Friday, March 30, 2012

The Anti-Crafter, First Edition



Here's what I have been up to (besides no good).  The first day the girls had their new bunk beds I walked into their room (after they had been suspiciously quiet in there for about an hour) and found them with hundreds (that might be a slight exaggeration) of little notes TAPED all over the freshly painted walls in the area near where their heads lie.  ARGHHHHH.  My head spun around because I hate tape on walls (especially freshly painted ones - which rarely happens in this house).  So, I decided to drive straight to Hobby Lobby and buy them some of these French Message Boards (I *might* have accidentally Googled French Massage Boards in my attempt to first find out what the hell these things are called).

The only one at Hobby Lobby was pink and black (gag) and had I liked it (remotely), it cost $19.99.  Too much for this thing I thought I might be able to make (in an alternate universe - apparently I was high that day - on LIFE).  So, we bought all the stuff to make them.  I know, weird, right?  Since I am the Anti-Crafter, it's just strange.

The one above is Girl 3's.  She picked out everything and it coordinates nicely with their room.  Girl 2's is not quite done yet, but her fabric is equally cute.

Total cost for two of these French Message Boards?  $32.48.  So, I guess I call that Success.

On another note:  Today is the first day of the The Great Pantry Challenge.  Today I spent $33.98 at the grocery store for the week.  That included four gallons of milk, one Easter basket, one bottle of ear medicine, bananas, and one pint of whipping cream.  Tonight's dinner:  vegetable quesadillas (made primarily with squash from a Very Good Friend who is a buyer for HEB - which is our main grocery store here), rice, and leftover refried beans (it's Lent, so that helps).  It was meh.  Good thing I am trying to lose about 10 pounds. 

Menu for the week:

Chili, homemade mac-n-cheese, pizza and pasta, meatloaf, spaghetti and meatballs, and something else yet-to-be-determined.  An assortment of vegetables and fruit will go with all of this.

Like I said, good thing I am trying to lose weight.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Eat From Our Pantry Challenge


Preface:  Recently one of my talented neices, who I love dearly, came to visit my dad (who I also love dearly).  She wrote a pretty amazing post about my dad and I would love to share it with you.  You can read it here  on her blog (which is a fabulous foodie/fitness blog).

I feel like I have finally recovered from losing the hour that disappeared when we sprang forward (apparently some of us sprang more quickly than others).  I can wake up now and I don't feel quite so comatose even before my allotted one large K-cup of coffee.  As you know I have been trying some cooking challenges and I have also been re-doing the older girls' room in a major way (I promise I will have after photos for you soon - the talented woman who is making the drapes and comforters is still working).  Since I have reverted back to my old cooking ways and I am kind of at a stand-still with the girls' room, today I decided it was high time for some spring cleaning (I am proud that this year I did not wait until summer to do spring cleaning).  The pantry was begging for me to organize it since my Costco purchase still lay on the kitchen floor after being dumped there Monday because the pantry was too crowded and disorganized to put anything away.

Our pantry extends all the way under our staircase leading upstairs, so it's walk-in and (as I've said many times) is big enough to convert into a room for a very small child (okay, maybe not a child, but definitely a pet).  This job took me most of the morning because once I started organizing I decided to go ahead and clear the floor and mop in there (which I'm going to guess hasn't been done in, oh, - I'll try not to gross you out - five years - give or take).   Here is what I ended up with:  (remember:  cell phone camera and bad lighting)



I realize:  1.  This may not look incredibly organized to some of you, 2.  I also realize that with the three Costco peanut butter jars front and center some of you might think I am a hoarder, and 3.  You might also think I am a lush because yes, that is the top of my Costco Lite Beer box.  My explanation:  I cannot afford to elfa my pantry yet (although it is on the long list), I feed six people three meals a day seven days a week (some of them happen to like peanut butter), and I am a lush. 

For me, this is a super-clean, organized pantry and I am supremely happy I took the time to do this (so is my family since they no longer have to trip over all the Costco crap on the kitchen floor).  But I will concede that is a lot of food.  Even for six people.
So, I have decided to issue a challenge to my family.  We are going to eat solely out of our pantry and freezers (yes, we have two and they are well stocked) for one week. 

