Tuesday, December 16, 2014

BEWARE! If Your Man Does These 15 Things, He's Majorly Insecure

He picks you up, presents you with roses, opens your door, takes you to an elegant restaurant, and endlessly compliments you throughout the night. He repeatedly tells you, his voice laced with incredulous wonder, that he can't believe you actually agreed to go out with him since you are so far out of his league. He treats you like a princess and let's face it, it's flattering. It's a refreshing change to feel so appreciated, especially if you've dated a few self-absorbed, insensitive jerks in the past. You begin to think that maybe he's "the one." But then things head south. His sweet attentiveness turns to overwhelming obsession. It no longer feels like he treasures and cherishes you; it feels like overbearing possessiveness. Suddenly it seems to take all your energy to assure (and reassure and reassure again) your man that you love him. It's sucking the life out of you.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Fanciest Icing You’ll Ever Create

Spicy, warm, aromatic gingerbread cookies are my favorite to bake over Christmas. Not only are they delicious, but they’re fun to decorate too. Whenever I make gingerbread, I cut out several shapes for my kids to decorate. They love squirting icing and sticking candy to personify their gingerbread men. Of course, the also love biting off their limbs and applying red icing "blood" to turn them into zombies. What can I say? My kids are weird. 

I also stamp out a few cookies for myself to decorate with more refined designs. I use royal icing to decorate my cookies. It’s easy to make and use, long-lasting, dries hard, and is a sweet complement to the tangy spice of gingerbread. 


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What I've Learned About Dating as a Middle-Aged Mom of Six

I’ve jumped into the dating pool a time or two in the past few years, but then I always remember that scene from Jaws and I quickly escape before I lose a limb. I’ve been on my own with my kids for five years now. We’ve certainly had our ups and downs. There have been times when I thought I’d really (I mean, really) like to get remarried just so I’d have a second pair of hands to help me out. It would be great to have two incomes for one set of bills. I’d like to enjoy some “adult time” with someone I love. Then again, there have been times when I have insisted that I don’t need a man; I can take care of everything on my own thankyouverymuch. I don’t need to share a bathroom with a man who leaves the seat up. I don’t want to have to pretend to like my in-laws again.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Because Nothing Says Christmas Like an Ice-Skating Elephant in a Dress

When I was in Chicago last week, I spied a Christmas store while walking around Woodfield Mall. Being in the Christmas spirit, I insisted we go in and look around. There's just something about red and green decorations, shimmering lights, iridescent snowflakes, silver and gold strands of sparkly-ness, elegant nutcrackers, whimsical elves, delicate angels, and jolly Santas that put you in a festive mood. When I left the store, however, I was surprisingly no longer filled with Christmas cheerfulness. Nope, I was left shaking my head and muttering, dumbfounded, "What the crap was that?" I think I've been scarred for life. I'll show you why . . .

I'd love to get inside the head of the guy who said, "Let's take a woman with an old fashioned dress and ice skates, then swap out her head for that of an elephant! Yes! We'll sell millions!"

When I think of the holidays, the first thing that pops into my head is a dapper lion dressed in top hat, waist coat, and spats. It's a shame he forgot his pants since that would have disguised his seemingly dislocated knee.

When I first saw this little fellow, I fondly thought, "Aaaaeeeiggghhhhyyyeeauuuccchhhh!" (I think that's how you spell the noise I made.) As if a bald monkey in pantaloons isn't creepy enough, look at the price tag! For the bargain price of only $239.95 you too could own this disturbing freak of nature.

Merry Mardi Christmas Gras!

 "Since the ice-skating eleph-woman was such a hit, how 'bout we do this? We'll take a bag with a drawstring and slap a lion's head on top of it! It's brilliant!"

I have no words.

"Hmmmm, how to outdo the ice-skating eleph-woman and the lion-head baggy? What to do, what to do? Eureka! I've got it! A peanut! On a winking monkey head! Atop a spring! Yes, a monkey-in-a-box with a peanut balanced on his head. (I'm pretty sure this is what happened to Sid from Toy Story when he grew up. He became a Christmas ornament maker.)

Hey look, kids! It's the traditional clown riding a pig ornament!

It's a mermaid! It's a mouse! It's a mermaid! It's a mouse! With her hand-in-the-air, sassy attitude, who cares? She can totally pull off the Carassius Mus thing.

For those who just can't get over the disappointment of Halloween being over - it's a whole Mariachi band of skeletons! Feliz Navidad!

