Monday, October 29, 2007

What's for lunch?

This past week has been one of those nursery rhymes. Old Mother Hubbard, to be exact. So what is there to eat today, kids? Yank open pantry-- Campbell's Goldfish Soup (Mama makes a gagging sound--it's just glorified chicken noodle.) Next day--Campbell's Golden Select Cream of Carrot Soup. Open freezer--applesauce. The next day--Tomato soup. Pears. Sorry, no more crackers, but we can crumble a bit of this stale bread into your soup and, look, it's *special crackers*!

"We are sick of soup," my kids communicate. Helen, who has never met a food she didn't like, sticks out her tongue to refuse any more, so that the spoonful of *special crackers* just lovingly placed in her mouth tumbles onto her bib and tray. Owen clenches his mouth shut and hides his face in his shoulder.

Yesterday Owen rediscovered our hot tub room. Jason's grandpa bought a hot tub for health reasons a number of years ago. He added a room, right off the master bathroom, to house the 5-seater. The hot tub is not in working order anymore/yet, and the room itself needs some work. It's unfinished, and certainly not air tight. So while I was putting on make up and overhauling my hair--I mean arranging my long, full, luxurious tresses--Owen played in the hot tub room.

This morning, while I was in the shower, he introduced Helen to the room. When I checked on them, I still didn't have my contacts in, but I could tell Helen had something in her mouth. It was that furtively busy, desperately trying to avoid attracting Mommy's attention look she had. I squinted and bent down. Mmm...good choice, babe...a dead, dessicated frog body.

Later today while I was scaring up some lunch in the kitchen, Owen was busy painting at the table. I turned just in time to see him sipping some lovely greenish-black paint water out of his cup.

Other morsels my children have sampled of late:

Owen's leftovers set out for the cats,

raw pizza dough,

and a green satsuma off the tree.

There have also been healthy doses of dirt and rocks on Helen's part. Do I need to buy stock in liquid wormer?

I am also finding field corn in her diaper. This is from the corn/candle arrangement I have on my end table. We leave it there so she can learn to leave tabletop objects alone. I think it's working.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Yesterday I was running errands in town. I needed more coffee beans, and since Roaster's Gallery was closed, I had to go around the corner to the Community Cup. I parked on a side street to avoid Main. I was carrying all 23+ pounds of Helen, grasping my purse, stowing the keys, and holding Owen's hand. Suddenly, Owen hollered, "Himey!" (Kitty!) Yeesh!! NOT a kitty, but a huge rat, lying dead on a grate right beside the bank building. I said calmly, "No, that's not a kitty," and entreated briskly, "Come, let's go to the coffee shop!"

I was a little suspect. This didn't appear like the average nasty sewer rat, but looked almost like a domesticated rat, if there is such a thing. It had a white body and a brown head. And usually the sidewalks in Atmore are kept clean.

Today I was running errands again, and since I only bought a 1/2 pound of beans yesterday, decided to try again for Joel's shop. The doors were wide open, and he yelled, "Hey, Owen!!" from the back, and promptly came up to offer Owen a coffee bean, which he ate with gusto. I got another 1/2 pound of coffee, my favorite, Monsooned Malabar. I found out that the "strange" woman who kept waving to me at the park on Sunday was none other than his wife Celia--how embarrassing that I didn't recognize her!!

I like the feel of the shop. He has his art hanging all over the walls, several claw-foot tubs he is restoring, a few potted plants, some worn couches and braided rugs. And more often than not, downtown business owners will stop by for a cup of coffee and a chat. Today, Mr. Joe Brantley came in. Helen took one look at him and dove for his arms. He just had that grandpa look and sound.

We were about to go when Joel piped up, "Hey, Owen, wanna see some RATS?!!" He strode over to the fridge, yanked open the freezer compartment and withdrew two gallon-size Ziploc bags stuffed with frozen rats, exactly like the dead one we saw yesterday. Apparently before the pet shop two doors down closed, the owner lost track of some rats. When he cleared out, he left them behind. When they ran out of food, they started running the street. And when Joel sees them, he shoots them with a pellet gun or something else of that nature, and then saves them in his freezer. He rolled his eyes when he recounted how the bank ladies wouldn't even go in their door because of the dead rat. "Tell Jay-Bob I said hi and I miss him," he imparted as I went to the truck.

I drove home shaking my head. Only in Atmore.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

In the Kitchen

Happy Birthday, Mom! and Cousin Wynette! Hope your days were wonderful.

