Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday Dinners

Growing up, almost every Sunday dinner was the same. Roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, and dinner rolls. Sometimes instead of beef we would have chicken. My mom got quite tired of this meal as it was what she had weekly growing up, but the rest of us loved it so much that three weeks out of four that's what was on the table. As the years went by my brothers and I learned to cook. All four of us can make this meal without thinking about it. My brother Nate makes the world's most delicious mashed potatoes. Unfortunately, they may also be the world's unhealthiest potatoes. Low-fat is not in his vocabulary. I don't even want to guess at the amount of calories and fat they contain. My brother Mike makes better gravy than I do. To be fair, he tries harder and takes more time. But I am the family champion at making dinner rolls. Out of the kids, I mean. Still can't outdo my dad.

My husband Brent's family liked having waffles for their Sunday dinner. And they all like to put peanut butter on their waffles and pancakes. Crazy, I know. On the plus side, all I have to do to make Brent extra happy is serve breakfast for dinner.

My family still gets together for Sunday dinner almost every week. To this day if Nate is the one cooking Sunday dinner, it will involve roast beef, chicken or a turkey, and have mashed potatoes. If my brother Mike is in charge we are probably having steak or bar-b-qued chicken. I assume my brother Ryan can make something other than fajitas, but that's really all I've ever seen him make. Of course, he is the baby. A 22 year-old baby, to be precise.

I like traditions. They connect us with our past. In my own little family I have carried over a lot of the traditions that I grew up with. We've even added a couple from my husband's side, though there aren't that many he can remember. As mired in tradition as our Sunday dinners have been, changes are seeping in. As the oldest child and the only girl, it usually falls to me to champion traditions, which is why I can't quite understand why I have started serving tacos for Sunday dinners. Almost every time my family comes to my house, we have tacos. Sometimes we have chicken enchiladas, but we mainly have tacos.

I like tacos. They are easy to make as most of the preparation can be done the night before. People put them together themselves and get them just the way they want. And they are cheap. Particularly if you found a deal on taco shells and got them for 10 cents a box. Come to think of it, that is probably why I started serving tacos so often. Everyone loves Taco Sunday, as it's come to be known. Well, maybe not Nate, but everyone else is very excited for Taco Sunday.

It's gotten to the point where my brothers aren't sure if I can cook anything other than tacos. Sure I can, I tell them. I can also make burritos. I think to prove a point next time I'll make something else. Like pot roast or stew, or maybe some tacos.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Why I Don’t Homeschool

I know quite a few people who homeschool. This post isn't about the merits of homeschooling, or in opposition to homeschooling. It's never been something I have considered, but I did think of a list of reasons why it wouldn't be a good idea for me to do.

  1. History lessons would consist of letting H watch the History Channel. Since they are now showing shows about loggers and theoretical scenarios involving life after people, I'm not sure how much history H would learn.
  2. I have been consistently inconsistent with making sure H completes/does her homework for preschool. Pretty certain that doesn't bode well for the possibility of me being her teacher.
  3. International studies would be completed by watching Ninja Warrior episodes on G4. Hey, it happens in Japan.
  4. In an ongoing theme, home economics would be taught by Project Runway and Iron Chef America. Why do it yourself when you can get the experts to do it for you? Of course, H tends to critic my plating skills after watching Iron Chef, so maybe that would be a bad idea.
  5. I suck at math. I really suck at math. I am in no way qualified to teach H math. Excel, yes. Quicken, yes. Budgeting, sort of. But math other than counting? Not so much.
  6. H and I need a break from each other, otherwise we start to fight. If we were together all the time and I had to teach her school stuff, in addition to all the life skills stuff, I think we would go insane. As it is by the time Brent gets home on Friday night after being gone all week, we're ready to be separated.
  7. Since I don't really like people, H would be too isolated here at home. The only way she's going to make friends is if she goes somewhere that has a lot of kids her age.
  8. I really like to buy back to school supplies, and what is the point of buying a princess backpack and lunch box if you don't leave the house?
  9. Our field trips would consist of going to Wal-Mart to buy groceries. Not too fun, and not too educational, especially considering that sometimes we do fake fighting when we're at the store.
  10. We have lots of art supplies and crafts, but I am not artistic at all and should not be the one teaching H craft skills.
  11. H already has awesome computer skills, and can beat older kids at Mario Kart. So the exorbitant amount of time she spends with electronic devices needs to be drastically reduced. Since our house is full of said devices, and people who are always using them, school seems a better bet.
  12. I am not an athletic person. Exercise around here consists of P90x, which while awesome, is not exactly designed for 4-year-olds. H loves to go to the playground, and I would love for her to go and for me to stay home. Recess anyone?
  13. Lunch around here is almost always quesadillas. If I get her a lunch pass, that's one more meal I don't have to prepare.
  14. I bought a whole bunch of supplemental learning supplies to help H learn the alphabet and numbers and colors. The majority of them are still sitting in a pile, since she doesn't really want to go through them, and I don't really want to push her. 'Cause I'm lazy.


