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Tag Archives: food

Crying Games

Sweet

Kissing Boo-boos 

This sticker sucks, where is the princess?

This sticker sucks, where is the princess?

My kids can go from adorable and well-behaved to faking an injury in the speed of being told no.  Injuries have always been spotlight grabbers and kids are smart.  We go through band aids like paper towels because let’s be honest, band aids are just princess stickers that come with sympathy and attention.  Could there be anything better to have for a toddler.  So yeah, I recognize that when I hear, “I NEED A BAND AID” it rarely is warranted and often the location of said boo-boo can mysteriously relocate in the time it takes to get the wrapper off of the sticker band-aid.  That’s because keeping tabs on the locale of imaginary injuries can be a tough job.

There is a real benefit to those little bumps and bruises though, both real and imaginary ones.  It gives me a chance to kiss something and make it better.  Even though my lips have no magical healing abilities, as long as I am dad and they are little, kisses get to be better than medicine because they make everything feel better. There is definitely some magic in that.  When we grow up tears usually have so much stress fueling them that kisses and hugs seem to lose their luster. I try to remember how lucky I am to be able to provide the kind of comfort that a parent gives their child and though some level of that will always remain, this is the time that it is really special.  For example, go find an adult that is crying and start to tickle them and see what happens.  One of the greatest things about being a parent is being able to make everything better in their eyes even on days that you can’t seem to get anything right in yours.  Seeing a tiny little smile begin to blossom out of a face puddle of tears is totally sweet.

 

Weak

There Will Be Tears 

I don't want crust on my sandwich!

I don’t want crust on my sandwich!

Speaking of face puddles, toddlers are crazy good at crying.  In their defense, if I was just beginning to learn and understand that I was a part of a whole big world instead of the whole big world being a part of me I may get a bit verklempt as well. I’m not suggesting that our little one isn’t still the boss of us in a lot of ways but she is starting to figure out that the whole baby thing where the world and everyone in it revolved around her was only temporary.  That is probably a tough pill to swallow and for the most part she is handling that kind of life changing realization rather gracefully but every now and then the reality slaps her cold in the face and she isn’t in the mood to deal with it.

She doesn’t know how to do a ton of stuff yet but for as far back as she can remember tears got results.  Granted back then she was crying because she needed a clean diaper and now the tears may be because butterflies won’t talk to her or her mean parents won’t let her mix Skittles with Cheerios and milk for breakfast.  When she was a baby the only reasons her cries weren’t tended to immediately was If they went unheard. Well, Captain Lung Capacity has no struggle with upping the volume  and if that doesn’t work, then the real exasperation begins to set in.  I’ve even had her suddenly stop mid sob to look up at me and say, “DADDY, I’M CRYING!”  Like anyone in our house or on our street didn’t hear her.  There should be a game show where parents of toddlers have to guess if the cries of a 2-year-old are the result of an appendage stuck in a piece of running farm machinery or if they got an orange Popsicle when they wanted a red one.

Toddler-hood is the gateway into a brave new world and I need to remind myself that it isn’t all roses and sunshine for them either.  I should also keep in mind that If I am going to call them a jerk under my breath I had better make sure it is way under my breath because the lady at the grocery store doesn’t understand but is happy to offer her parenting critique.  Like apparently suggesting that your kid  can use the tears streaming down her face to wash down the two more bites of carrots (that basically make up 79% of her entire lunch) you are begging her to eat is not good form.

I am lucky that these times are less and less frequent and love them no matter what causes the crying but when it is because they aren’t allowed to paint the TV, it is totally weak.

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Relationship Status: Survived a Trip to IKEA

My wife and I recently celebrated 12 years of marriage.  I know to some that is a long time and to others we are still relatively new at this.  Here is the thing though, I think 12 calendar years is probably equivalent to at least 20-25 IKEA years.  What I mean  is that this 12 year accomplishment  deserves your applause because during that time we probably made at least 20 trips to IKEA.  IKEA is like the Swedish Wal-Mart where healthy loving relationships go to die.

Tools? We don't need no stinking tools!

Tools? We don’t need no stinking tools!

