Monday, January 30, 2012

Yes, I have a crying baby. Sometimes he does that.

I know this is my first go around with a baby, but I'm pretty confident that the Yeti is fang-ing (yes fangs, not teeth).  He is miserable, produces enough drool in a day to fill a 55 gallon drum (they really should find a way to turn that into an alternative energy source), chews on his hand all day, and if you happen to get your meat beaters anywhere near his face, he attempts to chomp them off.  A side effect of the fang-ing, is, of course, very long bouts of inconsolable crying.

Unfortunately, these bouts of crying seem to bring on my biggest parenting pet peeve: unsolicited advice from anyone in your life from the snaggle-tooth cashier at the grocery store to my mother.

Top ten pieces of advice I have gotten on how to console a crying baby (yes, the comments in quotations are actual suggestions that I have received):

*"Maybe you should rock him."  Yes, thank you, we have a rocking chair at home.  The usual effect is that he cries while I rock him.

*"Have you tried a pacifier?"  Yes, thank you.  It seems that unless I duct tape it to his face, he spits it back out at me.  Maybe I'll try super glue next time so nobody sees it, the duct tape usually attracts stares.

*"Oh, maybe you should put him in his stroller and go for a walk."  Yes, thank you, because both of us want to be on the side of a truck route with no sidewalk in subzero temperatures.

*"Maybe he is hungry, you should try to feed him."  You're right.  He is looking a little chubby these days and we think he needs to lose weight so we have been rationing him to 4 oz of formula twice a day.  Maybe we should up it.

*"Well he looks tired, you should really lay him down."  You're right.  I've spent every waking second with him since he was conceived, seems I've lost track of his sleep schedule.

*"Maybe he is a little gassy, have you tried gas drops?"  Have you heard the Yeti's father and both grandfathers?  Farting is a sport.  Of course he is gassy, its genetic.  They drink water, shit themselves, then blame the cat.  We scotch guard boxers in our house.

*"Well here, let me hold him, maybe he just needs a change of scenery."  Of course at this point he stops crying.  "Huh look at that, he cries for his mommy, but not for me.  He loves me sooooo much."  Yeah, I'm a bad mother.  He and I have this agreement that he stops crying for everyone else, just so mommy can have a break from holding him and have a stiff drink.

*"Well maybe he needs to be changed."  What do you mean, changed?  Like as in switch him out for another baby?  Oh, his diaper, yeah, I did that last week.

*"Maybe some quiet music would calm him."  I've been playing Five Finger Death Punch and Pantera for him, quietly.  "No, like classical music.  I read it makes them smarter."  Oh, we were hoping for an underachiever so we won't be doing anything like that.

*"Sometimes I put my baby in his car seat on the dryer, they like the motion."  Yeah, I saw this movie once where a woman sat on a dryer too, she wasn't wearing any clothes and she REALLY liked the motion.

So, thank you everyone for your advice, but keep your goddamn mouth shut.  I have a baby screaming for no reason.  The last thing I want is for you to make me feel like a contestant on Teen Mom 2.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

RIP Tyrannosaurus Chainsaw

I have been anticipating tonight's big event more than a sexually active 16 year old waits for her late period.  

After tolerating the roaring child of an earthquake and freight train that emanates from Red's face, every night, for WAY too long, he is having his sleep study tonight.

Let's give an absolutely honest and accurate description of Red's snoring:
*So loud, it scares the baby.
*So loud, his 3 year old niece once asked me if there was a monster upstairs (when he was passed out in a bedroom at his parents house, with the door shut, and we were all in the living room downstairs).
*So loud, when we were in the hospital after having the Yeti, it was the primary topic of conversation among the nurses.
*So loud, I can hear it in the living room, with 2 rooms and 3 doors shut in between us.
*So loud, that if he falls asleep in his chair, I have to put Closed Caption on the tv just to know what Snooki and J-woww are talking about (usually sex, but I like the juicy details since I have a child now, it is the only action I get)
*So loud our friends will not camp next to us, we are required to get a site across the campground.

In celebration of ear plug free nights ahead and a sleeping baby, tonight's menu consists of:

*A bottle of Sangiovese Di Toscana (the Insomniac Mom's favorite wine, please email me if you would like to send wine donations)
*Brie and Honey on French Bread (Warning: do not put honey in your hair, see previous post)
*70% cacao dark chocolate

So raise your glass and toast to me, dear friends!  God bless the CPAP!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The BP Oil Spill has nothing on this disaster...

Once again, it was a snowy night up here in Vermont and I was all alone with my Yeti and Snarles Barkley.  I was perusing Pinterest and saw a pin for an at home hot oil treatment.  Some dumbass I got the bright idea to try this out.  Hey, its from eHow, someone must know what they are talking about right?  So, I cooked myself up a nice hot cup of tea, turned on some shameless reality TV, grabbed a Valentines Day Debbie Cake, and whipped up this concoction.

Here is the recipe:
3 tsp olive oil
1 tsp honey

Bring to a mixture to a boil and stir to combine well.  Remove from heat, allow to cool.  Pour into hair, comb through, wrap in a plastic bag or shower cap for 20-30 minutes and shampoo out.  Be sure to use cold water rinse as it keeps the hair shaft closed and allows the oil to stay in there doing it's thing.

Me thinking that I have tackled much more complicated recipes and procedures, feels that this is a sure thing.  It's about as easy as a drunk freshman on prom night.

Cooked up the recipe no problem.  Got to use my cool new non-stick whisk/sexual torture device.  There seemed to be a little difference, however, in the end result of the product.

I poured it into my hair (after lots of whisking) and when I tried to comb through my hair, there seemed to be a gigantic glob of honey and matted hair.  Oil was no where to be found.  Still thinking the situation was salvageable, I grabbed my pick comb, and tried to comb the greasy crap through my hair.

As this amalgamation cooled, the rat's nest cemented with honey continued to solidify on the back of my head.  I tried to 'pick' through it, but ended up ripping out more of my already thinning post pregnancy hair.  Panic set in.  I flashed back to visions of getting bubble gum getting cut out of my hair in kindergarten leaving me with a huge bald spot in the back of my head for ages.  I thought I would have to call the EPA in to rescue me a la an otter an in oil spill.  I can see them breaking down the door now in their orange hazmat suits and bottles of Dawn in their hands.

Solution: get the bottle of olive oil and dump it in the hair.  Now, I have hair drenched in olive oil, with a huge honey soaked tangled knot.

I contemplated getting Red's clippers, but didn't think the Britney Spears/GI Jane look was really for me.

With little option left, I turned on the shower, praying that shampoo and near boiling water would dissolve honey.  I didn't care if I smelled like a character out of My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

I got out the Head and Shoulders thinking it was the harshest shampoo in my arsenal.  I scrubbed like a rookie hair dresser.  MOST of it came out (with MOST of my hair and black dye job I did yesterday*).  I could still feel clumps of honey.  So...I worked in about 20 pumps of Wen conditioner, wrapped my mangled hair in a towel, and am now sitting in my leather chair (which needs a name by the way).

I thoroughly regret my decision to have a nice girly spa night.  Clearly God is telling me that I do not deserve any mommy beauty time.

Word to the wise: information on the internet may or may not be true or useful.

Screw you eHow.

*Can someone explain why at 28 the hair on my head is gray but the hair on my chin is black?

On Nagging and Diet Food...

