Frumpy New Year!

So here we are, at the precipice of 2011. This year was a whole lot better for me than 2009, but I'm always looking ahead. Because who knows: 2011 could be the best year evah.

Everybody who blogs, it seems, is doing one of two things: either listing their resolutions, or making a "best-of" list consisting of their favorite posts of the year. But me? I don't like to make resolutions, because I rarely end up keeping them and then I feel like a big fat loser. Therefore my only resolution for 2011 is AWESOMENESS.*

*And by "awesomeness" I mean at least doubling the Frump's readership and like totally taking over the Internet so help a sista out and share a link with your posse, yo. 

As far as the best posts, well, I'll leave that up to you to choose. They all come from me, but to say that I love them equally would be lying (after all, I've also produced both turds and children, and I bet you can guess which I prize the most). If you want to take a look back, be my guest ... the archives are in the sidebar.

What I really want to close out the year with is a montage of my favorite pictures that have ever appeared in this blog. Ever. (And, in case you're curious, a link to their corresponding posts.)    








The above photo never actually made it into a blog ... I just thought it was hilarious.







And because I couldn't close out 2010 without a nod to at least one blog entry ... here's one of my favorite posts of the year.

Tonight I'll be chillin' with my husband and our three crazy, wonderful little boys - and after they go to bed, some seriously cheap champagne. Which means I will be asleep on the couch, drooling and snoring, by about 11:15.

Happy New Year, everyone! Here's to a fabulous 2011!

Bobby-Pains



Embarrassing confession time: I am thirty years old and had to Google "how to use a bobby pin."

This is comparable to, like, a dude saying he doesn't know how to use a screwdriver. Or that he really doesn't get football. The ability to use a bobby pin is a skill that, apparently, most girls are born with. Except for me, because my personality is sadly gender-confused. I'm Kate Winslet hocking a loogie off the side of the Titanic. Maybe it's a good thing that I've birthed a gaggle of boys.

I have tried - unsuccessfully - for years to bobby pin my own hair ... but for some reason, I just can't get them to hold it in place. Like my foray into the world of Bumpits, my (mis)use of bobby pins only leads to less-than-flattering hairstyles. Okay, so they're actually straight-up hair fails. But unlike Bumpits, which are a relatively new addition to the arsenal of hair-doing-gadgets, bobby pins have been around since pre-history. I seriously think the cavewomen were using them ... or at least the ancient Egyptians (I mean, they had eyeliner). So, unlike Bumpits, which I don't mind asking for directions to use, my pride has not permitted me to ask how to properly use a bobby pin. Because I should totally know. I'm a girl. And I've had hair for, like, 29 years now.

Seeing as it's holiday party season, all of my magazines are trying to teach me "TEN EASY PARTY UPDOS!" and "PARTY-PRETTY HAIR IN MINUTES!" But when you're me, here's how it goes down:

Step one: pull hair back into a ponytail. (Yay, I got this!)

Step two: twist ponytail and wrap hair around elastic. (Done and done. Now what?)

Step three: secure bun with bobby pins. ( ............ Shit.)

What these magazines are forgetting is that a small percentage of their readership (um, me) are ill-versed in the womanly way of the bobby pin. A tutorial would be greatly appreciated, but apparently it should be second nature.

So yeah. I Googled it. And then scooted far back, lest a hand come out of my computer screen and slap me for not having any common sense.

(Hey, I can't help it. I've got to be at some sort of disadvantage ... my hair looks like this.)

I found more instructions on how to use bobby pins to pick a lock than how to use them in your hair. But there were a couple of decent how-to guides.

Let's just hope my "girl gene" is developed enough to retain the information ...



Shake It 'til You Break It

Not actually me. The hair's all wrong.

I have been dying to try Zumba ever since I first heard of it. Problem is, I heard of it like three years ago. But it's a Latin dance workout - and, much like a Brazilian wax, wasn't exactly something I wanted to dive into without some moral support. And I couldn't seem to recruit the moral support.*

*Which may or may not be why I also have never actually had a Brazilian wax.

Until yesterday, when my new neighbor N. - yes, the one to whom I delivered the poo cupcakes - asked me if I wanted to join her at the 5:45 Zumba class.

Um, YES!!! *fist pump* OMGOMGOMG YES!!!

*throat clear* I mean, yeah, that'd be cool.

