Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Birthdays are like opinions...Everyone's got one

So I turned 41, which means I'm squarely IN my forties now.

I'll pause for you to all say how I don't look a day over 39.

Aw, thanks!

So, as is customary for birthday celebrations, I received some cards in the mail.

I thought it would be fun to play a game with them.

Sing with me: "One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just doesn't belong..."

Did you guess which thing was not like the other, before I finished the song?

Yes, I received three lovely cards with pink flowers on them...and one card with an ugly old man and a joke about my age.

That's okay, my prankster sister-in-law! Your fiftieth isn't too far away, my friend....

(Click here to hear the Sesame Street "One of These Things" song, if you're interested.)

Monday, October 22, 2012

You Can't Play That Here

My four-year-old son is getting in trouble at preschool for playing a forbidden game.

I asked the teacher about it, because he kept getting a frowny face in his take-home folder, and for two days in a row she had written down "gun."

The teacher said, "He's been taking a block and pretending it is a G-U-N. He was even making the sound with his mouth! Also another child began to imitate him!"

(image from

I tried to look suitably shocked. Little boys pretending to shoot guns?! Oh the horror!

She explained further. "I redirected their play, and I showed him that the block can be a tower or a house, but that it is inappropriate to use it as a G-U-N. But then a few minutes later..." She paused here and added very gravely, "He was doing it again."

Again I tried to match her grave expression. Well, I mean, I tried to keep a straight face.

It was difficult.

I understand the school's policy is against violent play. I really do, and I will back the teacher up 100% on that. (Little Boy didn't get his being-good-at-school-treat that day.)

However... I can't really get all that worked up about it. Maybe it's because I'm from Alabama.

Also, here's the thing: Little boys pretend to shoot guns. Kids play war. They just DO, okay?

And, let's get real here: Most of the kids at this preschool are from military homes. Their families' livelihoods are actually BASED on war.

So excuse me if I'm not at DEFCON ONE when my son aims a block at someone and says, "Pow! Pow!"

Sorry, folks!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Ma'am, is that your son?!

This is a phrase I hate to hear when out in public with the twins.

Also, "Ma'am, is that your daughter?!" Just as bad.

I really really REALLY want to say "No" when I am asked that question.

Because that question (either version) means I am about to be reprimanded by some random adult.

(image from

I could be remembering wrong, but this never used to happen with my older kids. However, it happens all the time with the twins.

Here's a partial list of all the people who have scolded me in public about the twins in their brief four years of life:

1. Security guard at the zoo (Your daughter is chasing the peacocks!)

2. Security guard at the children's museum (Your son is running!)

3. Security guard at the mall (Your daughter is yelling too much!)

4. Other mommy at the park (Your son just bit my son! [This one I actually don't think he did.])

5. Other mommy at McDonald's (Your son spit from the top of the play structure! [Now that I believe!])

6. Lady at the next table at Arby's (Your daughter spit on me! [Unfortunately also true.])

7. Lifeguard at the pool (Your son is climbing on the decorative boulders!)

8. Lifeguard at the beach (Your kids are in the ocean! [Actually I didn't know what he was upset about, but I looked appropriately contrite.])

9. Principal of the Middle School (Your toddlers are too loud for this school concert!)

10. Security guard at the library (Your twins are having a tantrum! [See blog post on that one here.])

I would close with a phrase about how persecuted the twins are, but honestly, they probably deserve it.

Except the one from the library security guard. She was just mean.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Creative Cooking

I made a new recipe for dinner.

And I guess I mean that literally, because I didn't have several of the ingedients it called for and I made a few substitutions.

The question is, When does it stop being a "subsitution" and start being a whole new recipe? I mean, out of the eleven ingredients I used.... three of them as directed.

It still tasted pretty good. Here's a photo--unfortunately, it's of the leftovers.

Yeah, it looked better last night.

If you're looking for great pictures of food, this is not the blog for you.

Here's a link to the real recipe, if you're interested:

Here's what I did:

Instead of "1 medium onion, chopped" I used some dried onion flakes.
Instead of "3 garlic cloves, pressed" I used some garlic powder.

(Can I just point out that I think pampered-chef includes both of these just to get you to buy the food chopper and the garlic press?)

"2 tsp (10 mL) olive oil" This one I actually had on hand. Hooray!
But that wasn't very much. I added 2 Tbsp of butter just to be safe.

"(1) Finely chop onion using Food Chopper. Combine onion, garlic pressed with, Garlic Press and oil in Deep Covered Baker. Microwave, covered, on HIGH 2 minutes."

