Saturday, May 10, 2008


I have a decent camera that I don't know how to use.
I have adorable kids that do funny things that I can photograph endlessly.
Lately, every photo I take is messed up somehow.

I think it might be time to make an investment into photoshop. (and maybe a class or two, but who has time for that?!)

Which version? Do any of you use it? Feel like giving a girl some advice?

Friday, May 9, 2008

Bribery Won't Work

If you are ever in a position where you want to bribe my kids to do something for you, I just want to be the first to say, bribery won't work. It won't. I have trained them to be upstanding and moral and impervious to bribery. (Blackmail is a different matter.)

But Bribery won't work. And I know this because I tested it. Over 5 months ago, I bought the kids a Wii.

It was a bribe. An experiment in motivation. Which failed. Because they aren't so much upstanding and moral and impervious, as they are inherently a little lazy (which they come by naturally from their dad). And they are HUGE procrastinators (another unsightly trait that comes from their dad), and they all have a big heaping inability to pay attention wee bit of ADD. OK, a couple have a wee bit of the ADHHHHHHHHHHHHHHD. But there's no need to discuss where that comes from. And I am completely worn down to a raw nerve with just getting them to comb their hair and put clean clothes on trying to teach them to make their own choices and be responsible for themselves.

What I'm trying to say is that we STILL haven't opened the Wii. In spite of Dave and I working beside them, (C'mon, kids! The de-garbaging of the house is fun for the whole family!) we are still not done.

Finally, in desperation, I sat the kids down a few nights ago and said, "Do you know what I really want for Mother's Day?" And please, feel free to judge me for using that holiday against them. It's the only one I get any mileage out of all year. I plan my requests 6-8 months in advance. Last year, I received the "World's Best MOM" award. Yep, I effectively used that against them for months.

"What Mommy? What do you want?" 10 beautiful eyes stared at me expectantly. . .
"I really really really want to play the Wii." Because it's now just one more piece of clutter sitting around collecting dust! Because I love you and I know you are all dying to play with that amazing gaming system which has been next to the TV, ironically buried in clutter, since I bought it 5 months ago. Because if I have to spend one more day staring at piles of stuff no one uses, cares about or will miss, I might be forced to take a little vacation to the psyche ward.

And, those darling little kids proceeded to. . . do very nearly nothing. It's OK. At least I know they can not be bribed. I am proud of that achievement.

And at the rate we're going, we will be able to play the Wii about the time the next generation console, the Puu, comes out. Yep, you heard it here first. The Puu. Which is clearly fictional. Unless Nintendo has an extraordinarily infantile funny bone. And "they might, rabbit. They might". (quick. . .who can tell me where that last quote was adapted from? I'll even give a prize to the first correct guess. I'm thinking itunes credit. But I draw the line at bribes)

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Rebi: Mom, PLEASE don't blog about this. (and I won't blog about what she wished me not to blog about, exactly).

Evan: Mom, this book is too sad for Tyler to read. It's even making me feel sad. (the book is The Day of Tears and follows a slave through an auction and resettling in a new home)

Ellie: Wait, when you say hot fudge, do you just mean regular fudge, but heated up? (by regular fudge, she is indeed referring to the candy type, not the topping type).

Tyler: Aren't you supposed to be in the car with the woman when she drives off? (made extremely funny because it was made in the middle of an intense Adam and Eve discussion).

Nate: Well, that was not a part of my evil plan. (pause) Not that I have an evil plan, but if I did have an evil plan, THAT would not be part of it. (long long pause) Wait! I think I really DO have an evil plan.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Tortilla Tutorial

This post is dedicated to Jenne, who taught me everything I know about making tortillas, destroying my ability to eat packaged tortillas forever enriching my life.
You will need salt, flour, Crisco, and water. Here's the recipe for amounts.
There is a learning curve, so plan on a few practice rounds before you "go live"
Special tools you will need- a frying pan, a rolling pin, and a pastry cutter.

Put the flour in the bowl and add salt. I call it a palm full. It's hard to screw this up. Just don't add a handful or anything. Stir a little.
Dump the Crisco in the center of the flour. The more Crisco you have, the softer the tortillas will be. Unless you add too much, at which point you will not have tortillas but little grease balls.

Using the pastry cutter, cut in the Crisco until it resembles coarse crumbs (pictured below).
You can use two knives and cross cut for this as well, but pastry cutters are cheap. Obviously, I own two. We make a lot of tortillas. Once I rolled out 60 in one sitting. I don't recommend it.

