Friday, August 29, 2008

What Is Wrong With Being Purple????

Now, if you have a problem with my purpleness because I am a dinosaur and my every utterance is in a sing-gong annoying tone, then fine. Hate at will.

HOWEVER, I checked in the mirror. While I am definitively having a very bad hair day, I am most assuredly not a dinosaur. I also almost never sing.

So WHY does my purpleness seem to offend all my friends so? My red friends are annoyed by me, as are my blue friends. It is as if they would be less annoyed if I stood firmly on the side opposite of theirs. I don't get it. They liked me more back in '04 when I hated both parties offerings of leadership. Now that I have two prospects to be guardedly excited about, they are frustrated by me.

I think I'm just going to feign ignorance and stick to topics like baking, fashion, and celebrity gossip. But, I'll be wearing purple inside and out. Eggplant is THE color this fall, ya know?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Another Lesser Moment in Parenting Brought To You by Campaign 08

Boys: "Mom, why do you and Daddy disagree so much about politics?"

Mom: "Because Daddy is too dumb to realize that I am smarter."

I explained to them that I was kidding. I promise I did. Well, mostly kidding.

Lesser Moments in Parenting; You Can't Kill a Chicken That's Already Dead!

I have a temper. A big, bad one. I have learned over the years how to contact my inner "zen" when i feel myself losing it. However, there is one topic that causes me to blow my top every. single. time. My husband has an annoying way of belittling my housekeeping skills. I am not the best at it. But, I like it to be clean and orderly and I am my own worst critic. I beat myself up about it all the time. I am a VERY busy person. I have three kids and a husband who is perpetually traveling. You might be able to imagine how much it makes me crazy when he saunters home from a trip in a hotel room to let me know how I could be doing things better around here. Ya know? AS IF he has a fllippin clue as to how to run things around here or how crazy it is on a day to day basis. Even on the few times I have left him in charge I come home to homework not done, bedtimes ignored, and sometimes a mess in the kitchen. Weekends he's in charge - I leave meals to eat, school project supplies purchased and organized with a plan for the project...let's just say he doesn't get the REAL picture of what it is like to be me! And, he has this completely DELUDED notion that he is the only one in the house who picks up after himself and he is rather sanctimonious about it. This makes my head spin in rapid circles while levitating above my neck because he has NO IDEA how many things of his I pick up and put away on a daily basis. I could explain this topic forever, but that is not the point today (although it is always the point of every irritating thought in my head!). Long point made short - his commenting on housework makes me mad as hell.

One night a few years ago, I was already in a bad mood due to children being irritating and especially needy. The house was a mess. I had had a hell of a day. We had just moved here and I was homesick and had no friends. I was making dinner. It was probably something yummy, but I don't remember what it was. I was managing dinner, homework, and at that point Grant was still a new walker and was toddling around behind me whining and clutching my legs while I tried to bustle around the kitchen. There was a package of chicken breasts on the counter. One of the packages in the styrofoam trays. Rich enters the house and proceeds to criticize my parenting, my homework tutelage, etc, etc....I'm obviously pissed, yet he just keeps right on. I think I even warned him to cut it out! Then, he did it...He stared asking me in some condescending, sing-song way about every thing on the counter. Fight started. Game on.

I was so irate that I think I honestly blacked out. I remember feeling dizzy and woozy my head was spinning so fast. My ears were literally hot. I was getting ready to slice the chicken breasts with a big knife. Finally, I was ready to hurt someone or throw something. Somehow this rage turned into me screaming at him to "JUST!! SHUT!! UP!!!! I! HATE!! YOU!!" while I stabbed the chicken over and over with the big knife. Next thing I know, I see Jamie and Connor (ages 9 and 6) cowering in the corner, whimpering, "she's killing the chicken...." I had scared the crap out of them. I feel very badly about it to this day. It was DEFINITELY a lesser moment in parenting. It got worse. Later, when trying to apologize to everyone for my inexcusable behavior I tried to justify part of my behavior by rationalizing that you can't kill something that is already dead. (told Rich privately that he should be damn happy there was chicken on the counter or he might have been at the end of my knife instead of the chicken) However, it is pretty funny around here when people use the chicken as a warning. Just the other day, Rich and I were bantering about politics (when aren't we?) and Jamie says, "Dad, I think you'd better cool it or she's gonna kill another chicken." And, whenever Rich helps cook (and by help, I mean take things out of the refrigerator when I ask, because seriously, I'm not sure he can boil water) if there is chicken anywhere to be seen, he will point to he chicken and say, "you boys better behave or the chicken's gonna get it!"