I guess one of the good things about IKEA is that the golf pencil and little paper tape measure are free, especially since the marriage counseling is going to be so expensive. I mean, if they would let you take a plate of those delicious horse meat meatballs into the showroom I would go there by myself on a Saturday just to watch couples melt down in public.  I am pretty sure that any husband can agree that the 4 words that can strike fear into even the bravest of souls when spoken in an IKEA are “what do you think?’  WHAT DO I THINK?? EJECT, EJECT, SAVE YOURSELVES I’M DEAD ALREADY.  What I think is that after 20 seconds in that place we are all drunk on sleek design and functionality and that intoxication will soon wear off when we realize no number of multi-tool organizational shelving units will make the inside of our house look like the showroom there.  Of course that isn’t what I said.  What I said was, I think it is great, I think everything in here is great.  I think if we get this dining room desk /storage unit with hidden drawers and special built-in lights that take light bulbs that cannot be purchased anywhere else on the planet it will probably solve most of our problems.  Que meltdown.

At IKEA this is like finding Super Mario's secret warp zone to world 8-1.

At IKEA this is like finding Super Mario’s secret warp zone to world 8-1.

Those Swedes think of everything though, because it is hard to look all pissed when you are storming off pushing a cart with 4 swivel wheels and you have to Tokyo drift around the corner to avoid knocking over a display of 4000 glass tea light holders.  The also know that any little argument can easily fade away when you turn the corner and both marvel at the 200 square foot living space.  Suddenly you want to trade your big house in the suburbs for a broom closet because how cool is all of this stuff?

I need to be honest though, while it is possible that IKEA can present some unique relationship challenges, they do have some cool stuff; no Viking helmets but cool stuff none the less.  We have some of their cool stuff in our house and most of the time the joy of new furniture is enough to quell the in store disputes and bring everyone back to a happy place before the put together meltdown occurs.

I think we all know about the put together meltdown.  I am a pretty handy guy I fix stuff and know my way around a tool box but that really doesn’t matter when it comes to Swedish engineering.  There is no piece of IKEA furniture in our house that wasn’t halfway assembled then taken apart and reassembled because I had something upside down or backwards or inside out. You would think that the only  problem with that would be the increased amount of time to complete the build and the addition of a few 4 letter words to your kid’s vocabulary but the real problem is this:

Once she learned the new curse words it was time to let her take over.

Once she learned the new curse words it was time to let her take over.

Furniture from IKEA is not designed to be taken apart and put back together.  With the re-screwing or allen wrenching or whatever you call it of each bolt with that multi-tool the structural integrity is compromised.  So basically after a 6 pack of beer, 2 cut knuckles, a kid wondering what that word meant and a bucket of tears (mine not there’s) you wind up with a bedside table that is capable of holding an alarm clock and a pencil and anything heavier than that causes the legs to wobble.

They say that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and I think that this can be applied to relationships for sure.  Arguing in IKEA can be pretty weak but getting home and lounging on your new futon/file cabinet/spice rack is totally sweet.


Kids Need a Healthy Diet

Sweet

Movie Night  1527087-popcorn-and-plate

I wish I got as excited about anything as much as my daughters get excited about the declaration of movie night in our house.  Now keep in mind at 6 and 2 years old they are not exactly film buffs but they are seasoned connoisseur of another component of movie night; snacks.  Specifically popcorn.  My kids will devour popcorn and for the toddler, it is the main attraction of movie night.

We are at a fun place right now when it comes to entertainment selections because the little one is old enough to follow along and enjoy a show or movie as long as it is on her level (mostly Caillou) and my older daughter is at the age where she feels like she needs to distance herself as far away as possible from any show or movie that she deems: for babies.  They are both aware of the others disdain for certain shows and have become quite the little antagonists.

That is where the movie snacks come in.  They are the common denominator and unite them even when their movie choices differ.  It is fun to watch them get so excited over something so small and though the snacks may not be the healthiest thing, the laughter and fun are things that are definitely good for them.

One of my favorite things about being a parent is that no matter what happens, you are always a pallet on the floor or a tent in the living room away from being a hero.

That is pretty sweet.

 

Weak

How ‘Bout a Bowl of Disappointment? my_child_will_not_eat (1)

My kid’s favorite thing to eat for breakfast on Saturday morning is whatever we are not having.  Seriously, the preparation of meals in our house has to be one of the most futile activities we take part in.

We are always trying to find balance between, “you can’t get up until you finish eating” and “just give her an apple sauce squeezy so she at least eats something and shuts her cry-hole.”

