Why Dance Recitals Are the Worst

I realized this weekend that my poor daughter is the unfortunate recipient of a woman who was not meant to be a “girl” mom. Sorry, kid. I am never going to get excited about “girlie” things like make-up and hairstyles. I will not make a big deal over her Sweet Sixteen, her prom, or even her wedding. I’m going to roll my eyes at the girl drama and the giggling over boys. And I’m DEFINITELY NOT going to ever understand dance recitals.

Yesterday, she had her “dance” recital…even though she doesn’t dance. She goes to gymnastics classes, and for the past four years or so, she went to a gymnastics school THAT DIDN’T DO RECITALS. No costumes, no dress rehearsals, no dance routines. Just gymnastics. She went every week and learned gymnastics…not a three minute routine to be performed at the end of the year. It was perfect.

Unfortunately, the weekly trip gymnastic school was a bit of a trek and it was wearing us down…so we found something closer. The trade off was that this school had an end of the year recital. Now when she was about five years old, she did ballet for a hot minute and there was an end of the year recital. She had a poufy tutu, glittery tiara, and a pair of fairy wings. The kids swayed back and forth on the stage for about three minutes. Some just sat on the stage and cried. It was adorable—an enjoyable hour out of my life that had actually brought a tear to my eye despite my hardened heart, so I figured…how bad could this recital be?

Holy crap, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

When I did gymnastics in the stone ages, they held the recital in the high school auditorium and I wore a black leotard and we bopped around to “Eye of the Tiger” while doing one handed cartwheels and front walkovers. Afterwards my mom took pictures with the Polaroid and we went to Buxton’s for ice cream. Sure, I was pretty awful at gymnastics, but at least my parents didn’t have to go broke to watch and “celebrate” my mediocrity.

That’s what I had been prepared for. That’s NOT what happened.

First off, the classes spent the entire YEAR prepping for these routines. They hardly learned ANYTHING else but the routine. My kid didn’t even learn anything she didn’t already know how to do because they were so focused on the recital routine. I basically paid tuition for  her to learn a three minute routine. 😒

A three minute routine…with an $80 costume. A mesh shirt, tank top and shiny leopard shorts…that’s $80???? Really?????

In addition, we paid a whooping $22.50 a person for these tickets. Because the high school auditorium isn’t good enough anymore. Nope. These kids need to have their recital on a “theater” stage. I’ve gone to concerts whose tickets cost less than these recital tickets. Like famous people with boatloads of talent concerts. In much better venues. It shouldn’t cost a family of four almost $200 to go see their kid do a tumblesault on a mat in shiny shorts and a tank top for God’s sake.

And the emails…oh God, the emails. Every single freaking day we got emails. First it was about volunteering to help out. I laughed so hard when I got that one that I seriously peed myself. Spend my day off with a bunch of screaming and giggling girls from the ages of 3 to 17? No thanks, I’d rather scrub the toilets with my toothbrush.🤨

After that came the emails about buying tickets. Not only were these tickets expensive, you were given a timeslot that you could wait in line to choose your seats for those tickets! Bonus…if you volunteered to help out you got to pick your tickets early!

Uh what?😳

I really didn’t care where my seat was as long as I could see my kid on stage and the seat was in the theater. I refused to join the line that formed in the rain in front of the dance school the day the tickets went on sale. I bought my tickets three days later. (By the way, we were in the 8th row…practically on top of the stage.)😛

But the emails didn’t stop there. Next came the emails about the “studio run through day” and the dress rehearsal and picture day and all the days that the actual classes that I paid for were cancelled to accommodate  these special days.🤔

And even then it didn’t end. Finally came the emails about what tights to wear and how to do your hair and how to do your make-up so it was “stage ready”. Those emails really made me roll my eyes…I would be lucky if I could get my kid’s hair in a ponytail, let alone get “stage make-up” on her. But of course, there were a lot of “girl” moms following these instructions to a T. At the dress rehearsal, Hubby and I watched with open mouths as a mom rolled in a suitcase the size of ME and started pulling her daughter’s costumes and make-up out of it. There was another one who had her daughter’s costume changes on a rack that she wheeled into the building! She had a color coded chart that displayed which accessories and costumes went with which routine. I bet she even changed the kid’s hair for each routine, too. YOU SHOULD NEVER NEED A COLOR CODED CHART FOR A DANCE RECITAL UNLESS YOUR KID IS ON DANCING WITH THE STARS!!!!!😱