I usually shop every Friday morning.  I spend from $125-145 on weekly groceries for our family and included in that total are some non-grocery items such as some toiletries and some cleaning supplies.  This is after I carefully plan a menu and try to note what we need (that's the part I am seeing that I am not-so-great-at).  I shop accordingly.  Tomorrow I am still going to plan the menu, but instead of seeing what I need after that I am going to plan the menu around what we already have.  I am only allowing myself to buy three gallons of milk (should be a short trip - - for once). 

I have told hubby and the kids and they are all on board.  Hubby said if we can do it we will have about $112 of free money.  We have already planned to treat ourselves to Spicy Ginger and I am sure we will manage to take care of any money left over after that.  Hubby also Facebooked this to me:



Thanks, hubby.

Wish me luck and if I post next Thursday that I am having milk for dinner - you will know what's up.  Happy weekend!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Gaming Party, Part III (only two and half months late)

I promised to check back at some point and give you the full Monty on the Gaming Party that happened here in December.  Since I am rapidly going through the kids' Easter candy and procrastinating in other areas of my life, I decided now is the perfect time!  If you are new, you can click back here or here to see how the party evolved.  It was Boy Child's 10th birthday party and we went all out.  It was so much fun. 

Two super easy decorations I used were balloons (in angry bird colors) and the FREE download for "Appy Birthday" that you can get here.  I had it printed at a printer so that I didn't use all my printer ink and it was still inexpensive.  I made the photo extra large so that you could see the apps that are between each letter.  So cute!  It looked good hanging on our wall, but once you print it and the corresponding apps there are many other things you could do with it (the link shows another cute idea for a mantle). 


I love balloons at a party and I would have done more, but BUDGET!
I enlarged this a LOT so you could see the apps that are in between the letters.



I think I posted cupcake photos already, but just in case you missed them, here are the finished cupcakes. 

We had the Games2you truck come out.  The boys loved it.  We had the game truck and laser tag.  It was a huge hit.

Game truck in the front.

 And laser tag in the back.



Boy Child got an iTouch for his birthday and he was pretty happy.  So, I could not resist this photo of two of my all-time favorite guys.



I would rate this party as one of our all-time best.  I am anxious to out-do it!  And, the best part?  Here's what it looked like the next day:



All children sound asleep.  Ahh.  Can you say "party success?"


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It's Like Top Chef Only Without the Fame, Glory, Money, and Promise of Not Being Cancelled

So, a couple years ago I decided to get serious about cooking.  It wasn't because I wanted to open a restaurant, it was because I essentially already have a restaurant.  It's called My Kitchen.  I serve up three meals a day for six people seven days a week.  It doesn't pay well (or at all), it's small and cramped, and the hours suck.  There is no menu to order from, but you can come in to My Kitchen at mealtime and you will most likely get served.

Hubby would argue vehemently saying about My Kitchen, "This is not a restaurant."  "You get what you get, and you don't throw a fit."  "If you don't like it, don't eat it.  You'll be good and hungry next time a meal is served."  And he has a point.  I don't really know any restaurants where a tall, dark, Mexican guy barks prolific statements like that at you while you move your food around on your plate, and display a queasy look on your face.  But, other than that - My Kitchen is kinda like a restaurant and I am kinda the Top Chef.

This whole gig about getting serious about cooking started a few years back when I made a few resolutions (blech) to cut-down on processed food, try new recipes, and serve up more vegetables and less meat.  Don't get me wrong, it wasn't Rachel Ray.  It was more like the Slow Boat To Good Cooking.  I started with throwing out the Bisquick and have now graduated to:  Trying One New Recipe a Week.  I would say overall this show has been only mildly successful and is currently at risk of being cancelled.  I'll let you be the judge.