Sometimes I feel like it would be faster to just pinch her so she starts crying, toss a plate of food in the garbage, and squirt ketchup on the dog. Might as well at least make the ordeal only last a minute instead of 15.  It is important to us that they learn about different foods and don’t live on chicken nuggets and yogurt for the next few years.  We are finally getting better at utensils and manners but unfortunately, ours was part of the new generation that figures out how to work the settings on an ipad before using a spoon correctly.

We won’t give up and not every meal time is a bad one.  There are often times though, that I feel like the toddler should just tell the truth, “watching you clean up after dinner and scrape my hardly touched plate into the garbage is exhausting.  I want a snack!”

When you spend the time to create a good dinner for your family and it instantly becomes a plate of disappointment when set in front of your toddler, it is totally weak.

 


Will There be Canned Cranberry, or Should I Bring My Own?

**This is an excerpt from a post I wrote last year and a few people liked** Happy Thanksgiving.

The Thanksgiving Sandwich 

I know that the Thanksgiving day meal gets all of the hype but come this time of year I start to crave one thing.  The Thanksgiving sandwich.  Either that night or the next day, cramming as many leftovers that you can fit between two slices of bread is the way I like to usher in the Holiday Season.

I am taking a break this year as I have been the CEO of the bird for the last 6 or so years.  Cooking the turkey can be one of those manly culinary exhibitions like making a pot of chili or grilling.  Last year I put a turkey on a giant Foster’s beer can and cooked it on an open flame just like baby Jesus intended man to cook.  But this year I am taking it easy.  So, since I don’t have to worry about targeting that 12 hour window far enough before Thursday that the store still has fresh sage but not too soon that it goes bad, I thought I would offer a couple of Turkey day tips.

1.Small servings.  I don’t mean, limit your intake all together but don’t fill up on the first pass.  There will be aunts people there that will measure their happiness and possibly some portion of their self-worth on who goes back for seconds on their dish.  So be a hero and start small and make several trips.  It isn’t like the extra walking is going to hurt.  Speaking of needing exercise, if you are a dude that could stand to drop a few lbs, this is even more important for you.  No reason for someone to feel like a failure because the fat guy didn’t even want seconds.

2. Get a can of cranberry.  It may not look too fancy jiggling there with its can lines wrapping around it but nothing goes better on a thanksgiving sandwich than slices of canned cranberry.

3. The sympathy scoop.  Don’t let anyone take home a dish that was barely touched.  I don’t care if you are 90% sure you see hot dogs and marshmallows in there, get a spoon-full.  Leave it for last then spread it out on your plate so it looks like you ate it.  Remember, these are the people you love, or at least pretend to once a year on this day.

4. Keep it classy.  Wine should not be opened before the Turkey float goes by on the parade.  (exception: if any part of the menu is being cooked outdoors an open beer is the most important cooking utensil regardless of time of day)

5. Wardrobe selection. You don’t need to go over the top here and show up in a Biggest Loser sweat suit but at the same time think ahead enough that you at least pick those pants that you are still “growing into.”

Last of all, say “Thank You”  and have a great time because eating until your left leg starts to go numb is totally sweet.

*note: not to brag but that is a picture of a turkey I cooked. (actually, that was totally to brag)


Minimal Effort

Sweet and Weak

Knock Knock

I have read a lot of blogs lately discussing things being slower during the summer.  Less to write about, busier schedule, taking a break etc.  I am not sure if all of those apply to my but I have definitely been posting less often lately.  I have still been writing, just with a lot fewer words and a lot less effort.  Mostly what I have been writing are jokes or punch lines that still need some detail added to them to get the full effect.  Last week Sweet Mother dedicated the week to jokes on her blog.  She posts everyday and is kind of blogging all-star so I have no qualms about shamelessly stealing her idea.  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery right?

I am working through a real blog post in my head and will write that soon but in the meantime, here is a handful of what my brain has leaked out over the last few days.  I am removing the usual wholesome filter that I write with and just posting these as is.  (My apologies in advance)

My written vocabulary would be better but my spelling is so bad I usually just choose a synanym, sinonim? synonyme? I usually just choose another word.

Just handed out a bunch of “Life is Good” shirts to the homeless. I like my philanthropy with a twist of irony.

Yesterday, I accidentally searched for something on yahoo. It was like putting on an old sweater and realizing it was ugly and doesn’t fit anymore. 

“Don’t worry guys, everything’s going to be OK, she’s dropping a stick and a leaf in here.” -said no lightning bug in a jar ever.

