Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Time I Broke a DS in Half and Set the Backyard on Fire Also Known as Just Another Saturday at the Koons Zoo

No Food Friday this week because, well, I had chocolate frosting for dinner tonight (in my defense, I was making cupcakes and had to taste test the frosting to make sure it was perfect) so I don't exactly feel qualified in offering out recipe advice. 

Oh except for THIS, I did make this earlier in the week and it was EXACTLY like Olive Garden's.  And make sure when you say it you say it with your hands and an Italian accent.  Please and thank you. 

Last weekend GI Joe had drill.  You should know that when I start a sentence like that it’s probably never going to end well.  This meant I was left to my own devices for the weekend.  Nothing good ever comes from me being left to my own devices   

Ryder had a football game on Saturday morning and before I left I told Dakota to do two, oh wait, THREE ( I know, THE NERVE) things:  clean her room, take a shower, and gather eggs.  All very, VERY difficult and labor intensive chores.  NOT.

When we returned home 3 HOURS later, exactly ZERO of those things had been done.  That. Was. Awesome.  I was not happy in the least, especially when I noticed her DS sitting on the couch with a game going on it.  Which led me to believe that she had spent the entire 3 hours playing her DS which led me to LOSING MY MIND.  I picked up the DS off the couch and in a rare exhibit of bad temper, THREW the DS into the laundry basket while telling her she was grounded from said DS because she spent the time she should’ve been doing the 3 MINOR things I asked her to do, playing on her stupid DS therefore she would not be playing her DS for a few days.  Well, that was the plan anyway and yes, I use run on sentences when I’m angry.  Except I’ve never been known for my athletic skills, unless you count my awesome junior high basketball defense which led the coach to call me “Tiger” for the remainder of my short lived basketball career.  So when I meant to throw the DS into the laundry basket that was right at my feet….I missed.  Instead, when I threw it, it bounced OFF of the laundry basket and onto the hardwood floor where it broke in half. 

Uhh oops.  Dakota, Blade and Ryder all looked at me in shock.  I could see the fear in their eyes, the look like “uh oh we’ve finally pushed her too far, she’s lost it.”  It was silent for a moment and then I was all “OMG I didn’t mean to do that, I meant to just throw it in the laundry basket, oh I’m so sorry, maybe we can fix it…” and apologetic.  Then the shock wore off and my drama queen daughter dropped to the floor in a heap of sobs.  Which only served to further annoy me because “IF YOU WOULD’VE DONE YOUR MEASLY 3 CHORES INSTEAD OF PLAYING THIS DUMB THING IT WOULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED.  YOU ALL 3 SHOULD REMEMBER THIS NEXT TIME I TELL YOU TO DO SOMETHING AND YOU’RE PLAYING YOUR DS AND THINK YOU MIGHT WANT TO KEEP PLAYING IT INSTEAD OF DOING WHAT I ASKED YOU TO DO BECAUSE I AM UNPREDICTABLE AND CRAZY AND I JUST MIGHT DO IT AGAIN.”  Yeah, take that, she says as pays out the $200 for the new DS she has to buy from throwing it in a fit of bad temper.  Mom of the Year, hands down. 

Then I text GI Joe the following:  “I accidentally just broke dakota’s ds because I umm, threw it.”
“I meant to throw it in a laundry basket but umm well u know my aim.” 
His response “Oh boy” 
Me:  “uhh yeah sometimes I have a temper and bad aim”
Me:  “Where’s your torch?”

Which may leave you wondering what the torch has to do with the DS. Was I going to go the extra mile to shock and awe my kids into submission by burning that DS up or what?  No, the two were unrelated, but kinda not and make a perfect segway into what happened next.  And also to give you an idea of what GI Joe deals with on a regular basis...ALL OVER THE BOARD.

He text back and told me where the torch was, which I have to admit I was shocked because it’s fire and well, ‘nuff said.  But he must’ve been distracted by playing with guns and yelling at new recruits, and didn’t think too much about it. 