The success (I'll start with the positive.):

1.  I make a mean biscuit now and some delicious homemade pancakes and waffles.  This part of the gig has been a huge success.  After trying about 578 biscuit recipes, I finally found one that I can do and that tastes yummy.  My family loves biscuits, so this one is a real winner.  I also make homemade pancakes, waffles and any other bread type item that I used to buy (except actual bread which would require me to be in the kitchen all day instead of just five hours a day and yeast hates me).  If you happen to be looking for an easy and delicious biscuit recipe, look no further. 

2.  Over the past year and a half, I have made some yummy cookies, baked breads, and other sweet treats from scratch.  It's required a little more work than picking up a pack of Oreos and throwing them in the cart, but it's been so, so worth it.  I feel like I know precisely what my kids are eating (and me since many, many sweet treats go directly from the pan to my mouth) and the sweets taste so much fresher.

My family loves us some brownies.  Now, this was one of the last things I tried from scratch.  I was reluctant to search for a from-scratch recipe because it was my one go-to sweet treat that I knew would not require me hauling out the Kitchen Aid, digging up more than three ingredients and would still taste divine (so basically my slackerness was getting in the way).  Plus I was only buying Ghirardelli dark chocolate brownie mix (LOVE), which is practically healthy.  They use genuine dark chocolate and according to experts (like my sister - who knows her preservatives and chocolate) they do not use the bad preservatives.  I really didn't even care because they were so heavenly.  (And they are sold at Costco, so you can make 1000 servings per box.)

Well, then I ran across this divine brownie recipe.  (BTW - this is also a pretty fabulous foodie blog.)  It did not call for strange items that I could not find at the grocery and it did not require 12 hours of baking that I do not have.  So, I tried it.  Love.  I am now officially making my own brownies (well, her brownies), and loving them. 

There was one mild objection to her brownies.  Hubby and I are a perfect match in many ways.  One critical way in which we are a perfect match is that I love gooey brownies and he loves cake brownies.  Now, when I used to make the Ghirardelli brownies I ate from the center (sometimes the whole center) and he ate from the edges (the kids be damned).  He said that the Divine Brownies were a little too gooey for his taste.  (So,  I ate most of them.  Oh, darn.)


So, that's how this gig has been working well.  I progressed from baking to other areas and that is why this show is in danger of getting cancelled.

1.  I decided a creative way to try to eat healthier, less meat, more veggies, and more variety would be to try a new recipe a week.  Great idea, right?  It sucks.  I have come across loads of recipes that make my mouth water all over my keyboard.  A lot of them can be found here.  Foodgawker is one of my favorite pass times now.  Unfortunately after I spend hours drooling over food I want to eat, this usually happens:  I realize that I do not even recognize the ingredients that are in the damn things, I realize no one in the house besides me would eat it, or I realize that it would take me about all day to make the damn meal.  This has been a bit frustrating and disappointing.  I have spent good time getting recipes, buying new things, cooking the meal and then no one really likes it (sometimes including me).

I would be remiss if I did not credit the ONE success.  Yes, there has been one success in all of these meals.  ONE.  Chicken Enchilada Puffs.  I kinda wanted to kiss the woman who had published this recipe.  Instead I left her a nice comment on her blog.  You can also find the famous recipe for Chicken Enchilada Puffs if you click that link.  It's easy, you could almost make it with stuff you probably have in your fridge right now, and everyone (including the three year old) loved it.

Now, here's the thing.  It is ironic that my family would love this recipe because Chicken Enchilada Puffs, although delicious and a family winner, use both processed "puffs" and they are mainly chicken (meat).  Many of the other recipes I tried were healthier and did not use any processed food.  But, I guess, who cares when no one will eat it, right?

This week in protest (and, ironically, to the delight of my family) I went back to old family favorites that I am sure everyone will eat:  burgers, brats, fajitas and their leftovers, pizza and pasta, sub sandwiches, and a few days of Wild Card.  Do you see a pattern?  Meat?  Blech. 

