Turn off the TV! Okay turn it back on again.

The other night I made Kevin go to a parenting class on media literacy with me.  I went with the understanding that parents who let their kids watch TV and play video games would be rounded up in the paddy wagon and driven away, leaving their spouses there to eat cookies and gloat.

There was no paddy wagon.  And also, Kevin kept asking if when we were going to watch a video.  Then, when went around the room explaining why we were there he answered, “I’m just here because there was nothing better on TV.”   Later, when a couple walked into the meeting late, he nearly knocked his chair over to donate his class handouts to them.

When I got the chance to speak I explained that I was there  because my husband *nudgenudge* would like to have all the windows on our house changed into TVs, and maybe the walls too.

Just to clarify, I don’t think TV is necessarily evil; it’s just in the same category as McDonald’s, i.e. I would like to have significantly more in my life by I would like my kids to have none of it.  McGriddle is to my kids’ arteries as TV is to their brains.  Therefore we NEVER have TV on in the house. 

Unless I have had such little sleep the night before that it is either watch a show or throw a kid off the deck. 

Or it’s movie night. 

Or football is on. 

Or the Olympics.

Or home videos.

Or we found something really funny on YouTube.

Or Mommy and Daddy want to go out to a bar and couldn’t get a babysitter in time.

Kidding, kidding.  The real deal is that I tried to keep video games out of Vincenzo’s life but Kevin grew up playing a ton of video games and watching a ton of TV and it has not escaped us that he is a significantly more well-adjusted adult than I am.  For him, playing video games with Vincenzo is a bonding thing so I’ve had to relax my rules and allow a little video games on the weekends.  I’d be okay with it if they were playing something like “Grand Theft Math Facts” but they usually play Banjo Kazooie, and all week I hear about their jiggies and gruntbots and where we should stick sticky balls on our vehicle.

Anyway, while I didn’t learn a ton from the class, I did walk away feeling less guilty about the amount of media our kids are exposed to.  Vincenzo thinks Elmo is a diaper manufacturer.  Scooby Doo is a flavor of macaroni and cheese.  Diego is just another underwear model, like Batman.

But when an add fell out of the newspaper this morning and Vincenzo said, “Hey Mom, that’s the money you could be saving with Geico!” I realized we still have a ways to go.

Cheeseburger soup
Ciabatta bread
Salad with craisins and gorgonzola

The baby is STILL waking up every hour at night!

I’m at the end of my rope.  What am I doing wrong?  Is Rocco punishing me for occasionally sleeping on my right side when I was pregnant with him?  Is it because we occasionally spit-clean is binkies?  Should I call the pediatrician for advice?  Or the exorcist?

Anyway, sleepless nights are NOT FUNNY and these pictures are probably only funny if you’re manically sleep deprived like me but it’s all I got.


Vincenzo has been wearing this hand a lot and playing doctor.  He calls it his doctor’s glove, which is great.  The world can never have too many proctologists.



“Proctologist?!  What’s a…”






“I don’t think electro-shock sleep training seems to really be working, Mom.”



You can still see the effects of electro-shock sleep training on Rocco’s 4-year-old brother, pictured here at the bottom of the stairs.



“Still not working…”



Pizza because I didn’t actually make it when I said I did
Which means this whole blog is probably one big lie

Playing hooky

Due to an unexpected onslaught of sunny weather, I’m not all that into blogging this week.  Here’s just a little somethin’ somethin’ to tide you over.  In bold are some search terms that have brought people to my blog, followed by my extraordinarily witty commentary:

i cheese sandwich you:
Well I’m flattered.  I cheese sandwich you too.

cat poop floats:
Shouldn’t you instead be searching for “cat won’t stop using our toilet”?

ground hog cat poop:
That was actually the alternate name for my blog, so it’s no wonder the phrase brought you here.  I’ll take the high road and let you have it.

adult stroller:
Oh, I can help you with that!  They’re right next to the adult diapers.

abby peed her pants:
Kristen?  Is that you?  You know you can just call me and I’ll give it to you straight.

pie eating a man
Now that’s a news story!

it will hurt the whole time you are dyi
That is tragic, to die before you finish searching if it will hurt the whole time.  I only hope the “ng” was at least pain-free.

