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Why Are You Acting Unusual?

The other day, the kids were a little bit out of control.

We were coming off of a three day swim meet, the kids had been dragged back and forth to a pool that was almost an hour away all weekend, I had been gone for basically three days, and everyone was e xhausted.

So I took Monday to regroup. It was a cool, rainy summer day, and it was just what we needed.

Or so I thought.

I figured the kids would enjoy the down time and not being dragged to another pool and another meet and being able to stay home in their pajamas all day.

I was hoping to use it as a day to catch up on all the stuff that had fallen by the wayside while I was gone.

Around 11:30 a.m., the first kid informed me that she was starving, followed by a second kid who was apparently on the verge of dying from hunger a short time later.

I stopped what I was doing, and I went into the kitchen.

I told the kids I’d make them lunch, that I wanted them out of the kitchen, and that I’d tell them when lunch was ready so they could come and eat.

One of my kids’ favorite things to do is sit on a stool in the kitchen and watch me make lunch and complain about how long it’s taking me.  And once one kid is doing that, it’s not long before they are all doing that.

And that shit drives me insane.

So the kids stayed out of the kitchen for approximately 47 seconds.

And then two of them were screaming at each other. I heard them coming from a couple rooms away.

I was already out of patience.

I told them that I was going to leave the kitchen when they were in there, especially when they were yelling at each other, and that if I had to leave the kitchen, it would take me that much longer to make lunch. And seeing as a couple of them were apparently on the verge of death because it had been more than an hour since they had last eaten, they might not want that.

They didn’t care. They kept screaming at each other.

So I left the kitchen.

I went into the bathroom where the washer and dryer are, and I started sorting laundry.

When I didn’t hear any more screaming, I went back into the kitchen. I resumed the lunch making process.

About five minutes later, the kids resumed the screaming process.

So I left the kitchen and I took the recycling out to the recycling bin.

I stayed outside for a few minutes because I was starting to get seriously frustrated.

I went back inside and the screaming had stopped. Again, I resumed the lunch making process.

And again the kids were at each others’ throats in a matter of minutes.

After about a half hour of this back and forth bullshit, I had had enough.I told the kids I was no longer willing to spend any more time making lunches, that I had been trying for a half hour and that was the maximum amount of time I was willing to spend.

I told them I would  make dinner later, but I had other things to do, and spending ninety minutes waiting for them to stop arguing was not one of them. If they wanted lunch, they’d have to do it themselves.

Normally this wouldn’t be an issue, but it was three days after I’d been gone all weekend, and we had like three cans of green beans, some tortillas and for some reason, about fifteen bags of marshmallows.

So it was going to take some creativity.

I didn’t really care, though.

I walked out of the kitchen.

The kids looked at each other like, What the hell are we going to eat and What the fuck happened to Mom?

But I was exhausted from the weekend and stressed out and I was just done.

A little while later, Number 5 delivered me a note:

 

On the left side it said:

This is now, surrounded by a bunch of sad faces.

On the right side it said:

This is how it should be now,  surrounded by a bunch of smiley faces. And then it said:

Look on other side ——>

I turned the note over and read:

Dear Mom,

Why are you acting unusual (AKA mean)

it’s wierd

so please tell me why

Aha. I had struck a nerve.

The fact that she saw this as unusual behavior showed me one thing. I have been letting the kids be disrespectful to me more often than I think.

And she noticed my new response.

Today it’s three days later.

The kids certainly haven’t been angels.

But they’ve been better.

And they definitely haven’t been fucking around when I’m making them something to eat.

If your kids are driving you insane with bickering and fighting, consider trying this.

Don’t yell. Don’t scream. Don’t threaten.

Just quietly define your boundaries.

And then stick to them.

You might be surprised by what happens.

 

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A Simple, Affordable and Super Cute Way To Celebrate Your Kid’s Birthday

It’s no secret how I feel about over-the-top birthday parties.

I hate them.

That doesn’t mean I don’t think everyone deserves some kind of celebration on their birthday.

Of course they do!

But if you are like me, if you are on a budget, if you have more than one kid, if you have a crazy schedule, if you don’t want to go overboard with presents, and if you are trying to teach your kids that lots of stuff isn’t what truly brings you happiness, then you don’t want to go crazy every year.

That’s why I wanted to share this super cute and simple birthday “party” idea with you.

A friend posted pictures of what she did for her son’s birthday last week, and I LOVED IT. So I wanted to share it with you.

Like my friend, I like to let the kids choose what they want to eat for dinner on their birthday if we are just doing a celebration with the family.