I was so excited ... seriously. Especially since N. had never been to a Zumba class either and, well, had just as much of a chance as I did of looking like a total stiff-hipped moron. I mean, I might do a bit of swiveling here and there when I play "Just Dance" on my Wii - but I'm no Shakira, people.

I put on my rattiest workout clothes because they're currently the only garments that fit me without creating odd lumps or rolls. (Damn you, holiday hoss-fest.) They're also the only garments that wouldn't betray the fact that immediately after I got out of N.'s car, I was struck by a bubble of gas and had to walk across the parking lot with clenched cheeks, lest some inadvertantly slip out. I was afraid it would, you know, be a little loud and I don't know N. well enough yet to scare her like that.

Anyway.

It was nice to see the variety of people in the class. There were college-aged girls, and there were ladies who looked like they might've gone to high school with Jesus. There were pleasantly plump women and there were chicks who would blow away in a gust of wind. In both categories, I was comfortably in-between.

Thus, I Zumba'ed my in-between ass off. Normally in that kind of situation I'd be mildly self-conscious but seriously? I didn't even care. I just shook it like I was trying to break somethin'. Yeah, so maybe when I jiggled my hips, it set off a ripple effect in the fattier parts of my physique ... but the chick in front of me kept holding her boobs, so I didn't feel bad. Plus I was having a damn good time. Zumba is fun, y'all.

There were only two crappy things about the class: 1.) the back wall was actually a window, where a gaggle of early-teenaged boys gathered to no doubt gawk at the perky little Zumba teacher shaking her perky little moneymaker. After which she proceeded to 2.) break out in hives, which caused her to cut the class like half an hour short.

But still. I had fun. And anyway, I was on the verge of collapse getting a little tired.

After that, I came home and devoured a Jethro Bodine-sized bowl of chili and like eight dozen rolls.

Baby steps, right?

 

Poo to You!

I'll never get the chance to meet most of you in person. But for those of you I do have the privilege of meeting, please bear one thing in mind: if I give you a sweet treat that looks alarmingly like poop, it's because I'm trying to impress you. Really.

I've come to realize that I have an almost uncanny knack for creating desserts - for consumption by people other than my immediate family - which resemble feces. Seriously. I'm #1 at making things that look like #2.

Remember those cupcakes I made for the new neighbors? They looked like crap, in the most literal sense.

I don't know why, when it comes to making goodies for other people, I don't just stick to my tried-and-true recipes: the ones I've (more or less) mastered, like apple pie or chocolate chip cookies. It's like I have this weird compulsion to grandly go beyond my normal dessert repertoire and enter into delicious new territory. Only problem is ... it backfires on me. Like, always.

True to form, though, when Curtis asked me if I'd make him some kind of dessert to take to his holiday dinner at work, I decided to try making something new: chocolate-dipped peanut butter balls. Wisely, I whipped up a "test batch" of balls for home consumption first. (These thighs didn't get this size by themselves, y'all.) They were delicious, but a bit too big. So for the work party, I deduced, I should make them smaller. Bite-sized, if you will.

But what I didn't realize? Was that making them smaller would also make them look like little nuggets of poo.


So it looks like Curtis will be taking a platter of rabbit turds to work with him.

Hey, it's better than the creamed corn he took to last year's dinner.

Aw, Nuts

Nuts.

I'm overrun by nuts. And no matter how you interpret that statement ... yes, it's as nightmarish as it sounds.

There are pecans, walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts - and some oddly-shaped brown ones that, simply by Googling "nuts," I learned are in fact Brazil nuts:



It's because when we were shopping the other day, Curtis decided we just had to load up on mixed nuts, still in the shell. "It's a Christmas tradition," he insisted.

Now, last I checked, a "tradition" is something that happens every year. But this is, like, our twelfth Christmas together and I can tell you with absolute certainty that we have never celebrated with mixed nuts.

????

Anyway, he bought a huge bag of nuts. Like thirteen-damn-dollars worth of nuts. And when we got home, he dumped them all into a bowl he deemed "festive" (which is actually a big red plastic bowl I bought for the 4th of July) and dug out the nutcracker (which is actually a crab-claw cracker that he stole from a Chinese buffet a few years ago).

