I REALLY Need An Intervention!!!

I REALLY Need An Intervention!!!

by Gina Valley

The Food Network is like crack.

I know it’s bad for me, but I keep going right back to it time after time after time.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I like to cook. I love to cook, actually. But, watching the Food Network makes me yearn to cook like they cook. Nothing else will do.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley I REALLY Need An Intervention Reality TV Food NetworkI look at my cooking scenario and nearly scream, “I can’t work like this!”

The Food Network makes me realize to prepare a proper piece of ingestible artistry I need my children off in a mysterious, unspoken wonderland, my kitchen pristine, and all of the ingredients pre-measured into those cool, little, clear glass bowls.

I’m pretty sure my kids broke all of those bowls. And, even if we had any, it would take me more than the hour long program to find them. Half the time I can’t even find our carton of eggs.

How can I possibly create amazing culinary delights in my chaotic life after watching cooking Utopia?  It’s too depressing. I don’t even have that magic sink you drop dirty dishes into which makes them disappear during the commercial break.

I wish they would do cooking shows for real people. I don’t mean those reality shows where contestants are given cactus chunks, a tomato, 6 artichokes and an unlabeled can, and told to prepare a meal for eight cowboys in under one hour.

How about a real show with real people showing real solutions to real problems?  Really.

How about a show where contestants must prepare a week’s worth of meals for preschoolers without using chicken nuggets, string cheese or Cheerios? No fair reminding them that Jonny currently refuses to eat anything orange (color, not flavor) or that Lily will “die” if any of her different foods touch.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley I REALLY Need An Intervention Reality TV Food NetworkHow about a show where the host has to paw and burrow through a real home’s cupboards in an effort to find the ingredients and the pan to make meatloaf before a 3 year old wakes up from her spontaneous nap, which can only mean she’s getting sick, all while helping a 14 year old with her algebra homework and showing a 10 year old how to make a Diary Of a Wimpy Kid diorama.

How about they show us how to make that cream puff tower surrounded by spun sugar while a mother-in-law hovers over every move, constantly repeating in a heavy, old world accent, “Oooh, the next time you see me, I’ll be dead,” without the chef engaging in any eye-rolling or snappy comebacks, such as, “Don’t make promises you aren’t going to keep!” That would be holiday magic.

How about they show us what to make when your stockyard-owning friends from Texas and that nice vegan couple with the peanut and soy allergies you met at the soccer tournament in Malibu both come over for dinner on the same night. Surely, there is something that can be made for them all, besides reservations.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley I REALLY Need An Intervention Reality TV Food NetworkAnd, how about a show where they make dinner with what we have when we have neither the basics nor time for a trip to the grocery store? I’d love to see them come up with something yummy using only the slightly wilted lettuce, 2 cans of garbanzo beans, a half used tub of fromage blanc cheese, and the pound of ground meat left in the back of our fridge at the end of the week. Now that would be a challenge.

Especially since I think that ground meat might actually be spinach from last month.

If you need me, I’ll be hiding from my kitchen. And, the meat/spinach.

I’ll probably be watching The Food Network.

I need an intervention.

Laugh  Out Loud!

-gina

Do you watch The Food Network? Do you have a favorite show you love or love to hate? How about the other “reality” networks like HGTV or DIY or Lifetime?  Do you find inspiration or frustration? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Photo courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission

This piece is based on a column which first appeared as I Need An Intervention here on ginavalley.com on November 28, 2012.

The Great Meatloaf Project

The Great Meatloaf Project

by Gina Valley

I’d planned to make meatloaf for dinner, but my day had gone anything but as planned.

My family loves meatloaf.

I know that’s weird.

Most kids think meatloaf is nasty stuff, right up there with fruitcake and Brussel sprouts on the desirability scale.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley The Great Meatloaf ProjectI remember, when I was a kid, thinking of meatloaf as some sort of bland, consolation meal we had when there was absolutely nothing else available. But, my pack loves the highly seasoned meatloaf I make. So does The Professor.

So, when I mentioned to my 13 & 14 year old sons that I wouldn’t have time to make meatloaf, I wasn’t surprised they were disappointed.

I was surprised when they offered to make the meatloaf as a favor for me.

They would be in the kitchen doing all the legwork to put the meatloaf together. I would supervise and provide gentle guidance, while working on my laptop, from our nearby family room.

It seemed like the perfect plan.

So, I really should have known better.

Rarely does anything thing that seems like a good plan work out that way. A perfect plan never goes as intended.

The first hiccup in The Great Meatloaf Project was that the recipe was only in my head.

Of course, I had to write down my recipe, as my kids cannot read my mind, no matter how much they think they can. But, I reasoned with myself, realizing the large amount of time it would take to list all of the ingredients and steps, not to mention trying to find paper and a working pen, that I’ve been meaning to start writing my recipes down, anyway.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley The Great Meatloaf Project

And, I had to convert my “3 big handfuls of this” & “a thumb-sized pile of that” & “enough so it smells really good of that other stuff” into real measurements for my sons.  The scientist in me was tempted to use the metric system, but, since most of our measuring devices are of the standard American English system, cups, teaspoons, and pounds won out over milliliters and kilograms.

Apparently, I determined, my 8 handfuls of chopped onions is about 2 cups, and my giant bowl of half ground beef and half ground turkey is actually 7 pounds. Who knew?

It took me about an hour to figure out all of the ingredients and their measurements, and to write them down. It took me another 10 minutes to re-write the whole thing after my 13 year old accidentally spilled his glass of milk across it, resulting in disappearing ink.

I didn’t realize milk dissolved ink. Lesson learned.

I recopied the recipe, and then made a copy of the recopy with our printer. Just in case.

I suggested, strongly, to my sons that they assemble all of the necessary ingredients and needed measuring devices prior to starting The Great Meatloaf Project. They ignored my advice. I don’t know why that surprised me.

I kept both ears alert as I sat down with my computer and got back to work.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley The Great Meatloaf Project

The sounds of two young professional chefs floated out from our kitchen. It sounded a lot like the chatter on Iron Chef.

“You’re stupid!”

“No, you’re stupid!”

“No, you’re stupid!”

