Saturday, October 8, 2011

Livin' the Single Life in a Pumpkin Patch

I have visions for this picture. I may even dedicate an entire page in a photobook to it and showcase this as a prime example of how utterly happy my children were growing up....because it's the only picture I have of the two of them smiling (and they're fake smiling at that).

So, I'm a single parent this weekend. Papa bear needed to rebuild the shed (because remember, the "professional" tree cutters dropped a tree on our old one) so I'm without him. Instead of wallowing in a wasted weekend, I decided to power up my patience and take them to Milburn Orchards. This place is gawgeous; big; animated and lots of fun. I pictured hours upon hours of fun....they lasted 55 minutes which was how long it had taken us to even get there. In summation? This was my day.

Yelling to get out of the house "on time" because I wanted to get there right at opening to avoid the crowds= 60 people already there at 10:05am; Paid $8/pp= Ava bear not wanting to do anything but drop to the ground and play with gravel....the...entire....55 minutes; Brought stroller along to carry Ava bear when she got too tired= her insisting on pushing the stroller straight into the hundreds and hundreds of people standing in her way; Katie bear just wanted to play in the sand box = Ava bear hating the feeling of sand on her fingers=agreed on playing on wooden structures which produced about 3 head injuries and 2 face injuries; A fun corn maze that entertained Katie bear = lost one or both cubs at least 3 times.  

I came home and told Papa bear that if he ever considered leaving me that I wanted the kids during the week and he could have them on the fun "Fallfest" weekends.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pregnancy Brain

So, I have a condition. It's called Pregnancy Brain (or PB, for short). I've been blaming this disorder for just about every mis-step I've stumbled through these past five years. Was I pregnant all five years? Um, no, but then I was able to just lean on Mommy Brain and people just solemnly nodded their ascent as to why, yes, I am an idiot at times. Luckily, I was able to start my life with Blonde Brain (sorry to all lib's who're ticked I'd insinuate something so demeaning) and thanks to Loreal, I'll be able to use that as much as possible.

But the part that ticks me off is the fact that Papa bear does not have any of these impairments. Oh sure, he can be clueless at times but there's no diagnosis for that besides that darn "y" chromosome but how come there isn't Balding Brain or Snoring Brain? I'd even take a Marriage Brain for goodness sake. Why do I have to carry all of the burden (and embarrassment)?

I bring this up because of a series of events that just took place yesterday evening. I was preparing a healthy nutritious meal for my cherubs (basically, forgot I had to feed them until about 5 and opened the freezer and picked out what was the least frost-bitten). Put some popcorn shrimp in the oven and brown rice on the stove. I even boiled up a few carrots for Vitamin A. Done and done. Mother of the stinkin universe. I even find the motivation to clean off the countertops and knock back a cold Sierra Mist.

All is well in my organized world until I go to grab a pan off of my pot rack the following morning. Instead of the pan, I grab a box. Inside the box? The rest of the shrimp that somehow didn't get put back in the freezer the night before. Huh. Okay, everyone does stupid stuff like that. I move on. Later on, I go to grab a pen out of the basket on the top of my frig and pull down the once-cold butter stick from last night's rice. Oh. Um. Okay...I've read some recipes call for room temperature butter. I was just, um, being prepared. Moving on a few minutes and Ava bear screams at me that I should've forseen that she is parched and practically dying of thirst so I open my frig to get out some water and out falls my mint chocolate chip ice-cream...that I had, um, put back in the frig overnight.

At this point, I'm totally convinced that my husband has hired a garden gnome to go behind me and make this crazy mess of my life just to screw with me. Papa bear might not have a formal brain diagnosis attached to him but that's probably because the gnome does most of the thinking. I just wish he'd do a bit more cleaning.
Totally stole this off of Facebook. Totally my life.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Why I'm glad I didn't hook-up with Edward Cullen

Much like half of the twi-hard fans, when the Twilight Saga first came out, I had a small, itty-bitty, obsessive crush on Edward Cullen and, by extension, Robert Pattinson. Even though I have since stopped writing "Dani Cullen" all over my journals, I find myself more accepting of "vampires" in general, like the ones on True Blood or Vampire Diaries.

