Archive for August, 2010

Aug 31 Tuesday

Hey, Brace Face!

As I’ve said before, I’m always going to be a 12 year old boy on the inside; Farts, poop and any reference to “nuts” will (almost) always make me giggle. But now it’s official, I have the mouth of a 14 year old girl.

Confession: I still have a baby tooth. My upper right canine.

I am 31 years young and proud that I have no cavities. For years, my dentists have high five’d this achievement. What they have then followed up with all these years is, “You might want to think about getting braces to make room for the beautiful permanent tooth poised to come in where that baby tooth is sitting.”

I ignored them. For more than half my life if you want to get all mathematical about things.

Finally, I met Dr. Awesome. No, it’s not his real name, but he is really awesome.

Today, I got braces. Twice actually.

Fun little story about that, which of course, includes me whipping up a batch of cookies.

Go to orthodontist, sit in the chair, get braces put on top teeth. My bottom teeth will be braced in 6 weeks, after the baby tooth extraction, arrival of PROMISED fake tooth until permanent tooth is delicately but firmly pulled into place. Are you still with me?

Easy does it, I am on my way home. I had noticed how barbaric the braces seemed, but really, just wanted to get home.

Walk in the door and see SuperHub. I give him my best smile.

Me: Am I purdy?

He: Yes, but I thought you were getting the clear porcelain braces?

Me: What, I did, didn’t I?

He: Nope, those are pure metal!

Me: Shut the front door. You’re messing with me. Right? You’re messing with me.

I ran to the bathroom and took a long gander in the mirror. Turns out he wasn’t joking. So I called the (adorable) staff at the orthodontist office (8 minutes after leaving) and explained that I thought I was getting clear porcelain braces. While I could use increased reception on my cell phone brought in by the metal ones, I jumped at their offer to have them re-done. So I whipped up a batch of my famous chocolate chocolate chip brownie cookies and was back to the orthodontist, into the chair. Dr. Awesome removed my braces and put on clear ones.


Now I am set.

They hurt. Ohmigawd does my mouth ache. But I have hardly stopped smiling.

It’s awkward and goofy to get my lips to close and talk normally over the braces. With time, it will become normal. Today I had to make a conscious decision and a mindful choice. I am choosing to not be embarrassed, but to be proud. I will smile, giggle and enjoy this awkward time. In fact, I am going to get some new spectacles and sport pig tails to complete the look. It’s healthy for my kids to see a confident mom who might look a little different, but still embraces it with a positive self image.

In fact, when Maddy saw me this afternoon, she asked “Why did you have to get those?”

I paused and gave it some thought before replying. This is a teaching moment, don’t screw it up!

“Because they are going to give me a healthy smile.”

It would have been totally inappropriate for me to give her my real reason.

“Well honey, it was new teeth or new boobs. Daddy took some convincing but in the end, he would rather I have all my teeth than a perky set of Reginald Von Hoobie Doobies.”

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Aug 29 Sunday

You Dough Girl!

When I was in 6th grade, a friend of mine was given a book by her mom that talked about becoming a woman. Of course, we poured over every detail. I can clearly recall only one sentence from the book; “When I get my period, I like to bake bread with my Mom.”

And that my friends, has nothing to do with the rest of the story. Unless of course, it’s a deep rooted issue I am harboring with making homemade bread.

Because I never have.

Hey look, purple corn on the cob!

A friend of mine, Chloe, who is an amazing chef (and human bean) made homemade bread wrapped around weenies for one her kiddo’s birthday party. She said the bread dough was crazy easy and emailed me the recipe.

And there it has sat, in my inbox, since there was snow on the ground.

Then I found purple sweet corn at the grocery store. I shaved it off the cob, after steaming, and threw it on top of a bed of baby greens with garden fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. I mixed up a quick balsamic vinaigrette (recipe below) and fell head over heels in love with this salad combination.

All I needed was a fresh piece of crispy whole grain bread to make this meal complete. And yes, I was planning on eating this salad at every meal until my supply of purple corn was depleted.

So I decided to make bread.

Isn’t that so womanly of me?

It’s amazing how easy it is. And the aromas that fill the house, oh my. My kids were on the counters clapping as the finished loaves were (finally) pulled from the oven. We all snarled and purred as we inhaled 3/4 of a loaf smothered in sweet cream butter and Amish strawberry preserves.

