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Formula for Success

July 28, 2010

There is something very comforting about knowing that a problem has one solution and one solution only…and THAT is exactly why I love math.      

Back in my college days, my HP-17b financial calculator and I were inseparable because I could always count on it to help me figure out the right answer.  I only wish that my 17b could address a few of Maya’s questions, like today’s, “Mama, my pants are falling down…what should I do?”  But I have to remind myself that my calculator is only a calculator and not a miracle-worker.     

Anyway, as my main purpose in life these days is to feed and entertain Maya, and more recently to pull up her pants, I’ve had to put the precious 17b aside to do a different kind of math.      

1 Magic Eraser + 1 repentant child = A “like-new” balcony     

In Progress:     

There is nothing like cleaning tile in your pajamas and Crocs.


 The magical result:     

If only the Magic Eraser could erase all the curse words I muttered under my breath today too...then it would truly be magical.


Thank you all for your great suggestions on removing crayon from tile!  I am certainly armed with information for her next mishap. 

1 bored child + 1/2 hour of storytime = 1/2 hour of freedom for me     

Not only did Maya lead the other kids in singing "An Itsy Bitsy Spider," but she also insisted on doing a solo in Spanish. I think she really needs to work on her shyness.


I felt a bit guilty that we didn’t buy anything from Pottery Barn Kids after storytime, but I felt better when I noticed that 99% of the other kids were accompanied by their nanny.  I believe that being present is worth something.     

1 dad with a (.5) prescription in both eyes + 1 mom with a (-4.75) prescription in both eyes = 1 kid with a (+2.25) prescription in both eyes?     

There are about 10 choices when it comes to kids glasses but luckily we both agreed on these ones.


This math baffles me.  Any optometrists out there want to explain how a child can become farsighted when both her parents are nearsighted?     

1 dinner party + no caterer in sight = 1 really awesome lasagna     

Make sure your little helper doesn't sneeze, cough, or rub her nose while cooking. I am 99% mine didn't. No guarantees here.


 The Easiest Lasagna EVER    

1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
16 no-boil noodles
1 1/2 lb. of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 lb. cooked ground beef (or omit if you don’t eat meat)

1. Cover the bottom of a 13″ X 9″ glass pan with a layer of sauce
2. Overlap 4 noodles, cover with a generous layer of sauce, layer 1/3 of the meat, and sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese.
3. Repeat 2 more times, sprinkle with basil (to make things look professional), cover with foil, and cook at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
4. Uncover and cook for 10 more minutes so the top layer of cheese browns.     

Even my dad raved about this. And he never raves about anything, except maybe the cheap socks he buys at TJ Maxx.


I’m not going to pretend this lasagna is authentic and I wouldn’t dare serve it to a real Italian, but it looks complicated and impressive and it feeds a ton of people.  I highly recommend giving it a try.     

1 compliment from an impossible to please father + 1 compliment from an impossible to please father-in-law = success

55 Comments leave one →
  1. July 28, 2010 11:47 pm

    As a former math teacher, I’m definitely liking your math. As a mother, I definitely give you a two thumbs and toes up on being able to choose such cute glasses that both you and Maya liked. As a reader I now sum up how much I loved this post with my own little math equation.

    Ameena (awesome Mother, wife and writer) Maya (sweetest, mischievous, most adorable little 5 yr old ever) = a witty and hilarious blog and post, and a force to be reckoned with!!!!!!

    • July 28, 2010 11:51 pm

      Glad the magic eraser worked! I know what I need to add to my next grocery list now.

      K’s pants kept falling off her too. Her belt wasn’t helping much either so I got so annoyed that I finally got her suspenders. And no, it wasn’t because I was caught up in blasting back to the 80’s 😉

      • July 28, 2010 11:54 pm

        ok I promise, last one. I should’ve just emailed you. Haha. Sorry.

        Love your lasagna dish! Definitely have to give that one a try!

    • July 29, 2010 8:50 am

      I think you may just be the most kindest, generous commenter ever! Thank you for making my Thursday morning!!

  2. July 29, 2010 3:03 am

    I just love it when people rave over something that is so easy on your part… I make a dessert that has maybe 5 ingrediants that people freak out about. And then I make something that involves extreme amounts of labor in the kitchen and I just get an “eh”. Maybe people have learned to appreciate efficiency as much as taste?

