Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What the what?

I took all the kids to get flu shots.  On a Monday.  In the rain.  (Not really.  It wasn't raining, but it felt like it should have been.)

So, all four kids were all done getting shots and we were exiting the building.  Although we love our pediatrician, she runs her practice from a seedy strip mall.  Her offices are lovely on the inside, but here are the other (often closed, ever changing) businesses located in the same strip mall that could be there on any given day in any combination:

1.  A laundry mat (which is most likely a front).
2.  A gaming shop (which is most likely a front and into which I have only ever seen shady looking adult men go).
3.  A place where you can presumably eat fruit called "Fruity Coma" which is like some ridiculous combination of Spanish and English which literally means fruity eat?  I don't understand it and I don't ever want to understand it.
4.  A barbacoa shop.  (Barbacoa - in case you are not from Mexico or South Texas - is the meat from the cheek of the cow.  It is sinfully delicious and just a little gross.)  It is never open.  The sign on the front says something like, "Closed on Monday.  Closed on Tuesday.  Closed on Wednesday.  Closed on Thursday.  Closed on Friday.  Open on Saturday if and when the barbacoa is ready.  Closed when sold out.  Open on Sunday until we run out."  I am exhausted every time I read this sign, and I never want to go there.
5.  A pharmacy (which I thought was selling legitimate drugs).
6.  Some sort of tobacco store (which I also thought was legitimate and which was apparently closed this particular day).

As we were exiting the office, Girl 1 said, "Hmm.  There used to be a pharmacy there."  I heard her, and in my head I said, "Baby, there used to be a lot of things here."

As we were driving home Girl 1 said again, "Mom?  You know that pharmacy that used to be next to Dr. L's office?"

I said, "Hmhmm."

"Well, it looked like it was closed down.  That's kinda good because it never really looked like a real pharmacy in the first place.  You know the kind where you get drugs?"

I said, "Uh-huh.  Exactly." In my head I said, "Baby, you could probably get drugs a lot of places at that strip mall."

Boy child then said, "Wait.  What?  I don't think it did either, Girl 1.  It looked like some kind of weird place and there were always weird signs on the door."

Girl 1, "Yeah.  I know.  Like for smoking and stuff?  Right?"

That made me pay attention and so then I said, "Wait.  What?  Are you guys talking about that pharmacy next to Dr. L's?  The one that had the Dora and Mickey Mouse signs on it?  And some medicare signs???"

Girl 1, "No.  That place looked like it was still open.  We're talking about the other place.  The other pharmacy."

I said, "What?  I'm confused."

Boy child, "Mom!  We're talking about the other pharmacy in that strip mall.  Y'know the one where they sell real drugs."

I said (weakly), "Real drugs?  What are you talking about?"

Boy child, "Yeah.  Y'know real drugs.  Like cigarettes, and beer, and tobacco."

Friday, September 21, 2012

If you were a nail clipper would you be with one sock?

Random list #257.

Things I am always either buying or ranting about because they disappear like we live in an Amityville Horror house.

1.  Socks.  Duh.  Thank you, Captain Obvious.
2.  Nail clippers.  Jesus Christ (and I am seriously asking Him), where do they flippin' go?
3.  Matches.  Why?  Will our house spontaneously combust one day due to all the lost match boxes lighting themselves?
4.  Igniters (or whatever they are called).  We buy literally millions of these because we always lose the large match boxes we buy.  Yes, we have a gas stove and yes, we have a lot of fires in our fire pit out back.
5.  Girls' hair brushes.  Now, with three girls I can sorta understand this, but really?
6.  Safety pins.  Now, no offense, but I can say about safety pins what I say about cops - Where are they when you need them?
7.  Scotch tape.  I do tape a lot of crap, but is it necessary to have this on the list weekly?
8.  Mechanical pencils.  I understand we do have four small people who do a lot of school work but it seems I should buy stock in Bic.
9.  Game pieces.  Sometimes I feel a little like a crazy person when I obsessively count game pieces before putting the game back in the box.  Only to open the box the very next time to find missing game pieces.  Yes, this will eventually drive a person insane and should be used in warfare as a form of torture.  My kids largely ignore the rants I have about missing game pieces.
10.  Hair ties.  Again, I know I have three girls, but where do the hair ties go?  When I die and the house is sold will the new people find this huge pile of hair ties somewhere that I have missed?
11.  Flashlights.  Everytime the power goes out we buy like 15 the next day.  They are gone by the time the power goes out again.  Are the flashlight makers and power controllers in bed together?  Because it *kinda* seems that way.