So.....The New Meal A Week show is in serious danger of being booted.  We may go back to our old ways very soon.  Feel free to help me.  If you have any bright ideas, leave me a comment, send me a link, or best of all - Fed Ex me a hot meal that all six of us will eat.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

IMPORTANT: PLEASE READ THE ENTIRE POST BEFORE POKING YOUR EYES OUT WITH SHARP STICKS.

I hate putting together furniture or anything really that requires me to read directions (or if you get it from IKEA, not really read, but just try to look at the pictures of things that might be drawn by people who don't actually speak English and therefore have trouble communicating with me even in pictures....DAMNIT).  In our house it always seems fairly straightforward and you always think you can get it done in the damn Estimated Time For This Project, but that never happens.  Such was/is the case with the bunk beds. 

We got started late (as in Bed Time - yeah, that's when we started.....and, yes, it's the last day of Spring Break), so I knew it wouldn't work out that the kids would all sleep in their new beds tonight.  What I had forgotten (since the last time we put together furniture) was the pure joy of matching all the A's to the EV294Fs and not losing any of the J89K4s because then you're screwed with the 5-9s. 

So, just in case you are going to be ASSembling anything soon, I have put together a little list for you so that you won't be screwed like we were/are (you're welcome).

1.  Get started at the ass crack of dawn so that you might be able to finish in one day.  Set the f&*%ing alarm if you have to (Or borrow my three year old - she loves to set alarms.  She set hers - who gave BABY an alarm for Pete's sake??? - this morning for 7:30 a.m., woke the whole house up, yelled out that it was her alarm - not to worry - and she was turning it off and going back to bed.  Thank you, baby.)

2.  IMPORTANT (and, I quote):  PLEASE READ ALL INSTRUCTIONS IN THIS BOOKLET BEFORE STARTING ASSEMBLY.  Who does this?  Not us.  We don't even count all the tiny pieces (or the big ones).  After screwing up numerous projects and having to start all over at screw one, I am now an avid fan of reading ALL the directions first.

3.  It doesn't make a crap of difference if you read all the directions first, so don't waste your precious time doing it.  (Sorry, it looks like I just contradicted myself.  Kind of like DIRECTIONS.)  I swear we could read all the directions first and we would still screw something up.  I wonder do attorneys and IRS agents have this problem, too?  Is it just us?

4.  The directions are written by people who don't care if you screw up or not, so just plan on screwing up.  A lot.  Here is how directions are typically written:  Insert A7100 into B8765 with 94TR.  There is some fine print that says, "hole on opposite side."  WTF?  Is that English really?  "hole on opposite side?"  Notice that is written in fine print (requiring my bi-focals) ON the actual picture of MV20.  So, I pass the directions to hubby (and you know men never read directions) who says, "WTF?  What holes?  Holes for what?"  We then skip a few pages of directions (there are 495 pages all together) and realize that we are screwed.  Two hours into the project, we have screwed in the first boards incorrectly because there are no holes in MV20 ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE or any side for that matter.  If the people writing the directions cared they would read something like this, "Now, you are going to need to look carefully to see that you are screwing in the correct board that has the holes on the outside into the correct side of the bed (you might want to skip to page 7794 so that this all makes sense.  These holes might look insignificant, but if you will see page 9548, they are for the ladder - that will actually be quite significant later."  And, stickers all-freakin'-over-the-place on the actual boards (instead of just at the ends where no one looks, and they rub off) would help, too.

5.  There is one Allen wrench to put together bunk beds.  The Allen wrench is small.  Does that seem logical?  I would give the customer about 10 of those.  So, my advice to you:  Have about 10 Allen wrenches on hand for when you lose them all (starting with the one they gave you).

6.  If you are assembling furniture with another adult make sure you have a great relationship that can endure flying tools and loud cursing.  If this happens to be a marriage, make sure your marriage is solid and has weathered crises before attempting to assemble furniture together.  If not, you may end up in counseling.  If you have children in the house, make sure you prep them for the furniture assemblage by explaining that assembling furniture for adults is on par (stress-wise) with nuclear war and that the only safe place for them is the neighbors' house.