I have recently been nagging positively encouraging Red to eat healthier and maybe even drop a few pounds.  It certainly has nothing to do with appearance, I just want him to live a long healthy life, not become a Discovery Channel special involving cranes, the indoor use of chainsaws, and three fire departments.  

The epic challenge surrounding this war is that Red is absolutely the pickiest human being I know.  He is the polar opposite of me.  I watch Bizzare Foods with Andrew Zimmern and would eat most of what he features on his show.  The list of foods Red will not eat ranges from tomato sauce (unless it is sandwiched between crust and cheese and involved in anything referred to as 'Meat Lovers') to apples.

So, I have made it my mission to stock the house with healthy paw food (a term my father, who, like Red, drives truck for a living, coined for food you can eat easily with your hands).  The kitchen is stocked with grapes, clementines, granola bars, homemade healthy banana nut muffins (recipe to follow), 100 cal packs of various snack food, and many other goodies.  So here are some conversations regarding the foods I have stocked for him:

*Regarding Pringles 100 cal packs:
Red:  You know those Pringles you got me?
Me:  Yes.
Red:  They're kind of small.
Me:  Really?  Sorry, I didn't think an entire tin would fit in your lunch box.

*Regarding grapes:
Me:  Hey, how come the bunch of grapes I packed in your lunch three days ago is still in there?  You love grapes.
Red:  They are hard to eat.
Me:  Are you peeling them individually?

*Regarding Clementines:
Me:  You drink orange juice by the 55 gallon drum, why won't you eat oranges?
Red:  They make my hands smell like orange when I'm done eating them.
Me:  They make soap and water.

            *3 days later*
Red:  I ate four tangerines today.
Me:  Awesome, where did you get those?
Red:  Off the kitchen table.
Me:  We don't have any tangerines.  Do you mean clementines?
Red:  Whatever.  Can you buy more?
Me: Sigh

*Regarding my homemade healthy banana nut muffins:
Red:  Those have a funny texture.
Me:  Yeah, I bought them from Dunkin Donuts, picked out all the fat, then reassembled them.  The super glue holding them together makes 'em a little chewier.

Beware the evil health food.

Hannah's Healthy Banana Nut Muffins:


  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup liquid (you can use milk or OJ*)
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour or ground oatmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup Splenda
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 F
1.  In a small bowl, mash together eggs, bananas, and liquid.  Make sure very or over ripe bananas are used, you really need that moisture
2.  In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients.  In the center, form a small 'bowl'
3.  Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredient 'bowl'.  Fold in gently.  DO NOT OVER MIX, IT WILL CAUSE THE MUFFINS TO BE TOUGH
4.  Put mixture into muffin tin.  I use an ice cream scoop and use a nonstick muffin tin.  This recipe is a little sticky.  I made the mistake of using paper cupcake liners and they were difficult to pull off the muffins.  This makes 11-12 muffins.
5.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  I find these bake at exactly 20 mins.

Note:  these muffins do not have a traditional cakey texture - they are a little chewier.  However, they are VERY low fat and low cal.

*I have a large Tupperware in the fridge that I reserve the liquid from canned fruit in.  Since I only buy canned fruit that is canned in fruit juice or light syrup, it isn't all sugar.  I use this in anything from marinades to cooking to mixed drinks.  It does have a lot of flavor.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wacky Wednesday: I Miss Spontaneity

My dearest Red and I have not been on a nice date in probably 8-9 months.  Work schedules, lack of money, weather, holidays, and a Yeti seem to have put a serious damper on our dating/romantic life.  Last weekend, I couldn't take it any more.  I put my foot down and set a date for this Wednesday (todayyyyyy!!!) of dropping everything, no matter what, to have a romantic evening out.  It got me thinking how different planning a night out really is before and after having a baby, lets examine some of those:

Planning to take care of a week in advance BEFORE children:

  • expect me to commit to something a week in advance?  Unless it is a major holiday like Cinco de Mayo, St. Patrick's Day, or Thanksgiving Eve, I don't think so, a better offer might come up.
Planning to take care of a week in advance AFTER children:
  • Find a sitter.
  • Find a restaurant where absolutely NO screaming children will be allowed and you will not see anyone you know.  I want to have conversation with Red, not eat my meal while he has conversation with his long lost best friend five tables away.  Hell, why not just join each other.
Outfit planning BEFORE children:
  • Sniff test any number of very hot bar hopping outfits you own.  Preferably the one that the cat has slept on the least.  Pair with hooker boots.  Wear enough body spray so nobody will notice you haven't done laundry in at least 3 weeks (ummm laundry seriously cuts into drinking time)*
*I've always thought that a bar with a laundromat in it would be a huge success.

Outfit planning AFTER children:
  • Oh fuck, I only have two pairs of jeans that fit me since hatching the Yeti and one shirt fit to wear in public that doesn't have baby puke stains on it.  Time to go buy a new outfit.
Primping before a date BEFORE children:
  • Bi weekly acrylic nail session? CHECK.  Bi weekly full body waxing? CHECK. Bi weekly pedicure? CHECK.  Hair cut and color obsessively maintained? CHECK
  • Date actually wears sexy clothes and cologne
Primping before a date AFTER children:
  • Wake up at 5 am for the following activities because I have let myself go for approximately 6 months and everything takes six times longer when you have an infant in the house:
    • Dye hair to hide roots/grays
    • Wax face to avoid confusion with being a circus freak and/or the Bearded Goat Woman from Hell
    • Shave arm pits AND legs - not just the calves, the ENTIRE leg (yeah right, you will get a shower that long).  Prepare for the possibility that I MIGHT get some tonight.
    • Try to figure out how you can't paint your fingernails and hope that the Yeti requires no maintenance for at least an hour (yeah right) so as not to smudge nails.  Screw it, he can cry.
    • Try to find another 25+ minutes to paint toe nails.
    • Clean house because Mother decides she wants to come visit
    • Find: flat iron, make up, jewelry, and footwear OTHER than Crocs
    • Do laundry so Red has something to wear.
  • Pack diaper bag
  • Answer the question "Honey, do I have to wear something nice?"  If you expect me to bring you.
  • Drop Yeti at in laws BEFORE you get dressed to avoid puke stains on new stain-free outfit.
Purse contents on a date BEFORE children:
  • Eye shadow
  • Lip gloss
  • ID, Debit card, $
  • Condom
Purse contents on a date AFTER children (note, you really only need the first three items on that list):
  • Spare make up
  • Wallet with every store and club card within 23 miles
  • Baby wipes
  • 3-4 rogue pacifiers
  • Kleenex
  • Lint roller
  • Gas drops (not for me)
Date conversation BEFORE children:
  • Anything fun, exciting, engaging, political, gossipy, naughty that comes to mind
Date conversation AFTER children:
  • Oh hey your W2 came in the mail.  Cool.
  • I paid the cell phone bill.  Yup.
  • The mail lady came at 11:39 today not 11:35.  
Post date activities BEFORE children (one of the following):
  • Holy shit, it's last call already?  Time to find a party to go to.
  • Holy shit, it's last call already?  Shit, I gotta change and get to work.
  • Holy shit, it's last call already?  Gotta find a random.
Post date activities AFTER children:
  • Holy shit, it's 7:00 pm, we have to get going to go pick up the baby and get to bed.
Me BEFORE children:

Me AFTER children:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Test Kitchen Tuesday - Johnsonville Chicken Sausage

I'll admit this is a slightly uninspiring blog post, but hey, what the hell...
Keeping in tradition of Test Kitchen Tuesday, I recently tried Johnsonville's new Chicken Sausages.  We have covered Red's love of bacon, but not sausage.  It ranks a close second.  I thought that since I was able to match a coupon with a BOGO sale, I would try these alternatives to snausage.

