I would love to write something a little meatier than this, but you know sometimes you just got to do a music blurb. It’s the holiday weekend, the jumbo crabs are on their way, and I don’t feel like getting deep at the moment. So…

We took my thirteen year old daughter to her first concert in May 07. We saw one of our favorite bands, KEANE, on their Under the Iron Sea tour. I was so excited to see my favorite band (at the moment) but most of the excitement was for my daughter who was anxiously waiting to see a band live for the first time. Our seats were just six rows away from the stage, that’s just a few arm lengths away from Tom Chaplin, the lead vocalist for the band. Ahhh! As my husband likes to say, we swooned like a bunch of groupies. During the show we occasionally turned our heads and waved to my husband and sister sitting 20 or so rows behind us. It was a brilliant night and guess what? Their third album, Perfect Symmetry, is coming out October 13th! If anyone out there can manage a couple of front row seats somewhere in the tristate area (Pa, DE, NJ) gives us a holler, will ya? 🙂

I’m so glad I can enjoy these moments with my daughters. I just know someday the time will come when they’d rather not have me around and I’ll have to let go a little… but for now, children, I’ll be by your side. 🙂

Here’s a song off their new album:

Better Than This

Isabella is officially a kidadoblog author! At thirteen years of age, she’s got a lot to say. Here’s her first post!

Hi 🙂

Bella here. I’ve been working on two poems so HERE THEY ARE!!

A Perfect Morning

Cascading light,

Shadows lie upon my pillow,

The sun’s delicate heat caresses my face,

I throw open the window and stare out,

A breeze hurries through the screen,

My chilled skin soaks in the icy cold air,

So immense and beautifully flowered,

The magnolias outside gaze upon my wide grin and start a quiet conversation,

Their simple smiles of joy beam down to me,

I sprawl on the bay window beside my bed,

The light streaming through the leaves of the trees illuminate a book,

And a gust of wind turns the first page of a perfect morning.


Her fragile gaze,

From across the street,

And beyond the seas,

Her open arms,

A warm touch she longs for,

A sweet lullaby she craves,

Her hair a previous glittery gold,

Now yearns for color and vigor,

She is lifeless,

Alone and caged,

Wanting to be free.

by Isabella

Jason Bateman as Derek Taylor

Silverspoon's Derek Taylor,

I’m sitting here with my 9 year old daughter, Simona. She’s the daughter who got me listening to my mom’s 80’s music compilation because she is totally, head over heels, in love with everything of that decade. Anyway, it’s 12:14 in the morning. I know bad mom for not sending her to bed. We were having one of those special mother and daughter moments and I wanted her to keep me company as I surfed the blogosphere. Before long, it was past midnight and we ended up watching On Demand episodes of Silver Spoons. Remember Derek Taylor? Ricky Shroeder’s bratty, stuck-up, rotten friend? Well, we’re watching his farewell episode when he heads out to St. Louis after his parents divorce. Having spent much of my adolescent and teen years in that decade, I was a big fan of the show, even more so when Derek Taylor was in the picture. He was so darn cute despite his evil ways. You have connected the Derek Taylor – Jason Bateman relationship thing already haven’t you? So as we sit here, a little loopy from tiredness, and stare at the TV set, I get a little melancholy as Derek bids farewell to Ricky next to Ricky’s racecar bed and Simona mumbles out loud amused at herself for getting teary eyed, “…this is sad!”. Her sadness is due to her innocence, her girlish desire for everything funny, cute and perfect, and it being unexpectedly crushed when Derek waltzes out Ricky’s room never to return again. As for me, the sadness has more to do with the stark reality that today I am 36 years old and that episode aired 26 years ago. Whew, where did time go? Oh, wait, new episode… Ricky shoots a deer when he goes hunting with dad and grandpa, but it didn’t die, now dad has to put it out of its misery because Ricky doesn’t want to. I’m sad. Simona’s sad. Ricky’s sad. 12:40 am. I think it’s time for bed.