All I’m saying is, if they want the jumbotron to be family friendly, they shouldn’t have put the Kiss Cam on me while I had a funnel cake. 

Argentina’s bikinis and USA’s turtlenecks in beach volleyball may be shedding some light on the anti-America sentiment I have heard about. 

Based on how flawlessly I just put the baby in her crib and snuck out of the room, my ninja uniform is probably in the mail. 

I Called McDonald’s to see if they had a lost and found today. How would you describe dignity? 

My daughter just climbed up on the coffee table and tore her diaper off. Does this mean we have to change her name to Cinnamon?

Hand sanitizer dries fast but not near fast enough when you spill a big drop on your crotch right before walking into a meeting. 

Hey people really good at Excel, what is that one formula that populates the past 3 weeks of work I didn’t do into these cells? 

I don’t know if he was a Sommelier but the clerk at the 7-11 suggested pairing this Boone’s Farm with my loneliness and ineptitude.

I don’t litter unless there are inmates picking up trash on the side of the road. Then I just toss out a bottle as I drive by and yell “missed a spot”

I generally think Golden Coral is gross but if they ever add toaster strudels to the buffet, I will probably go ahead and have my mail forwarded there. 

I just mixed two different Axe body sprays and grew an Ed Hardy T-shirt and a faux hawk. 

I like how at IKEA the paper ruler and golf pencil are free. Especially since the marriage counseling will be so expensive. 

I realized I’m just not cut out for Facebook after saying Happy Birthday Karen to that girl named Sharon for the 3rd year in a row. 

I think it’s neat that people my parent’s age suggest talking to the pharmacist like the Internet doesn’t even exist.

I was feeling used but after therapy it is more like certified pre-owned.

This morning, the only soap in the shower was apricot melon body scrub. I think I just synced cycles with the wife. 

Jokes can be hit or miss so if these were completely weak, I will try to do better, if you thought they were sweet, thanks for not un-following my blog.


Pizza Soup

Sweet

Family Tradition  

I have a propensity to blog about food a bit more often than other topics.  I guess that you are supposed to write what you know so it is likely that my mediocre ramblings about Christmas candy and  bread bowls is as good as it will get.  Sorry guys.  I think, though, that another reason I use food as a topic is because, like smells, food has a way of being nostalgic.  If you have read even just a few of my posts you probably know I am a perpetual kid so this kind of makes sense.

The best food related memories I have are not in the eating but in the preparing of food as a kid with my family.  The worst memories are things like always forgetting to shake my Yoo-Hoo and feeling sad when I had gotten every last bit of cheese off the red handi-snack stick.  I guess the emotional tie is as evident as ever in the term comfort food.

Preparing food always brought us together as a family.  We didn’t eat out very often and even when we did, I didn’t consider a restaurant fancy unless I got to choose biscuits or cornbread.  Most of the time mom would cook but when everyone pitched in, we made more than dinner.  We made memories.

I like that I get to experience that with my family now and if I had to name our tradition it would be called pizza soup.  You see, my wife’s family used to make pizza together,  before we had kids we would make it together, and now it is a full blown 2 on 2 pizza competition.  At the risk of some horrible pun, it is rather cheesy and like something you would expect to see on a poorly written sit-com.  That doesn’t matter though, at the end of each competition when the pizzas go into the oven we split up the remaining sauce, cheese, and toppings into tiny ramikens and enjoy our amuse bouche of pizza soup.  It isn’t really about the pizza or the dinner at all but about the laughter and the giggles and the occasional sauce smeared on daddy’s nose that make pizza soup totally sweet.

 

Weak

I Can Do That 

image via Ronco

I am a man.  As a man, I am impressed by very little.  Or at the very least, I can’t let on that I am impressed.  This personality trait often bubbles to the surface in the kitchen.  I like to think that I can handle my own in the kitchen and  at times I cook pretty well.   The problem is that sometimes I may talk a bit too big of a game.  I am not one to brag but every time I start to make hamburger helper I expect Bobby Flay to walk in and ask if I am ready for a throw down.  I like to cook and you can bank on the fact that anytime macaroni and cheese is made in our house, I will be eating the last 3 bites from the pot standing by the stove relishing in each lukewarm mouthful of salty regret.