One night I made baked ziti and added the sliced up 'sausage'.  I will admit that the flavor and consistency were not what I was expecting.  They were more like Polish Kielbasa rather than a traditional pork sausage.  Red loved them, I found them a little yucky*.

*I have a pretty permanent visceral reaction to all forms of ground meat.  Working with it, cooking it, eating it - makes me gag.  Don't know why, I think it is a texture thing - I like my meat whole, not mashed.

The next time I used it, I sliced it up and sauteed it with some frozen pierogi (Polish ravioli for all of you not in the know).  This is my favorite unhealthy - I don't feel like cooking meal.  I thought that the sausages were better in this dish, but still not a huge fan.  Red gobbled them right up.

Would I recommend them?  I personally wouldn't, but Red thought they were great.  It is probably my hatred of ground meats that interferes with an unbiased opinion of this food.

Maple Dijon Glaze

Since Red sugars every spring (makes maple syrup for those of you who aren't in the know), we always have a pretty heft supply of maple syrup and maple cream in the fridge at my cooking disposal.  I created this recipe to be used on pork chops, but have also used it on boneless chicken breasts.  The last time I made this, I brined my pork chops for a day before cooking them for a little added moisture and flavor.  It is certainly not necessary to do this, but if I have the time and forethought, I always do.

3-4 pork chops

2 qt water
1/2 cup sea salt
Any fruits or veggies for flavor
1 tbl whole cloves
1 tbl black peppercorns
1 tbl whole allspice
1 tbl rosemary

1 tbl butter
1/4 cup maple cream
1/4 cup chicken stock
3 tbl apple cider vinegar
3 tbl mustard (either a dijon or stone ground)
1 shallot, sliced

1.  Bring to boil 2 qts water and 1/2 cup sea salt.  In addition to this, I add fruit that I think has no where to go but in the garbage can.  This time I added 1/2 grapefruit, 2 clementines, 2 apples (cored), and 3 cloves garlic.  Boil for 45 - 60 min.  Allow to cool to room temperature.  Pour cooled brine with contents over pork chops, cover, and refrigerate up to 24 hours.

2.  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Remove chops from brine and discard brine.  Pat the pork chops dry, this allows them to get that nice browning effect.  Season both sides with salt and pepper.

3.  Heat an oven proof skillet over medium high heat with enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom.  Cook chops on both sides until lightly browned.  Remove from pan.

4.  Melt butter in the pan, use a whisk to scrape up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.

5.  As butter is melting, combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl.  When butter is melted, add the other combined ingredients to the skillet.  Allow to simmer until reduced by half.

6.  Place chops back in the pan, spoon sauce over them, and place in a 350 F oven.  Cook until internal temp of pork is 160 F, basting with the sauce every 4-5 minutes.

7.  Remove pan from oven, allow to sit 5 minutes before serving.

This recipe is a hit in my house and is not time consuming at all.  It comes out great every time!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Inspectin' Bridges!

I've recently had some people inquire as to what I used to do for work, so I'll show ya!

State transportation agencies employ 'inspectors'.  Our job is to make sure that private contractors are building bridges and roads to state and federal specifications.  We read plans and specification books to make sure that everything is getting done the way it should be.  So, here are pics and vids of the last job I was working on - it is an almost $50 million dollar project in Turners Falls, Massachusetts.  The bridge is over a dam on the Connecticut River (96 feet from road surface to rocks and gushing water).
The view from under the bridge - almost 1/4 mile long

Me running the big Tonka toys
Water running under the bridge - DON'T fall in.
What is more exciting than walking on 8" wide beams 96' over rocks and gushing water in the dark?

There ya go!  It's dirty and dangerous and I loved every second of it!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Extreme Couponing Gripes...continued

If you weren't sick of me ranting about that stupid show, you may be when you are finished reading this post.  I spent a few minutes of quiet time researching the negative impact of the show Extreme Couponing.

Google 'Extreme Couponing Backlash' and you will be awarded with a plethora of articles from such sites as MSN Money, Today News, Yahoo, and other reputable sites who are listing the effect of this train wreck show.

It seems that since EC has been on air, coupon use has skyrocketed, which super markets and manufacturers appreciate to a point.  However...

-Many major supermarket chains have limited their coupon policy due to the large number of people shelf clearing.  WTF people - this is a true sign of American greed that couponers are clearing shelves so that others may not use their normal amounts of coupons to feed their family economically

-Supermarket managers are stating that people think it is acceptable to argue with cashiers or the managers over coupon policies/usage.  Doing this also angers other customers who are waiting in the check out line behind said selfish assholes.  This is unbelievable to me - I will admit that I have had POLITE interactions with my store staff about couponing discrepencies, but work within the rules people.  My local chain has a crystal clear coupon policy that I have never had a problem following.

-Theft of Sunday newspapers and illegal coupon photocopying has gone through the roof.  My god people - I'm sure we all know plenty of people who buy Sunday papers who DON'T coupon and would be more than happy to give you their inserts.

-More coupon manufacturers are placing heavier restrictions on the usage of their coupons.  Had to ruin it for everyone didn't you?  Selfish bastards.

-Women (usually stay at home moms) claiming they spend 40+ hours per week and making their kids clip coupons is a way to spend quality time with their brood?  Can you say 'violation of child labor laws'?  Looking for ways to spend quality time with your children?  How 'bout you plop them in front of their xbox 360 or DS.  Maybe if you had less than enough kids to replace the robots on Its A Small World, you wouldn't be so broke.

-Women who vehemently state that they will ONLY buy food that they have a coupon for?  What about fresh fruit and veggies and meat that isn't canned, processed, or frozen?  I will admit that I think it is a myth that coupons only exist for junk food.  As long as you aren't a organic-gluten free-food Nazi, there are plenty of coupons for healthy goods (soups, eggs, yogurt, etc).  I will admit that I concentrate my produce and meat shopping on foods that are currently on sale, but never deny myself and my family fresh food.  Have you seen some of the morbidly obese women on this show?

-Some psychologists are actually claiming that couponing is the newest form of OCD - people are obsessively scouring flyers and clipping coupons to get the best deal.  Have you seen these people having anxiety attacks at the register?  Not normal.

-Also, the marketing psychology behind coupons can sometimes get the unaware consumer to spend MORE money, not save.  For example, you need ice cream (everyone needs ice cream, right?).  You only need ONE half gallon, but you have a coupon for $1.00 of of two - hey, why not get them both, you are saving money right?  You have a coupon.  In reality, you are now almost doubling the money you have spent on ice cream and are bringing home an extra 19,439 calories into the household.

In one article, a journalist contacted TLC about these apparent negative effects on the couponing microcosm.  TLC gave the standard 'McDonalds answer to obesity' stating that it is just a television show and people can do with that subject matter what they want.  Hmm...doesn't TLC stand for The Learning Channel? or is it Take Lots of Coupons?  Looks like they are teaching people bad habits to me.