You will need:

1 Packet Active Dry Yeast
3 Tablespoons Honey
2 Cups Tepid water, 1 cup used at a time
6 to 8 Cups Flour, I used half whole wheat, half white
2 Tablespoons Salt
Extra flour for dusting

First, you must make a well. Pile the flour on to a clean surface and make a large well in the center. Pour half your water into the well, then add the yeast, honey and salt. Stir with a fork to mix well.

Slowly, but confidently, bring in the flour from the inside of the well. (You don’t want to break the walls of the well, or the water will go everywhere.) Continue to bring the flour in to the center until you get a thicker consistency, add the remaining water. Continue to mix until it thickens again, then you can be more aggressive, bringing in all the flour, making the mix less sticky. Flour your hands and pat and push the dough together with all the remaining flour. (Certain flours need a little more or less water, so feel free to adjust.)

This is where you can get messy and have some fun. I had two pairs of hands ready to pounce so I stood back and let them work up a sweat. Knead the dough, for 4 or 5 minutes, until you have a silky and elastic finish.

Form your dough into a large ball and place in a bowl. Top with a towel and place in a warm, dry area to rise for at least 30 minutes. Once your dough has doubled in size, punch it down. Go on, get mad. Squish that puppy and knock the wind out of it.

Shape your dough into whatever loaf, roll or braid size you desire. I did two loaves. Allow the dough to rise again, doubling in size.

I ended up transferring my loaves to two separate greased baking sheets and basting with an egg wash (1 T water mixed with whites from 1 egg).  They baked at 350º for about 20 minutes. Watch your loaves closely, cooking times will vary based on loaf size.

When our loaves came out of the oven, I rubbed over the tops with a stick of butter to fill in the dry spots and make them look pretty. And oh boy, did they look pretty!

Cool for an hour (if you can wait that long) before slicing.

And as promised…

Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette
by Emeril Lagasse

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar, white or brown
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil

Whisk together and spoon over greens.

Note to You: This post was a little all over the place. SQUIRREL!

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Aug 28 Saturday

The Brown’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Last week, we had a day that started off as a gorgeous, cool morning. C-to-the-Ooper was off to school so the girls and I spent the vast majority of our time in the kitchen futzing around. We danced, sang and perfected a new recipe as Pandora played all of our favorite tunes.

After a quick afternoon nap for Sam, we packed up our goods and hit the road. This is where I will stop giving you details and draw you a time-line.

Disclaimer: Not for those who gag easily.

2:30 pm Sam’s stomach rejects all contents in the back seat of the car. For 3 miles straight.

2:35 pm There is now puke in the car vents and a 4 year old screaming “I can’t take it anymore! She SMELLS!”

2:40 pm Arrive at Mom’s house: Remove Sam, her car seat and vomit from my car. Take Mom’s car to fetch Cooper from school, leaving the girls for my mom to bathe and clean up. (Thank you JESUS for my mom.)

3:00 pm Cooper’s smile makes things better.

3:05 pm Arrive home to fetch Sam new clothes and diapers just to realize I have no keys, no garage door opener and our house is locked up like Fort Knox. (Remember, I have my mom’s car.)

3:06 pm Cooper and I laugh.

3:08 pm Get a call from my mom that Sam has pooped all over her play room carpet. I hear “Large piles, oh boy!” and end the call.

3:09 pm
Still laughing.

Arrive at Mom’s house. Kiss Sammy, scrub poop out of carpet, disassemble and scrub car seat, scrub car and sanitize my entire body. I park it on my mom’s sofa and exclaim “Stick a fork in me, I am done.

4:00 pm
Maddy complains of tummy ache.

4:01 pm Dismiss tummy ache as “Side effect of watching your little sister hork monkey chunks all over the back seat of the car.”

4:30 pm My mom gives my kids cheese popcorn and apple juice for a snack.

5:00 pm Order pizza for pick-up. I need someone else to make dinner tonight.

5:05 pm
Leave the kids at Mom’s house to fetch our dog & kiddo pjs from home, then to pick up pizza. I daydream of a double vodka soda, two limes and one seriously long (and regretful) drag of a Parliament cigarette.

5:45 pm
Arrive back at Mom’s house. Maddy is on SuperHub’s lap crying. I take one look at her face and say “If you are going to puke, you need to go to the bathroom to do it.”

