Mommy’s Little Helper Monday: Thanksgiving Edition

I know it’s been awhile. I even missed my favorite holiday of the year–Halloween. I’ve had some crazy health crap going on that made it pretty much impossible to read or write. If you want the full story, head over and read “Suck it, Iritis!” on my other blog. If not, let’s dive on in…

"Yeah, I got the daughter in the clinic getting cured off the Wild Turkey."

“Yeah, I got the daughter in the clinic getting cured off the Wild Turkey.”

It’s Thanksgiving week. If you were unaware of that little fact, I want whatever drugs you’re taking. This little holiday started when a bunch of white pilgrims (who’d made themselves home on property that didn’t belong to them) realized they couldn’t take care of themselves. The Natives felt sorry for them and carted food over to help them survive the winter. They played nice, but then the pilgrims invited their friends to come bunk with them and they all went on to steal the Natives’ food and land while killing them off with delightful diseases.

gobbler cartoon

If you think about it, the holiday hasn’t changed too much. The family invites everyone over, even the family members you don’t really trust or like. So forty-year-old cousin Greg comes over to eat. He’s been in rehab a couple of times and even though he failed out of sword swallowing school, his band just got a gig at the school craft fair. You feel sorry for him and it really seems like this time he’s learning from his mistakes. He convinces you that he should stay in your basement for awhile. You’re drunk on carbs, so you agree. Two months later all of your food is gone, the cat and several pairs of your panties are missing, and your kids come down with crabs by just walking through the basement. You try to kick him out and that starts a war with his part of the family, even though they didn’t want him in their house.

gobbler 3

See! Dysfunction has remained a part of this holiday since its inception. Crazy=tradition.

I’ve actually been pretty lucky in the Thanksgiving department. It wasn’t until my 20’s that they took a nosedive. I can’t go into the details, but the retelling of the WORST Thanksgiving I’d ever had came in second place in a radio contest looking for the most dysfunctional holiday story. That was an anonymous contest and this blog is not built for concealing my identity, so I’ll just let you imagine the worst.

Now, let’s get on with the important stuff. How do you survive the holiday? Liquor!! My holiday has always been spent in the home of a Southern Baptist minister, so liquor was about as welcome as satan (even if he showed up with a nice pie). But the house has passed on to my grandmother and now to us. We keep the libations hidden, but they’re there. So, sticking with the idea that liquor is more important than some damn green bean casserole…

THE LIBATION:

Wine, beer and even a neat bourbon are just predictable and boring. I couldn’t let a nice merlot be my suggestion for a Thanksgiving themed drink. I had to dig deep into the depths of Pinterest. And I found all types of things on there. Lots of mulled apple crap and hot buttered rum (just the thought of that made me want to baste myself in it). But what to choose? I wanted something that just screams Thanksgiving louder than uncle Dean having a flashback of Vietnam. So I decided to make something up. I concocted a drink that gives you the entire Thanksgiving experience in one big glass. Ladies and gentleman, I give you…

THE GOBBLER (AKA The Alien Chicken)

My youngest son's first turkey art from preschool. He brought it to me and proclaimed it an "Alien Chicken." there's no denying he's my child.

My youngest son’s first turkey art from preschool. He brought it to me and proclaimed it an “Alien Chicken.” there’s no denying he’s my child.

What’s the staple of pretty much every Thanksgiving celebration? The turkey. Those poor birds must have been velociraptors in their past lives and racked up some seriously negative karma. Even Ben Franklin couldn’t save their feathered asses. Their fancy cousin, the eagle, got the glam job and the turkeys endure colonoscopies of stuffing. But regardless, my drink had to represent that bird, and the only way to do it was with some Wild Turkey!

So, grab some of that shit and pour it in a glass. (I even discovered that they now make a honey and a spiced version if you want to really give it a holiday flare.)

