Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cow on the Moooooove

My apologies for the title, I can't help myself.  I'm corny and i know it. 

So GI Joe is building this massive treehouse for the kids in the woods just down the hill from our house.  And sometimes, ok all the time, Holy Cow likes to "help" and by help I mean get in GI Joe's space and demand to be pet (or is it petted?  That can't be right that sounds ridiculous) or at least talked to.   Sometimes he even offers his professional insight. 
"I think you need to cut it about 3/8" shorter.  Oh, I wouldn't use that blade.  Are you sure you measured that right?"

GI Joe LOVES the company of a cow that thinks he's a human while he's trying to do a task.  I mean, who wouldn't?!?

On this particular day, GI Joe had hit a bit of a wall (not literally he was BUILDING a wall not hitting it) and was getting tired.  I guess all that up and down 8 ft carrying boards and building walls was wearing on him because he asked me to bring him down a Monster energy drink.  Listen, I'd bring him Halle Berry if he asked me too if it means I don't have to try to climb up in that treehouse and hold up boards until my arms are ON FIRE while he measures and nails and stuff.   Obviously, a Monster I could do.  I even drove the 5 miles into town to Casey's to get him an ice cold one.  I know, I know, hold your applause until the end of my Wife of the Year speech.  I drove down into the pasture where he was working to hand deliver it while wearing a sundress, perfectly applied makeup, the gentle breeze blowing through my shiny, untangled hair, humming a country song, skipping thru the pasture, holding a picnic basket with a big jug of sweet tea.  Oh oops, sometimes I try to make country songs real life.  ANYWAY, he was so happy to see me (I'm sure because he loves me SO much and it did his tired soul good to see the love of his life) or maybe it was the ice cold Monster, we'll never know.  He took a nice long sip, sighed happily (duh because I was still there), set the Monster on the tailgate of his truck where it would be within easy reach and got back to sawing boards.  
Holy was watching the whole thing.  
See the black Monster can on the tailgate on the right side of the picture?  See Holy Cow sniffing things out?  Do I need to tell you what happened next?

As GI Joe was hard at work sawing and measuring stuff and I was hard at work telling him my "vision" for the treehouse, Holy Cow went in for the kill.

He walked right up to that tailgate, knocked that Monster can over with his big old nose and then proceeded to lick up every last drop that came out of the can.  

Then he spent the next hour pouncing all over the pasture with an exhorbiant amount of energy for an animal that spends 21 hours a day standing in one place CHEWING his food.

And with that the MOOnster Energy Drink was born.  

You had to know I would go there.

Monster Energy Drinks, call me I think we're on to something here.  And I happen to know the perfect spokespersoncow. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Food Friday

Hang on to your seats for a ridiculously long, drawn out Food Friday.  I have much catching up to do.  I’m kind of at a crossroads with my blog…do I continue?  Do I stop because life is so busy?  Do I post as infrequently or frequently as I want to and can make time for and try not to feel guilty about?  Such a conundrum.  P.S.  I love that word.  But then I sit down to blog and realize there’s no way I could stop doing it because when I sit down to blog I usually have to stop myself from writing 3000 word posts, so clearly it’s not something I want to give up.  So for now and probably all eternity I’m going to excuse myself from all pressure to blog and just do it when I have time and willpower.  Food Fridays are easy for me to write because I love to cook and I love to eat so those basically write themselves so look for those in to appear with somewhat regular frequency.  As for the rest, well……

Now for what I’ve been up to because I’m sure you’re just dying to know…or not, but I’m going to tell you anyway. 

*Taking my niece Chloe out for a little girl’s night out with Dakota and I to celebrate her 9th birthday.  We shopped, we dined, we went to the movie Brave, and we ate dessert at Orange Leaf.  Things of note about this:  1) she is so much like me when she shops it’s not even funny.  Easily distracted by pink, sparkly, shoes, clothes, etc.  Also, this came out of her mouth and made me love her even more, “Oh I don’t know about these shoes, I don’t think the heels are high enough.”  Yes, my 9 year old niece prefers shoes with heels on them.  Love.  2) I had low expectations for the movie “Brave”  but it was excellent, probably my favorite kids movie of the summer and believe me we’ve seen and loved them all.  3) Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt.  Are you familiar?  I hope you have one near you because it is a beautiful thing.  And it’s in dangerously close proximity to my Wal Mart, as in right in front of it, so I have to exercise self control on a weekly, sometimes daily basis.  Not my strong suit.  We thought it fitting to cap off Chloe’s birthday celebration by introducing her to the greatness that is Orange Leaf.  Get you some. 

