This Is Your Brain on Friendsgiving

9 a.m.: I wonder how long I can stay in bed and pretend this isn't happening. 9:15: GET UP GET UP GET UP 10:00: Time To Fuss Over Flower Arrangements! 10:30: It's probably too early to put out chips and stuff, right? 10:35: (Realizes Jason bought Cheetos) 10:40 - noon: (Stress-eats Cheetos) 12:01 p.m.: Rearrange All The Flower Arrangements! 12:30: Ike has announced his intention to take a rolling Friendsgiving attendance/headcount on Post-It Notes. It's good to have a purpose. 1:00: OMG no one is coming 1:45: OMG everyone is coming 1:47: Ike has re-made the Friendsgiving banner. 2:00 - who even can remember: HI HI HI HI HI HI I LIKE EVERYBODY HERE SO MUCH 2:05: Where is my wine glass? 2:30: Oh, there it is. 2:35: We aren't going to have enough food. 3:00: Holy shit there is so much food. 3:02: WTF lost my wine glass again. 3:15: One turkey down, two more to go. 3:45: I should not have filled up on Cheetos. 4:00: Ike has redecorated the bar area. 4:15: Guess I'll just get a new wine glass? Is that allowed? 4:16: Oh right. This is my house. 4:30: Deep-fried turkey is the best turkey,... Read more →


Our Blue Apron Anniversary

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. So we've been Blue Apron members for...wow, three full years now, officially. Every Monday, two boxes show up on our doorstep. (We find that two boxes of the 2-person plan feeds our 5-person family perfectly, often with leftovers. Blue Apron also has a 4-person family plan but we found the portions a touch smaller and the meals more kid-friendly than our kids really need. YMMV.) We unload the ingredients, pull out the recipe cards, map out when we'll make what, and bam. Our dinner menu planning and shopping is done for the week, in less than 10 minutes. We have tried other meal delivery services in that time, but have always returned to Blue Apron time and time again. Some are just too expensive and/or the prices advertised don't include the shipping costs (tricksy hobbits). Others consistently sent us rotten ingredients and reaching customer service was a labyrinth of response-less frustration. (BA lets me report missing or damaged ingredients directly from their app, and I always hear back with an account credit within a day. Their customer service is fabulous.) Another one promised super fast, zero-prep meals but relied heavily on processed foods... Read more →


Marrch of the RR Key

The rr key on my keyboarrd is sticking. Not every time, so I keep forgetting about it, and then rrealize a second too late that I've just sent an email or article or blog post into the worrld with a bunch of r-rrelated typos. It's great. Rreally grreat. Luckily this dump doesn't really care for stuff like "editorial standards" or "prroofreading" or "grammarr that doesn't fold and collapse in on itself under the weight of the seventh line of a single run-on sentence" or "CAPS LOCK IS LAZY AND SHOUTY," so I should be okay. rr. r. rrrrrrrrrrrr. (STOP IT, ASSHOLE KEY. ARRRRRGH.) Anyway. How's everybody's week? Mine is boring, although I'm trying to pretend it's not March because March is a very bad, not rreally grreat month for me, historically speaking, what with it being long and cold and grey and oh right, the month where everybody and everything I love dies. Not to be dramatic, but well, March can suck it. Rey was making some vomit/heaving noises this morning and I was like, DON'T YOU EVEN START WITH THAT I CANNOT. (It was a hairrball.) Last night we trried to make falafel pita sandwiches and something went very,... Read more →


Date Night, Every Night

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. Man, last week was One Of Those Weeks. Jason's work kept him late almost every night, or had him commuting to D.C., while the boys all started different after-school enrichment programs on different nights of the week (naturally!). They'd come home extra crunched for time and INSANELY hungry, having missed their usual after-school snack break. They needed dinner STAT and waiting for Dad to get home wasn't an option. It was One Of Those Weeks where we just had to sacrifice our family dinner ritual. It happens. Kids got an easy, early dinner from the freezer or pasta shelf. All as healthy and homemade-ish as I could manage (I do a lot of big-batch cooking on weekends for nights like that), but certainly nothing too challenging or exciting. Jason and I, on the other hand, didn't have to sacrifice much at all: Every night was Date Night, thanks to Blue Apron. Usually when we have One Of Those Weeks, we end up ordering a lot of takeout or delivery, which is 1) expensive, and 2) too easy to blow through 2,500 calories in one sitting because oh look a two-for-one deal on large... Read more →


Rando Weekend

It's January 17, almost Let's Inaugurate a Lunatic Day, it's cold and grey outside, and I still haven't taken down our Christmas tree, which is dead. Time for a half-assed, hodgepodge post of random, mostly unrelated photos! I made this for dinner and lo, it was good. (We've been mixing it up and trying out a few of the other meal-delivery service options, so this was a Sunbasket recipe.) So good that the kids ate EVERY BITE, declared it their favorite, and then Ezra and Ike made me thank-you necklaces. Which I think went really well with an equally ridiculous dress. The men in my life give me weird things. I also made a lasagna. I was pretty darn proud of it (as evidenced by the multiple photos I took of it for no reason) and the kids ate it just fine, but alas, I was not showered in additional jewelry afterwards. Ingrates. Our weekend was on the touristy side...first Jason took Noah to Fort McHenry in Baltimore while I hosted a playdate for the other two at home.* He had more questions than the park staff were able to answer, but came home full of excitement, along with a... Read more →