Now that the dead bird is taken care of, what else just exudes this holiday? Hmmm….there’s mashed potatoes…yams…dressing….gravy…pie. PIE!!! Holy pilgrim hat, how could I forget pie?!? There’s so many kinds of pie: pumpkin, apple, pecan, chocolate, coconut, lemon…oh, sweet baby Jesus in a “My first Thanksgiving” onsie, I can’t choose. I say you just grab a flavor liquor of your choosing and throw it in the cup along with another helping of the Wild Turkey.

Not good enough? Well, if you need it to look all Martha Stewart, throw in some sliced apples, a cinnamon stick  and some cranberries. Hell, I say you stick a wedge of pie on the rim as garnish. Now that would be a f*ckin’ drink.

Still not up to what you were picturing? Well, I can’t blame you, because I’m not representing the mother of all carbs– the true star of the holiday table–dressing! I mean, that’s what the holiday is all about. But as much as I love the stuff, I’m not dropping a blob of it into a perfectly good Big Gulp cup of Wild Turkey, so I’ll try another approach. We’ll represent that casserole of goodness by “dressing” up our drink. Crafting a festive little  coozie will keep the kids busy, fancy up your drink, and disguise it from others. You can tell the family it’s just a big glass of tea. If they ask for some, tell them it’s laxative tea. If they still want some, just pretend your laxative tea has kicked in and hide in the bathroom the rest of the night.

The Gobbler

The Gobbler

Now, if this isn’t fancy enough for your little holiday party then you must think your special. But it’s the season of thanks and brotherly love, so instead of making fun of your snobbery, I’ll direct you to a nice long list of fancy drinks. But don’t come crying to me when you realize they don’t have handmade turkey coozies. Your loss, pal.

And that’s all I got for this little blog, because my youngest has started puking and has a fever. I have to give it to him for bringing some authenticity to the holiday. The pilgrims gave small pox to the natives and I’m sure he’s going to give fifth’s disease or something to the rest of us. And that brings us to a quick

DUH-I-ALREADY-KNEW-THAT-HELPFUL HINT:

If there’s just not enough whiskey in Kentucky to get you through the holiday with your family, then I suggest you educate yourself on the various communicable diseases. Scan WebMD and learn all the symptoms of various illnesses that you can fake to keep you out of the festivities. There’s nothing like a case of pertussis or the measles to make the family revoke your invitation to sit at the kids table. Have no shame? Offer up syphilis or the clap to give you your “get out of jail free” card. Need something that will give you a permanent exile? Go for Hep C or leprosy (nobody wants a hunk of nose falling off in the cranberry sauce).

And that’s it, folks. Go out there and make some dysfunctional memories that even the best sitcom writers can’t come up with.

Gobble! Gobble! (That's Turkey for "cheers")

Gobble! Gobble! (That’s Turkey for “cheers”)

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Mommy’s Little Helper Monday: 4th of July Edition

Yes, I realize it’s Wednesday Thursday! I’m all confused because my husband is home and my brain has turned to something resembling a disgusting gelatin salad. Why? Because this thing called “summer break” happened. If you’re a teacher or live in a state with year round school (lucky bastards), then you were overjoyed by this occasion. If you are like me and have too many little boys and not enough meds, then you probably felt like you were dropped into the middle of Apocalypse Now. It took some time, but I’ve finally crawled out of the trenches and I’m back at work, spreading my bad advice to the world of frazzled moms.

Crap! I think Charlie the kids are coming.

Crap! I think Charlie the kids are coming.

So, let’s get down to business…The 4th of July. Honestly, I’m not even a big fan of the holiday. I like to refer to it as National Rednecks Blow Shit Up day. You see, I live in Texas. Texans like to use gunpowder to make things go “BOOM”. It doesn’t matter if it’s a string of firecrackers in a metal trashcan or a bullet in a deer. They like loud noises and if there’s some blood or something dies–all the better!! Now you won’t see this down in Highland Park but I don’t live there. I live up in “horse country.” There are plenty of wealthy folks out here, too, but as they say “you can take the redneck out of the trailer park but you can’t take the trailer park out of the redneck.”  Anyway, fireworks are prohibited in our neighborhood, but rednecks who’ve weaseled their way in here don’t give a Roman Candle full of shit about no damn ordinances. “By God, this is America! George Washington and all his folks didn’t blow the shit out of some indians and redcoats AND pour coffee in a lake just so we couldn’t set off some firecrackers in our own damn yard!” And because this is the mindset of a few of my neighbors, they will set those damn bottle rockets and Black Cats off until 2am. It makes me crazy. It makes me want to go out there and strangle them with their wife-beater, but there’s another damn ordinance against that , too.

