Sunday, November 28, 2010

Weekend Update...

Are you sick of turkey?  

I am not tired of that awesome sandwich concoction that only Thanksgiving dinner can provide; 

White bread, mayo, a little cranberry sauce (from the can, of course), stuffing, sliced roasted turkey and a dollop of gravy....cold.  

Mmmmm!  

Still love that, however, after tomorrow, whatever is still taking up space in the fridge 

is heading straight to the trash.  We need a little red meat or something!

Man, am I glad it's Sunday night... 

Up until I had kids, that statement wouldn't ever cross my lips.  

Now on Sundays, I even look forward to making their school lunches.  

Don't get me wrong... 

we had a great weekend of holiday decorating, 

making ornaments, 

keeping my dear, sweet children from tearing each other apart, refereeing who had the green crayon first, etc.

shopping for the Christmas tree in numbing cold.  I think the tree lot at Home Depot was a true wind tunnel...  

We spent good, dysfunctional time with our families on several nights, went bowling, too.  

I love my family, as I am sure you do, and holiday time always brings out that specialness that can only be described as unique.  

But, who lives in Utopia anyway?  

If there weren't a few nuts then the fruitcake would be lacking, if you know what I mean.  

So, my ornament decorating party is this week and I've got glitter, stickers, ribbon and glue sticks galore.  

Hoping it will be fun!  If not, I'll be squirreling away a few extra Sophia Coppola cans of bubbly for me!

Tom worked the entire weekend and he just texted that he is finally coming home, 

tired dirty and smelling of toxic chemicals.  

And he wants some turkey....Sandwich comin' up!.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Finding Gratitude...



After last night's deluge and resulting leaks throughout my tired, old house, combined with heart-stopping

 crisis at work, one would think gratitude would be a scarce commodity. 

For me, recognizing the fact that I wanted to hurl the non-cooperating fax machine through the office window

while biting the head off of anyone within clawing distance was merely the symptoms of PMS,

helped to calm my desire to commit a felony. 

All I needed was to find some good, old fashioned gratitude. 

Not surprisingly, I found it close to home. 

First stop on the gratitude tour was a visit to The Paulina Meat Market. 

This historic bastion of all things meat, Paulina Meat Market is a beloved treasure in our neighborhood. 

What's not to love in a place that sells Turducken, I ask you?

There, I waited in line, among other friends of all things meat,

to be taken care of by kindly butchers in paper hats. 

I walked out with my 10 lb turkey, happy. 

The next wave of gratitude was not expected. 

I needed to get groceries and I had to bring the kids along; a deadly combination. 

Kids + late in the day + candy in the checkout aisle = HELL. 

I strongly suggested to them that good behavior would result in their favorite extra long link of beef jerky

IF they made me proud and did not ask for anything else. 

Ok, really, can kids be coerced into being civil little persons for beef jerky? 

Yep! 

For that, I am grateful. 

Back at home, Jack did his homework without much prodding (so grateful),

and now they are laughing hysterically to "America's Funniest Home Videos". 

I am grateful for their sweet laughter. 

Now we are in the process of baking the Acorn Cake, (photo above)

which I found from sweets diva extraordinaire,


I hope you have lots to be grateful for, too. 

My cup is full.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bucket Brigade

See an unusually warm November day in Chicago....

Up pops an unusually strong storm....

Bad storm, Bad!

See tornadoes and flipped school buses...

Up, Up, Up goes the wind...

Down, Down, Down comes the rain...

Kate, Jack and Mommy get wet...

Run, Run, Run into the house!

Mommy makes dinner...

Jack and Kate play...

Mommy! Mommy!  Come Look!

See the water drip!

Drip, Drip, Drip!

Water drips down the wall...

Water drips from the light..

Water drips in the bathroom...

Water drips in the back stair...

See Mommy run and get buckets...

Stop, Water, Stop!

See Mommy drink....

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Lists...

I'm going list crazy... 

Lists for the Thanksgiving menu, lists for the ornament party, Christmas shopping list, this week's grocery list, factory office supplies list....it is endless.  

The lists are written on scraps of paper that I cannot, for the life of me, locate in the deep recesses of my purse, when needed.  Sometimes I think searching for the list creates more stress than what needs to be accomplished on the actual list!  

