June 30, 2011

A Little Help From My Bread

You might have noticed something yesterday, and it might have been this:

Yup. [ominous music]:




Now, I hope you know I'm not a bread snob, erm, not much of a bread snob, no, wait: sort of a bread snob, but only at my house.

What I mean is: I don't like buying bread, because I can make it cheaper, and because we like homemade bread better. But if I come to your house, I will eat your bread. Lots of it. No matter who made it.

(Although I might draw the line at the cat. Possibly.)

(Er - if the cat made the bread, not eating the cat. I would definitely draw the line at eating your cat.)

My shocking confession last weekend was that I hadn't baked bread in weeks, so we hadn't eaten bread in weeks. And then - the next day - we caved. We needed something quick and easy to feed those kids of ours (yes, let's blame them), and BLTs were on the menu, but bread was not.

The next day, the day Miss laid her weary head on a pillow on the couch and did not get up for the rest of the day, this happened. Of its own accord:

And it turned into this:

Which - much later in the day, as I'm sure you can tell from the super quality picture - turned into this:

So the math on this one is WAB + SBB(Y) = HOB, where the value WAB is expressed as "Whining about Bread", SBB is "Store Bought Bread" (modified by the numeral "Yucky"), and HOB is Honey Oatmeal Bread.

I'd like to thank my Kitchen-Aid Cookbook, Tonsillitis, and a well-stocked flour bin...

And now for the help - this is where you come in.

While I was sifting through my pictures for this post, I came across this little mystery, and it is blowing my mind, but not in a good way. More like a "is that an alien in my house that I didn't notice at the time, holy crap I'm kind of freaked out but not really" kind of a way.

What on earth is that in the upper right?


June 29, 2011

The Waiting Room

Have you ever had to go out on Christmas Eve, or in a blizzard? And you get that feeling you get when everyone around you is experiencing the same thing, and your eyes meet, and you make a joke about it, and you feel like the whole world is full of friends?

That's not what happened in the waiting room at the clinic yesterday.

Well, it is what happened, but much later into the story.

Let's back up a bit, shall we?

Miss has been sick since Sunday, and when I say sick, I mean: has been laying on the couch, cuddling on somebody's lap, or sleeping. She's not been eating, even when I made the classic (and so cheap) sick-room delight that Jane at Adventures in Dinner reminded me of a week ago: Toads in the Hole.

No, her appetite was not to be tempted. But mine was, and I ate three. Thanks, Jane.

There was a period of time on Sunday evening when Miss wanted oranges - so, oranges she had. At the play table, in the living room, naturally, because when you're sick (and a kid), life is special.

Turns out the oranges weren't such a good idea. Let's not talk about it.

Fast forward to yesterday, when I suck it up and take her to the clinic. I took her first thing in the morning, because I thought that it would leave us the rest of the day to get medicine in her, and to let her sleep some more and generally be sick.

Instead, it left us sitting in the waiting room from nine until quarter to one. I almost left, because I was convinced that my answer would be: "Well, she has a fever, but it's probably just a virus and she'll likely be over it in a few days", which is the response I'm used to.

I didn't leave, mostly because Miss slept on my lap the entire time - except for the few minutes she watched Sesame Street on my iPod - and then handed it back to me and told me she was all done. Six minutes in.

That's why I stayed. Because not eating, not playing, not squirming to get down and not watching Sesame Street are not normal.

By the two hour mark, we all knew who were the walk-ins. We were the people not moving. We were the people sighing every time someone new came in and asked how long the wait was and were told "we don't know. A long time".

We were the ones who - by the three hour mark - were laughing. Were making jokes about how miserable we were. Were meeting each others' eyes and smiling whenever someone with an appointment went in.

And when the walk-ins finally started getting called in, we were the ones congratulating each other, making jokes about doing the wave (does anyone even do that anymore), confetti falling from the ceiling when your name is called, and giving everyone in the waiting room high fives as we walked towards the nurse who called our names.

It took forever, and (part of) it was awesome. Kind of like living through a natural disaster with strangers.

Oh, and Miss has tonsillitis and trachitis, and is on three kinds of medication, one of which is a steroid.


June 28, 2011

Second Hand Smorgasbord and Cheapskate Extravaganza

Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike shopping secondhand? For anything? And how strange that sounds when a confirmed cheapskate like me says it out loud?

I do believe I have.

And yet, you remember my ReStore score - the matching oak chairs that replaced our folding chairs of death and dismemberment. And my Super S mug of awesomeness. [sip. ahhhhhh.]

So clearly I'm over it, at least where furniture and household goods are concerned, and - as of Saturday - where clothes are concerned too. Because of this:

I ask you - does any one almost three year old need that many clothes? (Because, let's face it, the bulk of this pile is for Miss)

Here's where I answer on your behalf (you're welcome): Yes. Yes, she does. Because she had NO PANTS. Shorts from last year. Flannel nighties. You see where I'm going with this, I'm sure.