And then? He taught the boys to crack nuts. Only they can't properly use the stolen-crab-cracker-turned-nutcracker, so they've figured out that they can just lay the nuts on the kitchen floor and smash the crap out of them with anything hard enough: toys, other nuts, their shoes ... you get the picture. Consequently, there are nuts - and bits of nuts, and bits of nut shells - all. Over. My. House. Thanks to our new "tradition," my vacuum has taken up temporary residence in the corner of the living room for easy access. Ugh.

On the upside, though, I have to admit: an abundance of nuts makes means a lot of opportunities for immature wisecracking. (You know, stuff like "Get your nuts off the counter," or, "Wow, you're a pro at handling those nuts!") Because as y'all know, my sense of humor isn't exactly mature ... I'd sooner laugh at a poop joke than a cartoon from the New Yorker. And since my kids are still too little to grasp the innuendo, I don't even have to whisper the jokes or mutter them to Curtis from the corner of my mouth. Win!

I guess the new tradition isn't so bad after all.


Dear Boys: Things You May Not Realize


Dear Boys,


It has come to my attention that you must be confused about a couple of very important things. As your mother, it's my job to set you straight, so I'm writing you this letter.

First: naps. I suppose I've forgotten to tell you that naps are good. In fact, boys, they're great - and you are actually supposed to welcome them. When someone tells you to go to your bed in the middle of the day, snuggle into your fluffy pillow and cozy comforter, and even encourages you to sleep for as long as you can? That, my sons, is a luxury beyond compare. You must not realize this, seeing as you try eight hundred different ways to weasel out of naptime and then resort to whining and flopping around in your bed until you (grudgingly) fall asleep. Maybe when you learn that naps are like THE EPITOME OF AWESOME, you will welcome them instead of being all cranky and irritating irritated when naptime rolls around.

Then, boys, there's the matter of personal grooming that we encountered yesterday. I was trimming your nails and hair; you were howling and thrashing like I was trying to saw off a limb. Without anesthetic. Let me tell you this: it's called a haircut, manicure, and pedicure, and people pay other people to do it for them. You? Are getting it for free. I? Have not had a haircut in over a year and would love to trade places with you. So the next time someone (Mommy) wants to make your grimy claws all neat and tidy, or trim up a few stray ends on those adorable little noggins of yours, you should be grateful and revel in the grooming ritual - not have an epic freakout as if I were coming at you with a hacksaw.

Finally, we come to dining. I need to explain one thing to you: you have a personal chef. You should be happy with this. Do you ever have to make your own meals, boys? ... You don't? ... That's because I cook for you. Three times a day. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Again, this is a service that people actually pay for - a service you're completely taking for granted. What's more, I not only cook for you, I make sure your meals are nutritionally balanced (you know, most of the time). I cut the food up. I blow until I'm on the verge of hyperventilating to cool it. I do all this despite the fact that my own meals (that, coincidentally, I also prepare) are cold and unappetizing by the time I actually get to eat them. Therefore, perhaps you should consider gratefully eating said meals instead of complaining that I wanted ceeeeeeeereal and We had that last weeeeeeeeeek.

Maybe you just don't realize that you're supposed to appreciate these things. Boys, you're being handed amenities - on a silver platter - that I would give my left boob to have. A personal chef, an on-site manicurist and barber, a maid, a chauffeur, a laundry service, and somebody to not only encourage you to nap but rub your backs and read you stories beforehand?! I just described my own fantasy.

You're some lucky little dudes. Realize it. Embrace it.

... You're welcome.

Love,
Mommy

Maid Moron


I'm a neat freak - I love nothing more than a clean house. Unfortunately, I'm a neat freak with my own three-man wrecking crew three boys ages five and under. Which means that I'm like a person who goes out to shovel the driveway during a raging blizzard: I put forth a lot of futile effort. It seems like I'm endlessly cleaning up something, only to find a new mess literally the instant I'm done with the first.

And when that I do get all the clutter conquered, it's usually at like ten o'clock at night. By which point I'm too tired to actually clean - like, dust and mop and stuff - the areas that were buried underneath the clutter, so I vow to do it the next day. But then the next day comes, and my kids inevitably trash the joint the instant they wake up, and the cycle starts over again. Ugh.

Anyway, because Curtis knows we're having company in a few days and I won't get all the cleaning done how much better I feel in a clean house, he gave me an early Christmas present: a cleaning lady. I mean, it's just a one-time deal, but still - someone is coming to clean my house so I don't have to do it. Do y'all know how epic an event this is for me?! I am practically deafened by the Hallelujah chorus!