Are you all afraid of me now?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Trader Tuesdays - on Wednesday

From Twitter today:
LEEXXXX @yankeemb ummm.... all talk and no recipe action? consider your wrist slapped. ;) Hope nothing bad happened... you ok? from web in reply to yankeemb

Nothing Bad happend, just, well, PTO happened.

So sorry about the Trader Tuesday fellow recipe lovers! My excuse is that it was the first PTO meeting of the year (my first meeting as president)...enough said? It was ca-ray-zeee around here! I thought Id post when I made it home after meeting and getting kids to bed...hahaha...I am so naive.

AAANNNDDD, there is the little matter that I am embarrassed to publish my recipe for the week in light of the fact that 3 of the Tuesday Traders are real Louisianans, not just people from the near-to-Louisiana gulf coast like myself. However, I am too damn tired to think of a new one, so here is my Cheater's version of Red Beans and Rice. It is SUPER QUICK and EASY, yet is still my husband's favorite dinner. I make sure to get this on the stove simmering before he comes home if he is mad at or annoyed with me. The smell hits him in the garage before he even walks into the house. He walks in the door with a smile. (If Ive REALLY pissed him off, I pour a really cold Abita into a frosty mug when I hear the garage door go up signaling his arrival) The kids all love it too - the beans, not the beer.

Cheater's Red Beans and Rice

  • 1 -2 cloves garlic (to your taste)
  • 1 lb smoked sausage (or whatever kind you like - andouille, hot, whatever, but plain 'ol smoked sausage will do )
  • 1 medium onion (or 1/2 large) ( I don't like it too onion-y)
  • 3 cans light red kidney beans
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tsp Creole Seasoning ( I use Tony's)
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • a few dashes Louisiana style hot sauce (Tabasco, Louisiana, Crystal (my favorite), or another)
  • A bit of olive oil

Finely chop onion. Slice sausage. (I like to cut my round slices into halves or fourths - I like smaller pieces of sausage, but you can leave them bigger if you like).

Heat enough oil in dutch oven to sweat the onion. After the onions have been in for a minute or two, add in the sausage and brown the onion and sausage together. When close to browned, add in your garlic. Finish browning. Then, add in your chicken broth to your hot pan, being sure to scrape up any of that yummy brown goodness sticking to the bottom of the pan. Then add in your 3, undrained, cans of beans. Stir in your seasoning, hot sauce, and bay leaf. Bring close to, but not quite to a boil. Then simmer for about 30 minutes covered. Then simmer for about 30-45 minutes uncovered. This sounds like a long time, but it is basically hands off for all of that simmering time except for the very occasional stir of the pot.

When you are ready, cook up some long grain rice. Serve beans over rice. I usually serve this up with some crusty French bread and a spinach salad. Leftovers are great and my boys love to take them for lunch at school. (consider this link to be additional kitchen help to make up for my tardiness in Tuesday trading!)

Okay, I'm off to do more PTO work and iron shirts for the fugliest formal uniform in the history of uniforms. (hate thursdays!) Once I get a little more caught up (when the hell is that going to be?*%$#!?#!) I plan to start a new series of posts. I was looking through my recent posts and archives and noticed that I sound a little too "perfect mommy - muffiaish" OOOH NO! Not so! So, I'm going to post some installments of "Greater Moments in Parenting" and some installments of "Lesser Moments in Parenting." You all have to promise to not call CPS though, okay?

Monday, August 25, 2008

For Tracy, A Picture as Promised...

I promised Tracy I would post a picture of my tiny little kitchen in our old house back in FL. She is picking paint colors and you should all go offer her some opinions!

