Re-launched, but still slightly under construction. :-)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Super Mom!

Sunday, April 25, 2010 By

Augusta, Ga. - I spent yesterday getting my butt kicked by a virus, so I'm making up for it today.

I have completed:
- The grocery shopping
- A load of dishes
- A cherry pie w/ lattice top crust
- A pot of chili
- A pot of spaghetti sauce
- A pot of curry sauce
- Dressing a chicken for roasting
- Directing Emmie in cleaning windows and baseboards, and organizing the giant pile of movies and video games that had accumulated on the floor by the television
- Cleaning the bathroom
- Cleaning the leather couch and ottoman
- Put down Febreze powder and vaccuumed the floors
- Dusted all reachable surfaces

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Friday, April 23, 2010

As Seen on TV - A Tribute to Doing it Wrong

Friday, April 23, 2010 By

Augusta, Ga. - I make a lot of mistakes. But on days when they seem to pile up until I can't see the people around me, I can still say that I'm not an incompetent as these infomercial stars.



Smell That? It's Not Just Sarcasm

Friday, April 23, 2010 By

Augusta, Ga - In raising her to never accept the status quo, I forgot that the first status she'd test is the one at home.

"Emmie, you need a bath before school. Let's go, chica."

"But! But! Daddee say I not hab to take a baff."

"I can smell your bootie from over here!" I tease. "Daddy said that because he didn't smell you."

"Oh, yeah? Do he not hab a nose, mama?"


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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Living My Life by the National Television Standards Committee

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 By

Augusta, Ga. - Emmie is in the bath, but even that does not stop her from conversing with the entire neighborhood. And, as usual, she carries on a stimulating conversation, indeed...

"MAMA!" She hollers.

"Yes, Doodle?" I call.

"Lithen, carefully," she commands, lisping through her missing tooth. "Whenebber you see a T. Rex, you gotta stop."

(snicker...)

"Okay, good to know."

"Yeth! Iss BERRY important! So the T.Rex won't see you. When a T.Rex tries to see you, a T.Rex is very huge. But Phineas and Ferb said DON'T. MOVE. A. BIT. Den he won't eat you."

"Okay, well, if cartoon characters say it, it must be true."

"Das wut I'm telleend you."

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Monday, April 19, 2010

On Maternity Clothes, as I Await My New Niece or Nephew

Augusta, Ga. - My sister-in-law, Allie, is in labor RIGHT THIS MINUTE. Emerson is beside herself: "I'm so ett-CITED, Mama! My very own cousin!" she said this morning.

Actually, Emmie has two other cousins of her very own, but they have always been older than her. And they're boys. Smelly, dirty boys. :-)

Allie was the most patient pregnant woman you ever saw - and maybe the most adorable. I don't know where she found her maternity clothes (certainly not on the clearance rack at Target, like I did), but she always looked great. She's not a trendy, spendy kind of woman. She always looked professional. But if she'd wanted to flaunt it, I could see her in this tank top or this dress.


I came across them on a site called Kiki's Fashions. And then I spent an hour looking at clothes that I would wear now, and I'm not even pregnant. They have cute, trendy maternity clothes, a total break from the sailor suits and muumuus that we're usually forced into once we have a bun in the oven. But even without the word "maternity" stuck out in front of the phrase like a giant hood ornament, their clothes are adorable. And they're super reasonable. Kicky party dresses for around $30. Summery, short-sleeved blouses for about $20. Cute, NON-MOM JEANS for between $20-$30.

If you buy something from them, use the code "blogfriends" for a 20% off coupon.

Friday, April 16, 2010

I Always Have a Ball With Puns

Friday, April 16, 2010 By

Augusta, Ga. -

Me: "Hey, what does a hot dog run at the GreenJackets Baseball Game?"
Rep: "I think about $3? $3.50? I'm not 100% positive?"
Me: "That's okay. I was just looking for a ballpark number."

Do you think he hears that a lot? Maybe that's good. I don't wanna come at him out of left field... Oh! Somebody stop me!



Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mediterranean Roast Chicken

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 By 1 comment

Augusta, Ga. - So I developed this recipe for our family. I hope you like it. Total prep time: About 10 minutes, if you don't count the brining process. And since it's a passive process, I really don't. Cooking time: 45-60 minutes.

Ingredients

  • One whole chicken, fresh or completely thawed
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • two-three lemons
  • 1/4 cup Zahtar spice mix (available locally at Aladdin's Grocery on Columbia Rd)
  • powdered garlic
  • black pepper
  • sea salt
  • onion
  • potatoes
  • carrots

Preparation and Cooking

1. Trim the chicken if needed, and remove the little package of gross that they include with it, in case someone is literally starving and has some weird intention of eating the gizzard, which is the part of the chicken that digests things. Rinse the chicken well, and then place into a large pot and cover it with water. Shake about a 1/4-1/3 cup of sea salt into the water. Cover, and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Note: This would also work with a chicken that has been cut up already, or a package of leg quarters, but the flavoring process will be a tiny bit more difficult as you'll have to work with each piece of chicken. Also, whole chickens are cheaper.

2. When you're ready to get dinner started, drain the pot, remove the chicken, and pat dry. Start the oven, to temp out at 350. Then, gently, but firmly, slide your hands between the skin and the meat, all the way down into the legs, in order to create room for the spice mixture to set into the meat.  

Note: Rubbing spices or flavoring into the skin of poultry before baking doesn't flavor anything but the skin.

3. Stir together about a 1/4 cup of olive oil with almost as much Zahtar. It's a mild, thyme-and-seseme based mixture. Add about a 1/2 tsp of powdered garlic and a liberal dose of sea salt and black pepper. You should have a runny, pastey kind of mixture. If it freaks you out, add a little more olive oil.

Note: You can use butter for this, too, but it's not as authentic and gives it a completely different flavor. Still... butter. Yum.

4. Rub the olive oil mixture under the skin of the bird, massaging into the meat - and, again, getting down into the legs, too. If you have any remaining mixture, reserve it for the veggies. You should be taking the skin off your chicken for healthier eating.

Note: This is totally gross the first time you do it. But I don't care what anyone says: basting is a waste of time. Baste not, waste not! This is how you get the most flavorful roast poultry.

5. Quarter the onion and place inside the chicken's body cavity. Chop the potatoes and carrots into slightly-larger-than-bite-sized pieces. Arrange the chicken in a roasting pan, on top of the rack, and dump the carrots and potatoes in around it. Pour the remaining Zahtar over the veggies, or just drizzle them with olive oil, sea salt (or seasoning salt), and black pepper. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, turn veggies, do not replace foil, and continue baking until juice runs clear when thighs and drumsticks are pricked with a fork or knife.

6. Remove from oven. Let sit for 10 minutes so that juices will distribute. Remove veggies from pan, and add to a serving platter. Carve chicken, remove skin from pieces, and douse liberally with fresh-squeezed lemon juice.

Note: You can mix the lemon juice in with the olive oil mixture before rubbing it into the chicken, but I don't think you get the full flavor. I like waiting until after the chicken is on the serving platter to add the lemon.


7. Serve and enjoy! Try pairing it with a microwavable whole-grain side dish, like Kashi's 7 whole-grain rice pilaf, flavored with Moroccan curry. It's easy, healthy, and goes well with these flavors!



Sunday, April 11, 2010

Out of Time

Sunday, April 11, 2010 By

Augusta, Ga. - Emmie has acquired a SpongeBob watch from a kids meal. At her request, I set the time and hand it back to her.

"There. Now you'll always know what time it is."

"Danks! What do it say?"
I haven't even begun to teach her how to tell time yet. I'm no fool. This way, bedtime is whenever I say it is.

"It says 1:31," I answer.

"Ohhh..."

Just then, it switches to 1:32.

"So, what time is it?"

She frowns at her watch, then at the chicken nuggets in front of her. Her face brightens: "Iss LUNCH time!"

Gotta give her that one.

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Just Give Me the One Thing, Okay?