Anyway, I was reminded last night when I was lying on Ava bear's floor as the other incisor was breaking its way through her gums and wrecking havoc on the once-quietness of our house, that I'm pretty glad I didn't wind up with Edward. Not only would vampire-parents have to deal with their children's fangs coming in but does it hurt every time they pop out? If Bill Compton from True Blood can be believed, by the look on his face, it looks like he feels uber-constipated when the fangs descend. I doubt Mylanta could touch that with a ten foot pole but there are other reasons I'm glad I don't have a vampire for a child:
  • I'd hate to see a vampire child during witching hours. I know how impatiently Ava bear waits at my feet while I'm making dinner- screaming and demanding that I cook faster. Can you imagine a baby vampire? And when exactly would witching hour be? Between 3 and 5am?
  • Although it would be nice to not have to figure out what to make every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner, what goes on the side of blood? Definitely not garlic mashed potatoes but what? Broccoli? Stuffing?  Plus, what if you have guests over? "Please ignore the body dangling from my child's mouth?" That's like trying to ignore the proverbial pink elephant. I'd never get to have a dinner party again!
  • I could barely open my mouth far enough to say "Mommy's here" every five minutes from the floor of Ava's bedroom. Imagine having to actually be standing and upright during the whole entire night? And what on Earth would we do every night? Bounce houses, libraries and Wegmans would totally be closed (Well, I guess bounce houses would be out anyway because of the pointy fangs).
  • I am STILL scarred by the birth scene of Renesmee. You think I want to go through that 3 times? I'm sorry but I don't care how cute he is, how well he can sing and play the piano and how fast he can run, pregnancy and the toddler years are hard enough without adding blood-lust to the mix. I'm just saying.
Anyway, I'm not saying I'm Team Jacob. I never will be (although I did have a very delicious dream about him last night- first time EVER!) but I'm just saying that I think I'll stick with my own cub's. They may drain the life out of me figuratively but it's about a thousand times better than having it drained out literally.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Throne Room

I don't really know where the expression"throne" room came from because I've never talked to a single woman who has ever been royalty in her own bathroom. We're more like the serveant to every living thing that resides in our house. So, much like most of you, on any given bathroom trip, I have at least 3 creatures crammed in there with me (not to mention the bean in my belly that is the reason for the frequent bathroom trips) and that's no easy feat since our bathroom is literally the size of a janitor's closet.

I have my black retriever, Ebony, crushed in tight between the toilet and the shower. She doesn't realize she's 65 pounds and that the space is only big enough for the toilet brush (which is where she likes to rest her head) so she's pressed in againt my left hip. Then I have Simba, my golden lab, who truly believes that a person's lap is HIS domain. If you have one, he will put his head on it. I was born a girl so you can imagine there is a lap every time I use the throne and yes, his head is.....right....there. Then there is Ava bear who insists on playing with the water in the sink, which means climbing up her sister's steps, "dancing" on them while pouring water all over the floor.

So, at any given moment, I have my left hand on Simba, getting him away from....well, the reason I'm in the bathroom. My right hand on Ava's back so she doesn't fall off the now-slipery steps. I'm getting pushed off the pot from Ebony and I'm listening to K-bear yell at me for forgetting to brush her teeth, get her milk, give her a snack, play with her, etc.

Now for those wise-asses who are asking why I don't just close the bathroom door? Well, then I would have Ebony standing....literally standing on the other side of the door. Simba crying, lying down directly on the opposite side of the door to which Ava-bear would come over and join in on his crying and will see his lying there as a perfect opportunity to take out her frustration...on him. If she ignores Simba, she will then just chose to go over to her sister and torment her so much that there will be a strong echo of screams and "AVA, NO!" bouncing down my entire neighborhood.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I totally understand why everyone puts such an emphasis on the benefits of "the man cave" but I'd like to bring forth a movement to create a space just for the woman. The kitchen is grand central station; the living room has no doors that you can lock; the minute a girl even steps into the bedroom, she either has someone slamming on the door that they need something or a husband who thinks her presence in a room with a bed is an invitation for...making more living creatures and the attic may be quiet but then the woman is too bothered by "what the heck was that noise" to really relax.