When Earl Ray accidentally breaks bottle for launching rockets, Jimmy Wayne steps up and offers his ass crack like a true American.

When Earl Ray accidentally breaks the bottle for launching rockets, Jimmy Wayne steps up and offers his ass crack like a true American.

Ok, enough bitching. Let’s focus on the fun things about the holiday. My husband’s family always invites us to come out to their land so my boys can indulge in a redneck-lite version of the holiday. Their older cousins take them to the dock of the pond and help them shoot off lots of fireworks. It satisfies their deep boy craving for explosives, and I get to watch it from a “farm-house” that’s nicer than my real house (these are Highland Park people). The best part about the time is that my husband’s family likes to drink. This year’s theme is “Chili dogs and Champagne.” Now, tell me you aren’t jealous.

Speaking of liquor….

The Libation:

I know that you’re probably expecting some fancy red, white and blue layered drink called an Independence Bomb or Liberty-loda or Screw John Hancock Against a Wall. But all of those require way more effort than I’ve allotted for this little blog. I have to save my energy for breaking up fights, washing off marker tattoos they’ve drawn all over their faces, and requesting that every dinner conversation does not start with trying to slip some reference to balls or nuts in (I know, it’s a bad habit I’m trying to break).

july drinkIf you’re expecting something fancy like above, head on over to RollingOut and get the recipe. If you’re in Apocalypse-Jello-Brain world like me, stick around. The OCD Martha Stewart part of me would love to make those beautiful drinks, but my reality is making the half-ass Martha side of me give you this…

One of the best summer beers I've had!

One of the best summer beers I’ve had!

Shiner’s Ruby Redbird has become one of my favorite summer beers EVER! And it is a perfect drink for my 4th of July libation pick. Why? There’s no fancy glasses required or layering. It has the word “red” in it so it qualifies as patriotic. And when you see your neighbor trying to use his ass crack to shoot off rockets you can take one of these over to him, saving him a trip to the ER and you a trip to the therapist. I’m not going to get into all the details of what makes this beer taste yummy to me. For that I’ll send you over to the folks at Summer Beer Review. Why them? Because when I was looking for photos of the beer their’s had flamingos in it.

Now, if beer isn’t your thing, you need help; but until you get that help, I’ll give you one more idea. Make a simple drink (cranberry and vodka, margarita, champagne, martini, straight ethanol) and sugar the rim with Pop Rocks. Yep, Pop Rocks!! Who wouldn’t have fun with that? In fact, I’m even making Pop Rock truffles today to take to the family shindig.

Snap! Crackle! Pop! your way to sweet oblivion.

Snap! Crackle! Pop! your way to sweet oblivion.

Go to Pizzazzarie to get the good on this mouth-full of fun. You know you want to.

Duh-I-Already-Knew-That-Helpful-HInt:

I have to change the title of this little bit because it’s just a bitch to type out. Anyway, here’s that hint: DON’T LET YOUR KIDS SHOOT OFF FIREWORKS!!!! I know this is a ceremony for entering manhood (turning 6) in many parts of the south, but it’s stupid. I admit I have an extreme phobia of fireworks, but it’s with reason. I actually know people who have been badly injured by fireworks. A good friend of my god-daughter had a massive hole blown in his thigh. I have the picture on my phone and show it to my older boys so they understand these aren’t Nerf fireworks–they don’t bounce off. I may scar them emotionally by doing this, but they can hide those scars for a therapist or horrible girlfriend to dig up later. Finger stumps and melted ears are harder to hide. If you have a tough gut and no gag reflex from years of cleaning up puke and patching up your kids after they shank each other with Legos they’ve melted down, then go Goggle “firework injuries” for a very blunt reminder of what they can do.