Saturday, April 10, 2010 By

Augusta. Ga. - Emmie's learning to read, so she's really into guessing the letters that start each word. She also likes for me to spell out words for her to practice writing on her portable drawing board.



We're doing this in the car when she requests "restaurant" and "people." I spell them out, and then she frowns.

"Der's not a O in 'people,'" she says.

"I know it doesn't sound like it, the way we pronounce it, but there's an O right after the E," I say, amused.

She considers this for a nanosecond before disagreeing.

"I sorry, mama, but... Das not da troof."

She is so sure of herself - and I am so gullible - that for a moment I rethink it. Wait - what am I doing? I'm the 198-something spelling bee champion of C.J. Hicks Elementary!

"Dude," I start - because that's how all the classy moms address their children these days - "I know how to do one thing above average, and that's spell. Everything else... I'm pretty much just faking it. So can you listen to me on this one thing, please?"

"... if you say so, Mom."

Gee. Thanks.


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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Advice, please

Thursday, April 08, 2010 By

Augusta, Ga. - Emmie and I are in the middle of a showing of "How to Train Your Dragon," when she turns to me.

"Mama?" she manages in the World's Loudest Whisper. "Where do Jesus lib?"

Uh-oh...

I'll admit it: I'm utterly unprepared for religious questions from my child - primarily because I still have so many myself. How do I explain to her that Jesus died? Or do I try to explain the concept of a soul? Or do I fall back on generally accepted but utterly inadequate cultural shorthand?

She's five, I reason. She's not looking for me to give her the nature of the universe in a compact pill with an easy-swallow coating (or maybe she is?). She believes in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and that "Play Fair" and "Share" were two of the ten commandments. I think she's just looking for pieces of a puzzle that looks a lot like a map of the hierarchy of parenting. In short, what every kid wants is the location and general job description of Who's in Charge.

"Well, where do YOU think he lives?" I counter, using my well-worn technique for simultaneously deflecting a question and learning more about my daughter.

"MOOOooom..." she rolled her eyes so hard I could hear them rattle around in her skull.

(sigh)

"I don't know," I acquiesce. Because it's the most honest answer I can give her. And because I think kids also need to hear that phrase from their parents, as much as they need spiritual guidance.

"You DO know, mama!" she tells me. "Jesus libs in your heart."

I suppose I did assume a rather literal intent in her question, like maybe she wanted his mailing address to make sure he filled out his Census form. But questions like that throw me into a panic. What should I have done? What kinds of questions do your kids ask that stump you? What answers would you have liked to hear from your parents?

I want to guide her to feel a connection with mankind, the planet, the universe. What's the best way to do that?


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A Poem By Emerson

Thursday, April 08, 2010 By

Augusta, Ga - We're sitting in my mom's recliner at my parents' house.

"Mama?" Emmie says. "Did you know dat some fings take change?"

I've raised this girl for five years, and I suspect something is on her mind.

"What do you mean, Doodle?" I ask.

"Wull, like wood is trees. An' moms are gran'mas," she explains. "Do you seee?"

"So, some things are different?" I ask.

"Yeth! Like kids are big kids. An' big kids are grown-ups. Fings change a lot. But all da change doesn't matter. It doesn't matter when fings change."

"Why not?"

"Because da people are da same people. An' dey lub you."

And that's something to remember.

Of course, this also the girl who thinks that "Boo" is pronounced "Moo."


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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Sh!! My Dad Says? Try Sh!! My Sister Says

Tuesday, April 06, 2010 By

Augusta, Ga. - Kelli and I are making conversation in the car on the way to Helen.

"Did you see 'Zombieland?'" she asks.

"Yeah, that movie cracked me up."

"I liked it, but it scared me," she says.

"What scared you?" I asked. It made me laugh... until the clown.

"Um, maybe the fact that there were ZOMBIES in it?!"

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Observations

Augusta, Ga. - We're driving through Milstead, the old mill town in Rockdale County.
"Wow," Emmie says. "Dis a lubblee place where old houses lib."
If that isn't right on the money...

