Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dating the Un-date-ables... Part I

See, I'm married.  I have three kids.  My love life is as exciting as watching the Titanic credits over and over until your retinas bleed.

But my sister...

She's a whole different story.  Well, really, lots of different stories.  Stories that I fully intend on telling my daughters when they're of age (or maybe when they're 3... these lessons are worth cementing in their memories, trust me.) so that they may avoid the many tragic romance mistakes Sis has made.

 Like this guy:

"Putz"* is the guy pointed to by the big yellow arrow (not that his friends aren't also putzes; I don't know them so they're safe for now) and on the left you'll note I've found a photo of Marv from Home Alone.  Yikes.  striking similarities, no? Those eerily arched eyebrows and that come-hither 'stache ("Who wants a mustache ride?") just absolutely scream "sexy".

*Names have been changed to make it a little less obvious.

Whoo... let me take a sec to cool off here.

It's not that Sis is a dog.  On the contrary - she's very pretty and smart and sassy and hip.  (I kinda wish I was as cute as her, but I'd never admit that in person.)

See?  At least the sweet Chester Child Molester 'stache didn't (supposedly; she might be lying - more on that later) show up until after she ditched him.  But look how cute that girl is.

You'll understand in a moment that this is really not even just about the looks (or, rather, the total and utter incompatibility of how they look) but it's so stinkin' much more.  It's even more than the fact that Putz is the same age as her (23) and lives in his mom's basement while he works at Target as a stock boy because he did a year at college and "took some time off to figure out what he really wanted to do" while SHE, meanwhile, was busy graduating from a great school's honors college with two degrees and lining up a killer job in a big city.

You know... growing up.

She told me about this dude and I immediately told her she was his Sugar Mamma.  I told her to steer clear of him because he was just looking for someone else's basement to live in while he "figured out what he really wanted to do".

Didn't go over so well.  Which is probably why she neglected to reveal to me the following information until long after he was out of the picture (the final straw for her, if you were wondering, was him asking her for money...):

He had a breathalyzer in his car.

Seriously? Sis, seriously?  You let this guy pick you up for your 4th date and you had to sit in the passenger seat while he blew and hummed into a device for several minutes so he could take you out and that didn't automatically trigger a "run the hell away" instinct?  Oy.

I'm not even going to get into the fact that it was the 4th date before he drove.  But Putz had a breathalyzer in his car for an underage DUI.  Quality.

So once Sis clued me in to this particular character flaw, she also felt comfortable enough informing me that "I took some time off school to figure out what I really want to do" actually means, in Putz-speak, "I got an underage DUI and dropped out of college."

For me, that would have been an absolute deal-breaker and there wouldn't have been a 5th date, let alone a 6-month relationship.

And don't assume the sex must have been great to keep her around.

I don't know.  I wish I understood what she was thinking, but it's obvious that she wasn't exactly proud of Putz or she wouldn't have neglected ("Ooops?  Did I forget to mention the breathalyzer? Silly me.") to divulge such amazingly ridiculous facts about him while she was dating him.

In this particular case, all I can do is toss my hands up and shake my head and offer her my shoulder when it's all over and try not to pee my pants laughing at her offer her my deepest sympathies when it doesn't work out.

Coming soon: What To Do When Your Boyfriend Wants to Be You and other tales from dating Mr. Little-Man-Syndrome...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Prunes for Babies?

Right? Gross.  But wait.  Seriously.  Don't laugh - they're actually not only quite yummy, but extremely good for you.  And, though you don't want to overload your kiddo with them (funny story at the end of this post regarding prunes) they're sweet and mix well with lots of other foods and can help maintain digestive health.  Besides, have you READ the nutrition label lately?  They're little food powerhouses with antioxidants galore.  So stop being grossed out and let's make prunes!

I should probably say something about how I wasn't paid and yadda yadda but I'm small-time here and this just so happens to be what our grocery store carries.

Step 1: Squish the centers of the prunes between your fingers to check for pits.  Though they're pitted, sometimes a pesky pit escapes and plagues your prunes which spells disaster for your puree.  (Rock on, alliteration!)  If you find one, either pick it out, discard the prune or eat it yourself and spit the pit out.

 Repeat until you've used about 2/3 of the prunes in the container (this one was an 18 oz. package), and place the prunes in a bowl (or giant measuring cup, as in this case).

