Sunday, March 27, 2011

Best Mom Tip #129: Pour something on some chicken

I am not a good cook. What I can do, is open jars of stuff. I have learned that if you pour a jar of something you like over some boneless, skinless chicken breasts, it will taste pretty good. You add some french bread and a spinach salad and it is almost as if you've prepared a meal. My family seems taken in by it so I thought you might be able to fool your family, too. You know, in case you are just as bad of a cook as I am.

Basically, you just put some thawed chicken breasts into a casserole dish and pour a lot of something on top. Then you cover it and bake it in the oven on 375-400 for 45 minutes to an hour. It depends on how thick the chicken is, but if you make it 400 degrees for an hour, it is going to be cooked. Tough, maybe, but not raw.

So what, exactly, are you pouring over the chicken? Salsa. Spaghetti sauce. Bar-b-cue sauce. Honey mustard. Just honey. Just mustard. Really, anything you like that will pour. I bet beer would work, but that might not be good for the kids.

Anyway, putting a lid on the dish makes the sauce thin out and flavor the chicken and it takes absolutely no prep. You can experiment a few times to find the right temperature/time ratio depending on how thawed your chicken is, how thick the breasts are, and how your oven cooks. If all else fails and the chicken didn't cook all the way through and it is time to eat, just pour everything into a skillet and cut up the chicken and it will all cook in about 5-10 minutes.

Then you can act like you meant it to be that way and serve it over rice or noodles. Remember, being successful is all about acting like you know what you are doing. Even with dinner.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Best Mom Tip #128: Watch out for blue lights

I got pulled over for speeding today. The cop, who looked a good 10 years younger than me, told me to slow it down--especially since I had a little one in the car (the other two weren't with me). I'm glad I didn't get a ticket, but I somehow feel cheated.

Teenagers ALWAYS get tickets. People with awesome cars never get off with a warning. Artists with tattoos and crazy haircuts are going to pay the fine. If the cop thinks you're young or you have money or an attitude or a superiority complex, you're going to get a ticket.

This is the second time in 6 months that I've been pulled over and let go with a warning. So I'm thinking, even the police think I am so tame as to not even warrant their attention. I mean, they have to pull me over because I'm going 15 miles above the speed limit, but really, I'm a waste of their time.

As soon as the officer walked away I teared up. Partially because I hate getting in trouble, but also because the man assessed my minivan, my modest neighborhood, and my numerous car seats and thought, "poor lady. I'll just let her go."

I KNOW he called me "lady" in his head. Stupid kid.

I cried because I'm a middle aged stay-at-home mom listening to Christian rock in her minivan (you know, because the lyrics are o.k. for the kids) on her way in the middle of a workday to buy discount kids' shoes at an outlet mall.

I am very blessed, lucky, and loved. I am also boring.

Best Mom Tip #127: Keep your eye on the ball

You know those big exercise balls that you can use for crunches and the like? Yeah, I lost control of one during a body sculpting class and it rolled across the entire studio and ran into a woman's head.

Fortunately, the entire room is surrounded by mirrors so I could see her expression as the giant silver orb rolled right up on top of her.

I have a love/hate relationship with this class to begin with. This is the same instructor who did not appreciate me pointing out that her missing cat and her coyote problem were probably related. I hurt for days every time I take this class. In the middle of it, I think things like "this is miserable and my stomach will still be wrinkly even if it is skinny. Why am I here?"

Here is what happened with the ball. We were all lying on our backs with our legs sticking straight up in the air holding the giant ball between our calves. We were supposed to lower our legs to the right and then to the left while keeping a tight hold on the ball. It is supposed to be a really good lower ab exercise and force you to use controlled movements.

The sad truth is that my lower abs have the same strength as the band of 10-year-old underwear with broken elastic and there is no way I can lower my legs to the sides of my body with any sort of control. My thighs were also shaking with the effort of keeping the ball between my legs. Thus the ball popped free and went on its own desperate attempt to find someone who might actually be able to complete the exercises without harming others.