Sometimes we watch cooking shows and I never shy away from saying that something doesn’t look that hard or that I could do it.  I remember saying something similar once about a show on food trucks.  The great part about making ridiculous assumptions about that kind of thing is that I will never actually try to start a food truck and as long as it looms in uncertainty I can claim victory.  In actuality, if I started a food truck it would probably be known as that weird guy trying to sell peanut butter and jelly sandwiches out of the trunk of his 97 Corolla.

I like to dream of being on a show like Top Chef and while I do have some background in restaurants and a few signature dishes, I think the reality might be something like this:

I proudly walk in with my Ron Popeil 6 star cutlery and wastes the first 3 minutes of the challenge arranging all of the knives in the butcher block that was a free gift because I ordered within the 20 minute window on the commercial.  Not phased by the equipment the other chefs are using, I set out to the pantry wondering where they have hidden all of the box dinners.  With time quickly ticking bye I overcome the panic, find my center, and go about my culinary business.  At the judges table, I step up and trying not to stare at Padma Lackshmi I announce, “today I have prepared for you cheese 3 ways.  grilled, toast, and mac’n.  Bon appetit.”

So maybe I over sell myself a bit and hide in the safety that some of my claims will never be tested but  you can’t blame a guy for dreaming.   Who knows, maybe making that cinnamon toast with chili powder that one time really was a fluke and I am better at this than I think.    I may make a serious pot of white chili but the hollow braggadocios claims of my kitchen prowess are totally weak.

 


He Who Holds the Hose is King

Sweet

Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy 

I would say this is a sign of a job well done.

Well maybe not easy with all of the SPF 401K and Citronella smoke flumes, not to mention the hideous sight of dudes in those big leather Velcro sandals; but even though the season presents a few obstacles to avoid, it is totally worth it.

Who doesn’t love cooking meat over an open flame and being barefoot 93% of the time?  We had some people over to the house last weekend and I had a hard time being a grown up.  That slip and slide was like some kind of tractor beam sucking me in.  We ate and drank and talked and drank and had a great time with friends.  I like to think that I am just the biggest of the kids but after seeing how fast my 30 minute investment in filling water balloons was squandered by greedy children with poor aim, I had to fight the urge to use the situation as their first lesson in supply and demand economics.

When a kid is waiting for you to fill a water balloon the anticipation is almost palpable.  It is like little snippets of Christmas eve standing right in front of you in dripping shorts and covered with grass clippings.  I don’t think it is a secret, but the two most important ingredients in water balloon fun are mischief and someone dry and unsuspecting.  That person is usually a grown up and you will often find them on a power trip as they escalate the water fight to the next level by manning the water hose.

The night was basically all of the good things about summer wrapped up in bacon and tossed in a deep fryer and then dipped in ketchup. (I was going to wax poetic there and say something like “dipped in giggles” or “dipped in the setting sun” but let’s be honest, ketchup stands alone.)  In short, it was awesome.

Summer also brings with it one of my favorite words: vacation.  I am looking forward to heading down to the beach next week so I can update my summer wardrobe.  Embarrassingly, I have been stuck in “past season” Corona wear for way to long and it is time to style up and get my boogie board on.  Summer is totally sweet.

 

Weak

All Good Things Must Come to an End 

“The Sad Clown” is a painting of Emmett Kelly by artist Barry Leighton-Jones
(because I guess you aren’t supposed to just say “image via the internets.”)

I am a pretty mild-mannered guy but there is a good 45 seconds every Sunday night that I seriously contemplate burning my office to the ground.  What is that?  I thought that I would have outgrown that by now.  I may not spend half of the night moping around like I did when I was a kid in school, but there is no escaping that separation anxiety and postpartum weekend depression can be just as real in your 30’s as it was when you were twelve.

I don’t think that grown-ups are supposed to admit that kind of stuff out loud since life is so much bigger than just waiting for the weekend to get here.  I enjoy my career, work hard at it and sometimes it doesn’t stop to observe the Sabbath.  In a lot of ways I am lucky to enjoy what I do and for it to be bigger than just punching a time clock everyday.  I am grateful for that but at the end of the day, the reality is no one has to pay you for what you do on the weekend because it is the stuff that we would do for free that yields the largest return on intangible investment.

One day my daughter might read this when she is twelve and push it right back into my face saying  “AH HA! I knew it.”  Sorry about that fellow grown-ups, I know that this was supposed to be our little secret.

Weekends are great and time with friends and family invaluable, but that little moment on the occasional Sunday night when you have to swallow the dread and carry on like a grown-up is totally weak.


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