So, to all of the home builders and architechts out there, you want to know how to get out of this economic slump? Screw the mancave, give us a damn throne room!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

An endless supply of OOPS!

At the end of my life, I will definitely be able to say that I've lived a full life and by "full" I mean, chockful of OOPS. Some have been small, mere hiccups in the chaos of my days- stupid stuff, like putting the ice cream in the frig or drunk-dialing my high school crush in the middle of my senior year of college (of course, I called his parents first to get his phone number at like eleven o'clock at night just to make matters a thousand times worse). But then there are the others....
  • Like the time I ordered 200+ beautiful invitations to our wedding and wrote the wrong time down.
  • Like the time I inserted all of our wedding money into the ATM without an envelope (I like to think my stupidity was the reason for those new envelope-free ATM's)
  • Like the time I was singing and dancing at my best friends wedding to the song, "Mony Mony" and the mother of the groom, who just so happened to be the most spiritual, religious person in the room, came over and asked what everyone was singing after the words "Mony, Mony" and I helpfully, without guilt or awareness, told her "Get Laid, get *$%@" and guess whose overly perceptive videographer got that little exchange on film?
  • Like the time I sent out an e-mail about a recent hook-up and accidentally included my aunt's in the "to" line (yes, this happened to me in my 20's and yes, I still cannot look them in the eye).
  • Like the time I told my husband we were safe at a particular time of month when we were smack dab in the middle of "you need to stay at least 20 feet away from me" and we are now expecting our 3rd child.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Puppy chow

Would it surprise you to learn that you can actually eat what's in this picture? Would it surprise you to learn that someone has probably just licked the computer screen in an attempt to prove my theory wrong? Well, I'm willing to risk your shock and awe with this TTD (Taste, Tested and Drooled) recipe. It's easy. It's perfect. It's literally insane. I can't remember where I first learned about this recipe but found this description here.

9 cups of crispy rice cereal squares
1/2 cup of peanut butter
1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar

Melt peanut butter and chocolate chips in your microwave in a large bowl (please use a microwave-safe bowl). Stop and stir every 30 seconds until completely melted. Add the cereal (you can add more or less depending on how much chocolate-y goodness you want in every bite). Dump the sugar into a large plastic bag and then add the cereal mixture and shake!

Viola! Go ahead and kiss me...never mind, just kiss the screen but this time, hold back the tongue.

Shut up? Really?

"A closed mouth rarely has room for a foot."

I've always wondered what kind of tattoo I'd get if I wasn't such a major woos. Back in high school/early college, I thought a butterfly would be totally bad ass but then I found out that tattoo artists use needles instead of permanent markers to burn the image into your skin. If I wanted to be branded, I'd been born a filet but I get why people singe their bodies. It's to remember important people, events, flavors of ice-cream, you know, things you wouldn't want to forget. For me, I'd have the above expression as my tat.

I cannot tell you the number of times I've said something and then cringed for decades later (please see OOPS for further examples). It isn't that I'm a conflict-heathen and that I jump on the roof of people's cars with a baseball bat and threaten to knock out their "My child is an honor roll student AGAIN" bumper sticker if they ever cut me off AGAIN. I actually avoid conflict at most costs (do not dare ask my parents, siblings or husband) but I definitely believe that there is a time and a place for baseball bats and crazy eyes. Let's take for example, oh, I don't know, off the top of my head...the splintering of my shed.