And that’s what my friend did, but she took it one step further.

She asked her son what he wanted to eat for dinner, and then she turned her dining room into a “restaurant.”

She didn’t do anything crazy.

But the way she set the table and printed out dinner menus was so cute.

And I know my kids, especially the younger ones would love this, and I’m totally doing it for our next birthday (I might even attempt it for breakfast for the summer birthdays).

Anyway, here is a picture of the menu:

How cute is that?

*Can be made into a Frito Pie upon request.

That’s awesome!

And who doesn’t love a bacon kabob???

Those are awesome, too. And hilarious.

Here is the “diner” setup:

Very simple and super cute.

And I think a GREAT idea if you have a weekday/school night birthday and want to do something special but need to stick to your routine.

We will for sure be “going to the diner” for at least one of our next birthdays!

 

Turkey Burger Quesadillas — My Family F***ing Loved These

I tried another Skinnytaste recipe.

Sort of.

I adapted the Skinny Buffalo Burger Quesadilla from skinnytaste.com.

And my family fucking loved them.

I am obligated to use the f-word when talking about them.

That’s how much they liked them.

And they are so simple!

So on skinnytaste.com, the photo of the burger looks like this:

And she makes her burger quesadillas with buffalo meat and whole wheat tortillas. She also gets small tortillas and trims them to size for each burger.

So I had to make a few changes, because 1) I don’t buy buffalo meat, 2) I was only going to Costco and they don’t have whole wheat tortillas there, 3) ain’t nobody got time to trim tortillas, and I’m not going to throw away perfectly good tortilla parts for no good reason.

SO, here’s what I did…

First,you only need the following four ingredients (salt and pepper don’t count as an ingredient):

  • Pico de Gallo (which is fancy for salsa, and they have a really awesome one at Costco)

(Here it is, and I don’t buy it because it’s organic, I buy it because it’s SO GOOD):

 

  • 2-3 cups shredded cheese (I used Kirkland shredded Mexican)
  • 1 lb ground turkey (sold in a 4-pack at Costco)
  • tortillas (you can get a big ass bag of these at Costco for $3.99, and they keep well but if you don’t use them all you can always freeze them)
  • salt and pepper

Before I go any further, I made these for dinner on Wednesday. I only have my phone to take pictures, and I have to take them in a small window of time (at this time of year in February, it’s about 4:40-5:00) when the light in my kitchen is the best, because when I use the flash on my phone or have to turn the lights on in the kitchen, the pictures suck.

During my small window of time, Number 6 was outside playing, fell, got his pants soaked and came inside in meltdown mode because he needed to change.

Number 3 was super sick with bronchitis and strep, had a massive coughing attack that took him by surprise, and he puked on the couch.

And then the electrician unexpectedly showed up at the house out of nowhere (my husband had arranged for him to come, but forgot to tell me), and I’ve been waiting for months for him to come so I  had to stop and show him what I needed him to work on.

So my point here is that I missed my photo window of opportunity, and the pictures suck.

But I’m telling you, this meal was a massive hit.

MASSIVE.

Someday I’ll redo this post with better pictures. Until then I wanted to get it written before time got away from me, and also because my family loved it so much it’s for sure going in the meal plan rotation, and I am certain this is a recipe your family will love, too, whether you make my revised version or Skinnytaste’s original one.

So here’s what I did.

I cut four tortillas into quarters. That way nothing went to waste.

Next, I seasoned the ground turkey with salt and pepper and made small, thin patties.

(I told you the pictures were terrible).

The Skinnytaste recipe tells you to cook all the burgers and then wash the pan out and use it again to assemble the quesadillas. But I was kind of in a rush because I had to get to swim practice, so while the burgers were cooking in one pan, I made quesadillas in another.

Next, spray a pan heated to low/medium with nonstick spray, then put a quarter tortilla in. Put 1-2 tablespoons of cheese on the tortilla, then 1-2 teaspoons of pico de gallo, then a cooked burger, then 1-2 tbsp more cheese on top, followed by another tortilla.

Gina tells you to put more pico de gallo on top of the burger, but I didn’t because I didn’t know if the kids would eat them if they had too much salsa on them.

Cook 1-2 minutes on one side and then flip.

Depending on how big your pan is, you could make more than one quesadilla at a time.

And that’s it!

The finished product looked like this:

Here’s what the family said:

Number 2: Those are really good.

Number 3 (only got one little quesadilla because he fell asleep in his bed and I didn’t want to wake him up because he was sick): MOM! NO FAIR! Those were so good and I only got one.

