Wednesday, December 30, 2015

No Elves on this Shelf

I can't think of a creepier concept than telling your kids that you've invited some big-headed, lanky
armed freaky thing into your house to stare at them...for Santa. It's bad enough that we threaten/bribe our kids all year long with a promise that some big, bearded guy won't crawl down the chimney in the middle of the night if they don't behave. Now we are adding the Elf on a Shelf.

If you notice, it's not even enough to hide him around the house. Now people have to  be creative. He takes selfies with kids' phones when they aren't looking. He has tea with Barbies.
 He even gets crazy with the baking supplies.

As creepy as the little guy..girl...creature is, the real reason I celebrate the fact that the Elf wasn't added to the list of holiday lies we tell our children until after mine were to old for it, is this-- Elf on a Shelf would have simply been one more Mom Fail for me.

Case in point: The Tooth Fairy

When I was a kid and I pulled a tooth, I placed it in the "tooth glass" (a.k.a Dad's shot glass) that was filled with water and put it on my nightstand. In the morning, without fail, the tooth would be gone and in its place would be a couple quarters or a 50 cent piece.

When my kids pulled their teeth, it usually took about 3 days for the busy, busy tooth fairy to finally get to our house. By that time, the Mom Fail guilt from a string of morning cries because "the Tooth Fairy forgot" had hit and a five dollar bill would miraculously appear under the pillow--for one tooth. At that rate of return, I'm surprised the kids weren't pull them left and right and gumming their food. Five bucks for one little molar! Geesh!

The Easter Bunny was only slightly better. The furry guy never forgot to leave a basket, but there was that one mishap when he left a trail of jelly beans. The kids never saw the trail, but the dog did. Cleaning up rainbow colored dog vomit isn't as fun as you might think.

If I had had to care for that creepy creature, I'm sure that at some point, the stress of adding one more Big Holiday Bribe/Threat would have shredded my last bit of sanity and the inevitable would have happened. Yes, the torturous treatment of the devilish elf. Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue, folks!

Here's the thing I don't get. I know folks with no little kids who are inviting this eerie little elf into their homes. Sometimes, when we don't have the sweet souls of three-year-olds to reign us in, the humor goes right down the toilet pretty fast. Just ask my brother-in-law whose youngest is 21. His day to take care of "Clyde" resulted in an ugly, ugly trip to the crapper.

So maybe I can think of something creepier than bribing our toddlers with mischievous, stalking doll.

Adults, Grown Up People, Parents of Teens and Older Children Everywhere, hear me roar: You are off the hook! You do not need to shelve your elves. It's your turn to smile and smirk at the tired parents of toddlers who awaken on Christmas morning after only 30 minutes of sleep and 10 hours of constructing playhouses and forts and train tracks and weeks of creatively displaying Clyde.  Kick up your heels, sit down and relax, celebrate. You've earned it.

Monday, December 14, 2015

If I Can Do It...My Journey Into Homemade Salsa

It's 10:00 on a Friday. I'm making homemade salsa. Of course. What else would I be doing with my life?

Here's the thing--I don't really make salsa. Making salsa is falls under "cooking". I bake. I don't cook.

But there's that turning over a new healthy leaf thing, so when I felt the urge to turn my kitchen into a a Roaring Mom version of the Keebler Elves Treehouse workshop, I stopped myself. I've been doing pretty good on this health kick thing. It's all about breaking old bad habits and replacing them with new healthy ones.

I pulled out my Fixate (21 Day Fix Approved) Cookbook and searched for a healthy replacement. I've actually always wanted to find a good homemade salsa recipe because we go through the stuff here like it's water.

There are 2 steps in this recipe:                                                        
1. Combine jalapeno, tomatoes, and salt in a bowl and mix well.
2. Add garlic, onion and cilantro and mix well.

YES! Even I can do that...but wait!

The ingredients list says roasted jalapeno. How the heck does one roast a jalapeno? I roast a roast in a crock pot. I'm not much of a chef, but even I know that won't work. So I Google it.

Apparently I need gloves to handle the jalapeno. I don't have jalapeno-handling gloves. Hmm... A plastic bag will work, right?

It is gonna have to. I am not going to the store (for probably the third time that day) just for jalapeno-handling gloves.

So back to this jalapeno roasting thing. First, I have to cut the peppers (while carefully holding them with my plastic bag). Then I have to take out the seeds. Seeds are tricky little boogers to pick out with a shopping bag on your hand. Next I place them in the oven on a broiler pan. (I may or may not have Googled what a broiler pan is.) Guess what? I do, in fact, have a broiler pan. Who knew, right?!

Who knew, also, that the peppers still aren't ready for salsa inclusion after they are cooled? They also must be peeled. How does one peel a roasted, broiled, blackened, jalapeno?

Google was busy that night.

Place the jalapenos in a sealed paper bag for fifteen minutes and the skins should peel right off. Only, I don't have paper bags. I have only plastic. You know, in case I have to handle jalapenos. I can also place the peppers on a plate and cover them with a bowl.

Meanwhile, I have some cilantro to chop. I'm not exactly sure cilantro can be chopped. It's wet and sticks to your hands and kind of tears or smashes. It doesn't really chop. I remove the bag/glove and tear the cilantro. Done.

Eventually, everything else is chopped, too--even the roasted, broasted, broiled, steamed, peeled jalapenos.

But wait! There is a recipe "tip"! I could have just pulverized it all in a blender for a less chunky version.


I have to try it. I like less chunky salsa. And I've come this far, anyway.

Well, it smelled great, but resembled a bowl of vomit.

Luckily, I had saved back a bit of the colorful, chunky, guilt-free, homemade, 21 Day Fix approved salsa. It tastes like accomplishment...and jalapenos!