Friday, March 30, 2012

Dear Alicia Silverstone

Cher: Anything you can do to draw attention to your mouth is good.

Dear Alicia,

Oh Alicia, where do I begin? Do I join the throngs of others out there passing judgement on you because of the way you choose to feed your baby, Bear?

Do I dare chime in on your parenting choices, when mine have been at times pretty questionable as well?

I mean I have given my own kids food that had already been in my mouth. I have used my teeth to cut down larger pieces of grapes or pasta into manageable sizes. Do I make a habit of premasticating my own food and then dropping it momma bird style into QT's mouth? Um. No.

But germs are everywhere in our house. I have kissed my kids full on in the mouth while their nose has been running. Oh, and what these kids do in the bathroom--for the love of God, please do not eat that cheese stick in there. And wash your hands! Wash your hands!

I am assuming you don't have any communicable diseases that you may be passing onto your kid. I also am under the assumption that Bear Blu doesn't eat all his meals this way--please, please tell me that is true.

While there is a huge ick factor in your practice, even more so because I hate, hate, hate anything that has to do with mouth mucus. The thought of seeing spit on the sidewalk makes my stomach turn and the idea that all that saliva is being passed around is made much worse by the fact that you are eating "miso soup, collards and radish steamed and drizzled with flax oil, cast iron mochi with nori wrapped outside, and some grated daikon,” for breakfast.

I mean really? Despite my attempt at the french toast bake we are pretty much a Frosted Mini-Wheats family. Miso soup for breakfast.? Gross.

Also, despite the fact that my only real association with premasticated food is the most horrifying and frightening episode of the X-Files--where a family of inbred sons would feed their mother, who was all kinds of jacked up and lived under the bed, by puking into her mouth--I actually don't have a problem with the way you feed your kid.

It really isn't any of my business and he seems to enjoy it. Also, let's be honest here, both of us are eventually going to have to answer for some of the stuff we post on our blogs about our kids, and maybe this will embarrass him in the future, but he isn't suffering for it now.

The thing that actually bothers me is that you are so goddamn exuberant about it.

Like you are the mother of the year because not only are you vegan and write cookbooks, and spent the first two months of your kids life indoors just bonding, just living off your nuanced and frankly spectacular performance as Cher in "Clueless" but that I am somehow less because QT doesn't get all giddy in anticipation when he sees me stuffing some veggie sticks in my mouth.

I mean am I failing as a mom because I don't have time in my day to [insert your own shortcoming here--read, dance, bathe, craft, bake, bring to park, pre-chew food] and you do? Cause that is kind of how it is coming off.

Maybe I am just jealous of your energy and your ability to spend so much time with your kid. Maybe I just have to realize that it isn't the quantity of premasticated food I am giving my kids, but the quality.

So Alicia, I say continue to do what you do to make yourself and especially your child happy. As long as he is healthy and thriving--who am I to judge? Just do me a favor, don't make it seem like your way is the best way because nobody likes a mom who thinks she knows it all.

Not trying to be way harsh,


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pinterest Project Three

I know. I know. I know. I have been lacking in blog posts lately and this Pinterest Project Three is like two weeks late. I have no good excuses at all and am sorry to report that this project is kind of meh for me. 

There are certainly some more challenging projects that I want to take on, but lately time and energy have both been lacking. I choose this pin because I have been wanting to find a good baked french toast recipe. I loved the idea of individual servings for each person. 

I also have this vision in my head of what I want breakfast to be like at my house, especially on a weekend. I really do see my whole family sitting down at a nicely set table enjoying a wide array of breakfast items, the smell of bacon in the air, a nice hot cup of coffee in my hands, everyone focused on family. 

The reality of course, is far different. Usually we have to open up a few windows after the bacon cooking sets off our incredibly sensitive fire alarms (well the smoke doesn't help), the Ladies are usually fighting over couch space after they have already rifled through the snack drawer and started their day by eating some Pirate's Booty or pretzel rods, or in the case of the Little Lady, a stick of butter. 

There is nothing like popping your head out into the living room after you hear the fridge open and seeing your kid eating a full on stick o' butter. "I'm just eating this mom" she told me as I removed the butter from her hand and tried to stop my gag reflex from kicking in. I love butter too, but even I have a line. 

Anyway, moving on---I usually buy at least one baguette a week. I like to make panini's with it. (Ohhhh maybe I will pin a panini recipe of mine, or in actuality the one I stole from my sister) It is super easy and a quick meal. If I have any left over, I will sometimes use it to make garlic bread for a pasta dish later in the week. Most of the time though, I find myself with leftover bread that I throw in the freezer and then never use again. I figured this french toast bake could help alleviate the unnatural amount of half eaten baguettes that shower down on me every time I open the freezer.