I provided them with some gentle, directed parenting, “Hey! Knock it off!”

They were silent for at least 2 seconds, before they slipped into giggling, and what I hoped was the sounds of making progress on the meatloaf.  I was pretty sure I was hearing ingredients landing on the table, but it might have been my son’s taking turns jumping off the counter.

Sometimes it’s better not to know.

At one point my 14 year old asked, “Is the spoon with a capital T a tablespoon or a teaspoon?”

I answered, “A tablespoon.”

My 13 year old said, “Oh, well, it probably doesn’t make much difference.”

I asked, “What doesn’t make much difference?”

“Don’t worry about it, Mom. Everything’s under control,” they answered in unison, which every parent knows is a frightening thing.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley The Great Meatloaf Project

I was tempted to go see what they were up to, but I decided it was better to maintain a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” stance.

I heard a crash, and some sort of avalanche. It sounded like they’d knocked over the rice canister, except that we don’t have a rice canister.  I was just hoping it wasn’t the brand new package of bread crumbs. They’d need those to make the meatloaf.

“Was that the bread crumbs?” I hollered.

“Uh..no?” my 14 year old answered, sounding like he wasn’t completely convinced himself.

“Do you need some help?” I asked.

“No! Don’t come in here,” my 14 year old said.

“Just relax, mom. We got this,” my 13 year old said.

I was not relaxed and I did not think they “got this,” but I really did not want to go in there. So, I didn’t.

After all, how bad could it be? The fire alarm hadn’t been triggered, and nothing was oozing under the door. Yet.

I decided to choose ignorance. They say, “Ignorance is bliss,” right? Of course, “they” weren’t going to come clean up our kitchen’s Post Traumatic Meatloaf Mess, either.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley The Great Meatloaf Project

Remarkably, no actual physical altercations between my two budding gourmets ensued during the Great Meatloaf Project, although they nearly came to blows while deciding who got to put in the eggs. And, surprisingly, my head did not explode due to the mess, although I do expect at least a week of breadcrumb-based nightmares.

By my calculations, my sons well-meaning gesture to save me the 30 minutes I’d normally spend putting together meatloaf for dinner caused me to spend about 2 ½ hours of pre meatloaf project prep & post meatloaf project cleanup (after they “cleaned up.”) (how did they get ground beef on the ceiling?!?!) . That doesn’t even take into account my mental anguish, pain, and suffering throughout the ordeal…I mean favor.

At dinner, everyone complimented my sons on the taste of meatloaf they’d put together. It was quite delicious. My 13 year old son said, “Hey, mom, since this project turned out so great, we should help you make the spaghetti sauce tomorrow.”

I don’t think I can survive any more help this week.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Anyone helping you this week? Did you help out in the kitchen when you were a kid? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission

If It’s Burnt, It’s Cajun…Gina’s Favorites

If It’s Burnt, It’s Cajun…Gina’s Favorites

by Gina Valley

I’m constantly dashing around my house, sniffing, and asking, “What was that crash? Do you smell smoke?”

Clearly, summer break from school is in full swing for my children.

So, I figured my If It’s Burnt, It’s Cajun post is perfect for Throwback Day this week. Laugh along with this Gina’s Favorites post.

If It’s Burnt, It’s Cajun

I received a letter from my kids’ school with a list of suggested activities to combat Summer Learning Loss.  Summer Learning Loss?  NOT a problem at my house.  Summer Mommy Mind Loss – huge problem.  That’s what I need to combat.  My kids, however, are learning plenty of things.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley If It’s Burnt, It’s Cajun...Gina's Favorites Summer Appliances Microwave OvenAs always my children have selected their own mode of learning.  This year it’s being facilitated by our microwave (As a former engineer I am bound by my lifetime membership in the siblinghood of geekiness to point out that it is not a microwave.  It is a microwave oven.  It uses invisible microwaves to cook.  My children hate when I point this out.  I hate when they leave their underwear in the kitchen. This makes us even. For today).

And, what have they learned thus far this summer through their semi-clandestine, non-approved course of study? Allow me to provide you with a list.  It’s not an exhaustive list, but having them do all this has been exhausting!

Just yesterday morning my children proved that microwaves have x-ray vision.  They can see right through the lid on the peanut butter jar to the tiny shard of aluminum foil stuck to the top of that jar.  And, they don’t like that shard.

Microwaves are strong.  They can produce enough heat inside the aforementioned plastic (thankfully) peanut better jar to make enough pressure to blow up the lid like a balloon in about 13 seconds.  According to an anonymous child source “it looks really cool.”

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley If It’s Burnt, It’s Cajun...Gina's Favorites Summer Appliances Microwave OvenMicrowaves are patriotic. They produce fireworks in the form of sparks shooting out from said peanut butter jar in 15 seconds.  A thick, black, kitchen filling, alarm-triggering cloud of toxic-smelling smoke is not far behind.

The peanut butter chronicles, actually an attempt by a child to make peanut sauce, took place yesterday.  But, they are far from the first lessons my off-spring have gleaned from their time with our microwave this summer.

Actually, this is our second microwave this summer.  We just bought it last week (I wonder if the peanut butter experiment was some sort of a “Welcome to Our Home” hazing for it or something, you know, to make the microwave feel welcome).  The first microwave was done in by a couple of earlier experiments that left it a bit dodgy, as it would start cooking at random and refuse to turn off until unplugged.

Daughter#1 deduced that Taco Bell burrito wrappers shoot out sparks after only a couple seconds and ignite the grease in the burrito shortly thereafter.  She’s also come to know that when there’s a fire in the kitchen it’s good manners, and good sense, to tell an adult what’s going on before running out into the street and screaming hysterically.

Son#1 has learned that when softening butter for cookies it is vital one does so for only 25 seconds, because when one accidentally does so for 255 seconds the butter dissolves, seeps into the workings of the microwave, and bursts into a butter-scented Molotov cocktail kind of thing.   And, as Son#1 pointed out as the primary lesson the experiment taught him, Mom doesn’t make cookies that night if you set the microwave on fire.