I, on the other hand was thrilled because I had had a BRILLIANT idea.  You see, we have this walkway in our front yard that is filled with rock and stepping stones and somehow weeds had peered their ugly heads in some places.  I had sprayed them with Round Up a week ago but hadn’t gotten all of them and the ones that I had sprayed were now just ugly, brown, dry eyesores in the walkway.  I wanted them gone, all of them.  And I didn’t want to deal with the 2 day waiting period of Round Up so I thought, BURN THEM, obviously. 

I told the kids to get changed as we were all going outside on a landscaping expedition aka Mission Walkway Weed Removal.  We successfully removed (by either pulling or burning) all the weeds from the walkway.  Who knew weeding could be so much fun?  Why hadn’t I thought of this torch idea before?!?  Why isn’t this a gardening phenomenon?   And that’s when it occurred to me, “Hey there’s the same problem on the cement patio by the pool, let’s take the torch back there!” 

But it was a bigger area with stronger weeds and the little butane torch was just not cutting it like it did on the walkway, so I went on the hunt for some lighter fluid or gas even to amp up the burn factor to contend with the weeds better.  Meanwhile,  Dakota and Blade had deserted me because I "scared" them and Ryder was sticking by but only to tell me repeatedly that it was a bad idea.

As I was searching for a firestarter, GI Joe got home.  I asked him where some lighter fluid or gas was and he quickly told me we didn’t have any and then said, “I’m going inside to change my clothes and to make sure the Hawkeye game is recording.  PLEASE do not make me have to call the fire department.”

What an odd thing to say. 

And that’s when I spotted the little one gallon gas can sitting all alone in the shed.

I went back to the backyard with my assistant aka Fire Marshall Ryder and sprayed down the perimeter of the patio with water so the fire wouldn’t get out of control and had the hose on and nearby just in case.  See?  Safety first.  Then I stepped away from the patio to open the gas can.  It had one of those weird spouts (that I now know is called a Stop Flow Spout) but I couldn’t figure out how to open it so the gas could come out so I just unscrewed and took off the whole dang cap.  And then I went back to the patio, leaned over to pour a little gas on the weeds I wanted to burn and that’s when it happened. 

It’s a wonder I still have hair on my head and a non melted face.
I mean, who knew that just a tiny spark from the weeds I’d burned with the torch earlier would catch the can on fire like that?  Oh what's that?  You learned about flammability and fumes and all that mumbo jumbo in Chemistry class?  Oh you mean the class that I repeatedly skipped in high school and eventually dropped to take "Foods" class instead?  Weird.  P.S.  I use what I learned in "Foods" class ALOT more than i use that Chemistry junk, ok fine, except for maybe this.

Me, being the rational human being I am, screamed and threw the gas can….NOT onto the cement patio, oh NO, but on the grass next to it.  The grass between the concrete patio and the WOODEN swing set. 

You guys, I’m basically Smokey the Bear.  Schedule your school visits now!

I grabbed the hose and started spraying the fire, trying to get it under control and keep it from spreading.  As long as I had the hose directly on the opening of the gas can it was ok, but if I moved even a millimeter the fire raged again.  

Ryder:  “I’m gonna go get Daddy.”
Me:  “NOOOOOO it’s fine I’ve got it under control.”

Then I told him to go get me some baking soda because as my life was flashing before me in the recesses of my brain I remembered that baking soda puts out fires (umm yeah GREASE fires..duh.  There's that Foods class knowledge again!) but then I told him NOT to go do that because then he’d have to explain to GI Joe why he was taking baking soda outside and see:  the part I was trying to not involve GI Joe. 

