Thursday, March 17, 2011

No TV: one week PLUS

And I caps the "plus," because I'm trying to stretch this as long as I possibly can (which will probably be tomorrow).

So the kiddos have been without tvs or movies since last Wednesday, and it has been SO nice. They are still crazy and semi-whiny, but the quiet, the playing outside, the playing with each other has been a nice change from the , "I WANT THAT!" when commercials come on, pillows being tossed off the couch and the screaming over who sat on whose bean bag that normally linger in the air in the afternoon slump.

I knew as this Wednesday approached, I needed to put on my game face to keep them from gluing their sweet faces to the screen. Yesterday was cake because we were so busy, there was no time for tv, so today? I decided we'd make cake!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! To celebrate we made Taste the Rainbow cupcakes. And a process that normally would take 20 minutes, tops, I managed to stretch into the entire afternoon!

Step one:
Poor cake mix into a bowl.

Step two:
Have kid 1 begin to pour a can of Sprite into the bowl (seriously! No eggs, no oil!) and have kid 2 scream, "Hey! No fair!" Sit Kid 2 on the counter and allow him to pour the second half while he attempts to let his new "pet" chicken help. Fish Chicky Chick Chick out of the batter bowl before he hits and stir cake mix and sprite until smooth.

Step Three:
Divide the batter into 6 separate bowls.

Notice for us, that's 4 salad bowls and 2 of our graduated mixing bowls. Thank you, Crate and Barrel, for discontinuing our everyday pattern right after we got married. Although we originally received/purchased 8 place settings, we're down to 5 bowls. Call ahead if you're coming to dinner and would like a salad. First come, first served!

Also, please note the original directions say to divide EVENLY. I did not do that. That will come back to haunt us in the next step.

Use food coloring to tint the batter 6 different colors. Let the kids count the drops (slowly) and take turns stirring.

Step 4:
Layer the cupcakes.

First, you have to put the liners in the pan. And to do that you have to find your pan. I had a six-cupper in the pantry, but where oh where was my big one?? Checked the kitchen. Nothing. Out in the garage? Wine glasses from Prague and plastic platters from Strip's second birthday, but no cupcake pans. Attic? A giant tub of clothes I SHOULD have sold last week in the consignment sale and an even bigger tub of hangers for said clothes, but still nothing for cupcakes. Thank goodness the things you need are always in the last place you look. The laundry room.

Herd kids and dog back inside and move their scooters out of the way so you don't back over them.

Starting with purple, layer each liner with all 6 colors. Unless of course, you've failed to divide the batter evenly. Then just fill them in the best you can. And notice how those bottom three are a wee bit fuller? That's not going to be good.

Step 5:


Let the kids lick the bowls they made. Then let them argue over what colors they made. Then let them argue because, "Hey, I made the blue and I already licked that bowl!" "Yeah? Well there's still some left, and I'm going to eat it!"

Tell the kids to put the bowls in the sink. Then take that back because we're already down to 5 bowls, we can't afford to loose too many more.

Step 5a
Thank goodness you made him take off the new green polo and also pat yourself on the back for opting to buy the triple jug of bleach from Costco.

Step 6


Even though you only use the dry cake mix and a can of sprite, you still cook it just like it says on the box. Here's Nugget checking in on the progress.

Oooooh Mommy! Dey look Booootiful!

Step 7
Remove from oven and let cool.

Remember how the bottom ones were a little fuller? Pretty easy to spot now, huh? Oops!

Let them cool completely. I managed to do this by throwing the last ingredients into the pot of jambalaya and then tossing the kids in the car for a quick trip to the grocery store.

We were out of milk. And Chardonnay.

Step 8

Serve dinner. Even if Jambalaya isn't their favorite, the fun, festive shamrock bowls I snagged on clearance at Target this morning will be a hit.

And green milk! How fun is that?! Green plastic forks leftover from Strip's last birthday, too! Yay!

And in case you're wondering, green milk spills and splatters just as
well as regular milk.

I swear, I'm just going to start offing my kids all-purpose cleaner with their meals. That way when it hits the table or tile, at least they are helping with clean up.

After everyone's made a happy plate, it's time for the cupcakes!

Pick the one you want and peel off the wrapper to reveal the rainbow! Top with a cloud (icing) and eat. Our clouds had sprinkles stirred into them because everything is better with sprinkles.


Sweet, rich and delicious!

And after the kids are tucked away in bed and are snoring...

Add a few drops of blue food coloring to a glass of white wine, and...

Leprechaun vino!

And we managed to make it another day without TV!

Tomorrow, we're making play dough.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

See you in April, friends!

Lent completely snuck up on me this year. I was so busy overindulging in new old foods, I completely lost track of my days, and WOW! Ash Wednesday is tomorrow!

So the big question came up. What to give up or take on for the next 40 days? So I'm doing a little bit of both this year. And it starts with deleting an app. Bye facebook! It's a total time suck, BUT I love hearing/seeing what's going on with all my buddies, AND I'm friends with four different Chick-fil-a's in town, so there's free food every Wednesday thanks to facebook.

I'm also giving up booze which will be slightly easier since we have no Trader Joe's here and our wine supply has dwindled considerably.

Taking on? Going old-school Oprah and starting my gratitude journal again. Three things a day I'm grateful for and no cheating with things like, "I'm thankful I woke up this morning," or "I'm thankful for the air I breathe!" Physically looking for good things in the world causes you to create good things in the world, so it's a win win!