So, Irene uprooted a monstrous tree in our backyard and in the weeks following, the tree slowly descended but it would get trapped up by the other trees around it. As it came down, we could tell that in time it was going to take our shed out (which was fine for Papa Bear because he always wanted to rebuild the shed) but we figured we'd get some "professional" tree remover's to come in and take care of it so that it didn't. These professionals put some dental floss over the top of the tree to try to "hold it up," and instead of cutting it away little by little, they thought they'd just take a chainsaw to the base of the tree and cut it the remainder of the way down. Guess what happened? No, go ahead....that sucker smashed the daylights out of our shed. In a single moment, I saw weekends just flying out the window with my husband now cutting up this tree (since $600 is only to knock it down 2 feet). I saw weekends flying out the window of my husband building a brand new shed (for a house that we were putting on the market in a month). I saw the thousands of dollars dancing prettily out of our empty bank account since not only did we now have to pay these jack-wagons but now we had to rebuild the shed.

I came out and in my best 4-year old temper tantrum-y voice said, "That didn't work." And they laughed and said, "Nope." So, what did I do? I stormed away. That's right. I was shaking, crying, mentally screaming but to the professionals? I merely slammed my screen door closed (and um, yea, slamming a screen door isn't really effective).
So, although I love the above expression, I'm going to tweak it just a tad.

"A closed mouth rarely has room for a foot but if the foot belongs in someone's ass...."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Five Senses

My family is a very sensory family.
Katie bear is the ears of our family. She moves and grooves to just about any sound (her fave now is “Bad Romance” but she sings it “Bad Fro-mance.” I chose not to touch that with a ten foot pole but can you just imagine what a bad Fro-mance might be?) K-bear also has a special affinity to hearing when I lower myself down onto a couch, the dinner table or for a quick shut-eye in my room to which she screams out that she is hungry, thirsty, etc.

Ava bear is definitely our touch fiend. This child…all you have to do is sit her on your lap and run your fingertip around her face, on her arms, on her legs, on her hands and she becomes puddy. I mean it. She goes into this little trance where she totally focuses on the sensation and will not move an inch. It’s the coolest thing until you stop. She tries to duplicate it by running her fingers up and down her legs and gets frustrated when it’s not the same sensation. She also expresses her touchy-feely thing in other ways by tackling her sister….biting her sister….you get the idea.

And then there is a Papa Bear. He’s a taste man. He has this uncanny ability to taste if something is not made with full fat. If I even put low fat cheese NEXT to the chicken cordon bleu pan, he instantly asks, “This isn’t healthy, is it?” To his credit, his father was a chef who still cooks with bacon fat and gets so pissed whenever I discard of any grease or lard.
Whereas, me? I like to say I have heightened and weakened every sense but I don't think it counts if it's been by choice. I’ve always been a great listener which is why I went into the mental health field but two children who break noise barriers with just a single screech have taught me to lower my mental hearing aid a few octaves. I appreciate delicious scents (Yankee Candle’s pumpkin buttercream scent is my new fave) but 4.5 years of pretending “I didn’t smell that she pooped” weakened that ability. I have also sharpened my taste buds to enjoy the full-fat food introduced by my in-laws but have made to turn off all taste buds when eating the foods my blood work tells me I need to eat. I’ve always been an astute people watcher but have turned off the ability to see clutter and mess. As for the touching? Well, I'm baking my 3rd child, have at least 2 creatures pressed against me at all times (see the Throne room post) and turn into playdoh under a good hand massage. What do you think?

Friday, September 9, 2011

The double-edge belly

I've never been a small girl. Well, I take that back. When I was born, I think I was 6 pounds something but since then, I've become a compass of sorts with things sticking out of me from every single direction.

But my body tends to invent new directional aid's when I get pregnant. You know that commercial that says that science is getting closer to determining the minute a woman is pregnant? Yea, I don't need no stinkin' test. I have my stomach and my boobs. Boobs? Not a problem. Stomach? Huge problem. At 10.5 weeks gestation, I look about 5 months pregnant and there's no sucking it in. Anyone try to suck in your uterus? It's an epic fail.

I've tried those stomach/breath girdle's but I turn blue the minute I pull it out of the drawer. I've tried to wear just really baggy clothes but my boobs get so big that by the sheer fall of the fabric, my stomach almost always gets accentuated. So, what's a girl to do? I embrace it....I don't mean some guru "love your body" type of stuff. I mean, LITERALLY embrace it.

