The Bad Mommy Cooks—Alaska

How weird is it that two of the first three states we picked were North something or another??? Almost as weird as two of the first four states being off the continental US (are they non-contiguous? Is that a word? It must be…spell check didn’t yell at me.) States 49 and 50 to join the union, were dishes 1 and 4 in our house.

As soon as my daughter pulled Alaska from the hat, we all got a little giddy. The hubby has spent countless hours watching The Deadliest Catch so naturally the first thing that sprang to everyone’s mind was…crab. And not just any crab…Alaskan King Crab.

Delicious, succulent, mouth watering…EXPENSIVE Alaskan King Crab. I guess in watching all those episodes of The Deadliest Catch, we failed to remember the fact that deadly=expensive. Hubby went to the store to get crab for our meal and THIS is what $25 got him:


Yup, that’s it…2 measly claws…for 4 people. For a meal.

Needless to say, we’d be laughed out of the kitchen if we offered that to the children for a meal. Hubby also picked up some salmon, another popular dish in Alaska. Now, we have salmon a few times a month, so it naturally wasn’t very exciting for them. Fighting over the crab claws however…oy. Hubby had to pull the meat out and I had to dole it out equally so that the children did not maim each other over who had more crab. Our meal looked like this:

As we devoured the crab, the kids asked why there were “All You Can Eat Snow Crab”  buffets, but we had never gone to an “All You Can Eat King Crab” buffet. Interesting question…I had never seen one. I would think they would have to charge an astronomical amount to not lose a ton of money. Hubby started to speculate on how much he would actually pay to go to such buffet—$100. INSANE. How much would YOU pay for an “All You Can Eat Alaskan King Crab” Buffet?????

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Should I Go To the Nurse’s Office???

I was at work today, contemplating making a new bulletin board for my nurse’s office. I was tired of the old one and wanted something informative for the MANY students that pass through my door on a daily basis. I considered a table outlining the differences between the flu and a cold. I thought about pictures of how to properly wash your hands. I wondered if a bulletin board that advised about the dangers of smoking would be good. Then I realized, they’re not going to pay attention to that. I needed something to really help them make some good, healthy choices.

With the assistance from several colleagues, I compiled a list to help students decide whether or not they should interrupt their educational day to take the ten minute round trip to my office.

#1

DO come to the nurse if you are bleeding profusely. Profusely means…A LOT.

DON’T come to the nurse for a trickle of blood that can easily be wiped away with a tissue (nosebleeds included). If you must have a bandaid, ask your teacher. Yes, your teacher has bandaids. I know because I gave the bandaids to them.

#2

DO come to the nurse’s office if you fall in gym and a bone is sticking out, or a hand or foot is dangling.

DON’T come to the nurse’s office if you got a paper cut on your pinkie finger at home three weeks ago and now it “stings”.

#3

DO come to the nurse’s office if your hair is on fire. Actually, STOP, DROP and ROLL and THEN come to the nurse’s office.

DON’T come to the nurse’s office to check your hair or your shoes or your makeup in my full length mirror. Also, duck lips and selfies are not allowed in the nurse’s office. (Teachers are excluded from this rule.)

#4

DO come to the nurse’s office if your tooth fell out and is bleeding and you want a tooth box to take it home in.

DON’T come to the nurse’s office if your tooth is loose and you want me to pull it. I am not a dentist. Teeth freak me out.

#5

DO come to the nurse’s office if you throw up Exorcist style in the hallway.

DON’T come to the nurse’s office if you’re nauseous because you just realized you forgot to do your math homework…I can’t help you there.

#6

DO come to the nurse’s office if you get stung by a bee.

DON’T come to the nurse’s office if you got a mosquito bite four days ago and it suddenly itches. Leave it alone. It’ll stop itching. I promise.

#7

DON’T come to the nurse because you broke a nail.

DO come to the nurse if you broke a nail because you slammed your hand in your locker.

#8

DO come to the nurse’s office if you have peed your pants.

DON’T come to the nurse’s office if you have spilled water on your pants. (Water dries.)

#9

DON’T come to the nurse’s office to use my bathroom because the line in the hall is long and you don’t want to have to wait like everyone else. Or because you have to poop and don’t want anyone in the hall bathroom to know you’re pooping and think my bathroom is private, but really we can hear you outside the bathroom flushing ten times and then the whole room smells and everyone who goes in afterwards knows EXACTLY what you were doing in there. At least in the hall bathroom you can blame it on someone else.