How is your list looking today?  

Are you mad with Turkey day pre-preparations or do you hit the grocery store on Wednesday to fight crowds of weary twenty somethings buying a frozen Jenni-O Teriyaki turkey breasts for Thanksgiving dinner or  they are choosing a fall mum bouquet to bring home to mom?  

Or perhaps you have purchased your fresh heritage turkey and are currently brining it?  

Yeah, me neither.  

Truth be told, my parents are cooking Thankgiving dinner and I am bringing dessert...

Got off easy, but we like a little turkey at home, too.  

So I am roasting a small ten pounder myself.  Every year I make my dad's famous stuffing he created one Thanksgiving morning in the early 1970's while my mom was sick with the flu.  

It has the usual ingredients, with a little of this and that, 

plus a can of beer.  

It was so delicious and it keeps evolving year after year.  

However, I am going to break from tradition and make the White Castle stuffing that people are talking about.  Tom had it many years ago and loved it, so we thought we'd give it a go.  

Here is the recipe I am using.  Have you made it?  Any tips or suggestions?

WHITE CASTLE TURKEY STUFFING

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 1 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Poultry

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
10 White Castle hamburgers,
Pickle removed
1 1/2 c Celery, diced
1 1/4 ts Ground thyme
1 1/2 ts Ground sage
3/4 ts Coarse ground black pepper
1/4 c Chicken broth

In a large mixing bowl, tear the White Castle
hamburgers into pieces and add diced celery and
seasonings. Toss and add chicken broth. Toss well.
Stuff cavity of turkey just before roasting. Makes
about 9 cups (enough for 10-12 lb bird).
NOTE: Allow 1 White Castle hamburger for each pound of
turkey, which will be the equivilent of 3/4 cup
stuffing per pound.
Time to tackle the lists.  

Drudgery, a little bit.....

..so to lighten the mood, here are my kids mimicking Steve Buscemi's rat, Templeton, from the movie, "Charlotte's Web"..... makes me laugh everytime!

P.S. Sharon is the winner of the cute yellow felt pin as she was the only one to comment on the blog.....


video

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Keeping Kids Busy...Part Deux...


Tom is still out of town... 

He is in Nashville and if he name drops one more Country Western star he has seen, had lunch with, 
or seen their tour bus, I am gonna whup his country ass.  

He doesn't even like country music, but now the name Barbara Mandrel rolls off his tongue 
 like they are old buddies.  

Back at the ranch, I am ferrying kids to karate, after working at the factory all day.  

Thank God I put the pot roast in the slow cooker this morning 
or else it would have been chips and dip for dinner tonight.  

I am hosting my annual ornament decorating/ drinking party for some of my girlie-friends in about two weeks.  This house needs to transform from Fall to Christmas about 15 minutes after the last spoonful of stuffing has been consumed, so I am starting now with some preparations.  

One good thing to do would be to remove the rotted head on a stick in our front yard.  

Tom put it there to add ambiance to the plywood mess we have grown accustomed to.  

I forget it's there and I believe Halloween is over, right?  

Oh, well, it kind of represents how we feel about our house....

 Anyway, back to holiday party preparations...  

I saw an idea in Country Living magazine to affix pinecones to a grapevine wreath to  make a holiday wreath.  Well, as luck would have it, my mom gave me a big bag of pinecones a few weeks back. 
So, Kate and I hit JoAnn's tonight and bought 2 wreaths.  

I set about hot glueing the pinecones to the wreaths and the plan was for the kids to paint Elmer's glue on them before we dust the whole wreath in gold glitter.  

I love glitter! 

Not to the point of Liberace, but a little sparkle works for me.  

Anyway, do not ask your kids to be creative in any way, shape or form, after 5pm.  
How is it possible to find ways to argue over glue and pinecones?!

They each had their own bowl of glue, but they were seconds from a full on glue fight before I stepped in.  Had the glitter been within arm's reach I would be cleaning glitter from the ceiling instead of writing this post.  

In these photos, they look industrious and even downright angelic.  

Don't be fooled!  

So, we finished the wreaths and hung them on the front doors.  I'm thinkin' not enough glitter and perhaps a bow is in order.  

