Friday, October 31, 2008

monster meal

(Oatmeal with green food coloring and apple "worms")

It takes so little to delight young children, especially on a day like today.

Thursday, October 30, 2008



I love soup. My family loves soup. So when I saw that BooMama was hosting a Souptacular carnival, I just had to jump in with a favorite recipe. With a family of five, if I want any leftovers, I double this recipe. It's so easy, and so good!

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
• 4 cups chicken broth
• 2 cups water
• 2 cooked, boneless chicken breast halves, shredded (I usually use pre-cooked chicken and just cube it up.)
• 1 (4.5 ounce) package quick cooking long grain and wild rice with seasoning packet
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/4 cup butter
• 2 cups milk


1. In a large pot over medium heat, combine broth, water and chicken. Bring just to boiling, then stir in rice, reserving seasoning packet. Cover and remove from heat.

2. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper and flour. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in contents of seasoning packet until mixture is bubbly. Reduce heat to low, then stir in flour mixture by tablespoons, to form a roux. Whisk in milk, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth. Cook until thickened, 5 minutes.

3. Stir cream mixture into broth and rice. Cook over medium heat until heated through, 10 to 15 minutes.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

where a kid can be a kid

I hate Chuck E. Cheese.

There, I said it. That happy place where a kid can be a kid feels like a special kind of torture to me. Vomity pizza and ALL OF THE LOUDNESS pushes me over the edge every time.

If you’re nodding in agreement, then what I’m about to say could very well change your life. (Or at least the frequency of your visits to Kid Nirvana, which will change your kids’ lives and make you a very popular mom. At least for a day.)

Go to Chuck E. Cheese in the morning. They open early, and it’s practically empty. Bring those coupons and buy hundreds of tokens for fifteen bucks. Split them up among your kids, even save some for another visit, and let your kids loose.

As my toddler now says: awesome!

Stay for a few hours and then leave. Last time we went across the street to Panera and had soup for lunch, but you could also just head home. Last time we did this Twin A. confided that he didn’t really care for the pizza much either.

So there you go. Chuck E. Cheese in the morning totally works for me! Now head over to Rocks in my Dryer for more great tips!

Monday, October 27, 2008

stating the obvious

I’ve been quiet lately on this blog, yet strangely unsure of how to break the silence.

It’s not that I don’t have things to say. I do. I just don’t know how to say them, or even if I should say them.

So I’ve been quiet.

Plus I had an article published recently on the MOPS website that’s been sending me a ton of traffic. And, you know, the best thing to do when your blog is getting lots of traffic is to not write anything. Otherwise, people might like your blog and come back and visit again, and before you know it, actual people are reading your blog. Yup. Much better to just stop writing anything at all.

It’s like the balloon thing all over again.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Teenagers get a bad rap.

Frequently, when I complain about the challenges of raising three young boys, people chuckle, “Just wait until they’re teenagers.” And while I do expect the challenges to be different, and my grocery bill to be higher, I also look forward to watching my boys grow and become…whatever they’re going to become.

I was touched this morning when I read this piece in the Chicago Tribune, about a beautiful young woman who has down syndrome, crowned homecoming queen at her public high school.

For all we hear about reckless, superficial teens, it’s refreshing to read about a group of teenagers who seem to be getting so much right. And as a Mom of young boys, I’m encouraged. It is possible to raise thoughtful, caring, intelligent people in today’s world. It is possible.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

planning to get sick

As you may have guessed from my previous post, the flu has been making its way through our household. No fun, but it did remind me to restock my “sick shelf” in the pantry.

Through the winter and spring months, I keep my pantry stocked with soda crackers, sprite, jello, and chicken noodle soup (my boys love the “Soup at Hand”). I also make sure we have plenty of paper towels, and as soon as someone in the family “drops,” we stop using cloth towels and switch to paper ones for drying our hands in the bathroom.

It’s a small thing, but when kids are barfing, it’s nice to not have to make a trip to the store.

