Archive for the ‘Carter’ Category

“Don’t Ask ‘What’ My Child Is”: but do read my essay on Dame magazine

February 28th, 2015

“The writer is White. Her husband is Black. And there are many people who feel entitled to accost the couple with unsolicited opinions about their biracial son.” —Dame Magazine

I’m thrilled to have my essay Don’t Ask “What” My Child Is published on Dame Magazine. It’s an extremely personal statement, which I hope will inspire people to examine how they think about biracial families. Please check it out, and consider sharing and commenting.


Here’s the book that kicked off the discussion in our house.

the case of Carter’s missing curls

January 23rd, 2012

Carter was born almost two weeks late—nearly 10 pounds with big, blue Mommy eyes and a full head of hair. His eyes are now hazel like Daddy’s, and his curls grow so fast that he asked Annamae, who gave his his first haircut at four weeks, to cut them all off this time!

New Year's Eve at the Hiller

New Year's Eve at the Hiller

Bye-bye curls—new year, new look!

Bye-bye curls—new year, new look!

perfect playdate: baking brownies, chasing bubbles, digging in dirt

December 30th, 2011
Apron on and ready to bake

Apron on and ready to bake

Carter's turn to crack an egg

Carter's turn to crack an egg

Beyond excited, delirious with anticipation, and somewhat crazy describe Carter when it comes to getting together with other kids. He was at a small home daycare until he went to kindergarten, he’s a very social only child, and we work full time, so a playdate is a rare and cherished event. Yesterday, his friend Jade came over, and they tore up a patch of dirt in the backyard, ran after copious amounts of bubbles (not to name drop, but Gymboree bubbles really do last longer), baked brownies, and while the brownies were baking mopped up the dirt they had tracked in. Funny, how cleaning up can be fun when it’s part of playtime!

Obviously, from the Baking with Carter theme, I believe strongly that baking with kids is a great way to have fun together, to develop skills ranging from dexterity to tactile awareness, to learn everything from math to chemistry, etc., etc. It’s great to meet another parent, like Jade’s mom, Jennifer, who understands why kids should play with raw eggs. Needless to say, it was good that my favorite brownie recipe has two eggs to crack, since both kids are pros.

Because this brownie recipe uses cocoa powder, rather than melted chocolate, it’s ideal to make with kids. Here’s the recipe again, for easy reference:

Favorite Brownies

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter (one stick, room temperature)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons oil
6 tablespoons cocoa
3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease or line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper or foil coated with cooking spray. Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla and oil, beating until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Add the cocoa powder in three parts, mixing well after each addition. In a separate bowl, mix the flour and salt together. Add the flour mixture to the the cocoa mixture in two or three parts, mixing well after each addition. Pour batter into pan and spread evenly. Bake for about 20 minutes; do not overbake.

Adapted from Cooking with Amy

Christmas wheels now and then: on a big-boy bike and on a little-boy airplane

December 28th, 2011
Carter on a bigger big-boy bike (Christmas 2012)

Carter on a bigger big-boy bike (Christmas 2011)

Carter's first Christmas wheels (2005)Carter’s first Christmas ride (2005). What a difference six years make!

A+ easy gift ideas for teachers, daycare, other moms, etc.

December 21st, 2011

xmas giftTaking the stress, obligation, and anxiety out of teacher gifts. That’s the topic The Happiest Mom*, Meagan Francis, tackled today. As I was commenting, I figured why not weigh in on my own (albeit much-neglected) blog.

At our school, the head classroom parents take up a collection (give what you want) for the teacher and aide’s gifts. This works for me, but I’m not off the hook because Carter goes to two different after-school daycares. On-campus Kids’ Club (Monday through Thursday) has a staff of four. On Friday, Carter goes back to Lucy’s house, the home daycare where he’s gone since he was 20 weeks old, so I needed gifts for Lucy and for his Russian teacher (why Russian is a story for another blog).

I firmly believe you don’t need to spend a lot of money to show appreciation. My goal: something practical (nothing to dust) with a personal but easy-to-do presentation. For example, last year, I wrapped up a jar of deli mustard with a fresh store-bought baguette in bright tissue paper, which I tied closed with colorful ribbon. But quizzing the mustard buyer at Draegers’ at the very last minute caused much anxiety and didn’t leave time for Carter to take part.

xmas detailThis year, I bought handmade, but inexpensive felt appliquéd cup cozies (eco cardboard sleeve substitutes) at a fair in October. I paired each with a Starbucks gift card in a large square blank holiday card, inside which Carter drew pictures. He also addressed and decorated the envelopes. A gold star for one job well done. Now if I could just check something else off my list…

I edited Meagan’s book with Parenting magazine: The Happiest Mom—makes a great gift, too!* Half off until the end of the year or from Amazon

Why do “multicultural” crayons include white and black? How about skin tones?

November 6th, 2011


While I applaud the PC nature of Crayola’s “multicultural” crayon set, next time, I suggest the product-development folks think about flesh colors—picture actual skin tones. Really, a white crayon and a black crayon? For the record, in the limited crayon palette at school, Carter reaches for the orange crayon when he draws himself.