The “heat up the metal fork with the plate of food in the microwave” experiment is still unclaimed.  But, though anonymously done, it provided evidence that a metal fork in the microwave for a minute or so produces enough flames and heat to both cremate the food beyond recognition and to melt the plastic plate enough to allow it and the metal fork to become one entity.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley If It’s Burnt, It’s Cajun...Gina's Favorites Summer Appliances Microwave Oven

Another unclaimed experiment was the “Heat the Pop-tart in its Foil Pouch” inquiry.  Yes, it heats the Pop-tart. Flame will do that.  Yes, it also turns the interior of the microwave into charcoal.

We were taught by yet another unclaimed experiment (my children are such humble scientists!) that heated long enough, and by long enough I mean until someone smells smoke, even plain, dry toast will burst into flame.

Yesterday afternoon, Son#3, the peanut butter perpetrator of yesterday morning, asked if it would be ok if he heated a hot dog in the microwave.  I told him that would be fine, and reminded him to cover it so it didn’t splatter around. Wouldn’t want to get grease spots on the morning’s new flame trails in there!

A couple minutes later I heard the unmistakable pop of a hot dog bursting.

No, he did not cover it.  Yes, it exploded and sprayed the entire inside of the microwave with hot dog bits.  Grease was even running under the microwave door and dripping down the cabinets.

The Professor, always one to have perfect timing, walked into the kitchen to find the three of us standing there staring at the grease trails racing down the cabinet.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley If It’s Burnt, It’s Cajun...Gina's Favorites Summer Appliances Microwave Oven

“What on earth?!” he asked (You know, honestly, after all these years with all of our children and all of their disasters, I don’t know why he still asks.  After all, he doesn’t really want to know. I’m not even sure why he still risks coming into the kitchen).

Now I hate a mess.  And, the idea of having to clean the microwave for the second time in the same day was not the least bit appealing.  But, the exploding hot dog experiment was worth it,  just to see the look on The Professor’s face when Son#4 pointed to Son#3 and told his dad, ”His wiener sprayed all over it.”

The Professor looked at Son#4, who nodded.  He looked at Son#3, who nodded.  He looked again at the liquid trailing down the cabinets. Then, he made a beeline for the foyer, grabbed his hat & keys, and was out the door before we had recovered from laughing and could clarify that we were dealing with a former hot dog.

I hollered out the front door after The Professor, “Where are you going?”

He said, “To buy another bloody microwave!” and slammed his car door.

I didn’t stop him.  We’ll probably need it next week anyway.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Are there sparks shooting around your kitchen? Any explosions at your home this summer?  Please, shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it!

PS

Now before anyone recommends we get one of those over-the-oven microwaves let me say that I am too short to reach those, and, even if I wasn’t I am not nearly coordinated enough to be lifting hot things over my or anyone else’s head.

Also, no, my young kids are not supposed to use the microwave unsupervised.

Yes, my teens are equally guilty for creating microwave pyrotechnics.

And, yes, we have several fire extinguishers AND a smoke alarm in the kitchen, and our homeowners’ insurance is paid up.

And, no, I won’t let my kids read this column because it’s not funny when you mess up with the microwave.  Except the hot dog thing.  That was pretty funny.

It Has A Pulse!

It Has A Pulse!

by Gina Valley

My 12 year old came home with a gift from satan on Friday.

Ok, it wasn’t actually from satan.  It was from Lenore*, his best friend’s mom.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley I Think It Has A Pulse! Friendship Bread Starter

*Lenore is a very nice person. She definitely is NOT satan. You know I’m just making with the jokes here, right, Lenore?

But, it seemed like something satan might send home with my kid.

You’ve probably already guessed what it is.

That’s right.

It was a Ziploc bag full of Friendship Bread Starter.

That, by the way, is a total misnomer.This goo has never started a friendship, although I’m willing to put dollars to doughnuts (what does that even mean?!?!) that it’s ended more than a few.

It’s probably started a several wars.  In fact, I’ll bet if we were to carefully investigate Kim Jong-il’s culinary past, we’d find evidence of a Friendship Bread Starter bag showing up at his house right before he went off the dictator deep-end.

I don’t need people to send plastic bags full of fermenting goo, complete with its own massaging and feeding schedule, to my house.  I’m just not ready to make that kind of a commitment to a bag of goo. Frankly, I have trouble keeping the bread I buy from rotting. I don’t want the pressure of trying to deal with a pre-bread time bomb.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley I Think It Has A Pulse! Friendship Bread StarterBesides, we have no trouble making our own bags of fermenting goo.  I have a veggie crisper drawer full of them right now.

Sending the bag of nastiness to me by way of one of my pack members is even worse.  They forget to close our refrigerator or to mention our microwave is on fire.  Remembering to hand me a bag of goo is never going to be at the top of any of my kids’ to do lists.

When Son#2 was in 3rd grade he was nearly blown into the next county when a forgotten Friendship Bread Starter bag buried deep in the black hole which was his backpack created enough gas to not only break the seal of its Ziploc bag, but to also create a sort of jet propulsion system while he was walking home from school.

Fortunately, he landed on his head, so he wasn’t hurt*.

*Valley children pride themselves on their hard heads. Why just this weekend one of my 13 year old’s friends broke his arm in 4 places when he accidentally hit my son on the head while they were jumping on a trampoline. True story.  I wish I was making that up.

We had to call in the HazMat team to incinerate Son#2’s backpack. But, he did get an “A” on the science project he wrote about it. I’m sure my promising to send a sample bag of Friendship Bread Starter to his teacher, if he needed additional visual aids to improve his grade, in no way encouraged his teacher to immediately give him top marks.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley I Think It Has A Pulse! Friendship Bread StarterHow did the tradition that receiving a bag of rotting goo is a sign of friendship even start?

Was somebody living in the Little House On The Prairie feeling lonely and looking for a way to endear herself to her neighbors? Did she think “I have a bag of rotting stuff. I know. I’ll give some of it to everyone I know, and then they’ll all be my friends”?  Didn’t they have social anxiety medications back then?

Does this work for any rotting food?  Can I expect my neighbor to be honored if I label our bag of melting romaine “Friendship Salad Starter”?