  3. July 29, 2010 3:04 am

    The tile looks great — nice job Maya! There’s nothing like story time — fun for the kiddies and a break for mom, lol!

    The lasagna looks delicious and it’s something that can be made on a weeknight when I don’t have a lot of time…perfect!

  4. July 29, 2010 3:11 am

    Yay! Glad the magic eraser worked. That thing has cleaned up so many of M’s random messes.

    And just so you know…being present = everything!! 🙂

  5. July 29, 2010 3:53 am

    I can’t believe she’s farsighted. That’s so strange. I had glasses around her age, too. Let her know she’s lucky to be growing up in 2010, not the 80s. Oh the glasses I had!

  6. July 29, 2010 4:14 am

    She looks so adorable with her lenses. As a Math teacher myself, I’m going to agree with the other teacher up there and say I love your Math logic!

  7. July 29, 2010 4:21 am

    i love your math 🙂

    and maya looks so cute in those glasses! i’m also glad that you were present at the storytime. it’s those types of things that kids dont forget 🙂

  8. July 29, 2010 4:27 am

    haha, yeah I like Math too. Sometimes I wish everything in life could be put into simple equations with only one solution… but then again, that would be far too boring, no?

    I majored in math, so I definitely like answers to be black and white.

  9. July 29, 2010 4:28 am

    I heart my Magic Eraser 🙂 I always have a box in my house 🙂

    Maya looks super cute in her glasses 🙂

  10. July 29, 2010 4:29 am

    I’m not a big fan of math, but I definitely like yours 🙂 Congrats on the compliments from both of your fathers! I know I love it when someone compliments my cooking, which is probably why I’m always so anxious when I cook for others… I don’t like it if someone doesn’t like the way I cook! And why is it that sometimes the simplest recipes get the best reviews, and the more complicated ones are always just “okay”?

    Oh, and both of my parents are farsighted, but I somehow ended up nearsighted…

  11. July 29, 2010 4:33 am

    How amazing (Is it weird that I think of The Bachelorette every time that I say the word “amazing?”) would it be if we could make decisions and solve every problem with math? I think we’d both be in business if that were the case. 🙂

  12. July 29, 2010 4:34 am

    Ooh, I love Maya’s glasses!!!

    That lasagna looks so cheesey and delicious.

  13. Silvia permalink
    July 29, 2010 4:40 am

    Hi Ameena, does Maya not have any friends, or playdates? Sounds like she would be a lot less bored, and you had more times on your hand (at least during those times, when she plays at her friends’ house). Cute glasses!

    • July 30, 2010 9:33 am

      Hi Silvia – Maya does have some friends but nobody nearby which is why it is hard for us to have playdates. I hope that starting kindergarten helps her find friends that are a bit closer to us!

  14. July 29, 2010 4:44 am

    That’s my old standby for lasagna. It’s so yummy!! Hubby taught me to use ravioli in place of the noodles too. Also yummy 🙂

    Maya sounds like so many of my Kindermusik kids. She’s so outgoing, it’s great!! You should get her into some children’s theater program (if she isn’t already) or something similar. She would definitely thrive in that environment. Not that I’m telling you how to raise you baby girl 😉

    Glasses are cute too!

  15. July 29, 2010 5:03 am

    What a connundrum about the the prescription!! That Lasagne looks awesome and so do the balcony tiles!!

  16. July 29, 2010 5:12 am

    Glad the magic eraser worked out for you!! Maya looks so cute in her glasses!! And that lasagna looks sooo good!! I especially love the touch of the basil on top, yum yum yum!!

  17. July 29, 2010 5:49 am

    I’ve always hated math. I did well, but I suffered through it because it was just not something I was interested in. This post makes me change my mind though- I really enjoyed your formulas.
    I’m happy that the magic eraser worked for getting the crayon off the tiles! That’s good to know…I should get myself one of those. Not that I draw on my floors with crayon…but you know…just in case.
    It is interesting that Maya is farsighted and you and Ali are nearsighted. But genetics are weird sometimes. My mother and my father have greenish-blue-gray eyes kind of like mine, and then there’s my sister who has brown eyes. According to my studies of genetics, blue eyes are a recessive gene and my sister shouldn’t have brown eyes. I call her the milkman baby. But really, eye genes are complex so I won’t pretend to know what I’m talking about.