If for no other reason then I don't know where this sh*t goes, if you find any of the stuff listed above please consider sending it back to me.  Thanks.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Apparently Hell is freezing over square foot by square foot.

Y'all I am a cooking fiend lately.  I don't know what it is, but we are eating some good stuff over here.  Sadly, not much else is getting done. 

Today, for example, my day went like this:

Got up, made lunches, made breakfasts, got kids on the bus, dressed Girl 3 and got her ready for school, went for a run, showered (see my last blog post for the reasoning on that one), tried to drop Girl 3 off at school without losing my shirt or exposing my boobs - or lack thereof (again, see my last post for more on that), drove to be fingerprinted, got fingerprinted and photographed (said a silent prayer of thanksgiving that I had showered so as not to scare the F.B.I.), went to Target to buy Girl 3's birthday presents (that Target sucked), drove to another Target to get the rest of Girl 3's birthday presents and cursed myself (loudly) for having wasted time at the sucky Target (who knew sucky could be an adjective for Target?), drove home, ate some leftover Tortilla soup (more on that later in this post), answered the phone and it was my lady doctor's office (and by lady doctor I mean the doctor who tends to the lady parts).

Lady doctor's receptionist told me they had a cancellation so could I be there in about 45 minutes otherwise it would be another 20 years until my lady parts could be checked (apparently unless you're have a baby that is crowning from your lady parts, lady doctors eat lunch and go on vacation and such - damn them).  I scorched my throat by swallowing the rest of my soup in one gulp, told her I'd be there and then did a frantic little thing I like to call:  one load of laundry, one sweep of the kitchen for dirty dishes and such, one making of all the beds with one hand while the other hand brushes my teeth, one call to hubby to tell him to pick up Girl 3, one *accelerated* drive to drop-off a car seat for Girl 3, and one *accelerated* drive to the doctor.

I got home not having done a damn thing on my to-do list and it was time to get the big kids from the bus.  Damn my lady parts.

After dinner (more on that later) I quickly went to the pharmacy (again, damn the lady parts) and to get gas.  Hubby just called me Lazy because I always hook the little gas thingie so that I can hop back in my car and like balance the checkbook or something useful while the gas is pumping as opposed to standing there like a moron and holding the gas pump.  Well, today the hook didn't spring up when I heard a click and thought the gas had stopped (either it hadn't clicked, or something malfunctioned).  I pulled the nozzle out and gas spewed everyfreakingwhere.

I came home showered, washed my hair (two times in one day - that's got to be record), and put my jammies on (slowly realizing I never should have taken them off this morning).

Why am I telling you this?  Because here is what we have had for dinner, y'all!  NOTHING is getting done, and I am obviously turning into a babbling basket case, but we are eating like kings and I just wanted to show you.  Note:  hubby asked me last night if I was going to photograph the Tomato Pie.  I felt like royalty (but not the topless kind).

Here's my first attempt at Tortilla Soup (tortillas are indigenous to my people, Tortilla Soup is not).

Here's how I made it.  It seems (after all the soul searching and whining about being Hispanic and not knowing how to make the damn soup) fairly simple and forgiving to the point of you *might* not even need soup or tortillas to make it.

