Friday, June 23, 2017

Five on Friday: Me Hungry! Me Busy!

Have you ever taken a picture of a page in a library book? I took this one years ago (from Jeremy Tankard's book Me Hungry! ) and it still makes me laugh. I so relate to Cave Mama. Look! She even has five kids like I do.

Now that summer's here and the kids are home, they want food with even more frequency than usual. They've been off of school for four days now and so far not a single one of them has starved to death. I'm counting that as a parenting success.

I try not to buy a lot of pre-packaged snacks (though being summer and on the go I definitely buy more in this season than the others) But I do strive to make as many of their snacks at home as I can. Here are some healthy snacks that are ready and waiting (or will be once this first batch of things runs out and I need to make more). I'd love to hear your healthy grab-and-go/self-serve snack ideas too.

1. Frozen banana slice and peanut butter sandwiches. We used to have a hysterical name for these but nobody can remember what it was. (Any suggestions?)

2. Homemade ice pops: current favorite is made by blending blueberries with maple syrup and then layering that mixture along with vanilla greek yogurt into the pop molds. So good and so healthy I'll even let them eat these for breakfast.

3. Power balls! We haven't made these in awhile but definitely will make a big batch soon. They are no-bake and the kids love them. But my very favorite thing about them is if you realize you've got four left but five kids that want one you can just pinch a little off of each one and make an entirely new ball! WIN-WIN!

4. Muffins, all sorts. I bake them when I have time and freeze half for future snacking.

5. Roasted chickpeas: drain a can of chickpeas (or two) and rinse. Shake them up with some olive oil and nutritional yeast. You can eat them this way and they are yummy but if you roast them, they're even tastier. (400 degrees for 30 minutes)

Friday, June 16, 2017

Five on Friday: She'll Always Be Our First

We recently celebrated the 7th Birthday of our youngest child. As I was reflecting back on her life, I realized  . . . she may be the last baby in this family but she has certainly been first in many ways.

1. She was the first of five kids to really have a pacifier (oldest son had one only until about 10 months old). She love, love, loved it and had one until she was over three years old and it was basically falling apart in her mouth and I refused to buy her a new one. (I still have that pathetic half-pacifier in my sock drawer because I'm a weirdo)

She sure did love the heck outta that paci

2. She was the first of our children to take her dirty diaper off in her crib at nap time. Repeatedly. Parenthood is not for those with a weak constitution, that's for sure.

3. Our little darling last baby was our first toddler to figure out how to open the door and stealthily escape the house.

4. As a preschooler, she was the first and only one to randomly decide (after months of going to preschool happily) to start crying and carrying on when I dropped her off. 

5. Now that she's in grade school, she's the first one to have frequent visits to the nurse for a multitude of reasons . . . enough to have the nurse console me with, "Don't worry. Every family's got one."

We sure do. Happy 7th Birthday, A. You'll always be our first.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Five On Friday: Oldish Ladies' Night Out

About once a year I go away overnight with a few good friends. The destination is not far away, nor tropical, nor particularly exciting: that's not the point of this getaway. This is solely for reconnecting with friends and relaxing sans les enfants. 

This year our usual non-tropical town wasn't working out for us and we decided to stay overnight in the city all three of us went to college in (and some lived in for a few years after college.) We  didn't exactly do a lot of reliving of the past per se, as we are oldish ladies now, but we did do a ton of reminiscing.

Here's how it went down:

1. While we did hightail it all over town on foot like we used to do, we were wearing comfortable shoes this time.

2. As we walked, we  lamented every beloved bar that had been closed and clucked at all the changes (as oldish ladies are prone to do.) The grease trucks gone? A travesty. And Neubies' Restaurant which was *the* breakfast place is now a PNC bank. It's a  travesty I tell you!

3. We got carded!! Just one time and it was clearly because he was checking every single person's ID at the door, not because we looked particularly young. But it totally counts as us getting carded.

4. Aaaaaand one of us didn't have ID with her (not me)! Just some money in her back pocket. "Why would I ever think someone would card us???"  We plead with the bouncer: "Look at her grey hair! She has two kids!" and, my favorite, her plea of, "Just look at how old my friends are!" We got in.

