Justify This

QUICKIE: It’s a big, big day in the Beto house.  Clyde made it to the www.icanhascheezburger site!!!  It’s PG-13ish, so click on the link only if you are age 13 or older.  Clydey Clyde’s Linky Link
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I’m a strict mom.  I really am.  My child is the one constantly being made to rephrase his questions using the words “could I please” and “I would like.”  He’s the one being shoved into bed at 2PM every day, even if it means missing a friend’s birthday party (I’d even make him miss his own, if it came down to it).  He’s the one who’s only allowed to watch one TV show for babies called “Signing Time,” and only once a week.  I pride myself on being strict.  But I have to admit, some of my rules are confusing even to me.  Rules like:

1.    Vincenzo isn’t allowed to eat foods that are high in saturated fats, with the exception of Magic Shell (7 grams per serving!), which we apply liberally to all frozen foods everywhere.
2.    Vincenzo is not allowed to eat at McDonald’s unless we order apples instead of fries and as soon as they come I hide the caramel dip from him.
3.    Vincenzo is not allowed to drink juice because it’s not good for him.  However, our house is always chock full of cookies, candy, cake, and pie.

Exactly how all these rules and their exceptions came to be is a mystery, but I believe in them fully and enforce them with an iron fist.  If one of them gets broken I feel like a bad mother for the rest of the day and spend the next day creating more rules for more situations to balance the system.

So.  If you saw the lady at McDonald’s ripping into her husband for ordering their son an empty-calorie, tooth-rotting, life-sapping baby-killing orange juice while their son merrily tucked into a cheeseburger and a magic-shell dipped cone—um, yeah.  That would be me.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Almost Inedible Baked Chicken with Cornbread Stuffing
Asparagus with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Cranberry Lemon Bars (to help us forget the Almost Inedible)

The best birthday gift EVER

QUICKIE: Today Vincenzo wiped my kiss off his face.  When I looked offended, he said, “I wasn’t wiping it.  I was just rubbing it in like sunblock.”
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My sister’s boyfriend’s birthday was last weekend and I can finally, finally post the present we got him.  It was three months in the making and so hard for me to keep to myself.  The present stems from Michael’s constant fawning over and obsession with our bearded tuxedo cat, Clyde.  Prepare to be envious.

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The only person who enjoyed this present more than Michael was Clyde, who loved all over the bag of his own harvested fur when we set it on the ground and, of course, spent all day playing with the socks.  He takes his white paws VERY seriously.

Now, don’t you all wish you were in my inner circle so you could get such thoughtful, hand-crafted kits too?

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Baked Chicken Breast
Cornbread Stuffing with Dried and Fresh Fruit
Butternut Squash Bisque

Teacher, LEARN me something!

SITSAS–Thanks for checking me out!  I just have a few people/entities I’d like to thank for getting me where I am today.  First, thank you to the Internets and all their tubes.  Thank you to my cat for not blocking those tubes today.  Thanks to my husband for letting me constantly take 40 points off his IQ in my blog posts.  And as my son prays every night, thank you for thank yous.  Oh!  And thank you Heather and Tiffany, our SITSAs House Mothers!

*Feel free to leave your web address with your comment, as I seem to be the only person in the world who doesn’t run my blog through blogger.  🙂

QUICKIE: Vincenzo: “Ketchup is for special days.”  Me: “Oh?  And what’s a special day?”  Vincenzo: “Thursday.  Thursday is a special day.”
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Vincenzo turns 3 in a couple weeks, and people are always asking me if he’s in preschool.  “Some preschools let almost-3-year-olds in, you know.  He could totally do it!”  Yes, but then he would be in school THREE YEARS before KINDERGARTEN even STARTS!  Isn’t that a little excessive?  Besides, I have so much fun with the little guy that I don’t think I’ll send him to preschool until he’s 4, which around here is like saying I don’t plan on sending my son to college.