Number 4: OHMYGODMOMTHOSEARESOGOOD.

Number 5: Mommy, I don’t like these… I LOVE THEM.

Number 6: Refused to take a bit because he saw green things in them.

Number 7: Declined to comment but wolfed down two.

I served these with tossed salad. They were delicious.

I made a double batch for the eight of us and they were gone immediately. Next time I’ll make quadruple and freeze them, or at least cook the burgers and freeze those so I only have to assemble the quesadillas.

Highly recommended!!!!

 

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Sh*t I Made From Skinnytaste — Giant Turkey Meatball

I suppose you shouldn’t include the word sh*t in the title of a post you are writing about food, but, well, like I’ve said before, this isn’t the Pioneer Woman.

A couple weeks ago on Facebook I asked if you all wouldn’t mind sharing your favorite chicken recipes that were easy and that were also liked by all (or most) of your family, and I got like a bazillion comments, and one of them said “Anything from Skinnytaste.com. I’ve never made anything from that site that wasn’t great.”

I have seen lots of stuff from her site before, but I don’t know if I’ve ever actually made anything from it.

So I’ve been checking it out recently for a couple reasons:

1) I like her philosophy of everything in moderation.

2) She has lots of stuff that isn’t too complicated and doesn’t take long to make.

3) She uses real food.

4) She’s done all the work.

I would love to have the time to experiment and make up healthy and appealing to the masses dinners for my family.

But right now I don’t. And I probably won’t anytime in the near future. Plus, why reinvent the wheel, you know?

And then I thought about that movie with Amy Adams and Meryl Streep — I can’t remember the name but it’s the one where Meryl Streep is Julia  Child and Amy Adams makes one of her recipes a day for a year and blogs about each one  —  and I was like, Why don’t you do something like that with Skinnytaste?

Somebody may already be doing it. Who knows.  And I’m not going to try a recipe a day. But I’m gonna try a few.

Because I am on a quest to finally get a meal plan for my family in place, so I’m gonna start here.

Since ground turkey is one of my go-to grocery items cause they sell it at  Costco in a four pack, I went to Skinnytaste.com, typed in  ground turkey in the search bar, and up popped a whole butt load of recipes. And this one was on the first page: Giant Turkey Meatball Parmesan.

Um….

YES, PLEASE!

So I tried that today.

I tasted it before I left for practice tonight, and the rest of the kids ate it while I was at the pool. So I had to wait until I got home for feedback.

And here is the verdict:

According to me: That sh*t’s good!!!

According to Number 4 (10 years old and not always a fan of big slabs of meat): “Mom! That’s actually really good!”

According to Number 6 (6 years old and my pickiest eater): “Yum! It tastes like lasagna!”

According to my husband (talking to Number 4): “Eat some of this. It’s really good!”

I’m not sure what Number 7 thought of it because she was in bed when I got home. Number 5 went to chick fil a with a friend, so she didn’t eat it. Number 2 isn’t home yet and Number 3 is recovering from the virus from hell and didn’t eat dinner.

So of the 5 people who ate it, it got 4 definite thumbs up and one yet-to-be-determined at this time.

A recap:

Very easy to make.

The recipe calls for these ingredients:

  • 1 lb 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1/3 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup Delallo Pomodoro Fresco Marinara
  • 1 oz (1/4 cup) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • grated parmesan, optional for topping

I had most of the ingredients.

I didn’t have parsley so I skipped that, and I used generic, jarred marinara sauce.

I also added about 1/3 cup of the marinara sauce into the meatball mixture (by mistake because I didn’t read the directions carefully) and I think that made it even better!

I made a double batch, so we could eat one tonight and freeze another one for later. (I took a gamble that we would love it and made double).

The packages of ground turkey from Costco are more like 1.6 pounds per package, and I used two of those. So rather than using  1 lb as per the recipe, I used 1.5+ pounds/1 giant meatball.

That was just enough to feed eight of us. There was nothing left over (a testament to how much everyone liked it).

My picture isn’t as pretty as hers, but here’s what it looked like:

Here are both of them:

One was a little saucier than the other, and one was a little cheesier. The one on the right is split because I wasn’t sure if it was cooked all the way through, so I cut it to check.

Here’s what it looked like when I cut it (I added a little extra sauce before we ate it):

Sliced like a meatloaf, but tastes like a meatball!

Delicious and a total hit! Prep time was minimal, it was super easy to make, and I highly recommend.

Click here to check out the recipe.

This one is definitely going in my meal plan!

 

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