    So there you have it. I'm a slacker, but I own it. So as I prepare to throw H on the mercy of the public school system, I hope it works out for her. Because I don't have a backup plan.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

On Hair Styles

My main philosophy on hair is that it's just hair. It can be cut. It can grow out. So if a teenager/twentysomething wants to do something crazy with their hair, why not? It's not permanent. That being said, I do have a few thoughts on hair.

Mullets are never a good idea. Never. Never, never, never. Not if you are a woman. Not if you are a man. Not if you are a gym teacher—I had two female gym teachers who had mullets. Still not a good idea.

Product is your friend. Just enough product to help your hair. Mine, sadly, is pretty much impervious to any product and will still do what it wants by the end of the day, but I keep trying.

Unless your mom is a stylist, it's going to look like your mother cut your hair.

Unless you are shaving your head, don't cut your own hair.

If you have the same hairstyle you had in high school, it's probably time for a change. Except me though. My hair has pretty much always been an a-line or bobbed, and I dumped the big bangs a long time ago. But the rest of you, it makes you look dated, and older. And like you work at Wal-Mart.

Personally, I prefer shorter, styled hair for boys and men. I get that the shaggy, just rolled out of bed look is in. And I do understand the appeal. I mean, you don't even need to comb it. This is my brother Ryan.

He gets his hair cut once a year or so. But when you are, I don't know, say 25 and you are trying to get a professional job, that look might just not cut it. And people might mistake you for a homeless guy. Or Jesus.

And colorful streaks in your hair? Sure, when you're a teen. But if you are 40+ and you have bright pink streaks in your hair, you are not fooling anyone honey. It doesn't make you look younger, it makes you look desperate.

Little girls should have hair cuts that make them look like little girls, not little Barbie dolls. H and I have matching haircuts. On me, it looks like an adult cut. On her, it looks like a little girl cut. Gotta love the a-line. Little girls don't need haircuts requiring tons of product and tons of time to get them ready in the morning, making them look like a mini adult. If you want to take tons of time and have pretty braids and bows and whatnot, that's up to you. That's adorable too.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fashion Notes for Swimmers or Just Say No To Crack

This is not for you skinny size 6ers who can trot around in your bikinis without a second thought. So stop reading.

I think anyone who wants to wear a swim suit should. I think larger gals should be applauded for having the guts to wear a suit and get out and have fun in the sun. However, a bikini might not be the best choice. Especially a string bikini. I'm just saying they don't have a lot of support. Or coverage. Which is why I must applaud the two ladies I saw at the pool today—they had age and size appropriate suits on, they were out in the sun and having a great time.

The pool isn't a fashion parade-it's a place for people to swim. So let's not shoot dirty looks at mommies who are lucky to squeeze into their old maternity suit yet are still game to go to the pool. If it fits, it can float.

We should thank our lucky stars that most men just go with trunks, rather than body hugging Speedos.

The tankini is possibly one of the greatest swim innovations of all time after water wings and swim diapers. You get the convenience of a two-piece, the ability to fit the top and bottom to the right sizes, and you can cover up what you want to. Genius.

Swim skirts are awesome, as are swim shorts. You can skip shaving and cover your butt. They are not just for old ladies any more.

Sun screen is your friend. You young gals might think you need to bare all your skin and get a tan, but time has a way of catching up with you. You will be wrinkled and crone like, with a dermatologist on speed dial.

There is nothing wrong with covering up as much as you can when going to the beach. Rash guards, beach cover ups, floppy hats, sunglasses, capris—these are all good things. They make your time at the beach or pool last longer.

It would be nice if more swim wear were designed with something other than a 20-year-old hottie in mind. Some of us are saggy, baggy, and may not want to show everything off to the world, but would still like to be able to get into the pool.

Manufacturers should immediately stop production of all swim suits for little girls using animal prints, skimpy bikinis, or suits designed to make them look sexy. They are little girls, let them be little. They need one piece suits and tankinis featuring Disney characters and My Little Ponies. And cutesy flip flops, not sandals with heels.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Notes from the Road II

If everything is bigger in Texas, then everything must cost more in California. Stuff on the dollar menu in Vegas is $1.49 here. And $3.99 for a bag of Doritos? Do they contain flecks of gold?

I wish we had a rental car. Ours has old car smell now.

My brain went on vacation without me, and I think it's sipping pina coladas in Waikiki. It would appear Brent's brain joined mine, as he has been forgetting to lock the car, and also left the windows down. Maybe an old man slept in it, and that's where the old car smell came from.

I like staying at the condo, because we have a kitchen and a living area, but I really miss having a maid make the bed every day. And let's not get started on how fast H and I can trash a room. Brent is always shocked by it when we travel with him, which is funny.