In conclusion:  thank you Extreme Couponers for ruining couponing for those people who use it in moderation to feed their family or to be able to afford to make donations food pantries, animal shelters, and emergency services.  Way to go.

Giddy Up!

Wow!!!  In the short amount of time that I have been blogging, I have already won an award from one of my fellow bloggers!!!

Maria over at Lil Mys Ninja gave me the Versatile Blogger Award!  I found her when she was featured over at when she was featured.  I couldn't resist following a fellow motorcycle ridin' chica!  She's a smart girl and I love reading her posts (especially her recipes!).  Plus she is a fellow couponer and philanthropist - I highly recommend that if you haven't, you should check her out.  Thanks Maria!!!

So, here are rules for this award:
  1. Thank the person that nominated you, and give them a shout out on your blog with a link to theirs.
  2. Share 7 random facts about yourself.
  3. Send on the award to 15 other bloggers whose blog you love and appreciate and then let them know they won the award.
Here are my 7 random facts:
1.  Our local chocolate shop (Richardson's Candy Kitchen) is quite famous.  The Kennedy's have been known to order from them.  I can't survive with out their dark chocolate covered English toffee with sea salt.
2.  Dishes are my arch enemy, I avoid doing them like the plague.
3.  I suffer from anxiety, but control it med-free.  Being more than four feet of my cell phone will induce an anxiety attack.
4.  I am a thrill whore - I loved my old job because I climbed bridge beams on a daily basis, sometimes 100+ feet above rocks and water.
5.  My dream (when I win the lottery) is to own a dairy farm/no kill animal shelter accepting everything from chinchillas to draft horses.
6.  Someday (when said lottery is hit), I will also own my dream Harley - a murdered out Fat Bob with red and cream pinstriping, vintage leather saddle seat, and LOUD pipes.
7.  My mom's first car was a 1967 Ford Mustang and I think that is the coolest thing ever.  It reminds me that all moms were cool at one point in their life.

Here are the blogs that I am passing this award on to: I couldn't come up with a full 15 I thought deserved this...sorry...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

It came from the mint green lagoon...

I woke up at 8:00 am this morning.  Yes, I said 8:00.  The house was quiet and snow was falling softly outside. The Yeti slept all night long.  For those of you who don't live in the snow belt, such a precipitous event is almost impossible to describe.  Everything outside is a shade white or gray punctuated by the occasional naked tree reaching upwards.  There is no noise, only the occasional crazy asshole from New York who has to prove that they can drive their Mercedes SUV 93 MPH in inclement weather so they can get to their ski condo.  The 12 year old inside of me jumped up and down reminiscent of the hopes of a snow day.

Soooo, I went in the bedroom (yes, I sleep on the couch because Red snores worse than the child of Tyrannosaurus and a chainsaw, thank god for the magic of a CPAP mask that is arriving soon) to wake Red up.  He plows snow for the State of Vermont on our main highway, so I figured I'd get his ass out of bed before they called so he could at least shower and have some coffee.  Have I mentioned that he has literally been at work 18+ hours per day for the last two weeks and blogging is the only adult interaction I have had?  Well, about 2 minutes after I woke him, the phone rang and he flew out of the house (with shower thankfully for all involved).

Realizing that it was time for my morning poop and that the Yeti was happily bouncing in his bouncy seat, I decided to enjoy a few minutes of quiet alone time in the bathroom.  I never realized until I had a child, how much I would come to enjoy even the simple act of an uninterrupted poop.  So, as I was sitting there, I casually gazed at the horrible institutional mint green paint bequeathed to us by a former tenant, day dreaming about new decorating possibilities when I spotted this:
My sphincter instantly slammed shut.  I have a paralyzing fear of spiders.  Don't move, it may attack at random.  It was guarding the door, waiting for me to make my escape so it could sneak down and suck my brains out through my ears.  This picture does not aptly describe the size of those front legs - they were at least four feet long.  The better to remove your eyeballs and feed them to its young, my dear.  My mind flashed to this:

What would I do?  Red was gone and all my killing implements were through the portal that the vicious monster was hovering over.

It was time for me to utilize my ninja skills and sneak by this evil gatekeeper.  No sudden moves, don't even flush - it may alert the the killing machine arachnid that I have become aware of its presence and thwart it's plans to wrap me in its web and suck the fluids out of my body.  A quick wipe and I did my Navy SEAL tuck and roll out the door.  I reached for my shotgun mop and returned to the cavern of death.  I prayed that in the 30 seconds that I was gone that the spider had not teleported back to it's lair where it would wait for me to sleep and lay eggs in my nostrils, allowing it's spawn to eat my cerebral cortex.
30 points to anyone who can name this movie

I quickly dispatched the spider a la Norman Bates but with out the arterial bursts of blood spattering the walls.

Peace at last.

I would like to add that I cannot figure out where this thing was hiding.  Aside from the occasional cat hair tumbleweed and a small pile of unfolded baby clothes that I have been avoiding like a bum with a cute puppy, my house is pretty clean.  I will have to send Red on a mission to the attic to make sure it doesn't look like this:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Reality? I think not

Shame on you, TLC, for leading the general public to believe that you too, can spend hours and hours clipping coupons and save one hundred percent on your weekly groceries.

I will admit that I tune in to Extreme Couponing and even caught the special Extreme Cheapskates (both on TLC in case any of you live under a rock).  I spend a lot of time trying to stretch our dollars (as I am currently unenjoyed unemployed).  I make every effort to conserve our resources on our meager pay.  I do spend several hours per week clipping coupons and perusing sale flyers.  I am able to save 50-75% on my grocery bill with sales and coupons.  I go to lengths not to throw away food as it is irresponsible both economically and with regards to sustainability.  I'm no tree hugger - I hunt and fish - but I HATE throwing away food - it is money and resources down the drain.

Here are my gripes regarding the process of Extreme Couponing (I will also refer to such sites as Krazy Coupon Lady and Coupon Mom)
-I have been couponing for years (not as much as I do now).  I have NEVER come across deals from my local grocery store in which combining a coupon with a sale gets an item for free (excluding the time that I wrote to Huggies complaining about their diapers and they sent me $20 coupons for diapers).
-My local grocery store does NOT allow you to redeem coupons for more than the value of the item (it seems that these people frequently have negative balances at the end of transactions)
-Several sites encourage you to hit multiples stores to take advantage of their sales - well I'm sorry, but my gas is worth something too.  Living in a very rural area of Vermont, it is costly for me to drive around to several stores in terms of gas.
-Printing out online coupons?  I feel it is environmentally irresponsible to waste all that paper and what is the cost involved in buying paper and ink for all those coupons?  I think some of these people need to do a cost/benefit analysis

Side note: I recently spoke to a girlfriend whose husband is a produce manager at another local grocery store.  She informed me that he says that there aren't any northern New England grocery chains that give deals like that - allowing savings of close to 100%.