Tom gets back tomorrow, all starstruck from a slow dance with Minnie Pearl or something...
(is she still alive??).  

I am sure he has forgotten that he is taking the kids to the circus tomorrow night
while I go out for drinks and shopping with a friend. ..

It all works out in the wash.......heh heh heh!

P.S.  Don't forget to drop me a comment on yesterday's post with your fave cookie.  So far, Sharon is a shoe in to win that adorable felt pin......

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My First Giveaway!



I started this blog to promote Mac & Fitz, my clothing company for little kids.  

It sounded like a good idea to chronicle the process of starting a business, 
making the goods, the successes and failures.  

Well, life butted in, like it usually does, and all my sewing time is now spent in a factory with 25 dirty men, processing invoices, figuring out worker's comp claims and wiping the filth off of the break room tables.  
Sounds glamorous, huh?

When that day arrives, and, God help me, it better be soon, that Tom fires me from my job as "Mrs. Wiggins" so I may stay home and eat bon bons for the first time in my entire life,

(if any of you stay at home moms eat bon bons, speak up.....

...hmmm all I hear are crickets...)  

then the sewing machine will be dusted off. Mac & Fitz will return!  

I sure miss it...going to a fabric store is like going into a candy store for me, 
except that I don't get a large butt there.
Unless I toss in an Almond Joy at the check out....

Anyway, since I can't share the mishaps and victories of Mac & Fitz for now, the blog has turned into a lot of whatever... you know, the everyday stuff we all deal with.  

I loved Erma Bombeck and her take on family life.  She made the mundane seem funny 
and we could all relate to her musings.  

My favorite quote is,  

"I childproofed the house, and they still get in!"

So, my friends, today, let's muse about Christmas cookies... 

Those two words conjure up so many memories for me and I'll bet they do for you, too.  I remember helping my mother and my grandmother make their special selections of cookies each year, from scratch, of course.  

My grandmother had a Norwegian background, so she made Fattigmanns Bakkels, lovely, fried with lard cookies, dusted in powdered sugar, and rosettes,which are fried, too.  They were awesome.  

My mother made spritz cookies in all sorts of shapes.  The dough was fragrant with almond and she colored the tree shapes green.  My job was to sprinkle the red sugar or silver dragees on top.  

Then we made the infamous cornflake wreaths with green marshmallows melted in 
and decorated with red hots.  

What a sticky mess!  

They had to dry in the basement for two days before we could dig in and it was torture to not go down there and sneak a few....which we did anyway...

Mom also made the chocolate and vanilla pinwheels in perfect rounds.  So tasty!  

I loved those years we would get flour up to our elbows and bake dozens of cookies.  She had and now I have a cool wooden cookie holder shaped like a christmas tree to display the various cookies on three tiers.  Christmas has arrived when we get it out.  

More recently, my sister in law contributes her buckeye candy that she makes.  They are deadly.  I can throw down four of them and a glass of milk before I know what hit me.   

SO.... the title today is my first giveaway.  I never win anything but I did win a reusable lunch bag a few months back and it was so exciting!  It was to me, anyway..

Most bloggers have giveaways to increase their audience and to get feedback.  

So shameless and exactly the reason I am doing it... 

Besides the same five or so loyal friends who "like" my blog posts on Facebook or who make a comment and oh, how I LOVE you!!!, it's pretty quiet out there.  

Have you been reading my blog all along, or are you a new reader?  

Any thoughts out there...Buhler....Buhler?

I'd love to hear from you.  So I am going to lure you into talking to me with a giveaway contest.  

I had to do it before the silence of 0 comments was too deafening.  
Heck, it this goes well, I may even do ANOTHER giveaway!

Echo, echo, echo........  

Isn't this yellow felt pin from my new friend, Sherri of Belle Blossoms adorable?  

It would look so cute on your coat or pinned to your winter cap..

So, to win this sweet pin, comment and tell me your memories of Christmas cookies and what your favorite cookie is.  Recipes welcome!  

I am putting together my holiday cookie list as we speak.  Contest closes at midnight Friday....


Monday, November 15, 2010

Sentencing in absentia....



Don't you love it when your husband declares punishment that you end up having to carry out?  "No TV for the next two days!" he ordered my son, who deserved a punishment for something or other.  

