My son, the “Cooker”

My son has a list of all the things he wants to be when he grows up.  This list includes an astronaut, a “flyer” (pilot), a police officer (until he found out that you have to get tazed in the academy and that bad guys sometimes have guns), and of course a “cooker” (chef).  He does have the desire to become a “cooker” while flying.  We’ll make sure to ask his college of choice if they offer an aero-space-culinary degree while on the tour.

After an afternoon of hearing “I’m bored…” from my darling children, I asked them if they would like to help me cook dinner.  My daughter gave her usual “Ugh” and returned to her latest purchase of cotton candy trees on Farmville.  My son was very excited and eagerly ran into the kitchen to help me make Chicken Picatta.

After washing hands and finding the step-stool, he was put in charge of taking a meat tenderizer to the chicken tenderloins.  I couldn’t find chicken cutlets at the store so this was the next best thing.  As I opened the package I had to explain that yes, it came from a real chicken and the little spot of blood would cook off.  My son quickly got over touching raw chicken and began flattening the pieces.  We had to find the happy medium of barely hitting the chicken and disintegrating it.  Also, there is a difference between the spiked end and the flat end of the mallet.

As I got the pan hot with cooking spray and olive oil, my son began to coat the chicken pieces in flour.  The first two were perfectly coated but I guess his attention began to slip and he began rolling them like sausages.  As I was unrolling the chicken, I noticed the oil was burning.  I was able to turn the burner down and got a few pieces in right before the smoke detector went off.  I ran to do the old trick of fanning the detector with a kitchen towel.  When I came back, there was flour all over the counters and he was throwing half covered chicken cutlets in the frying pan.  When the smoke detector went off for the 4th time, my son said “I’ll just stay in the hall, you can finish cooking”.

The meal was great and definitely a keeper for us but hopefully next time my kitchen will hold up better.

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Watch out “Honey Boo Boo”!!

I have written before about my desire to win the coveted “Mother of the Year” award.  I’d like to believe that there really is an award and a banquet each year.  

Just imagine…a glamorous ballroom filled with women in beautiful, size 2 ball gowns, perfect hair and smokey eye makeup, sipping pomegranate martinis and gushing about how amazing they are.  The conversations would include how they got their 4 children to 6 different soccer games on a Saturday while their crock pot cooked their breakfast, lunch, and dinner in their immaculate home organized by their foolproof morning, afternoon and evening routines.

Then one lucky woman would be honored to receive the Mother of the Year award.  It would include a plaque, a trip to a tropical island and the inspiring minivan window decal.  This way she could show everyone as she drives to soccer practice, dance rehearsal  and the grocery store with coupons in hand that she is completely devoted to the blessed children God gave her.

At this point my alarm goes off and I spend 10 minutes trying to pick the least wrinkled school uniform to throw on my still sleeping children.  I scrounge for the piece of paper or back of receipt that I wrote down the Special Lunch dates on.  Realizing I will never find the paper, I make lunches just to be safe. As I’m stuffing practice uniforms into soccer bags, I hear my children complaining about how they have to take a backpack AND a soccer bag to school.

As all of my Mother of the Year stories, this one started off with the best intention.  My son has a school project in which he has to go outside on a semi-regular basis and look at the moon.  Two years ago, as my daughter was completing this same assignment  I swore among the tears that I was going to do this right when my son was in 2nd grade.  We’ll, we’re about a month into the project and I’m on the same path to disaster.  As most of our evenings are filled with soccer, homework, dinner, and “get in the shower and get to bed because I’m not dealing with crabby children in the morning anymore and I am not getting you dressed so you can just go to school in your pajamas!”, we are a bit behind.  

After soccer practice, stuffing dinner down my children’s throat and yelling to, “hurry up in the shower!  Water costs money!”, I decided it was a good idea to go look at the moon.  My son and I went outside in our pajamas, armed with the assignment, a pencil, and a cold beer in my hand.  At least my son had decency to put flip flops on.

If you have to find the moon you just go outside and look up, right?  Wrong….we couldn’t find it.  We decided to split up.  I went one way and my son ran around our apartment building the other way.  As I walked down a path I began to see faces peeking out of family room and kitchen windows.  Pajamas…barefoot…beer…remember?  Next thing I know, my son is racing toward me and passes me yelling, “I think I found it!!” as if he was looking for a lost puppy. 

After 3 passes up and down the path and watching my son lap me for the 2nd time, I realized there had to be an easier way.  Instead of cutting him off at the next pass, I decided to just start yelling my son’s name.  

Let me help you with the visual in case you haven’t caught on yet.  Pajamas, barefoot, beer, yelling my son’s name in the courtyard of an apartment complex surrounded by 5 apartment buildings at 9:00 at night.  Those same faces began to peek out from behind the blinds again.  I felt like I was filming the preview for the new reality show on TLC this fall.  I should have given my son a nickname like, “Tiny” or “Rugrat”, or “Tiny Rugrat”.