Then I remembered that if you put the lid on a candle and shut off air supply the fire went out so I thought if I could flip the gas can so the opening was flush against the ground the fire inside the can would go out thereby putting out the fire spewing out of the can.  I know, I know, I should’ve been scientist.  But the tricky part about flipping a gas can that’s on fire is well, FLIPPING A GAS CAN THAT’S ON FIRE.  I tried using a stick with one hand while holding the hose and not moving a millimeter in the other.  I got it to flip over but instead of putting the fire out all I got was a big WHOOSH and a bigger fire.  A bigger fire that my excellent hosing skills was not putting a damper on.  This is when I started to panic.   And when Ryder declared that he was “going to get Daddy.”

I was still adamant that I could handle this, that I’d just keep the water on the fire until eventually the fumes died out.  I mean, it was only one gallon of gas, how long could it burn?

But I think he feared for his life and his swingset so he ignored my wishes and went inside to get his father.  Apparently, he walked in the house, found GI Joe, and while LAUGHING said, “Daddy, I think you need to come outside, Mommy set the backyard on fire.”

Oh huh, what was that thump?  Oh that was just me getting thrown under the bus, thanks Ryder!

So GI Joe comes out and I’m still battling the fire but trying to act all cool and unworried about it.  And as he’s walking across the back yard shaking his head he said, “What did I say to you before I went inside?”

“But we don’t have to call the fire department.  See?  I’ve got it under control!  Just bring me some baking soda and I’ll put it out no problem”

“Baking soda is for grease fires, you have to smother a gas fire out.”

“Oh well, then get me a pillow.”

He grabbed a bucket and putting it over the gas can and then stomping out the fire on the grass around it all while repeating over and over, “Ilovemywife Ilovemywife Ilovemywife Ilovemywife....”

Isn’t that so sweet?  First he rescues me (and our yard) from a burning inferno and then he proclaims his love for me repeatedly?!? 

And then he took the butane torch AND the gas can from me and told me my landscaping with fire days were over. 


I think of all the things, I miss my eyebrows the most. 

But those weeds?  They’re gone for good.

Happy Friday and remember only you (ok fine, and me), can prevent forest yard fires.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Food Friday Returns!

Hi!  It’s been awhile since I posted a Food Friday hasn’t it?  I’ve been sick…and busy and well, my dishwasher was broken for 3 days, need I say more? #firstworldproblem

A little bit of catch up, here’s what I’ve been up to in recent weeks, besides hiding from SNAKES and such (ewwwwww) ..

*Dying.  No, I’m not exaggerating.  I felt like death basically beginning over Labor Day weekend until last Friday.  Super fun!  And then I made the mistake of going to the dr’s office on Tuesday after Labor Day.  Note to self:  NEVER go to the dr’s office/clinic the day after a long holiday weekend.  I spent 2 hours there for the dr to finally see me and tell me I was sick and old and prescribe me a plethora of pills and a knee brace.  Huh?   Apparently at 34 my knee and my immune system just aren’t what they used to be.  Somebody please get me some cheese with my wiiiiiiine.  Good news is I feel human again, GI Joe never got it, and the boys had it but bounced back quickly.  Bad news is Dakota has it and has it bad.  We’re all about the sharing.

*We had Ryder’s friends over 2 Friday nights ago for a belated birthday celebration.  Actually, it was just another ploy of his to stretch out his birthday week into a full month.  He’s one smart cookie.  Anyway, they had a blast and did the following:  watched GI Joe blow stuff up, played in a hay fort, shot and caught frogs in the pond, played in the treehouse, traipsed across the pasture with BB guns in hands like they were on a Davy Crockett expedition, ran from the llama, ate cupcakes that looked like hamburgers (Ryder’s choice), drank Butterbeer and played kickball in the yard.  Oh and they took home the following party favors;  a watermelon that they got to pick from our garden (seriously, they asked and then when I said yes they thought it was the coolest thing EVER!), a spent bullet (or is it shell? Clearly I have a lot to learn regarding ammunition still) from the gun GI Joe used to blow stuff up, really stinky/muddy shoes and socks from the pond and a smidge of hay fever.  You guys, do we know how to throw a party OR WHAT?!? They had a blast and apparently word has gotten around that the Koons Zoo is the place to PARTAY because Blade had friends at school asking when they could come over.  So we did it all again last week and already they’re requesting a return visit.  I love being the “place” where they want to hang out.  If we continue that through high school I’ll be happy and I will bake any number of cupcakes to ensure that that happens.