The Funny:

I know, I was going down a depressing path there, and I’m trying to remedy that. But what can I post for this 4th themed bit to make you giggle? If rednecks shooting bottle rockets from their asses didn’t do it, I may have to dig deep. Hmmm… I’ve searched and searched and found some pretty disturbing stuff but nothing that really made me laugh. Oh, well. I guess that means we should use this time to reflect on the sacrifices our forefathers made to form this country. Let’s take a minute to be thankful for all of the blood they shed so that we could have the freedom to do this in their honor…

God bless America

God bless America

Confessions of a Crazy Cake Mom (and some other news)

One of the many things that makes my “crazy” show is a birthday. I love planning birthday parties and especially cakes. The fact that my two oldest sons are having birthdays within the next two weeks made me decide to write a quick bit about my sickness surrounding birthday cakes.

My birthday cake made by Leslie's Cakes for my...uhh *cough* 29th birthday. Yeah, 29th. That's the ticket.

My birthday cake made by Leslie’s Cakes for my…uhh *cough* 29th birthday. Yeah, 29th. That’s the ticket.

My mom was great about either making me special cakes or ordering exactly what I wanted. I carried that tradition on with my own kids but am far less likely to hire a professional because, well, because I’m crazy. Now I’m not saying I’m über talented and should open my own little cake business (that would be a nightmare waiting to happen). I just like doing it for my kids.  But I thought I would share with you some of my attempts at birthday cakes and cupcakes over the last few years. You can certainly tell which ones I started on the night before the party and which ones I was icing as the party guests were walking through the door and I was still in a bathrobe. (Now, if you want a great looking/tasting cake by a true pro and live in the North Texas area, you should totally check out Leslie’s Cakes. They are amazing!)

Let’s start with some simple cupcakes I made for my two oldest when they decided to have a beach themed waterpark party (one of the few perks of having summer birthdays).

Beachy fun!

Beachy keen!

The decorations were simple: canned icing with blue coloring topped with little fondant shark fins and starfish. The hardest part of these cupcakes are hidden under the icing. They’re rainbow cakes which meant splitting the batter into several containers, dying them different colors, and spooning them into the cups in layers. It was a little time-consuming but had a nice little “wow” factor when the kids bit into them. (Note: we usually try to avoid dyes because of our ADHD/Autism diet but I throw all that out the window for birthdays. You have to just let kids be kids sometimes.)

Simple decorations on a complicated icing recipe (but so worth the effort).

Simple decorations on a complicated icing recipe (but so worth the effort).

Now these are also very simple cupcakes I made for my youngest son’s first birthday. His nursery was an owl theme and of course that was a year before everyone went owl crazy and you could buy it everywhere. I stuck with the theme for his birthday, using the colors in his room and simple fondant owls I cut out with an x-acto (is that right?) knife. The star of this was the icing. It’s a homemade batch of browned butter frosting that’s recipe I got from Martha Stewart. It is freakin’ awesome!! First birthdays are more about the adults anyway so I used this icing recipe knowing it wouldn’t be a favorite with the little one. He did his obligatory duty as a one-year-old and smeared it in his hair and everywhere else before crying over our singing.

Now, here are some cakes I did that are certainly half-ass. I call them “cheat sheets” because I go buy a plain sheet cake from our local Market Street and then decorate them myself. This method insures that I have a nice smooth surface for the base, allows me to spend my time doing the fun part, and keeps me from shanking folks.

Fondant Angry Birds I made myself ont top of a bought sheet cake.

Fondant Angry Birds I made myself ont top of a bought sheet cake.

A last minute monster cake built on top of a bought sheet cake.

A last minute monster cake built on top of a bought sheet cake.

I made smaller cakes at home using what I call a "boob pan" and just iced the crud out of them.

I made smaller cakes at home using what I call a “boob pan” and just iced the crud out of them.