6.  Drink heavily.  (Alcohol.)  (And I should have put this one first, but I am trying to prepare you for the total post reading.  Or not.)  Then when #4 happens and you have to unscrew everything you just freakin' screwed you can laugh about it instead of cursing the idea of ever doing a room re-do.

That's all I got for now.  We are not done, so I might have a post script for this one.  The part that really made me cry laugh was when I read on page 2 of the bunk bed directions in bold, large letters, "MEASURE INSIDE MATTRESS AREA BEFORE ORDENING (their typo, not mine) YOUR UPPER AND LOWER MATTRESS."  Approximately eight hours too late on that one, but thanks, Bunk Bed Direction Writer Super Helpful People.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Putting the FUN in dysFUNctional since 2001.

I had to put my family on hold for about a week while I worked on painting.  As I have said, I am not a professional, so this said painting required all my attention.  Several breakdowns (in communication and otherwise) happened while I was "away."  And, most of them warranted sharing with you because they were hilarious (and when I say "hilarious" I mean in a totally dysfunctional way).  I decided it would just be easier to give you a list.  Here's how they mostly went down.

dysFUNctional in the way that only my family can be:

1.  I went to pay for the bunk beds with a credit card and pulled out of my purse a piece of an alphabet Strawberry Shortcake puzzle the three year old has been looking for for days.  As luck would have it, it was the letter "F."  She loudly proclaimed to the woman who was ringing us up, "MOMMY!  THERE'S the FA!  WHAT STARTS WITH FA?"  If you are a regular, you know the history with the "F."  I quickly shoved the Strawberry Shortcake F right back in my purse and distracted her.  I also started praying. 

2.  For some reason (I'd like to think it was because I was high - on paint fumes), I bought baby some inkers for her Easter egg fillers for the Easter egg hunt they have at school.  This story goes way back and I really must take you way back in order for you to understand how frustrated I got.  My hatred for the Easter bunny does not stem from any religious high ground.  It basically comes from me being a slacker mom.  This will be the third year I have been the only mom to forget to bring my daughter's filled Easter eggs on the designated day (while all the other moms prance in with their eggs - some of them hand-freaking-painted - I'm making that up - probably).  It just makes me seethe with hatred for the Easter bunny.  I always forget to buy the crap Easter treats and I always hate it when the crap Easter treats are brought home - to stay in their rooms for days driving me crazy - and then end up mysteriously in the trash.  So, when I put "treats" on my grocery list I will admit that I didn't really have specific treats in mind, nor was I motivated to select any pinata crap trinkets.  When baby used a high pitched voice to let me know she "loved" the inkers, I just caved and bought them.  Later that same day I told all the kids to "play nicely and stay out of trouble while I paint one more &*(%$ wall."  When I came back down about 20 minutes later (to dead silence) two children were gone, and two children were inking on the living room carpet.  What happened next was that basically I spewed a lot of hatred for the Easter bunny all over my house leaving the two inking culprits dazed and confused.  I told the three year old that she was under no terms taking inking treats to school now that she had permanently colored my carpet.  To which she responded, "Will Jesus still rise from the dead?"  For the love.  I hate it when the kids are smarter than me.

3.  Girl 1 has a knack for losing things.  It's a gift that she might get from her parents.  This past week she lost:  her shoe (just one), her new fleece from Old Navy (that has her name in it and she swears she left on the playground), her new spring coat (also from ON), a headband (not from ON, but new), her reading log, and miscellaneous other things that pale in comparison to the two new jackets and the one shoe.  Now, we are not rich so often times I tell her (as my mother told me), "DO YOU THINK MONEY GROWS ON TREES???"  Well, here's how it happened when we went out to pick up a few things for the new room late one day.  She had a full, complete, melt-down-to-the-ground because she could not find said spring coat.  It was colder than Spring Coat weather, so hubby told her just to grab her "big jacket."  She suddenly turned into Linda Blair and screamed (outside the house and to the amazement of some of our neighbors), "WHAT?  WEAR MY PUFFY JACKET?  IT'S NOT EVEN COLD???  DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS???  I WILL BE THE ONLY KID WALKING AROUND IN THE SPRING WHEN IT IS SPRING JACKET WEATHER IN MY BIG, PUFFY JACKET???  DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT WILL DO TO ME???  DO YOU???"  Hubby and I were laughing so hard it was difficult to remain standing.  I am pretty sure we scared the neighbors.

