Don’t Ring My Doorbell: I’m Afraid of You.


So, I have a confession to make: I am utterly terrified of people coming to my front door. I literally just hid, crouching on the floor in my kitchen for 10 minutes, to avoid whoever rang my doorbell at noon on a weekday. It’s just the latest quirk on my growing list of rookie suburbanite neuroses.

Maybe it’s that I used to produce crime shows for a living and I’m a little spooked about home invasions, angry former interviewees, murderers posing as book salesmen or jealous exes (hello… remember Amy Fisher?!). Or, it might be that I just got a little too used to city living in an apartment building with video entry and I’m lazy.

But maybe it’s something deeper. Would I rather they email or text me first? Does this speak to larger deep-seated issues I might have about face-to-face contact in today’s text-email-Facebook-Twitter dominated landscape?

Nah. I love me some face-to-face action.

My fear of uninvited doorbell ringers stems mostly from the fact that Bruce Willis (our dog, not the actor, but maybe he’d go nuts too) goes ape whenever anyone rings the bell. This usually ignites a chain reaction that involves The Bear either waking up early from a nap and/or freaking out and chasing the dog, resulting in me chasing both of them, tripping, bruising something, and finally, once I’ve corralled both of them, angrily answering the door with an irate “WHAT,” only to discover that the person has left. So, I’ve just stopped answering altogether.

I’m shocked (and, clearly, dismayed) by the amount of unexpected people that ring our doorbell on a daily basis. At least once a day, and it’s never anyone I know. Sometimes it’s a neighborhood kid asking for a donation for his sports team (we usually oblige), but more often than not it’s the paid employee of a company asking—nay, telling—me to buy something.  So far no murderers, but then again, I only open the door one out of five times (usually when they’ve seen me in the window and I have no choice). I’m pretty positive those four unanswered doorbells saved all our lives.

My doorbell fear goes both ways, too. Two winters ago, when my brother-in-law was running for Alderman in Chicago, my husband recruited me to go door-to-door with him on a cold day to get signatures on a petition to get my BIL on the ballot… I suspect it was because I was 7 months pregnant, and the sight of a chubby, huffing, puffing, Preggo with a clipboard, pen and a smile would be disarming. I was terrified then, too. What if we caught someone on a bad day, and they came to the door with a baseball bat or a shotgun? Or, god forbid, what if they (gasp) yelled at us for bothering them?

In the end, it worked out pretty well… most of the people either happily signed or politely declined. There were a few Grumpies, but no baseball bats. [Also, I made sure to look extra pregnant and winded when they looked through their windows before opening. I think that was the trick. My BIL is a pretty stand up guy, too :)]

My husband had a hearty chortle last week when I told him I wanted to post a “No Soliciters” sign on our front gate. “Only you would be afraid of little kids coming to the door asking for money,” he laughed. Have I transformed into one of those hypothetical angry people I was afraid of encountering back on that blustery door-to-door day in Chicago? Sounds like it, huh?

Because I’m not really the unfriendly weirdo I seem like from my story above, I’ve decided to create my own sign for our front gate, to help clarify my neuroses:

Murderers: Keep out (obviously).

Salesmen: Leave me alone; our spare cash goes to The Bear.

Kids asking for money: Only when it’s not nap time.

Girl Scouts selling cookies: What the hell took you so long? Get in here, kid!

I’ll keep working on my front door phobia, but until then, Friends, if you’re planning to drop by for a visit, call me first. Otherwise you’ll know where to find me when you have to crawl in through the window because I don’t answer: under my dining room table.

Have a great night, Friends!

Oh, and thanks to everyone who’s started following me on Twitter (@eluda, @MommyTestDrive)! It makes me feel so loved! Post your Twitter name here and I promise I’ll return the favor!



Fave a Day: IKEA Long-sleeved Bibs

1 Comment

Happy Fourth, Friends!

So, anyone with a toddler knows how messy mealtime can be, especially after our littles begin feeding themselves. Though there are some great bibs out there to help catch the messies, I’ve found a really affordable one that not only has a pocket to catch stray broccoli, it has sleeves to keep those pristine little cuffs carrot-free! IKEA’s Kladd Prickar (gotta love those Swedish product names) is machine washable, water repellent and super easy to put on and take off, thanks to a touch-and-close Velcro closure at the neck.