If that wasn’t enough torture, finally the recital day came. The damn thing was so freaking loooooong that they broke it down into two interminably long shows, one in the morning, one in the afternoon, presumably so that parents didn’t have to sit through five hours of a dance recital. My kid was in one class with one routine…but lucky us…her class was in BOTH shows! Why????????😩😩😩

Side note: I was the worst parent ever and I just let a mom friend whose daughter was in the class take my child to the first show. I’m sorry, I have better things to do on a Saturday than watch a bunch of pre-teens in too tight costumes leap around on stage for hours on end. I only endured one half of the second recital and let me tell you…it was WAY TOO LONG.

I get it…there’s a lot of work that goes into pulling one of these shows off, but again I ask…why do it? Do they think the parents will be upset if they don’t? I bet you more than half the parents would celebrate a no-recital policy. I personally would be willing to pay MORE just not to have to suffer though another recital. Sure some of the kids were really good, but most were just average. Some were even more uncoordinated than I am. I felt bad for these kids. There they were, up on stage in front of everyone, dancing away and most people weren’t even watching them…they were looking at their phones and praying for the intermission so they could leave.😕

I’m sure those die-hard “girl” moms out there are saying, “But I WANT to see my darling princess all dressed up! I want to see what she learned all year! I WANT to buy her a plastic trophy and get all excited about her ‘special day’! I don’t care if she’s completely sub-par at dancing and has no real talent at all! And I want to pay a $hitload of money, too!”🤩

Not me. I love her and I think she’s beautiful, but I want to see her do what she excels at. I want to make a big deal about THOSE things. I want to see her sing a solo in the school concert. I want to see her make honor roll. I want to watch in amazement at her You Tube video editing skills. Sure, she can do more gymnastics stunts than I ever could, but I’m not going to lie to her and exclaim “Oh my GOD you were AMAZING!” like the mom on the sidewalk in front of the theater did to her kid (who was by all accounts, pretty unforgettable and actually tripped over her own two feet). They’re NOT amazing. They’re…okay.

What are we setting these kids up for when we constantly celebrate mediocrity? Why do we have to give up eight solid hours on an already packed weekend to watch other people’s kids be average? Why are we showcasing EVERY FREAKING THING THESE KIDS DO??????

By the way…I confess that I DID get her flowers and make a big deal about the fact she kept her “stage face” on and smiled and got through the routine despite the fact she was recovering from a week of strep throat and was full of antibiotics and Advil. To me, that’s a bigger accomplishment than anything. She could have come home or refused to do the recital and let her classmates down because she felt like crap, but she pushed through and I made sure she knew that was a big deal in my eyes.

See, I’m not the worst mom in the world…I’m just average…like the restof you.

Wisconsin bratwursts

The Bad Mommy Cooks—Wisconsin

My house reeks right now. No, the dog didn’t poop in the hallway again. The kids didn’t leave their gym clothes in the living room, either. What happened is I cooked and I am officially the worst cook on the planet. I know…you thought I was getting better at this cooking thing, but apparently you were wrong. This week, I messed up cheese.

Okay, maybe it’s not as simple as me messing up cheese, but it’s pretty damn close. We picked Wisconsin and I asked my aunt in Wisconsin for some advice on our menu. She told me “brats, beer, and fried cheese curds”. Which totally makes sense if you know anything about Wisconsin. It’s as cold as %^&* up there and there’s not too much to do other than drink beer while watching sporting events (either on TV or in person…although I can’t imagine how anyone could stand watching a football game in subzero temps). And of course as everyone knows, Wisconsin is full of cheeseheads. So cheese and beer it is. And bratwurst because we have to have actual food.

Now neither hubby nor I are big beer drinkers. In fact, I kind of despise the taste of beer. But in the name of science (or whatever this experiment is), I decided I would suck it up and drink the beer. I had this brilliant idea that we could sample different beers from Wisconsin. I googled Wisconsin breweries and quite a few came up (including Miller which is pretty much the only beer I will drink). Some of them had interesting names like Grumpy Troll Brewery and Horny Goat Brewery. Armed with a list, we headed to Joe Canal’s, the biggest liquor store in our area. They had to have some of these, right? Wrong.

