Saturday, November 27, 2010


Well, another Thanksgiving has come and gone.

You know Thanksgiving; it’s the holiday in which I spend four hours cooking an elaborate meal it takes my kids less than ten minutes to eat, and then spend an hour washing up and putting away the leftovers.

I’m not actually exaggerating the times here, surprisingly enough.

Stove Top Stuffing Mix, Chicken, Low Sodium, 6-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 12)Of course, I always look for ways to save time on the feast. For one thing, I make Stove Top stuffing from a box instead of homemade dressing.

I know. GASP!

I’m not ashamed of that, but perhaps I should be. I told a friend that I serve Stove Top on Thanksgiving and she looked at me like I’d just said I feed my kids cat food for dinner.

I don’t, by the way. All that Meow Mix I buy is for the kitty. Really!

Anyways, the reason I skimp on the dressing is because I spend a lot of time on another bread dish instead. My husband’s family is Czech, and we always have Bohemian bread dumplings on holidays.

These dumplings are not like the little ones you see floating in soup; it’s a big loaf that you slice and serve with lots of gravy. They’re very good, but a little labor-intensive, so I only make them a few times a year.

Of course, my kids will eat anything with gravy on it. Every holiday someone asks me if they can have a cup of gravy to drink. This year I had to refuse that icky little request three times!

Anyways, one good thing about this year is that my in-laws were visiting. It was nice to have someone sit at the table for longer than five minutes and actually savor their food. Adult conversation is also good.

Plus there’s the help with the dishes; that never comes amiss!

So despite the fact that the twins whined inexplicably throughout the meal, the older kids gulped their food and dashed away, and Baby Boy did a face-plant out of his booster chair as a finale, it was a pretty good holiday.

Gourmet No Sugar Added Pumpkin Spice Pie ~ Kosher Dairy ~ Freshly bakedI mean, there’s always dessert, right?

Pumpkin pie... or better yet, chocolate!

I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

November, the cruelest month?

You may have noticed that my blog posts have been few and far between recently.

This is because I’m a slacker.

No, no, I’m joking.

Not that I’m NOT a slacker. That’s just not the reason I haven‘t been posting.

It’s because I’ve been trying to write a novel in thirty days for the National Novel Writing Month, and I’m trying to spend all of my writing time on that.

Oh, except for right now, when I’m writing this.

And I’m NOT using my blog as a procrastination tool, by the way! I also haven‘t been Googling random things as a procrastination tool. Okay?

Oh, who am I kidding here?

It IS because I’m a slacker.

But it’s really because writing is HARD. And I’m pretty sure I kind of stink at it.

Also I’m WAY behind.

The goal is to write 50,000 words in thirty days. That works out to 1,666 2/3 words per day.

I’m having trouble getting that far every day. That 2/3 of a word is a real killer.

I’m joking again. THAT one’s easy.

It’s the other 1,666. (Can I point out this is the devil’s number? Possibly why the organizers of this event post the daily word goal as a rounded-up 1,667.)

They have a website where it does the math for you, by the way. I can enter my daily word count, and it makes a little bar graph. So I can see PRECISELY how far behind I am.

Right now, on the 24th of November, I should have 40,000 words in my novel.

I have written 31,061.

The website estimates that at this rate I will finish on December 8th. (This date keeps moving closer and closer to December 25th, lending new meaning to the phrase “slow as Christmas.”)

Can I just point out that November is a difficult month to do this? What with all the holiday shopping and cooking of turkey and visiting of relatives?

Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m making excuses.

But I DO have five kids to feed, clothe, house, and keep reasonably clean.

And, as I may have mentioned before, I am an abysmal typist. One day I should post something uncorrected so you can see just how bad I am at typing with my opposite index fingers. Except it’s likely no one would be able to read it.

But now I’m just whining, aren’t I?

Guess I just have to get back on it and try harder, right?

I lamented about my word-count problem to my husband, who gave me helpful suggestions such as, “Just put a lot of ‘verys’ in every sentence.”

At least he didn’t say, “Get back to work, you SLACKER!”

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Harmony and Love in our Home?

It’s really nice when the kids get along and love each other.

Yeah. I’ll let you know when THAT happens. Usually it’s exactly the opposite around here.

Here’s some actual (NOT made up! I promise!) conversations from our house:

GG singing in her room: “London bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down. London bridge is falling down. I hate ET.”
Boo: “Me too.”

A little while later:
ET: “GG, everyone in this family hates you. Except Mommy. And Daddy. And Boo. And the babies.”

Then on another day:
ET: “GG, one day you’re going to need a kidney. And I’m NOT going to give it to you.”
GG: “That’s okay, There’s plenty of other people who will give me one.”

Wow, huh?

Doesn’t that just make you want to break out singing “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?”
But I guess I can always hold out hope that one day they'll all be friends.
Maybe when they move out. Or one of them needs a kidney....

Friday, November 12, 2010

Flying with The Perfect Couple

WeddingStar Figurine - Picture PerfectOn the flight to Hawaii I sat next to The Perfect Couple.

They were young and attractive, both blonde, and from the way they were gazing adoringly into each other’s eyes, they appeared to be on their honeymoon.

This is the flight I took with five children and WITHOUT my husband.

So while I was doling out snacks and trying to stop the kids from either (a) dying of boredom or (b) killing each other out of boredom, they were cooing and smiling at each other.

While I was scraping melted chocolate handprints off my sleeve and wiping snotty baby noses, they were sharing earphones on an iPod and beaming at each other.