5. As we were headed back into our hotel, two guys made their last-ditch-1:00 am effort for hitting on us oldish ladies literally as I was discussing the results of my colonoscopy. We entertained them for a minute or two, they told us they also were shocked that the grease trucks were gone. As we broke away from them to go up to our room, one shouted out, "Where are you going to go for breakfast?" Naturally I shouted back, "Neubies!"

Remember our old Hungarian landlord that kept a vegetable garden in back? And that time there was a blizzard and we shoveled the whole driveway? And the way we always had too many people living here? And, and, and . . .

Friday, June 2, 2017

Five on Friday: Baby's First Lord of the Rings Screening

As you can imagine, the baby in a family of five is introduced to things much earlier than the oldest child was. Chewing gum, the Beastie Boys, that sort of thing.

Recently my 15-year-old became obsessed with introducing his younger siblings to the Lord of the Rings. He asked if he could watch The Fellowship of the Rings with them. I said sure but warned him I didn't think it would hold the interest of the younger two.

I was wrong, they were rapt. As they watched the second half the other night as I was making dinner, my 6-year-old daughter ran in to ask me if we had a bow and arrow anywhere, because she was going to need one. And that was just the beginning of her funny (to me) reactions (to the movie). Here are five more for today's list:

1. That guy is kind of cute even with the blood on.

2. I kind of want Nicholas to be my brother. (She was referring to the character whose name is actually Legolas)

3.  No-one can kill that beh-beh! (Why did she say baby like this? Nobody will ever know)

4. Big brother: She's in love with Aragorn.
     Little sister: She's in love with arguing??  
     (She also thought this character's name was Aaronburr.)

5.  No offense but I kind of want that guy--that guy with the black hair--yeah, that guy--to be my uncle. (Apparently she really wants to be related to these characters. As if we're not characters enough for her.)

Friday, May 26, 2017

Five On Friday: What Colonoscopies & Childbirth Have In Common

And if you think it's just the exacerbation of hemorrhoids, you are sorely mistaken, my friend. See, I've given birth twice and just had my sixth colonoscopy and I've noticed a number of other commonalities.

I've narrowed it down to five for this Friday's list:

1. There is poop involved. And for me, frequently (and unfortunately), vomit.

2. Each subsequent time seems harder since now you know what you're in for.

3. Modesty has no place here.

4. I feel completely justified in my whining.

5. I never knew the number on the scale could change so dramatically in one day! 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Five on Friday: From Zero to Hero

I have long considered  Mothers' Day to be a Hallmark holiday designed to guilt people into spending money. Sure, I'm as much of a  sucker for hand print card and a painted macaroni necklace as the next Mom, but that's all I really needed. Okay, a few extra hugs might be nice, but really that's all I expect from the day. Fine, someone else can pick up the garbage that the bear knocked over. But that's it! Really! No going out to brunch and please for the love of all that is holy, never ever that open ass heart jewelry from Dr. Quinn. 

But last weekend my family knocked it out of the park. They might regret it as now my Mothers' Day expectations are way different.

Here are the top five things about it:

1. Homemade cards: Okay I couldn't pick one favorite but I'll just pare it down to three highlights:
He also included "Thanks for making dinner most of the times."

Inspired by the *amazing* song by Mr. T. I truly pity the fool who hasn't watched it. (And that's a bicep, not a tush)

The oldest painted this for me and added sparkly foil

2. Gifts: Gifts? I don't expect real store bought gifts! Recently our George Foreman grill "mysteriously" fell off the counter and broke. My middle boys were in the kitchen at the time and had "no idea" how it happened. For awhile, the destructiveness was cute and sort of funny, like the dent in the wall from Z's head (that he's PROUD of). But the breaking of the 15-year-old way-too-small-for-our-family but frequently used anyway grill nearly pushed me over the edge. So for Mothers' Day I was presented with a super duper deluxe model Cuisinart indoor grill that has about a thousand functions. Daddy O also bought a ton of delicious ingredients to make some amazing lunch and dessert with it.

3. Video: We're big on movie making over here. Years ago we filmed an adaptation of the Three Billy Goats Gruff. G, who was 5 years old at the time, was the troll under the bridge. To him, a troll meant a troll doll so he insisted on being naked with a crazy pink wig on. It's hysterical.

