Happy Single Parent’s Day!

I completely missed that this was a holiday! (Probably too busy being a single parent) 😉 So in honor of today I am reposting my top 18 list of awesome things about being a single mom.

A heavy burden, and that much more impressive when you hold it...

A heavy burden, and that much more impressive when you hold it…

For the full article click here.

  1. I decide what we have for supper. No one (who gets a vote) tells me “that’s not healthy enough” or, “what do you mean you’re too tired? What did you do today?” or my favorite “no, I’m just not in the mood for that”.  Side note, I also get to decide when! 🙂
  2. I choose haircuts & if I want my little boy to have longish hair, no one tells me no. Or if I want bangs, I’m not disappointing anyone.
  3. I do not have to shave in the winter, unless I want to.
  4. No one has more authority than I do in my house.
  5. I don’t have to share the remote after 9pm… EVER
  6. My parenting philosophy is LAW, no one to compromise with.
  7. My house is as clean/dirty as I damn well want it to be.
  8. If I want to blow money on something, I don’t have to discuss it with anyone.
  9. I can leave clean laundry in a basket unfolded for weeks!
  10. Merchants have to talk to me, not “don’t you want me to just explain it to your husband, dear?”
  11. My bank account is the exact balance I left it at, always.
  12. If I decide we should not get dressed all weekend and watch movies and eat pizza in the living room cause it’s raining, no one judges me.
  13. There is no “I’m telling Dad”.
  14. If I get the opportunity to move for a promotion there is no one else’s career to consider.
  15. I don’t have to be nice to/pretend to like anyone’s lame, annoying friends. (Only my lame, annoying friends show up at my door. Love you guys, lol!)
  16. My stuff is always where I left it and organised the way I want it to be.
  17. I can decorate however the hell I want to. (there is a pink wall coming, I’ll tell you about that later lol)
  18. I get to be proud of what I am doing with no qualifiers, it’s just me, and I AM doing it, thank you.

I also found these cool little bits as well:

20 Reasons to Appreciate Single Parents

10 Single Mom Secrets

30 Reasons All Moms Deserve a Paycheck

So, if you are a single parent, congrats! It’s your day! If you know someone who is doing it alone, take a minute today to tell them what a great job they are doing. I can promise you, having an adult say, “You are doing great, I am proud of you.” means sooo much to those of us who don’t have a partner to say it to us ever.

Oh, and maybe offer to babysit? 😉

However you celebrate, make sure you do. Have a great day all!

Here’s to You on Valentine’s Day: A Toast to My Fellow Singles

I have 3 Valentines, I gave birth to them , so they aren’t exactly romantic Valentines, but we totally exchange gifts, and I love them. If you, like me, are single this Valentine’s Day, don’t sit around being sad about it, there are tons of things great about being single, there are also tons of reasons to enjoy Valentines Day with the people you love (and who love you too) and just enjoy the day. It’s a holiday, for cripes sake! Why not love a holiday?! Now that I have offended weeded out all the VDay haters…

The real reason for this post? Beverages that are Valentine’s Day themed to have with your platonic friends (or alone, no judging here) on Thursday, or this weekend, or hell, anytime you need a froufrou beverage.

*Small disclaimer here: I will not be drinking these with my “little” Valentines. Duh, no need to call CPS, jeez. *

girlfriends sharing a beverage (or 2)

girlfriends sharing a beverage (or 2)

Cheers my friends!

The Red Queen: (Named for its similarity to a Royal Flush)

Mix in shaker: 1 part Crown Royal, 1 part raspberry Liqueur, 2 parts Cranberry Juice.

Serve over ice.

Rx Love

Pour over ice: 2 oz Vanilla Rum (I really like Cruzan, as I said before), Splash Grenadine (Optional, but makes a nice red tint), 1 can Diet Dr Pepper. Stir. Mmmmmm

Little Red Dress

Mix in shaker w/ ice: 1 1/2 oz Mixed Berry Vodka, 1/2 oz Strawberry Pucker, 1/2 oz Granadine. Shake. Strain into Martini glass.