Next, lets look at Extreme Cheapskates - for those of you who didn't catch this show, here are a few examples of the way that people on this show were saving money:
-One gentleman would go out to eat, bring several containers, and go around the restaurant asking people for the uneaten food on their plates.  Ok, people, setting my pride aside, that is truly an unsafe practice.  Realistically, you have no idea what communicable diseases these people are carrying around with them.  That is how the plague gets around.  There is still debate over whether or not HIV can be spread through saliva.
-One woman who was a member of a babysitting club (an situation in which 4 neighborhood families would leave their kids with one family every Friday night, with the requirement that in addition to sitting, you had to provide a meal as well) actually showed her shopping trip to the local discount store and purchased food that had a two year old expiration date to make pizza for her herd.  Again, I feel like this is a dangerous practice.  Why risk food poisoning to save a few cents here and there?
-This same woman also refused to buy toilet paper, instead, she made her family use rags, left a hamper in the bathroom, and washed them when it got full, citing that no forms of bacteria could survive a washing machine.  While I am not a biologist or sanitary engineer - come on people, this is just gross.  I understand that it really isn't any different than using cloth diapers, but for some reason I cannot wrap my noggin around wiping my ass with something that someone else in the house used to wipe theirs yesterday.  Aside from the yuck factor - how much more money does this woman spend in electricity and detergent to wash the 'toilet paper'?  Again, I feel a cost/benefit analysis is necessary in that instance.
*PS if I ever found out someone babysitting the Yeti was feeding him wildly expired food and making him wipe his ass with the family toilet paper, I would shit on her doorstep.
-One gentleman advocated the use of bartering to get free or discounted services/products.  In one clip, he was reciting verses and singing to get a discount on a wedding cake.  I will admit that I have traded services in a means of saving some money (i.e. working for the landlord to take some money off the rent), however, I don't think it is realistic that ANY business would trade singing for free services.
-One gentleman also went dumpster diving for food.  Do I even need to elaborate on that?

My question with regards to the Extreme Cheapskates is: how much money does it really save you?  Buying two ply TP and peeling it apart?  I don't know about you, but I would use more one ply trying to get all the cling-ons off my ass.

Maybe I don't see the bigger picture here because I certainly know that every penny counts, but I would never endanger my family's health to save a few cents.

More on baby puke...

It seems that one of the few mom talents I have yet to master is proper burp cloth placement.  I have no finesse when it comes to catching puke on anything other than my shirt.  Either that or I have one extremely devilish and uncooperative Yeti.

Upon the advice of my girlfriend, rather than purchase those wimpy terry cloth, buy cloth diapers, she offered.  They are super absorbent, bigger than most burp cloths, and a lot cheaper!  Right up my alley.

She did not, however, advise me on proper burp cloth etiquette.  It never fails that after the Yeti feeds, I do my best to keep him facing the cloth and at the millisecond before he pukes, he turns his head, making sure that he completely misses the burp cloth.  Or, he spouts an impressive display of projectile vomiting that would rival Disney's nightly display of fireworks before he is anywhere near the burp cloth.  He should choreograph it to music.  He never does this to his father.  It must be that manly bond - an unspoken agreement to torment mom.  Red cannot fathom how I get so much puke on my clothes (although, logic dictates that there is a direct relationship between the amount of feedings performed by mom and the amount of puke she gets on her shirt).

Of course, however, after the release of recycled formula, his eyes sparkle and his slimy white lips curl upwards.  My heart melts and all is forgiven.  God help the girl babies of southern Vermont, someday this kid is gonna be deadly in the dating scene.

So, every day, I proudly bear that honorable badge of motherhood above my breast - a white stain that indicates that I am completely incapable of finding a good place for a burp cloth.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

For the last month or more my right shoulder has been killing me.  There are days that I can't pull the chain on the over head lights or pull food off the top pantry shelves.  

Mind you, I am no pain wuss.  Reminder, the Yeti was 9 lb 3 oz at birth.  Speaking of the Yeti, I am fairly confident this whole situation is all his fault and that damn car seat.  You know, those ones that weigh as much as a Mazda and manage to smash into every door jamb you pass through.

I finally got fed up and called the doctor this morning to see what she had to say.  Come over at 1:20.  So, I decided to keep the horse and buggy in the barn and dust off the Ford Escape to make the 1 hour trek to the medical center in pouring rain/disgusting mess falling from the sky.

I arrive at the medical center (30 minutes early albeit, because Lord knows if you aren't super early, you won't make it though the registration line in time and therefore will be late for the appointment and they 'won't be able to squeeze you in' even though they would have taken you late anyways).

After checking in, I make it up to my physician's office (whom I have never met before - my old physician moved to a different department within the hospital, and I have now been stuck with someone named Marika - what is that?  It's not even a country).

Let's discuss the people in the waiting room:
*Deaf 70+ year old morbidly obese woman, in a wheelchair, coughing up blood (literally) and commenting on it, discussing her every medical ailment with what I assume to be her daughter, at the top of their lungs, of course, because she can't hear.  I truly enjoy hearing about the trials of diabetes, incontinence, and a slew of other pleasant maladies.  Awwww your baby is so cute, can you bring him over so I can see?  No, I try to keep his exposure to Tuberculosis to a minimum.

*Snaggle toothed 50 something woman who somehow has a broken shoulder a week after having rotator cuff surgery who is yelling at the receptionist because she needs to see her primary care physician NOW.  This injury COULD be doing more damage to her shoulder and ruining her surgery.  The bitch in me really wanted to ask, why she isn't in the emergency room or the orthopaedics office.  I'm pretty sure that whatever you have done to your shoulder since your surgery probably has done damage to the repair they have already done.  But hey, what do I know.

*Morbidly obese 20 something woman with 3 screaming animals climbing all over her seeking attention while she plays on her cell phone.  Awww your son is adorable.  Mine will be here in two months (as she rubs her belly).  Mind you, there was absolutely no visual indication that this woman was expecting she was so huge.

Even the Yeti was annoyed.  He started screaming.  Oh joyous sweet distraction.

Finally, as if the angels were trilling down from heaven and a shower of sunlight and rainbows showers upon me, my name was called.  The nurse quickly processed me and assured me that the doctor would be right in.  

Enter Marika.  
Her: So tell me about your shoulder.
Me - explained symptoms, time frame, pain levels, etc.
Her - performed some diagnostic range of motion, strength, and other such tests
Her:  Well there is definitely something going on with your shoulder.  I don't think it is your rotator cuff, only tendonitis so ice it, rest it, and take ibuprofen 3x per day.
Me: Thank you captain obvious, really putting that medical degree to use.
Her: Call back in a week if its not better.
Me: Yes because its already been injured over a month, it will magically be cured after coming here.  Clearly your evangelical touch has miraculously healed me.
Her: Make sure you try not to carry your son.  
Me: No problem, I'll make him walk.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Test Kitchen Tuesday - Venison Steaks

Ok, I think we've been through my mortal fear of cooking meat.  Fortunately for me, I have had an opportunity to overcome my carniphobia due to the abundance of free venison in the freezer.  No, I have never cooked a steak on my own.  I always thought that was manly work. we goooooo...

I had several packages of venison steaks.  I spent quite a while on the internet reading up on marinades and cooking techniques and finally came up with the following situation (sorry, been a lot of Jersey Shore on).  This recipe made enough for 2 lbs of venison steaks in a covered bowl.

Marinade Recipe:
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup red wine
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 clove garlic (rough chop)
1 shallot (rough chop)

1.  Thaw vension (if frozen, duh).  Rinse off the steaks.
2.  Make marinade, place meat in it.
3.  When ready, place meat on grill and cook to desired doneness.  Venison only needs to be cooked to about 150 F.  If you over cook it, it will come out tougher than boiled owl shit*.