Can you see the coarse crumbs? Look closely! Note to self: Next time, use flood lights. . .

Pour the hot water in all at once.

Stir until dough starts to combine.

At this point, you might need a little more water. You want the dough to be damp and soft, but not too sticky.

Get your deformed hand attached to your deformed arm in there and work that dough into a ball. If you over work the dough, it will be tough.

See the beautiful dough ball?

Now, seperate the big dough ball into 10-12 little dough balls. These are around golf ball size.

Flour the counter well and place the dough in the center.

With your awesome rolling pin, that someone who shall remain nameless used as a hammer and dinged up, roll from the center of the dough out, evenly around the circle. I found myself rolling towards my body as well as out. Go Figure. No wonder I am always completely covered in flour at the end of tortilla making.

If the dough starts to stick to the counter, pick it up and add flour to the counter. Flip the tortilla over and keep rolling. You are likely to do this 3-4 times in making 1 tortilla.

Preheat your pan to medium- on our stove it's a 5. Again, you'll figure this out as you practice. DO NOT OIL THE PAN. That step is very important. . .
Once you see bubbles like this, flip the tortilla over. You can use your fingers, a spatula, or the flapjack method. But beware, the steam in those bubbles is wicked hot.

Brown on the other side (approx 1-2 minutes per side) and eat.

DISCLAIMER: You may never be able to eat a store-bought tortilla again. . .

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Edible Flies

I was making tortillas for dinner last night. My constant companion, Nate was right there helping.

Nate: Mom, is Crisco edible?

Me: Sure is. Here. have a taste (and yes I did place a decent sized glob of it right in his mouth. Poor kids thought he had hit the jackpot, for about 1/2 of a second.)

Please take a moment and make the worst face you can think of. Now go look in the mirror. Now pretend that's the face Nate made. But funnier

Me: Hysterical with laughter. Sorry, Honey. I didn't think you would find it THAT gross.

Nate: It tastes like FLIES!

So, apparently Nate eats flies. He thinks they are disgusting, but he eats them anyway. I was laughing too hard to get into the details, but his explanation for fly eating involved peanut butter and jelly. . .

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Learning to Drive

I have always felt like kids who go places without their parents on a regular basis should have a couple of things:
1) a cell phone
2) a working knowledge of a car

When I say "without their parents on a regular basis", I mean as they start going to summer camps and school trips where mom and dad just aren't close enough to be of help. When I say a working knowledge of a car, I mean the ability to drive it for short distances, in an emergency, to get to safety or to get themselves or someone else help.

Please judge that however you will. I have no problems with the fact that people do not agree with me. I will still be teaching my kids to drive. That might stem from the fact that I got a crash course in driving when my choices were to either drive myself home from the middle of nowhere (that's how I learned to drive a stick too, coincidentally) or ride passenger with a drunk driver. OK, I believe the first time I drove very slowly home, the owner of the car was stoned, but impaired nonetheless.

So, Last Tuesday, before the kids left on their excellent adventure, I put Rebi behind the wheel and had her practice easing on the gas, easing off the gas, easing on the brake. She did really well, with only a few little jerks and violent stops.

Evan was in the back seat, and got a little cocky, saying he could drive better. So, I got the van all lined up to give him a nice stretch of straight with very few obstacles on either side. He checked his mirrors, released the emergency brake, eased off the brake, and then pretty much stomped on the gas. Apparently I was not clear enough in telling him the gas pedal requires VERY LITTLE pressure. I should have said NO pressure.

Completely freaked out, his utter panic was only made worse by me saying,
"brake brake BRAKE BRAKE BRAKE!"

At this point, Evan accidentally moved the wheel a little and we started hurtling towards a tree. Which made him even more freaked out and he still couldn't get his foot to the brake pedal. I very nearly dropped the engine from the car by slamming it into neutral. And as soon as that happened, he smashed his foot into the brake pedal.

We screeched to a halt, noses to the windshield, not so much worse for wear, but with a healthier respect for mom's driving. I gave myself a few minutes to catch my breath again and put him back in the driver's seat where he was much better about easing on and off the gas and certainly moved his foot to the brake in a more timely manner.

I wonder if I could buy a used Driver's Ed car with the passenger side brake. Because that would make teaching 5 kids to drive a whole lot less nerve wracking.