summer reading

Why Summer Reading Is the Worst

Summer is winding down…only three weeks to go. I just finished Round 5 of “do your summer reading project before I take away your phone, your make-up, your other books, and everything else you hold near and dear to your heart” with Child #2.

This battle is getting really old

I thought about it the other day and I realized, not only have I been arguing with my kids about this for years, I’ve been fighting this battle since Hubby was in high school. Yes, you read that correctly. I distinctly remember fighting with him the summer before our senior year about his summer reading assignment procrastination. I, of course, had mine done the first week we were off in June, and he had yet to crack the book open three days before school started. I realize now that this should have been a warning sign to me and that any offspring of his were likely to carry the “summer reading project avoidance” gene. Lucky me, both offspring are recipients of this gene.

In all fairness, Child #2 isn’t usually THIS bad with reading avoidance—in fact, when she went into middle school, all sixth graders had to read Wonder. Not only did she read the book in record time (allowing me to read it, too), she used her birthday money to buy the next book in the series. It was a poignant, entertaining, heart-warming, and altogether WONDER-ful book. The kids were excited about reading that year, and I thought it was precedent for things to come. Finally, no outdated bore-fest…just fun and relevant reads for the kids to have them thinking even when school is out. After all, isn’t that why they DO summer reading anyway? To keep the kids’ minds engaged?

I Was Wrong

The summer reading project is apparently NOT going the way of the updated, modern novel. Nope. This year, she and her classmates have to read Animal Farm and compare it to the Russian Revolution…using quotes by dead literary guys. Yup. What a freaking buzzkill on summer.

She begged me the other day to help her with the assignment and I hated to admit to her that the summer reading book and assignment were crap. Me, the person who got excited when the teacher said to take out our silent reading books. Me, who read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn in fifth grade. Me, who understands and appreciates how important reading and education really is.

Seriously, I was left scratching my head after I read the assignment, unable to offer her any sage advice. Which is another reason summer reading projects and assignments are crap. The kids have to rely solely on their parents and friends for deciphering the assignment—there’s no teacher to talk to or help you when you don’t understand it.

Seriously, we can’t find better books for these kids???

I mean, Animal Farm was written seventy years ago. I get it, we need to study history or we’re doomed to repeat it and all that jazz, but maybe couldn’t we put the heavy topics on the back burner for the summer? Yes, the kids need to engage their minds and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, but aren’t there more books like Wonder that the kids actually love? I mean, NOT ONE OF HER FRIENDS HAVE FINISHED THIS BOOK. And you’re talking those honors kids that, like me, usually have it done in June.

It’s hanging over their heads and they are avoiding it like they avoid changing for gym. Seriously, this summer reading book has brought a blight on summer. It’s always there, taunting them. And taunting me, too. I mean, I’m the one who has to scream and yell and threaten. And why? Why do we have to do this? I’m pretty sure the choices of engaging, relevant reads for teens are endless.

Here’s a few GOOD summer reading suggestions

What about something by John Green? The Fault in Our Stars had me sobbing (quite like Wonder). Rainbow Rowell is another YA writer with great stories to tell. Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone? AMAZING. You want something “old”? How about The Outsiders? Dicey’s Song? The Westing Game? Virtually anything by Judy Blume.

There are literally THOUSANDS of books that teens will enjoy AND get something out of. But no. Let’s assign them a seventy-two year old book that’s really NOT for 12 and 13 year olds.

You’re never going to make everyone happy

I know this…believe me, I know this. I should have this tattooed to my forehead and walk around with a mirror, just to remind myself of this.

But maybe if we TRY to branch out beyond the dusty old bookshelf in the back of the now defunct school library and ask the kids what they’re reading, what they would like to read, and discuss come the first week of September…like a book club or something. Maybe then we’ll make summer fun again, like it was meant to be.

I’m a Stalker Parent

I have a confession to make. I’m a stalker. No, I don’t peek in windows of celebrities or anything. I just stalk my kids. Not on social media or anything embarrassing like that…IRL. (In real life…for you un-hip parents out there.) No, that’s not right, either. I don’t drive around trailing after them with their friends or walk ten paces behind them at the mall—I’m not a nut job Helicopter Parent. But I do track them with the Find My Friends App and I’ll tell you why.

Parenting is Nerve Wracking

Remember last year when my son got his permit and I didn’t think anything could possibly be more nerve wracking than sitting in the passenger seat clutching the “oh $hit bar” while my teen drove? Guess what? I was wrong!

He got his license last week, and it turns out that letting them drive off completely on their own with no responsible adult in sight is the most nerve wracking day of your parenting life. (That is, of course, the most nerve wracking, right of passage, normal parenting life—I’m not talking about the day they take a nosedive down the staircase and break their arm or the day they faceplant into the window sill and cut their chin open.)

I swear, sending them off to kindergarten or a sleep over at a friend’s house is absolutely a walk in the park compared to the day your teen takes the car keys and drives off to God knows where. On their own. Without anyone to guide them. No one to help them make good choices. Without anyone to yell if they drive too fast or change lanes without looking in their rear-view mirror.