Anyway, I’m obviously feeling some guilt about not starting Vincenzo in school early because here’s how we spent the week.  We named it “A is for Apple Week.”  On Monday, we cut apples different ways and talked about what they looked like.  Then we made apple prints and added stars to show how the seeds were in a star shape.

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On Tuesday, we bought one of every kind of apple at the store and talked about their similarities/differences.  Actually, I talked about them while Vincenzo repeated, “This one is shiny.”  Then he ate a slice of each one to decide his favorite, which was HoneyCrisp because, of course, it was shiny.  We also arranged the apples by height and weighed a couple to see which was heavier.

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On Wednesday we made applesauce with the remainder of the apples.

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On Thursday I cut out a tree and a leaf-shaped sponge.  Vincenzo sponged leaves on the tree then added some completely proportionately-sized apple stickers.

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On Friday, we reviewed the week.  It went something like this:

Me: What shape were the seeds in when we cut the apple sideways?
D: I don’t wemember.
Me: Which kind of apple did you like best?
D: I don’t wemember. 
Me: What’s one thing all the apples we had in common?
D: I don’t wemember.
Me: Etc. etc. etc.?
D: I don’t wemember.  I don’t wemember.  I don’t wemember.

But the good news is we had fun doing it all and subsequently forgetting it all.  Plus, we’ll be able to repeat apple week exactly as is next year and to Vincenzo it will seem like the first time all over again.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
BBQ @ Friends’ House

Meanwhile, back on the prairie…

SITSAS–Thanks for checking me out!  I just have a few people/entities I’d like to thank for getting me where I am today.  First, thank you to the Internets and all their tubes.  Thank you to my cat for not blocking those tubes today.  Thanks to my husband for letting me constantly take 40 points off his IQ in my blog posts.  And as my son prays every night, thank you for thank yous.  Oh!  And thank you Heather and Tiffany, our SITSAs House Mothers!

*Feel free to leave your web address with your comment, as I seem to be the only person in the world who doesn’t run my blog through blogger.  🙂

QUICKIE: Vincenzo: “Ketchup is for special days.”  Me: “Oh?  And what’s a special day?”  Vincenzo: “Thursday.  Thursday is a special day.”
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Vincenzo turns 3 in a couple weeks, and people are always asking me if he’s in preschool.  “Some preschools let almost-3-year-olds in, you know.  He could totally do it!”  Yes, but then he would be in school THREE YEARS before KINDERGARTEN even STARTS!  Isn’t that a little excessive?  Besides, I have so much fun with the little guy that I don’t think I’ll send him to preschool until he’s 4, which around here is like saying I don’t plan on sending my son to college.

Anyway, I’m obviously feeling some guilt about not starting Vincenzo in school early because here’s how we spent the week.  We named it “A is for Apple Week.”  On Monday, we cut apples different ways and talked about what they looked like.  Then we made apple prints and added stars to show how the seeds were in a star shape.

DSCN6345 DSCN6342

On Tuesday, we bought one of every kind of apple at the store and talked about their similarities/differences.  Actually, I talked about them while Vincenzo repeated, “This one is shiny.”  Then he ate a slice of each one to decide his favorite, which was HoneyCrisp because, of course, it was shiny.  We also arranged the apples by height and weighed a couple to see which was heavier.

DSCN6328 DSCN6332 DSCN6337

On Wednesday we made applesauce with the remainder of the apples.

DSCN6343 DSCN6344

On Thursday I cut out a tree and a leaf-shaped sponge.  Vincenzo sponged leaves on the tree then added some completely proportionately-sized apple stickers.

DSCN6346

On Friday, we reviewed the week.  It went something like this:

Me: What shape were the seeds in when we cut the apple sideways?
D: I don’t wemember.
Me: Which kind of apple did you like best?
D: I don’t wemember. 
Me: What’s one thing all the apples we had in common?
D: I don’t wemember.
Me: Etc. etc. etc.?
D: I don’t wemember.  I don’t wemember.  I don’t wemember.