But the thing is, I've never had someone else do it before. And like ... I'm not exactly sure what to do.

She's coming over tomorrow. Curtis is off, so he'll be able to take the kids. I plan on staying here, because, well ... I don't know this lady. I'm sure she's nice and all, but you can never be too safe (I once had some movers silently empty the contents of my jewelry box before packing it. Little did they know, I don't own a single piece of "real" jewelry other than my wedding ring, which I was wearing on my finger! Karma's a bitch, isn't it dudes? Ahahaha!).

*ahem*

Anyway, so what do I do while she's here? Do I just, like ... sit there and watch TV or something and pretend she isn't even around? Do I make small talk while she cleans? It feels wrong to just sit there and not do anything while she slaves away at the mess. I'd feel like some pampered queen sitting there watching my servants while people feed me grapes and fan me with huge feathers. I mean, you know, minus the grapes and the feathers. And the pampered-ness.

I guess I should be more worried about the fact that my house currently looks like this:


... and that's just the kitchen.

Which means I've got to take care of all that before she even comes over - otherwise she'd just be cleaning around the crap, and what good is that?

Considering I just confiscated some markers and a bottle of pancake syrup from my boys, I may have even bigger messes to worry about. At least it isn't poop ...

... yet.


Crappy Wrapping

Back in the day, if my Friday stretched into the wee hours of Saturday morning, that meant I was out having a good time. On a dance floor somewhere. Wearing cute shoes. With a drink in my hand.

Fast-forward to present-day. Last night was a late night, but had nothing to do with dancing or drinking. Instead, I was looking especially dumpy in my "fat-girl pants" and a black tank top (braless, so I had to take care not to sit on my boobs). Sitting in the middle of my living room floor surrounded by a sea of crumpled gift wrap, with Scotch tape stuck to my body in various places.

I'm not a good gift-wrapper, y'all. My grandma Collier, who worked for a few years as a professional gift-wrapper at a posh department store, would roll over in her grave if she could see the clumsy, wrinkled lumps that will be sitting under my tree come Christmas morning. Although in my defense, I think Grandma worked at a time when stuff came in, like, regular boxes ... and now it's a different story. Because seriously? Who the heck decided it was an awesome idea to put toys in packaging like this?


Note the open front of the box? Yeah. It's hard to wrap. I know, I know ... I can hear you saying it now ... "Well, that's why you put them inside other boxes." And I swear, I save so many empty boxes "just in case" that my closet looks like a hoarder has taken up residence in there. But conveniently, NONE OF THEM happened to fit ANY of the gifts I was wrapping last night. Which means - you guessed it - crappily wrapped packages. Like this:

OMG LOL
Sadly, that's not even the worst example.

I mean, I know they're just going to get ripped open and the kids won't even care about the paper. (Except the baby ... I guarantee he'll spend more time playing with the wrapping than the present inside, as all babies do.) But still. It bugs the hell out of my inner Martha Stewart, who I wish would shut the eff up and accept my shoddy wrapping and lackluster Christmas tree. Which now, by the way, looks like this:

Oh Christ-mas tree, oh Christ-mas treeeee, how jacked-up are your braaaan-ches ...

I have visions of a picture-perfect holiday scene. But I also have three high-energy boys, a barely-grown Labrador Retriever, and cats who will hide in any crevice that looks big enough to squeeze their furry behinds into - a circumstance which serves to plow through my pristine Christmas vision like a bull through a china closet.

The wrecked tree, the rumpled gifts ... think I should just burn some sugar cookies and add a wilted poinsettia to complete the scene?

 




Certified Fresh!

When I was in third grade, I won an Earth Day contest for a poster I drew (featuring, as I recall, trash cans and unicorns). And that's about the last thing I've won ...

... until now.

Because I just got an email notifying me that this here blog - MY BLOG! omgomgomgomgomg - has been selected as Momversation's Fresh Voice 2010 in the "Fresh Humor" category!!! And damn, I don't even have a speech prepared.




I am seriously overwhelmed and couldn't be more flattered. I mean, me? Humorous? I blog about poop. But thanks to your nominations, because YOU think I'm funny, I've won this awesome award! They even made a video montage of the winners, which you can check out here. (Speaking of, I'm going to have a lot of new blogs to add to my reader.)