Step 2: Add some water.  I say "some" because it depends really on how many prunes you've got.  But enough to just cover them.  This water is going to be in the puree, so if tap water is an issue for you, use boiled or filtered water.

See?  They look gross.  The goal here is to re-hydrate them a little bit.  Makes them softer.  Your blender will thank you.  Throughout this process, actually, it's important to note that prunes are a dried fruit.  You'll see; it comes into play later on.

Step 3: Wait.  Wait an hour or two or more until the water is discolored and the prunes are soft and puffy looking.  Basically, they need to get really disgusting to look at.  My husband was repulsed.  It was funny.

Step 4: Add all the water and a few prunes to your blender and crank it up.  Make sure the lid is on when you turn it on because it can be a bit violent.  You can take it off once it gets going, but watch out for that first surge of action! 

Step 5: Add the re-hydrated prunes a few at a time while the blender is on and let it blend them really well before you add more.  I should also probably mention here that this puree ends up with some small flecks of fruit throughout it, as you can see.  With each addition of fruit, you'll get a darker color.

Optional Step 6: Add a few non-re-hydrated prunes (like, directly out of the package) if you finish all your re-hydrated prunes and your puree is still too runny.  Be aware though, pureed prunes will continue to thicken slightly for a time, and adding non-re-hydrated prunes will intensify that phenomenon. Let me explain.  Because the prunes are dried, you soak them in water and the cells start to puff back up.  If you chop the prunes up, as in a blender, you expose more cells to water so eventually you end up with a really thick goo of plump prune cells.   Okay I'm not a scientist, but you get the gist.  So when you're adding additional prunes (if you decide to do so) make sure you blend it to a step or two below your desired thickness and call it quits or you're going to end up needing to thin it out later.  The finished product should be about the same color as milk chocolate.

Prune puree also doesn't freeze well... That is, I've never gotten it to work well in the ice-cube trays.  If you've got those cool storage cubes, go for it.  But they don't really freeze solid so you can't so much pop them back out of the trays.  So I freeze it in regular plastic containers in quantities that will last me about 3 days and just take them out of the freezer and put them in the fridge when I empty a container.  That way, I've always got some on hand.  They seem to go really well with sweet potatoes, and my girls have enjoyed them mixed with a mashed banana and oatmeal for breakfast. 

Now, here's the promised funny story.  Hopefully Justin won't read this; he'll kill me.  But I'm a risk-taker like that.  So.

One year, we were down in Orlando with his family.  We went to the store to stock up on some snack foods to enjoy in the time-share villa they've got and we happened upon the packaged fruit aisle where I grabbed a box of raisins and some banana chips to munch on. Justin saw a bag that said, "Cherry Flavored Dried Plums" and said, "Wow! Yum!  I like cherries AND plums - score!"  I raised an eyebrow but figured that my man knew what he was doing.  Back at our place, we all opened up our snacks and headed to the pool to read and relax.  Not much later, I heard him crumple up his bag and saw him toss it in the garbage.  "What's wrong, you didn't like them?"  Justin: "No, they were delicious!  I just finished them all... sorry, did you want one?"  Me: "Uh... the whole thing?"  Justin: "Yep.  Why?"  Me: "Hon, you just ate a pound of prunes... you sure that was a good idea?"  Justin: "What are you talking about?  Those were cherry flavored dried..."  Me: "...plums.  Right.  I got it.  What do you think a prune is, Just?  A prune is a dried plum.  And they make you poop."  At this point, realization set in and Justin's face blanched.  Sure enough, a few hours later he disappeared into the bathroom in the villa and no one knew where he had gone until the tell-tale smell alerted us to the fact that the dried plums were indeed doing their work.  Several hours later, a very pale and visibly shaky Justin emerged to gales of laughter looks of pity and understanding.  Now, you can bet he knows what a prune is and you know he only eats a few at a time.

The end.

Baby Food: Pear Perfection!

I love to make pears.  First, they're easy.  Second, they mix well with just about anything.  Third, they're a great source of fiber in case your kiddo is having a hard time with hard poo with the increase of solid foods.  Plus, they're delicious. 