Hence, the stalking.

Stop Shaking your Head at Me

I know, I know. Some of you out there are shaking your head. Some of you think I’m overreacting…as usual. I bet you have younger kids. Or no kids. For those of you with younger kids, I’m sure you can imagine the terrifying feeling that you would get in the pit of your stomach the day your tiny baby is big enough to drive, but you don’t think it’s that big a deal. I assure you, you are wrong.

Remember the first time you brought your baby home from the hospital and you panicked every time the car hit a bump? Or when another car sped by at a lightening speed? And then when you finally got that precious baby in the house and stared at him or her because you had no clue what you were doing??? Remember that feeling of “oh my God why did the hospital let us take this baby home”???? Yeah, multiply that feeling times a hundred and you might understand how I felt watching my firstborn drive off on his own. I seriously dry heaved in the bathroom after he drove away. (I probably would have thrown up if I had been able to stomach any food that morning.)

So can you really blame me when I checked my phone five minutes later to make sure he was en route to his destination? Then again ten minutes after that to assure he got there? And then every twenty minutes later so I knew what time he would be leaving to drive again? Or when I cyber followed him all over town, nudging my Hubby and asking, “what the hell is he doing there?” and “how did he get on the other side of town so quickly?”

Side Note: This Doesn’t Just Affect Moms

I think Hubby would have liked everyone to think he was the more chill parent about this whole driving thing, but I caught him checking his own app several times during the day and making the same pained faces at his phone as I was making. I could see the wheels turning in his head as we wondered who our kid was with and what he was doing. At least we didn’t have to wonder where he was. We could see that.

So I’d like to think this “stalking” helps ease my parental anxiety a bit. Although it does open up our imaginations as we are forced to make up stories in our heads about what he could possibly be doing based on his location. Because we definitely don’t want to text him to ask him what he’s doing. That would be weird. We would look like stalker parents or something.

🙄😬🤪

Am I Running a Diner Here?

I love summer, but I’ve got to tell you, I think I may lose my mind with over a month left until school starts up again. The kids are killing me. According to them, every day in the summer is a party. All the rules of September through June seem to go out the window. Besides the endless activities and “can so-and-so sleep over?” and “can I go to so-and-so’s house?”, there’s the problem of our summer eating schedule. Which…is largely due to the activities and the sleepovers and the going to friends’ houses.

September through June, our meal schedule goes something like this:

Between 7:00 am-8:00 am: Breakfast

Between 12:00 pm-1:00 pm: Lunch

After school: Snack

Between 5:00 pm-6:00 pm: Dinner

Loosely, of course. Weekends are a little different and it’s subject to change to depending on what we have going on at night, but still, everyone GENERALLY follows this plan. In the summer however, it seems “Everything Goes”. Apparently over the kitchen doorway is a sign that reads “Mom’s 24 Diner! Eat What You Want, When You Want!!!” (And pout when Mom gives you a hard time about it.)

I follow the September through June dining plan all year, including in the summer. I am hungry for breakfast by 8, lunch by 1, and dinner by 6. My body doesn’t say, “screw that, it’s summer”. My body like routine and normalcy. The rest of the house, however…

Here’s Child #1’s schedule:

8:00 am: Wake up. Have coffee. Lounge around. Ignore mother’s requests to eat breakfast.

10:00 am: Eat breakfast.

10:30 am: Eat breakfast again.

11:00 am: Ask what’s for lunch.

11:30 am: Eat lunch.

12:00 pm: Have snack.

12:30 pm: Ask what’s for dinner.

1:00 pm: Stare into the fridge and announce there is nothing to eat. Walk to McDonald’s.

1:30 pm: Work out.

2:00 pm: Go out with friends.

4:00 pm: Return. Ask about dinner again. Have a snack. (At no point is Child #1 using the paper plates, bowls or cups I have asked him to use because he makes too many dishes and he isn’t the one who washes them.)

4:30 pm-7:30 pm: SLEEP.

8:00 pm: Ask about the dinner he slept through. Offer Child leftovers from missed dinner. Child may or may not eat leftovers depending on mood.

8:30 pm: Go back out. Get food while out.

10:30 pm: Return. Make pasta.

11:00 pm: Have a bowl of cereal.

11:30 pm: Have ice cream.

12:00 am: Make more coffee. Immediately go back to sleep.

Child #2’s schedule varies greatly from Child #1:

11:00 am: Stumble out of bed and reject all breakfast choices.

12:00 pm: Lie around and moan and groan about being tired. Reject all lunch choices.

12:30 pm: Take a nap.

2:00 pm: Wake up and announce she’s STARVING and ask when is lunch? Reject lunch choices.

2:30 pm: Eat seven hundred and fifty two mini pretzels and ask about going to the movies/bowling/sleeping at a friends’ house, etc. etc. Clean room for the hundredth time this week when told that she cannot leave the house till said room is clean and laundry is put away.

4:00 pm: Go out with friends.