It is a super easy recipe. Click on the link below the picture to get the original recipe. I modified mine a bit because I didn't have the nutmeg or a real vanilla bean and I used Aunt Jemima's syrup because that is what I have in the house. Also, I used milk instead of the half-and-half.

Original Pin

5-6 cups of french bread cut into 1 inch cubes

Mix with 4 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1tbs vanilla, 1/4 cup maple syrup

Separate into individual bowls (I used two smaller ones for the Ladies), cover and refrigerate overnight.
Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes

The finished product

Viola! French toast bake. The Ladies topped theirs off with a little bit of butter and some syrup.

I wasn't totally in love with the final project. First, I was out of powdered sugar. I think a little sprinkle would have made the final product prettier to eat. Second, it was a little dry. I did like that it wasn't overly sweet, but I will play around with the bread:egg mixture ratio a bit next time. Also, I was kind of jealous of those fancy blue, oven safe bowls--my little white ramekins weren't quite cutting it in the cute culinary container category.

I know that some of you are out there making Pinterest Projects. My cousin texted me a pic of a homemade travel seat she made for her little lady. Perhaps she would be interested in giving us a rundown on how her experience went? 

If anyone out there wants to guest blog their own Pinterest Project, just email me and let me know.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ferocious Fours? Or Forshadowing Fifteen?

So you have a four year old?

Chances are you are banging you head against the wall, floor, or freezer door at least once a day.

Where is the cute alliterative phrase to describe my sweet baby, who has suddenly grown up?

The two's? Yeah, they are terrible, but popular culture and every parenting magazine has prepared me for that since my babies were in utero. I mean the pediatrician's office gives out pamphlets. Where are their pamplets on why my four year old is acting like a fifteen year old? Where? I can't find them filed next to the one on bed wetting or the BRAT diet.

Did I miss a meeting?

I get through the terrible twos by telling myself that the Little Lady is suffering from a slight case of temporary insanity and can't always be held responsible for her actions because, well -- she is two and her brain isn't even close to being fully developed. Does this excuse all her behavior? No, but it is easier to get through a tantrum or two by telling myself that she is stunted mentally (and I mean that in the best way possible).

The Lady on the other hand is four going on fifteen. Sometimes, I think I expect to much from her but it is hard when you can talk to her rationally and her behavior, at times, is anything but rational. I have to remind myself that she too, is a little mental, while at the same time I have to try not to lose my shit.

Four is tough, gone is that little baby you knew so well. Most of the days the Lady is out of my sight and even if I was home, she is out of the house for most of the day. She is experiencing new things that I have no idea about. Gone are those days where I knew everything she was talking about because we experienced it together. Part of me is glad I no longer know how many times she has taken a poop in the day, which is still a hot topic when I discuss QT. (Did you ever think you would devote so much time and so many conversations to your kid's bodily functions?)

I am glad that she is gaining the independence and the intelligence to function on her own. I know she still needs me but part of me also feels like we are drifting apart and that we spend more time battling over the smallest things, when anyone in their right mind (an adult or maybe a five year old--it gets better at five right?) wouldn't even make an issue out of it.

I just feel like I have already gotten a glimpse of my life in 11 or so years. The excess drama, the absolute refusal to do what is asked, the slam-the-door-stomp-my-feet-I-hate-the-world attitude that at times makes me want to slam the door myself and hide out in the bathroom for a while and at other times is so absolutely ridiculous it makes me laugh (not in front of her though, because that will never end well).

Maybe I am giving her too much milk? Maybe I should switch to organic? The last thing I need is puberty to hit before ten.

I certainly don't want to disregard the Lady's feelings, because they are clearly valid and true to how she feels at the time. I am making an effort to get her to name how she feels. I know they talked about emotions at school, because I read the weekly e-mail that the teacher sends every Sunday, and I am trying to get her to say I am mad/sad/jealous/annoyed before she acts on it-- before we have another incident that ends up with her smacking the Little Lady or screaming at me "I hate primary colors."

Yes, you read that right. I mean, I am partial to the tertiary colors myself, but really?

How did this happen?

The Lady is a bit of an artist, but she is definitely of the Realist school. Grass is green, the sky is blue. Unfortunately the amount of paint left in our watercolor tray was miniscule and there wasn't enough green for her flowers.

I reminded the Lady that yellow and blue make green. She mixed the two together, but alas, the Little Lady also wanted green for her Jackson Pollack-inspired splatter fest that she was working on and our limited resources soon ran dry.

This was not good.

So, I decided to go over and help make more green. The problem? I mixed the blue into the yellow space. Now the Lady had no yellow for the inside of the flower.