Hi, my name is Dani and I'm a 1st trimester stomach rubber. Oh sure, later on in the pregnancy, it becomes a bonding/sweet/ loving thing but at this stage? It's merely complete vanity. I'd rather someone see me and instead of quadruple-taking the size of my stomach, start the rumor that I'm months from popping. They needn't know how many months....

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Geriatric what?

So, I’m only 10 weeks along in what is one of the biggest surprise of our lives. We did not exactly plan to involve a baby bear just now because I still haven’t regenerated the loss of brain cells from the other two cubs but God seems to know better, or so people tell me. I know they mean this to be supportive but really, all it tells me is the Big Man is saying, “Sorry, chick. You can kiss those brain cells good-bye. This is as good as it’s going to get.”

The morning of my first appointment, we had an earthquake and were told to possibly expect after-shocks. Around the time my personality-challenged midwife began scrubbing up for my internal, I was in full prayer mode. If there was ever a time NOT to use those freaking duck bills, it would be when there was a threat of the Earth doing the salsa. I don’t need my midwife missing or putting it in holes those suckers should never be in. They shouldn’t even be in the hole they’re intended for!
Well, ten minutes later, I'm duck-bill free, trying to regain my pride when she drops two words onto my lap. Geriatric pregnancy. She tells me this like I should’ve filled out paperwork for the nursing home years ago. I am so thankful my shock holds back the words that would like to bounce out of my mouth and slam straight into her perky breasts. Geriatric. I’m 35 years old! Okay, 35 and 11.5 months but still! That’s young. That’s Sex in the City, Season 1. That’s the entire Friends cast by the last season. Geriatric?

These little words repeat back to me a few times in the next few hours until I decide that the midwife must have had one or two mimosa’s before coming in to see me. Her eyesight must’ve been blurred and she’d seen a “1” before the “35.” 135 IS old to get pregnant so I decided to let her have her mid-day buzz.

Fast forward 8 hours and I’m sleeping on the floor of Ava-bear’s floor. Don’t ask me why (because you know I’ll just bitch about it). Bad night= waking up the whole house = me sleeping close to reassure her= having something real to bitch about. The floor sleeping lasted one scream fest until my sciatic nerve started acting up. I decide to head upstairs and attempted to peel myself off of the concrete carpeting. It’s here that I hear the first crack. It was my ankles. I pause, in slow motion almost, seeing the disaster about to commence but unable to stop it when my entire body explodes in a set of bubble-wrap-inspired pops that echoed in every corner of the silent room. Ankles, knees, hips, pinky finger, elbows, neck. You name it, it cracked. But I couldn’t exactly stand upright without leverage so I (without thinking) grabbed onto the top of the crib for support and the whole side-rail rattled the crib like a freaking after-shock. Guess who woke up?

Finally got her back to sleep but now I have to remove my hand from her back and walk gingerly from the room without moving a single cartilege. Uh-huh, guess how many attempts that took? After about a dozen false starts with a number of breathless 4-letter words, I emerge victorious and creep up the stairs. I try to ignore my knees popping or the way I’m creaking as loudly as each step I’m stepping on. I crawl into bed with an over-exaggerated grunt (if I’m getting out of bed in the middle of the night, I’m totally using that as a reason Papa Bear should get up with the cubs in the morning.)  Rest into my C-shaped pillow and….waaaaaahhhhh.

The next morning, Ava-bear is bouncing off the walls because she is happy as a stuffed pig covered in mud on a cool day and Katie-bear is doing something electronic in another room but it’s still pretty quiet. Not something that happens often. All of a sudden, I hear someone grunting. Now, all you parents out there know that grunting from a toddler usually means one thing so I look over at Ava with my best, “I JUST cleaned your diaper” face and notice that she’s leaning over and picking something up. She doesn’t dilly dally down there so I might be able to soak a few more hours out of that diaper. I go back to Facebook and not five minutes later, I hear it again. She’s picking something else up. Huh. This continues for a good 30 minutes until FINALLY my last remaining brain cell kicks in and makes a connection. This grunting thing is a learned behavior. I go in and throw something on the ground in K-bears room and ask her to pick it up….no groaning. I do another test on Papa bear that night. He bitches but no groaning. Which leaves one last person.
The geriatric patient but in my "try to find the good in all of life's crap," I decided to try to look at htis another way. At least maybe I’ll get a good night sleep in the nursing home or at least some awesome nighttime drugs.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Chicken and Dumplings