I made candy clay with Candy Melts and corn syrup (so much easier than fondant) for the belt to celebrate my son's first rank up in karate.

I made candy clay with Candy Melts and corn syrup (so much easier than fondant) for the belt to celebrate my son’s first rank up in karate.

And now for my masterpiece. This is hands-down the best looking cake I’ve ever made and I imagine it has something to do with the fact that I actually made it the night before the party. We hired a local wildlife educator name Critterman to come to our home with lots of creepy crawlies. It was a fantastic party. The kids got to learn about a lot of animals and even touch them. My oldest son LOVED chameleons so I went with it and this is what he got…

Chameleon and spider cake complete with a Zinger branch.

Chameleon and spider cake complete with a Zinger branch.

I’m darn proud of the cake even if it’s technically a “cheat sheet.” I baked a round cake that I cut up to make the body of the chameleon and some more of the “boob” cakes to make the spider and leaves. Zingers made the perfect branch and I had to cheat and use pipe cleaners for the spider legs. Obviously it was mixing all of the different colors and doing thousands of little stars that took up the most time, but it paid off.

Isn't he pretty?!?

Isn’t he pretty?!?

And that was a peek into my craziness when it comes to birthday cakes. I’ve had requests for Minecraft, Legos and Adventure Time for these upcoming parties. I’ll past what I end up doing. Now…ON WITH AN IMPORTANT NEWS BULLETIN!!!!

First, I’ve already bragged and gloated on my primary blog that my parody, Fifty Shades of Puddin’

received an unexpected but amazing review on Villara Noir. It got me pumped, so I posted two excerpts from the prequel The Hunger Camp. Go check them out of you want a laugh. Amazon (Kindle) has decided to mark my book down to a buck for some reason (they reserve the right to change your price at their discretion), so go buy a copy and I’ll take that $0.35 royalty and go on a crazy spending spree!! Anyway, my loss but your gain, right?

Second, I’m taking a break from blogging for about 2 weeks. With two birthdays, travel, the end of school, and looming deadlines on real writing projects, I have to take a step back. I’ll be back the first of June with lots of summer-saving tips drink recipes.

M.L.H. Monday III

You know it's true.

You know it’s true.

Well, congratulations! You obviously survived the holiday weekend if you’re reading this. I don’t know about you, but this is how the Easter holiday typically plays out for me–

Good Friday. Desperate shopping Saturday. Easter Sunday. Half price Reese’s eggs Monday. Regretful Tuesday. Celery sticks and water Wednesday.

Sound familiar to you, too?

Actually, holidays and I have a love-hate relationship. The artsy perfectionist part of me loves the opportunity to use my creativity and skills to make everything sparkly and fun. My ADHD and tendency to run in circles does wonders at throwing wrenches in my Martha Stewart approved plans. I dream of baskets hand-woven from the grass I grew and reaped myself. Organic eggs from my organic fancy chickens that are dyed in organic dyes from beets that I juiced with my feet while dancing with my perfectly dressed children under a maypole laced with violets and pansies. But once my ADHD sticks its dirty little hands in the mix and sucks away my time, the kids are more likely to get a shoebox filled with a Lunchable and a half-eaten Snicker bar that smells oddly like Merlot.

Speaking of Merlot, let’s get on to the first part of Mommy’s Little Helper Monday– The Libation:

I decided to stick with the Easter theme and came up with a cocktail that I’ve christened “The Bunny Tail.”

photoNow, I know what you’re thinking, but it’s not nearly as complicated as it looks. Just follow these detailed instructions and you too can be sipping on a Bunny Tail before you’re kids get home from school. First: Get out a wine glass. Second: Clean the glass (sparkling clean from hand washing with your organic soap and organic cotton dishrag, or glittering from chemicals, or smudged from a spit-n-shine–you choose). Third: Open a bottle of wine by any means necessary (pick out the glass if you had to break it open). Fourth: Pour wine into glass. Fifth: Place holiday-themed Pez dispenser into glass. Ta-da!!! If it doesn’t come out quite right on your first attempt, don’t give up. Everything gets easier with practice and you’ll be making them like a pro in no time.