I boiled one chicken (I used a purportedly grass fed chicken as opposed to feces fed chicken) and used about half of the shredded meat from that chicken and six cups of the broth (about).  I then sauteed one yellow squash, about three cloves of garlic, and about half an onion.  To these veggies I added:  cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper enough to make the mixture pretty reddish.  I brought the broth back to a boil and added the veggies.  Then I added some cooked whole baby carrots that I had, some frozen corn and some cut red potatoes that I had microwaved just a bit so they wouldn't be hard in the soup.  Then I added about two cups of shredded chicken and let the whole thing simmer for about 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, Girl 2 sliced up some corn tortillas we have been buying that have no preservatives.  She fried them in oil until they were crispy.

Y'all it was yummy.  We added sliced avocado, the fried tortillas, canned and fresh jalapenos, and cilantro to the finished product.  Hubby and I are not eating a lot of cheese, but I did grate some cheddar cheese that I had on hand for the kids.  Yes, the kids liked it.  Miracle?  Probably.

P.S. to that recipe - I am the only person in the history of persons to put the word "feces" into a recipe.  I think I need my own cookbook.

And, the second dish (sorry that this post is turning novelish) - Tomato Pie that I got from this lovely lady.  I love to travel and eat yummy food vicariously through her blog.  She has fabulous photos of...everything.  I used Leigh's exact recipe (to be found on her blog - click on recipes) and it is super delish.  Now, it did have the puff pastry which does have preservatives and it did have quite a bit of cheese which we are trying to cut out.  But, it was sooooooo worth it.  I used farmer's market tomatoes and the only thing I didn't quite get right was I was running short on time (imagine?) and I couldn't quite let them dry on the paper towels as long as I should have.

Wanna know the kicker with the Tomato Pie?  My girls claim to hate tomatoes.  Girl 1 loved the pie and Girl 2 ate it.  Girl 3 drank water (which has been her dinner for about a week now).  Ah, well.  Can't win 'em all.

That's my eats, readers.  What's cooking in your kitchen?  (And if you're just setting off the smoke alarm a lot, don't feel bad - that's mostly what I do.)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Prove I'm not a robot? But, it's MY BLOG!

Random list #who knows - let's say 112 because I like lists.

1.  I now have three part-time jobs which somehow equal at least one job and a half.  So, apparently I work really well under stress and pressure because I have already screwed around on Pinterest today.

2.  When you are the fourth child, sometimes you're gonna get screwed.  And sometimes it will be at the hands of your mother.  I have a notoriously bad memory and I take procrastination to the professional level.  So, it should come as no surprise that I didn't even think about baby's fourth birthday party until a few weeks before the only weekend in September we had free to do the party.  For the second time in the history of my children we hosted a party at a "party place" rather than our home (the first time was baby's third birthday).  That location was Peter Piper Pizza.  After some research on Google, I learned there are nine Peter Piper locations in our city.  I forgot to put which location on her birthday invitations.

3.  When you don't put an actual location on a birthday party invitation assumptions will be made.  These assumptions might be incorrect and thereby greatly reduce the size of said party.

4.  My family can eat some leftover Peter Piper pizza.

5.  Even though I am Hispanic I still have to google recipes for Tortilla Soup.  That just seems wrong and has led to this day being the first day I have ever bothered to make tortilla soup.  I have not even started yet and I am pretty sure it will be the last as well.

6.  I understand when other people's blogs think that I am a robot, but when my own blog thinks I am a robot I am hurt and offended. 

7.  After scheduling my first physical in about 20 years, I fasted and drank coffee with no creamer (which, in case you don't know, tastes a little like river water with a hint of caffeine flavor) to find I had read the calendar wrong.  My appointment is next week.  I still have time to cancel with no penalty.

8.  The honeymoon of going back to school ended abruptly this past Monday.  There is really nothing like four young children who have become disenchanted completely with school and yet still have to go.  This past week, I experienced high pitched screaming, shirt clutching (to reveal my bra, thank you, Girl 3), object throwing, and incessant whining about everything from homework to food.  If next week brings Linda Blair projectile vomiting and head spinning, I will not be surprised.