Ooey, gooey, champurado

Ooey, gooey, champurado

Summer is almost over and the kids are revving up for another busy school year. We’ve had our fill of pool water, SPF 70, spying on baby bunnies and birdies, marshmallow roasts and sweet New Jersey corn. It’s time to get serious. Right?

Let’s not forget there is one weekend left, one last hurrah to be spent before we stow away our summer dresses and sandy Sanoks. So keep those flip flops on girls and boys, we’re heading back to Lola’s and Lolo’s house to celebrate Labor Day, a holiday that gives most of us that extra day off. A holiday that is the culmination of all things summer and sweat, joy and exasperation, beer and barbecue. Girls, we will badminton till the sun goes down. And Emil, we will let you splash us to your hearts content because in our sunny exaltation we just won’t give a ….care. All of us will enjoy the hearty Lola breakfast that brings all of us together at that cramped yet cozy breakfast bar. Homemade waffles or pancakes with whipped cream, strawberries and blueberries, sausages, and, crescendo please, that creamy chocolate delight we call champurado ! It is every kid’s dream to have this oogey, gooey chocolate dish for breakfast. Better get up early or you’re likely to be scrapping the bottom of the bowl for an ounce of this stuff. For those that don’t know, champurado is a traditional Filipino breakfast treat that is usually eaten with something salty, ie salted fish or what we call tuyo. My kids pass on the fish part and blast spoonfuls of pure chocolate bliss into their mouths. Don’t worry all you healthnuts, this is a treat that can only be enjoyed at Lola’s house as I have tried and failed to replicate her recipe to the exact gooeyness. And why is that…no matter how precise I am in following any of her recipes, it never turns out the same?

Lola’s and Lolo’s is a place where we can all be kids. It’s a place where we can relax, get in each other’s business, laugh and relax again. That is why we love going there. This summer it has been every other weekend or so and it will certainly dwindle down as school begins. So kids, are you ready to go to Lola’s house?

Click on photo for a link to RecipeZaar’s Champurado recipe.

(fyi, lola and lolo are filipino terms of endearment for grandmother/grandfather or elderly person; Spaniards brought chocolate to the Philippines; there are other versions of this dish including Mexican champurrado)

You can’t listen to Beirut’s music without feeling totally awesome. One of our favorites. I put Postcards from Italy on my daughter’s 13th birthday playlist. Too bad they’re not together at the moment. We’d love to see them live.

Elephant Gun

Postcards from Italy

They were also sampled in a complimentary bmx trick dvd at a local Vineland bike shop, Ed’s Bike Shop. Pretty neat.

Other bands featured on my daughter’s 13th Birthday Playlist:
Blonde Redhead, Van She, Yael Naim, Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova, New Young Pony Club, Band of Horses, Kate Nash, Ghostland Observatory and Fisher. It’s featured on ITunes IMix section, but I’m having trouble loading it on this page…sorry!

Right to it then. For our thirteen year old, a one year subscription to the Japanese fashion magazine, FRUITS. Thanks to its creator and photographer, Shoishi Aoki, for satisfying my daughter’s fascination with harajuku street fashion. Subscription can be bought directly at FRuiTS or at

How about that LOMO? Never heard of these till my daughter visited Now we all want one.

LOMO Oktomat 8 Lens Camera

LOMO Oktomat 8 Lens Camera @

Each Lomo camera model focuses on one photographic effect. Every shot in the red Oktomat will take 8 successive pictures in under 3 sec producing an 8-frame photo vignette. Sounds basic but the effects are pretty cool. See sample shots here. Other models include the Fish Eye, Action Sampler and Colorsplash. We wouldn’t mind having any one of them. They’re pretty affordable too. From what I understand, lomography is less about technique than it is about the spontaneity of picture taking; these cameras with their fun design, effects and simplicity in taking a shot do nothing but encourage it. For more info on Lomography, visit

usb vinyl archiver

usb vinyl archiver @

Also spotted on, is this little something for my nine year old. She loves the eighties and has been dying to play some of our “old” records.