So the technique I use is baking.  Honestly, pears are so soft and yummy that you really don't NEED to cook them if you don't want to, but I caution you: little tummies can have a hard time digesting those raw sugars and can end up gassy.  Plus, I just feel better about the heat+germs=safe equation, especially since I freeze and defrost my kids' food.  You could also cut them up and steam them or cook them in a wee bit of boiling water à la applesauce... BUT, I choose to bake them because baking them really brings out their delicious flavor and makes a pretty darned yummy dessert for bigger people as well.

So, pears were on sale.  I use Bartlett and let them ripen just a little so they yeild to pressure but aren't mushy.
Step 1: Wash and halve pears, then core them.  If you have a gadget to do this, by all means, use it!

Step 2: Arrange pears in a shallow baking dish and add about an inch of water to the pan.  Bake at 350 for about 35-45 minutes, checking regularly after the first 30 minutes or so.

I sincerely wish I could take a picture of smell.  These are so fragrant and delicious!  See how they're slightly golden and the edges of the skin are starting to curl?  Perfect!

Step 3: Peel and blend!  If you want, you could try tossing the hot pear halves into a bath of ice water to see if it helps the skins slip off.  You don't even HAVE to get rid of the skins, but I do because they're a little harder to digest.  I do not worry, however, about getting every last piece of peel off.  And blending is a cinch since they're so soft!

If you want, keep a couple warm pear halves aside and sprinkle them with cinnamon and drizzle with honey... add a dollop of Cool Whip and you're in for a yummy treat!  If you want, prepare an extra dish of these and bake them with the cinnamon and honey already on them.  Yum!

*Note: I also reserve the water that's left in the baking dishes (since you won't need it to get a smooth puree) and freeze the water itself separately because it's mighty handy to add a cube of pear juice to a dish of baby food that's too hot and needs to be cooled down or to thin out extra-thick cereal... or just to add a flavor punch to something. 

Friday, December 11, 2009

And here it is, #101... Fill in the Blank Friday!


Alright, so I couldn't resist.  The author of one of my favorite blogs does a fun carnival called "Fill in the Blank Friday" and I LOVE today's topic.  So click her button above if you want to see the origins and here I go...

You get to answer the question yourself on YOUR blog and link it back to HER blog, or leave a comment for me on this post and so on (I think)... 

So here's this week's question:
The children's show I can't stand is_____________.
But the show I secretly like is _________________.

The show I can't stand is Spongebob Squarepants.  OMG give it a rest.  10 years of absolute crap. Mind-numbing, poorly animated, stupid garbage.  Ren and Stimpy couldn't have deficated and produced a bigger mound of poo.  AND IT'S EVERYWHERE.  He's not cute.  It's not funny.  It's gross and inappropriate and all around LAME.   I get offended when people give my kid Spongebob stickers.  I hate when it's playing in doctor's offices. And I despise that whenever my child sees it, he is totally mesmerized by it.  Ick.  Go away.

Also on my list of grating crap that I can't stand (which is very long and this list is by no means all-inclusive):  Dora, Diego, Special Agent Oso (though, only because the animation style really bugs me), actually, most Nick shows, and everything on Cartoon Network.  My kids aren't old enough to torture me with the Disney 'Tween shows, but when they are, add those to the list too.

BUT, the show I secretly like is Imagination Movers.  And not just because I have a giant crush on Mover Rich, but because it's a genuinely enjoyable show with good values and likable people.  I don't like many other shows that showcase adults, like The Wiggles (creepy) and PeeWee (shudder) but the Movers are just cute, friendly, fun dudes.  And their music is catchy and fun.  In fact, Imagination Movers is usually on when I get back from dropping Jack off at school so I leave the TV on while I nurse the girls and I rarely change the channel... partly because it's nice background noise, there's nothing else on the other channels, and a little bit because I like to watch Mover Rich the show itself.

On my list of likes: Little Einsteins, Micky Mouse Clubhouse (though annoying, has great concepts for learning), Word World, Super Why, Dinosaur Train, the Backyardigans, Thomas the Tank Engine and occasionally, Sid the Science Kid.

Phew, thank you for indulging my rant on Spongebob.

What about you?  Join in the blog hop or leave your opinions in my comments?  Do tell!

My 100th Post!