5:45:15 pm Maddy spews bright orange vomit all over the center of my parent’s beautiful living room carpet.

5:46 pm
As I hold her hair, we cry together.

5:50 pm SuperHub and I simultaneously scrub carpet, all the while talking about how much we owe my parents under our breath.

6 – 11:45 pm We mobilize and go directly into Survival Mode. More stomach rebellions, snuggling & daydreams of vodka.

11:55 pm Finally get to sleep, on the couch, with Maddy, who insists on talking about how she threw up in daddy’s car the whole way home. “Out my nose, Mom.”

Note to You: This was the start of Puke Fest 2010 in Brown Town. Not only did I NOT know I was going to be in attendance, I didn’t know that all three kids and I were on the center stage the next day.

Good times.

Luckily, we all bounce. And a it’s great thing that my kids are walking into a new school year with new Turbo Boosted Immune Systems 3000.

Bad days are like taking a poop in a public restroom; you don’t want them to happen, they do anyway, you are always SUPER grateful when they are over and they can leave you walking a little funny for a while.

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Aug 27 Friday

Fresh Picked Whimsy

I recently fell in love with Lori McDonough’s artwork on It’s whimsy, happy go lucky and candy for the eyes.

For $10-$18 you can buy one of Lori’s prints, stick it in a frame and transform a room. Or give a great wedding gift, happy housewarming surprise or treat for a new baby. Maybe an indulgence for yourself.  Or your best friend.

Lori is a self proclaimed illustrator, blogger, artist, mom, wife, sister, daughter, crafter and sunshine distributor.

Sunshine distributor! That is my dream job.

My Fresh Picked Whimsy must have item:

Recipe Cards
$8 for 12 cards

Not only do these super cute recipe cards brighten up your kitchen, they turn a mini loaf of banana bread or plate of cookies into the perfect gift. Stock up on funky melamine plates when they clearance out several times a year at Target Boutique or your favorite discount retailer. When a new neighbor moves in next door, welcomes a new baby, loses a tooth, scrapes a knee, needs cheering up, share the love!

Fill out one of Lori’s recipe cards, tie a ribbon around the plate (I re-used the sweet ribbon Lori sent around the cards!) and deliver with a smile.

Fresh baked loveliness with a spoonful of sunshine.

Psssst…Want to win a set of Lori’s recipe cards?

Enter a maximum of once per method of entry, per day until Tuesday August 31, 2010 at 12 pm CST. Winner will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter.

Four ways to enter:

— Leave a comment on this post
— Email
— Tweet this phrase “Hey @MommyMishmash! I want to win @LoriMcDonough recipe cards!” on
— Find MommyMishmash on Facebook, search “MommyMishmash” (one word) and comment or like the post announcing this contest

Oh happy day!

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Aug 23 Monday

My Very First 1st Grader

This morning, I sent Cooper skipping off to 1st grade.

He was giddy.

I cried.

SuperHub giggled.

When I rolled out of bed, anxious to wake him up, I found him fully dressed, teeth brushed, ready to go. He was very excited to go sit at his desk. Even though it was hardly 7 am. A real desk is a big responsibility when you are 6 years old.

It’s bittersweet to see your kiddos grow up and learn to stand on their own two feet. Literally and figuratively.

Thankfully, for over attached moms like myself, our offspring still need us for some important things: Nutrition, occasional rear end wipage, tough buttons and shoe tying, to name a few.

This summer, Cooper tried (and tried and tried) to master the skill of tying his own shoes. Some kids pick it up quickly, some don’t. Clearly I give birth to the variety that do not.

Note to You: I am open for suggestions. Please, suggest. (Velcro shoes are great, but not always easy to find in bigger kid sizes.)

When we found the perfect pair of school shoes at the mall this weekend, we were in a wee bit of a pickle. The toggle was tough for him to maneuver (non stretchy laces) and the laces that came with the shoe would be rendered useless on any day that required a change to gym shoes and back.

The solution: Lock Laces™. Stretchy laces, with an easy to use toggle, that can be adjusted to any fit, kid through adult.

Thankfully, our local sports retailer had a great supply of colors to match Cooper’s choice of shoe. For $6.99, we turned a self esteem emergency into a fun little adventure.

This morning, with no trouble, Cooper put on and tightened up his own shoes like a pro.

