Sunday, April 15, 2018

That Time I Realized My Thirteen-Year-Old Was 6'2"


Dear Mommies of the tall children, I need your input. If you have adult children who are extremely tall, please help me navigate this tall-baby season of life. Here's what's going down in my world...

One day my baby boy was a precious bundle of cuteness and love. Fast forward two months (I swear) and this same child is one giant, freakishly tall, man-child. Oh, and he's only thirteen. Y‘all...last year I had an anxiety attack when I realized the child and I were the same height. (I'm 5'10. Well I was 5'10" in high school anyway. The jury is still out on what three decades and gravity might have done to my height. But, I was once 5'10" and, lacking any concrete data to suggest otherwise, I'm just going with that.) But I digress. So one year ago, when he was twelve, we were the same height. That means my child has grown four inches in one year. This gives me all the feelings, none of which I am prepared to face at this time.

This boy/teen/giant-man-child is exactly the same height, size, and weight that his dad was when we got married. So I am not exaggerating at all when I say that my “boy” is the size of a large thirty-year-old man...except with a baby face. This gives me hives.

Putting my feelings aside for a moment, I'd like to focus on the practical. Like, I have questions y‘all! Serious questions! Here they are in no particular order.

1. If the child is 6'2 at the ripe old age of thirteen, what might his expected "adult height" be? Are we talking 7'9" or will this massive growth spurt settle down into something a little more manageable?

2. Should I ditch the idea of ever buying pants and just make him wear shorts until he is 21?  I mean, the purchase of pants, at this point, seems rather counter-productive.

3. Should I just buy stock in Levi's and maybe get on an auto-ship program that sends pants in a new length each month? Does Levi's have an auto-ship program? Why not? That's a genius marketing concept!

4. Why hasn't the junior high basketball coach been all over this child like stink on a skunk? I mean... he's a full foot taller than all the other 7th grade boys. That alone would strike fear into the heart of every other junior high basketball coach in the league. He doesn't even need amazing athletic ability. He could just stand there and be the rebound king. (It worked for Shaquille O'Neil... amiright?)

5. Why does this child have zero interest in basketball? It seems a waste of a God-given blessing to not use this height to his fullest advantage. Clearly he doesn't know our retirement portfolio has included the letters N, B, & A since our two-year-old was mistaken for a first grader.

6. The child wears a size 12 shoe. When will his feet stop growing? Will he end up in a size 17? Does Nike even make a size 17? Does his future involve roaming the streets barefoot, due to the lack of proper footwear? Where does Shaquille get his shoes? Will I have to sell a kidney for those enormous sneakers? 

7. What will this growth do to my grocery bill?  In your experience, is there some sort of formula for the amount of food this child will require?  "X" pounds of food, per inch, per month... or something? 

8. Does Kroger have a payment plan or could we maybe work something out? "Hello Kroger, I'd like to put 400 steaks and 84 gallons of milk on layaway. Thanks!"

9. Will there ever be a second, (other than between the hours of midnight and 5:00am) in which this child will not be "starving"?

10. Will he even fit into his college dorm room bunk bed? If not, will he just sleep in a park (in shorts and without shoes) because he needs wide open space to accommodate his giant-ness? What would that do to his social life?

These are the things that keep me up at 3:00am. (Well, that and an energy drink consumed at 7:30pm) So, all you mommies of the fully grown tall people, help a sista out. Any input you can provide is greatly appreciated. 




Tuesday, April 10, 2018

And Then THIS Happened!

What happens when you devote two posts in a row to your quirky kids and their desire to pretend you are a competitor on MasterChef?  A casting producer somehow stumbles upon your blog and invites you to submit an application for a cooking show. HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!  This email not only intrigued me... it gave me great joy!

Here's the email:

"Hi Loretta,
My name is Jillian Bonanne and I am a casting producer for testimonials for a fun new product. We are currently casting for inexperienced home cooks and would like to inform you about our search! 

We are looking for inexperienced home cooks that are ready to gain some confidence in the kitchen with an amazing new product. Do you have a passion for food, but need a little help in the kitchen? We want to hear from you!

For your convenience, I have attached a copy of our flyer that further details what we are looking for and how to apply. Please feel free to post this on your website, send out to any list serve you may have or forward it on to anyone you think may be interested. Any help spreading the word about our search is greatly appreciated!

For more information and how to apply, please visit our website at www.jscasting.com. If you have any questions or require further information, please email us at newhomecooksproject@gmail.com or feel free to contact me directly.  Thank you for your time and assistance.

