Archive for October, 2010

Oct 26 Tuesday

Favorite Things, Rosy Rings!

I often say, this is my favorite meal. That was my favorite song. You’re my favorite husband. Many of my favorites rotate with my mood, the season or what color underbirtches I happen to be wearing.

Except the husband, of course.

There are a few things that are actually my very most positively favorite of all time ever, forever, I swear.

And this holiday season, I am going to tell you about them.

One at a time.

On this chilly fall evening, it’s my Rosy Rings candle.

It’s my third Rosy Rings candle in six years and it makes me incredibly happy. My current botanical concoction gives off hints of patchouli and amber. Lighting it for a couple hours, is my favorite way to end each day. Admittedly, I love my current candle. I also LOVE the Spicy Apple flavor I had previously. It inspires the throw-your-hands-up-in-the-air-and-do-a-jig reaction.

A family member once borrowed mine for a party. BORROWED MY CANDLE. It’s that good.

Upon lighting, your whole house is filled with a delicate balance of organic aromas. Nothing perfumey or over powering. Just pleasant little greetings to your olfactory system. It warms your spirit as much as your soul.

While these candles are a bit of an investment, they are worth every last cent. Add in the fact that each candle is handmade, in the USA, and I would eat a piece of string cheese for lunch for an entire month to buy one. Seriously.

Related: It’s almost the season to be giving.

So…

My loyal readers. One of YOU are going to receive a beautiful 200 hour burn time Spicy Apple Botanical Candle. “The classic combination of apple slices, cinnamon and bay leaves is our all-time best seller. The fragrance is crisp red delicious apple, freshly ground cinnamon and clove. It’s tempting to eat the wax. Please don’t.”

Enter two ways:

1) Leave your comment below and tell me what your favorite relaxation ritual is at the end of the day.

2) Post a comment telling me your favorite relaxation ritual on MommyMishmash’s Facebook wall. (Search MommyMishmash, one word.)

Enter one time, per mode of entry, per person. Contest ends Friday October 29, 2010 at 12:00 pm CST. Spread the light my friends. Good luck!

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Oct 25 Monday

BOO…Eye See You!

Happy Hallows’ Eve! Almost…It’s close enough to Halloween now that I have fully stocked my candy bowl. Ahem…For the kids, OF COURSE.

I love this time of year.

The sounds of feet stomping on crispy fallen leaves. Aromas of apple cider and hot cocoa warming to greet chilled trick or treaters. Pillaging through the kids’ candy stash, with SuperHub, after our boy and ghouls are slipping into their sugar coma induced sleeps.

Plus, it’s another chance to get together with friends and celebrate. And nibble brain cupcakes, bloody fingers and eye balls.

Personally, I am a huge fan of eye balls. They are crunchy, sweet and a little gooey on the inside.

And they are easy to make…Just keep your eye on the recipe!

You will need:

3 Large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 Teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 Cup sugar
1/4 Teaspoon vanilla extract

Put the egg whites into a bowl and let stand for 30 minutes. Cold eggs will not whip up as beautifully as room temperature eggs.

Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with tin foil.

Using a hand mixer, or standing mixer with whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, on medium speed, until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and blend well. Slowly add the vanilla, then the sugar, beating the mixture the entire time, until stiff peaks begin to form.

Patience darling, patience. Don’t dump all of the sugar in at once. I add a little bit every 45 seconds or so until it’s gone. After 4-7 minutes, stiff peaks should have formed. If the sugar is completely dissolved, spoon the mixture into a plastic bag. Snip the corner.

Carefully, squeeze the meringue mixture onto the foil lined baking sheets. Two circle or ovals touching in the middle for pairs of eyes. Or single circles for single eyes. Leave 1 inch between pairs. My pairs of eyes have a high mortality rate. Thankfully this recipe makes a lot. Rest assured, you will have lots of mistakes to sample.

Push an M & M into each eye, creating different looks with colors and placement.

Place the meringue eyes into an oven preheated to 300 degrees, for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the oven off and leave the meringue cookies in the oven for another 40-45 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR!

When they are done, remove the cookie sheets and allow the meringues to cool completely before removing them from the foil. When they are cooled, carefully lift and peel the eyes off the foil.

If desired, gently push wooden skewers, Popsicle sticks, or lolli-pop sticks into the bottom of each eye or pair of eyes.

Stick in your favorite drinks. Serve in a mason jar. Or pop into the top of a cupcake!

BOO-tastic!