*Becoming the mom of a 4th grader, a 5th grader, and a *gulp* 7th grader.  Umm, excuse me whaaaaa?  I seriously had to pull over on the side of the road last week because I nearly hyperventilated when it dawned on me that we only have 2 more years of elementary school until we’re done forever and into the dark, seedy world of junior high and high school.  Then it occurred to me that Dakota will get her driving permit in 14 months and I passed out.  And then it occurred to me that I only have 9 MORE YEARS until they’re all 3 graduated and possibly moved out of our house.  That’s it, put a fork in me, I’m done.  I know it’s cliché but Dear Time, SERIOUSLY SLOW IT DOWN.

*The only thing silver lining about this whole “they’re growing up” thing was brought to light this week when football started.  Both boys, 2 separate teams, 2 separate practice times, 3 nights a week.  Which means I’m putting a lot of miles on my Smells-like-a-locker-room Suburban and logging a lot less time sitting on the couch eating bon if.  So yeah, when they get a little older and can drive themselves to practice allowing me time to get back to my bon bon eating, it may not be all bad.  Although let’s be honest given how much they are eating these days and I’m sure will continue to eat as they grow and play football, there won’t be any bon bons for me to eat.  Holy cow, that was definitely NOT in the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting Book”.  It should read:  If you think your baby boy eats a lot now because he’s waking up every 3 hours to eat, give it a few years.  Beware:  the more they grow and the active they are the more they eat.  You have no idea. 

*Why does buying paper towels in bulk at Costco give me such a feeling of security and well being?  Because it does.  I think this means I’m officially a desperate housewife.  But at least I’m a desperate housewife who will never be unprepared for a spill or mess. 

*Harevesting goods from the garden.  The garden which I meant to blog about but never did.  Our sweet corn did amazing, in fact we got together with GI Joe’s parents one evening, donned bonnets, and prepared 126 cups of fresh sweet corn for the freezer.  It was very Little House on the Prairie like and well worth it when in February I’ll be eating delicious, fresh from the garden sweet corn.  Yum.  Our green beans also did outstanding and I think my children were glad when they went dormant because having “picking beans” on their chore list every day in the 100+ degree heat was not the highlight of their summer.  For the most part the garden is done except for the melons.  Check out my melons!

And I know what you’re thinking and yes, they’re real.   Don't hate.

*Eating our way through the State Fair, a family tradition.  It was amazing as always and unlike always, it was not a million degrees but actually so chilly in the morning I had to wear a SWEATSHIRT.  IN AUGUST.  AT THE IOWA STATE FAIR.  The end of the world is nigh folks.  But as long as there are deep fried pickle dawgs and crab fritters in heaven I’m ready.  I had a really cute picture to put here of Dakota and Blade gnawing on some giant turkey legs but can't get it to upload.  Just imagine it. 

*Celebrating Ryder’s birthday week + one day.  No idea how he squeeze in the + one day but he did.  My baby is 9.  I’m in denial, please leave me there.  I just love him.  And I love that even at the ripe old age of 9 he still holds my hand and calls me Mommy and goes with me to the grocery store, willingly.  Fine, so he knows if he goes with me I always buy him a special treat but it’s money (and time) well spent. 

*Chasing free range emus back into the barnyard.  You know, just keeping it classy as usual. 

*Getting completely blindsided w/ sadness today because it was my mom’s birthday.  It’s been 13 years and most years her birthday comes and goes and doesn’t really phase me, as in it’s just another day I don’t have my mom, but today?  Today was rough.  My sisters and I were talking about how it just still hurts so bad and seems so unfair.  I found myself insanely jealous of those who either still have their moms or whose moms passed away at an older age with some warning aka disease or sickness instead of suddenly and tragically like we lost ours.  Which is completely ludicris and selfish of me but I’m just being honest.  The good news, I guess, is that my mom hated aging.  I distinctly remember when she turned 35 and 40 in particular, and got completely depressed about getting older.  I of course, ever being the ray of sunshine, would say uplifting things like, “Just think Mom in 10 years you’ll be 50!” which made her do the whole laugh/cry thing while simultaneously throwing things at me.  :) So I’m thinking turning 58 today would’ve made her lose her mind, I mean, 58?!?  I totally get it now and I have a feeling I’m going to be the same way next year on my birthday so feel free to remind me how close I am to 50, I deserve it.  Although, I’m sure her oldest daughter turning 35 would’ve sent her into a small fit of depression as well because that means that not only am I getting older but so is she!  But at least we could’ve sulked and done retail & Mexican food therapy together to cope.  Sigh.

On a happy note, we went on vacation back in July!  And it was amazeballs!  

How’s that for a mood lightening segway?!?  Also, amazeballs?  Someone wrote that on a questionnaire at work (seriously) and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since and it needs to get out of my head badly but it is pretty accurate in describing our vacation.  It was so much fun and someday maybe I'll blog about it. 

