Running late to get to swimming lessons early for a special one-on-one session 15 minutes before class starts. Still can't get over the fact that a 4-year old girl in my daughter's class has shown up to class with a different bathing suit every day. Who does that?! I was tempted to ask the girl's mom if they own a swimwear shop. You never know. Instead I asked her how old her daughter is since she looked older than my daughter. Turns out she's younger. Of course, my daughter is a tiny one.

Cinnamon, my middle child, has been running a high fever for the past few days and is still not feeling 100%. Today her neck hurts (like last month) and she can hardly move it. Swollen lymph nodes - again. I'm hoping the other two stay healthy before our trip and all three stay healthy in general.

"Am I done?", asks Cinnamon. "Sure my little girl. You can go play now."My husband tells me I need new clothes. How many women can say that? Do you know how much I loathe shopping for clothes? As much as a straight man does. I mean, what's so enticing about taking an armload of clothes into a dressing room to try on, only to walk out with maybe a shirt. Maybe.

In my case, I will gladly buy clothing for my children and my husband. But when it comes to myself, I stay away from stores until the very last minute - like a day or two before a trip. You know, that moment when panic sets in and you realize that you have only a pair of torn jeans and clothes from over a decade ago. I tried today. Ok, I spent about 60 seconds looking at a skirt (a dark gray one that's shorter in front than in the back) as we were on our way to babyGap at the dreaded mall (which is another thing I absolutely loathe). After about 60 seconds, all three kids were running through the clothes whilst one of the three or four saleswoman looked my way and said "Looks like they give you the run for your money!" I think my look said it all.

Saffi had two striped two-piece halter top bikinis in her hand - one for her and the other for her sister. The other two were holding shirts. I told them that if they didn't behave we would walk out of the store with nothing. I'm sure they were thinking, "Yeah, right". Well, we walked out with nothing for them and headed home.

Passport photos. Yesterday the pure white seamless paper arrived in addition to three other rolls: bone, fashion gray, and focus gray. Last week I used the Thunder Gray paper, but it turned out it didn't meet passport photo requirements nor did my husband find it amusing when I sent him the first photo (below). The middle one is from today's shoot. I hope that stray strand of hair won't be an issue. I just noticed it and it's too late to fix it.

I like the way the bone-colored paper photographs. I like darker better though.

The kids had fun modeling their new clothes - ones from last week, thanks to a great sale at babyGap. Who can turn down a shirt for $4.99? My son, on the other hand, has few clothes. Sometimes I think that Gap's designers favor girls more than boys because I keep seeing the same skull design, shirts with sharks, shirts with words (yet another thing I'm not a fan of), and sweat pants. Just make normal clothes for boys and stop discriminating.

The few leafy stems of the sweet basil plant I nearly destroyed on Monday, whilst trying to throw the garden hose over it, stared back at me from within Saffi's plastic pink orchid sippy cup. I need to use those leaves soon. So, I developed another new recipe using sweet basil this time and lemon zest. The kids were impatient and kept wanting to eat more. "I need them for tomorrow's shoot", I told them. It was already getting dark as I put the last batch of cookies in the oven which meant no time to photograph the finished product. Tomorrow...which will hopefully be a little less stressful day now that my husband has returned from a 2-day business trip.

New recipe for my KITCHEN NOTES feature...Lemon Basil Cookies