Note:  I made this in the morning and left it in the bowl OUT of the fridge all day.  Several articles I read on cooking venison stated that because venison is so lean, if you leave it out of the cold it absorbs the marinade better.  I have used this recipe twice in the last two weeks and both times we did not die from eating meat that had been out of the fridge for 8+ hours.

Another note:  The second time I made this recipe, I was a little empty in the wine department.  The meat was a lot less tender than the first time I made it (all other factors were the same, I mean the steaks came from the same deer).  So if you chose to make this, I highly recommend using the wine or some other form of alcohol.  I know that acid from the vinegar is also a tenderizer, but it just wasn't the same with out the wine.

*I'm not really sure how tough boiled owl shit is, but it is something that my father has referenced many times through out my life.  I'm assuming with all that mouse fur and bones, it gets pretty tough.

Red did say that this was maybe the best venison steaks he had ever had and LOVED the marinade.  So ladies, try this out on your hubbies.

Friday, January 13, 2012

10 Things I Love About Motherhood

OK, I'm feeling very creative tonight...posting a couple of times...maybe it's the second bottle of wine I'm consuming while Red is out plowing snow for the third night in a row...maybe it's the fact that I feel like this is the only one sided adult conversation I am capable of having other than the 462 texts that I have sent and received today.

I saw a great writing prompt over at Mama Kats Losin It and just had to vent...
10 Things I Love About Motherhood:

1.  I'm the cool kid at parties who has a bottle of formula, not beer in her back pocket.
2.  My entire wardrobe used to consist of black shirts.  I cannot do this anymore as it shows baby puke more than any other color in my closet.  It has given me an excuse to buy a whole new puke friendly wardrobe.
3.  I love being the obnoxious person that I used to hate who bragged about their future model/Nobel Prize & Heisman trophy winning/President of the World/bazillionaire child.  Annoying people has always been a hobby of mine.
4.  Killer bi's and tri's from lifting a gigantic Yeti all the time.
5.  I will have someone that I can spend hours creating new ways to embarrass and it will never get old.  Hey, payback is a bitch, kiddo.
6.  It's a great excuse to blow off those people who always want to do stuff with you, that you tolerate, but secretly hate.
7.  A new pupil in Farting Education.  I feel it is very important to pass on a beloved family tradition.
8.  I was running out of things to complain about after 28 years.  Pregnancy and motherhood have given me a whole new exciting avenue of bitching.
9.  It's better than TV.  I can stare at the Yeti for countless hours, entertained by every expression, fart, burp, and indication that he will be the child mentioned in item 3.  Realistically this is a money saving tactic.  Cable is highway robbery.
10.  Lastly:
I can confidently say that I pushed a 9 lb 3 oz child out of my vagina.  Remember folks: putting them in is a lot more fun than taking them out.

Of Wo(men) and Mice

I was inspired by a fellow blogger who wrote about how long it takes to get out of the house when you have children to tell a story...

Setting the scene:
We live in a very rural area of Vermont on a large dairy farm.  There are literally over 1500 cows here and several hundred of them shit reside in the barn attached to our house.  For you city slickers who don't know, cows eat grain and silage (a delicious fermented amalgamation of chopped up corn stocks).  Another connoisseur of gourmet livestock feed - mice and rats.  They are enormous on farms.  They are more closely related to small bears than other rodentia.  The herd of wild cats don't even make a dent in the vermin population.  I mean, they aren't armed with RPG's, what can they do?

Story time:
So, I had the Yeti on October 25.  Ahhhh fall in New England.  The temperatures drop, the days get shorter, and small furry creatures look for a warm place to live.

I was trying to get the Yeti ready for his two week check up at the doctor's office that is about 45 minutes away.  Don't worry, we park the horse and buggy and take one of those new fangled automobiles up over yonder mountain to see the vet doctor.  In addition to trying to get a two week old baby ready to go to the doc, my mom pleasantly surprised shocked me by taking the day off from work so that she could 'help' me take the Yeti to the doctor.  She had to surprise me because if she had offered, I would have said no.  I'm convinced she thinks I am incapable of keeping another human being alive.  Maybe it was because I lived on coffee, alcohol, nicotine, and Totino's Pizza Rolls for a good ten years.

As I was saying.  I'm elbow deep in car seat straps with a screaming infant and my mother commenting on my inability to buckle said car seat (who can?) when I hear Snarles Barkley the Wonder Cat (who I only see move from her perch to the fed bag to the shitter box when necessary) cause a commotion in the kitchen and clearly crash into the cabinets.  I mistakenly assume it is nothing.

We are currently running ten minutes late.  Mom thinks it is her duty to check on schizophrenic dilusional feline.  The mountain of dishes in my sink flashes through my mind.  Oh fuck it, I have a two week old.

Shrill cry.  HANNAH.  WTF.

I abandon the screaming half buckled infant in the car seat momentarily to see what the HELL is going on in MY kitchen, when I discover that Snarles Barkley's long lost hunting instincts have not failed her.  A rather mutantly large mouse is cornered in front of her (hey, we do live two miles from a nuclear plant that leaks both Tritium and Selenium).  So, I go grab the shotgun broom, with intentions of killing said prey.

I was informed I could not kill the mouse, there is a baby in the house.  To this day, I have no idea what the link is between the two situations.

Huff.  15 minutes late.  Good thing we upgraded from a Model T to a Ford Escape so we can travel faster than the speed of smell.  So I coax the terrified mouse into our mop bucket with an empty cereal box and throw it outside.

You didn't wear gloves.  I didn't wear gloves.  I might catch a disease from not touching the mouse that probably makes our kitchen his playground every night.  Obsessive hand washing per mother's orders.  20 minutes late.  The cat is now pissed I interfered with her kill.  She will sooooo shit in the shower before we get back.

The Yeti is a Stubborn...

miserable child who takes after his mother father and revels in keeping me awake at night (not that I'm not already up most of the time suffering from enjoying insomnia.

Some of you may remember the battle we had with the baby torture device (if you haven't been reading that long, click here).  When I won this full on, two month long, civil war which pit mother against child - I felt as though I had just built the Great Wall of Motherhood.  People for generations to come would be able to see this from space.

Update, the Yeti has been sleeping peacefully in his torture device for a few weeks now.  Until this week.  We live in a very old New England farm house, whose insulation is lacking non-existent.  We do, however, have a brand new heating system in the house (installed this summer), whose operational status is questionable on a daily basis.  Its latest hiccup?  The heat in the baby's room is not working.  At all.  It is snot-freezing, penis-retreating, scrape the frost off the inside of the windows cold in there.

Not liking to sleep him in our bed with us (queen bed = too small for 2 humans, a cat, and a yeti) I decided to sleep on the couch with him the first night.  No deal.  He had fallen asleep initially, but then screamed for five hours, until I broke, literally put him in his winter outside clothes, and put him in his crib.  He smiled, and fell right asleep.  Devil Child.

Night two.  Get out the pack & play, place in living room.  Baby screams.  Bundle up devil child and place in crib again.  Smile.  Snore.

I've created a monster.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Obligatory Corny Pay it Forward Blog Post

One of my unpublished resolutions is to be a more positive human being.  I have a slight tendency to be...well...negative, pessimistic, and down right bitchy.  I frequently yell at my fellow drivers, scowl at the other idiots in the grocery store who always manage to stop in the middle of the aisle with out warning to get their Metamucil, and basically cast judgement way too much.