Anyway, one of the highlights of our trip was The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.  While I’ve read several of the books and watched the movies I’m not near the HP fan as my husband and children.  I can’t count the number of times they’ve watched the movies and Dakota has read and reread the books a hundred times so this was a big deal to them.  It did not disappoint.  It was just unbelievable.  It really felt like you were at Hogwarts and that you’d see Harry Potter and friends walking around at any moment, oh and you did!  We were awestruck.  And the rides?  The rides were mindblowing.  One of the things we looked forward to the most when planning our trip was trying the famous Butterbeer, Harry’s favorite drink.  We quickly learned why it was Harry Potter’s favorite drink, it was DELICIOUS!   It was kind of like a cream soda with a butterscotch/rum twist and a creamy “foam” on top that we couldn’t decide if it was marshmallow fluff or whipped cream or what.  As we sipped we vowed to figure out how to make it as soon as we got home.   This was not something we were willing to relinguish to the closet of vacation memories never to be done or drank again. 
Happy to be here...really.

 Cheers to butterbeer!
A butterbeer break

 "If you can figure out how to make this stuff at home I will never again have a preteen attitude, roll my eyes, or sigh in exasperation when you ask me to do something." Yeah right, it's not THAT magical.  :)

And I did it!  And it was exactly like at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!  And it won me a Mother of the Year award because the kids thought it was that awesome.  YES!

I can’t take the credit, this smart girl with an adorable blog over at did all the work in figuring out the magic and for that I will forever be grateful. 


6 12-ounce bottles chilled cream soda (I used a 2 liter of A&W Cream Soda)

3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon) imitation butter flavor, (you can find this in the spice aisle by the vanilla and other flavorings)
OPTIONAL – 1 ounce light rum, per serving, for adults only (Obviously I didn't do that but I did use a little teeny bit of rum extract also found in the spice aisle)
2 cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons sugar, or splenda for sugar free version
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons imitation butter

To make the butterbeer: Set out 6 16-ounce glasses. Place 1/2 teaspoon of imitation butter (or 1 teaspoon clarified butter) in each glass. Pour 12 ounces of cream soda into each glass, over the butter. Lightly stir, if necessary.
To make the foam: In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, whip the heavy cream on medium high speed for 3-4 minutes until it starts to thicken. Add the sugar and continue whipping until very soft peaks begin to form, another 3-4 minutes (if you need to whip more or less, then be sure to do so, the times can vary quite a bit based on environment). Stir in the vanilla and imitation butter (or clarified butter), then whip for another 30 seconds or so, until soft peaks form.

Spoon a generous portion of foam on top of each glass of butterbeer, mixing gently, if desired (or spoon the foam into the bottom of the glass and pour the butterbeer over the top). Serve immediately.

So good.  Even if you’re not a Harry Potter fan and have no idea what Butterbeer is you should try this.  It’s magical.  Oh yeah, I went there. 

Happy Friday!  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Food Friday Version Malfunction 1.0

Hi! I had a super awesome post written for Food Friday (in my head) but when I sat down to post it using my 1 yr old laptop my laptop started acting like, well, a 1 yr old. Falling asleep randomly, being tempermental & poopy, & no matter what i did it didn't want to cooperate. I'm typing this on my phone & already my thumbs are cramping up. But I couldn't bear the thought of skipping a post altogether today. So Happy Friday & check back on Monday for a new post. And keep your fingers crossed that I don't have to put my laptop up for adoption. I mean, not that I've ever resorted to that w/ other cranky 1 yr olds in my care but I'm just sayin'.
Have a fantastic weekend! As for me, we'll be eating our way thru the Fair, celebrating Ryder's birthday (still), eating our weight in delicious Iowa sweet corn @ the Sweet Corn Festival. So by Monday I'll look exactly like I did 9 yrs ago Saturday when i checked in to the hospital to have Ryder....GIGANTIC.  Worth it though.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Food Friday

You know those weeks where you’ve had eleventy thousand million things going on and part of it is your own fault for thinking you are Wonder Woman and can get everything done NO PROBLEM but then you die from exhaustion and stress because HOW AM I EVER GOING TO DO IT ALL and then you write excessive run on sentences on your blog?!?  Yep, that’s been my week. 

Here are some highlights:

*Watching no more than 30 seconds of the Olympics and that was only when I was passing by a TV with it on.  Call me UnAmerican, call me a t*errorist but I just don’t, can’t, won’t get into them.  I’ve never enjoyed them.  I think it’s all that athleticism and dedication and spandex that makes me highly uncomfortable.  Also, how come people only care about badminton or ping pong or synchronized swimming once every four years?  If it were really that awesome wouldn’t it be like the NBA or the NFL and have it’s own league and network and franchise and stuff?  That’s what I thought.  Let the lynching begin. I can take it.  Actually, please wait til Monday to begin lynching I’m kind of in a fragile state right now.

