Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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It's Fake Crafty Time!

Hey, remember a while back when I totally screwed up making twine balls in a NickMom video called Robyn's Crafty Corner? And then remember how you never saw another episode because making videos is hard, and plus I kept forgetting to shower, which is generally considered to be a prerequisite for appearing in an Internet video?

Well, the wait is over!

I'm proud and slightly terrified to share Episode 2 of Robyn's Crafty Corner: Cake Pops, in which (as you might guess) I show you how to make cake pops and (as you also might guess) I really, really suck at it.

Those cake pops you see on Pinterest are never perfect - check out this hilarious video to see why! Robyn's Crafty Corner by Robyn Welling @RobynHTV

To answer the many questions you'll no doubt be left with after watching the video:
  1. Yes, this was my first time making cake pops.
  2. No, I had not fully thought through the difficulties of filming yourself making something for the first time when you know you don't have time to bake another cake and start all over.
  3. Yes, that's my toddler's plastic kitchen in the background.
  4. Yes, I ate all the cake pops.
  5. Yes, I also ate the leftover hardened white chocolate coating.
  6. No, I didn't share the cake pops with my children, because I didn't want to scar them for life with such a hideous introduction to the wonderful world of cake pops.
  7. No, I don't believe that excuse, either.
  8. No, I didn't eat the leftover cake, but ONLY because it got moldy before I finished all the cake pops and chocolate.
  9. Yes, blue icing stains your hands.
  10. Yes, it also stains the apron you got at a garage sale for the purposes of making this video.
  11. Yes, I am available for catering.
  12. No, I don't expect anyone to take me up on that offer.
Thank you for watching!

I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing - and so I don't get all lonely.

My Aunt's Notebook

When I was little, Aunt Jane was the fun one. She played trivia while perched on the edge of her seat, eyes shining, waiting for her chance to buzz in with a guess. She had a competitive streak a mile wide and talked trash like nobody's business - but she'd help me figure out the trivia answers, too, because she was also a softie.

I loved both those traits.

She'd worked as a newspaper reporter, so when I got older and wanted to write an article, it was my aunt who encouraged me. I had a story to tell, and she offered to read it, to edit it and teach me the steps, tell me who to contact and what to say - she was my idol and my mentor. Her red pen marks on that page still shape the way I write to this day; through her kindness, patience, and wisdom, I was able to find my voice and get it published for the first time.

Much later, I found my kids reading a notebook. My mom had given it to them, thinking it contained some scribbles she'd jotted down after a family reunion we had four years ago. But when I looked closely, I saw they were her sister's notes - my aunt - and that her memories of the family gathering served as the opening entry to a journal. I love that Aunt Jane's perspective (and her handwriting) were so close to my mom's that we didn't even realize the notebook was hers.

Until she mentioned the treatments.

my aunt's notebook - an unexpected message about breast cancer and life by Robyn Welling @RobynHTV

The radiation. The migraines. The utter exhaustion, punctuated with joy over loved ones' successes, woven together with gratitude for the kinds of days when she had enough energy just to make dinner.

Four and a half pages.

That's as far as she got.

With a constant eye on the future and enjoying life fully, her journal ends with plans for my mom to come for a visit.

She was gone soon after that. She never wrote again.

As hard as it was to read about brain scans, to watch her handwriting deteriorate as the headaches worsened, I crave more words - writing obviously came at a price for her as the days wore on, but selfishly I find the blank pages painful. I keep coming back, studying them for something I might have missed, looking for any sign of her, an indentation where she rested her pen, wringing meaning from every mark and fold in the paper. I flip through the notebook again and again, thinking about all the passages she could've written, the years those pages should have held. All the things she didn't get to say.

She didn't live to see me become a writer, though I like to believe she'd have been proud of the role she played in getting me here. She also didn't live to meet my youngest daughter, who carries my aunt's heart, quirkiness, and strength in the Jane she cradles between her first and last names.

But her words are with me always: the ones in red ink, the ones she called out playfully during games, the ones in her diary. They say: Love fully. Live fully. Do it now. Leave with memories, not regrets.

She is still helping me figure out the answers.

I am still listening.


I wrote this nearly a year ago, but just haven't felt ready to publish it. I decided to share this story now, not only because it's Breast Cancer Awareness month, but also because I recently had my own first scare - and first mammogram - and a message to share about my experience. It's slightly more lighthearted, but every bit as important, so I hope you'll stop over at momdotme to read The Truth About Mammograms.

Article exposing the TRUTH about mammograms by Robyn Welling @RobynHTV

I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing - and so I don't get all lonely.

Quiz: is that a crappy Halloween costume?

October is in full swing, and it's easy to tell; there are gourd-based tablescapes cluttering up my Pinterest feed, leaf-based messes cluttering up my yard, and pumpkin-spice-based everything cluttering up my everywhere else.