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If Men are from Mars, and Women from Pluto, Children are from Uranus

Tuesday, April 06, 2010 By

Augusta, Ga. - We're in the Wal-Mart bathroom in Conyers, Ga. It's not a pretty place to be. I'd like to spend as little time as possible in here, but Emmie's taking her sweet time.

"Emmie, what's going on in that stall?" I ask.

"Um... I love you!"

Cover me. I'm going in.

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Monday, April 05, 2010

Next Time, Not So Much DHEA for "Brain Development"

Augusta, Ga. - I'm trying to get Emerson to bed before dawn so that we can get up and take a day trip to Helen tomorrow. She is understandably resistant, surrounded - as she is - by relatives just WAITING to play with her. I should charge money for this, Jeez. Nonetheless, I try to explain it to her.

"So we go to dah mountain tomorrow wif Jacob an' Jackson an' Aunt Jessica?" she asks.

"Right. And I want you to get plenty of sleep so we can have a good time."

"So... You want me to go to sleep so dat I can wate up? Dat not mate sense to me, mama."

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Sunday, April 04, 2010

Waiting...

Sunday, April 04, 2010 By

Augusta, Ga. - My sister, Kelli, and I are having a "don'tcha hate it when" conversation.

"I - ooh! I know!" she says, as we lounge on the bed. "How about the new 'who' when people mean 'what'?"

"I don't know that one," I admit.

"Yeah, like someone called the restaurant to ask what was on the menu that night. I was rattling off the specials: 'lobster and polenta sticks,' and he goes 'who?'"

"What?!" I laugh.

"Exactly. And I didn't know what he meant. Who? I wasn't talking about anyone. So it was all 'Who's on First,' with him saying 'Who?' and me saying 'What?'"

I'm laughing so hard right now. I know the challenges of customer service.

"So finally, I go through the specials one more time, I get to the lobster-polenta sticks, and again he goes, 'Who?' I was like, 'That's MISTER Lobster-Polenta Sticks to you, sir.'"


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Where I Get My Dorky Sense of Humor

Sunday, April 04, 2010 By

Augusta, Ga. - We're sitting around on the front porch, watching the kids run around the yard and ride bikes after Easter dinner.

"Lord, the carpenter bees are going crazy this year," mama noted, as they dive-bombed our heads.

"Tell 'em to head over to my house and build me a back deck," I joked.

"I thought those were bumble bees," said my sister, Kelli.

"No, they're looking for a place to drill under the eaves. We'll find little piles of shavings later," mom said.

"Do they sting?" Kelli asked.

"No," mama said. "But they drive me nuts with all that hammering."

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Friday, April 02, 2010

Blood Pressure

Friday, April 02, 2010 By

Augusta, Ga. - Erin and I are giving donating at Shepeard Community Blood Center. She's done with her blood donation, and I'm waiting for my plasma to finish.

"Your blood is darker than mine," she notes.

"Yes, like a fine wine," I joke.

"I have kind of a headache," she says, as she examines the Rube Goldberg machine-looking contraption that processes the plasma donations.

"Me, too."

"Well, I guess so. You got all your guts in this machine!"

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Thursday, April 01, 2010

The Food Was Great! The Service...

Thursday, April 01, 2010 By

Augusta, Ga. - A new restaurant on Washington Rd has great food - Indian, Chinese, Pakistani, American, and Middle Eastern, all under one roof. And the creamy chicken with olives is to die.

But the service is a little over-attentive. After at least 10 table checks by our server - not to mention several from the rest of the serving team, I feeling a little frazzled. Every story someone tried to tell went unfinished. Not to mention that they couldn't answer our questions about the food.

Still, at the end of our meal, I gave it one more try and asked the server what the chicken-and-olive dish was called.

"Um... where'd you get it?" She asked.

I couldn't resist, and pointed out the window at the doughnut shop. "Next door," I answered.

I'll be back to eat there when I return from vacation. The food - channa masala, kebabs, naan, lentil soup, and some other stuff I didn't get to try - was really good. But I think I'll specify with the server how frequently she need check on me. And I'll just Google my questions later.


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