Dear Cracker Barrell,

Papa bear loves you or, more to the point, Papa bear loves your chicken and dumplings recipe. I, on the other hand, cannot find a single thing on your menu below one billion calories (okay, fine, I can find items, I just wouldn't eat such items) and I am writing to express my great excitement over the fact that my wonderful friend, Heidi, has delivered me the easiest, most scrumpdeliosis chicken and dumpling recipe ever. You can take your artery-clogging meal plan and...well, um, serve it to someone there. :P

Scrumpdeliosis Chicken and Dumplings

4 boneless chicken breast cut into chunks
2 cans of Healthy Request cream of chicken soup
1 can of Healthy Request cream of celery soup
2 cups of water
1 chicken bouillon cube (Try Herbox sodium free bouillon)
1/4 cup finely chopped onion

Spray crockpot with Pam. Combine all in crockpot and cook on high for 5 hours or low for...well, um, let's go with 7 hours.

Dumplings: You have options here.
1. Get a tube of buttermilk biscuits and drop in tablespoon-sized plops 15-20 minutes before serving.
2. Mix 2 cups of bisquick and 2/3 cup of milk and drop tablespoon plops in 15-20 minutes before serving.
3. Combine 2 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon of baking powder, 1 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of milk. Stir well then let dough rest for 5-10 minutes. Drop in tablespoon plops 20 minutes before serving.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Oreo covered chocolate chip cookie

You have found it. I don't care if you came here looking for a recipe for pancakes or a craft about dentists. Whatever reason you came here, this post is the end all, be all of perfection. It is....the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I do not throw that term around lightly. Within the first few months of finding out I was pregnant with K-bear, I became obsessed with finding the perfect recipe. I jumped over an entire generation and imagined myself as a grandmother and I wanted to be the grandmother with the "best cookies in the world."

I have found such a recipe.

And what's more? This is no ordinary cookie. This cookie dough can be wrapped around oreos and snickers; milky ways and kit kats; peanut butter cups and three musketeers. I kid you not. The only thing required after ingesting this massive melding of insaneness is a pint sized glass of milk. Sit back and observe all that is good.

This recipe comes directly from Picky Palate. I cannot even begin to tell you how incredible this website is. This site has the perfect mix of humor, pictures and eye candy in all sorts of food and I highly, highly recommend it to everyone I know. The recipes and above photographs are directly from Jenny Flake at Picky Palate. Please visit her. Your loved ones will thank you. You might even get a spa day out of this one.

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 sticks softened butter
3/4 Cup packed light brown sugar
1 Cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla
3 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
10 oz bag chocolate chips
1 bag Oreo Cookies (she recommends Double Stuff but I found both to be perfect) or bite size pieces of Snickers, Milky Ways, Three Muskeeters, Reeses Peanut butter cups

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.   In a stand or electric mixer cream butter and sugars until well combined.  Add in eggs and vanilla until well combined.

2.  In a separate bowl mix the flour, salt and baking soda.  Slowly add to wet ingredients along with chocolate chips until just combined.  Using a cookie scoop take one scoop of cookie dough and place on top of an Oreo Cookie.  Take another scoop of dough and place on bottom of Oreo Cookie.  Seal edges together by pressing and cupping in hand until Oreo Cookie is enclosed with dough.  Place onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet and bake cookies 9-13 minutes or until cookies are baked to your liking.  Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. 

Picky Palate

Green (bleep) and ham

Rosemary Wells is on my hit list. I shouldn't say that. The woman has saved me from countless, er, I mean developmentally-approved minutes of time with her fabulous Max and Ruby series but today, at 6:06p.m., she has made it to my way too long hit list. And why? Is it because Max rounded out K-bears already....spirited personality? Kind of. Is it because Ruby rounded out K-bears already slightly bossy personality? Well, maybe.  Or is my anger really misguided since my issue is more with Max than Rosemary, herself? It all stems from two simple words that changed my life forever.