Sounds good in theory, except for the fact that the other kid can't watch TV either, then.  

And how in the wide world of sports am I going to get dinner on the table and other household duties done at the usual 50 yd dash after school??  

I mean, it's a babysitter of sorts.  Oh come on, let's all fess up to that fact!

Either you turn on Sponge Bob so you can get the laundry folded or else you are refereeing an ultimate fighting match between siblings,

or you are setting up an elaborate art project to keep them busy for, oh, about 7.5 minutes.  

Until the next fight....  

You can imagine my glee upon finding out my dear husband laid down the law that I would have to enforce.  

Thanks, Honey....  

That'll cost you an extra bottle of wine AND those boots I have been eyeing in the Garnet Hill catalog.  Good thing we are broke or else I would follow through... 

Ok, so back to reality.....   

I have these two tired kids, just home from school, with no vegging in front of the TV.  

What to do....  light bulb!...Get the little loafers to cook!  

This is not a new revelation...the kids bake and make salads with me plenty, but it is usually when all involved are not tired, cranky and ready to snap. 

(we are talking about me, of course...)  

Anyway, I made the suggestion for Mediterranean Chicken (recipe below) and they were in.  

Kate washed and sectioned the broccoli, put together the concoction for the garlic couscous, shook the bag of flour and chicken, cracked eggs and stirred the brownie mix.  

Jack, peeled and thinly sliced the fresh garlic, halved the kalamata olives, sauteed the chicken, made the sauce and became Jaques, the waiter, once dinner was ready.  

They stayed busy and even tolerated the meal.  After that, it was up for grabs, but I survived until 7pm and then popped Kate in the tub.  

Whew!  

It was fun and I got some help with the meal...not so bad... 

Would I choose Phineas Ferb over my child spinning the salad?  

No, but ask me tomorrow, I may change my mind...

Serves 8
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 chicken legs (6 to 8 ounces each), split and skin removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 4 strips orange zest (1/2 by 2 inches)
  • Coarse salt

Directions

  1. Place flour on a plate. Dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess.
  2. In a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, saute; chicken, turning as each side browns, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a platter.
  3. Add remaining tablespoon oil to pot. Cook onion and garlic, stirring frequently, until onion is softened, about 7 minutes. Add broth, tomato paste, olives, and orange zest; season with salt. Bring to a boil.
  4. Return chicken to pot. Cover; simmer, turning chicken once or twice, until tender but not falling off the bone, about 20 minutes. Serve hot.


Read more at Marthastewart.com: Mediterranean Chicken - Martha Stewart Recipes

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bullet Proof



So, this is me, at the end of the party.


I might have had a few mango martinis at this point,
 but hey, it was a good party, after all.


 Yep, I'm gettin' all Charlie's Angels with those twenty something girls.

 Heck, I'm probably old enough to be their mother, but I'm holding my own, Spanx and all...

It was our long awaited grand opening party for our two year old experiment in patience, Heat Armor.


Tom Jedi-Mind tricked me into jumping off a cliff into the great entrepreneurial abyss to make bullet proof cars.  

Who knew?  

I thought I'd end up marrying some ex-jock banker, maybe an artist or something, and here I am, with a man who saves one imperiled businessman in Nigeria after another...  


The last two years have been semi-harrowing, with the usual start-up nightmares, combined with a near collapse of our home, plus paralyzing financial distress.  Somehow, time, patience, common sense from friends and family, mixed with lots of wine and vodka have pulled us through.  


We are still in the beginning stages of this company, but things are starting to roll.  

And it was time to celebrate.  

The weather was very cold and drizzly on the 4th, but so many friends, family and clients came to see the factory.  

J&L Catering did us proud and DJ Mike Tolva created a very cool ambiance.  



Cars, guns and laser cutters seem to create a buzz.....

Who knew?! 

So, by the time the last client left and those remaining were the younger of our employees, we let our hair down, cracked open a few more Buds and shook it to some bad music that only twenty somethings like.....


Mylie WHO?  

How about some David Byrne...."Burning Down the House..."  

Wow....am I old!  But hey, the patent heels were still on at midnight....not bad for an old chick....

Rock on, Heat Armor, Rock on.....