Tracy, as you can tell, these are not great pictures due to problems with lighting and with angle. I remember it being very difficult to get a picture where you could see much of the walls and cabinets together. Anyway, this is the Montana Tan with birch cabinets. The counter tops were the original Formica, but it can give you an idea as to how this paint looks with fairly light, neutral counter tops even though they are not fabulous and gorgeous like your granite choices! (also, i think if you click on the picture for the enlarged view, you will get a better sense of the color)

I can't wait to see what you do pick!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Letting the Punishment Fit the Crime

If you know me IRL, then you know that this is often how I parent. I think the fancy-pants psychologists call it "natural-consequence parenting." I call it "better than screaming my bloody head off and wanting to strangle them parenting." I like to make a lasting impression on them so that they do not repeat whatever offensive behavior has occurred. ( I am afraid that, on occasion, the lasting impression created is that their mother is a psycho.)

For example, when the big two were little and they got into a squabble that escalated to the point where one hit, pinched, kicked the other then the punishment was that they had to sit and hold hands for 5 minutes. At the end of the five minutes, they could only get up if they could apologize to each other and tell me three good reasons they were glad that the other was their brother. (do I have this on video? You better believe it!) If you slam a door in this house, you are required to SLOWLY open and close it 10 times without making a bit of noise - If you make noise, you start back over at 1. If you cannot pick up your toys, then obviously you have too many to handle and we should give them to unfortunate children who do not have so many. Can't stop biting your nails in church? Well then, obviously you need a manicure! Which I will complete with pink nail polish that you will leave on for at least 24 hours as we run around town.

I've got more, but you get the idea. Yes?

Today was a "non-uniform" day at school. Jamie came out for breakfast looking presentable. However, I noticed that he had on no-show socks with his Vans. The school has some stupid rule about this for some unknown, stupid reason. Your socks have to show and they have to cover your ankle bone. ( I know! DUMB! but its the RULE!) I brought this to Jamie's attention. He informed me that I was wrong and that Amber (a girl in his class) told him that the rule had changed. I replied that I was unaware of this and that I would know as I am on the darn policy committee. He insisted that he was SURE about this new found sock freedom. He ate and left for school.

I went about my normal business. At around 10:30 am I went to pull my cell phone off the charger. I saw that I had a missed call/voicemail at 8:21am. Do I really need to tell you who it was from and what it said? Of course it was Jamie pleading for me to bring him socks so that he would not get an Out of Uniform violation....HA! AS IF! No way! You can take the violation, pal! I thought I was doing well to not cave and force him to suffer the consequences of his bad choices.

BUT I WAS OUTDONE AT MY OWN GAME!!!! I present you with the sight that greeted me when I picked him up at 3pm this afternoon...

Yes, yes, in case you can't see them clearly... Those are PINK knee socks!!!

The only problem here is that Jamie found it all quite hilarious, especially since two of his friends suffered the same fate. I think the three of them kind of enjoyed their "celebrity status" all day. Lets just hope that the lesson was still learned even if it wasn't exactly "the hard way."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Trader Tuedays - Per Mandy's Decree

Last week there was a funny Tuesday on which several of us all posted recipes or cooking/dinner ideas. It was a funny coincidence. Mandy, rightly, decided that we should declare future Tuesdays "Trading Recipe Tuesdays." I think it is a nice idea...It sucks when you get in a rut when feeding the family. I easily fall into dinner/kitchen ruts when the school year comes around and kicks my ass (which, BELIEVE ME, it is already doing!).

In recognition of Mandy's new found love of a yummy Heath Bar, I present Tiramisu Pie. It really is as "easy as pie!"

Tiramisu Pie

*Before starting, brew some strong, dark coffee, or make some espresso if you are a lucky duck with an espresso machine. Let the coffee or espresso cool somewhat. (Or, all the way, whatever!)


1/2 cup Strong brewed coffee, or espresso
Your choice - Kahlua, Starbucks liqueur, or my pick, Van Gogh Double Espresso Vodka
1 regular size frozen pound cake, thawed. (or make your own, but that would kind of suck the "easy" right of the recipe.)
8 oz marscapone cheese
1 1/2 cups cool whip
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup chocolate syrup (store bought or homemade- you pick!)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
bit of sugar (maybe 2 Tbsp or so)
2 Heath or Skor bars (freeze them and then beat the heck out of them(I use a rolling pin or meat mallet) to crumble.)