We went back in and scientifically observed the information we needed from my sister’s IPad.  Assignment done.  I swore we would try again the next night.  That was 5 nights ago….

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Watch out y’all….Mother of the Year is mine….


Yep…my kids, learning to flip beer coasters, at the bowling alley.   I am officially the coolest mom EVER!!!


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For the love of Art

While cleaning my son’s room I asked him, “Do you want to keep your hippo?”.
He jumped up, disregarding his current battle on Pokemon, and said, “Yes mom! It’s Art!”.

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185 ways to enhance my life, or at least entertain myself for an evening.

If you live in St. Louis you know one thing.  It’s hot.  Really hot.  Like 107 hot.  I did venture out to the pool with the kids yesterday but unless I am in the pool, I don’t like to go outside.  To get to the pool you have to go outside, get in a car that is 120 degrees and drive to the pool.  Needless to say, I am staying on my couch today.

I’m searching for something to make me smile today.  I have a headache.  It’s probably from either the beginnings of a sinus infection (which is being passed back and forth between my kids) or coffee withdrawal.  I could make coffee but I ran out of coffee liners.  I could use the French Press or “God forbid” go to the store, but I don’t want to go to the store, I have a headache.  And it’s hot outside…..

My kids are off to a birthday party with their dad and will not be back until tomorrow.  So what does a girl do when she has the day to herself?  BUY SHOES!  But that would require me to get in the car. Did I mention that it was hot? (I tend to get a bit whiny when I have a headache)  Since I am not going to buy shoes, I’m going to catch up on reading my blog subscriptions!

I have 44 blog subscriptions that run from one end of the spectrum to the other.  I love to sit with my computer, have a cup of coffee, and become inspired.  I had 185 new posts to read.  Here is just a glimpse of my reading today.

Free Kindle books.  I have more than I can count of cookbooks.  Cookie recipes, slow cooker recipes, summer salads, smoothies.  I even clicked on the link to get “1001 Slow Cooker Recipes”.  I was immediately sent to a page stating I had already purchased it!  I then recieved a lengthy throuble shooting document from explaining how I can locate any past purchases and a phone number to contact a helpful representative if I was still having trouble finding it.  I could have answered that in one step…”turn my Kindle on and open my “cookbooks” catalogue”.  You can imagine how often I have done that!

There is something exciting about getting something for free.   About twice a week I get small, over-wrapped packages of free soap, lotion, or laundry detergent in the mail.  Many times, in order to get a free sample, you have to fill out a questionnaire or “Like” it on Facebook.  If you look at my Profile page, you will see that I now have a fascination with Nivea, General Mills, and Tide.  On a blog post today, I found a link to a product that I had already received a sample.  Sneaky me, thought I could get a sample again…no, Facebook is smarter than that.  Darn…I liked that lotion.  I smelled pretty all day yesterday.

I was reminded that I can buy flip flops at Old Navy for a dollar today and if I go to Starbucks on July 4th, I can get a free cup of coffee.  All that did was remind me that I did not want to go outside and that I don’t have coffee.

Several posts link up coupons with my grocery and drug store circulars for the week.  My dad was the store circular king.  He taught me to go to 2 or more stores, and how to check price per ounce or gram or pound to get the best value.  I still can’t pass on a deal for quartered chicken without thinking of him.

Then come the “healthy” posts.  I read about the benefits to a low carb breakfast but according to Dr. Oz, I need to increase carbs in order to reduce my behind..  I found a recipe for vanilla, blueberry, buttermilk pancakes that looked delicious.  I then remembered I have a box of Bisquick that I haven’t touched in a year.  Did start juicing and I have found some great recipes.  My son loves to make juice from whatever fruits and veggies we have and in the process, dodge flying fruit bits being whizzed around my kitchen.  I have a few favorite blogs for working out.  I have work out routines for my behind, my legs, my abs, and muscles I didn’t know I had.  I hate working out.  I’m doing more than I have ever done in my life but realize more and more each day that I hate it.  I need the reminders and motivation on a daily basis.

I came across a post to make my own yogurt in a crock pot and another on how to make my own toothpaste. Both probably have the same consistency.

Not all of the posts are ways to reduce my bills or my derriere.  I have two friends from college that write about their life and family.  These are the posts that I laugh out loud, realizing I’m not the only one that gets puked on or has to entertain my kids while I have a hangover.

I do follow one teaching blog.  I tend to “leave work at work” so I don’t search for a lot about teaching outside of my work day.  Also, it’s summer.  I just finished teaching a week of Vacation Bible School so I got my “teaching fix” that will take me through August.

There are a few parenting posts that I like.  After reading these I feel validated that I’m not the only one that  struggles with a dramatic 9 year old daughter or a 7 year old boy that won’t stop saying “butt” or “pee” or “poop” whenever he can.  Today’s post was “Training your children in home economics”.  I passed over that one.  Denise and Home Economics have never been used in the same sentence before.  My children will not be going through any “training” from me.