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Oct 22 Friday

Maxi Pad(ded) Space

Yesterday was that day for me. The kind of day that we are knee deep in before we realize that things are not panning out in our favor. You hold on for dear life until you can finally rest on a couch; your own or that of a friend, with Real Housewives of Anywhere on the boob tube and a glass of wine in hand.

White wine, of course. Red stains the braces.

My wine was EARNED. For the record, so was that cupcake.

I barely survived an outing to Target Boutique, with two crabby girls who were ready to peter out at any moment. Maddy, being 4 years old and the fruit of my loins, is extremely dramatic. (What? NO! How does that happen?) Pair that with her Daddy’s stubbornness and you see how this can become an issue.

Clearly, the outburst was my fault. I should have remembered that she can’t walk through an entire store. Her legs get too tired. It’s no small task to schlep around in boots that are TWO SIZES TOO BIG but she INSISTED on wearing because they are great for spinning in circles. Oh the humanity!

Let’s do the math:

1 kid who wants to hitch a ride + 1 very full cart (already containing 1 kid) – patience = 2 bottles of wine from aisle 12

It also means I have to swallow my pride and follow through with my threats somewhere between the Market Pantry and the diaper aisle.

“Please, show me the big girl that you are and walk with me, no screaming. Otherwise, you will sit in time out. Maddy, please move before I accidentally run over you.  No seriously little dooood, stop. Now. OK FINE. SIT DOWN, you’re in time out!”

So I did what any mom on the brink would do, I stopped my cart mid-stride and calmly sat her ass down in the aisle. Then I leaned down and explained that she would stay there for 4 minutes.

As I stood up, I pretended to be calm and peruse the aisle. I looked straight ahead. And left. Then right.

Of course, I had stopped in the middle of the feminine hygiene aisle. Tampons and maxi pads as far as the eye could see.

I meandered further down into the personal lubricant section before another shopper joined the aisle. It had been approximately 20 seconds. I had another 3 minute and 40 seconds to go.

Awesome.

With my wine from aisle 12, I would like to propose a toast…

Raise your glass, coffee or soda: To parents everywhere who stick to their guns, especially when it’s not easy (is it ever?), consistency is the most important part of parenting. Even when you are in the maxi pad aisle.

CHEERS!

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Oct 19 Tuesday

Thought O’ The Day

There is no need to cry over spilled milk.

But it’s totally acceptable to sob hysterically over the spillage of your quarterly Pumpkin Spice Latte from your favorite local coffee house.

Especially when your toddler poured it out, intentionally, all over the produce aisle while you hand selected fruit.

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Oct 18 Monday

Fuzzy Apples

Quick (healthy) snacks are imperative to the survival of kiddos. If tiny humans aren’t properly nourished, they melt into little sobbing piles of people. As we all know, it’s not pretty.

I (heart) apples.

There isn’t anything better than biting into a fresh, crispy apple. Especially this time of year.

But what if you only have 1 apple left in the crsiper and 3 kids to feed?

Or  6 apples and a whole soccer team to provide snacks to post game.

Enter Fuzzy Apples. They are delicious alone or dipped in peanut butter. Paired with a slice of cheddar cheese or drizzled with some caramel ice cream topping.

Bonus: These little gems stay white and crispy for hours and hours and hours!

In the amount of time it took you to read this blog post, you could have had your snack made.  Chip chop!

You will need:

Apple(s)
A sharp knife
Lemon lime soda

Slice your apples. Place into a bowl and pour over the lemon lime soda until the apples are completely covered. Leave the apples to soak in the liquid for a couple minutes. Drain and serve. Yup, that’s it.

Being a germ freak (it’s flu season!) I like to serve my apples in single serving sized Dixie Cups. And it helps a little go a LONG way.

Note to You: The last photo (bottom right) was taken 4 hours POST slicing and the apple STILL isn’t brown. How ’bout them apples?

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Oct 13 Wednesday

I’ve Gone BANANAS (BEE AY EN AY EN AY ES!)

I have something to say.

Consider yourself fully warned.

And go.

It is a reminder to everyone, including myself, that just because your focus in life is narrowed in on a specific interest, not everyone around you is on the same page in the Book O’ Crazy written by You.

As I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again, I am guilty as charged of this behavior. I did it to all of my friends when I was engaged or pregnant.

Of course, everyone would love being engaged as much as we did. Why wouldn’t they rush out to exclaim to the world that they were ready to commit to their certain someone forever and ever and ever? Certainly EVERYONE would adore the thought of carrying a baby in their uterus during the same 10 month span I did. We could be pregnant together, oh wouldn’t that be fun?