DO come to the nurse’s office to use the bathroom if you legit will poop your pants if you wait in line in the hallway.

#10

DON’T come to the nurse office if your jacket zipper is stuck.

DO come to the nurse’s office if your belly is stuck in your zipper.

#11

DO come to the nurse’s office if you bumped your head on the bus.

DON’T come to the nurse’s office if you put your hand in gum on the bus.

#12

DO come to the nurse’s office if you have a headache.

DON’T come to the nurse’s office if you need change for the vending machine.

#13

DO come to the nurse’s office if you got something in your eye outside at gym.

DON’T come to the nurse if you swallowed an gnat outside at gym.

#14

DO come to the nurse if you can’t BREATHE.

DON’T come to the nurse if your nose is stuffed up and can’t SMELL.

#15

DO come to the nurse if you have a fever and want to call your mom to take you home.

DON’T come to the nurse if you want to call your mom to ask what she’s making for dinner tonight. (Yes, I actually had a student have a TEN minute conversation with her mom because she didn’t like meatloaf and was trying to talk her out of making it for dinner.)

I sure do hope my tips help cut down on the traffic! 😁

*All kidding aside, I love my students. They make me laugh every day with their “emergencies”.

**Also, that is not me in the picture above. My hair would never be that shiny.

The Bad Mommy Cooks—North Carolina

img_4872Moving right along on our Cuisine Tour de USA. We’ve been taking turns cooking and last week it was my turn to cook again. I’m not gonna lie to you…after hubby’s brilliant execution of the bison burgers, I was a little nervous. ESPECIALLY after he suggested that we actually keep score in this challenge. Which, if you think about it isn’t fair at all. Besides the fact that he cooks better than I do, remember my family’s aversion to the Alabama meal? what happens to the person who pulls Alabama??? They’re going to lose points just because my family is that petty. It could be the most amazing meal in the world, but the “ewwww gross” factor that going to result from catfish showing up on our kids’ plates is insurmountable. And with my luck, I’m going to be the one who ends up cooking it.

Well, I realized I needed to bring my A-game just to pull even in this contest. And I lucked out last week—I pulled North Carolina. I felt the heavens singing. Our North Carolina meal was to be pulled pork sliders. One of the four or five meals I make well happens to be…pulled pork. In fact, pulled pork sandwiches and I are practically synonymous…ask my friends. Pulled pork and I go together like peanut butter and jelly. Like shampoo and conditioner. Like Bert and Ernie. Like hotdogs and mustard (I will not even speak to you if you put ketchup on your hotdogs). Like cornflakes and peanut butter sandwiches…wait, you don’t do that? Okay, maybe that’s just me, but you don’t know what you’re missing.

I was not nervous any more…well, not completely. The only thing that I needed to do was shake up the recipe a little to make it different from my usual pulled pork sandwiches. The first change was to use slider buns instead of kaiser rolls. My husband had serious doubts about this change as he stared at the tiny slider rolls.

“You can have more than one,” I told him.

“I guess,” he grumbled. “I really like the rolls, though.”

“Pretend they’re White Castles,” I told him. He perked up immediately.

My second change was to spice up the pork a bit. I always use an All Recipes recipe that I printed out a bazillion years ago. It’s a safe bet, but the meat doesn’t usually have much flavor until I drench it in BBQ sauce. This time, I added some Cayenne pepper and smoked paprika to the usual salt, pepper, paprika and red pepper flakes. And by some, I mean a ton…I accidentally dumped half the smoked paprika in there. Ooops. It definitely made the pork spicier and hotter—there was almost no need for BBQ sauce at all. But of course, I added it—a honey BBQ flavor. And I topped the sliders with coleslaw. They didn’t like the vinegar based coleslaw that’s common in the Carolinas, so I appeased them with my usual mayo based coleslaw. The family wolfed them down enthusiastically.