*I should also tell you that all this partying on Friday night landed Blade and I in the ER on Saturday afternoon.  He’s the one that built the hay fort in the barn for Ryder and his friends to play with and of course, because he’s Blade and a straight up hillbilly, he didn’t have a shirt on.  By the next day his back and shoulders looked like this!

Isn’t that pretty?!?  Not.  He didn’t itch as bad as you might think but was definitely uncomfortable.  We were worried it was chicken pox, which GI Joe cannot under any circumstances be exposed to, or a rash that would continue to get worse all weekend.  In the ER, he had to tell the dr. what he’d been doing the night before, “Well, I built a hay fort in the barn and then I got in the pond because you can catch frogs a lot easier if you’re IN it.”  The doctor looked at me and said, “Country kid huh?”  She determined it was some kind of bug that he had encountered while playing in the hay, probably hay fleas (EWWWWW) or some other such thing.  She told him, “I’d tell you not to play in the hay anymore but that’s probably useless so at least next time you play in the hay can you put on a shirt?”  A shot of Benadryl later and we were on our way. 

*Looking out my kitchen window down at the pond and discovering a NAKED Ryder toting his BB gun.  Buck naked…with a BB gun.  I took the most awesome picture of this that I will definitely be displaying at his graduation party and wedding reception wherein he is covering his goods with his gun.  It should almost be a hillbilly postcard. His reasoning for being naked at the pond?  “Little bug or fish things kept getting in my swim trunks.”   Right, so where do you think those bugs are going to target now that YOU HAVE NO CLOTHES ON?!?  Hello DIRECT ACCESS.  Honestly, I wish he had just an ounce of modesty, just an ounce.  Let’s hope he outgrows this no shame zero modesty phase before he’s in his teens.  Help us all.

*Oh and you know what else I did while I was dying?  Watched a lot of TV, which is highly unusual for me because unless there’s laundry to be folded or it’s late on a weekend night I cannot slow down enough to watch, with the exception of the Kardashians and now “Married to a Jonas” on Sunday nights, obvs.  Anyway, I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that I have now watched every episode to date of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo  Have you watched this?  How can this even be real?!?!?  It’s like a train wreck I just can’t turn away from.  I have to admit I am a sucker for thick southern accents but ummm, huh, just WOW.   On a more civilized note, I also spent a fair amount of time catching up with Blair, Tootie, Natalie, and Jo on the Facts of Life.  I forgot how much I LOVED that show.  And still do.   Quality television at it’s finest my friends.  Also, HOLY MULLETS.  You know what else makes you feel better when you’re miserable and sick?  HGTV, any and all shows.  The end.  I now want to move to Puerto Rico, Atlanta, GA, a lake in New Hampshire, and some weird city in Mexico that isn’t even near a beach but the houses were SO AMAZING and relatively inexpensive! 

And this drink I'm about to share with you?  This drink will cure whatever ails you.  OK, maybe not cure you but at least alleviate symptoms and give you a brief reprieve from miserableness (totally a word) and make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. 

My mom was never a coffee drinker but she had a mug full of this tea, called “Spiced Tea” every morning.  It was her coffee. I have no idea where it originated but there was always a mason jar full of it on our counter and when we were sick, especially, she’d make us some.  And now I do the same for my kids.  They call it “Special” or “Magic” tea and trust me, I’ve been making a lot of it in the past 2 weeks.  Since it’s that time of year, I feel like you should whip up a batch to have it on the ready should you or your loved ones feel a little sniffly or if you just need a warm, fuzzy, Vitamin C pick me up in the morning (afternoon or night). I also love it in the evening before bed, as long as I make it with decaf instant tea because yes, I'm a hundred and if I have caffeine after 5pm it keeps me up all night.  Either way, I suppose it's better for you than say, I Do I Do Wedding Cake Ice Cream.  Or heck, go wild and have it with your evening snack!.  You just need it in your life.