"Bad eggs."

Before this video, K-bear ate eggs. She ate them up in the dozens. We considered purchasing a few chickens just to feed her ever-growing appetite. But ever since Max said he didn't like eggs, eggs became the monster in the refrigerator. I was fine with it when I was pregnant since eggs became the monster that triggered nausea but when trying to celebrate one of Dr. Seuss' most wonderful books on his birthday? Something had to give.
But, always up for the challenge, I dodged a bullet and instead made one of my favorite casseroles! I call it "Green (bleep) and ham." This is by far one of the yummiest casseroles I've ever been introduced to and I lovingly stole it from one of my very best friends. I highly recommend it for any meal of the day!

Green (bleep) and Ham

12 eggs
4-5 English muffins
splash of milk
1 Ham steak (or if you're really crazy, you can add cooked sausage, cooked bacon, peppers, whatever works best)
at least 1 cup of cheddar cheese
Green food coloring

*Now before you start hollering that this is the most vague recipe you've ever heard, I wanted to give you the impression that even you (yes, you!) can make this recipe and change up the amounts based on your families preference.*

Spray a 13x9 pan with cooking spray. Cut up the English muffins and place the half's on the bottom of the pan. There will be room left over so if you're a type A personality and would like to fill in the blank spaces, be my guest. If you're lazy like me, 8 halfs will be fine. Next, crack the eggs (you know, just in case you've never made eggs before) and add a splash of milk. Add 2 drops of green food coloring. Beat it. Beat it real good. Ah, let's beat it. (Please sing to the tune "Pump it" from the 80's). Pour the eggs evenly on top of the English muffin halves. Add the ham, sausage, bacon, pepperoni, peppers, broccoli, kitchen sink, whatever you'd like on top. Then put a truck load of cheddar on top. Cover with foil.

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Remove foil and peek at the beautiful creation. If the middle is set (not ooey, gooey), add more cheddar cheese and cook until beautifully golden and set.

Other options: There are endless possibilites to this easy dish. Everything can be scaled down calories and health-wise to include whole-wheat English muffins, Egg beaters, veggies, low fat cheese and milk. Scaling down the ingredients also work as you see from the picture. I made an individual serving of it by just using a half of an English muffin, 3 eggs, and cheese.

So, then you might ask, how did it go over with K-bear? Goldilocks- 1; Max- 0! Thank you Dr. Seuss because it is a huge success!!!!! She screamed over at me, "Mommy! I like this! I really like this!"

And, of course, Ava bear didn't need the special casserole dish and just dove right in as she usually does with everything on her tray. Even the dogs got a healthy sampling in their water bowl. Hey, it's protein, right?

Eggs have returned to our refrigerator, our bellies and our lives and the one thing I learned from all of this is that we do like Green Eggs and Ham, we do, we do, Goldilocks, I am.

For more great ideas to celebrate Dr. Seuss' books, I absolutely love the Chalk Talk blog They even offered up the idea of using whipped cream and lime sherbert in place of green eggs and ham. Hey, that's where those food colors would come in handy!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

International Pancake day

IPD is today! I don't know that anyone has ever abbreviated it before but I feel like abbreviations make things much more professional. Anyway, whatever, I just had to post my new favorite recipe. It's not really even a recipe so much as a dipping but either way, it's delish.

So, here's what you do. It's really complicated so get your pen and paper handy. You might even want to use a pencil just in case you forget a step and need to erase. You ready? Okay. You unpeel a banana. You cup it up into slices so that you have perfectly rounded disks. You with me so far? You dip them into pancake batter- any batter will do (we use Hungry Jack Buttermilk). And you cook them in a pan of butter/margarine. Viola! Delish and to die for! Go ahead, you can virtually hug me.

*Not an original recipe. I swear I looked through my history to try to find the original "artist"- will let you know.