So thank you sooooo much, Momversation. And a big, special, super-deluxe sparkly-unicorn cotton-candy-scented THANK YOU (now with extra enthusiasm) to those of you who read, and laugh, along with my boring butt-wiping life!


Smells Like Irony


I'm pretty sure I don't have to describe the madhouse I encountered when I went to Walmart yesterday. Because unless you're reading this from an igloo somewhere or from a tent in the middle of the Gobi Desert, you're probably familiar with the typical pre-holiday shopping crowds. This is both bad and good: like everyone else, I get irritated with the wandering throngs of people. But I also love to people-watch, and more people means more opportunity to spot something funny.*

*And by "funny" I mean something you'd laugh about, not "funny" like your Uncle Jerry whose porcelain doll collection is overtaking his guest room.

Anyway, in such a crowd, I always feel like I'm in somebody's way - and yesterday was no exception. As I rounded the end of an aisle, I almost ran into a huge man. I mean, dude was built like an ox. An ox made of, like, steel. He was wearing a red flannel shirt, dirt-stained jeans, and rugged work boots. A scraggly beard darkened his chin, and his square jaw bristled with stubble. Right behind him was another, equally burly guy, similarly dressed. I couldn't smell them, but I'm pretty sure they smelled like wood smoke. And concrete. And chainsaws.

I quickly sidestepped out of their bulldozer-like path and went on my way, but as I walked away I couldn't help but overhear their conversation.

"They've come out with an apple-cinnamon now, but I still like the citrus-scented better," one of them said gruffly.

"Really?" the other replied. "I don't care for my house to smell like oranges."

It dawned on me that, yeah, they were indeed heading down the scented candle and air freshener aisle.

Febreze scented candle: $5
Hearing two big, burly dudes discussing their home fragrance preferences: priceless.


Caulk of the Walk


I'm here today to talk about caulk. And if you pronounce it like 95% of the rest of the world seems to, that sentence probably sounds really dirty.

Yeah, read it again, I'll wait.

It's a weird blog topic, I know. But the general pronunciation of "caulk" really grinds my gears ... in the same absurd way as people calling gum a snack. You know what caulk is, right? The gummy waterproof sealant for cracks and seams? Sold at hardware stores, comes in a tube? Yeah. And even though there is clearly an "L" right in the middle of the word - cauLk - the vast majority of people I've heard talk about it (mostly dudes, uncomfortably enough) pronounce it COCK. *shudder*

Now that's all fine and dandy if you hear "cock" and automatically think of roosters. Because, I mean, cock is technically another name for rooster. Let's face it, though: when that word comes up in conversation, poultry is the furthest thing from my mind. I mean, "ass" is technically another name for donkey, too, but who thinks of donkeys when someone says it? Not I, friends. Not. I.

There are other words in the English language with silent-L's. Like "calf." Or "half." Nobody (well, nobody American anyway) says call-f or hall-f; it's caff and haff. So I guess it stands to reason that people don't wanna pronounce the L in caulk. BUT. Need I remind everyone that taking the L out of "calf" doesn't turn it into a dirty-word soundalike you could make someone blush with?

You'd think people would be more careful before slinging (hehe ... no pun intended) such a word around. But no. I know guys who are so homophobic it's not even funny, yet will mention caulk in conversation with other men, freely mispronouncing it. "Yeah dude, I needed some caulk, so I just used my girlfriend's brother's."

If you pronounce it "that" way (and you're, like, slightly immature like me), the word caulk can turn the normal into the hilarious (and pervy). Take, for example, this step that I actually lifted - word-for-word - from a "how to caulk your bathtub" tutorial:

9. If the caulk still seems uneven, don’t be afraid to drag a wet finger across it before it dries. This will help smooth it out.  Make sure that your finger is wet, however.  Caulk likes a wet finger.

Bahahahahahahaha!!!!! *snort*

A wet finger, indeed.

It can also be cringe-worthy, though, when the word "caulk" comes out of the mouth of someone whose bits you reeeeeally don't want to envision. A suspender-wearing, buttcrack-baring apartment maintenance man who comes over to repair your shower, for example. Which makes me kinda glad that I a.) don't rent, and b.) have no idea about things like caulk and drywall and, um, spackle and therefore have to depend on my husband for such things.

