Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Musings on Santa Claus

The Big Boy is afraid of Santa Claus.

This is not surprising as he has been afraid of a variety of non-threatening things (a glow worm doll, swiper the fox, rain).

When you ask him (as people frequently do this time of year) "What do you want Santa to bring you for Christmas?"
He replies quite clearly, "Nuffing".

Hot Chocolate Face. 

I've listened to several people (including myself) trying to sell Santa to this child.

"He's really great, Bud! He comes into your house...

while you are sleeping...

though not in a creepy way...

and gives you presents!"

"No fanks" says Big Boy, quite distinctly.

I made a tiny bit of headway the other day regarding the stockings.

"Dose are stockings" he says, pointing at the mantle.

"That's right, Bud. And on Christmas Eve Santa's going to come and fill them with treats!"

Thoughtful pause.

(In the Big Boy's lexicon "treats" is a highly significant word. It can be utilized in reference to a variety of impossibly wonderful items - munchkins, ice cream, M&M's).

"I don't have to see him." he says, in a questioning way.

"No, no, Bud. No one sees him. You just wake up in the morning and there are presents and treats!" (I feel sort of like a used car salesman).

"Okay." he says.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Turkey Corn Chowder

Soup's on!

I didn't have enough left over turkey to make a traditional turkey soup, but my coughing-sneezing-self really wanted soup, so - corn chowder with a dash of turkey was born.

I made this soup on the stove top, but it could easily be adapted to the crock pot - just leave out the milk until immediately prior to serving.

1/2 medium white onion 
1/2 green pepper
2 stalks celery
1 cup baby carrots
2 cloves garlic (smashed and finely chopped)
2 cans creamed corn (low sodium if you can find it)
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 can cream of mushroom soup (low fat/low sodium)
3/4 c left over turkey cut into bite size pieces (obviously optional - but it really was yummy)
1 32oz box chicken stock (low fat/low sodium)
1 cup milk (any percentage)

Cut all your fresh veggies into soup-size pieces and saute in the bottom of your soup pot in a bit of olive oil until soft. 
Add the remaining ingredients (except the milk) and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow to simmer until veggies reach your desired level of tenderness. 
Immediately prior to serving add the milk. 

Easy, no?

What's on your table lately?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday? Monday.

Happy Monday Gang.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Unfortunately, I blinked and then it was over.

Isn't that always the way?

I do seem to recall gravy and stuffing and pie. Laughing children and happy adults.

It was very, very good.

Though, now I feel Christmas breathing down my neck.

I couldn't even swallow my last piece of pie without Christmas arriving like an over-zealous tupperware salesperson.

"Hello! I just know you have been waiting with baited breath for me to arrive!" says Christmas.
Awkward pause.
"Umm. Hello, Christmas. Actually, I was just digesting my pie. Please stop bludgeoning me with Christmas cheer." I say.

Regardless of Christmas' lack of tact, fall themed decorations were packed away and jingling tupperware bins full of Christmas stuff were brought down from the attic.

Two more batches of cookies made it into the freezer

This week it was Hootie-Cranks (white chocolate and craisin). 

And there may have been an attempt to take some Christmas-card-worthy photos of the children. 

Oh, you'd like to see the outtakes? 

What's up with that face? A bad smell? Confusion? Existential angst? 

How was your Thanksgiving? Did Christmas bludgeon its' way into your life as well?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

Thank you ... 

... for coming here and reading.

... for commenting.

... for writing cool blogs.

... for being awesome.

... for saving me from whole cloves.

... for loving my boys like crazy (this one's for you Uncle Steve, Aunt Judy, Kelly and Dewek). Don't be offended Grandparents - you are required to obsessively love the boys - but - you gotta admit these guys go above and beyond.

... for coming week after week to my Pilates class.

... for teaching me about strength and grace under adversity, Liz.

... for the best weekend of my life, A-rae.

... for all the help. 

... for giving me a chance.

... for effin' brownies.

... for waxing my eyebrows without calling me "sasquatch"

... for being the love of my life (Yep, that one's for you, Hubs).

... for asking me to make you a pie (Diane).

... for still loving me despite the fact that I was extremely similar to the Wee One (Mom).

... for keeping me from being prematurely lame (A-rae, Kelly). Left to my own devices, I would be a sad case.

... for my children. Most of the time.

... to my brain surgeon - not only did he save my life, but he provided me with the sweetest comb-over ever. Can you believe it's been 10 years?

... for turkey and gravy.

