Monday, April 25, 2011

Best Mom Tip #133: DIY no matter what

Jay and I are going to star in our own reality TV show.

It is called "F#@%' Home Improvement?" The question mark is what really sets it apart from other shows with similar content.

It will involve us beginning projects on a whim without a budget, plan of attack, or any assessment of what we currently have/need. We will always take all three kids to Lowe's/Home Depot so that there is no way that we will be able to make accurate purchases.

We will be sure to still be working on the projects during dinner/bath time so that there is a decent chance that at least one kid will get out of taking a bath and at least some screws/bolts/washers will disappear.

We will always, and this is key, break something else unrelated to the current project while attempting to remove or install new materials.

We will continue to be surprised and annoyed that our builder's grade 20-year-old home does not meet current standards, sizes, and codes. This is why we will never finish a project in one sitting and will always have to return again and again to the home improvement stores. With our kids. Don't forget the kids.

In the end, we will always fall back on caulking and painting to hide that fact that we have no idea what we are doing. We are pretty good at caulking and painting at this point.

Our new show is inspired by our "new" guest bathroom. We have replaced all parts of the toilet (not part of the project since it was bought new last year--we just broke it removing baseboards), installed a new vanity/sink (destroyed the walls), faucet (pipes were different size and length than the old ones), and floor (see baseboard reference above).

If you come by our house please say something nice about the bathroom, but don't look too closely at anything.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Best Mom Tip #132: Be a superhero

Griffin has begun yelling "To da wescue! Me, Giffin!" and running off to save damsels in distress. His little face lights up with the absolute confidence that he is, in fact, capable of rescuing someone even though he cannot currently dress himself without help.

He pauses for effect, screws up his arms for maximum speed, and launches himself toward hero status.

I wanna be that cool. I don't know who or what I want to rescue. I don't know who or what I want to fight. I just know that I want that kind of purpose, that kind of righteous goal. I would LOVE to be a superhero.

I would wear a really bad-ass outfit that involves thigh-high boots and some kind of bustier. I am not well endowed so the bustier would need to be stuffed. Maybe with mini bags of M&Ms so it could double as a snack holder.

I would have rocker-chic cuffs and possibly a thigh holster or two. Think Lara Croft meets Wonder Woman with a touch of the comic Cathy (because of the M&Ms and my neuroses).

I'm not sure how I can translate this desire into stay-at-home momhood. I don't know that the other moms volunteering at the elementary school would appreciate a bustier. Maybe if I wore a tennis dress that could pass as a superhero costume they would just think I was really into tennis.

Maybe I could take kickboxing classes and pretend I'm training for villain killing. Maybe I can carry around extra bottles of milk and goldfish crackers in my thigh holsters. Is there any way to add an element of necessary danger and still be a responsible parent? I'm looking for ideas.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Best Mom Tip #131: Know when you belong in the zoo

We are members of Zoo Atlanta and I love to take our kids to see the animals. Yesterday was a beautiful day (until the evil tornadoes showed up at night) and since it was also the first day of Spring Break, I loaded up the kiddos. It was like my own personal zoo in the car so we fit right in when we got there.

Other people apparently had this same idea and it took us 25 minutes of circling the parking lot to find a space. You know how that kind of thing makes you want to stab something in your ear to stop the whining? Well, let's just say we were really glad to get out of the car.

This flamingo pond is the first thing you come to when you finally enter and the children always run to it and just stand there. They seem awed that there are weird looking birds right there. I'm not really sure why they love it so much. Maybe they just think that they're not allowed to move on yet.

We saw elephants (a BIG hit with Griffin who pretends to be an elephant at some point during every day), zebras, a baby giraffe, a baby panda, gorillas, tigers, sleeping lions, snakes, kangaroos, and some sheep. That last one is in the petting zoo.

I also heard people complain, "is the whole STATE of Georgia on Spring Break?" (yes), "is it always this hot?" (no, this is rather pleasant for us), and "I thought the reptile house was air conditioned!" (it is not hot enough for the air conditioning to be turned on yet).

One woman looked down at Harry in his fleece footies and then loudly exclaimed to her friend, "I bet that baby is really too hot in that outfit!" I responded with, "thank you so much for your unsolicited advice." She seemed genuinely confused that I was talking to her. Was I just a non-entity behind the stroller? Or was she uncertain about the meaning of unsolicited?

For the record, Harry seemed to be having a fine time without suffering heat exhaustion.

Days like today make me grateful for my children, a little extra income, and the time to watch the animals. We do belong in the zoo.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Best Mom Tip #130: Start a nest egg or two

I saw this really cute commercial with a mom making rice krispie treat eggs filled with M&Ms. Since this involves chocolate, marshmallows, and butter I thought I'd try it today.

Unfortunately, our grocery store didn't have any plain pastel M&Ms so I was forced, forced I tell you, to buy Cadbury's Mini Eggs instead. It is a good thing that they only sell those near Easter or I would weigh 912 lbs. I have actually eaten an entire bag of them in one sitting. That was last Easter, honestly, which probably contributed to my 60 lb. weight gain with my last pregnancy. But I digress.

The point is, when I got home and tried to fashion the treats into eggs, they looked more like blobs. When I put my little eggs inside I realized that it would be a lot easier to just make nests. So I did.

I think they turned out really cute. I took them to my niece's 1st birthday party and they were all eaten, so they must have tasted pretty good, too.

Here's what I did:

1. Make rice krispie treats according to the directions:
6 cups rice krispies

1 10 oz. bag of marshmallows
3 T butter or margarine

Melt the butter over low heat and add the marshmallows. Stir very often until melted together. Pour in rice krispies and stir to coat.

Spoon mixture into 13x9 dish coated with cooking spray. Use wax paper to press the mixture into the dish evenly and let cool (about 30 minutes).
2. Once cooled, cut the treats into about 2.5 x 2.5 inch squares. I got about 20 treats/nests out of this.

3. Mold each treat into a nest shape with your hands and press some sprinkles into the edges and center.
4. Place two Cadbury Mini Eggs in each nest.

We set up a little assembly line and the kids thought it was great fun.

I used colored sprinkles because that's what I had in my pantry, but I bet it would be great with chocolate sprinkles or toasted coconut to look more like twigs. It was a big hit and fun to do.

Definitely a new favorite in my house--maybe you can use it, too.