Sincerely,

Jillian Bonanne
Casting Producer"





My first thought was hey... I'm a good cook! But then I had to admit that "good cooks" don't make tacos and spaghetti every week. Nor do they find a way to screw up Mac & Cheese... EVERY DANG TIME! (Hello scrambled-eggy-gooey-cheesy-noodle-slop).

"Good cooks" make snobby sounding food like...

CONFIT FILLET OF PORTUGUESE ROUGET"
Green Asparagus, Young Almonds, Meyer Lemon, and Brown Butter "Mousseline"

and  

CHARCOAL-GRILLED DIAMOND H RANCH QUAIL BREAST
Cauliflower Florettes, Muscat Grapes, Virginia Peanuts,  and "Satay Sauce"

(*Hat tip to the April 9, 2018 Chef's Tasting Menu at Per Se Restaurant in New York City, a Michelin 3-Star Restaurant)

Since I don't even know what Rouget is, I'm thinking I qualify as an "inexperienced home cook". So I thought, what the heck... I'll give it a go, and then I submitted an application. I'm posting about it here because I thought maybe YOU would like to submit an application too. Her note does say that "any help spreading the word about our search is greatly appreciated." So I thought I'd be super helpful and pass this on to my clever readers who might like this opportunity as well. So here you go...apply... what are you waiting for?...It will be fun!  

FYI  - this company casts for all kinds of cooking shows. If nothing else, this is a good website to watch if you're interested in actually getting "Chopped" (or not getting "Chopped").  Right now they are also casting for the Food Network show, "Beat Bobby Flay".  I feel compelled to submit my super awesome mac & cheese dish. There is no way Bobby could even dream of coming close to that!  Whadayathink? 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Update on the "Chopped" Situation

The ongoing cooking show in our home descended to a whole new level of low. First, if you haven't read about my life as a reality show "chef", you should probably wander on over to that post first. Then come on back and join us for the update.

So Thursday's dinner went horrifically wrong...on so many levels. The short version involves spoiled chicken breasts, moldy French bread, and one "chef" who forgot to buy pasta. This is perplexing since I shop every Monday for exactly what I need each week. How could my chicken and bread have gone bad so quickly?  Anyway...my dinner became an offering of a lovely tequila-lime cream sauce and Caesar salad. Now, I could have just re-named it "tequila-lime soup" and called it a day. I mean I am trying to get kicked off the show, am I not? Instead I asked Army Guy to pick up Chinese food and made a mental note to buy what I needed so we could enjoy our cream sauce with chicken and pasta the next day. WINNER of a plan .


Army Guy set the take-out containers on the table and then the "show" began.




Daniel:  "Chef Mom, what have you prepared for us tonight?"


Me: "Chef, tonight, instead of preparing dinner, I have instructed your father to procure dinner from our favorite Asian inspired establishment. Daddy, will you please present what you have selected."


Army Guy:  "Tonight we have a medley of Chinese dishes..."

Daniel cut Army Guy off, "I'm sorry, I was talking to Chef Mom, it's not your turn."

Me: "Chef tonight we have Lo Mein Noodles with shrimp in addition to Mongolian Beef and Orange Chicken."

Me (thinking) He HAS to kick me off tonight...I didn't do anything. This is my out.

Daniel: "Though this dinner is quite delicious, you really didn't do anything worthy of the title of MasterChef."

Me: (thinking) YES! Here it comes, so long KP duty.

And then...I made the rooky mistake of thinking out loud. "Oh look...my fortune cookie doesn't have a fortune inside...sad!"

Matthew: "You have just selected the mystery cookie, which means...tonight is a non-elimination round".

Yep...I had my out, and I found a way to mess it up.  I saw my exit and was ready to skip right through that door singing "Zip-a-dee-doo-dah" all the way to freedom-from-the-kitchen bliss. Then I opened my idiot mouth and gave my family a reason to keep me chained to the stove for the rest of my life. Indeed I am an idiot sandwich!


via GIPHY



Clearly I should have shut my mouth and just served the dang tequila-lime soup. For real!


Monday, April 2, 2018

I Just Can't Get "Chopped"!



Cooking competition shows are quite popular in our home. The boys love Chopped, MasterChef, and The Great British Baking Show. The Netflix original, "Nailed It", was also a huge hit! We highly recommend this one if you want to full on laugh out loud.

Anyway, the boys have learned a few things from these shows, the least of which is how to prepare actual food. Rather, they have learned how to properly critique food…my food, to be exact. So now I live (and cook) in this crazy reality where I am in a competition every dang night. It doesn't matter what I serve, the boys give me their best Gordon Ramsey treatment over the dish. 

Dinner at our house on any given night

Me:  "Family, today I have prepared for you a delightful casserole of layered pasta and bolognese with mozzarella, parmesan and ricotta cheeses. On the side we have a toasted Parisian bread which has been lightly buttered and sprinkled with garlic and herbs."