Friendsgiving 2016

We hosted our second-ever Friendsgiving potluck on Saturday, and once again, I forgot to take any pictures to prove that it actually happened and people actually showed up, or that the whole thing isn't just a yearly shared delusion of ours, where Jason and I serve multiple turkeys to a collection of brooms and mops we've placed around our dining table. (Traditional roast turkey on the left; deep fried on the right. Possible sighting of a human guest's arm in the background.) But seriously, we had about 25 friends and neighbors this time, which was much, MUCH more reasonable than last year's ALMOST FORTY, most of whom never left the kitchen because we stupidly put all the booze and appetizers in there. This year I was a lot more strategic in food/alcohol placement so we more or less avoided any bottlenecks, although setting up the bar in the lower-level family room meant every time you wanted a refill you were going to have to deal with some stairs. So you know, drink responsibly folks, or you're gonna end up as a party foul anecdote on the Internet. No one fell, but the night before the cat did this: On Friendsgiving... Read more →


Life Lessons in the Kitchen

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. I just had to do math on my fingers to figure out how long we've been using the Blue Apron service. It was either that or count the recipe cards, which, I mean: Hahahaha. It's been about 19 months, a whole bunch of posts and even more awesome meals. Less shopping and food waste, fun recipes to choose from, excellent and unusual ingredients, impeccable customer service. And my hippie side appreciates how hard the company works to constantly improve/streamline/reduce the packaging and sources food from sustainable fisheries and humane, responsible farms. Definitely makes how CONVENIENT the service is feel like even less of a trade-off. (And yes, I am typing this praise of my own genuine authentic free will and not because of some required list of talking points. SO THERE.) And now, for something maybe slightly different, I present 20 completely random cooking and life lessons that Blue Apron has taught me: 1) My children will eat ANYTHING if it's encased in a calzone. 2) Make kiddo-sized calzones for double the dinner yield, reheat the leftovers in the oven during breakfast, wrap in foil, and toss in their lunchboxes. Your children will... Read more →


8 Hours of Cooking in 2 Minutes or Less

This post is sponsored by The Crock-Pot® Brand. I received my very first Crock-Pot® slow cooker at my bridal shower. We didn't register for anything and really didn't want a ton of stuff, but a slow cooker was one of the few items I requested my mother and future MIL suggest if anyone asked for a specific idea. (Being completely broke college students with loans and rent and two big do-it-ourselves moves scheduled within our first six months of married life, we admittedly hoped the lack of registry would signal that HEY CASH WOULD BE GREAT to our friends and family.) (Most people got the hint. Everybody else bought us the exact same set of casserole dishes.) Today, we own three different slow cookers: small, medium, and large. Clearly, we have truly arrived. When I was little, my mom would make these beef-and-vegetable stews in her slow cooker that even I, a horribly awful no-good picky eater, would devour. I think because the way the house would slowly start to smell all savory and delicious throughout the afternoon, and my stomach and taste buds would involuntarily start to crave whatever I was smelling. When I was working outside the home,... Read more →


Let's Talk About Food & Then Let's Also Not

So this week is off to a FLAMING good start, with a nice little stomach bug that knocked us all over, domino style. Ezra, then Ike, now Noah, and oh right, MEEEEE, somewhere right in the middle of everybody else. So it's been great! Just super great. Very ready for the winter stomach flus to move along so we can get to all the spring colds and allergies and hay fever crap. But I do have some good news today, for anybody who is like, "why am I reading about someone else's vomiting children I have taken a very wrong turn on the Internet," by (apparently!!) popular demand, I have a new post series launching at AlphaMom. And it's about food! And cooking! Specifically, healthy cooking for (and with) kids. First recipe is for Ezra's absolute favorite food to eat and cook: an easy citrus sweet potato mash that works as a grown-up side dish, a step-up puree for older babies (provided they can handle a touch of orange juice), and can be modified and rolled into a homemade sweet potato puff. (Without the excessive sugar/salt/preservative crap.) I make this shit by the truckload, freeze it, use it for school... Read more →


True Romance

So I get that Valentine's Day is a cheesy, unnecessary holiday birthed from crass marketing and consumerism, and it's cool to be all, "whatever, we don't do anything for Valentine's Day because we don't celebrate Hallmark Holidays blah yadda blah." But I married a romantic with a penchant for big gestures and special occasions. Not doing anything for Valentine's Day goes against his very DNA. So we celebrate Valentine's Day, but to prove that we're not complete lemmings, we don't celebrate it specifically ON Valentine's day. This year we went with February 13th. Yeah, that'll show 'em! Stick it to the man! (On Valentine's Day Proper we took the boys to see Kung Fu Panda 3, which wasn't technically terrible or anything, but I feel like the storytelling possibilities and overall concept of a kung fu fighting panda have officially run the full course and it is time to move on.) (Next up: Jujitsu Shrimp! Crossfit Honey Badgers!) On Saturday, Jason woke me up with the news that he'd booked me a surprise massage appointment, because he is amazing and also loves to ignore our "no gifts this year, right?" agreement every single time. Probably just to make me look... Read more →