Note: I now know better.

I’m not sure what set me off on this tangent but it’s my guess that it was combination of circumstance…

1 Cup Exaggeration sifted together with 2 Tablespoons Fatigue. Whisk in 3/4 Cup Situational Craziness then slowly stir in 2 heaping piles of Clean-but-not-yet-sorted laundry. Once blended, resist the urge to jump out the kitchen window. Load it all into a pan and put it directly into the sink. Run dish water, squeeze in the last of the dish soap, then become distracted with life. When you return, the water will be cold, the pan will be rusted and there is no way you are going to muster the strength to get that sippy cup lid off, SO STOP TRYING BEFORE YOU GIVE YOURSELF A HEART ATTACK. Go directly to the store for more dish soap. Use the front door, NOT the kitchen window.

Or maybe life just got to me.

After all, I am fresh(ish) into my 4th decade of life and continually finding myself floundering with being a real life adult. They don’t prepare you for complicated life scenarios in college.

If they did, it would be a course that included the following lessons:

■ Once you are an adult, you should refrain from drinking liquor, in excess, for more than 3 hours or past 10 pm, whichever comes first.

■ Seriously now, resist all urges to complain about your kids, marriage, spouse or in laws in a social networking setting. Everyone knows someone who knows someone. (Plus, it’s just really annoying.)

■ Get braces when your parents offer to pay for them, when you’re 14 years old. Don’t delay. Related: Getting braces as an adult is a great weight loss tool, you can’t eat well. But this isn’t always a bad thing as your grocery budget now goes to pay your orthodontic bills.

■ When in doubt, wear your Converse All-Stars. In any color.

■ Buying a gym membership is different for everyone. Especially when you have a family, it’s down right BRAVE. For some enthusiasts, it’s an all you can eat buffet. For others it’s an eat until I’m full kind of deal. And that is perfectly acceptable.

■ If you aren’t careful, everyone can see your Facebook conversations via wall messages…Zip up your privacy settings. Please.

■ At a certain point, when you wait too long to pee, and you have to sneeze…Ahh ahhh CHOO…Yup. Go change your britches. Again.

Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual. There are going to be times when even you I, the most calm consistently nutty individual, am going to want to jump out the kitchen window.

It’s times like this that I am thankful we live in a one-story home.

(We don’t have to fall far to learn our lesson. And we bounce.)

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Oct 08 Friday

“Young Parent Mistakes!”

We all make mistakes.

Like allowing your kid to consume a brownie the size of his head before bed. Note to You: There is an estimated 15 mg of caffeine in one brownie, as cocoa contains caffeine. A typical cup of coffee contains approximately 60-80 mg caffeine.

Forgetting to take snack to preschool on your child’s snack day.

Dryer drying your skinny jeans on HIGH HEAT. (SuperHub is still paying for this one. For about 18 minutes I thought this mistake was grounds for divorce.)

Letting your kids watch a movie from your childhood that you clearly don’t remember using that sort of language. Then going out to dinner with your in-laws immediately following and having your kid’s chant “Oh shit!” in unison when the waitress forgets the ketchup.

One of the (many) mistakes I made recently was allowing my 6 year old to have a fish tank in his room.

It’s been there for almost 2 years with no incident. It’s a small 2 or 3 gallon tank that housed (past tense) Edna, our sword tail fish.

Don’t panic, she is still alive. More on that later.

It was a plastic tank, because I thought if it ever spilled, no one would get hurt. But obviously it would NEVER tip. It was up on the shelf. Close enough to look at, not for my 2 year old to touch.

But Sammy can climb.

And tiny hands grabbed the fish tank.

And it tipped.

And 2-3 gallons of algae filled stinky fish water, rocks and poor Edna hit the newly carpeted floor. Not a clear floor, a floor covered in 20 some odd books that Cooper had been reading.

It was the kind of parenting moment when you don’t know what to do or where to start. So I instructed Cooper to call SuperHub, because somehow him knowing what I was dealing with made it easier to manage? To hurry home? To make it ALL GO AWAY!

After hours of using a Shop-Vac, professional grade Rug Doctor and dehumidifier, we finally had the mess under control.

The next day, the sun hit the carpet and you would have thought we lived in a musty beach cottage on Cape Cod. Holy fish odor.

There is currently 1 lb of baking soda rubbed into the carpet, while I wait to hear back from people who make this sort of thing better for a living.