But the good news is we had fun doing it all and subsequently forgetting it all.  Plus, we’ll be able to repeat apple week exactly as is next year and to Vincenzo it will seem like the first time all over again.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
BBQ @ Friends’ House

From Rockband to Candyland

QUICKIE: Fruit fly update: They continue evolving, but with a new twist: the fruit flies have become carnivorous.   What am I supposed to do now?  Leave a hunk of beef lying around?  In a long-stemmed wine glass? ***************************************************************************************************************************************
I used to hate the X-Box.  People would ask me what my husband does in his free time and I’d lower my voice and my eyes and say, “He plays video games.”  He might as well have been a drunk, in my mind.  I used to swear that if the house burned down, I would make sure the X-Box was safely inside and burned to ashes so we could all return to the days of playing board games by candlelight after dinner each night.  I often considered lighting our house on fire.

Then last year we got Rock Band.  Suddenly a stream of friends and family members started randomly dropping by because they were “just in the area.”  I loved it because when people showed up it meant I got to cook for a crowd, and I love cooking as much as my husband loves, well, gaming.  These same people who wouldn’t stop by randomly for an Emmenthaler Souffle or Coq a Vin had no problem stopping by for “band practice.”  Halfway through practice I’d glide down the stairs, blackberry peach trifle in my hand, and sing out, “Break time!  Now do mind the china and careful for the teapot—the lid sticks a trifle, ha ha ha.”  Then I’d ruffle the band leader’s hair and brush some lint off his stained t-shirt while everyone begrudgingly laid down their guitars and took a couple bites of trifle.  It was a fun, elaborate game of house I made them play with me.

But then.  My game of house died a couple days ago when I stuck a Cindi Crawford tape into the X-Box and instead of flashing a green light it flashed three red rings at me.  Yes, the dreaded Ring of Death hit our home like a plague.  We marked our door with ashes to warn off the unaffected public.  We held a a short memorial service that evening.  We reminisced about our good times.  Then, after much wailing and rending of clothes, we packaged up the X-Box and shipped it off in a cardboard box because the Ring of Death is so prevalent that there just aren’t any Blackstone Wood Caskets Boxes to be had anymore.  Now we spend our evenings cursing Lord Licorice and sighing at Princess Frostine and trying not to think how much the Lolly from Candyland looks like Rhonda from Rock Band.

I’m new to mourning, so please excuse me if this is tacky, but…does anyone want to stop by for some air guitar tonight?  And maybe some apple pandowdy with brandied cream?  It’s Bring Your Own Candle Night…

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Moussaka
Pan-Roasted Asparagus with Tomatoes
Roasted Pepper & Tomato Soup

Me, 2; Fruitflies, 1; Kevin, 0

QUICKIE:  Me to Vincenzo: “Ow!  Please don’t hit me.”  Vincenzo: “ But I didn’t hit you!  I just smacked you.”  Yes, wordsmith-ing is hereditary.
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You can all stop panicking–the fruit flies didn’t evolve after all.  At least, not in the way I thought they had evolved.  Their evolution actually stemmed from their appreciation of aesthetics rather than an unnatural, higher intelligence.  When I traded out the humble ramekin of wine for a nice, long-stemmed wine glass, look what happened:

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For every fruit fly you see on the rim, there are about 2 dead ones in the wine. 

You may notice that there are significantly more fruit flies than yesterday, and I’m assuming that’s because the 400 eggs one of those black-bellied dew lovers (a translation of their Latin name, and also, I’m assuming, a MAJOR insult) laid in last week’s rotting fruit hatched.  Oh yes, I know about their reproductive cycle and about the courtship dance the guy fly does before licking the girl fly’s genitalia and DOING IT.  And I was totally NOT COOL with the guy flies doing THAT on my death trap, turning it into a friggin’ frat party, so my sister, husband, and I came up with some options:

Jnet: Put a plastic bag over the whole thing and take them outside.
Me: Stick a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol near the cup.  Then quickly cover with gigantic pot and wait for all the fruit flies to die.
Kevin: Pick up the glass and put it outside.