We were chatting about Lent and giving things up and why over dinner tonight and I asked Strip if she wanted to give anything up. She suggested desserts (which made me think of UP's bff who would always give up "dessert" but then would justify eating anything sweet as long as it wasn't AFTER a meal -- hello breakfast cake!). I reminded her that we were going to New York the end of the month and it might be hard to turn up the Big Apple's sweets! I told her when I was in school, we'd give up one thing per week during Lent, and she thought that sounded like a good idea. She mentally checked her calendar and has decided that this week, she's giving up tv and next week is dessert. We'll see how these couple of weeks go and take it from there!

So see you the end of April, Facebook! And blog/twitter followers, get ready for more from me in the next week or so. I'll probably be turning to typing to push through the facebook withdrawal.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Really wishing I would have held on to some of my maternity clothes

Because I'm seeing a great need for stretchy pants in my near future.

A couple of years ago, I re-discovered my egg allergy. Then a few weeks later, I discovered I was allergic to everything else. But I always had the theory that I was actually allergic to the town. On my way home from the doctor, I drove past a wheat field on my left, a corn field on my right and knew there was a soy bean field up ahead. When I brought up the correlation of environment and food allergy, my allergist shrugged it off and encouraged me to continue not eating.

So the bright side of moving was knowing I was going to have to find a new allergist, and knowing they don't grow ANY of my major allergies down here, I was hopeful I'd be able to start eating again. With my epi pen about to expire, I made an appointment with a great allergist whose earliest appointment was in July.


I told the nurse to put me on the cancellation call list, and I was shocked when 2 hours later, they called saying there was a cancellation and the doctor could see me the next morning at 8:30 am. They prepared me that it would be a long appointment, and to be ready to stay an hour maybe an hour and a half. I let work know I'd be a little late, charged up the leapster batteries and Nugget and I headed to meet the MD.

While he's a great doctor, he looked like he was fighting REALLY hard not to roll his eyes at my previous doctor's diagnosis. He laughed off my list of food avoidances and when asked if I'd ever been allergic to anything in the past. I told him I was allergic to milk, eggs, poultry when I was younger, but kind of outgrew them and was able to eat pretty much anything except for straight up eggs from high school on up.

"You don't just wake up and become allergic to foods you've been eating for years."

Um. Yeah doc. Took the words right out of my mouth. Let's get this testing started!

The nurse came in with the trays of needles, I laid on my stomach and she began to draw. Then she ran out of room. Then she had to erase some lines and draw some more.

68 pin pricks later, I was instructed to stay on my stomach and try not to move. She looked at Nugget and asked if we'd be ok. I told her between my phone and his leapster, I'm sure we could make it for the 20 minutes I needed to be still. She told me she'd check on me and if I needed, she'd entertain Nugget.

10 minutes later, she peeked in, and Nugget and I were working on our letters with Mr. Pencil. She asked how I was feeling and I said I was a little itchy. She walked over to the table to take a peek and let out an audible gasp/shriek.

Me: That good, huh?
Nurse: Ummm.. did you know you were allergic to anything when you came in?
Me: Oh yeah, I'm allergic to everything.
Nurse: Oh thank goodness! I'll be back in 10!

And she was back in 10 with two additional nurses to help read off and record everything I'm allergic to. We celebrated in my negatives which include horses, red cedar and pine. So I can finally buy that pony and ride through certain forests. Yay!

Nurse 3 said she'd be back with something for the itching and swelling and nurse 1 took me down for my breathing test. These have also become more fun over the years! Now, they're hooked up to a computer that shows the image of a tree and you have to blow the leaves off of the tree (and there are little monkeys hanging out in the tree. Fun!). I failed that test. I had a feeling it was because I was having minor allergic reactions to 67 different things, but whatever.

Nurse 2 brought in a nebulizer, and I inhaled a little Zopenex and attempted the test again (10% improvement). Meanwhile, I inform nurse 1 that neither nurse 2 or 3 brought me anything for my my itching back and I was about to start scratching my back on the nearest tree. She brought me something to take for it right about the time I'm looking at my test results and realize she forgot to stab me with the corn needle. It became a race against antihistamines! She stabbed me with the corn needle and we waited to see if it was negative (and might be because I already had the meds in me) or positive and I was allergic even with meds.

It was positive.

In comes the doctor. He took a look at my chart and those rolled eyes popped wide open. We went over my results, and I re-stated my opinion about food vs. environment. He looked at my chart and said, "That makes total sense. We don't test for those pollens because no one grows that stuff down here, but looking at the way you react to pollens and grasses, you could have been fighting off them as pollen, then when you ingested them, your body just couldn't handle it."

Booyow! Just call me Mommychick, MD. He thinks, because I'm out of growing lands, I might actually be able to eat again. So I have my little list, and just like a baby, if I'm reaction free after a week of reintroducing a food, I can move on to the next. Because we know I'm not allergic to peanuts, he suggest I try soy because they have some connection. He has hopes that between allergy shots and tiny bites, I can be eating the majority of my list by this summer.

The ones I can't ever try? Eggs and Peas. Yup. PEAS! So every time my mom said, "You will sit at that table until you're finished with those," and she was talking about peas, she was killing me slowly.