Maple glazed salmon
Brown and wild rice cakes

Back to reality (I love reality)

Kevin and Vincenzo spent the last 6 days in Chicago, leaving me at home with just Rocco.  I spent the large majority of my time in this crazy, eccentric place called My Right Brain.  Well, I alternated between My Right Brain and McDonald’s.  I lost count of how many trips I had made to the golden arches by my second day alone-ish.  By breakfast of the second day.

While visiting My Right Brain, I sewed hooter hiders, scrapbooked, and painted Rocco’s growth chart.  Here’s the progression: 

IMG_7664a IMG_7664bIMG_7664cIMG_7664dIMG_7664eIMG_7664f

And shots of the final:




Before you give me too much credit, I will admit that most of the images are stolen from children’s books and other growth charts I found on-line.  I am a fox in the Internet’s chicken coop.

Other than that, I gorged on long walks and trashy magazines and the Olympics.  The one thing I didn’t gorge on was sleep, as Rocco has gone from being a great sleeper to waking up every single hour of the night.  Sweet Rocco by day, Evil Rocco by night.  I read a few parenting books that told me things like, “Let the baby cry it out,” (which I’ve tried) and, “Crying it out leads to permanent psychological damage,” (oops). 

I tried nursing him; not nursing him.  Swaddling; unswaddling.  Keeping him up longer; putting him to bed earlier.  Ferberizing.  Door open; door closed.  Hallway light on; hallway light off.  Music on; music off.

But alas, Evil Rocco is more powerful than me and now I must accept my new superhero persona of Bag Lady, so named for the bags below my eyes that have the super power of making me look 20 years older than I actually am. 

Looks like my next sewing project will be another cape.  Evil Rocco has certainly earned it.

Oaxacan tacos with spicy black bean stew

This will only be funny if you speak rudimentary Spanish

…which is more than I can say for my Spanish students themselves.

I’m teaching my mom and sister Spanish once a week and if things keep going the way they are, I just might retitle the class “Spanish for Dummies,” with all due respect.  And as you will see, there is no respect due.

The first week of class my mom, who was a teacher herself for 20-some years, lost her Spanish book and came to the next class without her homework.  I lent her my book.

The following week we had to cancel class because Mom forgot she had Bunco group.

The next my sister was sick; no class again. 

When we finally did get together, Mom forgot her Spanish book my Spanish book at home. 

This week Mom finally remembered to bring my book to class but left her own at home and proceeded to write notes all over my pristine pages.  She also took a phone call halfway through class and told the caller, “I should probably go because I’m in the middle of Spanish right now.  I mean, it’s just my daughter so it doesn’t really matter, but really, I should probably go.”  I gave her a look that said, “Yeah.  You should probably go, Mom,” but as I was looking at her in Spanish I doubt she got it. 

As for the classes themselves, they go something like this.

Hermana: Piz, por favor? 
SraMouthy: Piz?
Hermana: Yes, I need a piz.
SraMouthy: What’s a “piz? 
Hermana: You know…la piz?  Pencil?

(For those who don’t speak Spanish, that’s the equivalent of the time Vincenzo called Kevin a “dult.”  Because, you know  a…dult.)

Or I’ll tell them to open their books and this will happen:

SraMouthy: Abran los libros.
Hermana: [polite smile]
SraMouthy: Los libros.  Abran los libros.
Madre: [to hermana] Psst pssst psst
Hermana and madre take their pens out of their purses, lay them on the table, and smile proudly up at me.   

I might as well just get a job teaching astro physics to second graders in an inner-city school.  They might not all come to school with their piz, and they wouldn’t be able to even afford libros so that they could forget them at home, but there’s a chance they might at least know how to swear in Spanish already.


My Funny Valentine

I had an awesome Valentine’s day this year.  We started with a long walk along the waterfront…


then moved to a local coffee shop…

then back home where we set the mood…


and set more mood…


and then we moved to the bedroom where we set the camera on a tripod and played around with the self-timer button…

(Gigantic space intentionally included to give you the chance to back out now.)


I was husbandless but not dateless on Valentine’s day.  The look on my date’s face says it all. 

And you’re a sicko for scrolling this far.