They had none. Nada. Zilch. They had plenty of New Jersey Microbrews and all the big names, but none of the Wisconsin beers. Except for Miller of course. I did not want to just cop out and drink Miller. I went to two more liquor stores before I found a beer called Old Milwaukee. I’m sure those of you familiar with beer have heard of this brand, but I have not. The can was kind of interesting:

 

The beer was okay as far as beers go. It took me about 3 hours to finish the can—and I even used some of it in the fried cheese curd recipe.

Yeah, about that. The fried cheese curds are responsible for the smell in the house. When you deep fry cheese coated in beer batter, it leaves the oily smell lingering in the air for DAYS.

In all fairness, I couldn’t find cheese curds. This seems to be a Wisconsin delicacy unavailable in this area. The recipe I used assured me that I could cube a block of cheddar cheese with similar results:

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They lied.

The beer batter was easy to make—1 cup of beer, 1 cup of flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp sugar, and 1 tsp salt. I realized immediately that the batter was too runny to attach to the cubes of cheese (maybe it would have worked with the cheese curds, but I’ll never know, will I? Because I’m NEVER going to Wisconsin where it’s so damn cold.).

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I added another cup of flour and the batter adhered better to the cubes of cheese, but they were still kind of drippy. Still, I persisted—I sprayed the deep fryer baskets with cooking spray and dropped them in. The results were appalling:

 

 

Yup, that’s melted cheese all over the basket, even after I sprayed it and everything. The batter just slipped right off the damn things and the cheese melted everywhere. And the oil smell was so gross it turned my stomach. I was super annoyed because I broke out the deep fryer for this experiment. If you’ve used a deep fryer before you know what a pain in the arse it is to clean.

I decided to try my beloved air fryer. I had opted not to use it in the first place because I figured this kind of thing needed to be authentic and the air fryer wouldn’t work well, but damn it…I had 20 odd cubes of cheese with batter on them. I was using the air fryer.

Turns out, my first instinct was correct. Here are my air fried cheese “Curds”:

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At this point in time I decided to admit defeat and have hubby cook the brats. I figured it would be in the best interest of the family. He was slicing the onions and peppers anyway…

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He topped the mixture with the bratwursts and some salt and pepper, and popped in in the oven at 375 for 40 minutes. For the last ten minutes, he turned it up to a broil and voila!

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We scooped them onto hoagie rolls and the children promptly informed us that the meal was “disgusting” and “inedible”. I assure you hubby’s contribution was completely edible as it always is (although I didn’t put peppers or onions on mine…I just topped it with sauerkraut and mustard which I’m sure is totally incorrect).

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So the “brats” did not eat the brats. Instead they snuck into the kitchen after I spent 97 hours cleaning up the deep fryer mishap and they dirtied up the kitchen making pasta. How can one make a mess making pasta? Oh, my kids can! Water overflows the pot and burns the electric stovetop. And they leave the strainer in the sink with bits of pasta sticking in it. And we can’t forget the parmesan cheese sprinkled all over the counter. And the table. And the floor. Good thing I drank that beer and I was a little more mellow.

I swear, the next state we do, we’re NOT including them. Especially if they’re going to make pasta anyway.

 

The Bad Mommy Meal Preps

I follow this fitness/nutrition blogger on Facebook. She’s young, kidless, her boobs haven’t discovered gravity yet, and she gets paid to blog about her fitness journey.

I don’t know why I follow her exactly…her life isn’t anything like mine. Usually I feel awful about myself when I read her blog and look at her pictures. Then I have to remind myself that she spends 3 hours in the gym everyday. Who wouldn’t look great if they spent that amount of time at the gym (well, except for that guy who wanders around the gym talking to people and not actually working out)?

The other day on her blog she posted pictures the usual pictures of her firm ass cheeks and then of her meal prep. She said she spends at least an hour a day meal prepping. It’s time consuming but it affords her the flexibility to spend time doing other things (probably living at the gym) and not giving into cravings. (I’m paraphrasing here.)

I promptly broke out into a fit of laughter as I gazed at the pictures of her bland and boring meals without any jealousy at all. I wouldn’t eat that stuff every day if you paid me! And spend hours prepping for meals I wouldn’t even feed my dog? What a waste of time! Who can afford to spend an hour a day prepping their meals??? That’s not even counting the time spent eating the meal! Oh wait, a kidless fitness freak who gets paid to do that, that’s who.