... for antipasto squares and that product, you know what I'm talking about (Becky).

... for being my cleanse buddy, Miss Kelly- one more day!

... for red wine (for the antioxidants of course).

... for a great boss (not sucking up, Beth).

... for roots and wings, Mom and Dad.


What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fa la la la la

Happy Tuesday guys.

Ah-Choo! Still a bit under the weather here, but hanging in.

You may have noticed the Pink Mixer standing proudly in the photo in yesterday's post.

Et, tu, Mixer?

It's time to start making cookie dough for Christmas and no little, sniffly cold is going to stop me.

So, on Sunday, Gingersnaps hit the freezer.

Of course it isn't always advisable to cook while slightly under the weather. A few mishaps occurred.

Lessons in Cookie-ing:

1) Read labels carefully while at the grocery store. Whole cloves are in a deceptively similar package, but are not the same as Ground cloves.

2) Whole cloves cannot be ground into ground cloves using your average food processor.

3) Thank God for beloved neighbors who actually read the labels in the grocery store and come to your rescue during a spice emergency

Thanks Sharon!

4) You must add the spices to the dough prior to wrapping the dough in plastic wrap and putting it in the freezer, otherwise when you discover your little bowl of carefully pre-measured spices you will have to obtain the dough from the freezer, unwrap, mix in the spices, re-wrap and then re-clean the bowl you may have already cleaned. Sigh.

Perhaps I should have waited until I was feeling 100% before tackling cookie dough, but Christmas is like a snowball rolling down hill, yes? You've just gotta roll with it or else it gets away from you!

Monday, November 21, 2011


I have a little cold.

Of course.

Nothing major, just a sore throat, stuffy nose and achy body.

So, yesterday as I went through my Defense Against the Common Cold Checklist - I wondered
1) If I am the only person who launches a full frontal assault against a cold virus.
2) If I am missing anything from my arsenal.

Yesterday when I awoke with my scratchy throat I started the day with echinacea and Zinc lozenges.

First line of defense: the kitchen. 
Dinner went into the crock pot, soup went onto the stove and tea followed me wherever I went. (Just ignore the pink mixer - we'll talk about that in tomorrow's post)

I dress extremely warmly.

I drink tea and water until I feel sloshy. 

Then, right before bed, I attempt to induce a fake fever.

It is my understanding that cold germs like to operate within a fairly narrow window of environmental conditions,including temperature. This is why your body fires off a fever when you get sick.

So, in order to help things along - I take a super hot eucalyptus scented bath - sweating it out in the sauna-like conditions for as long as I can stand it. Then I layer myself in fleece and flannel and tuck my warmed up self into bed.

After gargling with hot salt water of course.

For a cough I put Vicks vaporub on the soles of my feet. This totally works. I use it on the kids too!.

For nasal congestion I swear by a Nettie pot and Breathe right nasal strips. Though, I don't own an actual pot, I just use a squeeze bottle of sterile saline from the pharmacy.

Clearly, I have made fighting the common cold into a rigorous battle.

Am I the only one?

Please share your cold fighting, or comfort inducing tips as we venture forth into cold and flu season...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Moments

Friday Moments with Soule Mama, as usual.

If you have a moment or two to share, please leave a comment with a link!

Last week, I was oh-so-good following Soule Mama's rules. This week - not so much.

The boys have been fighting like cats and dogs this week. My patience has been pushed to its' breaking point. I have taken away toys, dealt time-outs, reprimanded, scolded, tried reasoning, and even tried separation via baby gates.

They're still fighting.

But, I digress.

Yesterday, for one brief, shining, glorious moment - as I cleaned snack shrapnel out of my car - I heard the rare sound of two children laughing, together. 

Though this moment was brief, it was thoroughly appreciated.

Happy Weekend, Gang.


Thursday, November 17, 2011


Umm, in case you were as clueless as me, Thanksgiving is 1 week away. 

I know!


Go look at the calendar. 

The Holidays are coming. 

This is awesome and scary at the same time. 

Over the past few days, I've been busy with a first wave of gift buying and home-made gift planning. 

This is the first year where the Big Boy will be old enough to "get it" and participate. 

Though in true form, the Wee One is totally on board saying, "Santa will bring me a red bike!" and The Big Boy is refusing to discuss Santa's arrival at all. 

And I, (true to my own over-analytical, neurotic form) am already worried about the commercialization of the holidays. 

How do I raise my boys to understand the season is about giving? About love, compassion and generosity? 