Does it have to be in a Ziploc plastic bag? I have some Texas toast on our kitchen counter that’s rapidly turning blue and developing the ability to breathe, but it’s got a clip, not a Ziploc.  Is it suitable to be “Friendship French Toast Starter”?

Can it be anything labelled “Friendship”?  We’ve got a new pet, a rat named “Minnie,” who I’d love to pass on (Son#1’s snake wouldn’t eat her, so Son#4 named her, which caused her to jump from being “food” to being a “pet”).  If someone would be required to accept her graciously because I did it, I’d be more than happy to whip out a pen and label her “Friendship Pet Vermin Starter.”

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley I Think It Has A Pulse! Friendship Bread Starter

Can I apply this principle to other areas in my life?  How about a Friendship Bag Of I Don’t Know What The Heck This Is from my freezer? Or, ten boxes of Friendship Attic Clutter Starter from our attic?

This could revolutionize my de-cluttering plan for our house.

I’ll have to be sure to put together a Ziploc bag full of Friendship Cheerios Seat Cushion Texturization Starter for Lenore while I wait in the school parking lot after school today for my kids.

Actually, there’s probably plenty of Cheerios, melted crayons, and broken pencils down the front seat alone to fill 15 big Ziploc bags.

Or, should I say 15 Friendship End Of The Year Teacher Gift Starters?

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Has anyone ever given you a bag of Friendship Bread Starter?  Did you follow the instructions? How did it turn out? Did it explode?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

I Need An Intervention…Gina’s Favorites

As I’m spending extra time celebrating with my family, today’s post is one of my favorites from the past.

I Need An Intervention…Gina’s Favorites

by Gina Valley

The Food Network is like crack.

I know it’s bad for me, but I keep going right back to it time after time after time.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I like to cook. I love to cook, actually.  But, watching it makes me yearn to cook like they cook.  Nothing else will do.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley I Need An Intervention...Gina's Favorites The Food Network Cooking Shows

I look at my cooking scenario and am nearly scream, “I can’t work like this!”

The Food Network makes me realize that in order to prepare a proper piece of ingestible artistry I need to have my children off in a mysterious unspoken wonderland, a pristine kitchen, and all of the ingredients pre-measured into those cool little clear glass bowls.

I think we broke all of those bowls, and even if we have any, it would take me more than the hour long program to find them.   Half the time I can’t even find our carton of eggs.

How can I possibly create amazing culinary delights in my chaotic life after watching cooking Utopia?  It’s too depressing.  I don’t even have that magic sink that you drop dirty dishes into and they disappear during the commercial break.
I wish they would do cooking shows for real people. I don’t mean those reality shows where contestants are given cactus chunks, a tomato, 6 artichokes and an unlabeled can, and told to prepare a meal for eight cowboys in under one hour.

How about a real show with real people showing real solutions to real problems.  Really.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley I Need An Intervention...Gina's Favorites The Food Network Cooking Shows

How about a show where contestants must prepare a week’s worth of meals for preschoolers without using chicken nuggets, string cheese or Cheerios?  No fair reminding them that Jonny currently refuses to eat anything orange (color, not flavor) or that Lily will “die” if any of her different foods touch.

How about a show where the host has to paw and burrow through a real home’s cupboards in an effort to find the ingredients and the pan to make meatloaf before a 3 year old wakes up from her spontaneous nap, which can only mean she is getting sick, all while helping a 14 year old with her algebra homework and a 10 year old make a Diary if a Wimpy Kid diorama.

How about they show us how to make that cream puff tower surrounded by spun sugar while a mother-in-law hovers over every move, constantly repeating in a heavy, old world accent, “Oooh, the next time you see me, I’ll be dead,” without the chef engaging in eye-rolling or snappy comebacks, such as, “Don’t make promises you aren’t going to keep!”  That would be holiday magic.

How about they show us what to make when your stockyard-owning friends from Texas and that nice vegan couple with the peanut and soy allergies you met at the soccer tournament in Malibu both come over for dinner on the same night.  Surely, there is something that can be made for them all, besides reservations.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley I Need An Intervention...Gina's Favorites The Food Network Cooking ShowsAnd, how about a show where they make dinner with what we have when we have neither the basics nor time for a trip to the grocery store?  I’d love to see them come up with something yummy using only the slightly wilted lettuce, 2 cans of garbanzo beans, a half used tub of fromage blanc cheese, and the pound of ground meat left in the back of our fridge at the end of the week.  Now that would be a challenge.

Especially since I think that ground meat might actually be spinach from last month.

If you need me, I’ll be hiding from my kitchen.  And, the meat/spinach.

I’ll probably be watching The Food Network.

I need an intervention.

Laugh  Out Loud!

-gina

Do you watch The Food Network?  Do you have a favorite show you love or love to hate? How about the other “reality” networks like HGTV or DIY or Lifetime?  Do you find inspiration or frustration?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing what you think.

Photo courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission

Someone Murdered Our Microwave

Someone Murdered Our Microwave

by Gina Valley

I made the mistake of opening our microwave this morning.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  I should know better by now.

The day before yesterday I took my first dose of a new medicine.  This was a big deal for me because, in general, I don’t do medicine.

My body seems to think when I swallow a pill that it’s an insult, and it reacts like a moody teenager.  It tends to either ignore the medicine completely, rendering it useless, or, it does the opposite, and totally over reacts. So, whenever possible, I opt out of the whole medicine thing.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley But, as my doctor thought this was a necessary medicine, and I pretty much agreed, I filled the prescription and took it home with me.

Yesterday I took the second dose.  About an hour later my body told me to seek medical attention (I’m fine now. Don’t worry).

Before he sent me home, the on-call doctor told me to go to bed, and to stay home from work because this is a slow release medicine so the effects will be with me for 24 hours.  He also pointed out that it could also be a badly timed case of food poisoning or some medical anomaly.  Precision like that in diagnosis is always reassuring.

My pack and The Professor were left to fend for themselves for the night while I burrowed deep into my bed behind a closed bedroom door to sleep off the medicine’s side effects (or the mystery food poisoning or the medical anomaly or whatever it was).