Now that I have caught up on my blog posts I am motivated to go to the grocery store, try a few new recipes, and organize the cabinet under my sink….tomorrow 🙂







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Every Girl’s Crazy ‘Bout a Sharp Dressed Man

Father’s Day.

I do realize that it was a few days ago but this post took a bit of time to process.

Over the past 9 years since my father’s passing,  I have spent Father’s Day thinking about all the times I didn’t tell my dad how much I loved him and how I took our time for granted.  I believed I still had a lifetime with him.   Years of fighting back tears, angry that my children never met their grandfather. Thinking about all the things they would have learned from him.  He was supposed to teach my daughter how to pitch a softball this year, the same way he taught me.

This year, I anticipated the moment the expected sadness would hit me and consume the rest of my day.  That moment never came.  I found myself smiling and laughing, recalling my favorite memories of him.

  1. My dad would crank up the Mannheim Steamroller CD on Christmas morning to wake up my sister and I.
  2. Then in July, he would walk around the house singing, “Tis the be jolly.”
  3. While looking in the fridge for something to eat, I would be pulled into a shadow boxing match.  Which by the way, is a great skill to have and I have tried to share with my kids.
  4. My dad headbanging to ZZ Top in his minivan with Bass Pro sunglasses and a cigarette hanging out of his mouth.
  5. The spark in his eye when he heard that he was going to be a grandfather.

I did get one final Father’s Day just weeks before he passed away.  He was over at my house the night before he passed and told me not to get up to say goodby.  I was 8 months pregnant and getting up off the couch was quite an ordeal at the time.

This year on Father’s Day, my boyfriend asked, “Are you going to go see your dad?”.  I couldn’t, not alone,  but I felt the need to turn Father’s Day into a celebration.  It was quickly decided that next year we would start a new tradition on Father’s Day.  My boyfriend and I are going to pay my father a visit, probably leave him a pack of the cheapest cigarettes we can find, and then go play a game of pool at a hole in the wall bar over a few gin and 7s. (no straw, don’t stir).

Now the tears did come and I did have the sadness that finds me often in my life, but I didn’t feel so helpless.  I’m far from the only one that misses someone on Father’s Day or Mother’s Day or Christmas and Birthdays.  Everyone has different ways to celebrate and remember the ones they love and miss every day.

Each year I have felt the desire to honor my dad in some way but I couldn’t seem to find the right way.  I didn’t want it to feel forced.  Now instead of approaching each Father’s Day with trepidation, I am excited about enjoying the day the way he would have wanted to.

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Did it pass the Cupcake Wars Challenge?

Yesterday was one of the hottest days in St. Louis in quite a while.  Of course that meant that we had 3 baseball games scheduled.  Both kiddos were troopers and made it through without passing out or throwing up.

On the way home we passed a sign for Jilly’s Cupcake Bar.   A stop at Jilly’s has been on our to do list ever since we saw the owner compete on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars.  As we pulled in, my daughter asked if we would be able to see the owner make the cupcakes.  I explained that he probably wasn’t there, the same way I explained that the owner of Sprinkles Cupcakes would not be making our desserts when we visited Chicago and that we would not meet Justin Bieber as we ran through LAX to connect to our flight to Shanghai, China.

We went in and I was very thankful that there was a selection of only 6-8 cupcakes.  My daughter narrowed in on the few that said “chocolate” somewhere in the description.  My son looked at anything that did not say “chocolate” and I narrowed in on the few that had descriptions such as “lemon”, “coffee”, and “carrot cake”.  The cupcakes looked amazing!  The descriptions explained the cake flavor, filling, icing and other wonderful, mouthwatering toppings.

My daughter immediately selected in on a chocoholic’s dream, I found a lemon beauty that already spiked my blood sugar and my son choose a pink lemonade cupcake that would be available throughout the month of June.

After we grabbed a few drinks (I was looking for milk but they didn’t have any!!!) we sat down, opened our packages and grabbed a spoon!  My daughter stopped talking as she went in head first to her peanut butter, Reeses cup, chocolate ganache tower.  I devoured 1/2 of my lemon piece of heaven and then quickly closed the package to save for later.  My son took a bite and then spent the next 5 minutes explaining that even though his cupcake was pink it was not a “girl cupcake”.

The kids came up for air a few times to take a drink, unwrap more cupcake liner and to say “thank you”.  It was one of those moments that I wanted to freeze in time.  We spontaneously stopped for something we had talked about doing for a long time.  No one was yelling at each other, or complaining that they were hot, or asking 50 time if we could go home.  We walked out and my son gave me a hug.  My daughter smiled and said “This was a great day mom.”

And then we got in the car, the exhaustion and the sugar rush kicked in, and my angels turned into demons that needed a nap….

but I still had my 1/2 of lemon goodness…..

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