(You see what I mean? In step ONE of the directions, no fewer than THREE pampered-chef products are mentioned.)

"1 1/2 cups (375 mL) uncooked orzo pasta" Check!
"3 1/4 cups (800 mL) chicken broth" Check!
"3/4 cup (175 mL) dry white wine such as Chardonnay" Um....I didn't have this. I threw in some more chicken broth.

"(2) Stir in orzo, broth and wine. Microwave, covered, on HIGH 14–16 minutes or until orzo is tender."

By the way, I used a ceramic dish I have that has a glass lid. It worked just as well as the $70 covered baker they used at the pampered-chef party I went to.

Using the microwave for a whole dinner was pretty cool, I have to say.

Real Bacon Bits, 3-Ounce Pouches (Pack of 12)Okay. Here's where I veered way off course from the recipe.

"1 jar (8 oz or 210 mL) sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and patted dry" I didn't have that, and the jar costs like nine bucks. I threw in some bacon bits instead. They're also red, right?

"1 head broccoli (about 2 cups/500 mL florets)" I steamed some frozen broccoli on the stove.
"2 oz (60 g) Parmesan cheese" I didn't have this at all. Not even the icky powdered kind in the can. So I skipped it.

"(3) Meanwhile, thinly slice tomatoes using Santoku Knife; set aside. Cut broccoli into small florets. Grate Parmesan cheese using Microplane® Adjustable Grater; set aside. Carefully remove baker from microwave using Oven Mitts. Stir in tomatoes and broccoli. Cover; let stand 5 minutes."
Philadelphia Cream Cheese Recipe Collection in 3-Ring Binder
"6 oz (175 g) mascarpone cheese" Again, I did not have this fancy-schmantsy chesse, and it costs like ten bucks a pound. I used Philadelphia cream cheese, which is good in pretty much anything.

"Chopped fresh parsley (optional)" As if! I threw some more bacon bits and some shredded cheese on top.

"(4) Add cheeses to baker; mix well. Let stand, covered, 2–3 minutes or until almost all of the liquid is absorbed. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired."

This was an easy meal. It was all in one dish and I heated up some garlic bread to go along.

Everyone liked it, and as you can see, there was still some left over for later.

(all images from

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Way-too-realistic animal T-shirts. I don't get them.

These new T-shirts that look like a real animal popping out of your chest....

Does anyone else think these are going to look super weird on a real person?

I mean, especially on a woman?

I'm just saying.
image from

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Getting the Clunker to Pass Inspection

Here in Hawaii we have to have our cars inspected yearly.

I don't know how many other states do this --I know we had to when we lived in Texas-- but I do know Alabama (where I grew up) isn't one of them. So I don't have a lot of experience with the process.

I just recently had to get the van inspected, and then had to replace a lightbulb in order to get it to pass. But that's our "good" car.

(image from

Getting my husband's car to pass is a whole other ball game. His car is...special.

One of its main problems is the fact that the windows don't go down. Well, actually, the mechanism is broken so that the windows have to be permanently stuck closed.

This an annoyance on a regular basis, since we live on a gated military post, requiring a checkpoint stop every time you come in. And he works on a separate post. So that's at least two times a day to have to open the door  a little and snake your hand out of the crack for an MP gate guard to look at your ID. And hope nobody thinks you're going for a weapon when you unexpectedly open the door instead of the window.

Worse than the everyday annoyance was the time when his air conditioner broke, turning the car into an unventilated death-trap of a sweatbox if you parked in the the sun.

That was a bad bad scene.

Anyways, last year when my husband had his car inspected the guy wanted him to put the window down.

My Husband: Sorry. The window doesn't go down.
Inspector Guy: It has to go down for the car to
                        pass inspection.
My Husband: Okay. Hold on.

He got out a screwdriver and took the door panel off, loosening the mechanism holding the window in place so that the pane fell down inside the door. He put the panel back on and showed it to the inspector.

My Husband: Okay. The window is down.
Inspector Guy: (making a mark on the inspection sheet) Check. You pass!

So when the time came to have the car inspected again this year, the plan was to have the windows already down when we brought the car in, therefore avoiding the whole problem.

I volunteered to take the car in for him. Which meant my husband took my car and I spent the whole day driving a car with the windows permanently open.

I'll let you take a guess as to whether it rained that day.

Yes. Yes it did.

But did the car pass inspection? Yep. On the first try!