And that’s when it hit me. Despite the fact that I don’t look like this fitness guru, I STILL spend about 16 hours a week “meal prepping”. What?!?!? Why the hell can’t I bounce a quarter off my butt? Oh, wait, probably because I don’t eat a diet of tofu and veggies and live in the gym. I should share my “meal prep” saga with all you other moms out there feeling bad that you don’t have chiseled abs or toned arms. So here we go, dear readers…meal prep Bad Mommy style:

SATURDAY: Stare at myself in the mirror hating every inch of my body. Jiggle my arm fat with disgust. Pinch way more than an inch on my belly. Try to get my nipples to point straight out without actually lifting my boobs. Vow to do better with eating next week. Inform Hubby and kids we are eating healthier next week. No going out to dinner. No ice cream for dinner. No junk food. No alcohol. Hubby and kids roll their eyes and nod their heads. Total time: 0.5 hours

SUNDAY: Spend 2.7 hours pinning recipes on Pinterest. Ask Hubby and kids what they’d like to eat this week. Receive shoulder shrugs and a round of “I don’t know”. Tell them they’re eating what I pick if they don’t give input. Create week’s menu on chalkboard in kitchen without input from family. Scour this week’s supermarket circular for sales. Cut coupons. Compile list of groceries needed to make the meals on this week’s menu. Total time: 5 hours

MONDAY: Make eggs for breakfast. Eat eggs by myself because no one else wants breakfast. Give leftover eggs to dog. Grab expired yogurt and a bruised apple for lunch because there is nothing else to eat in the house yet. Give list to Hubby to go to the store. Pat myself on the back for divvying up the work (I’m not the only person who eats in the house after all). Field 4 phone calls and 7 texts from Hubby while he is at the store because he doesn’t understand the very explicit list. Take out items to make meal number #1 when I get home from work. Realize that list wasn’t explicit enough for Hubby and he got the wrong type of meat. Go to the store myself to get the right meat. Cook meal. Burn meal. Yell at kids because they won’t eat the meal. Eat my own meal in silence. Throw out their meals, clean up kitchen and declare the kitchen closed. Fume as they disregard my statement and make pasta and cereal. Clean up the kitchen a second time. Resist urge to pour wine. Total time: 4.5 hours

TUESDAY: Make eggs for myself for breakfast. Remind family that there is cereal for breakfast. Remind them that they will be hungry when they don’t eat. Make salad for myself for lunch. Ask daughter if she wants a salad. Ignore her eyerolling and laughter at the suggestion that she eat a salad. Come home from work and inform Hubby that he has to cook tonight because the recipe is too complicated. Discover that I forgot an ingredient he needs and go to store. Hubby makes meal, Hubby makes a giant mess and uses every pot, bowl, and utensil in the kitchen. Kids eat meal, I clean up meal. I make salad for tomorrow’s lunch so I don’t have to rush. Pour 5 oz of wine in a glass and drink slowly. Total time: 3.5 hours

WEDNESDAY: Realize I forgot to take the meat for tonight’s meal. Run to store to grab something to throw in the crock pot. Pick up a bagel on the way to work. Realize I left salad in fridge at home. Beg Hubby to bring me my lunch. Come home on lunch and throw food in crock pot. Eat dinner. Clean up dinner. Drink 5 oz of wine quickly and have half a second glass. Total time: 2.3 hours

THURSDAY: Realize I still forgot to defrost the meat. Have cereal for breakfast. Grab a bag of lettuce, cucumber and a knife to make salad at work. Go out to dinner. Have yummy cocktail at dinner. Have 8 oz of wine at home. Total time: 0.2 hours

FRIDAY: Say screw it. Order sausage, egg, and cheese from the deli for breakfast. Order from the Italian place around the corner for lunch. Go out to dinner. Have a pitcher of sangria at dinner. Total time: 0 hours

SATURDAY: Stare at myself in the mirror hating every inch of real estate on my body. Vow to do better with eating next week. Inform Hubby and kids we are eating healthier next week. No going out to dinner. No ice cream for dinner. No junk food. No wine. Hubby and kids roll their eyes and nod their heads.