This morning I must have still been experiencing the effects, as I was obviously not thinking clearly or I’d have known better than to open our microwave the morning after my family had spent time unsupervised in our kitchen.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley It was not a pretty sight.

I felt like a cross between an anthropologist and a CSI investigator as I stared at the stains and splatters.

As I considered the state of our microwave oven, it seemed fitting that this week’s Throwback Day post be my If It’s Burnt, It’s Cajun post.  You can read my If It’s Burnt, It’s Cajun post in its entirety below, or, for you hardcore readers, you can click on one of these magic links to read my If It’s Burnt, It’s Cajun post in its original location.

Either way I’ll meet you there (don’t tell my doctor.  I’m supposed to be sleeping).

If It’s Burnt, It’s Cajun

I received a letter from my kids’ school with a list of suggested activities to combat Summer Learning Loss.  Summer Learning Loss?  NOT a problem at my house.  Summer Mommy Mind Loss – huge problem.  That’s what I need to combat.  My kids, however, are learning plenty of things.

http://ginavalley.com/    Someone Murdered Our Microwave – Read & Laugh All About It!As always my children have selected their own mode of learning.  This year it’s being facilitated by our microwave (As a former engineer I am bound by my lifetime membership in the siblinghood of geekiness to point out that it is not a microwave.  It is a microwave oven.  It uses invisible microwaves to cook.  My children hate when I point this out.  I hate when they leave their underwear in the kitchen. This makes us even.  For today).

And, what have they learned thus far this summer through their semi-clandestine, non-approved course of study? Allow me to provide you with a list.  It’s not an exhaustive list, but having them do all this has been exhausting!

Just yesterday morning my children proved that microwaves have x-ray vision.  They can see right through the lid on the peanut butter jar to the tiny shard of aluminum foil stuck to the top of that jar.  And, they don’t like that shard.

Microwaves are strong.  They can produce enough heat inside the aforementioned plastic (thankfully) peanut better jar to make enough pressure to blow up the lid like a balloon in about 13 seconds.  According to an anonymous child source “it looks really cool.”

http://ginavalley.com/    Someone Murdered Our Microwave – Read & Laugh All About It!Microwaves are patriotic. They produce fireworks in the form of sparks shooting out from said peanut butter jar in 15 seconds.  A thick, black, kitchen filling, alarm-triggering cloud of toxic-smelling smoke is not far behind.

The peanut butter chronicles, actually an attempt by a child to make peanut sauce, took place yesterday.  But, they are far from the first lessons my off-spring have gleaned from their time with our microwave this summer.

Actually, this is our second microwave this summer.  We just bought it last week (I wonder if the peanut butter experiment was some sort of a “Welcome to Our Home” hazing for it or something, you know, to make the microwave feel welcome).  The first one was done in by a couple of earlier experiments that left it a bit dodgy, as it would start cooking at random and refuse to turn off until unplugged.

Daughter#1 deduced that Taco Bell burrito wrappers shoot out sparks after only a couple seconds and ignite the grease in the burrito shortly thereafter.  She’s also come to know that when there’s a fire in the kitchen it’s good manners, and good sense, to tell an adult what’s going on before running out into the street and screaming hysterically.

http://ginavalley.com/    Someone Murdered Our Microwave – Read & Laugh All About It!Son#1 has learned that when softening butter for cookies it is vital one does so for only 25 seconds, because when one accidently does so for 255 seconds the butter dissolves, seeps into the workings of the microwave, and bursts into a butter-scented Molotov cocktail kind of thing.   And, as Son#1 pointed out as the primary lesson the experiment taught him, Mom doesn’t make cookies that night if you set the microwave on fire.

The “heat up the metal fork with the plate of food in the microwave” experiment is still unclaimed.  But, though anonymously done, it provided evidence that a metal fork in the microwave for a minute or so produces enough flames and heat to both cremate the food beyond recognition and to melt the plastic plate enough to allow it and the metal fork to become one entity.

Another unclaimed experiment was the “Heat the Pop-tart in its Foil Pouch” inquiry.  Yes, it heats the Pop-tart. Flame will do that.  Yes, it also turns the interior of the microwave into charcoal.

We were taught by yet another unclaimed experiment (my children are such humble scientists!) that heated long enough, and by long enough I mean until someone smells smoke, even plain, dry toast will burst into flame.

Yesterday afternoon, Son#3, the peanut butter perpetrator of yesterday morning, asked if it would be ok if he heated a hot dog in the microwave.  I told him that would be fine and reminded him to cover it so it didn’t splatter around. Wouldn’t want to get grease spots on the morning’s new flame trails in there!

http://ginavalley.com/    Someone Murdered Our Microwave – Read & Laugh All About It!A couple minutes later I heard the unmistakable pop of a hot dog bursting.

No, he did not cover it.  Yes, it exploded and sprayed the entire inside of the microwave with hot dog bits.  Grease was even running under the microwave door and dripping down the cabinets.

The Professor, always one to have perfect timing, walked into the kitchen to find the three of us standing there staring at the grease trails racing down the cabinet.  “What on earth?!” he asked (You know, honestly, after all these years with all of our children and all of their disasters, I don’t know why he still asks.  After all, he doesn’t really want to know. I’m not even sure why he still risks coming into the kitchen).

Now I hate a mess.  And, the idea of having to clean the microwave for the second time in the same day was not the least bit appealing.  But, the exploding hot dog experiment was worth it,  just to see the look on The Professor’s face when Son#4 pointed to Son#3 and told his dad, ”His wiener sprayed all over it.”

The Professor looked at Son#4, who nodded.  He looked at Son#3, who nodded.  He looked again at the liquid trailing down the cabinets. Then, he made a beeline for the foyer, grabbed his hat & keys, and was out the door before we had recovered from laughing and could clarify that we were dealing with a former hot dog.

I hollered out the front door after The Professor, “Where are you going?”

He said, “To buy another bloody microwave!” and slammed his car door.

I didn’t stop him.  We’ll probably need it next week anyway.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

What do you do to combat summer learning loss?  What about summer parent mind loss?  Please, shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it!

PS 

Now before any one recommends we get one of those over the oven microwaves let me say that I am too short to reach those, and, even if I wasn’t I am not nearly coordinated enough to be lifting hot things over my or anyone else’s head.