Even if the weather is bad, it's nice being anywhere but home.

I stopped buying family members souvenirs from places we go. If they want a spoon or a t-shirt, they can go on their own trip. Although sometimes I will pick up a gift from wherever we are—I used to buy my mom salt and pepper shakers, and now that she's gone I sometimes buy them for my dad. But really, why get someone a memento from some place they didn't go? And I am never hauling home another pineapple from Hawaii again. Sorry Nate.

It doesn't matter where we go, Brent will run into someone he knows. Of course, since he has been to 48 of the 50 states, he does know people almost everywhere we go.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Notes from the Road

Since what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, it wasn't too much of a surprise when the girl at Fazoli's seemed high when taking our order.

Driving down the road we saw a car that had an empty bike rack on the back. A little while later we saw a car that had a full bike rack. Wonder if they were racing for pinks and the first car lost.

Apparently furniture grows along the road in California. Lots of people seemed to be stopping to load them up into their cars. One guy found a table to go with the mattresses that he had already found.

Cars seem to come in two sizes in California—really small and really big. If you had a big enough family to warrant buying a Hummer, wouldn't it be smarter to buy a bus and pick up some paying passengers along the way? I'm just saying.

A guy cut us off to speed through the agricultural checkpoint. After trying to speed thru it, the attendant checked his vehicle thoroughly, which we thought was hilariously funny. Then the guy flipped the attendant off. We were really hoping to see him pulled over further down the road.

I love to travel, but the older I get the worse getting to the destination seems to be. My motion sickness seems to be hitting faster, and my tolerance for lengthy flights or drives is getting shorter.

There is never a Cracker Barrel around when you need one. Like when I wanted some mashed potatoes, and we couldn't find anywhere other than KFC that had mashed potatoes, and I didn't want KFC. So we ended up going to Spoons Bar and Grill and they didn't have mashed potatoes either and the service was ultra slow and West Virginia lost to Duke by 21 points. Not exactly a great evening.

You need to call a timeout on the Punch Dub game when you pass a VW dealership, or someone is going to be black and blue.

If you play a game where you name all the words you can come up with that start with a letter and you pick the letter D, it is inevitable that the 4-year-old will come up with damn, dork, and dick.

The I Spy game can incite violence.

It is an empty threat to tell a 4-year-old if they don't go potty before leaving the mall that you will make them hold it all the way to San Diego if they need to pee 5 minutes down the road.

Floaty wings are awesome, because you don't actually have to get in the pool with your kid if you don't want to.

Making an Excel spreadsheet to track costs associated with vacation is practical, but a bit of a downer when it comes to relaxing. Fortunately, Brent is an Excel expert.

Earthquakes can make you nauseous.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Fashion Questions

I am not a fashionista by any sense of the word. The major portion of my wardrobe consists of jeans and t-shirts, with the occasional foray into velour sweats. So I am not speaking with any authority on fashion as I ask these questions.

I detest jumpers. If you are not a little girl, or a teenager in private school, they make you look frumpy. I ask you, when was the last time you saw a supermodel wearing a jumper? I admit, I own one. It's a maternity jumper, and I wore it when I was pregnant, under protest due to my feelings about jumpers.

I'm fine with layering-I do it myself from time to time, but I don't get putting a tank top or a halter top over a t-shirt. If you are concerned about modesty, what is wrong with just wearing the t-shirt? You pretty much look stupid wearing a t-shirt under your tank top. I'm just saying. I don't have an objection to wearing a tank top or a t-shirt under a shirt that is too low, or too short.

Flip flops are not dress wear. They do not support your feet. It seems like people wear them when it doesn't really make sense, like in the winter. Then you step in a pile of snow and your feet get cold. And what's with wearing shorts in the winter?

If you have a big butt, you shouldn't wear pants that have something written across the butt. You don't need to call attention to that area, and trust me, no one wants to read it. And no low ride pants or a tramp stamp either.

If you have kids, you are probably too old to wear a t-shirt with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on it.

If you are still wearing clothes you wore in high school, and you just had your 20 year class reunion, it's time to go shopping.

Crocs are ugly. I have a pair. I love them. You'll pry them off my cold dead feet. But I don't wear them to church, business meetings, or fancy parties.

Back in my day, if your bra strap was showing that was considered a fashion faux pas. I know that it's been the style to have your bra strap, or even most of your bra showing, but really, we don't want to see that.

It is possible to buy pants that don't show your butt crack. Or your underpants. I'm just saying.

Men, they have this nifty clothing item called a belt. It is used to hold up your pants. That way we don't see your boxers, and your pants don't fall down.

Little girls should be dressed like little girls, not miniature street walkers. That's means animal prints are out, shorty shorts, tight skirts and halter tops. Little girls have no business with strappy heels. They do not need skimpy bikinis. They need cute dresses, t-shirts, and pants. With Hello Kitty on them, or something.