7:30 pm: Return and wonder where dinner is. Offer Child leftovers from dinner. Child refuses leftovers.

8:00 pm: Have a bowl of cereal.

8:30 pm: Whine about hunger pains and still refuse leftovers.

9:00 pm: Go back to sleep.

12:00 am: Wake up to the smell of coffee brewing and make a cup. Stay awake for the next 3 hours binge watching “The Office”.

And repeat. Add in Child #1’s work days and Hubby’s work days, it’s a wonder we ever get a normal meal in this house. Some nights Hubby and I shrug our shoulders and make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for ourselves. A few weeks ago I ate an Eggo waffle for dinner. Last night I had a block of cheddar cheese for dinner. And I didn’t even have any good wine to go with it.

And you know what pisses me off? I’m following a normal eating schedule here and they’re the ones getting annoyed that they can’t eat at their leisure. Today I got a text in Target from Child #2 wanting to know when dinner would be because she was hungry. It was 4:00. And yesterday I got a “what’s for lunch” text…I was at the beach.

I’ve got to laugh at all my friends on social media posting all the fun things they do with their kids during the summer…hell, we can’t even get a meal together, let alone DO anything outside the house. I almost long for the days when it was just picky eating I had to worry about. Now I have one that is grazing 24/7 and the other I have to force-feed until she’s “starving” at the most inopportune times (kind of like when we were trying to potty train her all those years ago…). I guess that’s part of life when your kids are teenagers and doing their own thing with no regard for anyone else in their house (Pretty much the Teenage Mantra). Maybe next year I’ll install a vending machine in the kitchen and make some money off of them at least.

The Bad Mommy Cooks—Maryland

The Bad Mommy Cooks—Maryland

Ingredients

  • For the sliders:
  • 16 oz lump crab meat
  • 1 c. Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 c. mayo
  • 2 TBSP parsley, minced
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Slider buns
  • lettuce
  • For the Pimento cheese:
  • 8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 c. mayo
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
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Like Virginia is for lovers, Maryland is for crab cakes. Who doesn’t like a nice crab cake to usher in the summer months? Well if you don’t, keep moving…nothing to see here.

We were lucky enough to pull Maryland from the hat the same week that we actually were going to Ocean City, Maryland. Since I’ve already started a blog about Places to Eat in OC, you could say that our family has become well versed in Maryland cuisine. This weekend we ate at some of our favorite places; Longboard Cafe, Higgins Crab House , and Uber Bagels, in addition to a new place, The Big Easy on 60.

Still, for the sake of our state blog, I felt I needed to give you all a recipe that we have personally made in our house—crab cake sliders. Maryland is to crab as Maine is to lobster—you can’t go 10 feet without seeing a sign advertising fresh Maryland crabs, like these All You Can Eat crab that we had at Higgins:

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Nice, huh? We had 13 dozen. It took almost two hours to eat (the quietest dinner we ever have is when we have crab…everyone is very focused on their work…except for my son who, without fail, will order something ridiculous from a crab house like ribs or wings…)

Anyway, these crab cake sliders are a house favorite. We got the recipe at the ONE cooking class Hubby and I attended together. Usually Hubby goes with his friend and they go out for drinks afterward and I’m never asked to tag along, but this one time I was allowed. Actually, I think I insisted on going cuz I wanted to see what the big fuss was all about. I haven’t been back since because, in case you didn’t know, cooking class is boring. 🙄

But at any rate, during that class we had some good seafood, including these crab cake sliders with pimento cheese, and I’ve strong armed Hubby into making them several times, including recently, counting as our Maryland meal. By the way, if you are one of those weirdos who don’t like crab, you can use lobster or shrimp. You could probably even use salmon if you don’t like either of those. The recipe includes a lot of chopping (hence why I have Hubby make them), but it’s worth it because the sliders are incredibly filling and you will have enough to easily feed six people. Unless they’re pigs and then you could probably only feed three. 🐖

You start off with some lump crab meat. You can either extract it from the crab on your own, or, the much easier way, buy a can of lump crab meat. Just make sure the pieces are coarsely chopped and not too big. If you use shrimp you need to put it in the blender to get the same effect.

Mix mayo, parsley, lemon juice, dry mustard, salt, and black pepper. (This recipe originally included 2 chopped green onions—I’ve opted to leave them out since I hate them…you do what you want.) Incorporate the crab (or shrimp). Add bread crumbs and fold into mixture.

img_1011 Divide into equal size portions, shape into patties, and place on baking tray. Stick those in the fridge for about a half hour or so to get them to form.

img_1012 This is when you prep the pimento cheese. By the way, this cheese tastes great spread on Triscuits. It’s so easy to make, too. You combine shredded sharp cheddar cheese, softened cream cheese, black pepper, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, mayo, sugar, and a chopped red pepper, and you are good to go:

img_1014 Refrigerate that while the crab cakes cook. You can cook them on a skillet, or use the air fryer like we did:

img_1019 Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown and then assemble the sliders. Place on slider buns, top with pimento cheese and lettuce, and ENJOY!

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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…

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