Tuesday, November 24, 2009


The other night I was dead-dog tired. And you know, when the mama is dead-dog tired, the demands begin to swarm like gnats on a hot summer's day. It's God's way of teaching us patience and long-suffering.

After three hours of homework (seriously), an hour of piano practice, cooking dinner, and bath time, I was D-O-N-E. The afternoon had quickly turned to night, and I could hardly wait for 8:30 to flash on our microwave's digital clock.

"It's time for bed, people." I clapped and hollered as I marched up the hallway to check what was going on in the brightly lit bathroom. My homies had been in there, fonching around, for the last ten minutes. I turned the corner, surprised to find wads of toilet paper, dotted with blood, scattered across the bathroom counter.

"My tooth came out." Sam said, turning to show me the blood pumping from his back molar.

"Awesome, Bud. Go to bed." I said, patting him on the back.

"The Tooth Fairy will come tonight. That tooth was hard to get out, Mom."

"I bet it was, Bud. Bed." I said, like a broken record.

Here's the thing: The Tooth Fairy and I were out of cold, hard cash. We were also exhausted to the max. That's why we decided on using the Sacagawea I had found in the dryer the day before. Sue me, and kick me down the street. I now realize that the Tooth Fairy and I stink like toe jam. The old, dirty coin was a heartless and lazy gift. I get it.

I busted a gut when I found Sam's written response to the Tooth Fairy, which was left on his bedroom floor, next to his bed:

Dear Tooth Fairy,

I was expecting more of a gift. I am not trying to be rude but I think you could put a little more efort into that (Not trying to be rude).


The story gets more pathetic. I loved the note so much, I stuffed it into my underwear drawer. I wanted to save it forever. Later that day, Sam found it and asked, "How did the Tooth Fairy's note get in here?"

I stood there, speechless.

P.S. In case you were wondering, I did ask Sam what in the tarnation was he doing, shuffling around in my undergarment business. Apparently he was looking for Christmas presents.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sweet Potato

I'm the only one in my family who loves sweet potatoes, and I bake them once a year, on Thanksgiving, just for myself. I've searched high and low for the best recipe, and I've finally found it. I could just kiss Hilary Weeks for providing this next to perfect recipe. It's the best in the west. Seriously.

Sweet Potato mixture:
3 cups cooked, mashed sweet potato, skins off
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, well beaten
1 stick butter, melted

Crust mixture:
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 stick butter, melted

Boil or steam sweet potatoes, drain, remove skins, set aside. In a mixing bowl thoroughly combine the ingredients for the sweet potato mixture. Pour into buttered 9-inch square baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until firm.

Combine crust mixture ingredients in a bowl. Sprinkle surface of baked sweet potato mixture with crust mixture. (This uses the word “mixture” a lot. Has anyone else noticed that?) Broil briefly just until crust is golden brown. Allow to set for at least 30 minutes before serving. (Tom said the crust mixture burned easily on the broil setting. He recommended putting it on before the sweet potatoes bake and letting it bake along with it. You do what you feel good about.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Five Guys: Follow-Up Review

Top 5 Reasons for Loving Five Guys

1. While we're waiting in line to order our food, our beef-lovin' son drew this picture and hung it on the Five Guy "Leave Comments Here, Please!" board.

2. I hate ground beef! But I ate a burger, just for you, so I could honestly tell you that the meat tastes fresh and fabulous.

3. Five Guys' fries taste better than In-N-Out's fries (sorry), AND you can make your own Training Table-ish fry sauce. Just order a side of mayo and BBQ sauce, and mix it together like you're cooking in the kitchen with Julia Child.

4. They play good music. I'm pretty sure that a Pointer Sisters song came on ("He's So Fine," to be exact). I shook my trunk, side to side, while I refilled at the all-you-can-drink soda fountain.

5. But, I mostly loved chattin' it up with my homies over fries and beef on a bun. Our Tuesday night felt like a Friday night, and I have to thank Five Guys for giving me that bit o' magic.

Five Guys

I just saw that this little restaurant is O-P-E-N. We're going there for dinner tonight; I'll let you know if they rival In-N-Out (That's what a hamburger is all about--animal style and whatnot)or the Burger Joint in NY.

If you're local to Gilbert, AZ, you can find Five Guys next to Rumbi, in the Dana Park Village Square, off of the 60 and Val Vista. Now, go get you some beef, chica!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Losing Sleep

I've been losing sleep over what Christmas card I should send out this year. Tonight I told mi Amor, "We have to decide what we're going to do: spend the cash on a custom card or go with the 200 cards I bought last year at the Hobby Lobby.

He shrugged and said, "I thought we were going with the Fa La La La La cards."

Let's be honest, chicas. Our husbands just want us to decide and be done with it. They don't want to hear us jabbering on and on about the hand-lined envelopes Kate Spade has in her holiday stationery collection.

Here's the thing: I love the Fa La La La La card because it has 5 spots for our family's 5 little head shots. But last year, after spending a bundle on cards, I promised my wallet I'd be better, more practical when the holidays rolled around again.

I'd better go eat a big bowl of rocky road, so I can get clarity on this whole issue.

P.S. Mi Amor took our Christmas pictures this afternoon. (Here's a little sneak peek.) We only got in two fights--something about fingerprints on his lens and "someone" messing up the ISO setting. We're still in love, though.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Some of you know I've been getting serious about my physical fitness. I've been taking classes at the gym everyday (except Sundays) for two weeks straight. I'm growing buns of steel, and my mental health has improved 100%. Everyday, I tell mi Amor, "I can't believe I've gone 35 years with little or no exercise."