Chocolate Covered Cherry

Mix in shaker: 2 oz Creme de Cocao liqueur, 2 oz Whipped Vodka, 1 oz Black Cherry Rum.  Pour 1/4 oz (just enough to see) Grenadine in the bottom of the glass. Fill glass with ice. Slide 2 oz half n half on top.  Slide mix on the very top for your 3rd layer. (This looks cool all layered, but I would recommend stirring before drinking. You can also eliminate the ice, reduce the half n half to a 1/4 oz and create a shot it you want to go truly crazy…)

Do you have any VDay themed drink suggestions? It’s gotta be something you actually tried and liked, but let me know, preferably before 9 tomarrow when the ABC store closes… 😉

And some other Valentines to make you smile…

Simply Turkey

Thanksgiving Spread 2011

Cooking a turkey can be very intimidating the first time. I know I was petrified. Then there’s the rumor going around that you have to get up at 5am to cook said turkey, which is just silly, unless you wanted Thanksgiving Breakfast I suppose. So this is the way I’ve discovered to cook a turkey in your oven that is easy, moist and delicious (also the meat seasoned this way work great for a million turkey leftover recipes). First you have to select your turkey. Remember how you figured your head count? Well, imagine about 1lb uncooked bird per person. This will leave you with plenty of leftovers, but not leftovers in December. I cook about a 12 1/2lb turkey even though our head count is 13 or so, mostly because we make way too many sides each year and this year we are also having ham (ironically this is a “guy thing”). The list below gives you cook times so you can better plan your day.

*Keep in mind that if it’s a frozen turkey you should start thawing it (on the bottom shelf of your fridge) Sunday afternoon or Monday morning. *

6-8lbs 2-2 ½ hrs

8-12lbs 2 ½-3 hrs

12-16lbs 3-3 ½ hrs

16-20lbs 3 ½-4 hrs

20-24lbs 4-4 ½ hrs

Turkey is done when it reaches a temperature of 165 degrees internally. They come with those little pop out thingies that will let you know when they are done, but I do like to double check with a meat thermometer, just in case. I cook our turkey at 350 degrees, but as the day goes on I occasionally turn the oven up to say 375 for rolls (which will only be about 10 to 15 minutes, and will not harm your turkey). I assume that’s why my turkey never takes the full amount of time to cook, but I only have the one oven. Also when plotting time for Thanksgiving Day, keep in mind after you cook your turkey it needs 20 to 30 minutes to “rest” (which is fancy chef’s language for let the juices get all good and soaked in) before you carve it. This is the perfect time to stick a few things back in that suddenly empty oven to heat them back up.

My rub for simply wonderful turkey:

Onion Powder

Paprika

Seasoned Salt

Dried Rosemary (crush it in your hand before mixing it with the other seasonings)

Pinch of Sage (compared to others)

Pinch of Black Pepper

The top 4 ingredients   should be in almost equal portions, sorry, I never measure and have no idea how much I put on a turkey. This should be rubbed on the breasts of the turkey under the skin and all over the exterior of the turkey.

I make my rosemary olive oil, but you can but it too and it’s not that expensive. I use that under the breast skin (about 2 Tbls) and then drizzled over the entire bird (about 7 or 8 Tbls). While I am lubing up and rubbing down the turkey (we get very close) I am preheating the oven, you want that turkey to go into the oven no cooler than 350 or you really will be doing this all damn day. While you are cooking and assembling other dishes do not forget your turkey’s most important ingredient! That’d be love and attention. Every time you open the oven door use either a turkey baster or a ladle (I mean big cooking ladle, not teeny gravy ladle) and scoop the juices from the pan back over the turkey. Think of you turkey like a well behaved 5-year-old, you can leave it be, but you should check on it at least every 30 minutes. If your oven door hasn’t opened in the last 30 thirty minutes, do so and ladle that baby up. I was looking for the tiny turkey cooking times and the giant turkey cooking times on the internet when I (happily, because I cook about the way she does and firmly believe butter gets a bad rap) discovered this is also how Paula Deen cooks her turkey! She uses a more sophisticated rub, (duh, real cook) but I’m referring to the turkey basting love, I thought that was kinda cool.

Don’t be scared of the turkey (they are not even intimidating before they get naked the way you buy them at the store), and wow the hell of anybody who gets the privilege to sit at your table this year. (Miscreants are eating out of their laps in the den around here, so really, privilege.)