Matthew: Takes a heaping fork-full of my food, bringing it to his face for a super close inspection. He sniffs, stares at me over the fork, and takes a bite, being careful not to let his lips actually touch the fork. He glares right through me, guarding his expression so his face gives no clue of his reaction. "Interesting". 

Daniel: Suggests that the dish is good but could use a tad more salt. 

Andrew: Comments on how the bread has really overshadowed the dish.  "Your lasagna should be the star here...not the bread." 

Gleefully I think, this is IT! Tonight I will FINALLY be cut from this nightmare! No more cooking for me... WHOOOP!  

Army Guy: Looks straight at me and delivers the verdict.  "You did enough to make it through to the next episode." Hanging my head in defeat, I receive the "sentence" like some sorry defendant on trial for murder. Secretly I plot my next meal, which I will prepare with less "gusto" and more "half-ass-ery". Yes, I think, they will chop me for sure tomorrow. I plotted my defeat with enthusiasm.

The next night was my perfect opportunity to finally be chopped. I didn't get home until 6:30 and decided I didn’t really have time to make chicken tacos after all...so I called, “free-for-all...come and get it! Everyone choose whatever leftover you want." Daniel and I had Monday's pork chops while Matthew selected just mashed potatoes and Army Guy made a bowl of ramen noodles. Certainly I will get chopped tonight. There is NO WAY Gordon Ramsey would allow me to continue after an offering of reheated food from Monday... for the love of muffins!

Internally I am super excited because I know there is no way they can find an excuse to keep me this time. Certainly tonight is my final night in the kitchen... I HAVE DONE IT!  With a stoic expression, Daniel delivers the decision, "You will...... NOT.... be leaving us tonight." He looks at the empty space next to me and says "I'm sorry Invisible Jimmy, you have been chopped!"


"SERIOUSLY! I REHEATED LEFTOVERS!" I exclaimed, "Why does Invisible Jimmy get to leave the show?" Without skipping a beat, Daniel announces, “Tonight's secret theme was leftovers!"

I am beginning to think this whole show is rigged!



Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Art of the Polite Smack-down



When your eleven-year-old son is playing some sort of "Minecraft-something-or-other" on your iPad while you are binge-watching The Crown, the child will most certainly pick up a few choice phrases.  He will witness the "Queen Mother" quite effectively shut down some underling with this simple suggestion: "Do sit down".  Of course the "Queen" just gets straight to the point with, "Do shut up". Clearly our British friends have perfected the polite smack-down. You might think these phrases went right over your son’s head… you would be wrong.

Imagine my delight later in the week when I overhead, "Do shut up, Andrew!" from the game room. I couldn't even be mad. If it's polite enough for the queen, it's clearly polite enough for my boys. This wonderful new method of suggesting that one should be quiet has morphed into other equally mannerly statements such as, "Do kiss my butt", and "Do go away"...etc. Of course the proper accent is included...because it's just required.

Recently this graciousness has taken on more of a formal invitation-ish format; because what is more pleasant than receiving an invitation?  "I'd like to invite you to shut up". See how lovely that is?

This invitation often comes with highly elaborate and, quite imaginary, "packaging". For example, "I'm sending you an invitation on fancy stationary. The envelope has your name written in elegant gold calligraphy and is stuffed with silver and white heart shaped confetti. The invitation itself is embossed... it's a simple two-word message...”  Translation:  "I love you, but shut up!"  One time Army Guy sent me an invitation presented by buglers on white horses. It was a royal fanfare worthy of the queen herself.  Translation: “I acknowledge your princess-ness, but please shut up, your Royal Highness”. 

I, in turn, sent an invitation to Army Guy, which was delivered by a marching band and four dozen flag girls. The flags were made of a glittery red fabric and had large silver and rhinestone letters. Each flag had one single, sparkly letter: S, H, U…you get the idea. The other forty-two flags were for punctuation purposes only: exclamation points, to be precise. Translation: "S H U T - U P !!!!!!!!!!!" 

One time Matthew had his message delivered via the space shuttle and seven astronauts participating in a massive ticker-tape parade. But the very best and most creative invitation came from the daughter of my dear friend, Kelly, who invited her dad to a "Shush Party" where she was serving Shush Cake and Mu-shush-room Pizza.  Squeeeee!!!  Genius wit from an eight-year-old.

Here’s a special Thank-you to the Brits, who have inspired creative etiquette and social graces in our home. Bravo my Brit friends. I do believe the Queen herself would approve. Do feel free to like and share. :)






Copywrite 2018 - Loretta Monroe