So, it is my mission to find more good in humanity and spread as much good karma as I can as well.  Yes, I have rainbows shooting out of my belly a la the Care Bears.  I have recently donated all of the Yeti's too small clothes to good will in addition to all of ours.  I also donated several packages of unopened, too small diapers to our local women's shelter.

I have noticed that I am having a much easier time doing good than seeing good.  It seems in our age of instant everything, that we have no time for common courtesy or even taking a few minutes to go out of our way to help someone who needs it.

Story time:
Earlier this week, I was leaving the grocery store and trying to get the Yeti into the car after someone parked waaay too close and manage to get my 3 bags of groceries packed in.  Reminder: it is winter in New England and slightly chilly.  Former Insomniac Mom would have wailed my door into theirs out of spite and pure pissed offedness.  Of course, the second I took the Yeti out, the cart started to roll away.  WTF moment.  Much to my surprise, a very nice gentleman stopped the cart, put my groceries in the back of my car while I wrestled with the car seat, and offered to put my cart away.  The skeptic in me assumed that he was an axe murderer/serial rapist and would duct tape my hands, throw me in his van, and lock me in his dungeon for all eternity.  However, I was touched.  I thanked him profusely.  He offered a simple 'Your welcome' and continued on his way.  This one act restored my faith in humanity.  All is not lost.  I vowed to pay it forward.

Today while in the grocery store, an elderly man was rifling through his purse bag and dropped his inhaler while we were strolling by on a massive couponing mission (which, I must brag, I got over $200 of groceries for $66).  Seeing that the inhaler was precisely what he was looking for, I asked if he needed help.  He looked at me quizzically.  I only asked because my OCD would ban anyone from touching my inhaler that would touch my lips, however the fact that it was now on the floor of a grocery store would have rendered it unusable even in a severe asthma attach.  He didn't answer, other than to continue to stare at me, so I bent down, picked it up, and placed it on top of his bag.  I bid him good day and continued on my way.  He continued his wordless stare.  My minuscule act of kindness brightened my day.

I am writing this post to encourage everyone to do the same.  No act is too small.  You don't have to volunteer 40 hours a week to make a difference in someone's day.  So, in addition to all my other 101 goals, I am aiming to take any opportunity to be a better person.  I will be more generous with pleases, thank yous,  compliments, and praises.  I hope that this will rub off on my Yeti someday and that this attitude will multiply rather than dwindle as it seems to be in this age of impatience, ego, and selfishness.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wacky Wednesday

I feel like I need to introduce you to my dad's family for Wacky Wednesday.

There are SEVEN boys and ONE girl.  Seven.  In a row.  I would attribute this to a combination of isolation in rural New England, cold winters, and being French Catholic.  Frankly, I'm surprised there weren't more or them.

In addition to there being seven of them - they were, shall we say, slightly rowdy out of control for most of their youth.  Now, we all know that these kids were not delivered by the stork or picked from a cabbage patch.

Enter Gramma Growley.  The matriarch of the family.  Yes, that was what we called her, to her face.  She was certainly no Michelle Duggar, but she loved and defended her offspring at any cost.

Facts about Gramma Growley:
*She loved to alternate hits off of her cigarettes and oxygen machine at the same time.
*She threatened to shoot the neighbor's unleashed dog for chasing the horses she had in the pasture.  She meant it.  By the way, she was a really good shot with a .22.
*She had a stash of condiments and sugar packs stolen from fast food joints that filled a garbage bag when she died.
*She was never with out her 'special' orange juice that I never understood why I couldn't have a sip of.
*She referred to one of my cousins as 'The Little Bastard'.  To his face.
*She had a vicious cat named Duchess that would lash out with out any instigation.
*She would frequently look out the window when someone pulled in and holler "Who the f*ck is here?"
*She kept food out in the woodshed in winter (not uncommon during cold New England winters), but would forget how long they had been in there (several winters perhaps?) and feed it to us.
*All holiday candy was purchased on sale after the holiday had passed, then put out the next year for that same holiday.  Halloween was always interesting.  Mom, why is this chocolate so hard?
*She probably could have been on Hoarders

Funny Gramma Growley story:
Disclaimer, my family is not disrespectful, just very comical at any event, including funerals.

Gramma Growley owned a large farm and when she died, we buried her next to my grandfather on top of the hill at the farm.  PS she was creamated.

One of my uncles had a beagle dog, Nicky, that she hated.  So at the burial ceremony, we were all outside (I was six at the time).  Apparantly, the night before, there had been a rather boisterous pre-funeral gathering in which large amounts of alcohol were consumed.  Therefore, the next day, there were several hung over members of the family.

Nicky decided that this would be a perfect time to go exploring in the woods adjacent to the burial site.  In true beagle form, he found some decomposed animal to roll in, then come back to get pets from the mourning funeral goers.  So one of my other hung over uncles, made a decision he would soon regret - he bent down to pet the dog.

Now, for anyone who is reading this who has never smelled or seen a dog that has just rolled in something rotten carcass, it is horrifying.  Blood and guts are usually matted in their fur, as they lick their chops and the smell...well...I really can't put words to it.

My uncle ran to the woods to puke.  My other uncle, who owned Nicky, exclaimed "Jesus, it smells like something died around here!"  Everyone broke out in laughter.  Classy.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Test Kitchen Tuesday - Venison Roast

I will admit that, in addition to homemade pie crust, I have a paralyzing fear of cooking meat.  Not little things like ground beef or chicken breasts, but roasts and steaks.  I fear them being dry and over cooked or worse – under cooked.  I have visions of being glued to the toilet with a severe case of botulism.  Growing up, we rarely ate such cuts of meat (certainly not venison), not because we were herbivores, but I think mom may have had the same fears I do. 
We recently obtained a freezer full of venison.  Ground, steaks, back straps, and roasts.  What better way to face my fear than to tackle one.  So we didn’t have a repeat of last week’s venison disaster, I spent quite a bit of time doing research on how to cook venison and flavors that pair well with it.  I found a primitive recipe on a hunting forum, but doctored it up a little bit.  So here we go…

Bacon Wrapped Venison Roast:

4 lb venison roast
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon coriander
1 shallot
5 slices thick cut bacon
1 cup red wine

1.  Preheat oven to 200 F
2.  Rinse venison and pat dry.  Place in a roasting pan.
3.  Combine rosemary, salt, sugar, cinnamon, black pepper, ginger, and coriander in a small bowl.  Rub evenly over roast.  Give it a little umph you want this to stick to the meat
4.  Slice shallot up very thin and place on top of roast
5.  Cut bacon strips in half and drape over shallots and roast.  Press ends of bacon down so the shallots stay on top of the roast
6.  Pour red wine over roast, cover with foil (seal edges)
7.  Place in oven until internal temp is 150 F (or desired doneness).   I have a remote meat thermometer and it may just be one of the coolest kitchen gadgets ever (other than my zoomy garlic mincer) I cooked this about 5 hours)
8.  Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before slicing

This recipe came out amazing. Red (who has eaten venison his whole life) said it was some of the best he ever had.  He did ask what the pine needles in the roast were (rosemary).Just make sure of the following when cooking a venison roast: don't over cook it - it can be very dry due to the lack of fat in the meat.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pediatricians Suck

I never realized how much I hated going to the doctor until I had to bring my own child to one.