Hooray for me!  I bet this is where you expected me to write something profound?  Hm, sorry.  Profundity and I aren't a good match these days.  BUT, I will make sure I regale you with a few amusing points, even if there is no actual specific thesis for this particular post.  I'm sure you'll forgive me since there are 99 other marvelously fantastic, amusing, insightful, brilliantly written blog posts for your reading pleasure... 

*sigh* You're right.  So, celebrating mediocrity for the 100th time, I present:

My living room floor!  Yay!  And the three kiddos lounging on it, flea-free* at last!

(*until they come back, which they probably will and I will again be placed on homicide-watch.)

You see, fleas attacked us.  No, we don't have pets.  Yes, I am a clean (obsessively so) person and yes, they really are as obnoxious as you've heard.  So after 2 treatments from Terminix (the only reason I've made it through this past year in the dump I call my house) and daily vacuuming, it appears that so far, we've kept the pesky little punks at bay.  Score.  One.  For.  Me.

(And I neeeeeed that point.)

Well.  In the midst of all the drama and chaos resulting from our arachnid visitors, I was able to get all 4 of our trees up.  See?

The living room tree... well, part of it.

The dining room tree.

The girls' tree.

Jack's tree.

... some of the adorable ornaments on the living room (family) tree and of course, the stocking holders. 

Speaking of stocking holders, I had to go buy a few extra ones to accommodate our expanded family, as well as this year's stupendous addition of my mom and sister!  (And even still have one left over for baby #4...? Eventually...?  Please, Hubby...?)

So... hm.  Well, also in Melis-News, Jordan has been driving me crazy since she learned to roll over.  She actually not only learned to roll, but developed a rolling compulsion.  See, I can't keep the kid on her back for the life of me.  Not for a diaper change, not in the bouncer, not even on my lap to nurse, since she's halfway there.  She in fact spends the nursing sessions trying to go the rest of the way over and wind up on my lap on her belly.  Oh, but it's not because she likes being on her belly.  In fact, she hates it.  And she doesn't think to just roll back.  No, she starts shrieking immediately like someone was eviscerating her with a dull spoon.  I mean, normally, fine.  Whatever, Kiddo, I'll help you out.  But it gets pretty old when it happens, oh 12 times a night.  Or when it cuts nap short for you AND your sister... AND your brother because your wailing is loud enough to rattle our next-door neighbor's dishes.  I have no idea how to stop this, either.  She's a weird, weird kid.

The silver lining to the flea issue and to the Jordan/OCD issue is that the combination of the running around and doing crazy housework thanks to the fleas and the increased nursing to get Jordan to sleep after her 5th or 6th nightly wake-up has kicked my metabolism into high gear because mysteriously, I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weight.  Now, my pre-pregnancy weight was not my ideal weight (I have another 5lbs to go to hit that one) and furthermore, pre-pregnancy weight in no way is related to pre-pregnancy shape.  I could lose another 30 pounds and not attain that... well, I would probably die at that point, but you get the point.  So, go me!  (Really, what this means is that my jeans are looser and all the more willing to allow Muffin Top to creep up and greet the world... joy.)

And lastly, (for now, as I'm making fudge and need to go check on it taste it) I would like to point out that... crap, I totally forgot what I was saying because I went up to add the sentence about Jordan being a weird kid.

*Sigh* Okay, well, I did try to give you a good post for #100, but my tired brain failed me and hey, at least there are photos, right?  Right.  Stop whining. 

Here's to 100 more gems...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


It has been about 8 forevers since I posted a meaningful, worthwhile post here, but we're dealing with a flea infestation that requires daily+ vacuuming of our 2400 square foot house and I'm currently losing 21-0 to my laundry since I have to wash pretty much everything I own every time the pest people come here to treat.  So currently, all of my clothes, 50% of my husband's and kids' clothes are in garbage bags (clean, at least!) in the back of my husband's car to keep them free of fleas and their pesky eggs. 

I hate my house.  I hate living here and I feel like I'm in prison. 


What're you going to do though, right?  To quote one of my favorite Disney movies, Meet the Robinsons, "Keep moving forward"...

So I am.  But I'm pooped.  Utterly, completely pooped.

But at least my kids are still adorable.  In fact, they and my dear sweet cookie making hubby are all that hold me together on most days recently.



God, I love them so much. Thank You for letting me borrow them so that my life isn't as abysmally crappy as it could be.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


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