Holiday Smiles and Silly Families

In addition to being the week before Thanksgiving (yay) this is also the week that people in my extended family start Christmas shopping. (Not me, I’m busy cooking/working two jobs/raising three kids/you know, stuff) But that does mean that everybody wants the kid’s Christmas lists. This works for me, as a kid extended family (ie people who you see two times per year) would never have a clue enough about my personality, likes, dislikes, or shoe size, to actually get me anything I wanted/could wear/would use. As a grown up, this means we can spend those weeks in December returning crap, or (the option I prefer) actually hanging around/getting to know (this year’s version) of those family members. So each of the moms makes a list, and then emails it to everyone. Honestly, this is usefully for those of us who see kiddies all the time but can’t keep in their head their own kid’s shoe sizes, much less other people’s.  These lists were started when I was in high school by one of my aunts. What is less helpful (IMO) is that these lists became like a newsletter of sorts. You know “Tilly Mae is now a Junior in High School and is {of course} still making straight As. She enjoys volunteering at the local homeless shelter, and has time to do that despite her busy school/band/choir schedule due to the fact that her father and I decided we prefer to fund her activities {because they made $100s of thousands of dollars per year and could do whatever} rather than her having an afterschool job. She recently won an award for Excellence on the Field {which was awarded as a participation award, I remember asking her} with her soccer team this year as they made their way to the season finals {no mention that they got in as an alternate}Go Eagles! She has always been a joy to us and we approach her last two years before college with the mixed feelings of those who are as proud and blessed as we and will miss her terribly.” This is the same cousin who that year I caught smoking pot on the front stoop of my mother’s house while everyone was inside. They would go on and on, these newsletters, and then have a list at the end of overpriced gifts none of us could afford to purchase.  So when I started making lists for mine I will put a brief “Hey, how are ya’ll” at the beginning and make applicable personal comments in the actual lists. I mean, if you mail (on red or green paper, natch) or email me a 3 page diatribe, what will we talk about when we all get together, right? So I sent out our list yesterday, after 2 request texts (one while I was at work) and then a reminder text a day later. I have since then been told that I should share my letter here, because “this is cracking me the fuck up” as I was told.  So I have changed actual personal info using {brackets and fake names}, but figured, what the hell? Hope it makes you giggle a little this morning as well…

Back by popular demand! A Christmas list (or maybe just inspiration guide) for the kiddos here. Thank you in advance for sending me your kiddo’s list as well (ahem) if applicable. We are looking forward to seeing everyone around Christmas time this year! If we haven’t gotten together and nailed down a time, please text/call me/email me/send carrier pigeon/something. I really am hoping to see all of ya’ll soon (& force you to take home copious amounts of baked goods), so let me know. Also, since this stuff ends up changing all the time (are some of you trying to be cyber anonymous? Or perhaps you just don’t like Christmas cards? 😉 ) My contact info is listed here, please reply with any updates of your own. I did try to make this list as clear as possible, but since you don’t have the benefit of being inside my head (lucky you!) let me know if anything requires further clarification. I asked the kids to be cost conscious when making their lists (some are better than others, as you will see) feel free to ignore overpriced items or donate towards them. Again, I feel, and am (still) trying to convey that the getting to see family and friends, the fellowship of the season, celebrating a  birthday, and the joy of giving are Christmas, not who got what from whom. Please, keep that in mind as you go about shopping this year. We love you and are truly looking forward to seeing you.

 

Address: {you may send an e-card, but I prefer no strange visitors, that I’m not related to}

Cell Phone: {also, do not call me}

Email to phone (ie you want me to read it NOW-in important & capital letters):

{can’thavemyhomeemail}

Email to computer (ie you have attached things & want me to be able to see them on a nice eye soothing full screen, and it can wait till I get home & put people to bed-or the weekend): mamaskitchentable@gmail.com

Email at work (ie we are almost sending an IM, but with links & it is happening Monday through Friday 8:45am to 4:45pm EST): {ormyworkemailnosey}  or {alsonot thisone}

Merry Christmas everyone!!!!!!  (yes I am excited, time for dancing, I do believe…)

 

BoyChild I:

Plasma Nebula Ball (a link here: http://www.amazon.com/Electric-Novelties-Plasma-Nebula-Ball/dp/B000QSQSMU/ref=pd_bxgy_hg_img_y  Doesn’t have to be this one, this is an example of one.)