"You know what people love? Things on sticks! Popsicles! Corndogs! Lollipops! Shish-ka-bobs! Who could resist a baby head on a stick?"

Hey look! It's the Church Lady! On a stick! Now isn't that special?

Yep, apparently you can put any ole thing on a stick and sell it as a Christmas decoration.

"Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas from Phil Robertson, er, um, I mean Santa. Yep, I'm Santa. And no, you can't have my Red Ryder BB gun or you'll shoot your eye out, kid."

Oh look! It's another Sid creation. A hat. On a bear. On a fish. On a spring. Yep, that says Merry Christmas to me!

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, two Victorian cats . . .

It's a rooster! Er, a hen. Hmmm, the large comb and bright plumage suggest it's a male. The eggs, high heels, and pearls, suggest it's a female. Let's just call it the sexually confused holiday chicken, okay? (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Now, I ask you, who wouldn't love a dance hall pig from a wild west saloon adorning their mantlepiece during this blessed season?

Oh dear Lord, I need a therapy now!

Okay, let's take inventory here. It's a frog. With a fur cape. And charming boots. Holding an engagement ring. Yep, it has all the properties of a classic yuletide trinket.

Christmas is the time for those famous delicacies: gingerbread, eggnog, fruitcake, candy canes, and pastrami on rye

Oh my gosh! Jackalopes DO exist!

 And finally, The Elf on the Shelf after a hard night of drinking. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Holiday Movies on Netflix

Reason number 286 why I love Netflix: I can get my Christmas movie fix with Netflix! Once Thanksgiving rolls around, I start watching Christmas movies. I can't get enough of them! And Netflix has a TON of them!

I love all the Rankin and Bass stop-motion Christmas movies because I remember watching them as a kid. (My own kids are less-than-impressed with them.) I love all the classics like It's a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol, White Christmas, and Holiday Inn. I love funny movies like Elf and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and can quote them in their entirety, line for line. (I know, I know, if only I could make a living with my impressive ability to remember useless movie lines.) I even love movies that aren't necessarily considered Christmas movies, but have Christmassy elements in them like While You Were Sleeping. While You Were Sleeping is one of my all-time favorite movies! It's a romantic comedy and although it isn't a Christmas movie per se, it takes place over Christmas. It also takes place in Chicago which is, in my totally unbiased opinion, the awesomest city ever.

My favorite scene in this movie is the one that takes place around the dinner table when everyone is talking about a different subject. It's so hilarious (and so like my own dinner table!

I went to Cuba.
Ricky Ricardo was Cuban.
You know, Peter should have been an actor. He´s tall.
Alan Ladd wasn´t tall.
Marshal Dillon was six-foot-five.
These mashed potatoes are so creamy.
l could never make a good pot roast.
You need good beef.
Argentina has great beef. Beef and Nazis.
John Wayne was tall.
Dustin Hoffman was five-six.
Would you want to see Dustin Hoffman save the Alamo?
These mashed potatoes are so creamy.
Spain has good beef.
Cesar Romero was tall.
Cesar Romero was not Spanish.
l didn´t say Cesar Romero was Spanish.

You can't help but fall in love with the whole family in this movie! And how can you resist a movie that has a first kiss spontaneously take place under the mistletoe?

Check out While You Were Sleeping on Netflix to kick off your holiday season with a feel-good, funny movie the whole family will enjoy!


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"Are They All Yours?" and Other Things I'm Asked as a Mom of Six

Today, a teacher overheard me talking to my friend about my kids’ grades. “Three of them made honor roll, two are in college and I’m not sure what their grades are yet, and one … well, we just won’t talk about him right now.”
“You have six kids?” she asked, incredulously.
I shrugged and gave her my standard response: “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

Saturday, November 15, 2014

My Kids’ Idea of Self-Expression Looks a Lot Like a Mistake to Me

“Look at that guy,” my son whispered to me as we passed a heavily tattooed man with enormous gauges in his ears, piercings on his lips, nose, and eyebrows, and a blue Mohawk. Part of me wanted to respond with, “Wow! What a freak show!” But the mechanism in my brain that keeps me from blurting out things or swearing at bad drivers in front of my kids responded nonchalantly, “Yep, that sure is some blue hair, huh?”


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

You Just Might Have a Teenager If . . .