Spiced Tea
1 (9oz) jar of Tang-it's pretty much impossible to find a 9 oz jar of Tang anymore as it normally comes in a big container that's like 24 oz or something just buy that and do a little over a cup of Tang.  Look at that I just did math...kinda.
1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. instant tea (decaf or reg)
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. ground cloves.
Mix it all together, store in an airtight container or jar.  To make a serving, 4 T (or spoon fulls) per one mug of hot water.  We usually put 4 healthy spoonfuls in a mug, then put water over it, stir, put in microwave for 1 min-1 1/2 min, stir again, add more water if after the foam dies down the mug isn't full.  Taste.  If it's watery add a little more Tang mix.  Enjoy.

I'm telling you this stuff is magic.  And if you don't like tea don't think you'll automatically hate this because it's alot more Tang than tea. Try it, you'll see. 

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Another Ssssssnake Story

It gives me the heebie jeebies just typing about it but I feel it’s my blogging obligation. 

Sunday afternoon as we were getting ready to leave for Blade’s football game, Blade discovered a bull snake hanging out in our driveway right by my vehicle, the Princess Mobile.  It was about 40 feet long and 3 feet around.  Would I exaggerate about something like this?!?  The bull snake was not very happy about Blade invading her territory and tried to bite him.  I was not very happy about a bull snake invading my territory aka my yard/driveway/abode so I ran and jumped in the car and locked the doors.  You know, completely rational behavior.

Why must I show fear?  They’re like sharks, they sense it, they feed on it.  And by they, I mean my beloved boys, husband included. 

Instead of kindly removing the snake from my immediate radius, GI Joe with the encouragement of his sons, put it on the windshield of the PMobile to terrorize me.  TERRORIZE I SAY.  I was losing my mind.  And screaming.  And hyperventilating.  They found this all very VERY funny. 

The snake however did not and slithered off the windshield and under the hood.  Or so we thought.  I was just glad it was out of my sight.  Until GI Joe popped the hood and saw it slither over and disappear down into the passenger side wheel well.  THE PASSENGER SIDE where I was sitting.  I was FUH-REAKING out.  I mean, how could I be sure that that nasty snake wouldn’t slither it’s way and suddenly appear at my feet on the passenger side?  I don’t really know automobile anatomy and whether or not this is possible but in my mind IT TOTALLY WAS. 

We had to leave for the game so I grudgingly let them in the car so we could leave and then promptly chewed them out “FOR PUTTING A SNAKE ON THE WINDSHIELD OF MY CAR AND I AM NOT DRIVING THIS VEHICLE UNTIL IT HAS BEEN CONFIRMED THE SNAKE IS GONE AND WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!?”  You guys, why do people who supposedly LOVE me insist on torturing me with such things?  And why do they find it so darn hilarious?   There is nothing funny about a grown woman turning ghost white in the face, screaming like a banchee, on the verge of hysterical tears, with her body in pretzel formation to put her feet on the middle console (because the snake could’ve climbed through the glovebox and landed on her feet…duh!).  NOTHING. 