Although I have to admit, it would be really funny to go to a hardware store, flag down an employee and be all, "Yes, hello. I'm looking for caulk. Can you tell me where to find some? ... Oh, that's great, thanks. Now would you mind telling me, in your opinion, what's the best type of caulk? ... Do I need thick caulk? ... How much caulk would really get the job done? ... Wow, this is expensive. I've never paid for caulk in my life ..."





The Sorest Loser

I'm competitive. And not in a nice healthy way. It's part of the reason why I never played sports in school.*

*Also because I have little to no athletic ability.

In regular life, I'm all nice and sweet and people-pleasing. But when it comes to competition, I get intense. And heated. And possibly stabby. It's weird, and it comes out of nowhere, this burning desire for victory at all costs. Curtis and I rarely play games together because of it.*

*Also because he almost always wins and I am a huge sore loser just can't handle the agony of defeat. 

As I've mentioned before, we have a Wii, and it's always Curtis who plays it with the boys. But lately, during the day while Colin is in school, Cameron has been begging me to play the Wii with him. Which is a catch-22: it's an easy win, which I like, but I can't just consistenly beat a two-year-old, y'all. It wouldn't be right. For, you know, the development of confidence and self-esteem and other psychology-related things. Or whatever.

As we began to play, though, I was amused to see that Cameron thought he was winning at his favorite swordfighting game - even when Mama was (naturally) whooping up on his random-remote-waving little butt. "Mommy, I'm winning you!" he would gleefully exclaim, while holding the Wii controller backwards and mashing on every button.

Riiiiiight. "Good job, buddy!" Slice. Whap. More points for Mommy.

But unfortunately, I wasn't familiar with what happens when you win at this particular game: a big, overly-gloaty YOU WIN screen. Which makes it abundantly clear, even to the most otherwise-oblivious two-year-old, who the victor is:


Cameron, seeing that the game was over, let out an excited whoop and an exclamation of, "I winned!" But when he saw the "YOU WIN" screen - with me at the forefront - he said, "Awwww," and wilted like a little flower. And just wait, it only gets worse when the big letters fade away. Check out the poor pitiful loser (er, Cameron) in the background:


The poor guy was so deflated. He really thought he was winning.

He'll never appreciate what happened during the next round. He doesn't know that I'm a person who puts her competitive spirit aside for NOBODY ...

...except for a brokenhearted two-year-old waving a Wii remote in the wrong direction.


Yes, Cameron. You winned me. Good job, buddy.

Brocco-lie


Once upon a time, my kids really liked vegetables. All vegetables - they'd gobble them up with gusto. I offered them veggies at every meal, knowing that they'd eat them all as I watched proudly from my ivory tower of motherly superiority. At one time - true story - Colin would actually cry for more spinach.

But that was when they were really little. At some point, somewhere along the line, their tastes changed and they became "those" kids. The ones you see on those nutritional awareness posters that say stuff like, "For 70% of toddlers, french fries are the most frequently eaten vegetable." The veggies I once heaped on their plates went largely untouched. So, like any paranoid freak concerned mother, I consulted every source of reliable information I could. Keep offering them, urged every-single-frickin' advice column I read. Cover them with cheese sauce, my mom helpfully volunteered. Let them use ranch dressing as a dip, said my parenting magazines.

But as lovely as those tips were in theory, none of them have worked for me. Cheese sauce or ranch dressing be damned: my boys turn their noses up at veggies as if I'd dipped them in poo fondue before serving. And now I'm in perpetual Mommy-guilt mode and wondering, more often that not, if ketchup really can count as a vegetable. I mean, it's made of tomatoes, right? And tomatoes ... are ...

... fruits. Crap.

Well, anyway. Last night, desperate for a successful way to get some veggies down my kids' gullets, I tried out a new recipe: broccoli pancakes. I found it in one of my cookbooks: The Healthy Kitchen by Andrew Weil, M.D. and Rosie Daley (Oprah's onetime personal chef, y'all). I know, I know ... they sound pretty nasty (which is why I very vaguely renamed them "Green Pancakes" when serving them to the dudes). And the ingredients don't sound like they'd go very well together. But to my complete surprise, these things are actually awesome. And the best part, my little anklebiters scarfed 'em down and asked for more. So because I know that some of you are also in that "is-ketchup-a-veggie" stage (please tell me it isn't just me!), I thought I would share the recipe. (I made a few minor tweaks; those are in italics.)