Also, no, my young kids are not supposed to use the microwave unsupervised.

Yes, my teens are equally guilty for creating microwave pyrotechnics.

And, yes, we have several fire extinguishers AND a smoke alarm in the kitchen, and our homeowners’ insurance is paid up.

And, no, I won’t let my kids read this column because it’s not funny when you mess up with the microwave.  Except the hot dog thing.  That was pretty funny.

 

Click on over to these posts for more kitchen laughs:

Is My Fridge A Felon?

Fridge Ed

How To Make Ice Cubes – An Old Family Recipe

If I’m Ugly It’s Cuz My Kids Didn’t Put The Milk Away

Crime Scenes In The Kitchen

How To Make Rice – More Fun Than The Xbox

As always, the extra clicks count as cardio.

Thank you for reading and sharing!

A Big Bottle Of Whine

A Big Bottle Of Whine

by Gina Valley

I had trouble making the chicken for Sunday dinner this week.

My Sunday chicken is a staple in our home.  The sauce is simple, but yummy.  A white wine and chicken broth reduction.  The slow cooking produces tender, moist chicken.  My pack loves it.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley A Big Bottle Of Whine Cooking Dinner CorkscrewMost importantly, its light color makes cleaning the linens, the dishes, and, most importantly, my pack a snap.

The color issue is why my Sunday red sauce and pasta got bumped to Saturday after I became a mom.

Granted red sauce and pasta is a bit faster to prepare, as I make the sauce and meatballs in big batches every few months and freeze them.  But, Monday morning goes much better when Sunday night does not include trying to scrub red sauce stains off of my littles skin and out of their hair.

We’ve been a white-sauce-on-Sunday kind of family ever since our first little arrived.

It sort of signals the start of, and sets the tone for, the new week.

Usually a good thing.

This week, not so much.

The recipe is ingrained in my head.  I could probably make it blindfolded, if my pack didn’t have a policy to never put anything away in the same place twice.

I always have all the ingredients on hand.  I stock up on chicken when it’s on sale and keep it in our freezer.  Everything else is found in my pantry or growing in a pot on our patio.  I use whatever vegetables we have in the fridge that day.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley A Big Bottle Of Whine Cooking Dinner CorkscrewThe most important ingredient is the wine.

I put wine in almost everything I cook, so I keep a good bottle of red and another of white on hand.  My family thinks I’m joking when I say that as long as we have the wine, we don’t have to have the chicken.  I’m not.

A brand new bottle of white wine was on the counter, ready to open to make the sauce for my Sunday chicken.  I’d used the last of the previous bottle making gravy a couple nights before.

Our corkscrew was, surprisingly, in the correct spot in the correct drawer.  It twisted easily into the cork. I gave it my standard tug, and was surprised at how easily the cork gave way.  Clearly, the Food Network would be calling soon.

Then, I noticed a teeny, tiny glitch in my wine opening process.  It seems that the cork was so easy to pull out, because the cork didn’t pull out.  Instead, the corkscrew had remained in the cork, and I had broken off the handle of the corkscrew.  Who says working out doesn’t pay off?

Of course, now that I’d “Hulked” the corkscrew into brokenness, I couldn’t pull out the cork.  I tried pulling on the piece of metal sticking out the top of the bottle, but I couldn’t grip it well enough.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley A Big Bottle Of Whine Cooking Dinner CorkscrewMy 11 year old brought me some locking pliers to pull it out.  I tried.  It almost worked, but at the last second the cork broke in half, leaving half of itself well into the bottle, still effectively damming the flow of wine.

Excellent.

I started a totally different flow of whine.

I considered ordering a bucket of fried chicken, but settled instead on being a borrower.  I sent my 11 year old over to our neighbor’s to borrow a cork screw.  That ought to give them something to giggle about for the week.

Theirs was much sturdier than ours and worked great. I got the cork out of the wine, and the wine out of the bottle and onto the chicken.  I seasoned.  I stirred. I put the lid on.  I turned down the heat, and warned my household members not to take the lid off, lest they ruin my hard-wrought chicken victory.

Resting assured that my Sunday chicken dinner was on its way to becoming the gastronomical delight that it always is, I went up to my office to get in a couple hours of work while my pack headed to the park with their dad.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley A Big Bottle Of Whine Cooking Dinner CorkscrewAs calm waved over me, wine-opening stress long gone, I began to smell the aroma of the chicken cooking.  My head began to clear.

Thoughts were completed.

Words flew from my fingertips.

I typed the date on a finished piece, and had an epiphany.

I realized I was a bit premature in making my Sunday chicken dinner.

Being that it was Saturday.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Have you ever made a doozey of a day-of-the-week goof?  How do you like your chicken? Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

On The Rocks

On The Rocks

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m travelling this week (all business – no fun, well maybe I’ll find a little fun). Since the Extend Time Gods have been unwilling to extend time for me, I’ve decided to go with RetroGina Week this week on the blog.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Travel RetroGina Kitchen Cooking Ice Cubes Tray Two Year Old Cat Labrador SpillToday’s RetroGina Week post is How To Make Ice Cubes – An Old Family Recipe.

This post is the all-time favorite with my readers.  It’s the most read overall, and consistently the most read each month.   I’m not entirely sure if that’s because people need a good laugh or they need a good ice recipe, but I’m happy they’re reading it either way. 

I met my friend Molly, of @CrazedKitchen, after she read it.  Molly told me that she read it because she was curious about whether there was a special way to make ice cubes.  Read How To Make Ice Cubes – An Old Family Recipe to see that there is!

You can read it in its entirety below, or, for you hardcore readers, go to the original How To Make Ice Cubes – An Old Family Recipe post by clicking one of these magic links.

 

How To Make Ice Cubes – An Old Family Recipe

Like most people with a refrigerator with a built-in automatic ice maker, our automatic ice maker is beyond repair.  So, we’ve had to revert to making ice cubes the old-fashioned way.  And, by “we” I, of course, mean “me.”