  18. July 29, 2010 5:49 am

    Ameena, I’m with you – how is she farsighted!? That’s really rare in young kids I think – I was nearsighted at a young age but that’s common because of tv/computers/etc … wow. But I do love her glasses!

  19. July 29, 2010 5:55 am

    it looks so good and I like the recipe…EASY!

  20. July 29, 2010 6:30 am

    LOVE THIS. And thanks for sharing the recipe!!

  21. July 29, 2010 6:40 am

    oh how I adore blogger math. It’s always a lot of fun.

    I just went to the eye doctor this week too (Maya’s glasses are ADORABLE) and they were making fun of me becasue I was trying on the glasses in the kid’s section. I have a small noggin. they fit better. In the end I found mine in the big girl section but last time I found mine in the kids. sigh. I also have 20/20 vision but with VERY Tired eyes. (and dry)

    I was told my eyes were going to fall apart when I hit 40…and they didn’t. SHEW for one good thing.

    your lasagna DOES look amazing. I’ve been craving pasta too. MMM and pleasing a picky crowd makes me SO HAPPY!!! good for you!

    have a great weekend!

  22. July 29, 2010 6:55 am

    Oh she’s so adorable. Good call with the glasses! I bow to the power of magic erasers on a daily basis – best use – white tennis shoe soles!

  23. July 29, 2010 7:38 am

    Wow, I actually feel I could tackle lasagna after seeing that simple recipe here. It always seemed SO complicated before. Glad the magic eraser worked on the balcony.

  24. Leah @ Why Deprive? permalink
    July 29, 2010 8:24 am

    I love lasagna, but Im FAR too lazy to make it. I’ll have to try this.

    I am in LOVE with the magic eraser. My dad sells the same thing(in bulk which is even better) and I currently have a 24 pack of them under my sink. They fix everything just about.

  25. July 29, 2010 8:31 am

    I have heard those magical erasers are amazing. And she looks so adorable with her glasses. I wanted glasses so badly growing up…I faked my eye exam to try to get a pair!

  26. July 29, 2010 8:53 am

    Great job with the lasagna. I just posted one this week as well. We must have been on the same wavelength.

    Be well!

  27. July 29, 2010 9:43 am

    I am so glad that magic eraser worked! Awesome! Also that Lasagna looks great…the no boil noddles are the best thing ever. I am convinced…love them! They even come in gluten-free…score…I might have died and gone to heaven!

  28. July 29, 2010 9:44 am

    Like some of the other commenters, I am a math teacher as well (I guess I should mention that the math I teach is on a first grade level, though. It’s pretty hard NOT to understand it). Anyway, your lasagna looks delicious! I love easy recipes, especially when they are crowd pleasers like this one! Maya looks way too cute in those glasses. When I was a kid, I always wanted glasses. And braces. I understand the first one, but braces… really?

  29. July 29, 2010 9:46 am

    Haha, I have the exact same problems my dad does, right down to the same weaker eye. I even had a lazy eye as a kiddo, but (thankfully!) my body was so badass it decided to beat my eye muscles into shape and I grew out of it.

    I love repentant children…aka my sister. I make them my sous chefs, because those little sweatshop hands can chop an onion like nobody’s business.

  30. July 29, 2010 10:56 am

    I have never enjoyed math. My dad always told me that he loves math because of the “one solution.” When he put it that way…math wasn’t so bad!

    I buy magic erasers in bulk. Especially when I’m babysitting or teaching preschool. LOVE THEM!

    Her glasses are very cute. I started wearing glasses in my 20’s. I will be in bifocals by 40. Mark my words. I’m nearsighted. Both my parents are farsighted! Crazy how that happens huh?