So we drove to town with me still in hysterics, feet on the center console, and the men in my life laughing to the point of tears.   I was a prisoner in my own Princess Mobile.  It was a dark, dark time.  I told GI Joe very matter of factly that I WOULD not, COULD not, drive the PMobile until we saw that the snake had exited.  I was not even kidding because imagine the detriment I would cause to myself and others on the road if that snake showed it’s nasty little head IN my vehicle as I was driving down the interstate?  Certain death.   And then I was terrified to get out of the PMobile because what if it had slithered from the wheel well to under my door?!?  When we got to the school, he popped the hood and could see no sign of the snake.  That did nothing to calm my already shaky nerves.  By this time I desperately needed a cold drink and it was 45 minutes to game time so even though I had just said I would never drive it again, I decided it was safer on the driver’s side (the non snake side) than the passenger side so Ryder and I took off for Casey’s, a mere ¼ mile away.    He sat in the front passenger seat to be on snake duty for me and was still giggling at the cold sweat pouring off of me as I obsessed about the snake that was most definitely building a nest in my glovebox and producing a million baby snakes that would infest and take over my PMobile while I was driving to work on Monday morning.  Active imagination much?  We made it to Casey’s, snakeless, and I deadsprinted out of the PMobile and into Casey’s.  Ryder sauntered in behind me at a leisurely pace.  I questioned him thoroughly when he finally came in on whether or not he had seen the snake fall from the bottom of my truck or was it waiting for him when he stepped out of the car.  He just rolled his eyes, said no, and got a Gatorade.  Lame.

As we were paying for our drinks,  my purse strap fell off my shoulder and down my arm and I *may* or *may not* have audibly gasped and jumped because I was pretty sure it was the snake.  It’s completely reasonable to think that the snake would infiltrate my purse and choose to sneak up on me while I was in line at Casey’s.  The cashier looked at me concerned and I quickly explained, “We just had a very intense run in with a snake and I’m a little jumpy.”   She nodded knowingly.  Clearly, she’d had some snake run ins of her own.

After we paid, I ran out to the PMobile and basically high jumped from the curb to the driver’s seat, touching as little cement as possible because WHAT IF THE SNAKE WAS ON THE GROUND AROUND OR UNDER MY TRUCK?!?  I couldn’t take the chance.  Ryder, of course, was moving at a snail’s pace and as he opened the passenger door he said, “The snake is right here Mommy.”  I screamed, obviously.  I mean, right here as in HERE?!?  Where?!?  It was on the ground right by his feet, or so he said.  I, of course, didn’t believe him because it’s hard to trust a boy who was, minutes ago, conspiring against me with his father and brother with a a snake.  I  told him to hurry  up and get in.  I wanted to see the snake to verify that it was no longer in my vehicle but not at close range.  So I backed up (apparently rather abruptly and tires may have squealed), saw it slithering around in the parking lot where my truck had just been parked, and hightailed it out of there singing “Hallelujah” all the way. 

Ryder was laughing hard and said, “Holy cow, why are you going so fast?  Do you think the snake is going to chase you?!” 

Listen, it’s all fun and games until the snake slithers back up into your vehicle.  I was not taking any chances. 

To Casey’s, Sorry about the wild beast, humongous, anaconda snake I left in your parking lot on Sunday.  Actually, no I’m not, better you than me. 

To My Dear Husband & Sons, If you EVER pull that kind of stunt again you will be sleeping in a tent in the backyard for an indeterminate amount of time.  Rain, thunderstorm, snow, 30 below?  I don’t care.  No, you know what?  That’s not severe enough.  I will force you to go to Ulta with me and spend 2 hours perusing makeup and hair products and then spraying 50 different kinds of perfume for you to sniff, oh and then we’ll finish off our day of beauty with mani/pedis and purse shopping.  Oh YES I will.  Do NOT test me.  You are to PROTECT me from such things NOT use them against me.  You’ve been warned.  From now on, if you see a snake you are to remove it from our property and never speak of it or show it to me.  This is non negotiable. 

To The Stupid, Ugly, Scaly, Disgusting Snake,  EWWWWW.  Remember how you used to have legs?  But then God cursed you and now you have to slither everywhere? (Sucks to be you.) Yeah, well if even God doesn’t like you, I certainly don’t have to.  Now kindly please stay away from me, my house and my vehicle.    

Prairie Princess