Saturday, June 27, 2009

Day Late and a Dollar Short

I think I'm on Jamaican time. I didn't order AllThingBD's present in time, I didn't mail off my niece's present in time, and I didn't post this Happy Birthday blog in time.

Right now, I have a system to assure that I get to appointments on time or early. I set my car clock ahead 5 minutes. This way I scream through traffic and take short cuts to make certain I arrive on time.

Yes, I recognize as I'm looking at the clock that it is set 5 minutes ahead, but for some reason this works for me.

I don't have a good solution for things that are in my calendar. Perhaps I should set it 5 days ahead.

In any case, back to the purpose of this blog.

Happy 7th Birthday, LittleMan! (one day late)

I love you, LittleMan.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How Not To Cook - Shrimp Linguini

I believe I mentioned in my last How Not To Cook post that MamaDB and I had come up with a better format for displaying our mad cooking skillz. Turns out that the new method really is better editing. Well, I'm not a professional editor nor do I play one on TV, so you (the audience) kind of get what you get.

However, I'm not a total jerk, and I have decided to dedicate a little more time to editing this next HNTC video.

So, please enjoy this latest version of How Not To Cook.

Source: Food

Serves: 4-6
  • 1/2 (c)up Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Lemon (zested)
  • 1 lb Linguine Pasta
  • 2 (T)ablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Shallots (diced) [we used green onions]
  • 2 Garlic Cloves (minced)
  • 16 oz Frozen Shrimp
  • 1/4 c Lemon Juice
  • 1 Lemon (zested)
  • 1 (t)easpoon salt
  • 1/2 t Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 3 oz Arugula [we used Spinish Leaves]
  • 1/4 c Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley (chopped)
Step 1: For the lemon oil, combine the olive oil and the lemon zest in a small bowl and reserve.

Step 2: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally (~8-10 minutes). Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Step 3: Meanwhile, in a large, heavy skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.

Step 4: Add the shrimp and cook until pink (~ 5 minutes).

Step 5: Add the cooked linguine, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

Step 6: Turn off the heat and add the arugula. Using a mesh sieve, strain the lemon zest out of the reserved lemon olive oil and add the oil to the pasta. The zest can be discarded.

Step 7: Add the chopped parsley to the pasta and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

5 Items Of Note:

1. There is actually no MEASURABLE difference between a dry measuring cup and a liquid one. Whichever one is easiest for you to use for measuring is the one you should use. Check it out at Kitchen Savvy.

2. Be careful what you ask for when you suggest to your cooking partner that she do something other than "watch a pot boil".

3. Read the entire recipe before you assume that "THE OLIVE OIL" means the lemon zested, 1 cup version rather than the 2 teaspoon version.

4. Verify that the frozen shrimp you bought is in fact shelled, deveined and without tails.

5. I'm certain there is a lesson here about what sized pot to use for various pasta amounts, but I still haven't learned it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Kindergarten Graduation?

LittleMan has graduated. At age 6. Who knew it would happen so quickly? Okay, fine - it isn't a REAL graduation. He is going from Kindergarten to 1st grade.

I'm reminded of a quote from Mr. Incredible in "The Incredibles" - "They keep creating ways to celebrate mediocrity."

If it isn't bad enough to have the children don caps and march to "Pomp and Circumstance", they are also given awards. Now, I would love for these awards to mean something, but they don't really. You see, every child in Kindergarten graduates and receives at least one award. The only time you are allowed to have more than one award is if you won the coveted "Perfect Attendance" award.

So, the bottom line is that we don't care how well you are doing at school as long as you show up.

Every child received one of these four awards:
- Honors in English
- Honors in Math
- Excellent Citizenship
- Excellent Effort

LittleMan received "better than average" scores for both English and Math, but they can't give him more than one award. That would be... unfair - perhaps accurate, but unfair to those children who earned no award (but are given the catch-all-award, Excellent Effort). So, LittleMan received the Honors in English award. Yay.

I genuinely don't understand the point of this ceremony. Are we celebrating their attendance? Are we celebrating their progress? Are we celebrating their existence? Frankly, it all seems pointless. The kids don't seem to get the importance of it other than ceremonies are important.


I decided to shut up and enjoy the moment too.

The happy graduate.

Self-posed graduate.

BoopaLoop is such a great little sister. She handled the 1 1/2 hour ceremony (1 hour wait and then the ceremony) without a single complaint!

Grandma and BoopaLoop

LittleMan walks the aisle with pride.

The best part - hanging out at your favorite lunch spot with family. Congratulations, LittleMan... for something!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Why Watch Comedies When I Live Them

Or maybe it is only I who thinks that my children are pretty hilarious.

Let me quantify this hilarity by saying that I don't mean that my children tell mean knock-knock jokes. Although, who can get tired of the punch lines that usually involve the noun of the joke bonking someone on the head. Now that's pure comedy!