9.  We completed the third week of school and I have been called by the school nurse twice already.  The first time she told me Boy Child was hurt during football and had a head injury.  He, indeed, had a mild concussion.  I learned several helpful things that day (sub list):
a.  Shower and change your undies first thing in the morning.  Otherwise you might not have a chance until about 4:10 p.m.  And then, frankly, what's the point?
b.  The medical thinking on concussions has changed.  I learned this first from the school nurse who gave me the History of the Head Injury from 1920 until now in about a 20 minute lecture.  I had a hint of why the school honeymoon was over.  Then, I learned it from our beloved pediatrician who assured me that although nothing was really wrong with Boy Child and that he would most likely be fine, I had done the right thing bringing Boy Child to the doctor at 2:00 p.m. on a Friday afternoon only to have to wait an hour and 15 minutes to be seen with my 96 year old dad and the three year old in tow not having showered and still wearing dirty undies.  Really?  I did the right thing?
c.  There is redemption in a cold Lite beer from Miller and hot peanuts which I had the forethought to purchase earlier in the day when my undies were still mildly clean and I had high hopes for accomplishing much.

10.  I do not believe in therapy.  Instead I endlessly analyze myself and the people around me.  Because of a recent breakthrough in my self-analyzation (you're welcome for that word), I discovered why I am becoming more and more obsessed with Halloween when I used to love Christmas so much.  Christmas has too much potential to never meet your expectations.  Halloween, on the other hand, will almost always exceed your expectations.  And, that is apparently why I love it.  Thank you, me.  (Breakthroughs like this make me want to pay myself money.)

Try to make it a great week and I will try to stay out of the school nurse's office.  (We're on a first name basis - I know you're jealous.)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Netflix - I can't quit you.

So, I really love a great movie, but I've had a somewhat capricious relationship with Netflix since we started seeing each other last February.  I've written about it here, here, and here. 

What's uncanny is that just about one week ago after a trip to Blockbuster (remember Blockbuster?) I said to hubby, "Y'know I am really sick of Netflix never having the movies I want to see.  Why don't we just cancel Netflix and pay Blockbuster a monthly fee and we can watch whatever we want.  Well, just nine of whatever we want, but we don't have any time anyway."

To which hubby answered, "Yeah, but then we'd have to drive.  And besides we don't have any time to watch nine movies a month."

I quietly agreed with hubby, but I continued to dis Netflix in my head for a week.

Then this past Friday rolled around and we watched this (on Netflix):

On the Netflix scale of stars I think it had a 3.  Apparently 3 stars means, "This movie kinda sucks, but if you cannot drive to Blockbuster to rent the movie you really want to see, go ahead and watch this."

Saturday I woke up decidedly pissed at Netflix and seriously considering breaking up.  Then Saturday night rolled around.

Hubby selected this movie:

and you are lucky I am still alive to write about it.

Today I am convicted in continuing my relationship with Netflix for at least a while longer. 

Holy cow, y'all.  If you want a scary movie - this is it.  It's the scariest I've seen since Insidious, which I really liked.

I started to watch the movie with hubby still finishing up a few things on his computer.  It started out with subtitles and immediately I thought, "Crap.  I have to read?"  But I was quickly (I mean within the first few seconds) drawn in.  If you don't click the link - it's set in (I think) Tokyo and it involves a group of friends.  The main character is one of the friends and he is a photographer.  (Are you scared already?  I was.  Cameras in scary movies.  freak.  me.  out.)  In a nutshell (and without a spoiler alert) he and his girlfriend must figure out how to deal with some freaky $hit that is happening to him.

If you are not a reader and hate subtitles - don't worry - there isn't a lot of dialogue.  Because the dialogue that is there is powerful?  I don't know.  I'm not a movie critic.  Just know that hubby hates subtitles and he kept up just fine.

For a movie to really scare me, the main of elements of the movie have to have a basis in reality.  If I think to myself this could really happen then I am scared.  I also love the view that is from the main character's eyes (all you movie critics - tell me what this is technically called).  This movie fits the bill on both counts.  It could happen (that's also what I say about Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist) and I love the camera shots.  (Ha!  If you've already seen the movie see how I did that?)