Blue, polka-dotted, gloved friends

So, I have this friend. She is definitely not a white glove friend, maybe more like a blue, polka-dotted gloved one. The white gloves are the ones that you race around the house dusting every crevice, removing caked-on dirt and febreezing the heck out of your dogs in fear of offending the white gloves precious opinion. I don’t tend to have too many white gloves but there are one or two. I tend to collect the blue, polka-dotted gloves. She’s the type that you sort of, kind of clean the house for but then make sure to warn that if they put their child down on the floor, they might not be able to find him again.
Well today, I woke up and decided to make one of my favorite coffee cakes.
K-bear is still asleep so I try to be extra quiet (which of course means I drop everything). I look at the recipe…crap…it calls for “beating” ingredients. Beating means noise. Well gosh dern it! I decide to instead use my hands since of course, that’s the same thing, right? When that proves to be a big old “not even close,” I decide to use my whisk because that’s definitely the same thing. Um. No. And what happens? The whisk breaks off in two.
So, there I am whisking this cake batter with a whisk without a handle and then I remember the recipe calls for cutting butter. I will stand up and say I hate cutting butter. I’m terrible at it and at any given moment a knife goes flying out of my hands and lands within inches of either a dog lying on my feet or a cub. So, again, I use my hands. Do you think it works? Um, well, no.
Fine, so I get this monstrosity all ready and I notice a smell. A really, bad, burning, yucky smell. Immediately I check a now-awake Ava bear’s diaper but she’s clean as a whistle. My upturned nose starts sniffing through the house until the scent brings me right back to the oven. If my nose didn’t, the smoke would have. I opened it up and oh joy…a pork chop from last night.

Needless to say T minus 60 minutes and my house reeks like burned poop with a side order of something-that-could’ve-smelled-nice.
This is why I only hang out with blue, polka-dotted, gloved people.

Monday, February 28, 2011

When Life Hands You Rain

I get why it rains. I seriously do. Everything on Earth needs rain, blah, blah, blah. But rain has been the bane of my existence for the past week. It started off annoying enough. It was a beautiful morning so I decided to treat my two dogs, Ebony and Simba, to a car ride while the cubs and I went to the library. We'd be quick, they'd love the fresh air and all would be zen.

We get to the library and I see a single cloud looming over Africa but I figured on the slight chance it decided to cross the Atlantic in the next five minutes, I'd pack an umbrella. One umbrella. One of those itty, bitty, completely broken ones shoved under the front seat of my car. Ava bear is in the stroller and K bear is walking beside me doing what she does best- talking.

Fast forward five minutes....five minutes....we're all checked out. No one melted down. I even got a copy of a Clifford we haven't seen that will occupy K-bear long enough to let me make dinner. I have K-bear open the door and whoosh! I notice two things at once. First, I'm now staring down at K-bear whose fallen flat on her back screaming and there are puddles coming in from outside. So, I've not only caused a flood in the library but I have a four year old whose the library.

I look up and wouldn't you know it's raining. Not raining like, "Oh let me open my umbrella." Raining like I can kiss my underwear good-bye. I figure I'll wait it out. Ava bear decides differently as she starts to the library. So, K-bear gets in the sit and stand stroller and covers them both with the single, broken, itty bitty umbrella and I make a run for it.

All is well until my brain remembers I'm completely uncoordinated and I run the stroller off the path and into a huge mud pile. An explective falls from my mouth and K-bear turns to find out what happened. Only glitch is she turned with the umbrella, leaving Ava bear to the elements. Ava bear loses her mind, throws the blanket covering her (a blanket we got for our wedding with our names engraved on it) into the mud puddle. I'm now trying to get the blanket back, get K-bear to cover Ava bear and get the wheels back on the path.

Fast forward even further to just last night when a storm knocked out power from 3-5 in the morning. Just in case anyone is wondering, it's frickin frackin cold at 3 in the morning. By 3:30, Papa bear was sleeping on K-bears floor, Ava bear was sleeping on my chest and one of my two retrievers was clawing at my arm because she thought maybe I could warm her up, too.

Mama said there'd be days like this- she just never specified how many days would be like this.