Ana, my 11 year old, loves horses (and cows) and has the occasional ride.  She dreams of living in France where she’ll live as a veterinarian on a farm full of horses and cows (and snakes, birds, hamsters…).  Sorry, Ana, we have no room for horses on our townhouse lot.  Somehow I know you’ll end up in France on a farm with a couple of horses and cows and your father and I will visit you in our old age and never want to leave.  So make room for us, will ya?

More to come…..

Remember when? We had asked each other all day long. Last Sunday, we hung up our beach towels and bathing suits and headed to old stomping grounds in the city of Philadelphia. Merely twenty minutes away yet we never find the time to go. And when we do, we never want to leave.

It’s where we lived as twenty-something parents and feared nothing; where my second and heaviest (9.6 lbs) child was born; where my husband completed his BA in Medieval History; where we lived in an apartment that housed the world’s largest cockroach; where we lived in an apartment that was once a brothel but wasn’t told of this fact until after we moved in; where we walked and walked and walked and never got tired; where we consumed modest amounts of beer at the corner Locust Bar; where we befriended the photographer from the old 100.3 FM radio station and got invited to see and meet Michael Hutchence of INXS in a cozy recording studio one month before he died; where we declined to see and meet Squirrel, Nuts, Zippers in a cozy recording studio and regretted it; where we played with our daughters X amount of times at the 10th and Lombard playground; where I made local news by nervously but intelligently answering the question, How do you feel about the safety of the city’s playground equipment?; where the best falafel sandwich can be found; where the best kugel can be found; where the best video store, TLA, can be found; and where we last talked, laughed and cried with my beloved brother, Jonathan Scott Mendoza (1977-1998), who will survive forever in our memories.

On this occasion we strolled through U of Penn’s Museum of Anthropology and Archeology which my six year old son described as looking much like a haunted house; but plentiful with interesting artifacts and palatial Egyptian doorways, nonetheless. Then we headed towards the irresistible Button statue where kids go to be kids. We sat

and chatted with Ben and ended our day in Chinatown where we emptied our wallets to shrimp chips, Pocky treats and Hello Kitty paraphernalia. (see pics)

We love Philadelphia, but would we ever move back? Our thirty something (and forty something) urges aren’t quite so versatile, although we like to think so. With safety, schools and overall quality of life a constant concern, moving back to the city is but a notion we like to toy with. So we will take what she offers, eighteen miles away in the comfort of our home in the sweet valleys of Brandywine and visit her every so often to relive pastimes, create new ones and to be cultured, taught and inspired in ways we can’t find here in our pretty, little suburbia.

Chinatown goodies

Great movie, just not for kids

Great movie, just not for kids

Yes, we took our children, ages 6 to 13 to see the movie two days after it opened. In hindsight, we regret it. The more we think about it, the more we regret it (at least for our two younger children). My husband and I have mastered parental control of the tv, computer, video games, and, well, really anything the kids can get their hands on. So why did we take them? Big blunder on our part for not doing the research. We were expecting something totally different. It really sank in after my mother-in-law let my husband know that the Dark Knight is not something you take your precious babies to go see.

So even if we did bury our young children’s heads deep in the trenches of our motherly and fatherly embrace, I have a feeling, they knew what was going on. Let me put it this way, remember the scene with the Joker and the pencil disappearing act? Yeah, pretty gruesome. But as the adult crowd bellowed in laughter at the “magic trick”, my 11 year old daughter, after lifting her head from hiding, asked with a sort of wishful uncertainty “Did the pencil roll under the table?”. She knew.

A flurry of parental recommendations stormed throughout the internet immediately after the movie opened. It was just too late for us. So take heed parents, if you haven’t already done so. Even weeks after the opening, the movie managed to break records at the box office. Keep the young ones at home, or you could end up with a lingering afterthought much like ours.