What’s more: it doubles as a paint smock and Popsicle shield (Popsicle and straw hat sold separately)!

The best part of all: I don’t even need to scan for sales on this item for you because you can get TWO for $4.99 at your local IKEA store. Thanks, IKEA, you Swedish geniuses.

Enjoy the rest of your holiday!


Fave a Day: Episencial Protective Face Balm

Leave a comment

Oh, Episencial, how I love thee.

I could probably dedicate a novel–or at the very least, several blog posts (and already have)–about how much I love Episencial products. They just jive with The Bear’s skin in a way most products don’t. Gentle, organic, healing, protective, edible. Perfect products for protecting and maintaining healthy skin.  I love everything about this company, and even use their Playful Wash on my own face!

Right now, EcoMom is having a Buy Two Get One Free sale on Episencial Protective Face Balm. The product (with SPF 6) is fantastic for protecting sensitive little faces and lips from the elements, and for soothing and healing problem skin. The reason for the stock up sale: Protective Face Balm won’t be on the market much longer, because Episencial will soon be releasing their newer version, Cheeky Salve, which promises to be even better!

You can sign up for a free trial of Cheeky Salve (and all of Episencial’s other products) on their website.

Enjoy, friends! 🙂



In honor of a hometown Fourth and Strawberry Pizza.

Leave a comment

Fourth of July is a huger than huge holiday in my family.

In my tiny hometown of Long Beach, Indiana (yes, there’s a Long Beach in Indiana), going “home for the Fourth” is practically a law. There’s the parade that runs through town, complete with crepe-papered bikes and fire trucks, the beer tent afterward, where everyone drinks lukewarm Mike’s Hard Lemonade or Miller Lite from kegs and catches up with friends they’ve known since they were three, and a fireworks display that rivals most large cities’ that we watch on lawn chairs from my parents’ front yard.

It’s a time to show off your new clothes, boyfriend, husband or kids, drink during the day without shame, get your picture taken for The Beacher (Long Beach’s weekly newspaper), jet ski on Lake Michigan, grab a hamburger at Redamaks, people watch at the Tree House, have pancakes with your best friends at Memo’s and most importantly, it’s a time to appreciate the wonders of home.

Here’s a shot of us last year with my Mom and sister. The Bear was 4 months old:

This year, I’m sad to say that we’re staying in California over the Fourth. With our big move this year and the holiday falling in the middle of the week, it’s just too hard for us to get back. But, mark my words, Long Beach: the Murphys will be back next year, so get ready! 🙂

In honor of a Long Beach Fourth of July and of Fourth celebrations everywhere, I’m sharing with you my mom’s recipe for Strawberry Pizza, which she makes every year as a Fourth tradition in the design of an American Flag. I’ll be missing your Strawberry Pizza this year, Mom, but I’ll miss my family even more.

Have a wonderful Fourth, everyone!



1 package sugar cookie mix

1 package strawberry Jello (you’ll only use a little)

1 package raspberry Jello (you’ll only use a little)

1 8oz package of cream cheese

1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar

1 1/2 quarts fresh strawberries, cleaned, drained and sliced

1 pint fresh blueberries, cleaned and drained

2 bananas, sliced into discs

4 TBS cornstarch

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 C water

2 TBS Karo syrup (the clear kind)

Pinch of salt

Whipped Cream

Rimmed rectangular baking sheet

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease the baking sheet and pat the cookie mix into the baking dish, creating a medium-thin “crust.” Bake for 10 minutes at 350 and let cool completely.