USA Today Crossword: 200 Puzzles from the Nation's No. 1 NewspaperWith increasing jealous irritation, I saw the Perfect Couple do a crossword puzzle together, chuckle over a movie on a laptop, and commiserate over a magazine they were passing back and forth.

In the meantime I was asked, “How much longer is it going to be?” approximately 4,382 times. And then whined at when I answered.

And The Perfect Couple continued to appear to be having the time of their lives on this interminable flight.

I began thinking decidedly uncharitable things towards these people, mostly along the lines of, “Just you wait until YOU have kids. We’ll see how adoringly you’re gazing at each other when it’s 3 a.m. and you’re both covered in vomit!”

When we were (finally) close to the end of the flight, Mrs. Perfect spoke to me, asking how old the twins were. When I told her, she said, “Oh, we have a little girl about that age too!”

I was surprised. “You do?” I said. They nodded their heads in unison.

“And we have an older boy, too,” she added. “But it’s a good thing they aren’t with us on this trip. They would never be a quiet and good as your kids are being.”

Say WHAT? I was astounded. I guess love IS blind!

Also I felt about two inches tall for being mad at these people’s lovey-dovey-ness. Apparently they HAVE been covered in vomit at 3 a.m., and they’re STILL gazing adoringly into each other’s eyes.

I should have been applauding them instead.

Waves: Virtual Vacations - HawaiianSo here’s to you, Perfect Couple! I hope your Hawaiian vacation was everything you dreamed of.

And I hope you didn’t sit next someone worse than ME on the flight home!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

Recently GG (aged 10) has been annoying ET (aged 14) by imitating her.

I don’t mean mimicking, by the way. She’s not repeating everything her sister says in a mocking voice.

Well, okay, SOMETIMES she is. But that’s not what I’m talking about here.

I mean, she’s actually trying to BE LIKE her older sister.

She’s borrowing her sister’s make-up, hairbrush, and zit cream. She’s acquiring clothing that looks identical to her sister’s, except in a smaller size.

In other words, she attempting to transform herself into a teenager. ALREADY! At AGE TEN!

It’s just sad.

And it also enrages ET.

Which is, I suppose just an added bonus for GG.

Last week we went to the mall and ET had taken Boo in search of candy while GG and I (and the twins trapped in their stroller, of course) went to the Annoying Teenager Store.

Okay, it’s not called the Annoying Teenager Store.

That’s just a short way of saying The Store Full of Ridiculously Low-Cut and/or Ripped Clothing and Gum-Chewing Bored-Looking Teenage Girls (Some of Whom are Employees) Where Irritatingly Loud and Partially Incomprehensible Music Blares.

GG chose a pair of skinny jeans from the sale rack (she was paying with her own money, and kids get frugal when Mom’s not footing the bill) that were exactly like the pair ET had bought a few weeks before. Exactly the same, down to the little zippers on the ankles.

Yep. Zippered ankles are back. Just like 1985.

When ET saw what her sister had purchased, she freaked out.

“MOM! Those are the SAME as MY jeans! She’s bought the EXACT SAME JEANS as ME!” she shrieked. “DO SOMETHING!!!!”

I said, “ She’s allowed to buy what she wants with her own money.”

ET was not mollified. She continued to scream complaints and protests as I offered other logical comments:

“It doesn’t hurt you any if she wears the same jeans as you.”

“She doesn’t even go to your SCHOOL!”

“It’s actually a compliment. She’s trying to be like you because she thinks you’re cool.”

This last one sent her over the edge, I think, but with a final epic eye-roll, she did finally stop yelling about it.

So we rode home with ET staring out the window in stony silence, amazed at my inability to see that her sister had committed a capital offense.

And GG clutched her skinny jeans to her chest and smiled.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Post-Halloween Pumpkin Smashing

November first is traditionally Pumpkin Smashing Day around here. We usually carve the pumpkin around the 29th or 30th of October, and then smash it right after Halloween so the pumpkin doesn’t have a chance to get rotten.

Here’s Official Pumpkin Smashing Day 2004, when Boo was a toddler.

She said, "Uh oh! Broken!" It was very cute.

Apparently, prompt pumpkin disposal is even more important when you’re celebrating Halloween on a tropical island, as we recently discovered.

Last year we weren’t able to carve a pumpkin. There seemed to be some sort of pumpkin shortage on the island; I didn’t buy a pumpkin the MINUTE I saw them for sale --it was around October 15th or so, and it seemed too early-- but they were all gone by the 25th when I went pumpkin shopping.

We ended up carving a pineapple. I’m not kidding.

This year I bought three pumpkins on the 15th of October.

We attending a group pumpkin carving held at our church a week before Halloween. We had a nice time carving with everyone else, and I saved one pumpkin intact at home for later carving, figuring the two that we carved a week early would shrivel up before Halloween came around.

I was not wrong on that.

But I hadn’t counted on the effects of a tropical environment on a carved pumpkin.

After only a couple of days, when the pumpkin had started to rot. I looked at it, took a picture, and then forgot about it.

The next day, it looked a LOT worse. (No picture of this. In fact, if you're squeamish, just skip the rest of this story.)

I went to throw it away. I got a plastic bag to pick it up with, figuring it would be a little yucky.

It was a LOT yucky. The top part went up with the plastic bag in my hands, but the bottom dropped off onto the porch with an oozy plop. It was teeming with bugs, almost more black than orange. As I watched in horror, a single roach, a good two inches long, struggled out of the pile of slime, crept over the smaller bugs, and crawled to the top.


And I still had to get this mess off of my porch!

Now THAT’S scary!

Next year we’re waiting until the morning of the 31st to carve the pumpkin.