On Tuesdays and Fridays I take a step class, and I'm the worst in the class. I trip all over the place. I mess up the moves, and I mambo in the opposite direction of everyone else, every time. A girl in my ward watched me do some moves, and now she won't sit next to me in RS--embarrassing. (Just Kidding, Tammy. I know you're not judging me.)

The other day, while I was setting up my step station, a girl in a tight pink t-shirt and black yoga pants came up to me and said:

"Um, excuse me. You're not setting up right. As you can see (she pointed to all the other step professionals in our class), you're lining up your step wrong. You should have the right hand corner of your step aligned with the silver dot. Have you ever been to this class before?"

"Heck, yes!" I said confidently.

"Well, you may want to scooch over there so you don't get hurt."

"Thanks, Mom." I said in my head.

Well, the only guy in our class came over to where I was standing and invited me to step next to him, so I strutted my stuff over to a new spot, away from my stepmom. She was making me grouchy.

During the class I would periodically look over at my stepmom and check her work. And guess what I discovered? Her step moves stink like beef and cheese. And you know what else? She couldn't do her push-ups. Guess who could? Whoop, Whoop! That's right. Me and Gwen Stefani!

P.S. Did you know that I love Gwen Stefani? We're kinda of like BFFs.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Brine, Baby, Brine

If you've never brined your Thanksgiving bird, then this is the year to start--you won't regret it; I cross my heart. In fact, I'm willing to guarantee that you will be sashed the Belle of your Thanksgiving Ball if you follow the secret recipe noted below. (Thank you, Food Network.)


  • 6 quarts tap water
  • 1 pound kosher salt
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 cups honey
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • Large bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 heads garlic broken into individual cloves, unpeeled
  • 5 pounds ice cubes
  • 14 to 18-pound turkey, cleaned, innards removed
  • 1 pound unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 lemons, zested


In a medium pot, bring 3 quarts of the tap water to a boil over medium heat. Put the kosher salt in a large bowl and slowly (and carefully!) pour the boiling water over the salt. Stir to blend.

Add the molasses, honey, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, sage, thyme and garlic to the salt and water mixture. Stir to blend. Add the remaining 3 quarts of cool water. Add the ice to a cooler or bucket large enough to hold the brine and the turkey. Pour the brine over the ice and use a large whisk to blend all of the ingredients.

Submerge the turkey, breast side down, in the brine. Make sure the cavity of the bird fills with the liquid as you are submerging it. Cover the cooler and allow the bird to sit in the brine overnight or for about 12 hours. (I place the cooler in my fridge.)

Remove the bird from the brine and dry it thoroughly with thick (absorbent) kitchen towels. Take care to wipe inside the cavity as well. Discard the brine. Whisk together the butter and the lemon zest. Gently lift the skin covering 1 breast of the turkey and spread half of the butter right on the meat under the skin. Repeat with the other breast. The butter will add extra moisture and richness as the bird roasts. (I also slip 10 strips of raw bacon between the skin and breast. My family goes nuts for this.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Arrange the turkey in a roasting pan fitted with a rack. Put on the lower rack of the oven and roast until the internal temperature of the turkey taken from the thickest part of the thigh reads 170 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 3 1/2 hours. Remove the turkey from the oven to a cutting board or serving platter and tent with foil. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving.

Here are a few other brine recipes:



Ultimate Turkey Brine

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Christmas Lists

It's already Christmas at Target and Walmart, and that's why, on our way home from school today, I asked my homies to cough up their Christmas lists. I even made them sign an "I Won't Change My Mind" contract. (Not really.)

I did say, "Santa might have a nervous breakdown if you change your minds too much. It's really hard for him when, for example, a little girl says she wants the American Girl doll, Rebecca, then two days before Christmas, she changes her mind and wants a beach cruiser. Besides, the elves have such little hands. We wouldn't want to put them through such torture. My point is: What you put on your lists must stay on your lists. No changies. Okey dokey, artichokey?"

They just sat there, staring. Finally the littlest one blurted, "Santa can do anything."

I glared at my oldest homie, because she knows the truth about Santa. (I didn't tell her. You can blame that one on mi Amor.) I didn't want her to go ahead and share that Santa's pocket book is only as big as the one sitting on the armrest next to us (which currently holds: a parking ticket, a pile of receipts, and three pennies).

She's usually the one who demands the most, and so, my message was really for her. For example, the above pictured bike is at the top of her list. I can't blame her for falling in love with it, but we (Santa and I) can't handle a little switcheroo at the last second, especially at the tune of 459 bucks.

You'll have to excuse me while Santa and I plan a yard sale. We'll need to earn funds, so we can put this bike on layaway, ASAP. Or else, she may be forced to settle for a Huffy with an extra long banana seat. It might just be the perfect bike for junior high. What would her friends say?


The other day mi Amor's law firm had a book sale, and he brought home this book. My homies and I are now reading it for our bedtime story. I'm giving you one word to describe this book: Excelente!

You can read a review about Kira-Kira here.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Birthday Boy

Today is this boy's birthday and I told him, "You can do whatever you want on your special day." Whatever you want meant: taking Krispy Kreme to school, then getting out of school early and spending the rest of the day in a cave (or bedroom), building a ginormous Indiana Jones Lego set. He has also requested sausage pizza for dinner and a fudge bundt cake for dessert. (Can you believe it? The cake comes to haunt me, yet again.)

I'm making all of today's dreams come true; that's what moms do.

I know you won't be jealous of me when I have to pick up the 1,044 pieces to his new Lego set.