Four of my six kids are teenagers. Do you understand the magnitude of that statement? I have FOUR TEENS in my house right now! FOUR! I think I deserve a medal for that. Or a nap. Yes, a nap would be nice. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids. I absolutely love the goofiness of them, but it’s almost like parenting toddlers all over again. Maybe they no longer melt down if I do something as evil as putting ketchup on their hotdogs, or making them wear shoes when we go to the store, but they certainly have unexplained moodiness and attitudes that occasionally make me wonder if they had lobotomies when I wasn’t looking.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Who Promised Us We Could "Have It All?"

I read a piece written by Babble’s Suzanne Jannese, Jennifer Garner Nails What’s Wrong with the Work-Family Balance in America. In it, she makes the point that society still expects the woman to do all the juggling and compromising needed to raise a family while dad can go about his business of bringing home the bacon with little worry about childcare and running a household. I understand what she’s saying. Families have changed over the years, but attitudes about roles within the family haven’t kept up. I get it. She makes some valid points in her article. What I don’t get is this – who ever said that having a family would be easy? Where do we get the idea that we are all inherently entitled to balance? Why is juggling and compromise seen as a bad thing? Why do people believe they deserve to “have it all?”


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Does a Teen Have a Right to Their Privacy?

Last night, I watched the movie Blended. At one point, single mom Lauren (played by Drew Barrymore) goes on a blind date. Her son questions her about her date, asking her things that he could only know if he’d read her email. Realizing that her son had invaded her privacy and looked in her computer, she talks to him about the importance of respecting privacy. A little later, while gathering laundry from under her son’s bed, Lauren discovers a bikini-clad centerfold with a picture of their babysitter’s head taped over the model’s face. Shocked and disgusted, she rips the page to shreds. However, her conversation about respecting privacy comes back to haunt her and she instantly regrets tearing up the picture. Which leads me to the question – is it important to respect your child’s privacy (especially if you expect him to respect yours) or, as a parent, do you have the right, or even the responsibility, to invade your child’s personal space to monitor what he’s doing?


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Little Halloween Celebration for the Younger Set

My kids and I haven't had cable TV for years. It's not that I don't like TV, but it's just so darn expensive! I haven't been able to justify spending money on cable TV when my kids and I spend more time at their sporting events than we do at home, and don't really have much time to watch TV anyway. We do, however, have Netflix. It's inexpensive and it puts some of my kids' favorite shows and movies right at our fingertips. We have a family movie night several times a month. When Netflix asked me if I'd like to be part of their Stream Team and talk about the movies and shows we watch on Netflix, I happily agreed because it's something we do anyway.

My older kids like binge-watching shows like The Walking Dead and Orange is the New Black. My younger ones enjoy watching Phineas and Ferb, Good Luck Charlie, and The Wizards of Waverly Place among others. I personally like watching chic flicks and old movies like Roman Holiday, Sabrina, While You Were Sleeping, It Could Happen to You, and Sleepless in Seattle.

This week, my older kids went to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios. That is way too scary for my younger kids (and me too!) so we stayed home and had our own little pre-Halloween celebration! We watched Curious George Halloween Boofest which was more to my liking than having zombies jump out at me! And my kids helped me to make these adorable desserts to enjoy while we watched our favorite monkey!

I hollowed out some oranges and carved little jack-o-lantern faces on them. My kids filled them with ice cream and put gum drop "stems" on them.

I realized that you need to serve them right away or it will look like they're throwing up chocolate ice cream. My kids, however, thought that barfing jack-o-lanterns were pretty cool.

Curious George Halloween Boofest with my Littles and barfing jack-o-lantern desserts while snuggled up on the couch! Who could ask for a better evening?

Monday, October 13, 2014

15 Crazy Get-Out-of-Work Excuses Only a Parent Could Use

I have to leave work to meet the plumber so I can find out which kid flushed what down the toilet.

I read a rant on Facebook that struck a nerve with me. The tirade was written by a random person who was complaining about parents who miss work because of their kids. “It isn’t fair!” she whined about her breeding counterparts. “Why should they get a day off just because their kid is sick or has some assembly at school? 

Yeah, that’s it. We parents just sit around and think of ways to get out of work. We like worrying about losing our jobs. It’s fun wondering if we’ll have enough money to pay the bills this month if we miss a couple days. And really, there’s nothing more enjoyable than feeling like we’re horrible parents when we’re forced to choose work over our kids (or even when we merely consider choosing work.) 


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