1. Cut pound cake into slices about 3/4 inch wide. (eyeball it - you should end up with about 12-14 slices). Then, cut slices into halves, diagonally. Arrange these triangle slices to line the bottom, and up the sides of a deep dish pie plate.

2. Stir together the cooled coffee and the liqueur of your choice. Drizzle this all over the pound cake liner of the pie plate.

3. Beat marscapone, sugar, and chocolate syrup together with electric mixer. When blended, add in cool whip and beat until well combined. Pour this into the cake-lined pie plate. Chill for at least 2 hours.

4. Whip whipping cream with a small amount of sugar and 1 tsp vanilla. Evenly dollop over the pie. Top with a dusting of cocoa powder and crushed toffee bars.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bye-Bye Birdie -OR- Why Don't I Know and Live Close to MoMommy? -OR- My Damn Bleeding Heart Husband -OR- I Don't Even like Dogs!

What a weekend! Saturday morning found mom and dad sleeping in. It was heavenly. Not long after getting out of bed, Grant came running in the front door to inform us that, " Daddy, Daddy! There are baby birds on the sidewalk Really, really, BABY birds." And we were all, "grumble, mmhmm,, grumble, coffee, creamer, uh-huh." Then, Jamie came in to back up Grant informing us that Grant was not exaggerating, there were, in fact, two brand-new birds on the sidewalk and that only one was alive. The kids were not giving this up so Rich went out to investigate. Grant followed closely behind him. Next thing I know, Rich was back inside calling down the hallway that, "we have a problem." The problem became apparent when I came out of my room to find Rich in the hallway with a tiny, tiny, baby bird in his hand. I said something along the lines of, "WHAT THE BLOODY HELL WERE YOU THINKING?" He said, "I know, I know, but Grant was there kneeling next to me and when the bird opened its beak, Grant looked up and said, 'he's huu-ngree, Daddy' " he continued that, "Furthermore, it was OUR cat who ingested the bird's mother and brother." And THAT is how I ended up making a baby bird incubator out of a heating pad, tupperware, and paper towels, and making baby bird Karo water and baby bird food out of soggy cat food. (You all see the irony in THAT one, right?)

As it turns out, you have to feed a baby bird like EVERY TEN MINUTES for at least 12 hours a day! And, also, they poop. A LOT. I was none too happy about all of this and assumed that the bird would give up the fight in a short while. Nope. Bird is still alive. I told Rich that apparently the bird was viable and that I was in NO WAY going to raise a bird for 3-6 weeks until it could fly (we figured out by looking on line that the bird was between 5 and 7 days post hatch.) all the while feeding it every 30 minutes....Not to mention IT IS JUST GROSS and should not be in my house. He checked around and Animal Control said they knew of some private rehabilitators that could care for it. Animal Control came and picked it up just a few minutes ago. What do you think the chances are that they are totally blowing sunshine up our rear ends and that there are no rehabilitators and that they just killed it??? Because now I'm like all sad and shit. Damn baby bird, I didn't even like you. You were UGLY and weird looking, but now I'm sad they might kill you.

Good Luck Baby Bird. You were kind of cute in your own hideously ugly way.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Back to School - The After School Edition

  • Connor likes his teacher
  • Jamie likes all of his teachers, but thinks it is a pain to have to change classes and go to his locker all day.
  • Connor was not happy at all that his religion teacher gave them an assignment on the first day. In fact he said, "I don't think a religion teacher should be so sacrilegious as to give us an assignment on the first day."
  • Jamie was equally displeased that the new Spanish teacher gave him an assignment on the first day.
  • Neither Connor nor Jamie likes that the new Spanish teacher speaks no English in her classroom for 5th grade and up. In further evidence that my children are total smart-asses they said, "She makes Spanish seem like a foreign language!" They thought they were very clever and cracked themselves up at lunch over this one. (We ate trashy Chinese at the buffet they make me take them to every year on the first day of school. I happen to LOVE tradition for the sake of tradition, so I play along even though the food is gross. Blame the Catholicity!)
  • More evidence that my kids are ridiculously lucky to get to go to this school...Every kid found one of these beautiful cookies on their desk this morning: (School mascot is a hornet)