4.  THAT SAME TRIP, Girl 2 decided to have a food rage moment.  Like other melt-downs - it came on suddenly, without much warning, and violently.  I do admit that I don't think I fed the kids lunch that day, but I am sure they had snacked quite a bit throughout the day.  Girl 2 suddenly started ranting in the car (thankfully) that she was starving.  This wasn't particularly funny, but when Girl 1 said to Girl 2, "Wow.  I cannot believe you are having a melt-down about being hungry!  That is just silly.  I would never have a melt-down over something like that."  Really?  Hubby and I then started snickering.

5.  The kids were dying to help me paint.  I don't really understand that, but it's true.  From the minute I mentioned I was going to paint the girls' room all of them (including the three year old) were begging to "help."  Now, I am not sure quite what they had in mind, but when I pulled them into the room the second day and showed them what I was doing they one-by-one politely asked to be excused to play.  Their lack of enthusiasm after five seconds was exactly what I was feeling.

I wrote the above post at the beginning of spring break.  We are now wrapping up spring break and I have nothing more to give you.  I have been too busy enjoying the hell out of my spring break.

The bunk beds arrived eight days early and without warning.  Thankfully, we were home.  Tomorrow, on the last day of spring break, we are going to pick up the mattresses and hubby is going to put together the beds (I am going to try to stay far away from him while he does that).  Furniture is somewhat moved and we are ready for the new beds (as ready as you can be for new beds).  More photos to be posted soon and I am sure there will be plenty more dysfunction for everyone.  Wish us luck and sanity.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Can I get an Amen?

Stick a fork in me!  I am DONE.  The walls are now a lovely "Orange Cream," the bunk beds are ordered and should be here in 14 days, the fabric is all HERE and waiting to be made into curtains and comforters (Don't worry - not by me.  By a professional.), I am going to order mattresses tonight, I have selected the organizers I want at Target and will get them Monday, AND hubby is STILL talking to me!  Oh, did I say I am we are dead broke?  We are!  But, it's a good dead broke (at least that's what I'll tell hubby).

I am giving you a bad photo of the paint. 
In a moment of weakness, hubby even agreed to replace the ceiling fan which has been broken for years!  
Just know that the lighting in our house is similar to the lighting in Medieval castles (minus the castle), and my painting is really, really uneven and just plain bad.  I will take photos in a few weeks when (I hope) we are completely done and the girls have a re-done room.  I kinda want to be like Design on a Dime and give you a budget breakdown, too.  Why?  Because I am a freak like that.

Lastly, I thought I would give you a hypothetical/helpful list since I have shortchanged you for a few days now.  I like to call this:

A Painting Precautionary Tale:

1.  While mom is painting, some kids might break into their Easter treats and ink (with ink pads that some lunatic mom bought them for their Easter baskets) on the living room carpet (which was part of a pricey living room redesign a few years back).
2.  Someone might drink a lot of beer from the fridge under the guise of "getting the job done."
3.  The three year old might move all her furniture (quite dangerously and with superhuman strength) into the middle of her room and spread all of her blankets next to the walls so that she can start "her painting."
4.  The kids might avoid mom for days because mom stinks and is scary because mom has not showered or dressed in non-painting clothes for longer than they are able to remember.
5.  While mom is painting, dinner one night might be "leftovers."  When there are no actual leftovers.
6.  Hubby might text one day after mom has texted him to "check out the painting."  His text might read:  "looks good but im high."

(Not that any of this happened to me.)

Peace.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Shortest blog post ever.

