… sigh.

How about we all agree that there will be no TOUCHING each other at school? Just a flat out rule that everyone is supposed to follow just like the rule that they are not supposed to walk on the grass (and they don’t). This would eliminate chasing, shoving, groping, pulling, poking, scratching, etc. Today my guy came home with ANOTHER deep scratch (his neck this time) from a girl in his class. This is the third in 10 days (arm and wrist were the other two), bad enough they needed Neosporin and bandaging (they’re bigger than a Band-Aid size). He’s had issues with kids on the bus harassing him (we drove him to/from school for a week then when he went back he sat in a different area) and girls kicking him in the shins (I think he handled that one by taking them aside and telling them it hurt a lot and would they please stop doing it and they did).

I’m trying NOT to go Momma Bear on the situation. I want him to stand up for himself and know how to talk to the authorities when something is wrong (he’s told her to stop, that’s not working). He’s supposed to go to the principal tomorrow and explain that he’s being hurt and would like it to stop. The nice thing is that he’s pretty docile and non-confrontational with people (who aren’t his parents), but that works against him when he’s getting picked on and treated unkindly.

The trick is that this stuff does NOT happen in Boy Scouts, Sunday School or at other people’s houses… just at school.

I KNOW teachers have a lot of work for little pay. I KNOW that kids will be kids. I KNOW that my kid is not an angel and contributes to an unruly classroom. I KNOW that the adults at school can’t monitor EVERYTHING that goes on. I KNOW that sometimes a class/group of kids can be impossible to manage because they are just like that. I believe that the teachers and other personnel at the school are doing their best to do what is right.

He says he doesn’t have friends at school, everyone is mean to him, he doesn’t feel like he fits in, etc. This. Breaks. A. Mother’s. Heart. And it makes me think about switching school’s or (ack) home schooling (ugh).

I DON’T want to home school but I don’t want my kid getting harassed and feel like a loser either. I DON’T want to get involved in a document trail of he-said-she-said (the principal is WAY into documenting every detail, I’m not so I feel unarmed).

How do I teach my children how to stand up for themselves without being disrespectful (not all adults are right or should be trusted, maybe the adult didn’t ask the right questions or believes the wrong person) or getting in trouble for doing it (if a kid hits mine but mine blocks or pushes to avoid then mine gets in trouble)? What is a kid supposed to do when someone else won’t stop being annoying?

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Opening Gifts is FUN! Giveaway’s are FUN!

by Lucky Red Hen on February 18, 2011

This ALMOST became a gift for a far away friend. A Texas themed armadillo stapler! But we decided to just take a picture of it instead. Aren’t we nice? :)

Around here, the birthday person picks whatever dessert their heart desires… hot fudge sundae with sprinkles, bananas and whipped cream (in a can).

 The birthday boy hoped for a box from arriving ON his birthday, and that’s EXACTLY what he got (with something inside, of course)! See his excitement over a BOX?!?

And today we get to announce another Giveaway winner! Woot woot! Another gift giving :) My internet was down this morning, so this should’ve happened sooner (sorry about the delay). With only two entries (where my people at?) the odds were high (better than the lottery, that’s for sure)… 50% chance of winning :)


Send me an email to claim your Nie Nie Dialogues Calendar PRIZE! Wee!

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After getting my zombie post all typed up, photos added, and ABC checked (isn’t that cuter than “spell”?), I realized it was TOO HEAVY to post on such a light holiday, especially with the NieNie Dialogues Calendar giveaway. But the good news is that I already have a full post ready with photos and stories!

Saturday we braved the crummy Seattle weather to beach comb for the Conversation Love Rocks, um, rocks (I couldn’t just say Rocks rocks, could I?) Traffic was a BEAST (pouring rain, even though Seattle is used to it, isn’t fun to drive through, and being a passenger in it is stressful) and I-520, the floating bridge, was packed as cars slowed because of the gusts of wind that made the bridge sway and threw water onto the eastbound traffic.

The calm north end of the lake vs. the choppy south side never ceases to amaze me. Rarely is the scene on each side the same, smooth calm. When it is, you’ll see kayaks, paddle boards, row boats, and standing surf paddling.

Luckily the rain let up long enough for us to find the rocks the kids needed for their Valentine’s. The far end of the beach area had lots for us to choose from as well as barnacled stones to inspect, giant climbing boulders, and photo ops.

Our time spent at the beach was little, so we hope to go more often when the weather is more comfortable for hanging out on the sand and in the water. Hopefully that will be sooner than later.

How about this week we giveaway NieNie’s 2011 Wall Calendar?!? Yay! I ended up with an extra calendar, so I’ll pass along my goof ;) If you don’t already have a 2011 calendar or want another, leave a comment to this post telling me what your FAVORITE MONTH is! Mine is October, because I dig fall and Halloween. Here’s a photo of the actual calendar (and shipping envelope). This will be shipping from a Seattle, WA, USA area post office, so make sure I can ship it to you for under 5 bucks, ok? I don’t have advertisers or sponsors paying for shipping. This is coming from my sweet little home (and wallet) to yours :) Winner will be announced Thursday and with the this Saturday night as the deadline to claim the prize or another winner will be chosen (so come back, mkay?)

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Oh! how I love to happen upon a blog that brings me joy! That’s how I found Color Me Katie (fun, colorful, happenings that she creates in her city and photographs to share), Another Lunch (think Bento box for kidlets) and Michael Naples (complicatedly simple still life small paintings almost daily).

[We announce the Monday Giveaway winner today, at the end of this post!]