I retrieved my ball and moved on to the next exercise which involved putting the knees of my fully extended legs on the ball, my hands on the floor, and pulling my legs up so that my behind became the highest point on my body.

At least I managed to end the class with some dignity.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Best Mom Tip #126: Practice your curse words

I said "dammit" in front of my 6-year-old this morning. In my defense, this is what led up to it:

12:30am--Griffin had a terrible coughing fit and demanded milk to drink. We told him that he could have water or juice but milk wouldn't really help the cough. He loudly disagreed.

1:05am--Let Griffin convince us that he should get to sleep in our bed. It seemed reasonable at 1:00am.

4:02am--Harry had a coughing fit and woke himself up. I pat him and gave him a paci and he went back to sleep.

4:37am--Harry woke back up and had to be patted and paci'd again.

6:38am--Charlotte woke up disappointed that she could not both snuggle for 30 minutes with Mommy AND make the school bus.

6:57:17am--While trying to get Charlotte quickly and quietly dressed (since her brothers were finally asleep) I stepped on some horrible plastic toy that made noise, tripped over the doll house, and fell into the wall.

6:57:19am--Said, "dammit."

I'm not exactly disappointed that I cursed, but rather that I used a real curse word. Growing up, my dad had a whole host of curse words that weren't quite curse words. Dadgummit. Dadnabit. Dadblastit.

I think they all meant "dammit." I once heard him say shit, but that was while he was helping a neighbor cut down a tree and that tree landed on said neighbor's above ground pool.

My mom just usually yelled "Ugly Word" with such force that it actually sounded like an ugly word.

I need to practice my parental-advisory-approved cursing before the next toy attack occurs.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Best Mom Tip #125: Naked laundry. Yep, naked.

You know how you're NEVER done washing clothes? I run 7 loads of laundry every Thursday and another 7 when I wash all the bedding. I also have to do touch-up runs during the week when Little Princess needs a particular dress or when my baby has barfed on most of his clothes in one week.

It is just demoralizing to get all of that Thursday laundry finished and have all the hampers empty, just to have to put your own nasty cleaning clothes back in one. Hence, naked laundry.

For one brief, shining moment, ALL of the laundry is done. You have NO dirty clothes. Yes, the rest of your family is somewhere wearing clothes, but if you play your cards right you won't have to see it. The trick is to plan your last load to be finished while it is still school/work/nap time for everyone else.

This may take some planning. You may have to begin washing the night before. You might even have to work up to it over a couple of days.

Ah, but when you do...

Now you can dance naked around your washer and dryer in a Lord-of-the-Flies meets Florence Henderson kind of a moment. You might light a small fire atop the dryer.

I suggest singing or playing any of the following songs during your naked laundry victory dance:

That last one may not work for you--my name just happens to be Sally.

Naked laundry is wonderful and freeing and sort of like exercise if you dance long enough.

I do need to warn you that my most recent attempt didn't go exactly as planned. One lone, nude pair of thong underwear did me in. It managed to blend in with the carpet and I didn't find it until I came back into my bedroom naked and ready to dance. If that happens to you, you have two choices:
1. put it back in the drawer and pretend that it's clean or
2. throw it away

I'll let you guess what I did. Let the dance begin.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Best Mom Tip #124: Embrace the family vacation, Part 2

I mentioned yesterday that we went to Disney World last week. Here are some pictures:

This is my beautiful daughter. She is magical and full of twirly goodness. She is also kind, loving, and very good at accessorizing.

This is my older son. He is mischievous and lives with enthusiasm. He is into big hugs, big jumps, and may wind up in some sort of job that involves a ghillie suit.

This is my husband and my younger son. The expression that the baby is rocking is the same one you would get from my husband if he thought you were too stupid to dress yourself in the morning. I think it proves that he is just humoring Daddy's self-portrait attempts. Harry is actually smiley, bright, and rapidly moving toward walking so that, as far as we can tell, he can get the hell away from Griffin.