And repeat…

Photo Credit

The Bad Mommy Cooks—Virginia

While not the first official state (that’s Delaware), Virginia was the first colony and the site of the first English settlement, Jamestown, in 1607. (That’s the settlement that didn’t disappear, by the way.) In fact, in 1584 the Queen at the time gave the name “Virginia” to all the land being explored by Sir Walter Raleigh. This land actually stretched from present day Maine all the way down to South Carolina. The beginnings of America started in Virginia and therefore, our Virginia meal reflected that.

It really wasn’t difficult to choose the components of this state meal. Of course we had to make Virginia ham—the state’s name is in the food for crying out loud! But what to make with it that screamed “Americana”???? None other than mashed potatoes, broccoli, and Apple pie. Is there anything more American than apple pie?

We had a ham in our freezer that has probably been there since last Easter. Our supermarket gives us gifts like a “free” ham or turkey at holiday times after we spend a certain amount in the store. I think it’s something like five million dollars—steep, but somehow we seem to earn the “free” meat product every time. (They used to give us 10, 20, or 30% off coupons…man, I miss those days…instead now I get an 11 pound ham 🙄.) Eleven pounds of ham is a bit much for three people (yup, Mister Picky Teenage Boy who is living on McDonald’s and Coco Puffs will not eat ham) so you can understand my reluctance to make it the ham before pulling Virginia out of the hat. Oh, by the way, my daughter wrote out the states back in August and until we pulled “Virginia” we didn’t know that she had spelled it completely wrong…yup…we pulled “the state of female anatomy” out of the hat. Cue inappropriate jokes from Hubby. 🤦🏻‍♀️

Hubby also refused to help me cook this ham. I’ve never made a ham and the sheer size of it terrified me. Go ahead, make your own inappropriate jokes…I’ll wait.

img_1049 Of course I had to google how to make the stupid thing and I panicked when I realized I didn’t have anything to make a glaze. Until I discovered a bottle of Pampered Chef Pineapple Rum glaze in the cabinet that was even older than the ham. The whole bottle fit nicely on the whole thing:

img_1050 As soon as I dumped it on the ham, hubby surfaced from his basement lair and informed me that I should have taken the skin off the ham. I gave him the finger and told him to bite me. I know, I know…so mature. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Anyway, the ham went into the Craptastic Oven from Hell at 430 degrees since the recipe online said to cook it at 375 and the oven is off by 55 degrees. I set the timer for 2 hours and 45 minutes since it needed to cook for 15 minutes per pound. The whole thing seemed like a word problem you’d find in a third grader’s homework 🤯 (I hate math).

Meanwhile I peeled the potatoes for the mashed potatoes and cut them up. Kind of off topic, but does anyone else shudder when they read a recipe and discover you need to “cube” roundish objects like potatoes? Seriously, how does one actually accomplish this? 🤔 I usually end up in tears because there is no way possible to cube all the potatoes into squares that are the same size. It just is geometrically impossible.

Ham in the oven. ✔️ Potatoes boiling. ✔️ Time to make the apple pie. I have to confess, I love apple pie, but I haven’t had it in years because it always reminds me of that scene in American Pie. You know the one I’m talking about. Wow, Virginia really does bring out the inappropriateness in people, doesn’t it? Oh well, Virginia is for lovers after all. 😏

So…anyway…the pie. I realized after I bought frozen pie crust that I’ve used for pies in the past, that I needed the refrigerated crust so I could have bottom and top to the pie. Back to the store I went. Oh and I had to get apples anyway. Apples are kind of the star of an apple pie.

img_1051   I like a medley of apple flavors so I used Granny Smith and Honeycrisp. The Honeycrisp is sweeter and the Granny Smith is tarter. I had a bit of a nervous breakdown because the apple-peeler-corer-slicer that I’ve had for sixteen years decided to crap out on me right then and there…just when I needed it the most…just when I was making my first apple pie.

I got over it and peeled and sliced the apples myself, all the while bitching about how much easier it would have been with the apple-peeler-corer-slicer. And while sticking to the floor because the juice was going everywhere.

The rest of the ingredients were simple: 3/4 c. sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 2 TBSP all purpose flour, 1 tsp lemon juice:

img_1056   Add to pie crust and cover with second crust:

As you can see from the last picture, I tried to get fancy with the cut-outs on the crust but I’m not really up to that level yet, you know? The pie went into the oven at 455 (55 degrees off, remember?) for 40 minutes. There was nothing left to do but cross my fingers.