Legos (Esp, Star Wars)

Lava lamp in black, green, blue (or another “soothing” color)

PlayStation 2 or Nintendo DS games

Tennis Shoes (size 7 ½ Men’s) Because he keeps 1 pair at school for gym & wears out tennis shoes fast!

Money towards the purchase of a Nintendo DS (his broke & he is trying to save enough to replace it)

I just replaced all of BoyChild I’s clothes (since he grew 6in & gained 28lbs over the summer!) So he is good on clothes right now (give it till say, February & then he’ll be naked again lol)

Bathrobe Boy’s XL or Men’s S (size 14 in boys clothing)

Stress Balls (he goes through these during the school year)

Pair of sturdy work gloves (for outdoors work/gardening/etc) Men’s S

Giant Floor/Body Pillow in dark green, navy or khaki (please not white-he really is going to lay on this in the floor! Or Dark brown-Will has one in that color & it’d be best to keep them identifiably separate. Lol)

Books (Enjoys genres/reading level like: Red Wall series, A Series of Unfortunate Events series, Percy Jackson series, Hardy Boys series, lots of fantasy/mystery/adventure)

 

BoyChil II:

Legos

Books (Enjoys genres/reading level like: Flat Stanley series, BFG & other Roald Dahl books, Captain Underpants, Boxcar Children, any funny books, he is not a fan of fantasy/mystery or adventure-ugh, I know- there is a great list here: http://us.macmillan.com/MacmillanSite/categories/Childrens/Fiction/Humorous+3rdGrade )

Playground Ball

PlayStation 2 or Nintendo DS games

Pillow Pet (specifically the Dream Lites Snuggly Puppy)

Huge Ben 10 & any “classic” superhero (Batman, Spiderman, Captain America, Hulk, Flash, Wolverine, you get the idea) fan

BoyChild II spends a lot of time pretending to be one of the above, any “props” or costume pieces would also be great ideas as those things get worn out fairly quickly around here & he & K-man are constantly running around in ½ costume & creating sound effects/destroying bay guys/etc.

Bike Hemet (Children’s M)

BoyChild II is also good on clothing (what with all the hand-me-downs)

 

GirlChild:

iPod Touch (or money towards her saving up for one)

Cookie Monster, Elmo, or Oscar Snapbacks with a flat bill. (I think these are hats, but I’m not nearly hip enough to know what that is exactly)

Studded Belts (any color/pattern/etc) Size Women’s M

1in curling iron

Watch

Sports Bras (34C or Women’s M)

PlayStation 2 or Nintendo DS games

Books (Enjoys genres like: Twilight series, Undead and Underemployed series, YA romance-please be content aware, Mom thanks you-, Flipped, “girl power” type stories)

Jeans size 5 or 6

GirlChild just got a new bed that is a twin with a twin sized trundle, all of her bed linens (in addition to being horrifyingly-her words- childish)are double bed sized. She still likes pink, purple, green, yellow, etc, just doesn’t want to sleep with her fairy/Bratz/Princess blankets anymore. Any contribution would be welcomed, even gift cards to Target to pick out her own.

 

Merry Christmas all!

Me

 

Do you have (or have you received) Christmas lists/newsletters/ etc this year? Maybe one from years past? Do share; I would love a chuckle as well. Hope you have great weekend!