They remade the movie so the youngest two could be involved. G, now 15, asked for $500 to perform naked. He then said he'd do underwear for $80 and later agreed to underwear for the last two pancakes stuffed with extra chocolate chips. The film might be the best thing I've ever seen and I'm not allowed to share it with anyone so just use your imagination and laugh along with me.

And yes, I can't wait for my kids to write their autobiographies.

4. Hike: We love the family hike! We got to use our newly prepared hiking backpack and it worked out great. We found morels! I never found or tried them before! I was very excited and they were, in fact, delicious.
"The forest got really evil all of a sudden"

Hello, morels!

5. Entertainment: After cards and gifts and a visit to the Grandparents and a hike and delicious loaded grilled cheeses and a nap . . . there was more! A family screening of Moana (my first time, the kids' third) and later Daddy O and I had scored some free tickets to see Postmodern Jukebox. It was a really fun show and pretty much the perfect way to end my day.

Good luck topping this next year, family-a-rinos!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Five on Friday: Recent Ridiculousness

I don't know, man, sometimes I think our family might be more ridiculous than others. Are we? Or is this typical? Here are five things that have been said or done here recently, you be the judge:

1. Me, to the teenagers: Um, what are you guys doing?
Them: Trying to see how many baby carrots we can fit in G's mouth.
(It was 25. I am not sure if I should feel proud or . . . something else)

2. Me, to myself: Is this . . . is this yellow puddle near the base of the toilet . . . is this URINE? (Thanks, Captain Obvious)

3. Me, to the middle boys: Boys, you HAVE to have at least one nice pair of pants.
Them (whining): But why?
Me: Because! Just . . . in case someone dies or something.

4. Me, to myself again: GAH, why does this bedroom (shared by two super-athletic and resistant to showering pre-teen boys) smell so damn bad all the time??? (I'm beginning to notice that Captain Obvious comes out frequently when I'm speaking out loud to myself)

5. Me, to the teenagers: As long as I live a nice long life, I give you permission to throw a host a circus funeral when I die.
Them: What's that supposed to be like?
Me: It's open to interpretation.
Then they started talking about how they'd get my corpse onto a trapeze.
Me: What? This is your mother you're talking about! Do you really want to do that?
Them: You SAID it was open to interpretation.
Me: Forget it, I take it all back.


Friday, May 5, 2017

Five on Friday: Naked Gardening Day

Four years ago I heard about this little thing called World Naked Gardening Day. I like naked and I like gardening so it seemed like the day for me! Daddy-O and I took some pictures with strategically placed cans and gardening tools, posted them on Facebook and then went to the boys' tee ball game.

Where people who are friends with me on Facebook also were going.

That was fun. (Nay, that was hysterical.)
Now people keep tagging me in an articles on Facebook to let me know that World Naked Gardening Day is this Saturday, seems it's grown in popularity since our photo shoot (always the trend setters . . . )  No, we won't be staging more pictures, but we don't have to. Doing it that one time has been the gift that keeps on giving . . . so many smiles and memories attached to doing it that first time, like:

1. This conversation:

Me: I'm thinking of staging and 'American Gothic' themed World Naked Gardening photo, with me and you.
Daddy O: Who's going to take the picture?
Me: I guess G (who was 11 at the time)
Daddy O: Great, he'll be all, "What did I do this weekend? My parents made me take naked pictures of them."
Me: At least DYFS* is out of our lives.
Daddy O: Yeah, for NOW . . .

2. We took those pictures the day after my Grandmother, Babci, went to the hospital. My Uncle showed them to her on his phone and she got the biggest kick out of them. She asked him to show *every* new nurse that came in. By the time we got there to visit, all of the nurses sort of felt like they . . . knew us intimately.

3. When we left the hospital, Daddy O said something to Babci that she always said when she was leaving someone's house, which was, "Tell your Mother I was here!" She didn't miss a beat in responding, "Try to keep your pants on."

4. Months (years?) after, someone posted this pillow for sale on Facebook. People began tagging me on it so much I felt sort of obligated to buy it and now it lives on my couch.

5.  American Gothic: World Naked Gardening Edition is now on a canvas in my dining room.

*Division of Youth & Family Services: before our younger three were adopted through foster care, there were different DYFS workers here all the time for visits and inspections