After the movie, I had to wait downstairs until hubby was ready for bed so that I didn't have to brave the upstairs alone.  Then I had to do a 20 point check of the upstairs (closets and showers) before I made a running leap on to my bed (so that I was not grabbed by the ankles  by something under my bed).  After I was safely tucked into my bed (two hours later - kiddingkind of) I still had goosebumps.

Hubby said it wasn't all that scary to him (yeah, right).  But I saw him second glancing at all of our windows on the way upstairs.

If you love scary movies like I do - watch it.  You will not be disappointed.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Crack German Dark Chocolate Cake (presumably with gluten)

I blame my brother for my latest indulgence in dark chocolate gooiness heaven.  He had to have a birthday.  Damn him.  My brother's favorite cake is German chocolate and I have a tradition of making him a cake.  It used to be a box cake.  Then a few years ago when I got snappy and decided to give up as many preservatives as I could, it became homemade.

I went through a few German chocolate cake recipes, y'all.  And, although they were good - I think German chocolate cake is supposed to be a bit less sweet (and less moist?) than regular chocolate cake.  If you are a professional reading this post, please tell me if I am mistaken.  Because my cakes were coming out less sweet and slightly dry, I cannot tell you that I was really in love with any of the recipes I tried.

Last year the German chocolate cake I made had about 25 eggs in it, so I renamed that one Heart Attack Cake.  And, for all those eggs, it wasn't all that great.

Well, this year with the help of a good friend I made Crack Cake (named that by me because it is habit forming within seconds of eating it and you might go to jail when someone tries to eat your piece and you stab them with a fork).

It is hands down the best chocolate cake I have ever eaten.  In my life.  (And I've tried a lot of chocolate cake just ask my waistline.)  If you try it and it's awful then clearly it is because my cake making skills are awesome and superior to yours.  Since we all know that's not true, then you should make it and it will be habit forming for you as it was with me.

Here's the recipe (from the box of Hershey's Especially Dark Chocolate):  Don't blame me if you need rehab afterwards.

Hershey's Especially Dark Chocolate (Habit Forming) Crack Cake

2 c sugar
1 3/4 c flour (I used cake flour because I had some in the pantry and it said "cake flour.")
3/4 c Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 eggs
1 c milk
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 t vanilla
1 c boiling water

Heat over to 350.  Grease and flour two 9 inch round baking pans (I used a 9 x 13 because my kids hate coconut and it's easier for them to scrape off their frosting - and put it on my cake - when there is less to scrape.).  Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.  Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes (I beat mine way longer because I went to pay some bills - I am a genius multi-tasker - and forgot the Kitchen Aide was on).  Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).  Pour batter into prepared pans.  Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes, remove from pans to wire rack.

There is no Nutrition Information on this one.  I'm gonna estimate the calories from fat at somewhere around 1000 (especially since you're gonna want about five pieces).

We had about four pieces leftover that my family took home and they were DELISH the second day.  (Not that I ate all four pieces the second day.) 

Family report on the cake?  Hubby - who doesn't really care for chocolate - damn him - said it was super yummy.  Girl 1 said she liked German chocolate cake frosting now.  Girl 2, 3 and Boy Child ate it without frosting and with ice cream and said it was good.

I've been using the same recipe for the frosting for years because it is super easy and I can almost remember all the ingredients.  Here is the frosting recipe.  It's delish - not that this cake even needs frosting.  It would be excellent with a steaming hot cuppa joe.

I'll be working out a little more this week in an effort to work off the calories from this cake.  I don't say this much, but y'all, it was so yummy it was worth every calorie.

Happy eating!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Inevitably on one of my many trips to my kids' school, I will see what one of my kids wrote on their What I Did On My Summer Vacation report upon returning to school and I will cringe and hope that their teacher didn't read the papers with a fine tooth comb or that some over achieving parent didn't read it so that I do not have to suffer the smirks when they meet me later and think back, "Oh, that's the parent that had the kid that said they 'got yelled at a lot on their summer vacation.'"