But aside from all that, I know it must be October because, according to my kids' unreasonable demands to be transformed into pirate-demon-Spiderman-fairy-shark-princess-ninjas, we've officially kicked off dress-up season.

That means parties, school functions, and (of course) trick-or-treating all call for us to scrape out the dregs of our Holiday Creativity Reservoir and mold it into some kind of fantastical costume that perfectly toes the line between "so impressively magnificent that you must not have a life" and "made at the last minute out of crap I already had sitting around the house."

A quick, funny 10-question quiz to find out the truth - is your costume super cool, or super crap? Robyn Welling @RobynHTV

I'm sorry to say this, but I think a lot of people (cough - teenagers - cough, cough) lean toward the latter. However, laziness and being a teenager aren't the only elements that typically shape a potentially crappy Halloween costume. I'm sure you've seen plenty of folks walking around this time of year and thought to yourself, "Oh, I would never call that lame pile of garbage a costume" (or something slightly less harsh, if you're nicer than I am).

But how do you know?

Homemade Halloween costumes are like cutting your own hair - when you're that close to a project, sometimes it's hard to tell if it sucks. But never fear! Like a witch-mummy-Batman-mermaid-superhero, I'm here to swoop in and help! Just take this quiz to find out . . .

Are you guilty of wearing a crappy Halloween costume?

  1. Are you just an older/younger/pregnant/zombie version of yourself?
  2. Are you the slutty version of an inanimate object?
  3. Do you believe that wearing a pair of sunglasses automatically makes you one of the Blues Brothers?
  4. Is your costume supposed to be ironic?
  5. Related: Will you have to explain your costume to more than 80% of the people who see you?
  6. Is your costume entirely comprised of a wig, fake mustache, or other facial accessory?
  7. Would you have hated this costume when you were a kid (hobos and ghosts, I'm looking at you)?
  8. Are you wearing mostly Lycra or (worse yet) full body paint?
  9. Does your costume reference a news story that hasn't been in the news since the 1990s?
  10. Does your costume involve a Snuggie in any way?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, for shame! Go back home, put on your robe and curlers, and head to your next party dressed as a tired housewife, like I am.

So, Is your costume this year absolutely unbelievable? Or unbelievably lame? (Uh, like mine.)

This article republished with permission and originally appeared on In The Powder Room.

I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing - and so I don't get all lonely.

Some People Need To Shut Up About the Sex Talk

Let me start off by saying, really, I think sex talks are great, aside from the fact that I'm a second-grader at heart who still giggles about boobies. I'm actually one of those weirdos who LOVES terrifying her children with the scientific truth about the horrifying wonders of their growing, changing bodies - I mean, who loves discussing puberty stuff with her kids.

However, you can't swing your eyeballs around the Internet these days without reading an article about vaginas and penises. And no, I don't mean "Dear Penthouse" kinds of articles (although those are out there too, no doubt). I'm talking about parenting essays explaining how important it is to discuss genitals with your children using proper medical terminology.

Now, you might already have an inkling where I stand on the issue of using the real anatomical terms for dingles and below-the-belt whatchamacallits with kids, since I've written about it and even spoken in front of real-live people and YouTube about how I ruined my kids for life with the sex talk, and I'm also a full-grown adult who just started a blog post with a boobie joke. However, I do believe in sharing the actual words for body parts with kids.

So what's my problem with it?

Well, it's probably not what you think, and it has a lot more to do with the parents than the kids. Please do me a favor and stop by momdotme to read In Defense of Hoohas and Ding Dongs - it's something I feel pretty strongly about and might not be a very popular stance, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter! I'd also love to hear any hilarious boobie jokes you have to share. Because, boobies. *giggle*

article about having the sex talk with kids using anatomical terms by Robyn Welling @RobynHTV

I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing - and so I don't get all lonely.

Volunteering at School - In 5 Pie Charts

I'm willing to bet that most of you out there with school-age children have spent at least a few hours volunteering at your kids' schools. I bet it was super-duper rewarding, too! I mean, unless you were actually awake.

I'm joking, of course (especially if any of my children's teachers read this blog), but to be honest I don't think volunteering is exactly what any of us expected.

With a kid in middle school, one in elementary, and a toddler who'll be ready for preschool all too soon, I started thinking about what my expectations used to be regarding my (at that time) future school volunteerism experiences. I imagined all the things I would get accomplished during that hour in the classroom, how wonderful it would be to hold my child's hand and experience a field trip through her eyes as I chaperoned her class safely through the day, the blissful squeals of joy I would hear from happy children as I protectively watched over them at recess.

HAHAHAHAHAHA. I know, I was dumb.

Anyway, as a public service I thought I'd share the truth about what the experience is really like. Please join me at momdotme, where I've created five informative pie charts showing exactly how you'll really spend your time as a school volunteer.

How Your Time Is Really Spent Volunteering At Your Kid's School in 5 Funny Pie Charts by Robyn Welling @RobynHTV

I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing - and so I don't get all lonely.