I know my boys learn best when they participate, when they see us in action. So this means I have to change the way I move through the holiday season. 

This will require some serious effort on my part. But this is an effort I am happy to make. I've never really thought about it before - sure, I donate gifts or food through work or through the library - but this year (and for all the years I have influence over my boys), I think there needs to be more. 

I know, I know (I can hear my Hubs rolling his eyes all the way from 3 towns away) With all your spare time, Melissa? 

We are a busy little family right now, and the kiddos are still oh-so-little, but there has to be a way to make an impression. There has to be something we can do. 

I'm not at all sure what that is - but I'd love to hear any suggestions and I'll keep you posted. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The anguish of Two


The Wee One is 27 months old. Knee deep in his "terrible twos".

And he ain't foolin' around.

This boy is taking two for everything it's worth.

The Big Boy was the easiest two year old. I think he threw perhaps one tantrum.

The Wee One, on the other hand, is a two year old of epic proportions.

Feel lucky, punk?

He screeches and screams. He hits, yells and pushes. He bites. 

He makes impossible requests:

Upon seeing a plane in the sky: Him: "Q pick me up so I can touch dat pwane?"
Me: "Sorry, Bud, but that plane is too high in the sky - I can't reach it."
Screaming hysterics and tantrum. 

Pwease, Mama?
He is also deeply conflicted. 

Testing his burgeoning independence, but simultaneously clingy as all get out. 
When I try to hold is hand, say, in a parking lot, screaming hysterics ensue.
Yet the minute I am busy cooking or otherwise occupied:
Him: "Q pick me up, Mama?"

I have given this poor child more time-outs than I ever dreamed imaginable. 

What makes things even more difficult is that he's a funny little turd. 

I go to get him from time out, putting on my best stern-mama-facade. 

I enter his room and he greets me with:

"Hiiiiiii Maaama! I missed you!"

Focus, Mama, focus.

Me: "Why did you need to go to time-out?"
Him: "I hitted."
Me: "Is it okay to hit?"
Him: "YES!!" then he bursts into hysterical laughter. 


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Baked Ziti

Why not make this for dinner?

Here's how!

1 box ziti with lines
1 package hot Italian turkey sausage
1 package ground turkey
1 medium white onion diced
3 large cloves of garlic minced
1 package shredded cheese (Pizza blend works nicely)
1 package bocconcini (bite size fresh mozzarella)
1 small container of part-skim ricotta cheese
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 14oz can diced tomatoes (drained)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Set up a pasta pot with water - while you're waiting for it to boil, prep the rest.
In a large skillet brown the ground turkey, turkey sausage, onion and garlic. (I split the sausage the long way and remove the meat because I can't get bulk sausage at my grocery store).

This is the most important step in my opinion (for both lasagna and baked ziti) you have to beat up the meat quite thoroughly while it's cooking, until you achieve a uniform, crumble consistency. A potato masher works nicely, also a wooden spoon. Definitely requires some elbow grease - but keep at it! It's vital to the end result.

Add the crushed and diced tomatoes, stir and reduce the heat to low.

Boil your pasta for no more than 5 minutes - it should be significantly underdone.

Drain the pasta and mix it in with the sauce. Add 1/2 of the bocconcini, and the entire package of ricotta and stir.

Pour the entire mixture into a 13x9 pan.

Top with the remaining bocconcini and the entire package of shredded cheese.

Bake 45-60 minutes.

Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Good, good stuff.

PS - why not get the large package of ricotta - use 1/2 for the pasta and the other 1/2 for ricotta muffins?

Oh you don't have a good recipe for ricotta muffins? Well, I'll provide one ASAP.

Till next time, gang :)

What's your favorite pasta comfort dish?

Monday, November 14, 2011


Happy Monday, dear friends.

Over the weekend I was given two amazing gifts.

1) A coupon for 50% off 5 full price items at Banana Republic (Thank you beloved Kelly).

2) A few child-free hours in which to utilize the coupon (Thank you beloved Hubs).

The trip went like this:

Two empty carseats! 

I can't remember the last time I was alone in the car. There may have been singing. 

Upon arrival at the mall, I was free to park anywhere because I didn't have two children to lug through the dangerous mine field of the parking lot. 

I can't remember the last time I was at the mall. It was most likely at least 1-2 years ago.

Why on Earth did they opt for carpet? 
Carpet? In the mall? Am I the only one who finds this odd?

Anyway, as I strolled blissfully along, guess who I spotted?

Santa on an escalator!