So, I am almost done.......with ONE room.  One week for one room.  Clearly I would never make it as a professional painter.  It's not as bad as I thought it would be.  A second coat really does hide a lot (of screw-ups).  Meanwhile I have not really cooked, blogged, caught up on my blog-reading, bathed (just kidding...kind of), done much laundry, shopped, done bills, worked, or cleaned.  As you can surmise, my family is really anxious for me to BE DONE.  I hope to have a longer and more witty post for you when I am done.  Cheers!  And, have a great weekend.

Friday, March 2, 2012

plz xcuse my splg.

I'm taking a break from the painting (which I haven't actually started yet) to bring you a post that is overdue and just too hilarious (in my own mind) to resist. 

Now, when it comes to my kids I try to love them all equally and not play favorites.  And, by love them all equally and not play favorites I mean they all get made fun of.........by me...........on my blog.........equally. 

I hesitated for a while before writing this post becuase I didn't want you to think I was a cruel mom who found her childrens' shortcomings, difficulties and gloatings hilarious.  Then I decided - I am a cruel mom who finds her kids' boastings, shortcomings and difficulties often times hilarious and it's about time you knew the truth.  So, hate me if you must.

A few weeks ago we were headed out of town as a family and Boy Child decided it would be fun to play a little game called Spelling Bee.  The school spelling bee had just finished and he could not stop talking about how great it was and how he couldn't believe he hadn't participated because he is such an amazing speller and could have beaten them all.  Now when he said, "Hey, girls want to play Spelling Bee?  I am the best speller.  Way better than either of you and I am going to be in the Spelling Bee at school next year."  Hubby and I exchanged a silent smirk (if you are parents, you know the ones) because spelling is not the boy's strong point and generally he hates it.  He started having difficulty with spelling whenever it is in school when the spelling words have more than two or three letters.  Don't get me wrong, he brings home many hundreds on spelling tests because he has a great memory, but he could give a flip about how words are spelled.  Often times we get notes like the following, "Mom, can u pls do my drte lawndre?"  (We have never actually gotten a note like that because he hates to write too, but you get the idea.) 

Girl 1, on the other hand, is an excellent speller.  And, like some kids love candy, she loves to spell.  As I have said many times, she is a wordsmith, so spelling is essential to her.  She, of course, gets more than hundreds on her spelling tests because she always gets extra points for the bonus words.  It's like spelling is inate for her.  She can often times spell words that she doesn't even know. 

So, you can imagine that when the boy challenged the girls to a spelling competition in the Yukon, hubby and I were intrigued.  Did I mention Boy Child is supremely competitive and the girls really don't care who wins?

Here is how it went down:

Boy:  What do you think, girls?  Do you wanna play?  I'm really good at spelling and I'll probably win, but what do you think?

Girl 1:  A spelling bee?  That's a great idea.  I love spelling.

Girl 2:  Okay.  I'll play.

Girl 3:  I know how to spell!!!  F says, fa!  Did I spell that right?

Boy:  Okay.  So, here's how it goes (he then ran through the condensed version of the Scripps National Spelling Bee rules and guidelines for the girls who were bored and mostly ignored him).

Hubby and I:  More silent snickering

Girl 1:  Go.  We're ready give us the word.

Boy:  Well, since I'm probably the best speller I'll get the first word.

Hubby:  Okay.  Your word is "decide".


Boy:  That's super easy.  Decide.  D-e-s-i-d!  Decide.

Hubby and I exchange a glance and smile that said, "Wonder how long this will go on?"


Hubby:  Wrong.  Girl 1 gets the word.

Girl 1:  Okay.  D-e-c-i-d-e.

Boy:  YOU DIDN'T SAY THE WORD BEFORE AND AFTER.

Girl 1:  Oh, who cares?  Did I get it right?

Hubby:  Yes.  Great.  Try to remember to say the word before and after.  Okay.  Girl 2 - "sharp".

Hubby smirks at me and I smirk back at his choice of word.


Girl 2:  Sharp.  S-h-a-r-p.  Sharp.

Me:  Great!  Good job. 

Girl 3:  I want a word!!!  It's my turn!!!

Me:  Okay, Girl 3.  "Princess."

Girl 3:  Pa, pa, P!!!  DID I GET IT RIGHT???