<a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00275X7HY/ref=as_li_ss_il?ie=UTF8&tag=bakiwithcart-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399369&creativeASIN=B00275X7HY”><img border=”0″ src=”http://ws.assoc-amazon.com/widgets/q?_encoding=UTF8&Format=_SL110_&ASIN=B00275X7HY&MarketPlace=US&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&tag=bakiwithcart-20&ServiceVersion=20070822″ ></a><img src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=bakiwithcart-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B00275X7HY&camp=217145&creative=399369″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

Spot goes to school in PJs—why it’s good I don’t dress my son

May 18th, 2011
Pupp Spot (aka Carter) and Mommy on Halloween 2010

Puppy Spot (aka Carter) and Mommy on Halloween 2010

Carter is perfectly capable of getting himself dressed in the mornings. Yesterday, he put on the Dalmatian-print flannel pants from his Halloween costume, usually reserved for PJs. Some parents might disagree with his choice, but I didn’t care. I’m not a morning person, so I’ve been overly sympathetic to Carter when he’s a sad sleepyhead, like Mommy. Even though I know that I shouldn’t, I’ve even dressed him on particularly late, weepy mornings. But this week, I’ve been managing, though not happily, to get myself up and out of his way. I forced myself to practice what I preach in parenting books: Step back, stop nagging, and tell Carter that I trusted him to get himself ready.

And he did. Good puppy!

serendipity, or discovering the Palo Alto Duck Pond at sunset

December 29th, 2010

sunsetPicked up Carter from Kids’ Club yesterday. Missed the recycling center by minutes. Started the ritual driving-by of Palo Alto Airport. Went too far. Entered Baylands Park. Found the Duck Pond. At sunset. Lost track of time. Wish you were here. We will be back.

Carter’s top three reasons for returning: Water. Room to run. Unobstructed views of airplanes and helicopters landing and taking off from Palo Alto Airport.

fun science for everyone: make magic goo from corn starch and water

December 27th, 2010

I’m know for being science-phobic (I took yearbook instead of chemistry in high school), but the Scientific Explorer’s Mind Blowing Science Kit for Young Scientists Santa got Carter for Christmas could change that. Today Carter and I made “magic goo.” Try it even if there’s no kid around.

Magic Goo
Simply mix 5 tablespoons cornstarch with 1/8 cup (1 ounce) water in a bowl with your fingers. Squeeze the mixture, ball it up, put it down. What happens? Is it a liquid or a solid? Technically, this corn starch-water mixture is a “non-Newtonian” liquid, which means pressure as well as temperature can affect its viscosity. (Newton was in the temperature-only camp.) When you squeeze the mixture, it feels like a solid, but take away the pressure and it goes quickly back to liquid state.

Of course beyond the science lesson about solids and liquids, tactile exploration is a key benefit of this easy science experiment. Bottom line, though, do it yourself with or without kids because it’s fun.

For more details and a larger-scale recipe, check out Steve Spangler Science’s take on this chemistry experiment. The site’s tagline is “making science fun!” It’s never too soon to start or too late to try.

Cookies and milk for Santa Claus: easy, fast blondies recipe

December 25th, 2010

blondies for santaHow embarrassing is it, when you write a blog with the work “baking” in it, and your son’s idea of baking cookies is to break apart grocery-store premade dough, put it on a baking sheet in the oven, and, voila, chocolate chip cookies? That was Carter’s plan when he woke me up at 7 a.m. to get Santa’s snack ready. (He never, ever sleeps in on weekends. And he never, ever wakes up Daddy.)

I have fought off my cookie-baking phobia (remember the chewy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies) in the past, and on Christmas Eve, I was determined that the cookies were going to be homemade. It was the only option anyway, since I had no premade dough on hand. We made blondies. Yes, I took a shortcut opting for bar cookies and skipping doling out dough. Worse, though, I planned to cut them into squares. Carter saw that as an attempt to thwart his next notion about making cookies: once, you actually make the dough, cookie cutters follow.

Fortunately, the dough was soft enough that he could cut out a stocking, a gingerbread man (always seems sexist to say that, but “person” just doesn’t seem the same), a star, a tree, and a squiggly circle, the last compliments of his PlayDoh set. All for Santa Claus.

Tonight, Carter was following Santa’s progression online. When Santa got closer to California, Carter popped out of bed to remind me to pour milk for Santa. We had enough trimmings and squares to nibble on with Grandpa and Aunt Janet, and to share with neighbors. So to all, it was a good night. Hope yours was, too.

Santa’s Blondies

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
3/4–1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a mixing bowl. Melt butter and pour into a separate mixing bowl. Add sugar to butter and whisk to blend. Whisk in eggs one at a time and then vanilla. Add flour mixture in several small batches until incorporated.

Spread batter in baking pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake until the edges are browning and a tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 25–30 minutes. Be careful not to overbake. Cool and cut into squares or use cookie cutters to cut out shapes.

Kid tip: To grease the pan, Carter likes to “paint” the butter on with a silicone pastry brush, which may appeal to other kids.

Adapted from Epicurious Blondies with Pecans and Chocolate Chips