Thanksgiving Planning in 7 Easy Steps

As many of you know I love I love a good party, any holiday I can get my hands on and run with. Well Thanksgiving is one of my favorites, mostly because it’s all about the food. Food, family, and just enjoying each other, can’t beat that with a stick. As much as I am excited about next week, I know that some are nervous, stressed, overwhelmed, which is totally taking away from your ability to enjoy the holiday. In an effort to help prevent any of you from “Gettin’ all Holiday”(defined below for those of you who were unaware) on anyone I made a list (yay, lists!) of things that help me stay sane/cheerful/fairly relaxed during the next week. Keep in mind, I firmly belive if you aren’t having fun, stop, do it differently, don’t do it at all, whatever, but holidays should be fun, for EVERYONE, not just the kids, not just the in-laws, not just your own family. Kay, back off of soap box & onto list of helpfulness…

  1. Make a Master list. I know, first item on the list is make a list, but this helps, I promise. Make a list of whose (probably) going to be there. (this gives you a head count & keeps fresh in your mind any dietary restrictions, which you should write next to people’s name on this list) On your Master list you have eaters and eaten. So you should list all the food you want to serve. (like you are brainstorming, you can cut items later).
  2. Edit that list! Go through the Master list and evaluate it. Are you serving 8 sweet potato dishes? Is someone going to be rushed to the hospital due to the fact that every dish has their allergen in it? Is the vegetarian in your group about to waste away? What about the no veggie/meat and PLAIN potatoes only eater? Do you have more deserts that side dishes? Balance your menu as best you can and rewrite it. This list goes on the fridge so you can find it all week long.
  3. Calender. Draw a 1 to 2 week calendar on a sheet of notebook paper. (I recommend 2 week for maximum holiday chill time, but as long as you have a week you should be fine) Plot 2 days to go grocery shopping (the second should be no earlier than the Monday before Thanksgiving and no later than the Wednesday before, DO NOT plan to go on Thanksgiving! Yes, you can go for an emergency, but don’t do that to you intentionally!) Using you edited menu, decide what you are going to cook and when. Keep in mind fridge space when you do this. Your goal is to cook as few things as humanly possible on Thanksgiving day. (think Turkey on the day, Sweet Potato Pie can be cooked 2 weeks early, boil eggs on Saturday to Devil on Thanksgiving Day, etc)
  4. Grocery Lists (yes 2 lists) and Shopping your Pantry. Sit down with your Edited list, Calendar, and all your recipes along with 2 sheets of paper. One list will be for that first trip to the store, you get the idea. It helps to have a child (or relative/friend/etc) look for items as you call them out from recipe cards. If you have the item on stock, pull it out (try putting all non perishables in a box), if you don’t it goes on one of your two lists. Place items on your list with an eye on when you plan to make what. However, I would buy the Turkey at least one week early, so you still get to pick. 2 lists have 3 main benefits, #1 it spreads out your grocery budget across (hopefully) more than one paycheck, #2 if you forgot/underestimated how much you needed/etc you have PLANNED to go back (this is emotionally important, I promise) making 1 “extra” trip is waaay more relaxing than 4 or 5 for other little things, #3 you can start cooking 1 1/2 to 2 weeks in advance and still have fresh veggies on the actual day.       *At this point I point out that if you aren’t already the owner of one of those magnetic clips? Invest. They look like the clip part of an old clipboard, but stick to the fridge. they are perfect for holding school flyers, and will keep all of your lists in order (ie not lost).*
  5. Follow your Plan. Except when your life happens, then adjust your plan. You will have more freedom to do this the earlier you start. See how much more relaxing that is?
  6. Enjoy Thanksgiving! You did all of this! You are the conductor of your very own gastronomical symphony! (Many pats on the back)
  7. Do not leave house on Black Friday. An important final stress reducing step. Out of milk? It’s all good, no one will die between now and Saturday, I promise. Make sure some Holiday Booze was secreted away for today, enjoy it, prop your feet and laugh at the people assaulting each other on the news while wearing your fuzzy pjs.

Hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving! recipes/etc to follow this week!

*Gettin’ all Holiday: Usually used as in “I was so mad about how that woman was acting, I was this close to Gettin’ all Holiday on her ass.” Comes from years in restaurants that were open on the holidays and located near malls, refers to the way people act (like complete shit heads)/treat each other (as though they are actually insane and self-species-loathing) from November 1st through January 10th or so every year. Is most famous for occurring on Black Friday, but can be seen in disrespectful, self-absorbed,and hatefully people any day during this time period. We have been using it for years (pre YouTube) along with “Y’all have a Rainbow F-ing Day” (which is a story for later) but last year it was demonstrated even better than I can explain by folks all over the good ole US of A. Try to avoid Gettin’ all Holiday on folks, you could end up on the internet…*