Mall food

Snippets from Vincenzo’s week

1.  Vincenzo was really peeved that we wouldn’t do something he wanted the other day.  We told him to think of a different idea.  This conversation ensued:

V: [angrily] Then LET’S play KITTY deLIVery.
K: Sure!  That’s a great idea.
V: [even more angrily] NO IT’S NOT A GOOD IDEA!

2.  Kevin took Vincenzo to his gym class last week.  As it was the first day of this semester,  when they came home I asked V if he had a new teacher.  “No,” he answered.  “It’s still Teacher Fawn; she just changed her name to Kari.”

3.  Vincenzo was standing in the kitchen when out of the blue, this took place:

V: Ding dong!
Mom: Oh, hi Vincenzo.  Come in!
V: Thanks.  I brought the whole turtle soccer team with me.
Mom: …
V: We could use come Cate-orade.
Mom: Um…sure, here’s some Gatorade. [Passes around pretend cups]
V: It’s CATE-orade, Mom.  [to team]  Haha, Mom thought it was Gatorade.

4.  We’ve been playing a lot of pretend doctor lately.  Vincenzo usually takes the dogs and we take everything else.  The other day, though, a moose walked into Vincenzo’s office complaining of a stomachache.  V prescribed the moose 5 pills.  The next day Moose came back, complaining of stomach pains again.

V: Did you take the five pills?
Moose: Five pills?  I thought you said TEN pills!
V: Nope.  Five.
Moose: Well can you help me?  I took ten and I’m in a lot of pain here…

5.  Vincenzo brought home his first-ever progress report from school.  I want to frame the first sentence: “Vincenzo’s calm, observant ways will never keep him from donning his cape and running very fast.”

Cheddar broccoli soup
Toasted bagels
Chocolate-dipped strawberries

Omelet-wrapped quesadilla stuffed with roasted potatoes and corn

Here is my attempt at the omelet thingy.  The recipe is from Cafe Flora’s cookbook, and I include it at the bottom of this post.

First you fill a tortilla with a potato/poblano mixture.


Then beat two eggs.


Swirl them around the fry pan.


Realize the tortilla will never fit on top of that puny patch of eggs, so just scramble them.  Pretend like you were making a side dish of scrambled eggs for your omelet dinner on purpose.

On the second attempt, really get the eggs spread around; lay tortilla atop as pictured.


Realize it will take two spatulas to flip the non-tortilla side of the omelet onto the tortilla.  Search frantically in drawer for second spatula while your omelet screams dramatically, “I’m melting!  I’m melting!”


Make do.


Notice with chagrin that there is a gaping hole in the omelet you just flipped.

Remember you are a genius and made that side dish of scrambled eggs earlier.  Take a chunk of the scrambled eggs and plop it on the gaping hole.


Say, “VOILA!”


But say it like this.


Make the second omelet-wrapped quesadilla stuffed with roasted potatoes and corn.  Make it faster.


And better.


Flip it onto a plate.  Fire the photographer for taking the following comparison picture.


The above, plus: Apple, pear, and caramelized onion tart


Omelet-wrapped quesadilla stuffed with roasted potatoes and corn

1/2 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, cut in 1/4 inch dice
1 cup corn
2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 tsp chili powder (or significantly less if your spouse is a candy-ass)
1 tsp salt
3T vegetable oil
1 poblano chile, roasted and roughly chopped
6 (8”) flour tortillas
1-1/2 cups grated pepper jack cheese (or white cheddar if your spouse is a powder puff)
12 large eggs
Pico de gallo salsa
Lime creme fraiche

1.  Boil potatoes for 4 minutes; drain
2. Mix potatoes with corn, cumin, chili powder, and salt.  toss with 1T oil.  spread in single layer on a baking sheet; roast at 375 for 15 minutes
3.  Mix potatoes with poblano chili
4.  Assemble quesadillas with 1/2 cup potato mixture and 1/4 cup grated cheese; make melty in microwave while you scramble eggs
5.  Beat 2 eggs; swirl in NONSTICK SKILLET on medium heat (I used a little oil too).  After eggs seem mostly cooked (1 minute or so), flip half the eggs on top of the tortilla; you’re supposed to flip the whole thing and cook on both sides.  Good luck with that.

Serve with pico de gallo and lime creme fraiche