So let’s put a pin in the pie saga and return to the ham which was now finished. Hubby caved to my commands and cut the ham for me:

img_1062   It came out perfect with a nice flavor from the glaze. The mashed potatoes weren’t too shabby either:

img_1065   (Even the dog loved them)

img_1066   By the time I finished cleaning up dinner, the pie was done. Oh, by the way, in case you ever make apple pie—after about 15 minutes in the oven you should take the pie out and put two inch strips of foil around the edges so they don’t burn.

img_1069   It looked good. It smelled even better. The problem was, the pie was supposed to sit for at least two hours. I wanted to eat it before then. It appeared a little deflated and watery—it could have been because I cut it too soon or it could have been because I didn’t use enough apples. After the broken apple-peeler-corer-slicer ate up two of my apples, I was down to 4 apples when the recipe called for 6. I didn’t think it mattered that much, but apparently it does. Next time I will definitely use 6. And I will also use a little more flour as well. Still, the pie was tasty and warm inside…a slice of Americana:

img_1070   (You can make a joke now…I know you’re dying to.)

The Bad Mommy Cooks—BBQ Steampots

There must be something in the air…two successful cooking attempts in a row! I know what you’re thinking…the last successful cooking attempt was Mother’s Day…that was like two weeks ago. Well, I hate to admit it, but we haven’t cooked a meal in two weeks It’s been night after night of take-out, restaurants, cereal for dinner, and even a night or two where we completely forgot to eat dinner. Welcome to baseball season at our house—the season of never knowing when we will be home for dinner! The first few years my son played baseball I seriously tried to organize meals, but games would get rescheduled, rained out, and rescheduled again…always at the last minute. Some games would last an hour, while others would go three hours. I finally gave up trying to feed my family sometime in his sophomore year of high school. We just never seem to have time to pull together a meal.

Which is why I love this Steam Pot meal. While it’s not actually a Steam Pot, that’s what the kids call it when I make this particular dish. When we go to seafood restaurants, we all like the Steam Pot meals with the shrimp, sausage, corn and crab legs. They’re so easy and quick to recreate at home. The best part is you don’t even need the pots—

The dish consists of uncooked shrimp, Andouille sausage, corn, and red skin potatoes. You basically cut the potatoes and sausage into cubes, quarter the corn, defrost the shrimp, dump them all on a sheet of heavy duty foil, season with Old Bay, and top with several TBSP of butter for good measure. That’s it. Since the sausage is precooked, you don’t even have to precook anything…although I would recommend sticking the potatoes in the microwave for about 5 minutes before you cut them up and add to the foil since they tend to come out too hard if you skip this step.

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We didn’t have crab legs this time, but you can easily add them to the mix. (Make sure you use the heavy foil since the crab legs tend to rip through.) We had a little disagreement about how long the foil packets should stay on the grill. I took them off after 10 minutes (5 minutes on each side) because I ended up spilling part of the packet. I forgot to make sure to close the foil on the SIDE, not the top or bottom, when I wrapped them. This may cause the packet to open up if you flip it over on the grill too rapidly.

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See? I should have put them on the side. Since I didn’t, one of the packets opened up and I had to rewrap it and the grill started smoking because of the butter dripping and I got frustrated and nervous about all the smoke and took all the packets off the grill even though they weren’t done. (I’m sure you’re elated to know I can mess up even the simplest of meals.)

Anyhoo, they went back on the grill for another five minutes or so and they turned out perfect in the end:

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There were no leftovers…next time I will make a 5th packet so that we can all have some extras. I’m sure you can wrap each item up individually and cook it as well, but I think the flavor created from mixing everything together is part of this dish’s charm.

So if you’re short on time this grill season, whip up a couple steampots for your family. It’s quick and so easy that even I can do it.

How To Enjoy a Beach Day With Kids In 39 Easy Steps

What summer vacation isn’t complete without a trip to the beach? If you’re fortunate enough to live close to the ocean, you can enjoy a beach day with the kids using these 39 easy steps.

#1. Pick a day where it’s not raining, there’s no chance of thunderstorms, the UV index is below 6, and the wind isn’t blowing fifty miles an hour.