Story time:
When the Yeti was two weeks old, he came down with a pretty nasty cold with lotsa phlegm.  My child that swallowed up more matter than a black hole wouldn't eat and was so congested he gurgled when he breathed. Being a new mom, I was terrified.  I called the pedi and they casually informed the scared new mom that there was nothing they could do and to just make him comfortable until he got over it.  So I stocked up on baby Vicks and put a vaporizer directly under his swing.  In a few days, he still had not gotten over it.  I called them back, and was told that if I took his temp and it was over 100 then to call back.  So, of course, I took his temperature constantly.  At about 1:00 pm his fever hit 100.4 under his arm (which I was also told to add 1 degree onto an armpit temp).  Of course, I panicked and called over - they gave me a 5:00 pm appointment.  When we went over, we did not see his normal pedi but the on call doc (who we specifically did not pick because she did not have a child of her own and we didn't think that she would be as good with children as someone who had a herd of their own).  First thing she did was offer him a bottle and of course, he took it.  Well, she said, clearly he is hungry.  Have you tried feeding him lately?  Nope, we are starving him.  She then took his temp (rectally, poor little guy) and it was only 99.6.  Ummmm, you said he had a fever of over a hundred?  Maybe you should try calling us next time he actually has a fever.  And oh, by the way, if you were still breast feeding him, he wouldn't be sick.

I pictured myself transforming into the Hulk again.  She then continued on to inform us that our car seat was too big for him.  Hmmm...when we purchased it, it said it was for infants.  I guess Combi lied.  I'll have to call them and complain.  Veins pulsing in my temples.  We packed up the Yeti and left.  

This was the first of several bad similar experiences in this practice.

So here's my bitch:

When I found out I was pregnant with the Yeti, I was adamant that I would breast feed.  I read all the books and did all the research.  I never had any intentions of having to every put one drop of formula in his mouth.
Fast forward to the first night after hatching the Yeti.  He latched right on, we had no problem feeding, for a half an hour, every hour.  I missed sleep.  My nipples hurt.  He cried all the time.  I was miserable.  In addition to ‘latching on’ he liked to chew on me.  I consulted the lactation consultants on the ‘chewing’ and they had no answer.  With regards to him eating every hour, I was told “Oh, it could take two or three months for him to get over that.”  Damn.  My nipples were cracked and bleeding.  Breast feeding was so painful, that I was crying every time he fed.  I tried the nipple creams, it didn’t help. 

When he was nine days old, we had a projectile vomiting incident, the contents of which were milk and blood.  Being a new mom, I panicked and called the hospital.  They assured me it was just because he was swallowing so much of my blood.  F*ck that.  I caved and gave him formula.  His first four ounce bottle, he guzzled and wanted more.  I felt horrible – I was turning my kid into a vampire and starving him.  I felt even worse for feeding him *gulp* formula!

Now, when we go to doctors’ appointments, I get all the snide comments that I’m not breast feeding.  Ok, doctors and nurses – I feel bad enough that I am giving him formula and feel like a failure for not nursing him, thank you for making me feel like a horrible mom.  Millions of children have been raised on formula and turned out fine, right?  I made an effort, right?  I have discussed this with my friends, and they have all had similar experiences.  Many changed pediatricians several times until they found one who respected what they had to say.

I’m writing this post, because I am curious about other mom’s experiences – bad nursing experiences, good ones, how their healthcare providers reacted to not breast feeding or any other parenting.  In my opinion, they should be supportive of the decisions parents make (provided it is in the best interest of the family) with regards to any aspects of their child's health.  So why is it that I feel like every time that we go to the doctors' office, I wind up feeling like a bad mom?  Why aren't they more understanding of a new mother's concerns?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Planning meals

I recently received a call from my girlfriend.  She has been following my blog and commented that I have such an easy time with cooking.  She continued on to say that she has a very hard time planning meals, grocery shopping, and finding meals that her picky boyfriend will eat.  She works full time and has an amazingly adorable nine month old monster of her own.  She asked for my advice on how I get it all done.  I realized that this is probably a common problem for many women.  Therefore, it became an inspiration for a post.
1.  I do one BIG grocery shopping trip a month.  I try to hit it on a week that our local store has a lot of basic necessities on sale and combine it with as many coupons as I can.  I will even buy items that I get good deals on, that I don’t normally cook with.  I use this opportunity to stock up on a variety of proteins (usually bulk boneless chicken breasts, pork chops, and ground turkey), veggies that have a fairly long shelf life (root, frozen, canned veggies, tomato sauces, etc), pastas, rices, shredded cheese, and cooking/baking necessities (flour, sugar, corn meal, stocks, etc).  I try to buy one or two specialty items that will last a while too – that way every time you shop, you build up your supplies (i.e. stone ground mustard, a bottle of red wine, cider vinegar, spices).
Staples I always have a stock of: Bisquick, Italian dressing, dry soup or dressing mixes, plain canned tomato sauce, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, bread crumbs, frozen corn, one bottle each of red wine and a dry white, beef stock, chicken stock, carrots, potatoes, onions, canned beans (kidney, black, and cannellini) chicken, pork, ground turkey, a variety of spices and spice blends, olive oil, flour, sugar, eggs, cornmeal, Pillsbury pie crust, taco seasoning packets, tortillas, and low fat shredded cheese.  With these things you can pretty much make anything.
2.  I take one night on a week or weekend and plan 3-4 meals.  I make sure that these are meals that will have leftovers that can be eaten as is or repurposed into something else (i.e. extra cooked chicken breasts make great chicken salad sandwiches the next day, or you can slice it up and put it on a fresh salad the next night), that way you don’t have to put a lot of time cooking time consuming meals every night.  Also, take advantage of your time, if you are in the kitchen cooking and have already made the mess, cook extra – make mashed potatoes as a side one night, but make enough so you can use it to make Shepherd’s Pie the next night (again, a cheap, easy dish – ground meat, corn, and mashed taters), if you are baking chicken, you might as well cook more than you will need for the recipe, you can use baked chicken for just about anything).  I usually write these on a list on the fridge so I remember what I am going to make.
3.  Once I have all my meals planned, I sometimes need some fresh veggies or fruits.  As these don’t have a long shelf life, I have a tendency to swing into the grocery store or local farm stand to grab these so I don’t have veggies rotting away and getting tossed (wasteful of food and money).
4.  Cook your meals!
5.  Optional – if I am in the mood and have a content/sleeping baby or Red is home, I will go on a day long cooking spree and throw stuff in the freezer.  In my experience, pasta dishes freeze the best (usually lasagna), many soups, stews, and chilis freeze well too.  Also, remember that meat can be frozen once it is cooked.  I’ll bake extra chicken and throw it in the freezer as well.  Just remember to seal your food with as little air in the package as possible.  If you have a vacuum sealer, whip it out, it will extend the amount of time something can live in the frozen north. 
I would like to add that cooking does come easy to me, NOW.  I never helped my mom cook dinners when I was younger and have just put in the time to learn how to cook.  If I’m bored, I read cookbooks or peruse the internet for recipes and ideas.  Also, I love to watch the Food Network.  I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and trying new recipes that are out of my comfort zone.  Hey, everyone screws things up once in a while, and I can honestly say that I have thrown plenty of meals away that just came out horrible.  Don’t be afraid to experiment!
Happy cooking!