*Helping make 8 million pancakes for the employees at my work.  8 million is a low estimate, it was probably more like 800 10 million.  I will probably never cook or eat another pancake ever EVER in my life.  My apologies to my pancake loving family but you’re on your own.  I can STILL smell pancakes.  Yuck. 

*Preparing for a garage sale of epic proportions with my friend Trisha, my in town dwelling friend whom I connived into having a garage sale with me so we could have it at her house… town.  Garage sales just don’t do so well in the country.  The number of totes filled with baby, toddler, and outgrown kids clothes I’m contributing to the garage sale is embarrassing.  Why do I have such an emotional attachment to an outfit that Dakota wore to church ONE TIME when she was 3 months old?!?  It doesn’t help that I’ve been known to be kind of a shopaholic a BARGAIN shopaholic but a shopaholic nonetheless.  Garage sales are fine in theory but actually executing one?  Holy cow it’s a lot of work.  I am so looking forward to Saturday at 4pm when Trisha and I take our earnings and head to town to get our toes done and eat sushi.  When times are dark in the attic filled with totes that is the shining light that gets me thru.  Wish me luck.

*Tried this coconut oil trick on my hair.  Except I didn’t have a shower cap so I went ghetto and tied a plastic grocery bag around my head instead.  I was a hot mess.  But 30 minutes later (I didn’t do the blow drying thing) I was a hot mess with super soft, shiny hair.  And I smelled like a beach so win win.  A BEACH people, QUIT CALLING ME NAMES!

*Also tried the sock bun thing for luscious, gorgeous, just stepped out of a salon waves.  Except when I anxiously took the sock bun out the next morning expecting beautiful waves to cascade down my shoulders this is what I looked like.
Apparently, it’s best if you’re going for the waves thing, to not put the sock bun in wet hair, you should do it with dry hair and then spritz it damp.  I did not follow instructions and put it straight in the sock bun immediately following a shower, then I slept on it, and then I scared the dogs with my giant, frizzy hair. 
But the good news?  I got the sock bun part figured out and love how big and beautiful my bun (BUN as in singular NOT buns, geesh people!)  looks.  Here’s how I did it.  I will attempt the sock bun waves another time, I’m not giving up yet.  In the meantime, I’ll keep rocking the straight up sock bun.  So next time you see me, I may have a sock in my hair. 

So yeah, good times..

But you know what makes a bad week better? 

THIS cheese-a-ball.

This cheeseball recipe has been a family staple of ours for as long as I can remember.  My mom made this cheese-a-ball for every graduation party, every wedding, every Christmas Eve, family get together, Home Interior or Tupperware party.  It’s a family legacy.  Some families have yachts and lake houses and Harvard degrees as part of their legacies but we have this cheese-a-ball.  We win.  It’s so simple yet so good and for me it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside because it’s a part of so many of my family’s memories.  Make it a part of your memories.  I just went all Hallmark card over a cheese-a-ball, send help.

I’m almost embarrassed to post this because 1) doesn’t everyone already have this recipe? And 2) it’s so ridiculously simple and not even an actual recipe.  Or maybe it is but that’s not how we do it.  Do it to your tastes but here are the basics.  Go forth and make cheese-a-ball filled memories.

Dried Beef Cheese-a-ball (must be said with an Italian accent and hand motions ex:  “Pizzzzza Pie!”)
2 8 oz cream cheese (you can use reduced fat but this is not the time or the place to use fat free), softened
1 jar dried beef (this can be found by the Spam and tuna in a cute little jar.  Also just buy 2 jars of it while you’re there you may want more dried beef in your cheese-a-ball), chopped finely, reserve some to roll cheese-a-ball in
3-4 green onions, just the bottoms minced
1 t. Worcestershire sauce (more or less to taste)

This is super hard so pay close attention.  Combine everything into a bowl.  Mix well until the beef and the green onions are somewhat evenly distributed throughout the cream cheese.  Take a bite.  Does it need more onion?  More W sauce?  You don’t want either to overpower the other or the beef, you want all 4 ingredients to blend in perfect culinary harmony.  Perfection is when it’s beefy, creamy, a little salty, and a little oniony.  I should totally be a food critic no? I mean, oniony?  Come on, literary genius.  Get it into as close to a ball shape as you can.  Stick it in the fridge to chill for a bit.  Once it’s chilled it’ll be easier to form it into a pretty ball with your hands without a ton sticking to your hands but if it does stick to your hands it's perfectly acceptable to lick it off.  Roll in reserved dried beef.  Eat with crackers or your finger, I’ve been there, I understand. 

Have a great weekend! Here’s hoping I survive!