#2. Throw your kids and their bathing suits in the car (don’t forget towels, a blanket, beach umbrella, baby powder to get the sand off of feet, chairs, sand toys, pop up tent for your kid that burns like a lobster, hair brush, hair ties, ear plugs for your kid that gets swimmer’s ear, boogie boards, sunblock, lunch, drinks, enough snacks to feed everyone in ten mile radius on the beach because one of your children will undoubtedly friend a family with eight kids and invite them to your blanket for snack time, and a book or magazine for yourself that you’re not going to be relaxing to read in a million years).

#3. Drive to beach.

#4. Unload all aforementioned items into your sand cart and beg your kids to carry the rest as you drag the cooler, push the cart, and try to walk with a wailing child, who just got sand in their eye, attached to your leg.

#5. Reach the beach after stopping ten times to adjust your load and once to remove splinters from the foot of the child who insisted that she didn’t need to wear her flip flops on the board walk.

#6. Dump items on the sand and pause to catch your breath and wipe the sweat that is dripping off your body.

#7. Try to set everything up while your kids ask you no less than 187 times if they can go in the water yet. Rescue beach umbrella as it blows down the beach.

#8. Tell your kids (nicely) to stop screaming and no they cannot go in the water until they get sunblock on. Fend off dirty looks from the annoyed twenty-somethings in thong bikinis that are sunbathing on a blanket nearby. Grab nearest child and begin rubbing sunblock into his or her skin. Don’t forget the tops of his or her feet, the ears, and every other place you would never imagine you could possibly get sunburn unless it’s happened to you and you’ve laid writhing in agony all night.

#9. Drop sunblock on the sand to run to the water’s edge to drag back the child who has ran down to water while you are trying to sunblock the first. Try to sunblock that now wet child. Listen to child scream about sand in the sunblock scraping up her skin. Resort to using the spray sunblock. Child runs off before you can rub in spray sunblock.

#10. Start to sunblock yourself.

#11. First child comes running back to you to announce that she has to go potty. Discretely tell child that she can pee in the ocean. Shush child as she yells “Pee in the ocean? Mommy that’s gross!” Ignore looks from twenty-somethings who have now removed their bikini tops and are face down on their blanket.

#12. Pull second child out of ocean to go back up to the bathroom to bring first child who is now wailing about having to go potty. Drag both kids to bathroom. Take child to stall and try to remove her now wet bathing suit from her bottom. Ignore her screams that are akin to you lighting her toenails on fire. Figure you might as well pee while you’re here. Pull down your own bathing suit and shush your child as she loudly asks why you have fur on your hooha.

#13. Return to beach with both kids.

#14. Sit on beach blanket or beach chair for 3.6 seconds before leaping to your feet because your youngest child is already in over her head.

#15. Save child. Shoot evil eyes at lifeguard who didn’t even move while you saved child.

#16. Drag waterlogged, sobbing child back to blanket. Yell at other child to stay close to shore. Get dirty look from both other child and sunbathing topless girls next to you.

#17. Calm sobbing child and try to get her to put her feet in the water while she clings to you like a window stick-um.

#18. Encourage older child to stay close to you and try to teach him how to use the boogie board without letting go of younger, stick-on child. Yell at him several times for going out too far. Have several heart attacks when wave knocks child over and you can’t see him for a few seconds. Sigh with relief when he announces “that was cool!” Try to enjoy the water.

#19. Give up when younger child repeatedly asks if it is time to eat. Wave in a reluctant older child to trudge back to blanket and check phone to discover it is 10:32 and you’ve only been at the beach for an hour.

#20. Let kids eat their sandwiches anyway. Try to pick the sand out of the sandwiches when the kids complain about it. Give up and tell them to just drink more water.

#21. Take youngest child to bathroom again after she drinks all that water.

#22. Tell older child he needs to wait a half hour before going back in the water for some reason that you’ll never understand.

#23. Try to engage kids in building a sandcastle. End up building sandcastle yourself. Yell at kids for flinging sand at each other. Apologize to twenty-somethings who have tied their tops back on and are now moving because they got sand in their eyes from your kids.

#24. Coax younger child back in water while older child dashes far ahead of you despite yelling at him to stay where you can reach him.

#25. Drag both kids out of the water again when younger child poops in bathing suit.