However, what I'm referring to here is how my children constantly surprise me. Let me give you these examples from each of my children:

BoopaLoop has been obsessed with the "Iny-miny-miney-moe" form of selection.

Me - Which top do you want to wear to school?

BoopaLoop - Can I do Iny-miny-miney-moe?

She rarely picks the one that "wins", but at least she picks SOMETHING.

Me - Do you want to go to the park or home?

BoopaLoop - Can I do Iny-miny-miney-moe?

Seriously, she does it for every choice.

We were at Costco, and I was debating which fruit to buy. So, I made the mistake of asking BoopaLoop.

Me - Honey, should we get grapes or strawberries?

BoopaLoop - Can I do Iny-miny-miney-moe?

Me - (Sighing inside) Sure.

BoopaLoop - Iny-miny-miney-moe. Catch the tiger by the toe. When he hollers let him go. My mother told me to pick the best one and you are it! (Her finger was pointing to the grapes.) I want both of them.

Me - (Laughing)

Later that day during dinner at home...

BoopaLoop - I'm still hungry.

Me - Would you like more chicken or broccoli?

BoopaLoop - Can I do Iny-miny-miney-moe.

Me - (Sighing inside) Sure.

BoopaLoop - (She ends pointing at the chicken. She blinks.) I don't want either.

Okay, perhaps it isn't THAT funny, but to see a four year old go through all that just to declare what she really wants is just funny to me.

Then we have LittleMan. I told him that we have to get the house ship-shape for this birthday party this Saturday. I asked him and BoopaLoop to clean the playroom.

This job should have taken 5 - maybe 10 minutes. Instead, LittleMan came into the kitchen to inform me that he was done after working for 45 minutes! I just assumed that he did the job and then began playing. I had no idea he had been working that long.

I wandered out to the playroom to find the playroom spotless, but again, I didn't think it would take that long.

Me - This is wonderful guys!

LittleMan - But that's not all.

Me - ?!?!?!?!?!

LittleMan took me by the hand and led me to my bedroom

LittleMan - I organized your closet, and I made your bed. I put your pajamas on your pillow for tonight.

My heart melted right there. The reason I find this hysterical though is because this particular tendency for neatness did NOT come from me. This behavior is straight from My Mukor. I love my men.

As you can tell from my footwear, I'm not a dress-up kind of gal. In fact, I own exactly two pairs of dress-up shoes, and one of them was sitting in my car at the time of this picture. You never know when you have to throw on some strappy shoes to wear with your jeans. Right?

The fact that LittleMan did this for me and thought it was something special made me realize that perhaps I should make his bed more often. Usually I leave that chore to them. If they want their beds made, they will make it - but seeing as how he considered this to be a real treat for me gave me pause. I think I'll surprise him on his birthday with a made bed with his pajamas on his pillow.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Family At Play

I have been very bad about keeping up with my blog. It isn't because there hasn't been anything to blog about, but I have been so busy these days, I haven't had time to blog. That's not the part I miss though. What I miss most is reading all of your blogs. I'm going to do that as soon as I post these pictures.

Today, we took a deep breath and enjoyed our yard. I had been unable to take full advantage of these quiet moments since it is when my body is at rest that my mind works overtime - but not today. I wouldn't allow it!

Here are my pup-pups playing together.

Winnie (the dog in white) is 14 lbs. Travis is 45 lbs. It took a few days for them to figure out how to play together. Travis didn't want to hurt Winnie, so initially he just stood there staring at Winnie while Winnie yipped at him. It was pretty funny. Now, Winnie runs around like a mad dog while Travis chases, and Winnie will gnaw on Travis's neck.

There are moments as a mom where you try not to let your overactive imagination get the better of you. For example, you see your child wander from the bathroom with a cup full of water, enter their bedroom, and then exit the bedroom with an empty cup. A mom will want an immediate explanation, but I have a tendency to SCREAM my request for information rather than staying calm. I am working on this.

Today, I watched as my children took their flexible pop-up tent, a picnic plate and a bunch of flower petals away from their usual spot. Rather than SCREAM for an explanation, I secretly followed them.

This is what I found.

They are having a tea party in the garden. Yes, I am VERY relieved that I didn't yell at them.

I can always tell when my children think they are doing something they think I will not approve of. Fortunately, this wasn't one of those times. I can tell because they are both smiling at the camera rather than hiding, and they look relaxed rather than stressed out that mom is going to blow.

After a while, we came inside, and BoopaLoop requested that I paint her toe nails. I got out my hot pink nail polish and went to work. Seeing how much fun we were having, LittleMan asked if I could paint his nails.

Me - Sure, honey. I have this clear nail polish that would be perfect for you. (Sexist, I know.)

LittleMan - Awe, why can't I have the pink nail polish.