The Lady: I want you to make more yellow.
Me: I can't make more yellow.
The Lady: But I want you to make more yellow.
Me: Yellow is a primary color, you can't make it.
The Lady: But I waaaaant you to make more yellow for my flower?
Me: Can't you just make the inside purple? Remember when Zee (yes, I am using an Moose and Zee reference) spilled Henrietta's yellow paint and she used blue to make rain instead of yellow for a sun? Can't you just use your imagination?
The Lady: But I want yellow.
Me: I can't make yellow it is a primary color.
The Lady: I. Hate. Primary colors! 


I guess that was better than the "I hate you momma" she spit out a few days earlier and was immediately repeated by the Little Lady.

There is nothing like being told you are hated in duplicate.

So, I guess I should store these moments away and when the Lady finally does hit fifteen, hope that her biggest problem is still the lack of primary colors in her life and not something terrible like a mean girl or a broken heart.

I know that four will turn to five, to six, to seven and beyond. I also know that each age comes with new joys coupled with new lows that will crush any confidence that I have that I am a good parent and send me storming towards the snack drawer. 

I am, however, comforted by the fact that hanging on the bulletin board outside the Lady's classroom is a small paragraph from some study, basically saying (and I am paraphrasing here) that four sucks and it will eventually get better.

Oh, and that watercolor painting that so desperately needed the yellow? It is now on top of a pile of her artwork that is screaming for some sort of order. If only there was a website out there where you could find great organizational ideas. . .

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pinterest Project Two

I know you have all been waiting for this.

Let's just say that maybe I should have counted those Dr. Seuss-inspired fruit kabobs as my second project.

The thing is, I have a lot of ideas pinned, I just don't always have the necessary materials and/or the actual skills to pull these things together.

Does anyone know where to get canvas fabric? Let me know, I am in over my head here.

Anyway, I figured that over the course of these projects I would try to do a recipe/food inspired project, something for the kids room, a repurposing project and at least one sewing project.

The problem with the sewing projects is even though I have a sewing machine, I am terrible at using it. My old Pots and Pans and Sticky Hands teacher/Girl Scout Leader would not be proud of the incredible lack of sewing skills I have retained from my childhood days of creative crafts.

To be fair, I think I am actually better at hand sewing than using the machine and in the last few weeks, I have sewed my fair share of torn stuffed animals, including Mr. Ducks, Ladybug pillow, and a giant dog, who's name escapes me at the moment, but who we travelled home from Disney World with a couple of years ago.

And even though I have used the sewing machine in the past successfully to make some cute little ribbon belts for the Lady, as well as her second Halloween costume--that was like three years ago and perhaps whipping out the machine at eight o'clock on a Friday night, while I should have been putting the Ladies to bed added a bit to the confusion and the almost epic fail of this project.

The Lady, age 1, in the tutu I sewed for her.
This project should have taken ten minutes to do. It took me over an hour.

The original pin:

How cute are these? T-shirt bags! I mean who doesn't have old t-shirts hanging out in their drawers that they never wear anymore, but don't quite want to get rid of? The best part is that they are super practical. You can use them for grocery bags or a gym bag. How cute would be a ballet bag made out of an old graphic tee? The best part is that you can just put them right in the washing machine to clean them.

I was inspired. I was duped by the simplicity. I was screwed at eight o'clock on a Friday with the promise of another Pinterest project and an intense desire to go all Office Space on my sewing machine.

Here is how it panned out.

 My sewing machine. With the instructions open. My problem was that bitch the bobbin.

 So, you take any old t-shirt. Here I am using a freebie from one of my husbands work events.

 Take a plate and trace around it. I used a blue piece of chalk from our art bin.

 Cut out the neck along the chalk mark. Then cut out the sleeves, leaving the seam in place. It is important to keep the seams so that it maintains some strength.

 Turn the shirt inside out and sew along the bottom seams. You should probably pin the two sides together. I omitted that step and allowed the Lady to operate the foot pedal. You can see how that worked out above.

 Probably not what this should look like.

This is also probably not supposed to happen.

 Turn t-shirt back to the right side out and viola.

So simple. Despite my lack of sewing skills, a few restarts and a ton of extra thread. I was able to sew the thing together into a bag. Pinterest Project Two--complete.

 The bag hanging on the back of a chair.

We decided to use it for QT's toys. The original pin says to use a Youth size M or L for the bags and those would probably be better for grocery bags or bags for the kids. My t-shirt was an Adult L and it is really roomy. Good thing we have a ton of crap to stuff it with.

I saw another little project that I wanted to try. Apple cars. How cute. The original pin made them with grapes but we just got a ton of blueberries at Costco so we used them instead.


The best part is that the Ladies helped make them and it actually got them to eat them. This was about ten minutes after the Lady told me she didn't like healthy snacks. Granted she was trying to angle for a Hershey's kiss (if I can't eat them--she can't have them either!) but I was pleased to see that the actual project distracted her from that snack choice for a while at least.