The only thing they did not share my enthusiasm for was the sweet potato fries that accompanied the dish. I love sweet potato fries—the frozen ones didn’t end up as crispy as I like them, but even if they had been, that would not have changed my family’s indifference toward them. (They’re not very adventurous sometimes 😦  )

I know you all were hoping I’d undercook the pork, burn the fries or use expired mayo in the coleslaw. None of that happened. We had a very boring, but delicious North Carolina. Maybe next time I’ll be able to entertain you with my normal cooking mishaps.

The Bad Mommy Cooks Again—North Dakota

If you’ve been following my blog recently, you know that our family has started a new eating challenge—meals from all 50 states. The first state was Hawaii, and in typical bad mommy style, I ruined the meal. I’m sure none of you are shocked. Last week we pulled out North Dakota as our state. North Dakota is famous for their bison burgers. Now our kids love burgers—Bison burger, however…well, lets just say faces were made.

“What’s a bison?” my daughter asked as I googled where I could buy bison meat—believe it or not, it wasn’t available at Shop Rite. It’s like, gourmet or something.

“Um, a really big cow,” I told her…not totally a lie. I have to admit, I was also a little nervous about eating an animal I’d never consumed before. We get so used to beef and chicken and pork that anything else seems foreign and scary to us.

But never fear, the bad mommy  mommy’s hubby, was on the job. Okay…this one was prepared for us by my hubby.  I stepped down for this challenge since I’ve only made burgers about four times and he’s made then like skatey-eight billion times. After my most recent cooking debacle, the children practically begged him to make the meal.  It is worth mentioning that I have rarely screwed up a burger though. I mean, I’ve only burnt them once and undercooked them twice. (So…that’s like batting .333, which anyone will tell you is pretty damn good stats.) Yet, the fam was not willing to budge. This was HIS meal to cook and I was sent to the DL. But I DID find the bison meat, so, that counts for something right?

Anyhoo, hubby made the bison burgers and added bacon and everyone loved them and blah, blah, blah. (What a show-off he is.) As a result, I discovered something very important. There is nothing funny about him cooking. Sure we get a good meal and all, but what fun is that? Seriously. He doesn’t burn potholders or cut open bloody meat. He doesn’t set baked potatoes on fire in the microwave or make crunchy rice. He doesn’t forget to season the meat or accidentally put the chicken in the oven with the package of giblets still inside (ONCE—you will only make that mistake ONCE). Which means one thing—hubby cooking is not very funny and therefore, not great blog material. On that note, I will leave you with a picture of our perfectly cooked, juicy, tasty burgers and stay tuned for the next episode of The Bad Mommy Cooks where I accidentally melt the crock pot on the stove.

 

 

 

 

Driving Me Crazy

When my first born came home from the hospital at two days old, I remember being struck by a paralyzing fear while staring at him in his bassinet. What the heck was I going to do with this tiny little creature? And what would I do if something went wrong? What if I dropped him or fell asleep and crushed him or he got sick or stopped breathing? What if I did everything wrong and screwed him up beyond repair? What were the people at the hospital doing, letting me come home with six pounds of complete helplessness? These horrifying thoughts raced through my head for several days, causing me to well up and burst into tears at random times. As the months went by though, my anxiety abated a bit—slowly I started to get into the motherhood groove, and even though pangs of terror would hit me every so often, I realized that many of my fears were unfounded. Similar panic occurred when he started walking, and then later when he went to school. Then it was going to the mall with friends and crossing the street without my help. Each time I learned to work through my anxiety of him doing something new and growing up.

But none of those previous episodes could have possibly prepared me for the most terrifying of all “normal” parenting experiences—the first car ride with your child behind the wheel. They turn 16 and you realize, “Holy crap…they need to learn how to drive!” At first, you send them off with a driving instructor and a $300 check and assume they’re going to come back with all the knowledge and expertise they need to operate a motor vehicle. It’s not until you actually get in the car with them—in a bizarro world where they’re in the driver’s seat and you’re just the front seat passenger—that the reality of what is happening hits you. You just handed your keys to the person who was incapable of wiping his own butt a mere decade ago. The person who told you this morning that he didn’t know what to do when he spilled milk from his cereal. The person who claims he can’t set his alarm and needs you to wake him up every morning. He’s going to turn on this 2,000 lb machine and attempt to propel it through the streets without A. hitting another car (moving or parked) B. hitting a person, and C. killing you in the process.