Me - (After only the slightest of hesitations) You can. Would you like pink?

LittleMan - (Smiling from ear to ear) YEAH!

I go about putting on the pink nail polish on LittleMan.

BoopaLoop - (To LittleMan) You look like a girl.

She giggles.

LittleMan - Mom? Can you take off this nail polish?

Me - Why?! It looks so nice.

LittleMan - Uh, I don't think it is appropriate.

I have to be honest - I was SERIOUSLY relieved.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Settling In Nicely

Winston (a.k.a. Winnie) has slowly settled into our family lifestyle. Don't get me wrong. He'll still bolt out the door and zig-zag across the street at the first opportunity - but now he'll let me pick him up after about 2-3 minutes of freedom.

Today, he wandered right into a neighbors house.

Don't worry. I knew the neighbor. But it is a silly conversation to have...

Me - Excuse me. I hate to bother you, but I think my dog ran into your house.

Neighbor - !?!?!?!?

Me - Oops, sure enough. I see him in your backyard.

The funny part is that this neighbor told Winnie to visit any time, and that he'll have treats for him next time. Doesn't he understand that I'm trying to CURB this behavior - not encourage it?

Oh well, better that than a neighbor who calls 9-1-1 in fear for their LIVES!

I guess I could always show the police this picture to demonstrate the ferocity of this newly acquired pet.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

How Not To Cook - Chicken with Rice

MamaDB and I were talking about our video today, and we have a new idea for showcasing our mad cooking skillz. We were going to do it this week, but I deleted the video before we could make changes. That's how I roll - when I'm done with you, I DELETE!

So until I learn to not be such a spaz with the delete button, I give you the following How Not To Cook recipe.

Source: Food

Serves: 8
  • 4 c(ups) Pineapple Juice
  • 6 cloves Garlic (chopped)
  • 2 small Red Chile Peppers w/Seeds (finely chopped)
  • 2 c Cilantro Leaves (chopped)
  • 1 c Brown Sugar
  • 1 c Soy Sauce
  • 4 T(ablespoons) Ginger Root (peeled and chopped)
  • 2 t(easpoons) Ground Cumin
  • 2 T Olive Oil
  • 1 3 1/2lb - 4 lb Roasted Chicken (giblets and neck removed for another use)
  • 2 T Butter
  • 4 cloves Garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2 T Ginger Root (peeled and chopped)
  • 1/2 c Cilantro Leaves (packed and chopped)
  • 1 t Ground Cumin
  • 4 T Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 c Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 T Lime Juice
  • 1 T Pineapple Juice
  • 6 c Jasmine Rice (prepared according to package instructions)

Step 1: Mix pineapple juice, garlic, peppers, cilantro, brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger root, cumin, and olive oil well in large bowl. Reserve some of marinade for basting.

Step 2: Rinse and pat dry chicken. Add chicken to bowl, turn and baste several times, cover and refrigerate at least 12-24 hours, turning chicken and basting occasionally.

Step 3: (To Prepare Sauce) a) Melt butter in 10-12 inch saute pan until sizzling. Add garlic, ginger root, cilantro, and cumin and saute for about 4 minutes or until fragrant.
b) Add soy sauce and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. c) Add whipping cream and cook until slightly reduced or sauce coats the back of spoon (about 5 minutes). d) Remove from heat and stir in lime and pineapple juices.
*NOTE* Can be made 2 days ahead - cover and refrigerate. Warm the sauce before serving.

Step 4: Preheat oven to 450-degrees. Remove chicken from marinade and place in roasting pan, just large enough to accommodate chicken. Tuck wings under chicken and baste with marinade.

Step 5: Place in preheated oven and roast for 15 minutes. Turn heat down to 350-degrees and continue to roast for an additional 50 minutes, basting occasionally or until an instant-read meat thermometer registers 180 degrees inserted into thickest part of thigh.

Step 6: Prepare the jasmine rice according to package instructions during the last 30 minutes of roasting.

Step 7: Remove chicken from oven, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing.

Step 8: Serve slices of chicken over a bed or cooked rice with cilantro cream sauce drizzled over the breasts.

I'd like to dedicate this video to my Facebook friends who believed that MamaDB was somehow teaching me how to cook. I don't think a stranger could be paid enough money to deal with my ineptitude, but MamaDB has to since our children love each other. I love you, MamaDB!

Let's review:

1. Using chicken breasts instead of a whole chicken works if you allow at least 4 hours to marinate.

2. When looking for a recipe on the Internet, it would be wise to read the preparation steps as well as the ingredients needed, so you will anticipate marinating for 12-24 hours.

3. Just because a recipe is obtained off the Internet doesn't automatically mean it was posted by a 65-year old man posing as an 18-year old girl.