#26. Discover older child has eaten all the snacks while you were in the bathroom.

#27. Calm younger child while she screams about sand in her heinie. Try to empty sand out of child’s bathing suit discretely.

#28. Let older child go back in the water with explicit instructions not to go farther in than knee deep. Panic when older child goes in waist deep.

#29. Reapply sunblock to younger child despite protests of pain. Make her sit underneath umbrella. Call older child in from the water when you see the tops of his shoulders getting red.

#30. Offer child a shriveled up nectarine when she tells you that’s she’s hungry because her sibling ate all the good snacks.

#31. Decide to pack it in when child gets sand in her eyes and won’t stop screaming.

#32. Carry all items back to the car in no less than four trips while holding the hand of a screaming child and a whiny protesting child.

#33. Shake baby powder on children’s feet to prevent sand from getting in your vehicle.

#34. Cringe when both children empty the sand out of their bathing suit bottoms onto the back seat.

#35. Get in hot car and immediately discover that you have sunburn on the entire lower half of your body because you never finished step #10—applying sunblock to yourself.

#36. Drive home. Stop several times because child has to pee.

#37. Dump all sandy items on your front lawn and vow to deal with them tomorrow.

#38. Open bottle of wine and drink.

#39. Decide to skip steps #1-37 next time.

The Bad Mommy Cooks—Crock Pot Cinnamon Rolls

I did it! I made a decent meal! Okay, so it was a slow cooker breakfast food, but still, I didn’t mess it up. You laugh, but don’t forget, last week I screwed up a cake made of pudding and whipped cream.

For Mother’s Day we had my mom, Hubby’s mom and my sister over for brunch. While Hubby doesn’t mind cooking for a houseful on Christmas Eve, I help him with that. It’s kind of difficult to cook for our crazy families (okay, it’s mostly my family that is crazy…) alone. On Mother’s Day I think I should get a small break, right? Hubby wanted to make a complicated egg and hashbrown dish—I wasn’t too interested in helping with that. Nor did I want to make anything else that would be equally complicated. I considered trying to make donuts in the air fryer, but then I thought about it and realized it would be too much work for Mother’s Day. I mean, I wanted to help Hubby out with cooking, but not with anything too strenuous. It was supposed to be my day, you know? (Mothers everywhere, insert sarcastic laughter here. )

But still, we couldn’t just have the egg hashbrown thing for brunch. Sure Hubby was making bacon, too, but if you’ve ever seen seagulls descend on beach-goers with sub sandwiches, you have an idea of what our kitchen looks like when bacon is made. We needed more to eat. Hence, the Crock Pot Cinnamon Rolls.

There are several recipes on Pinterest for Crock Pot Cinnamon Rolls, each with a different name like Monkey Bread, Crock Pot Cinnamon French Toast, or Cinnamon Roll Casserole. It’s all basically the same thing with various additional ingredients. You simply cut up Pillsbury cinnamon rolls in quarters, toss them in a mixture with brown sugar and butter, and pop them into the crock pot for a few hours. This recipe had some extras, like pecans and GREEK Yogurt. I’m kind of on a Greek yogurt kick so I really couldn’t resist. (Greek yogurt is healthy!)

The mixture is made up of 1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt, 3/4 c. packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup of melted butter, 1 TBSP of vanilla extract, and 1/2 c. chopped pecans. Toss the quartered cinnamon rolls in the mixture and pour the whole thing in the crock pot. You’re supposed to spray it with a non-stick spray before you do that, but I like to live dangerously and on the edge, so I didn’t bother and everything was fine. I had a mess to clean up anyway, so what’s a little sticky cinnamon roll leftovers from the crock pot? (Heaven forbid my kids clean up the dishes on Mother’s Day…)

It took about 3 1/2 hours to cook on low till the rolls were done—I then poured the icing that came with the cinnamon rolls over the top and let everyone shovel out what they wanted on their own plate. They were gooey and a perfect Sunday morning treat.

Side note: I got up at 6 am to prep them and then I went back to bed, but you can even prep them the night before and stick them in the fridge till the morning. I guess you would have to get up anyway to turn the Crock Pot on. Or do they have slow cookers that you can use a timer on?  I don’t even know…I must go investigate this. But first, let me go clean up my kitchen. 😒😒😒