Yeah. I know. Terrifying doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of this experience. Still, you’re going to give that world class driving school the benefit of the doubt. With your heart hammering in your ears, you buckle yourself up and say a quick prayer as you clutch the door handle and tell him to back out of the driveway. Within seconds you realize this may have been a mistake considering he hasn’t even bothered to adjust his mirrors, let alone check them. So of course, you start screaming as he barrels out of the driveway at warp speed, causing him to slam on the breaks and your neck to snap forward like a rubber band.

“What?” he asks in a panicked voice. “Did I hit a squirrel?”

“Not yet. But you will if you don’t adjust the mirrors.”

He grumbles and fidgets with them for a few seconds and then continues on his way out the driveway, passenger side tire hitting the curb because he turns the wheel too quickly and in the wrong direction. You suck in your breath and correct him. He continues to mumble under his breath. Once he hits the street though, the speed completely halts as he awkwardly turns the wheel (practically ending up on the neighbor across the street’s lawn). Thankfully, there is no one coming down the street to be held up by this act. Granted, the kid’s never backed out of the driveway before—you got to give him some leeway.

He has, however, driven on the street before, and even before he gets to the corner, you realize that this is going to be a $hitshow. You assume that at some point he learned that roads have two side and each driver needs to stay on his or her own side of the road—the fact that he may not have comprehended that fact is quickly becoming apparent. If another car should happen down this road, there’s going to be a head on collision happening.

“Watch where you’re going!” you screech, resisting the inane urge to grab the wheel to correct the car’s direction.

“Stop yelling at me!” he yells back. “You’re making me nervous.”

“Sorry, ” you mumble because you realized that he’s really not that far over the center of the road—you’re just so shaky from this whole experience so far. And you’re not even off your own street yet.

“My driving instructor said I was good,” he says defensively.

Yeah, I bet he says that to all the kids if they don’t wreck the car. Or kill him.

As you continue to hyperventilate, he rolls up to the stop sign. And yes, he rolls up to the stop sign. Not past it where most normal people stop so they can actually see the traffic coming in order to make an informed decision about whether to turn the car or not.

“What are you doing?” you ask as he stares at the parked cars on either side of the street. “There is no way you can see!”

He ignores you as he blindly turns onto the main street—he cuts the wheel wide to the right and then makes a tight left turn. He immediately speeds up—he’s only going 30, but it feels like 90. You close you eyes and chant in your head I’m not going to die, I’m not going to die, I’m not going to die. Then you realize that if your eyes aren’t open, you just may die since you may be the only thing preventing your child from slamming the car into the oncoming vehicles on the opposite side of the road. Reluctantly, you open them, just in time to help him realize that there is merging traffic coming off the highway as he attempts to turn into the grocery store parking lot without checking his mirrors. It is at this point that you realize driving school instructors are grossly underpaid.

“I put my blinker on,” he protests as you breathe into a paper bag.

“That doesn’t matter,” you mumble through the bag. “You have to LOOK all the time. People don’t care about your blinker.”

“Then why use it?” he asks. Good question, kid. I wish I knew the answer—sometimes I feel like I’m the only person who actually uses it.

“Just park the car,” I instruct him. Then I gaze at the packed grocery store parking lot with various cars parked haphazardly throughout. A vision of him clipping the back of a Lexus as he attempts to park springs to your mind. “Down there,” I point. “Far away from all the other cars.”

He pulls into a spot—there are no cars on either side—yet he is still crooked. Oh my God, you think as you stagger out of the car. He’s going to give me a heart attack…or at the very least, drive me crazy.

“How did I do?” he asks enthusiastically.

“You didn’t kill us or anyone else,” you say.

“That’s good, right?” he asks as eager as…well, a teenager who wants to drive.

“That’s a plus.” And then you swallow the vomit that is lodged in your throat and wonder if you can break into his college fund and pay the driving instructor to take him out for the next 11 months until he gets his license. It would be so worth it.

***Author’s note: This particular experience happened three weeks ago—since then, he has become MUCH better at driving (his parking skills still suck), but it still makes me cringe every time I see the keys in his hand.

 

 

The Bad Mommy Cooks Again—Hawaii

At the end of July, we were eating dinner and my daughter came up with this brilliant idea that for our next Family Food Challenge, we should cook a meal from each of the fifty states over the course of a year (50 states, 52 weeks…a coincidence???). So we scoured the internet and asked for advice from Facebook in order to compile a list of meals from all 50 states. And now it’s September and we are finally getting to our first meal.