4. Sometimes you need to allow the friend who is EXTREMELY dangerous with knives another chance at cutting vegetables.

5. If you consider yourself the safe one to handle knives, you really shouldn't get on video the fact that you tried to grate your finger. I'm just saying...

6. If something in the recipe doesn't make sense, chances are you didn't read it correctly.

7. The correct pronounciation of a spice isn't required as long as you put the correct spice in.

8. Organic produce looks ugly. Again, I'm just saying...

9. Never malign the hostess's dinner, especially if she's weilding a knife, unless you have a back up plan.

10. It isn't necessary to rinse an entire bundle of cilantro if you are only going to use a fraction of it.

11. Cilantro is an ingredient meant to eaten, not to be admired for its colorful quality.

12. It is much easier to measure out the precise amount of cilantro if people stop taking the measuring cup away in the middle of measuring. Once again, I'm just saying...

13. Never try to take a knife out of the hands of a mad woman.

14. Mad women, assistant cooks are easily appeased by the idea of poking food.

15. If you have an incompetent mad woman assistant, chances are you will burn the butter.

16. The cream sauce is so delicious, I wish we had made 3x the amount, but that probably would have been unhealthy.

17. Following the time frame outlined in the recipe is infinitely more reliable than listening to the mad woman assistant.

18. The "mouth test" for determining the size to cut vegetables is reliable but awfully slow going.

19. Never ask the mad woman assistant any technical questions like, "Does this liquid look reduced?" No good can come from it.

20. Karate isn't a bad skill to have - just in case mad woman assistant decides to go crazy with her knife.

Friday, June 5, 2009

All I Want For Christmas...

... is my two front teeth.

Anyone remember this song? I remember singing it when I was in Kindergarten - and of course my two front teeth were missing. I remember laughing, spitting (because you can't whistle without your two front teeth), and making a mockery of the Christmas show.

But what teacher expects a bunch of Kindergarteners to be serious during THAT song? I don't remember being in trouble, so clearly my teacher was one of the realistic ones. Lucky me!

What is the point of this story? I rarely have one, but the point here is to lead in to the pictures I found on my digital camera. (It will become clear what I mean when you see the first photo.)

I have told my almost 7 year old son that he is allowed to use my digital camera as long as he keeps his hand in the strap, and he takes care of it OR I WILL TAKE ALL OF THE MONEY OUT OF HIS PIGGY BANK... FOREVER TO PAY FOR IT!!

Yesterday was Thursday, which means that there will be another 'How Not To Cook' episode soon, but until then, here are the few gems I found in my digital camera.

Enjoy these photos by LittleMan!

LittleMan overly amused by pictures he took of himself. I had to delete about 20 pictures of him making silly faces.

A picture of BoopaLoop. I didn't crop this photo. I think BoopaLoop allowed her brother to get this close to her so she could show off her friend Lucy's chapstick she was wearing.

MamaDB's cat Bert. I did crop this one.

I cropped this one too. MamaDB's children Charlie Brown and Lucy with my BoopaLoop

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Confessions of a Kindergartener

For his Kindergarten class, LittleMan has a journal that he has to write in every M-Th. I really like this idea, but I find it interesting the kinds of things my soon-to-be-7-years-old son writes about.

Sometimes, he'll declare that he doesn't know what to write, so I'll suggest he write about doing Karate class or playing with one of his friends. These suggestions are ALWAYS met with, "Uh... no thanks mom."

I give you a brief excerpt from the untitled journal currently in progress - from my LittleMan. I only wish I could replicate his handwriting.


Snow kums in wintr.

I will tel you wen it is wintr.
(Note - Sorry to break it to you LittleMan, but we live in California.)

I like to wash the dishs.
(Note - Really?! That's news to me!)

I hav a worm. It is speshiul.
(Note - Really?! That's news to me!)

3:11 Tomato
3:13 Toy
3:15 Tak
3:17 Torpedo
3:22 Tap
3:25 Tree
3:27 Top
3:29 Tun
3:31 Tigr
3:35 Ti
(Note - I have no idea what prompted this form of writing. The only thing that is clear from this is that he started writing at 3:11 PM)

I have an igwana. I see igwanas all the time.
(Note - Really?! That is... you notice a pattern forming here?)

A cup is ful.
(Note - I have no idea what word "Astalu" is. Anyone? BUELLER?!)

Televigon sets show videos. My favorite video is Star Wors.

Win I wus in Texis I had the mose grate time and I wus at this rivr and I plade insid the rivr.

Owr howse is a tiny square floting in spase.
(Note - ?!?!?!?!?!)

How dus wind mak wid?
My asr is wind maks wind.

oops sum won has fallin. I shud pik thim up. Shud I or shud I not.

I kleing up avrey day. Not rele avry day.

My brfday is going to be son. But it is not gun to be tomarowe.

Yeah, I think he should continue ignoring my suggestions too.