Today I decorated two cakes for Jason's cousin who just turned 40! I baked them yesterday to get that out of the way. The baking of the cakes was an adventure in itself, since I used a total of 4 cake mixes. What else did I make but a "4" and an "0" to celebrate such a momentous occasion? I used a straight-sided 9x13 pan and did a cut-up cake style for the 4, and I used a 10" round for the 0. It was loads of fun to make, but I barely got it done in time! It went straight to the Expedition for the surprise party at the park--it was almost surprise, no cake! And so, sadly, I didn't get a picture. They were frosted with chocolate icing and decorated with circles in shades of purple. (And so of course, I had to wear my purple t-shirt.) In my dream world, the cake would've had a marzipan woman popping out of the 0, celebrating her wonderful life, but not in any lewd way--children at the party!! I bought marzipan, but since I was probably the first resident of Atmore to buy marzipan at Winn Dixie in the last two years, the tube I got was totally dried out. In fact, I could have knocked out someone with that brick. I have never worked with the stuff before, but something just told me that a hardened brick wasn't we looked at Wal-Mart last night for it, and no luck. Either I'm blind, or ain't noone in Bay Minette ever heard of marzipan either. I didn't ask for help. It's hit or miss with Wal-Mart sales associates, and noone was lurking around to ask, either.

And so, on a different note (no pun intended), I leave you with a much-loved recipe for red beans and rice.

1 lb. red beans, soaked overnight
1 med. onion, chopped
7 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. parsley
1 rib celery, chopped
1/2 c. ketchup
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. Tabasco sauce
2 bay leaves
1 t. thyme
salt & pepper
1 lb. smoked sausage, cut into 1" pieces (or raw bacon--totally awesome)

I soak the beans in my crockpot overnight with lots of water. The recipe says to drain them in the morning and add 3 quarts fresh water, but I cheat and just skip that step, because deep down in my soul I am L-A-Z-Y!!! In the morning, I put in everything else, minus the salt, and turn it on high. (Don't add salt while your beans are still hard or only partially soft; it prevents them from softening.) I keep my crockpot on high until the mid afternoon, after my beans are soft, and then turn it to low. Serve over rice, and top with shredded cheddar, sour cream and extra hot sauce.

This past week, I also made Cincinnati chili. So your heart out, Les! kitchen still smelled of raw onions the next evening.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Today's New Word

...courtesy of Jan's spare copy of Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary (yes I read dictionaries, doesn't everyone?):

synophrys [Gr. syn, together + ophrys, eyebrow]. Condition in which the eyebrows grow across the midline.

More popularly known as the unibrow.

This is quite silly, but we all need a few laughs.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A barrel of monkeys

Tell me again why we buy toys? Current favorites are cardboard boxes and formula scoops.

These two monkeys of ours can really hit it off, but they are also starting to clash. Owen will stake his claim on a toy, but then big, bad Helen comes along and tells him otherwise. She is not even a year old, yet she is not shy about giving anyone a verbal dressing down. The other day I caught them fighting over a Mega Bloks wagon. They both were tugging at it, and it was rolling back and forth between them, literally a tug-o-war, complete with angry screams. Owen was defensively hollering over the whole matter, and Helen was just plain livid with rage. I want it so GIVE IT TO ME NOW!! They both went to bed, since it was only a few minutes before naptime. Lovely.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Thursday, October 4, 2007


Today I have extra kids running around my house, David, Jace and Abby, Jason's nephews and niece. While the three youngest were napping, and David was on a ride with Uncle Jason, Jace was watching me make a top-secret Christmas project.

"Is that work?" nodding toward my sewing machine.

"Not for me. Some people don't like to sew, but I enjoy it. It's relaxing to me, so it's not work. Do you know what I mean?"

"Weeeell.....I like to paint. And some people don't. When I grow up, I'm going to paint big pictures, and people will buy them. And then I'll give the money to poor people...I think I'll live in Africa. There are really, really poor people there."

"If the people are poor there, then who would buy your pictures?"

"You." Of course!

"So what else do you like to do, that's not work for you?"

"Um...long, thoughtful pause...I like to write!"

"Oh, wow. Some people really hate to write."

"Well, I don't like to write something I HAVE to write. But when I get older and can read and write bigger words, then I'm going to write TEN chapters!"

I respond with the appropriate measured excitement.

"And you know what it's going to be about?! About SuperTeeth! He is SOO cool, and his best super power is this, watch!--stands back, bares teeth and spews a loud K sound--and his teeth are really, really sharp, like razors, and they fly out of his mouth and--KSH!!--cut things like this--KSH!!--countertop. And they can--KSH!!--cut through like your sewing machine, things that are metal."

"What does SuperTeeth do when he spits out all his teeth and he doesn't have any left? Does he just have to eat stuff like grits then?"

"NO! He has strings attached to his teeth, and he just pulls them back in right after he spits them."

I hope SuperTeeth uses ADA-approved toothpaste. And good luck to Jace, my dreamy nephew.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Here's my version of mom's favorite kitchen decoration. The one on the plate is Owen's--he stuck his finger in it. Tasty.