Note to You: EDNA LIVED. I am not sure how or why. She was out of water, up against the wall, under the book shelf and we didn’t discover her for 10 to 15 minutes. She now lives in a vase on my kitchen counter. She swims backwards and is rather lumpy in places, but she is alive nonetheless.

Lessons learned:

– No more fish tanks in kids’ rooms. Or in the house for that matter.
– SuperHub can transport and fold laundry, but is forbidden to put anything into the washer or dryer.
– Brownies are served in 2 inch x 2 inch pieces, until after the kids go to bed. HEY OH.

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Oct 05 Tuesday

FWD: FWD: FWD: Recipe Swap!

Last week I got an email forward from my sister, it was an email recipe swap.

You have been invited to be a part of a recipe exchange. Please send a recipe  to the person whose name is in position 1 (even if you don’t know them) and it should be something quick, easy and without rare ingredients. Actually, the best one is the one you know in your head and can type right now. Don’t agonize over it; it is the one that you make when you are short on time.

Follow these instructions:
After you’ve sent your recipe to the person in position 1 below, and only to that person, copy this email into a new email, move my name to the top and put your name in position 2. Only mine and your name should show when you send your email. Send to 20 friends BCC (blind copy) If you cannot do this within 5 days, let me know, so it will be fair to those participating. You should receive 36 recipes. Its fun to see where they come from.

The turnaround is fast, as there are only 2 names on the list, and you only have to do this once!

1.  (insert you friend’s email here)
2.  (insert your email here)

Since this little note made no mention of bad karma if I didn’t pass it along, had no animated pictures of kittens and most certainly did not promise me that Bill Gates was going to buy me a laptop for forwarding on, I opted in. As email forwards go, it was harmless.

Plus, who doesn’t need a little inspiration in the kitchen? I sent it along, as directed, to 23 friends. (I am an overachiever.)

Theoretically I should have gotten oodles of recipes emailed to me within 5 days.

I got one. ONE.

Luckily, it was a good one. (Thank you Anna D! Whoever you are.)

Upon reading the recipe for Chicken Wild Rice Soup, I was smitten. It was easy, healthier than the traditional method and the perfect slow cooker recipe for these chilly autumn afternoons.

As always, I made a double batch. I plan to nibble on the leftovers all week while I wait to hear back from Bill Gates on the free computer he promised me four months ago. Still waiting Billy Boy…

You will need:

1 Lb. Boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
1/2 Cup Uncooked wild rice
1/2 Cup Chopped onions
2 – 10 oz Cans cream of potato soup
14 oz Low sodium chicken broth
2 Cups Sliced carrots (You can use frozen or fresh!)
12 oz Evaporated milk
3 T. Flour, mixed with a bit of the chicken broth
Fresh cracked pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
Garlic powder, to taste

Mix 3 T flour with chicken broth and blend until smooth. Add to slow cooker. This will thicken your soup. Then place all your other ingredients, EXCEPT the evaporated milk, in your slow cooker. I made the mistake of throwing it in…If you make the same mistake, stir in whole milk or cream before serving. It fattens up the soup but saves the meal.

Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Thirty minutes before serving, stir in the evaporated milk.

Because I had a napping kid, yeast, flour, salt and water, I opted to make a quick loaf of homemade bread. Quick dough or a store bought loaf would be wonderful as well.

Me: <Assorted moans and slurping noises> I was the first one done.
SuperHub: “To be honest, I was only excited about the homemade bread but this soup is actually really tasty.”
Cooper: “I am only going to eat the chicken.”
Maddy: “It’s OK, I don’t love it.”
Sammy: “MORE PEEEASE!” (She licked her bowl clean.)

Add This 13 Comments Post by Katy
Oct 05 Tuesday

Today’s Tidbit: Onion Chopping 101

Before I cut an onion, I take off my glasses. The release of sulfur when you cut the onion rises up and can get trapped between your glasses and your eye. Read: OUCH.

Then I place a few wooden matches in my mouth, unlit tips out. This helps neutralize the sulfur coming towards my nose. The trick is keeping your mouth shut.

If it’s an especially pungent onion, I rinse it once I’ve sliced it in half. The excess sulfur gases wash away. Then I continue to chop it with no tears flowing down my cheeks.

Then I chop an entire half onion in 8 cuts.

– Twice, longways along the middle, dividing the onion into thirds.

– Then three cuts from top to bottom.

– When you turn the knife to slice across the onion, it will already be chopped into semi-even pieces.

Confused? Me too. Check out the photo tutorial below.

Less chopping, less crying!

Add This 10 Comments Post by Katy