After ridiculing Kevin for his naïve, inexperienced guess, he changed it to:

Kevin: Put a wet towel over the glass, then bring it outside.

I questioned him on why the towel needed to be wet and he had no explanation but even more fiercely defended his idea.  We told him his idea was stupid and left the glass on the counter for further discussion.  A few minutes later I saw Kevin tip-toe up to the glass (he swears tip-toeing is undetectable to a fruit fly, just like he swears animals come running when he makes that “tch-tch-tch” sound), wielding a wet towel.  The fruit flies took off before Kevin even made it to the counter.

In the end we just got the vacuum and offed them via suction.  It sounds unglamorous, until you see what my vacuum cleaner does.

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So the wine glass and the vacuum worked last night, but who knows what will appeal to the refined aesthetics of today’s fruit flies?  Soft cheese and imported crackers?  Champagne?  Andrea Bocelli?  I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up!

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Moussaka
Macaroni & Cheese
Roasted Asparagus

Foiled again

QUICKIE: (After Vincenzo tooted at dinner table) Me: “Vincenzo, sounds like you have a squeaky chair.”  V: “No; just a squeaky bottom.”
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AHH!  EVERYONE, COME QUICK!  IT’S THE FRUITFLIES.  THEY’VE…THEY’VE…EVOLVED!

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And now it seems I have missed my window to file for a patent on my deadly wine fly trap.  I somehow overlooked the fact that a fruit fly only lives a day or so.  This next generation of fruit flies is downright brainy, I tell you, hanging out on the rim of the glass instead of diving in.  Millions of dollars I could have made—POOF, gone.

As long as I’m living, I’ll never buy fruit again.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Classic Macaroni & Cheese
Pan Roasted Asparagus with Tomatoes and Parmesan
Parmesan Puff Pastry Straws

I think I need an intervention

QUICKIE: Vincenzo, running excitedly from bathroom yesterday: “Mommy!  I just washed my hands with toothpaste!”

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Reason #72 my kid is going to get beat up on his way to school:

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That’s right, pictorially labeled dresser drawers.

In random news: I made a semi-scientific discovery that I plan on patenting and selling for lots of money in the future.  In the meantime, I’ll share it all with you for free.  Are you sitting down?  Good.  Here it is: If you accidentally leave a glass of wine on the counter, every last fruit fly in your kitchen will dive in and die a happy, drunken death.  I need to run some experiments to see if the glass of wine truly needs to be accidental or not, and then MOVE OVER FLYTAPE, here comes something STICKIER!

Kevin is right now making me listen to Richard Cheese’s lounge music version of “Baby Got Back.”  It’s going to be a looooooooong weekend.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Dunno.  But I know what we had last night:

Marinated Mozzarella Stuffed Portobellos
Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
Salad with Blue Cheese and Apple
Zucchini Bread

Toys 4 Sale!

QUICKIE: Vincenzo told Kevin he has a pretend bottom on his chest.  Oh, that we all may be so fortunate.

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With Vincenzo’s bday coming up, the family keeps asking what he needs.  My standard answer is, “Food, shelter, and clothing, just like the rest of us.”  The kid has absolutely every toy I never had in my childhood, plus all 5 I did, and yet people still suggest, “Well, maybe another racecar?”  No!  No racecar!  Are you not understanding the words coming out of my mouth?  Then let me show you with pictures:

 

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 I can’t get the captions to show up next to pics, so here they are in rapid-fire form:

 

Toys to climb through

Boxes of toys

A life-sized pony

Boy toys

Closet toys

Toyboxes of toys

Toys gathered from around house

Girl toys

Messy toys

Toys that don’t fit in playroom

Toys hiding behind couch

Toys that don’t fit in house

 

And naturally, despite all these toys, he spends 90% of his day playing with a catnip cigar tied to a long chain.  Which happens to be the cat’s one toy. 