Say a little prayer that tomorrow goes as smoothly. I have my doubts as tomorrow is a formal uniform day, and I'm likely to forget to help Jamie tie his tie tonight and then there will be much stressing an crazy hurrying around like chickens with our heads cut off in the morning. Hopefully, just writing that sentence here will help imprint the mental memo onto my brain. Or, maybe Ill make my Palm yell at me ...Duh! Should have thought of that before right now!

All Systems Go! Photodocumentation for Dad

The first day of 5th and 7th grades! It went pretty smoothly. I hope they don't think breakfast will be this yummy everyday. They had raspberry coffee cake, eggs, bacon, and fruit. Yes, that is a coffee cup in front of Connor - he is his momma's boy!

The annual front and back "ready to go" pictures!

OH MY GOSH!!! Best part of the morning! The music teacher was playing twinkling background piano as the students and parents came in this morning. It was like the festive happy atmosphere of Nordstroms on a Saturday. I LOVE this school for things just like this. It REALLY IS the little touches that matter! I could gush about their school for many a paragraph, so I'll cut myself off right here.

Connor in the 5th Grade classroom!

I even snuck down the middle school hallway and got these blurry pictures of the new 7th grader! He looks just "miserable," doesn't he?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Does Dinner Taste Better in a Pretty Kitchen? **EDITED for leftovers!

I do not know for sure, but I can tell you for sure that every single person in my family asked for seconds and raved and gushed about dinner last night. I can always count on one or two people to love dinner, while the other one or two act as though I'm feeding them rotten Alpo. EVERYONE being thrilled with dinner is a big deal. It was a simple dinner so I thought I'd share my creation with anyone interested. (If you lived in Japan with me, or ever visited me there, this tastes A LOT like Pancho's chicken salsa blanca!)

Take 5 boneless/skinless chicken breasts and put them in a baking dish. Season them liberally with taco seasoning, garlic salt, and black pepper. Slice a small onion and lay a few rings over the chicken. Drizzle all of this with the tiniest amount of a neutral oil such as light/extra light olive oil or just a vegetable/canola oil. Bake chicken in a 375 degree oven for about 3o minutes or until done depending upon the size of your chicken breasts.

Let cool for about 10 minutes or until you feel like dealing with getting dinner on the table. Then chop and/or shred all of the chicken. Dump the chopped/shredded chicken into a large skillet or saute pan. Add in about 1 1/2 - 2 cups Pace Salsa Verde. (you can also toss in some minced jalapeno here for some extra "kick") Mix together over medium-high heat. Let it really start to simmer/boil. Then just let it cook for about 45 minutes to an hour or until most of the liquid has evaporated. (you won't be able to evaporate all of it, but it will be greatly reduced) At this point cut 4-6 oz of light cream cheese into pieces and stir it into the hot chicken until melted and blended. Stir in a bit of salt and pepper. Serve alongside warm corn and/or flour tortillas. I baked some refried beans topped with enchilada sauce and shredded cheese as a side dish. A big fruit salad made for a refreshing accompaniment as well.

Hope your family enjoys as much as mine. It was really easy! You could even bake and chop the chicken the night before...How easy would that make dinner the next day?

**EDIT/UPDATE** Leftoves are di-vine over rice! (thought of doing this first go-around next time, but cooking the rice with rotel mixed in)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Royalties Could Pay Off My New Floors!

Dear JC Penney,

Are you reading my blog? I'd like my royalty check please. AND, do you REALLY think today's hipsters even get your reference to The Breakfast Club? I mean, its not like every parent runs around quoting the brat pack like I do. However, if you want to keep going in this direction can I suggest a commercial set to OMD's "If You Leave" advertising all pink clothing and accessories?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Truer Words Never Spoken

A friend of Connor's came to pick him up to take him to his class's Back-to-School party tonight. His mother is very nice and she is fascinated by the pilot marriage lifestyle. She is constantly (like to the point of being annoying) telling me how she "could not do it!" she "doesn't know HOW I do it!" and that I am her "hero" and "amazing!" It is all very sweet. Really, it is. I'm not gonna say that I don't like the praise. I usually respond that,"Well, I've never known anything different." Today, she was gushing more than usual after a week of PTO craziness. She only saw the results. She didn't see the behind-the-scenes pictures of my house going to hell in a hand basket, or the laundry piling up higher than Mount McKinley, or the amount of fast food crap my children ate during the insanity that was my week. She once again said, " I just don't know how you do all that you do!"