GREEN PANCAKES:

1 large head broccoli
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 small hot chili pepper or 1 tsp chili paste (I didn't have this, plus my kids aren't all that into spicy, so I used about a teaspoon of chili powder)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup whole wheat flour (I used regular white flour)
1/8 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 pinch salt (I like my stuff on the salty side, so I probably overdid the "pinch")
1 large egg or 2 egg whites
1/4 cup milk

Cut the florets off the head of the broccoli and separate them by cutting the large ones in half so they are all more or less the same size; you should have about 3 cups. Discard the stalks. Bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil in a medium pan, then drop in the broccoli florets, cover, and let steam as they cook (about three minutes). Drain in a colander.

Put the steamed broccoli, onions, chili, and garlic in a food processor and pulse on and off to chop. (It says don't puree the vegetables but if your kids are like mine - and you don't want to hear, "Ewww, what's this chunk?" - you might want to at least chop them pretty fine).

Transfer the chopped ingredients to a mixing bowl and stir in the oil, flour, dill, and salt. Add the egg and milk and mix thoroughly.

Smear the bottom of a large, nonstick skillet with 1/4 teaspoon of butter and set it over medium heat for about one minute. Drop tablespoonfuls of the batter into the hot skillet, placing them far enough apart so that the pancakes don't touch, and cook over low to medium heat for about one minute. (I flipped them a couple of times, like regular pancakes.)

In the cookbook, they suggest serving these with "mock sour cream." Here's the recipe for that:

1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, or to taste
Sprinkling chopped fresh dill

Sounds like a great compliment. But I just served 'em with regular old sour cream and they were delicious.

Colin had practically inhaled three of the pancakes in quick succession, raving about them the whole time, when I told him that the "green" in the pancakes was actually broccoli - at which point he looked absolutely horrified. I was fully prepared for him to spit out his half-chewed mouthful and go on broccoli-strike, because he's dramatic like that. But then when I pointed out that he loved them despite the fact that they were made of broccoli, he thought about it for a second and then agreed and kept chewing.

And then tried to steal his brother's portion.

Win!

Oh. Christmas Tree.

I'm one of those people who gets all hopped up on turkey and decides to drag out all the Christmas decorations on Thanksgiving night. It's just because I like to keep the holiday magic going as long as I possibly can (although I'm also one of those crazies who insists on tearing everything down before the start of the new year). This year we were visiting family until November 29th - but as soon as we got home, where was I? Yeah. Trekking my happy little hiney out to the storage closet in our garage, in search of the Christmas tree.

Last year we decided to disassemble the tree rather than leaving it together like we had the year before. But that may not have been the brightest idea, because the tree is like 11 years old and has literally moved with us all over the world (it's been shipped to Missouri, Texas, Germany, Nevada, and Iowa in its piddly little cardboard box) so it's kind of on its last legs. And most of the little tags indicating which tier each branch goes on have been torn off through years of shuffling. So I spent like three freaking hours organizing each branch by size, all while using my greatest seasonal threat ("I'll call Santa Claus!") to keep the kids from messing it all up.

Finally the tree was intact, but bare. However, there was no way I was decorating it while the kids were still awake. At this age, they're not old enough (or tall enough!) to successfully decorate a tree themselves, and they don't care as much for the decorating process as they do for the finished product. So after they went to bed, Curtis and I got busy. (Not that kind of getting busy, you pervs.)

Pretty soon, our tree was decorated. And beautiful. Behold, in all its glory:


But then the kids woke up. And literally within minutes, an hour at best, our tree looked like this:


See the difference? Lights and garlands askew, tree skirt rumpled, branches disheveled, all ornaments mysteriously missing from the bottom third. And that? Was taken a few days ago. It's worse now. Between three sets of little fingers, a 50-pound pup who has never seen a Christmas tree before, and a cat who just can't seem to help herself, our poor tree is pretty much doomed.

I need to learn a lesson from this. I do this to myself every year. I am a perfectionist control freak prefer my holiday decorations all neat and pretty and Martha Stewart-y. How impractical is that at this point in my life? Unless I hire some armed guards to stand in front of the tree, Buckingham Palace-style, there's absolutely no way to keep this crap tidy. (Plus, if I could afford to hire anybody, it'd be somebody to clean my house.)

