Tuesday, October 8, 2019

What a Mom Wants

Photo by Norbert Buduczki on Unsplash
Guys, listen up. What I'm about to tell you is GOLD. This is the key to happiness for your wife. Are you ready? The all-time best gift for your wife is this:


It’s just that simple! All she wants is a clean car. She doesn't even know this is what she wants... but she does! And if you can anticipate this desire and meet her need before she knows she needs it, Buddy, you will unlock that place inside where all the gooey, mushy, feelings of great joy reside. You will be her hero; her number one guy! And you will reap the rewards as well.

See, before she was a mom, she enjoyed a sweet ride without nasty car seats covered in last month's spilled milk that now smell like the bottom of the trash cans... the ones on the OUTSIDE of the house. She didn't have old French fries under the seats, chicken nuggets in the cup-holders, or smears on the widows where someone just really needed to know what glass tastes like. She probably didn't have dog hair wafting throughout the air, landing on every imaginable surface and settling into a 2-inch layer of grossness on the carpet. She certainly didn’t have to play “guess that smell” every time she got into the car. 

Until the children came, she wasn’t used to driving a stinking cesspool of germs and grime that would put a Wal-Mart bathroom to shame. Her car used to be a sanctuary of cleanliness that still had that "new car smell" 28 months after you bought it. She used to have pride in her car and was able to offer anyone a lift, without notice, and without having to issue a disclaimer, "Please ignore the car. I have kids".

She just wants a clean car!!!  And you are the guy to make it happen. Take her car for an afternoon without saying a word, and watch how she responds when you return with a like-new mom-ride. You will be THE MAN! If you can swing a monthly detail service...Buddy you are GOLDEN! If not, please consider this gift for Mother's Day, her birthday, Christmas and your anniversary. Pretty much any occasion where you need a gift and are out of ideas... HERE'S YOUR HINT! 

This is what your wife wants. Forget the diamonds, flowers, stuffed teddy bears and pajama-grams. Seriously, DO NOT even consider a Pajama-gram! That's all crap (okay, maybe not the diamonds). But I promise you, if given the choice between a clean car and diamonds, five bucks says she takes the clean car. For the love of all that is pleasant and sanitary and lemony fresh...she just wants an uncontaminated ride. Or a hazmat suit...it's your call.


Thursday, October 3, 2019

Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing

July 2019
Where The Crawdads Sing
Author: Delia Owens
Genre: Fiction
Lori's Book Club Rating: 4 Thumbs Up

#1 New York Times Bestseller
A Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick

"I can't even express how much I love this book! I didn't want this story to end!"--Reese Witherspoon

"Painfully beautiful."--The New York Times Book Review

"Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps." (From the book description on Amazon)

Lori's Book Review 
Our book club was divided on this one. Some loved it and some didn't (the "some who didn't" includes me). I realize I am in the minority here; a lot of people really love this book. It just wasn't a great read for me. It's not that I hated it...I didn't. It just left me feeling sad, and that's not the way I want to feel when I finish a book. 

This is the heartbreaking account of a girl who is abandoned by her mother at the age of six. She is left with an abusive father, neglected and starving. One by one her siblings depart and, eventually, her dad just fails to return home from a trip. By the age of ten she is left completely alone, raising herself in a shack in the marsh land of North Carolina, essentially removed from civilization. Somehow we are to believe that a child can feed and support herself and grow up to be a stunningly beautiful young woman whom the boys in town desire. I just didn't find that plausible. A child left alone will not learn about self-care and hygiene. She will not receive medical and dental care. She will be malnourished; she'll have rotten teeth, mangy, knotted hair and bad breath. In a nutshell, she would be a complete mess of a human being.

Additionally, it is highly unlikely such an uneducated person would be able to become a published author. I happen to know a few things about the publishing industry and it is HARD to get published. In order to receive a publishing contract, an author must come to the table with a huge platform; a following of at least 10,000 people. This is actually more important than the content of the book. Publishers know that in-house editors can fix a manuscript, but they cannot manufacture a following. A publisher wants to know an author can sell books without much marketing budget required from the publisher. The "following" reigns supreme.  

True, this story takes place between 1952 and 1969 and book publishing would have been different then. However, it is still completely implausible to me that an uneducated, wild child who raised herself in seclusion would become a published author. However, I can actually let that go for the sake of the story. I mean...I love time travel novels, so plausibility is not a requirement for me to enjoy a book. What I do require is a story that will leave me feeling content about the character's life experiences. If there is tragedy or abuse, I want to see some resolution. I want my main character to win in the end. I want the Hallmark moment. The more traumas my main character faces, the bigger the "comeuppance" I want to see for the perpetrators. The death of the villain isn't always the best revenge. And though there was some resolution in this book, I just didn't find it good enough. 