Connor looked up at her and said, "Sometimes she just doesn't."

That, my friends, is EXACTLY HOW I do it...Sometimes I just DON'T.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Misjudged and Underestimated - AGAIN!

Admittedly, and thankfully, I look a bit young for my age, and look too young to have 13 yr old child. Also admittedly, I am younger than the average mom of a 13 yr old 7th grader. However, I do NOT look like a teen bride. I have to cover gray hair for heaven's sake!

I really thought that back when I turned 30 people would start to take me seriously. People would stop saying stupid things like, "what were you, like FIFTEEN when you had your first?" I thought that being able to answer the inevitable, "How old ARE you?" question with an answer that the did not start with twenty, but rather the more respectable thirtysomething would buy me a little respect. Au contrar, Mufrair!!! (No, I do NOT know how to spell that - phonetically is all I got!)

I am now well on my way out of my early thirties and into my mid thirties, and yet...We are "mentoring" a new family at our school. They are older, late-in-life parents. They have been polite, but cool and stand-offish with me while I have been trying to befriend them and to help them with their transition to Texas and to our school. Today, all of a sudden, she called me. She was friendly and gracious. She was complimenting how organized, informative, and efficient the New Parent Orientation was last night. She even remarked that I "looked very professional" and that I was "organized and well informed." While this was very complimentary, her tone revealed her surprise at all she was saying. Once again, she, like many others before her, had assumed I was a bumble-headed young thing incapable of all the things she had seen. It was as if she expected any event that I was in charge of would be a complete disaster and that I wouldn't even know how to dress myself appropriately to speak in front of 75 new parents! And, you know what else? I wonder if she noticed that the lovely Jennifer is a good deal younger than I! Yes, we two young bumble heads who enjoy discussing cute shoes and lipstick shades are capable of all kinds of grown-up activities!

AARGH! This should not frustrate me this much, but it does. At what age will this age bias cease? When will I no longer have to PROVE to people I am not an idiot. Or, is it not the age factor at all? (though I'm sure that it is because people come right out and say it!) Is it because I am not gainfully employed outside of the home?

Surely some of you have experienced similar things, right? People who assume you are not a serious or smart person because you read InStyle or Cosmo during your study breaks? Or you like to wear makeup and cute clothes instead of sweats or pajamas to college classes? Did this happen when you young professionals were just starting your careers?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Dear Rich,

I realize you are gift-giving challenged. Allow me to help you by presenting a small, certainly not comprehensive, list of sure fire birthday pleasers.

I don't usually like the thicker heels, but these shoes speak to me. I love classics and these are updated spectators. What's more classic than a shirt dress, trench coat, or spectators?
BUT, I want this dress in teak, not this coral color.
(Thank you, Slynnro!)

My bottle is running low, and I broke the spritzer head by dropping it on the tile.

Love this dress - so many ways to accessorize, and so figure flattering. Would be so cute with those shoes up at the top!

I have too many red dresses, but they are all summer dresses. This one I could wear through the fall.

There are so many more things that would bring a smile to may face, but these are a good place to start. Of course nothing would put a bigger smile on my face than a night on the town with you! A room at the Ashton and a night in Fort Worth would be a no-fail option also!

Your-soon-to-be-a-year-older wife, MaryB

Friend Unexpected

Remember this? and this? Well, I was wrong. Jennifer, Madame Vice President of the PTO, is far more than I had hoped. Y'all (YES! I SAID Y'ALL!), she is so awesome that I broke one of my cardinal rules...I sent her the link to the blog!!...a real-life person...a link to the blog...She is THAT cool!

Hi Jennifer - Love ya!