It wasn’t easy to let my tender footed tater tot scamper out the door. But it did feel great knowing that he felt great about himself. He had both feet on the ground (tied tight) and his head in the clouds.

Oh happy day!

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Aug 17 Tuesday

A Kid At Heart

Last night, while on the back deck enjoying post-dinner popsicles, I promptly announced to the Brown family that the first person to reach the bathtub, naked, got to pick the color of the bath.

Note to You: Crayola Color Bath Dropz make bath time fun. Or in a pinch just add a few drops of food coloring.

At that moment, all three kids, AND SUPERHUB, started tearing off their clothes as they ran for the door. When I added “Kids only!” SuperHub stopped in his tracks and loudly protested.

And let it be known, this is #48 on the list of Things That Make Me Feel Like I Have 4 Children.

#3: Subtle reminders to excuse yourself, after you’re done giggling at loud bodily functions you proudly made.

#17: The need for a written tutorial on How to Update The Toilet Paper Roll.

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Aug 12 Thursday

(Heavenly) Dump Cake

No joke.

Someone in my world was publically praising Jesus for saving $100 on their insurance bill every month. Now, don’t get me wrong, I SHALL NOT JUDGE. But it shalt not be a sin to giggle. Because clearly Jesus has taken up a part time job with Geico. Just be cautious with saying things like “That is one hell of a deal!” Lightening may strike your heels.

Completely unrelated: I made a recipe today that scratched an itch I didn’t even know I had. Now I have to tell you about it. Only it’s so (so so so so) good in a really incredibly naughty way, that you just need to rush out and make it for yourself to see.

Affectionately referred to as Dump Cake, this is another gem from my Texas crowd. Hey ya’ll! Love ya! Those Texas housewives know how to cook up some grub.

You will need:

1 Box Yellow cake mix
1 Can Crushed pineapple, with juice
1 Can Pie filling (I used peach, use whatever tickles your tutu)
1/2 Cup Butter, melted (some recipes called for more but I didn’t find it necessary)

Generously grease the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Pour in your crushed pineapple, with juice and pie filling. Then sprinkle the yellow cake mix over the top. Melt your butter and pour evenly over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

I served it over vanilla soft serve ice cream. *And her nipples said “hello”. You could also top with whipped cream. Or eat it straight up. Out of the pan.

Before dinner.



*And her nipples say “hello”…The background story.

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Aug 10 Tuesday

Cheese-a-burger Macaroni

My kids love macaroni. They also love cheeseburgers. Put them together and you have a meal that the four foot crowd in my house, begs for at least three times a week.

The problem with cheeseburger mac is, it’s a sometimes food. Traditionally, it’s not a great meal for the ticker.

Being the freak-show that I am about food and what my family consumes (and a genetic history of notso great hearts) I set out to make this recipe a little easier to swallow.

As I walked through the grocery store, I grabbed whole grain pasta, cheddar cheese soup concentrate (in lieu of processed cheese loaf), low sodium beef broth and 93% lean ground beef.

The way you cook the noodles makes this dish unique. Each bite offers a cheesy explosion. It’s even more magnificent the second day, if it lasts that long.

You will need:

2 Cups Whole grain elbow shaped macaroni
1 can Cheddar Cheese Condensed Soup
1 lb. 93% Lean ground beef, browned
1/2 Cup Low sodium beef broth
1 Cup Water
1 Cup (or so) Shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 – 1/2 Cup Ketchup (Simply Heinz contains no High Fructose Corn Syrup)

Brown your ground beef, drain well. In a stock pot, mix soup concentrate, beef broth, ketchup and water. Whisk to combine and add the uncooked pasta and browned beef. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. When rapidly boiling, stir, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 10 minutes (or until done) stirring occasionally. Add 1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese. Mix well.

You can hover over a steaming plate of cheesy goodness and inhale. Like we do.

If you have the will power, cool and store in an airtight container in your fridge until the next day. It would be an excellent party dish, served in 5 ounce sized paper cups with sporks.

Yes, sporks. Classy!

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Aug 09 Monday

Today I Love My…

Wrangle Tangle
Up & Up Hair Detangling Spray
$2.39 – 13 ounces

My four year old, Madelyn “Rae Rae”, and I have an agreement: If she lets me comb through her thick, golden, shoulder length locks, without screaming, she can grow her hair out. If she kicks, moans, wails or runs away when it’s time to coiff her do, I am going to march her directly to our favorite hair stylist, Fancy Nancy, and order up a chin length bob.