Quite honestly, this story broke my mommy heart - up one side and down the other. How on earth does an entire family leave a small child with an abusive dad and not think to take the girl with them? As a mom, there is no way on God's green earth I would remove myself from an abusive situation and not take my children with me...especially a six-year-old girl.  So, though I concede this novel was well written, I just cannot jump on the "what a great read" bandwagon. The "resolution" at the end was not good enough for me. I wanted a happier ending. Without giving the ending away, I didn't want to see that twist. I didn't like it one bit. 

All that said, the fact that the book made me feel so strongly, is a compliment to the author. A writer, who can make the reader FEEL for the characters, has done a fantastic job. So though the story did not resonate with me, the writing was outstanding; just not my cup of tea.

If you like a story that includes child abuse, suffering, abandonment and murder, all wrapped up in one big "who-done-it" mystery, you might like this book. Me...? Not-so-much!  However, since four of the six book club members loved this book, I am still giving it 4 thumbs up.

It's not all about ME, y ‘all. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Totally Gross Chicken and Rice

About a thousand years ago, when I was little, my grandma made the most amazing chicken and rice casserole. I loved it. My siblings loved it. We all gobbled it up and asked for more. The smell of chicken and rice still reminds me of grandma, and mom, and a happy childhood. It gives me all the "feels". Truth!

So when Army Guy and I first got married, chicken and rice was one of the dishes I used to make... a lot. Notice I said "used to"? It took about ten years for Army Guy to inform me he doesn't really like that chicken and rice recipe. GASP!!! What?!?!?!  

  1. HOW could he not like the yummy-ness of my childhood; the smell that takes me back to a simpler time; the taste that reminds me of grandma; the food that tastes like "home"?
  2. WHY did it take TEN YEARS to tell me this?  I believe his exact words were "I'd rather eat dirt!" You cut me deep, Army Guy.

I was bewildered and confused. I simply cannot accept that he doesn't like grandmas chicken and rice. But I put the recipe away none-the-less. Insert whiny, sad face here.

Last week I was chatting with my three siblings in a group text. My brother brought up chicken and rice and we all reminisced about the taste and the memories....ahhhh... it took me back. When I informed them I haven't had it for ten years because Army Guy hates it, they all had the sads for me and wondered aloud if he might be a communist...or something. In that moment I devised a plan to introduce my boys to grandma's chicken and rice. I plotted this dish's comeback with glee. My opportunity came last weekend when Army Guy was out of town. It was my chance to share my grandma with the boys and I was super excited.

I served the nectar of grandma's kitchen. It really is love in a 9x13 casserole pan. OhEmGee... SO GOOD!  I devoured it. The boys kinda, sorta said "meh", picked at the entree and ate their broccoli. The dog ate well!  Nifty!  AND THEN... I woke up to this text from Army Guy the next morning.

Et tu, Brute?

So I'm guessing everybody in my house is against me on this one, except the dog, of course. She's got my back!  And also...did Matthew actually think I wouldn't notice when the Domino's guy showed up at my door?  Really? 

It's pretty clear my family will not eat my favorite childhood meal ever again, so I have retired grandmas recipe forever. A small part of me has died. I'm not sure why this bothers me so much. My children have very different ideas about what IS and IS NOT gross (read all about that here). I mean, these are the people who have been known to eat nasty cookies found under the couch. Clearly their opinions are questionable.

As for the leftovers... yup, I rinsed the rice from the chicken, diced it up and put it in the freezer. That chicken will resurface as enchiladas next week. And the rice... well that's in the freezer too, but I'm not sure how I'll use it. Soup maybe?  This one thing I DO know: they WILL eat every bit of that chicken and rice.  EVERY LAST BIT! Mwahahaha!

Below is the recipe for the most offensive dish ever created. If you can find the nerve to try it (considering that only 1 in 5 people in my household will eat it) please let me know what you think.  I mean, is it possible I grew up on a completely vile dish? Could it be super gross and my siblings and I just lack awareness? Somebody please make this and get back to me. If you think it's gross too, my childhood will be shattered. Sometimes we need a person who can gently deliver the hard truth. This might be such an occasion. Please be kind and consider my tender heart, but let me have it. Is this gross?


Boneless, skinless chicken thighs (as many as you need)
2 cups white rice
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 envelope Lipton onion soup
2 cups water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray
Place chicken in pan
Combine rice, soups and water. Pour over chicken. 
Cover and bake for 1 hour.

Copywrite 2018 - Loretta Monroe