 

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(a.k.a. “The Doctor”)

 

Oh!  I almost forgot the most important toy of all:

 
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A double-decker firetruck bed, complete with steering wheel, 3 secret compartments, removable tires and license plate, and a horn that honks.  My sister designed and made it, and she’s mine so don’t ask.

 

Although, now that I think about it, I guess the bed does need headlights and reflectors.  Needs, yes NEEDS them.  (Mom?  Dad?)  It could also use some gauges.  (Aunt Jnet?)  And maybe a beanbag for the top (anonymous blog reader?)  And shoot, if we’re going that direction, is there someone who will buy new blinds for the room?  And moulding for the windows, and maybe even new windows themselves?  An air conditioning unit for the hot summer days?  (Okay, I admit, that one’s for our room.)

 

So anyway, head back to Toys ‘R Us with the super-sized train engine with inflatable smokestack and singing caboose you bought for Vincenzo and put that $50 back on your card.  Then go to PetCo and buy him a $5 cat toy and congratulate yourself for finding the perfect gift.

 

(Did I mention another set of rubber sheets for his bed?)

 

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:

Polish Sausage

German Potato Salad

Austrian Green Beans

 

 

LOSERS.

QUICKIE: K to V: “We don’t have time to go to the park.”  V: “Well can you get some time Daddy?”  K: “No; I can’t do that.”  V: “Yes, you can just put some on your phone.”

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Exciting news!!!!!  The free giveaway contest is over and I am proud to announce the grand prize…the grand prize…the…well…hm. 

 

There were 7 entries, and all except the one who voted for “D: Pee-pee fairy” must have cheated they all guessed “C: My Husband.”  I’d like to give these contestants credit for not getting caught during the actual test because I was watching like a hawk and didn’t see so much as a wayward, morse-code pencil tap.  C is also a safe choice because we all know that teachers put the correct answer in C’s spot approximately 95% of the time.

 

Unfortunately, I have to announce that the correct answer was “B: The Babysitter.”  (Hey, he only charges $4.00 an hour, and that’s AFTER I gave him a $2.00 raise!)

 

I’d still like to choose a winner, to make it official, so let’s examine the entries together.

 

There were 7 answers entered, but from only 5 contestants.  Elizabeth, it seems, entered 3 answers, which would have been ingenious had she changed the answer each time.  But she didn’t, making her wrong not once but THREE times and landing her at the bottom of the pile.  And not to nitpick, but she also forgot to phrase her answer in the form of a question.  3 times.  Thank you for your undeniable enthusiasm, though.

 

Ileana earns creativity points for choosing the Pee-Pee Fairy, but if she had done her research she’d know that the Pee-Pee Fairy only leaves Susan B. Anthony coins and not quarters under such signs.  Sorry, Ileana.

 

Superblondgirl’s answer really stands out, as it is the longest one and I always give an A to the student with the longest answer on any given multiple choice test.  However, superblondgirl made a fatal flaw in drawing attention to the time of her entry: 11:16EST on Tuesday night.  The contest officially ended at the stroke of midnight on Tuesday, which occurred exactly 11 hours and 16 minutes previous.  (Do the math.)

 

As for Dan, bold move entering your answer today, but contest ended several cyber years ago.

 

In fact, according to the Stroke of Midnight, Casey was the only one who answered within the official time limit.

 

But Casey?  Really??!   Casey already won the one and only other contest I’ve had (actually, she asked for a contest and then declared herself the winner), and I’m afraid all this winning is going to her head.  I’m sorry, Casey, but I’m going to have to confiscate your win.

 

So, it is now time to decide the winner, and to at the same time avenge my neighbor for disrespecting my VERY CREATIVE block party sign.  Ileana, as the contestant with the MOST CREATIVE answer, I declare you…WINNER!!!  E-mail me with your choice of prize and I’ll send it to you stat.

 

Now, I think an awful lot of you owe my husband an apology.  You may begin now.

 

WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE
Peanut Butter Bacon Burgers (don’t judge until you’ve tried ‘em yourself!)
Roasted Vegetables