So, we will see what next weeks project brings and if anyone knows someone who gives free sewing lessons--you know where to find me.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

On the Parting of Moose and Zee

So yesterday I was shocked to learn that Moose and Zee are no longer "hosting" NickJr.
Some of you may not know what I am talking about, some of you may not care. I am just a little taken aback by the news, although I am not actually sure which side of the fence I fall on.

Were Moose and Zee recognizable characters that the Ladies enjoyed? Yes.

Were they a little bit repetitive and kind of annoying? Also yes.

Clearly, I haven't been keeping up on my NickJr, this is due to a combination of things:

1. I am out of the house most of the day
2. I have been trying to limit TV time when I get home and on weekends
3. The Ladies have been watching a lot of Disney Channel
4. I have cultivated and developed a "deaf ear" to children's programming over the last few years. Yes, I still wake in the middle of the night singing the theme song to "Phineas and Ferb" and the Fresh Beats never fail to make an appearance in my morning shower, but I have also been able to tune out these shows as background noise. Mostly because I have seen (or heard) them all like 300 times.

I have become so good at tuning it out that I'd like to think I now know what it is like to be my husband when I am trying to talk to him.

I'd also like to think that Moose and Zee have made a bit of a lasting impression on me. I dare say I will still be singing "I Don't like Candy Corn" come Halloween, even though, in my heart of hearts, I love candy corn, until that one piece takes you over the edge from enjoyment to possible puking. And who can forget when Zee gets Moose the candy cane for Christmas? Just so heartwarming and nauseatingly repetitive at the same time.

Now I can't stop singing any of these songs.

I tried googling the reason they were "terminated" but couldn't find anything. There is a petition out there to bring them back though. Also, I probably spent way too much time on the NickJr site. So much so that I am thinking about getting the new Fresh Beat album and I am pleased to learn that there is a Barbie in A Mermaid Tale 2 out. Oh, Merliah how I have missed you so.

So, anyway, I get home from work last night and even though the TV isn't on and the Ladies are perfectly occupied with something else, I decide we should put on NickJr so that I can see how big of a difference this change has made.

I approach the Ladies with a tone of seriousness:

Me: Ladies, Moose and Zee aren't on NickJr anymore. (I like to imagine I am portraying a sympathetic face and seem open to discussion here. I want them to express themselves in case they are concerned.)

The Lady: I hate Moose and Zee.

Me: Um, what? (and then something about how we shouldn't use the word hate, etc. . .)

Me: Why don't you like Moose and Zee?

The Lady: Well, I like Zee.

Me: Why not Moose?

The Lady: Because he always thinks he's our teacher.


Congratulations NickJr in your attempt to teach my child with your cute animals and their songs that promote learning, you have created some sort of didactic, patronizing Moose who the Lady hates.

Kudos to kicking him to the curb. . . however replacing them with songs from other shows is kind of lame and there is only so much Diego I can take.

In other NickJr news. . . (yes, I know I should stop now) but as I was leaving for work this morning and trying to tiptoe around the Little Lady who once again was sleeping on the couch in the living room, I heard her roll over and say, "Laids, it's time for the Fresh Beats." She was totally asleep.

Oh NickJr it is a fine line we walk together. On one hand, I would like to give you a five minute frencher for occupying the Ladies while I try to get some things done around the house, on the other hand I would like to kick you where it counts for your insistence on playing the same shows over and over and for creating the haunting sounds of the Fresh Beat Band.

And Moose and Zee? I hope you find what you are looking for on this journey we call life. Here's to hoping you finally make it to Frisco the fire-ant's birthday party.

Friday, March 2, 2012

IN PIN, pin is in: Dr. Seuss Day Pin

I am not going to count this towards "Pinterest Project Two" but I did manage to make these cute little Dr. Seuss-inspired fruit kabobs this morning for the Ladies to celebrate Dr. Seuss Day. And I was able to do it despite the fact that I was only able to string together about three hours of sleep, because QT and I are in some long drawn out war and he is winning every single battle, and these were getting put together about 10 minutes after I should have walked out the door.

Was I late for work? Yes.

Did either of the Ladies appreciate the effort? No.

Did this photo need to be Instagramed? Also, no.

Were they delicious? Of course, they are Cat in the Hat inspired fruit kabobs.

Dr. Seuss inspired fruit kabobs

The original pin is posted below. The website it came from seems pretty cute. They are meals made in muffin tins, however, I think if you are going to go through the effort of actually getting your muffin tins out of some forlorn top shelf in your kitchen, you should really just make cupcakes.

Pin It

 Looking forward to hearing about how the Lady enjoyed "Dr. Seuss Day" at her school, and also now craving cupcakes.