Now, on to the useful tip that I usually call the Duh–I Already Knew That Helpful Tip, but in keeping with the Easter theme I’ve decided to provide you with a craft idea. I literally have two armoires overflowing with craft supplies, so who better to pass on a little project? This will be my Half-ass Martha project, also known as a “Seriously? It’s Another @!#$&*%  Holiday? Craft.” A little twist to this lesson is that I know not everyone has access to all of the supplies I do, so I’ve dumbed it down to something everyone can do. So, without further ado, meet Corky!

Corky, a special Easter friend.

Corky, a special Easter friend.

I know that I’m really pushing this Monday with the complicated drink and now this intricate craft, but I have faith in you; and besides, you can’t grow if you don’t push yourself. First: find a cork. If you don’t have one there’s something wrong with you go buy a bottle of champagne, drink it, and use the cork. Easy. Second: grab a cotton ball and a cotton swab. Third: cut the swab in half. Pierce two holes on top of the cork and shove those babies in there. Fourth: Glue the cotton ball on the Franken-bunny’s ass. Fifth: draw a cute little face with a Sharpie, markers,  make-up or whatever you got. Done!! Now display your masterpiece right in the middle of your Waterford eggs or whatever priceless treasures you possess like the ones above.

Wow!! You’ve made it through another M.L.H. post. I’m sure you learned more than your “Monday brain” can handle but I have faith in you and the wine aisle at Trader Joe’s. So, happy Monday, folks!! Oh, and ….

Happy April Fools’ to you and Happy Birthday to my mom (you have no idea how appropriate that is for her).

An “I-Only-Cook-So-The-Goverment-Won’t-Take-My-Kids” Recipe

I know it’s been awhile so I thought I’d dip my toes back into the blogging pond. But since my time is stretched tighter than Christina Aguilera’s bra, this will be brief.

My blog is humor-based and trust me that there is nothing funnier than me offering cooking advice, but that’s what I’m doing. I’m posting a recipe that even I can do (or a one-armed monkey with brain damage), and it actually tastes damn good. What makes this even funnier is that the recipe was given to me by my BFF (another person who would rather have her entire body waxed than cook).

When we were college freshmen the two of us survived on a barter system that consisted of her ironing our clothes and me making our sandwiches. When we didn’t have bread and cheese, we survived on the Phillips 66 buffet that consisted of beef jerky, Pringles, and whatever fountain drink we could mix our liquor into (that came to a stop when my father got the Phillips gas card bill and took it away).

Seriously!! This is all you need to make some kick-ass gravy.

Anywho…because I have never been able to duplicate my grandmother’s amazing pot roast, here is my version. Ready? You won’t believe this is going to work, but here it goes… One packet of Lipton Onion soup mix, one can of cream of mushroom soup, one roast, carrots, potatoes, and what ever you want (celery, onion, mushrooms, catnip- whatever!)

First, get your crock pot out and dust it off. Pour the can of soup inside, dump the packet of magic Onion Soup mix on top of the blob of soup, and stir that stuff up with a fork, spoon, Barbie doll leg- whatever is handy.

Now, you will look at this unattractive mixture and think, “There’s no freakin’ way this is going to work. It’s going to burn and catch my house on fire and I’ll still end up buying the kids Sonic just like I was going to do before I started all this ‘crazy’ cookin’ stuff.” Don’t fret. I promise that it will work!!!

Next, set the roast of your chews-ing (ok, that was lame) on top of the beige blob. I usually pick out a separate roast and all of the extras but then my husband brought home a sealed package of easiness and it worked just as well without having to cut onions or celery. It may have cost a buck more and didn’t come with all of the left over veggies, but it worked great and saved me a half hour in shopping and prep (that counts big time in my world).

A vacuum-sealed bag of “lazy”

Throw all of your veggies in, set the thing on low, and let it cook all day. It won’t look pretty, but it will taste damn good. The best part, it took five freakin’ minutes of actual work. Damn, I love crock pots.