No joke.

Attempting to comb out snarls and fulfill piggy tail requests has become a labor of love. And detrimental to my blood pressure level

We have tried other detangling sprays in the past, and my favorite to date was a recommendation by a friend who did hair in her former life;  Kenra Daily Provision. It’s awesome and it smells great. To be fair, the only reason I strayed from loyalty to this product was availability. When you have a four year old on strike (with a tangled nest of hair on her head) , it’s late on Friday and I am standing in Targe’ Boutique…Store brands win.

Bonus: You can never have too many bottles of detangler. They walk off at my house and are lost for a week at a time.

My favorite thing about Wrangle Tangle is the smell. It isn’t watermelon, apple or berries. Thank You Jesus. It is lemon scented. Slightly sweet, not sickening in the slightest. It’s fresh without punching you in the face. Or making you gag. It’s just pleasant.

The bottle is super cute as well. And easy to maneuver with one hand, a bonus when you are corralling a squirrelly kid in the other.

Most importantly, it leaves Maddy’s locks silky smooth and manageable all day. She is happy and my patience tank on Full. (Or as close to full as it can be.)

That makes for the start of a very good day.

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Aug 04 Wednesday

Letting Go

I have serious over-attachment issues. It’s no surprise that my kids do too. A couple months ago one of the tater tots stood in the front door blowing kisses and waving to the UPS driver who had just brought us a package.

“Goodbye! Love you!”

Note to You: This particular driver is eye candy. But I digress.

These issues, for me, run deep.

Every 3-4 months, it’s imperative for any parent to have a Come To Jesus meeting about the clothes hanging in the kiddos closets. Living in the Midwest, our weather changes almost as fast as our corn-fed kids grow.

On a recent Saturday afternoon, I was going through the girls’ clothes. Since Sam I Am, my baby, just turned 2 years old, it is time to do away with all 18 month and smaller, sized items.

Tiny, precious. little parcels were all to be boxed and passed along. The pink and red polka dot number, with the felt flower sewn on, that can be spotted in umpteen photos of my girls. The Kermit the Frog green sweatsuit with the unfinished edges and star pocket that all three of my babies totted around in. Thermal vintage Mickey Mouse pjs that I hand picked myself in California.

These aren’t just clothes that I am passing along, they are itty bitty parts of our lives. Each outfit has a story. Some tell a story. “That is the shirt she first ate Spaghettios in! See the faint orange spots all over? It’s not supposed to be that way, it just blends well.”

I can still smell my kids when I press them up to my nose and inhale. Powdery lavender with a touch of strawberries and maple syrup. I do save a few items from each kiddo to place in their keepsake box. Everyone has an item or two from newborn to 2T to pass along to their family someday. Or to serve as a reminder of how crazy their mother is.

I adore every tiny sock, boot and tank top.

Thankfully, my bestie was on hand this particular day to assist me with the trauma of packing up baby clothes for one of the last times in my life. It was her job to act as the voice of reason.

I sat on the floor, head down, throwing ensembles at her as quickly as I could, blurting out randomly “Hurry! Away before I change my mind!”

If there was an item in question, I would hold it up and either crinkle my nose in distaste or lean my head to one side and fight back tears.

There was a tiny pair of legging that I have an uncanny affection for.

Me: “What about these? She could still wear these under a little jean skirt with boots or something. Look at them. They are practical.”

Tho: “NO. Step away from the leggings. Katy. Slowly put them down.”

Me: “But…”

Tho: “Step away from the leggings.”

Like pulling of a bandage, I tossed them into the hallway pile to go far far away.

It’s not the clothes themselves that I am attached to. It’s my kids playing, singing, dancing or running amok in these tiny ensembles. There is no monetary value, just sentiment.

As difficult as it is, I am letting go. It is bittersweet to see the growth and change in each kid with the change of the seasons. And who doesn’t love an excuse to buy new clothes? (Hello, zulily!)

This particular bin of clothes is packed and ready to go. Although, it is a smidgen lighter than it should be.

Confession: I dug out the leggings. Sometimes it’s OK to be impractical.

Add This 6 Comments Post by Katy