There are a couple of reasons for the delay, and most of them have to do with my family’s picky nature. When we organized the list, we discovered Alabama was first alphabetically. Not much of a shocker there, but the fact that we had fried catfish as the “Alabama” meal, caused my family’s fur to prickle. In our house, salmon is about the only fish that makes it through our front door. Upon the “Catfish discovery”, the children (and hubby) made various gagging noises and raised complaints. I still didn’t budge. When hubby said our local grocery store wouldn’t have catfish, I proved him wrong. I came home with catfish. A victory? Nope.

That catfish literally sat in our fridge for 9 days before I acquiesced and sent it on its way to the giant garbage can in the sky. Every single day that I had planned to make the catfish, something mysteriously came up…doctor’s appointments, birthday parties, late afternoons at the beach… Our Food Challenge was stalled for almost two weeks simply over catfish. I told them resistance was futile—we had to have catfish to start.

Then the brilliant child came up with a plan to get around the catfish (for now). She wrote down all the states and put them in a hat. We waited with bated breath to see what she would draw out of the hat. Luckily, she pulled out good one…Hawaii.


Hawaii was initially “Spam”, but with a little research, I found a recipe for Kulua Pig. This called for a pig roasted over a spit…not happening, but there was a “cheat” recipe where you could make it in the oven. Winner, winner, chicken, er, pig dinner! (There was also a crock pot recipe but that was too close to my normal pulled pork recipe…this experiment is about trying new things.) Everyone was satisfied with the choice. You would think that would have meant we had the Kulua Pig the next day, right?

Wrong. You obviously don’t understand how my family works and how difficult dinner really is in our house. First, it was finding the right cut and size. The recipe fed 20. My kids eat a lot, but not even my teenager can eat for 20. So I got a smaller cut (keep this in mind, it is relevant later). Then the pork butt sat in my fridge for 5 days while life got in the way. Since the recipe said the pork needed to cook for 4 hours and change, we had to make it on a day when we would be home all afternoon. That’s not an easy feat. The pork butt went into the freezer. A few days later, the pork butt came out of the freezer and I tried again.

Wednesday we were supposed to have the pork butt. I had to work and forgot to tell the hubby to put it in the oven—pork butt sat in the fridge and we went to Chili’s. Thursday, hubby worked and it’s not worth it to cook elaborate meals for just the kids—pork butt sat in the fridge. Friday, we had lunch too late and no one felt like eating dinner—pork butt sat in the fridge. Saturday I threatened to cut the WiFi if we did not have the Damn Kulua Pig because it was going to have to get thrown out if we didn’t eat it tonight!!!! Hubby then informed me of a BBQ that he forgot to write on the calendar. (He claims he TOLD me about it but he did not, and if it’s not on the calendar it doesn’t happen.) I threatened his manhood if he didn’t come home to eat the Damn Kulua Pig. He promised he would be home as he sheepishly bowed out.

As I was gathering the ingredients, I realized I read the recipe wrong (the font on my phone seems to be shrinking…). I needed banana LEAVES to wrap the Damn Kulua Pig in. Yeah, I don’t have banana leaves, nor do I have any idea where to get them—actual bananas were going to have to do. But of course, when I cook, ONE problem isn’t enough. Remember I got a smaller cut of pork? Well after hubby rubbed it with sea salt and liquid smoke and as I was preparing to put it in the oven, I realized that crap…it wouldn’t need a whole 4 hours to cooks. But then, our oven is messed up—sometimes it’s off by 50 degrees in either direction so it’s a game to figure out how long stuff will take to cook to begin with—so I wasn’t sure what to do. Should I cut everything by half, temp AND time wise? Math is not my strong suit, so soon, the only smoke was coming from my ears. So I stuck it in the oven and crossed my fingers, hoping for the best. At 2 hours in, this is what happened:


Ooops. (Aren’t burnt bananas pretty???) Meanwhile I had told hubby he better be home by 6:30 to eat the Damn Kulua Pig. It was 6:15. I kicked the oven up a few hundred notches and proceeded to dry the whole thing out within minutes. Hubby made a face and said he was going back to the BBQ for “Real food”. Children turned up their noses at the pork and followed their father out the door with promises of “Real food”. This is me…eating all by my lonesome:

Well, one down, 49 to go. Better luck next time, right?