These pictures are the reason I spent 7-8 hours in a minivan on I-75 twice in the last week. They are why I threw my diet to the wind and ate mouse-shaped ice cream sandwiches. They are why I own three sets of mouse ears. They are why, with my feet and back aching, I smiled at Tigger, Pooh, Mary Poppins, Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Jessie, a host of princesses, Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, get the idea.

They are why my husband looked at me on the Disney World Railroad at the end of three days in the parks and said, "you look like you've been rode hard and put up wet." I never look like that in Paris.

But I don't get those three little faces in my Parisian photos, either. At least not yet.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Best Mom Tip #123: Feel the magic

We went to Disney World last week and got home on Sunday. It

In the plus column, the kids had a GREAT time. Charlotte rode a roller coaster for the first time, Griffin got to meet Woody and Buzz Lightyear, and Harry couldn't pick what to look at first on "It's a Small World." The parade was great, we got our faces painted, and we ate a lot of ice cream.

In the minus column, there were a LOT of kids there for a band festival and the entire state of Louisiana came over to avoid Mardi Gras this week. I know they were from Louisiana because they all felt the need to wear purple and gold and something that said, "geaux Tigers." I actually saw purple-and-gold-tiger-striped-platform-flip-flops. Now that's a niche market.

I also started my period early and had to buy Crazy Larry's Discount Tampons, which were actually better than my original fear that I would have to use ones shaped like mouse ears.

Anyway, now we're home and two kids have ear infections and bronchitis, one has strep throat, and I'm stuck in the house with grumpy snotty children who think this week is a lot less fun than the last.

They're right.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Best Mom Tip #122: You know what? Screw #121--keep your head down

After my post yesterday I had one of the most embarrassing trips out in public with my children ever. Then there was a family birthday dinner, a tornado, and overstimulated children to get to sleep so I didn't get to post again until today.

So picture me in the Barnes and Noble looking for a book for my husband's birthday. I knew they had the book in stock, I just couldn't see it on the shelf. (Side note: The book was listed under Business: Starting a Business, but was actually found under Entrepreneurship: Starting a Business. Isn't that a redundant category?)

I'm holding the baby on my left hip, my giant purse on my right shoulder, and 2-year-old Griffin's hand clutched tightly in my right hand. I'm wearing dirty, baggy jeans and a college sweatshirt that once belonged to my father and has a circular hole that I'm pretty sure is a cigarette burn.

This is when Griffin made a break for it and ran giggling hysterically through the giant bookshelves while I tried to catch him without running in a store. I finally grabbed him and refused to let go of his hand. He managed to talk me into letting go ("my stay wight heah, Mommy") and then he ran again. Little bugger. He even grinned as he ran away.

Again I chased him down and sort of grabbed him by the head as he ran by. Now, you need to know that when Griffin doesn't like something he just yells, "Ow, Ow Ow, dis huhts Me!" He has learned that yelling "this hurts me" gets a much faster response than "I don't want to do this!"

So he's yelling "Dis huhts me! Ow, dis huhts my head! Ow Ow Ow!" when I get down next to him and threaten him with certain pain if doesn't stop acting like this in public. That's when he added "I want my Mommy" to his litany of complaints.

The constant chants of "Ow, my head! Dis huhts me! I want my Mommy!" finally caught the attention of a pain-in-the-ass innocent bystander who felt the need to come over. An amazonian woman with a power yoga tank top and a nose ring blocked my path out of bookshelf hell and said, "Is. He.Ok."

It was not a question, but rather a condemnation. I rolled my eyes and said, "He's fine. He's just mad at life right now." She seemed confused by that response. Maybe she's mad at life, too. That would explain the nose ring.

I finally got out of the store only to find that Annoyingly Fit Girl parked next to me and had driven away before I got even one of my kids buckled.

I hate her. And everyone else.