Today’s side track brought me quickish, kidlet-friendly projects at Red Bird Crafts as well as a brief heart warming read about her Nanny Ruth’s legacy. Wish I was as diligent as Ruth about documenting  life so that one day it may be a treasure to those who read it. Some day, perhaps. [sigh]

When I saw her Conversation Love Rocks post, I just KNEW my daughter might want to make them instead of the Dr. Seuss Valentine’s in a Box we were going to buy. Surprise to me when my 11 year old son wanted to make them too! Psst, parents/friends at my kidlets school, please don’t spoil their Valentine surprise, mkaythanks :)

Our plan is to hunt for the perfect rocks this Saturday. My kidlets have already decided on what fabric they want to use for this friend and that friend. The 7yo has been creating poems, too! [squeal, she’s really good at it, but even if she wasn’t it’d still be precious!]

Thanks to our quilty neighbor down the street, Laura, for giving us free range on your scrap stash!

[Side note: Laura and I were at a service project Tuesday night, making lap quilts for some assisted-living elderly folks, when she tried laughing at me for stock piling the scraps. In my defense, we needed some big enough pieces to hand embroider each recipients name to make labels/tags for the quilts… but I DO love me little pieces of fabric/paper swatches. When we got down to it, she admitted that she, too, keeps little bits, figuring that one day she’ll sew them to each other to make a true Scrap Quilt. She offered to let us come pilfer through her stash whenever we want!]

And now, on to our Monday Giveaway winner of Elena’s 3-Day Green Smoothie eGuide is…

wait, I should also mention that
for the next 48 hours (until Saturday afternoon)
my Lucky Red Hen readers can use code
for 20% off the eGuide in Elena’s store


Congratulations, Aubrey! Send me your email (click on the envelope in the upper right of my blog) so Elena can get you your FREE eGUIDE… WOOT! I hope you like the smoothies as much as I do… actually, I’m going to go make one now for an afternoon snacky snack :) On hand I have apples, frozen bananas (always have those in the freezer), frozen blueberries, grapefruit, spinach, hemp seed and aloe juice. I haven’t used grapefruit before, don’t really eat it by itself, but it’s good for me and smells delicious so I’m going to give it a try!

P.S. Need a wall calendar (I remember one year going two months without a wall calendar because I couldn’t find THE PERFECT one; maybe you don’t have one yet or want/need another)? Like reading NieNie Dialogues? Next Monday’s Giveaway is NieNie’s calendar, brand new, never been used, still in celophane wrap in case you want to gift it to someone else! (I happen to have an extra one; this giveaway is in no way endorsed by NieNie or her peeples, in case I need to say that for some reason… and it will be shipped/delivered from me.)

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Despicable Me Minion Treats & FREE Giveaway

by Lucky Red Hen on February 8, 2011

[edit: I wrote this yesterday on my fancy smart phone with my index fingers but it doesn’t look so smart now that I can’t get it to post and have to REWRITE all that work. Hmf.]

My SIL’s bday is today (Sunday; I’m barely getting this post written before midnight [11:58pm], so I hope this counts as me remembering her; especially since I’m writing this on my phone and I just realized I can’t upload the picture from here)… happy birthday, Britanny :)

Last Sunday, the extended family celebrated the February birthday’s at grandma and grandpa’s house. We had another obligation with the youngest, so our oldest (and the Feb. birthday boy) got picked up by his aunt and uncle to enjoy the bday festivities without us. He said he didn’t care that we weren’t coming, since he’d be getting gifts and have Carte Blanche dessert without his sugar-intake-police mom there to decrease/monitor his portion :p

They had yummy dinner, watched Despicable Me on the big screen, and partook of miniature, edible minion’s made by Britanny (she says she found them on the internet somewhere).

The base is a Twinkie (you know those things NEVER deteriorate naturally, hurl); the blue is dyed frosting; black licorice whips for the mouth, goggle straps, and hair; sour, gummy worms for arms; and Sweet Tarts for goggles.

We shared them with some dinner guests. ED couldn’t stop laughing when we presented him his dessert. He has had only ONE Twinkie in his whole life and didn’t remember what it tasted like! That’s probably for the best, don’t cha think?

Speaking of Twinkies… how about a 3-DAY GREEN SMOOTHIE EGUIDE for our Monday Giveaway?!? Well, not actually smoothies, you make them yourself, but a intuitive guide to Green Smoothie’s from my friend Elena at her Eat Healthy, Be Happy blog. She won a FREE BLOG HEADERlast week from my wondrous blog designer, The Blog Fairy, and wanted to pay it forward. Paying it forward is what all the cool kids are doing ;)

Here’s my experiencewith Elena’s 3-DAY GREEN SMOOTHIE CHALLENGE eguide. WARNING: your smoothie doesn’t have to look so green (I swear it doesn’t taste green), but it does in the beginning when you’re learning about the program and following her recipes. The bright green coloring has been replaced by purple hues since I’ve been using red, blue and purple colored fruits. Spinach in the raw/uncooked form tastes like nothing, so you’re tasting the banana, apple, orange and whatever other fruit you use instead :)

Trust me.


  • Internationally friendly giveaway (it’s an eGuide, so it will be delivered via email)
  • Leave a comment on this post with your feeling about Green Smoothies
  • The winner must claim their prize by coming back this Thursday and sending me an email so I can forward the info to Elena
  • For extra entries, you can subscribe to Elena’s newsletter and/or subscribe to her blog RSS feed as well as subscribe to mine :)

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