Summer Expectations With Kids Vs. Reality (The Teenage Version)

Every June I clutch my planner to my chest lovingly and dream of all that the upcoming summer has in store for me and my kids (and hubby, too). I have overnight trips planned, day outings, leisurely strolls on the beach and campfires with s’mores. I have relaxing by the pool days in mind, as well as days spent riding roller coasters. I’ve got bedroom painting plans and garage cleaning out plans—okay, they may not be fun, but they’re a necessary evil. Why not do them when we have the extra time? And every damn August I look at that planner like I am today, and I fight the urge to burst into tears because nothing works out the way I expected. Every year is the same story…August arrives in a blink of an eye and I’m screaming at the kids to finish their summer reading projects and lamenting about what we didn’t do this break.

Expectation #1: We are going to get up early every morning and take a walk or go to the gym.

Reality: Kids are sleeping till almost noon every day. I am waking them up with a whistle after I eat lunch.

Expectation #2: I’ll cook more since we don’t have to rush anywhere and don’t have to eat at a certain time.

Reality: Party of four?

Expectation #3: We don’t even have to spend any money—we can just use the pool in our backyard every day. Heck…we don’t even have to GO anywhere.

Reality: IT. RAINED. ALMOST. EVERY. FRIGGIN. DAY. Or at least it seemed that way. And the days it didn’t rain, no one wanted to put sunblock on. And then it was too hot for the Prince and Princess of Air Conditioning to be outside. Plus, no one wants to go in the backyard anymore because our neighbor’s weeds are LITERALLY higher than our fence and the mosquitoes think we are a feast when we’re outside. Like seriously…I am out here now with two citronella candles, bug spray on, and a citronella wrist band. And they’re nibbling on me without a care in the world. I could play connect the dots with my mosquito bites.

Expectation #4: I’ll get a lot done around the house at least—even if it’s rainy all summer. I’m going to clean every room from top to bottom, paint the bedroom and get new blinds and a comforter. I’m going to fix the crack in the wall in the dining room and repaint it, clean out the garage, rearrange the laundry area downstairs, straighten up the attic, weed the whole backyard, lay a 10 x 10 stone patio in the backyard, fix the trellis that’s falling off the deck, clean out the closet in the front hall, go through the kids’ clothes and donate what they’ve outgrown (which is everything)…

Reality: I fixed the crack in the wall. And I didn’t even do a good job.

Expectation #5: The kids will be done with their summer reading books by the time our plane lands from vacation in early July.

Reality: Did you miss the part where I’m screaming at them to finish their f&@ing books??? They obviously have.

Expectation #6: The kids will not do anything fun this summer until all their chores are done for the day. In fact, they will have to do their chores before I even give them the Wifi code because I’m going to change it every night so they aren’t on their phones all night and sleeping till noon.

Reality: How do you change the Wifi code?

Expectation #7: We’re going to do fun family things together. The kids are getting old quickly. We’ll get Great Adventure season passes and go on other fun day trips.

Reality: Me—“Let’s go (insert activity here) today!” Hubby—“No, it’s too hot.” Kid #1—“Go to where? Eh, I don’t want to do that. Can you take me and my friends to the mall instead?” Kid #2—“I just want to stay home and watch YouTube videos of other people doing stuff.”

Expectation #8: If the kids don’t want to be with me, I’ll go down the shore once a week. Alone.

Reality: I’ve been there twice 😦

Expectation #9: Everything is going to stay neat and clean all summer because at least I’ll have time to stay on top of things. And the kids are old enough to pick up after themselves, too. Oh, and I won’t have to do dishes constantly because I’m going to buy paper plates and bowls and plastic utensils and cups so I’m not constantly doing dishes.

Reality: I am very close to being buried alive by all the dishes in the sink, the laundry piling up, and my kids’ crap strewn all over the house like an obstacle course.

Expectation #10: If we haven’t really done anything, at least I’ll be relaxed when it’s time to go back to school, right?

Reality: How exactly does one relax with all these expectations hanging over one’s head???

Next year, I swear I’m not making a list. I will have NO expectations at all.