I decided I better write down the recipe for this old family favorite after my husband, The Professor, explained to me that the football team of the cross town rival of his university no longer had ice in their Gatorade because the guy who knew the recipe had graduated.  I’d hate to think of such a tragedy visiting our family, as I am, judging by the perpetually empty trays, currently the only pack member who knows this secret recipe.

So, here is the recipe, along with tips and techniques from my personal, real-life ice cube making experience.

Ingredients:

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Travel RetroGina Kitchen Cooking Ice Cubes Tray Two Year Old Cat Labrador Spill

Water – Any variety will work.  I prefer clear, but it’s really a personal choice.

Red wine, large bottle, good quality – I prefer a fine Cabernet Sauvignon, but use your favorite

Special Equipment:

Ice cube trays – double as many as you think you’ll need.

Freezer – plugged in, turned on, pre-cooled

Optional Equipment:

wine glass – if you drink from the bottle you won’t have to waste time washing the glass.

Directions:

  • Pre-cool your freezer to below 32’F (0’C)  –  It helps if you plug it in.  We’ve tried freezing stuff in an unplugged freezer before.  It really doesn’t work very well.
  • Place ice cube trays on a flat, horizontal surface – This is usually the most difficult step in the recipe in households where children or fraternity brothers reside, as there is rarely an available even semi-horizontal surface of any kind.  A gas-powered leaf blower, garden rake, or frightened cat all work fairly well to rapidly clear off a surface.
  • Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Travel RetroGina Kitchen Cooking Ice Cubes Tray Two Year Old Cat Labrador SpillCarefully pour water into each vessel of each ice cube tray to about the ¾ full point – Although not a fatal problem, overfilled ice cube trays will over flow, causing the ice cube tray to attach itself to whatever it is in contact with, be it the freezer shelf, last week’s chili, or the top layer of your wedding cake.  In the last case, in my experience, it comes very close to being fatal.
  • Halfway through filling the first tray, be prepared for your two year old to “help” you – She will surprise you by reaching higher than is physically possible for someone of such small stature and by moving quicker than light itself moves.  She will grab the tray you are filling, and rush out of the kitchen, while screaming, “I hep you! I hep you! I hep you!” and disappearing down the corridor. Don’t worry she’ll be easy to find, just as mine was.
  • Follow the trail of water your 2 year old made on the new carpet in the corridor, the fragile wallpaper in the living room, and somehow on the 20 foot ceiling in the foyer.
  • Dry off the wallpaper first.  You’ll never be able to reach the ceiling anyway, and it’s already soaked through the carpet by now.
  • Let her keep the tray – Don’t even try to get the ice cube tray away from your little one.  She’s going to want to take it everywhere with her for the next week.  Mine slept with it, ate with it, and took it to preschool.
  • Return to the kitchen after you have dried off and reattached the wallpaper.   Fill up the remaining ice cube trays.
  • After you have carefully filled each and every vessel, carefully carry each ice cube tray to the sink or a nearby planter and dump out the water – This is necessary because while you were chasing your two year old, your cat jumped up on the counter to sprinkle fur into each of the vessels of each ice cube tray to provide that designer look to the cubes.
  • Next, you will need to refill the newly de-haired ice cube trays.
  • Once filled, you will need to place the trays into the freezer – Many of my pack members have failed to absorb this important detail, choosing instead to attempt to freeze the ice cubes by leaving the trays (sometimes filled, sometimes not) on the counter for days. This has never worked at our house, but I suppose, were it cold enough, it might work in some.
  • Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Travel RetroGina Kitchen Cooking Ice Cubes Tray Two Year Old Cat Labrador SpillLook both ways to check for kitchen traffic before proceeding to cross the kitchen to place the trays into your freezer – Carrying filled, unfrozen ice cube trays attracts a kitchen crowd even quicker than trying to wrestle that mammoth Thanksgiving turkey out of the oven does.
  • Now comes the tricky step – Unfortunately, in her haste to escape, your 2 year old has undoubtedly left a nearly invisible trap for you in the form of a pool of potential ice forming water on the floor in front of your freezer.  You will slip.  You will slide.   You will flail your arms about causing the water in the trays to be dispersed in a precipitation like manner throughout your kitchen.  But, and you will congratulate yourself for this, you will not fall because of that puddle.
  • You will nearly recover your balance – But, unfortunately that will occur in the exact moment that the ice cube tray generated precipitation reaches your cat.  And, just as you are congratulating yourself for your cat-like reflexes that kept you from falling, your cat will use his to seek shelter from the falling water in between your feet, causing you to accidentally step on either his paw or tail (I’m not sure which now; it’s all kind of a blur of fur, screeching, and claws). This foot-upon-cat condition will cause your cat to feel the need to express his displeasure with having one of his body parts stomped on by screaming and climbing up your leg.
  • That’s when you’ll fall.
  • Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Travel RetroGina Kitchen Cooking Ice Cubes Tray Two Year Old Cat Labrador SpillYour two year old will be standing over you with a box of bandages when you open your eyes.  She will ask repeatedly, “You got boo-boo? Huh? You got boo-boo?”  Your Labrador will be looking in through the window in the back door with an expression that clearly means, “I told you that dang cat was trouble.”  And, the cat will be back on the counter shaking his head and rolling his eyes in disgust at your inability to stick the landing.
  • As you lay there on the floor waiting for the world to stop spinning you will curse the cat and curse the stupid plastic ice cube trays and curse the bloody repairman who said it wasn’t worth the money to fix the ice maker.  As you painfully drag yourself up to your feet you will even curse ice itself, but then take it back as you remember your love of ice hockey.
  • Then, you will growl at your mocking cat, scoop up your helpful two year old, and head for the car.  You will drive seven blocks to nearest convenience store, shell out $5 for a 10 lb bag of ice you, in theory, could have made at home for free.  You will then return home, shove the bag of ice into the freezer, switch on Dora for your two year old, and open your wine.

As you plop down on the sofa next to your two year old and sip your wine, you will remind yourself that wine really is essential to all good family recipes.  And, you’ll make a mental note to start with the last step of this recipe first next time.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Do you have a favorite family recipe?  Is it smooth sailing when you’re in the kitchen or more like the destruction derby?  I’d love to hear about it.  Shoot me a comment before it’s time to wipe something up.  Again.