All the kids:  YES.  YOU GOT IT RIGHT.  NOW BE QUIET SO WE CAN HAVE OUR SPELLING BEE.  (Did I mention how loving and patient our kids are?)

Hubby:  Okay, Boy.  "Awesome."

I smirk at hubby silently saying, "Nice word choice."


Boy:  Awesome.  A-u-s-u-m!  Awesome.

Me:  Wrong.  Sorry, buddy.  Girl 1, "Awesome."

Girl 1:  Hmm.  A-w-e-s-o-m-e!  Is that right?

Me:  Yes.  Good job.  Girl 2, "tired."

Hubby mouths, "Ha!"

Girl 2:  T-i-r-d-e.

Me:  Nice try.  Boy, "tired."

Girl 3:  IT'S MY TURN.

All the kids:  YOU CAN'T SPELL.

Girl 3:  Melts down into whining and excessive crying about how she is a big girl and can spell.

Hubby turns to me and quietly says, "Please shoot me."

I say back, "Then who will drive?"

Boy:  Okay, so my word.  T-i-r-e-d!  I think I got it right?

Me:  Nice.  Correct.  Girl 1, "exhausted."

More silent smirking and inappropriate comments between hubby and I.

Girl 1:  E-x-h-a-u-s-t-e-d.

Me:  Nice work.  Girl 2, "boring."

Girl 2:  B-o-r-i-n-g!

Hubby:  Nice, Girl 2. 

Boy:  Okay, dad.  I'm ready for a super hard word!

Hubby:  Okay.  "Achiever."

Boy:  Hmm.  A.........ch?  E?  V?  Er!  Achiever!  Wait.  Did I say "ei" or "ie"?  I think it's "ei".

Me:  Not quite.  But, close!  Girl 1?

Girl 1:  A-c-h-i-e-v-e-r!  Is that right?

Me:  Yes.

Boy:  Hmm.  Okay, so, it looks like I'm winning.  Let's make this last word a really, super hard word, okay?  And this will be the grand championship!

Hubby actually does a snort.

Hubby:  Okay.  Grand championship word:  "Successful!" Boy?

Boy:  Hmm.  S-u-x-s-e?  Wait.  Let me start over.  S-u-c-s-e-s-f-u-l!  Wait.  I think two L's.  Is that right?

Hubby:  I don't think so.

Me:  Girl 1?

Girl 1:  S-u-c-c-e-s-s-f-u-l.  Is that right?

Boy:  WAIT!  Don't say it!  Let Girl 2 try it and then the one who got it right is the grand champion speller of all spellers.

Hubby and me:  Okay.

Girl 2.  Hmm.  Successful.  That's kind of hard for a second grader.  But, I think it's spelled s-u-c-c-e-s-f-u-l.

Me:  SO CLOSE.  Girl 1 is the winner.  Grand champion of all spellers.

Boy:  Slightly less enthusiastic.  Good job, Girl 1.

Girl 1:  Smiling.

Minutes pass in silence.  Hubby and I are silently snickering and trying not to say anything inappropriate or hurtful.

Boy:  I guess spelling is hard.  I don't know if I'm going to be in the Spelling Bee next year.  I guess it depends on what I'm doing that day.

Me:  Yeah.  That's probably a good idea.  Wait and see how you feel then and practice your spelling in the mean time.

Hubby much later as we are getting ready for bed:  What in God's name made him think of a Spelling Bee???  And THEN think he'd win???  She's like the best speller of all time. 

We both dissolve into a good five minutes of hopelessly funny re-enactions of the Spelling Bee and laughter full of snorting.

Me:  I don't know.  Are we cruel and horrible parents to think this is so gosh dang hilarious?

Hubby:  Yes. 

I'm still torn between horrifying self-realization and the enjoyment of a hilarious parenting moment.  I guess it's nice to know who we are.  Right?  Have a great weekend and plz xcuse my splng.

P.S.  Because there is always The Great Equalizer with which to contend, the spell check on Blogger is not working at this moment.  Thanks.

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