So it begins. An entire month of cringing as I see yet another ornament in the dog's mouth or catch the baby gleefully tugging at the beaded garland. At least this year I had the sense to keep the presents in the closet until Christmas morning ...



Is Your Refrigerator Running?


I was all set to write about the Christmas tree today, just like I said I was going to. But then? An event happened in our household. An event which sucks beyond mere suckage; which, although not classified as "devastating," is certainly a crisis. Warning: you are about to read a furious rant which will more than likely contain a dirty word or two (or ten). Proceed only if you aren't easily offended, 'cause I can't promise to be nice today.

Curtis gets paid once a month. And so at the first of every month, we do our "big" grocery shopping - which we just finished yesterday. Consequently, our side-by-side fridge/freezer is packed with food right now.

So because life is sometimes a hateful BIATCH, this of course would be the time that the aforementioned refrigerator/freezer chooses to quit working. Because of a burnt motor or some other non-easily-fixable problem. It couldn't have happened a few days ago when there was, like, a bottle of ketchup and a few hot sauce packets and a half-gallon of milk in there. Oh noooooo.

And wouldn't you also know that our warranty ran out last year? And that every repair place in town seems to be mysteriously booked up until Tuesday? And that, gee, we don't seem to have the extra money to buy a new fricking refrigerator lying around?

And doesn't it just figure that we bought extra food this month (that is now rapidly thawing). Because we're expecting company for Christmas. And doesn't it just effing figure that this happens during the month of Christmas. When I still have Christmas shopping to do. Only now who knows if I'm going to be able to do it because, hello? Food crisis? Refrigerator repairs? The cost of a little emergency chest-freezer that Curtis is out buying as I type this so we can hopefully salvage some of our ENTIRE MONTH WORTH OF FOOD?

Of course this wouldn't be as serious if it weren't on the heels of a problem with our Jeep. Which I rely on to get Colin back and forth to school every day. It's been "sick" but drivable for a few months now ... but in the last few days the poor ol' girl (yes, my Jeep is a girl. What??) has taken a turn for the worse. Which means repairs are needed imminently. Repaaaaaaaairrrrrrrs.

Y'all hear that? It's the sound of the belt tightening so hard it's cutting off my circulation.
Ugh.

Title-itus

See the title of this post? It's really the scientific name of this sickness that I have. Title-itus. It's when you can't think of a good title because your thinking cap has been on hiatus for too long. (Also, the word "hiatus" looks funny and borderline-offensive when you stare at it for a long time.)

Speaking of which, I know I said I'd blog again on, like, Monday. And now it's, like, Thursday. And I know ... if I were a good blogger, I'd have had a whole repertoire of new posts set to auto-publish in my absence. But I don't do that because the Frump is live, y'all. I don't write posts in advance.*

*Plus my mad Internet skillz unfortunately do not include successful setup of auto-publish.

Anyway, I hope everyone who celebrated had a great Thanksgiving. I know I did. Plenty of food, great company, all capped off by watching every single existing episode of "The Walking Dead" with several of my siblings (because nothing says "wholesome family entertainment" like a zombie marathon).

And of course, I got tons of wonderful pictures such as these:

My handsome husband!

My charming Cameron!

My beautiful BFF and me ... can you handle this much gorgeous?

And finally, my personal favorite:
 
This just sums it up so nicely.

I also went shopping on Black Friday for only the second time in my life - and was as unimpressed with it this time as I was the last. Maybe I'm doing it wrong, y'all, but I didn't get a single amazing deal. Oh well ... I did get some of my Christmas shopping done. And I did capture this lady standing in line at Menard's wearing her gloves on her ears.

 I didn't think she noticed me, but underneath that smiley face is the look of someone about to beat some ass.

When I got back home, my keyboard didn't work so I had to get that situation cleared up. And all three of my kids came down with a snot-filled jubilee of a cold. And then I got busy eating a whole batch of oatmeal cookies by myself unpacking and stuff. I've hardly even been on Facebook. Is the world coming to an end?!

Anyway, let the blogging resume. Come back tomorrow, when I will probably talk about the beginning of the holiday season (a.k.a. Operation Keep-The-Kids-And-Animals-The-Eff-Out-Of-The-Christmas-Tree). Or, you know, whatever I feel like I wanna do. Gosh.*

*This last sentence will make so much more sense if you read it in a Napoleon Dynamite voice.
  

 

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