Having a sick shelf works for me. Now head over to Shannon’s for more great tips! (And try to stay healthy. This flu thing stinks!)

Friday, October 10, 2008

in honor of last night

I don't usually recycle old posts, but this one is worth repeating. Originally posted in the dead of winter, 2006.

Survivor: Suburban Mom Edition

You’ll have an hour-and-a-half to go to the grocery store and the library, to stock up on everything you might need for the week. You’ll be stuck in the house for three days with two preschoolers and an infant; one of the preschoolers and the baby will have a stomach virus, while the other preschooler will be healthy and full of energy. Your spouse will be away on business.

You’ll be expected to keep up with the laundry—the baby only has four sleepers that fit. You’ll change sheets endlessly, clean toys, and wash your hands until they’re raw in an attempt to stay healthy yourself.

After being up most of the night with a vomiting child, you’ll be expected to carry on cheerfully with your duties, and have endless patience and nurturing for each child. The baby will whimper and moan when you put him down, so you’ll be expected to hold him for most of the day. Oh, and you’ll need to stay in touch with the pediatrician and keep everyone hydrated.

You’ll do housework three minutes at a time, so decide in advance the most important things and leave the rest. Neighbors will stop by unannounced, so you’ll get lots of experience in swallowing your pride—after all, the living room floor will be covered with pillows and blankets and tinker-toys, a make-shift bed/airplane, and you’ll still be wearing the sweatpants you slept in last night.

You’re watching your weight, so calories will be limited. By one o’clock you’ll have eaten most of your calories for the day in M & Ms in an attempt to stay awake and cheerful. It won’t work.

You’ll read stories, pretend to be a passenger on the couch-cushion plane, and change endless diapers. You’ll fix snacks and bottles, constantly aware that everything you dole out may come back up. Definitely skip the red jello and go with orange.

By three o’clock, you’ll want to collapse. You must keep going. You’re allowed to phone a friend or family member, but you’ll be knowingly exposing them to a highly contagious virus. There is no prize at the end—in fact, nobody will even notice or say “thank you.” Though in the middle of the night, while holding a cool washcloth to the face of your feverish preschooler, his little arms will slip around your neck and his eyes will lock onto yours, “You’re the best Mama in the whole wide world,” he’ll whisper. Your heart will skip a beat and you’ll go to sleep strangely contented, ready and willing to get up in a few hours and begin all over again.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

couch dresses

I went shopping last night. For a dress to wear to a wedding.

If you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you already know that I hate shopping. (Remember the tube top incident?)

(For the record, I learned my lesson with the tube top thing. If you have to pull and tug to get it ON, don’t go there. You’ll never get it off again.)

I tried to go in with a positive attitude. I just need a reasonably attractive dress appropriate for an evening wedding. That shouldn’t be too hard to find, right? After all, people go to weddings all the time. Clothed.

True. But what do they wear? And—more importantly—where did they buy it?

Because, let me tell you, there were not a lot of options. Unless you count all of the dresses made out of upholstery fabric. I am not making this up. There were hundreds of dresses on the racks that looked (and felt) like couches, or worse, carpeting.

Who wears these dresses?

(I did find one, by the way. Macys. They had their share of couch dresses too, but they also had relatively normal looking dresses. And they were having a sale. So there you go.)

Friday, October 3, 2008


This was a wedding present. One of my favorites, actually. It’s one of those casserole carrier things that can keep a hot dish hot (or cold) on the way to a potluck. I’ve used it more times than I can count.

Last week, I was rushing around, getting ready for our MOPS meeting, and I heard a pop.

More like an explosion.

It was the microwave insert for my casserole carrier. I was heating it up to keep my egg bake warm, and then, POOF.

The toddler was impressed. “LOUD!”

What does it mean when a gift you got for your wedding explodes? It has been almost twelve years, but still.

Thankfully, our marriage is in better shape than some of the gifts.