Why is it that Santa always needs a handler?

And then...

A glorious period of time...

Where I shopped, selected, and tried on clothing that I couldn't afford (until the coupon, that is).

I do not know the last time I was able to enter a fitting room.

Of course I didn't shop just for myself. Christmas is just around the corner, you know.

Please excuse the odd seam running down the center of this photo -
I sort of look like the phantom of the opera, but you get the gist.


Best. Day. Ever. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Moments

Friday Moments, as usual, with Soule Mama. This week I'm sticking to the rules - a single moment, no words.

If you have a moment or two to share, please leave a comment with a link.

No words means no words, Melissa.

Stop typing.

Walk away from the keyboard.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Go with the flow

Living with children can be frustrating, exhausting and often amusing. 

Yesterday, when I stumbled downstairs at oh-dark-thirty in the morning, to try to squeeze in a few, just a few quiet moments of mama time before the children woke up I was greeted by:

"Good morning, Mama."
"Good morning, Bear."

As I continued bumbling around the kitchen, searching for coffee, I was greeted by an item on my to-do list. 

Sigh. Anyone know how to get play-doh out of denim?

Shortly thereafter the children were up, and the Wee One requested hummus for breakfast. 
"How about pancakes?"

Apparently it can never be too early for hummus.
Please forgive his breath. 

One more day 'til Friday!

Why, hello there, weekend. Come here often?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Crock Pot Chicken Soup

Gosh it's been a long time since I posted a recipe, and I'm horrified to admit it's almost time to start making cookie dough for Christmas.

Here in NH we seem to have sped straight by fall and landed smack dab in winter. Therefore, my crock pot has been getting a serious workout lately. And the most requested item? Chicken soup.

Here's the easy, oh-so-easy, recipe.

1/2 medium white onion chopped
1/2 green pepper chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
1 cup baby carrots chopped
2 cloves garlic (smashed and finely chopped)
2 cups chicken chopped (the dark meat from a rotisserie chicken works great, but you can also throw in raw chicken - white meat, dark meat, whatever floats your boat)
1 handful of a starch (rice, barley, but not pasta - it disintegrates in the cock pot - if you want noodles, cook them separately and add them to each bowl as you serve the soup)
1 large can low-sodium, low-fat chicken broth
a shake of bells seasoning (I always have this left over from Thanksgiving - but if you don't a pinch of ground rosemary is fine too)
2 bay leaves. 

Throw everything in the crock pot and cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 8 hours.



Oh please oh please share you favorite crock pot goodness - I'm always looking for something new. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011



Tuesday is not really a day for pondering the meaning of life, but if not now? When?

This weekend I did not act my age (damn you pumpkin martini) and I paid for it the next day.

As I cursed myself and declared "Dang it Melissa you are thirty two years old and should know better" a thought was born.

Thirty two years old. 

There are lots of things I should know.

When my sister was thirty two and I was twenty six, I remember thinking she might be the wisest person I'd ever met.

I could ask her anything (still can) and she could answer.

I, on the other hand, don't watch the news and am still reading vampire-romance literature. Frequently.

But now, dear friends,  I have two children.

I am supposed to be wise. I'm supposed to be a confident advocate for them. I'm supposed to be making sure that they have what they need and don't turn into serial killers.

How can I possibly be responsible for these two when I was just recently outsmarted by a pumpkin martini?

All kidding aside, when I stop and think about the magnitude of what I am doing here - I am humbled.


Responsible for them?

But one time I hit myself in the face with a wrench. 

Poor kids.

Monday, November 7, 2011




The Wee One is up.

Children do not understand daylight savings time.

Not the best way to start the week.

Here is a picture of the hawk that landed on our playhouse roof this week.

Cool, no?

He was freakin' huge.

Anyway, this is what happens to BadMamaMoments when the children get up too early. My writerly impulse is bludgeoned to death by the splat of cheerios on the (freshly washed) floor.

And now I hear the pitter patter of Big Boy feet.

Happy Monday.

Sorry for the lame post.

If you are unaware Hyperbole and a Half has a new post.

So go read that and when you're laughing and feeling all happy you can remember it was Bad Mama who sent you there, and perhaps forget about this failure of a blog post.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday Moments

I'm back!

We have been without electricity since Saturday, but it came on last night - hooray!!

Today's moment was the last photo taken before the snow fell.

Big bulldozer. Little bulldozer. 
If you have a moment or two to share, please leave a comment with a link!

Happy weekend!

Hooray for electricity!!