Soften 1 8 oz package of cream cheese and mix with ½ c sugar and ½ tsp of vanilla. After the crust has completely cooled, spread the cream cheese mixture over the cooled cookie crust. Mix 1 c sugar, 4 tbs cornstarch, 1 C water, 2 TBS of white Karo syrup and a pinch of salt in a pot and boil until clear, stirring constantly. Separate this mixture into three equal parts. Add 2 tbs of the strawberry Jello to one, 2 tbs of the raspberry to another and leave the third clear. Mix well and let cool. After they’re completely cool, add the strawberries to the strawberry mixture, the blueberries to the raspberry mixture and the bananas to the clear mixture. Now, it’s time to get artistic. Arrange your berries and bananas on top of the cream cheese mixture in the design of an American flag: the strawberries and bananas form the red and white stripes, and the blueberries form the stars. Refrigerate and top with whipped cream or Cool Whip just before serving.

Voila! A Fourth of July favorite that I look forward to every year at my parents’ house. This recipe can work any time of year and with any fruit. It’s a great versatile dessert that tastes like a little slice of heaven. This picture of the finished product doesn’t include bananas, but is just as delish!

Enjoy my Mom’s recipe, friends, and wherever you’re celebrating this year, I hope you have a great holiday!

Kisses and hugs,



UPDATE 7/4/12:

I made my mom’s recipe today, and here are a few tips to help make the end product even better:

1) Don’t be tempted to over cook the cookie crust. It may not look like it’s cooked, but 10-12 minutes is really all it needs. The crust may “puff up” a little in the oven, but you can gently press it flat with clean fingertips as it’s cooling. Make sure you grease your dish/pan really well. Mine stuck a little.

2) The Jell-O can be cut back a little. If your fruit is fresh, you won’t need it for flavor, just for color, so I’d definitely cut it in half next time.

3) If you use bananas in yours, add them just before you serve/present the dish, otherwise they get brown, even if they’re glazed.

Here’s a picture of my finished product! I remembered just before I made this that I actually had a cookie cutter in the shape of a teeny tiny star (I use it for stenciling and felting), so I used that to cut my banana discs. Fun little patriotic touch!

What do you think?? 🙂


Fave a Day: Kidcraft Sling Bookshelf

Leave a comment

If you’ve ever been to our house, you know B and I have hundreds of books in shelves that line our walls. Keeping them there with a toddler in the house has been a challenge lately, but we like keeping them accessible for everyone!

The Bear is starting to take after her parents. With books beginning to take over her play space, we decided to find a better storage solution so that she had a place to put them away at the end of the day, and to cut down incidents of us surfing across the carpet on stray books.

The Kidcraft Sling Bookshelf was our answer. It has a sturdy design, was easy-breezy to assemble and at 28 inches high, is perfect toddler height. Books can be stored forward facing, making it easier for a child to spot and select their favorite. Kidcraft products meet or exceed all safety compliance standards for wood products.


BabyEarth is currently selling this great storage solution for $44.95–30% off regular list price.

Happy savings and happier reading, friends!


Fave a Day: Plan Toys Unit Building Blocks

Leave a comment

There’s something about a good old-fashioned set of real wood building blocks that makes my heart sing with nostalgia and The Bear shriek with glee.

ImagePlanToys® are made from non-toxic, natural materials, and the company uses environmentally safe and sustainable methods to produce their toys. This set of 20 natural blocks contains basic and advanced shapes that encourage your child’s imagination and creativity. They’re a huge hit in our house. Plus, there’s something about the sound of wood blocks clacking together, coupled with baby giggles, that bring a huge smile to my face!

TODAY ONLY: Toyopia is selling PlanToys® Unit Building Blocks for 25% off! Don’t miss out!

Introducing…MTD’s Fave a Day!

Leave a comment

Happy Sunday, friends! Hope everyone’s weekend is going swimmingly!

I’m excited to share that starting today, Mommy Test Drive will feature a “Fave a Day” product along with my usual blog posts, test drives, recipes and other life happenings! Products featured will range from toys to books to food items to furniture. The things they will all have in common is my toddler, my admiration and the name of a place you can buy it on sale. Think of it as an abbreviated Test Drive with a discount!

MTD’s Fave a Day will be featured on the main Mommy Test Drive site and in a tab at the top of the main menu. You will easily find Fave a Day products in my archives by going to the “Categories” menu on the right side of the screen.

Woo hoo! Sales and stuff I love!
Have a great Sunday!