Click over to my How To Make Rice – More fun Than The XBox post for more cooking giggles.

Thank you for reading.  I appreciate you choosing to spend your giggle time with me.

How To Make Rice – More Fun Than The Xbox

How To Make Rice – More Fun Than The Xbox

Once in a while when we order Chinese food The Professor bemoans shelling out the extra cash for steamed rice.  After all, he reasons, we could make some ourselves, and it’d be ready before the order even showed up at our door.  Water, oil, salt, rice – it’s simple, he reasons.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Rice Xbox Chinese Food Wipeout Cooking Accidents Games MessI understand his thinking, but he’s wrong.

Before we had children, I usually whipped up the Chinese food myself.  Steamed rice?  Heck, I could do that with my eyes closed.  Yes, it was simple. But, that was before kids.

Making rice is no longer simple. It’s now a game, well, a series of games really.  And, as is always the case, our children are much, much better than we are at playing.

Here’s the standard order of play, as pulled from our experience last night:

Children start off with Kitchen Zumba by hiding in the pantry.  They jump out when mom comes in to get the rice to start dinner, giving her a fun cardio workout.

A related game is Pick Up 5lbs Of Rice Off The Floor, which is played immediately after Kitchen Zumba, but is not as well received.

Put Handfuls Of Rice Down Your Brother’s Shirt is then played, and the chorus of giggles is re-stimulated.

Throw Handfuls Of Rice At Your Sister is also historically giggle inducing.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Rice Xbox Chinese Food Wipeout Cooking Accidents Games MessDrop Rice All Over Entire Downstairs Of Our House While Chasing And Throwing It At Each Other is also a popular follow-up game.

This is often followed by another game, which causes stifled giggles from kids, a gasp from their mom, and a loud thud and groan from their dad, called Slip On The Rogue Rice In The Hall And Fall Flat On Your Back.  It is especially fun when the teen says, barely hiding her giggles, “Dad’s fallen and he can’t get up,” and the 11 year old, barely able to speak due to his fits of laughter, says, “Did you break a hip, Dad?”  Clearly, they watch too much Wipeout.

The 2 year old playing Dump An Entire Box Of Band Aids On Dad’s Head while he lay moaning and trying to catch his breath on the hardwood floor qualifies someone for extra points.  I’m not sure who, though.

Acquiescence is played when the dad whispers between wheezes, “Never mind. Just order the bloody rice.”

Mom then checks dad’s pupils and asks him what year it is to determine whether to play the bonus round of Drive Dad To The Hospital.

Fortunately, we didn’t qualify for the bonus round last night.

But, there’s always tomorrow.

We’re making oatmeal for breakfast.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

What’s cooking at your place this weekend?  Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

I Need An Intervention

I Need An Intervention

by Gina Valley

The Food Network is like crack.

I know it’s bad for me, but I keep going right back to it time after time after time.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I like to cook. I love to cook, actually.  But, watching it makes me yearn to cook like they cook.  Nothing else will do.

I look at my cooking scenario and am nearly scream, “I can’t work like this!”

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Intervention Crack The Food Network Glass Bowls Ingredients Algebra Diorama Cowboys  Spun Sugar Cream Puff Meat CakeThe Food Network makes me realize that in order to prepare a proper piece of ingestible artistry I need to have my children off in a mysterious unspoken wonderland, a pristine kitchen, and all of the ingredients pre-measured into those cool little clear glass bowls.

I think we broke all of those bowls, and even if we have any, it would take me more than the hour long program to find them.   Half the time I can’t even find our carton of eggs.

How can I possibly create amazing culinary delights in my chaotic life after watching cooking Utopia?  It’s too depressing.  I don’t even have that magic sink that you drop dirty dishes into and they disappear during the commercial break.
I wish they would do cooking shows for real people. I don’t mean those reality shows where contestants are given cactus chunks, a tomato, 6 artichokes and an unlabeled can, and told to prepare a meal for eight cowboys in under one hour.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Intervention Crack The Food Network Glass Bowls Ingredients Algebra Diorama Cowboys Spun Sugar Cream Puff Meat Cake

How about a real show with real people showing real solutions to real problems.  Really.

How about a show where contestants must prepare a week’s worth of meals for preschoolers without using chicken nuggets, string cheese or Cheerios?  No fair reminding them that Jonny currently refuses to eat anything orange (color, not flavor) or that Lily will “die” if any of her different foods touch.

How about a show where the host has to paw and burrow through a real home’s cupboards in an effort to find the ingredients and the pan to make meatloaf before a 3 year old wakes up from her spontaneous nap, which can only mean she is getting sick, all while helping a 14 year old with her algebra homework and a 10 year old make a Diary if a Wimpy Kid diorama.

How about they show us how to make that cream puff tower surrounded by spun sugar while a mother-in-law hovers over every move, constantly repeating in a heavy, old world accent, “Oooh, the next time you see me, I’ll be dead,” without the chef engaging in eye-rolling or snappy comebacks, such as, “Don’t make promises you aren’t going to keep!”  That would be holiday magic.

How about they show us what to make when your stockyard-owning friends from Texas and that nice vegan couple with the peanut and soy allergies you met at the soccer tournament in Malibu both come over for dinner on the same night.  Surely, there is something that can be made for them all, besides reservations.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Intervention Crack The Food Network Glass Bowls Ingredients Algebra Diorama Cowboys Spun Sugar Cream Puff Meat Cake

And, how about a show where they make dinner with what we have when we have neither the basics nor time for a trip to the grocery store?  I’d love to see them come up with something yummy using only the slightly wilted lettuce, 2 cans of garbanzo beans, a half used tub of fromage blanc cheese, and the pound of ground meat left in the back of our fridge at the end of the week.  Now that would be a challenge.

Especially since I think that ground meat might actually be birthday cake from last month.

If you need me, I’ll be hiding from my kitchen.  And, the meat/cake.

I’ll probably be watching The Food Network.

I need an intervention.

Laugh  Out Loud!

-gina

Do you watch The Food Network?  Do you have a favorite show you love or love to hate? How about the other “reality” networks like HGTV or DIY or Lifetime?  Do you find inspiration or frustration?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing what you think.