Is there anything as old as What I Did On My Summer Vacation papers?  I mean, did the baby T-Rex do it, too?  It's like this pre-historic ritual dating back to fire and/or the wheel.

Because I am an ex-teacher and because I have four kids and like to be prepared (ha-ha), we usually practice what the kids are going to write right before we go back to school so that no one writes:  "Nothing," or "Fought a lot with my sisters," or "Ate loads of junk food and watched inappropriate TV."  Not that any of my kids have ever done any of that.

This year I decided to hell with the kids.  I'm going to practice and refine my own report.  So, that's what I did.  (Minus the practicing - this is pretty much straight from my muddled, middle-aged brain to yours - not that you are muddled or middle-aged, but if you are, I'm sorry.) 

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

1.  I failed to practice No Child Left Behind during our vacation at a family resort and inadvertently did not notice that Girl 3 was missing from the elevator until the elevator doors closed.  Thanks to a quick acting husband who springs into action when there is any emergency, Girl 3 was found unscathed and in the presence of several kind strangers who were trying to elicit from her her name and her parents' name.  Hubby immediately told them all, "Thank you!!!" and "Her mother lost track of her and got on the elevator without her."  Thank you, hubby.

2.  I taught Girl 3 how to spell her name.  Well, I didn't really teach her.  Hubby and Girl 1 did.  (Too bad they didn't do that before we lost her, eh?)  I'm putting it on my list, though, because technically if they could put it on their lists, so could I. 

3.  I took on one more job - bringing my grand total to four.  So, if my list next year says, "Took a vacation in the Crazy House," y'all will know why.

4.  I learned how to cook Quinoa.  And I learned to like it.  I know.  That's crazy, huh?  More on that in another post.

5.  I made more cake pops than one person who is clumsy, has no gift for detail, is impatient, and can't really bake should EVER make.  I did not improve one iota.

6.  I finished more books than I had the time to finish the entire school year of 2011-2012. 

7.  I worked out diligently.  I know.  Blech.  But, recently I bought hubby a scale.  I stepped on it (the first time I've been on a scale since our last one broke - I don't think from weight, but who knows) and I weigh nine pounds less than the last time I stepped on a scale.  It's probably wrong, but I'll take something that is wrong that makes me feel accomplished than something that is accurate that makes me want to throw in the towel. 

8.  I slept insanely late (eight-ish) some days, and went to be insanely early some days (eight-ish). 

9.  I mostly gave up processed food.  Again.

10.  And the best thing I did this summer that may (or may not) give me the strength to get through this treacherous school year:  I laughed a lot at my kids, with my kids, and around my kids.

I hope your summer was memorable in a fabulous way and that you find yourself ready for this school year, and that if you aren't ready that you find yourself with lots of beer and dark chocolate to get you through.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

First Week of School 2012-2013 Realities

1.  Come Thursday of the first week of school, I will not be able to process a single coherent thought.
2.  With each child I will take less photos (if any), less enthusiastically.
3.  Fifth grade is not for the weak (teachers or students...or parents).
4.  I have changed my "employment" status (again) to "Self employed."  And, although it is not entirely accurate, I like it.
5.  I *might have been* at school this first week as much as the principal.  (She and I discussed this in depth.)
6.  There is not much accomplished during Meet the Teacher each year.  I am less and less motivated to attend.  (This is no fault of the teachers or staff.)
7.  P.T.A.
8.  P.T.A. fund raiser (at least it's chocolate this year?)
9.  P.T.A. chocolate fund raiser.  I mean, really?  Are they trying to kill me personally?
10.  It's Sunday morning at 11:37 a.m. after the first week of school.  I have not brushed my teeth, I still have the clothes on that I slept in, I have managed to read many more pages of the fabulous book I am reading, I have not even stepped out of the house to get the paper, I have had enough sleep, and I am thinking I *might* be able to survive the second week of school.