  31. July 29, 2010 11:23 am

    Maya is one trendy little kid! I cringe thinking about my first pair of giant pink glasses. Oh, and that lasagna looks delicious! I’m actually kinda glad it doesn’t have the ricotta and chunks of tomato and that all that jazz. I’m a purist- pasta, sauce, cheese and I’m happy. Apparently, so are your father and father-in-law. Yay for me for being like two desi uncles 🙂

  32. July 29, 2010 1:23 pm

    My mom is far sighted and my dad is near sighted. So now my right eye is near sighted and my left eye is far sighted. No joke.

    And that lasagna looks so drool worthy!!! Gonna have to make it myself 🙂

  33. highonhealthy permalink
    July 29, 2010 2:23 pm

    You got a Magic Eraser! They are so magical. I had to clean some hairy guys bathtub yesterday and aside from all the hair there was a ton of rust stains. The Magic Eraser came to the rescue! Well, for the rust, not the hair.


    Not sure why I just shared that story.

    Maya is farsighted? I think that I would rather be farsighted than near sighted! Being nearsighted sucks.. a lot.

  34. July 29, 2010 3:56 pm

    I was a little kid with glasses, so I definitely have a soft spot in my heart for her. The glasses are cute though, but better than the ones I had!

  35. July 29, 2010 4:37 pm

    I’m a math person also. When one plus one actually comes out to equal two…it’s always a good sign. Being a pants holder-upper doesn’t sound like such a bad gig either! Do they give out college degrees for that? Mmmm lasagna…

  36. actorsdiet permalink
    July 29, 2010 5:23 pm

    magic erasers really ARE magic! i shudder to think what’s in them….

  37. July 29, 2010 6:05 pm

    So glad the magic eraser worked!

  38. July 29, 2010 7:03 pm

    Maya looks cute even in her glasses. Had I been closer, I would have loved to baby sit her :)I think I am good with kids.

    Lasagna looks really impressive!

  39. July 29, 2010 7:04 pm

    The glasses are adorable!

    Thanks for the recipe – I love lasagna recipes…I’d eat (and will) that whole pan…

  40. traynharder23 permalink
    July 29, 2010 7:18 pm

    yay for a magic eraser!!!!! =D

    aww i missed park time!?!??! =(

    i think he made his move. =D

  41. July 29, 2010 8:30 pm

    I am getting the magic eraser tomorrow. I like your logic behind the math equations. You are quite a writer! Yes for the winning lasagna.

  42. July 29, 2010 8:51 pm

    Math and I dont mix, its like oil and water (clearly I’m the oil, extra virgin).
    Are those noodles gluten free? I have yet to find a good gluten free lasagna noodles that taste semi decent.

  43. July 30, 2010 2:12 am

    Really?!?! A magic eraser? WOW, who would have thought? Ps- your little girl is too cute.

  44. July 30, 2010 8:03 am

    Hey Ameena, that lasagna just made my stomach growl-seriously. I like cheese (smile). Oh, and Maya looks so cute sitting there in her Crocs. I wear my crocs everywhere-I’m one of those people!

  45. July 30, 2010 11:03 am

    Can I say how much energy your little helper emanates???? WOW! You amaze me! To produce her interest and teach her such skills, and make lasagna at the same time, wow…

  46. lowandbhold permalink
    July 30, 2010 12:05 pm

    I love those magic erasers! They make me happy!

  47. July 30, 2010 1:51 pm

    Hmm, crayon on tile. That does not sound good, but those magic erasers do a good job.

    If you are curious about my recent trip, check out my main blog for new posts.

    I know my comments are now linking to my new blog.

  48. July 30, 2010 2:01 pm

    love your math blog – very cute and creative.

    Love your lagasna pics even more – want a piece pretty badly!

  49. August 3, 2010 7:13 pm

    I suck at math to be honest, but you definitely made it seems not as bad as I remember it. lol. I’m glad that your crayon problem was solved. 🙂

  50. August 7, 2010 7:46 am

    This is HILARIOUS! It reminds me of Emily’s food arithmetic on Curly Top, when Curly Top was still up and running. (Ever read that blog? Girl was awesome.) ANYWAY!

    I love that you didn’t kill yourself over the lasags. Other food bloggers go all out, but a lot of days, we just don’t have the time and have to make due. I opt for Trader Joe’s tomato basil sauce A LOT, rather than make my own. At least with TJ’s, I know it will be tasty!!! 🙂


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