I had to buy an entire wardrobe for a toddler

Okay, to be fair, the top two piles are for Jr. But the bottom five piles are for Miss. Thankfully, because I am now a seasoned veteran in the kids clothes department - and because this pile cost us about eighty dollars -  these clothes should last her through to the spring.

Unless she grows like a freak.

Which is entirely possible.

On the other foot, these shoes - that we cleverly sized by tracing the kids' feet on a scrap of paper five minutes before we left - won't last until next week. 

So if you've learned nothing else by reading The Mrs (and I confidently expect that you haven't), learn this: feet are three-dimensional, and therefore cannot be measured adequately using a two-dimensional method.

I had hoped to have more pictures of Miss in a selection of the clothes we found for her, since I'm pretty excited about them (if you were shopping at Once Upon a Child on Saturday and heard a not-so-muffled "Score!" from the other aisle, that was us. Sorry.), but since she's been sick since Sunday we're going to have to settle for this:

Oh, okay. And this:

Yes, we shopped for me, too. We were in Goodwill for forty minutes and I found some of the best clothes I've found anywhere. And not one of them over five dollars.

I am a secondhand shopping convert, and might never shop new again.

That is all.

June 27, 2011

Project Grocery: A Review

A brief recap of what Project Grocery is all about: We have a grocery budget ($120/week). And I started tracking it more closely after I realized that - while I was on maternity leave with Jr - we were consistently spending around $180/week.

I had hoped (against hope, as it turns out) that by making better choices, wasting less, and learning to shop smarter and to use coupons it would be possible for me to stay at home when April rolled around again and I was due back at the bank.

That - obviously - didn't happen.

What did happen was that we made better choices, wasted less, and learned to shop smarter and use coupons (judiciously).

So that's good. It almost makes up for sending my kids off to daycare every day.

Oops. Looks like I found a pair of (slightly) bitter pants on our Second Hand Smorgasbord and Cheapskate Extravaganza Day (more on that tomorrow).

Back to today - or yesterday, rather (This is like time travel. I'm getting confused):

This shopping trip  - all $132.84 of it - has brought our twenty-seven week running average to $125.73. Once upon a time I would have done a pantry challenge like this one to beat the average down. So, if I were so inclined, I'd give us $79.56 to spend for the next two weeks, and that would be that.

I'm not so inclined. Being that creative with food - even with WilliamB's persistent assistance - is too much for this girl's plate right now. Instead, we've been gradually whittling away at the average by exercising our flabby self-control muscles and just spending less every week. Radical, I know.

It's been working too, with the minor set back of this week, when I stopped into the Bulk Barn with this coupon - my favourite of all the coupons - and stocked up on oatmeal, brown sugar, quinoa, whole wheat couscous, and dried chickpeas.

That $49.66 bulk extravaganza is what really sent me over. I confidently expect that next week we'll be under again, and the week after that, and the week after that...

And someday, I'll muster up the energy to do another pantry challenge.

Just not today.

June 25, 2011

Lannis: Married Romance

Lannis is back again, with something so sweet (and geeky) it hurts my teeth. Mr and I are in the city, shopping our hearts out in our semi-regular (or at least seasonal) Second Hand Smorgasbord and Cheapskate Extravaganza day. Enjoy. We will. 

* * *
Yes. Married romance.

And no, this isn’t an oxymoron. And it’s not what you might think.

Mr Lannis has gotten a pretty good pass. Like, for the last seven years, he hasn’t had to really haul his weight in the romance department. Believe it or not, I’m pretty easy going. Which is to say that I don’t need a lot of creativity, I just need to know that he’s thinking of me.

Flowers and chocolate would do.

It would, except I’m allergic to perfume, so most flowers are out (he claims it’s conspiracy that roses, oddly, don’t bother me). Also, knowing I’m a recovering chocoholic, he’s not too keen on the idea of bringing something into this house that will incite me to snort its shavings...

So what is ‘married romance’ in my humble opinion? It’s those teeny tiny things that we do for each other; the ones that say we’re thinking of each other, that we care about what our partner cares about, even though we may not.

Case in point? My bumper sticker.

Yep, you read that correctly.

This past weekend, Mr Lannis decided to take our boys on a field trip in the mom-mobile. To a midway fair. Without me.

I have no issues with this. If he wants to cart them around and brave the crowded, expensive, whiney, cotton-candy-sticky fairgrounds and ferris wheel, it’s all right with me. He’d just better be prepared for puke (true story — ha!).

Anyhow. When taking my oldest to school the next day, I walked around the back of the van to see... nothing.

Background: enter the geek-tastic bumper sticker. A rather rare bumper sticker — like, can’t find it on eBay rare.

And yes, I’m a geek. A rather big stupendously huge one, when it comes to a certain fantasy series.

Like, flew to another country to celebrate said book series for a long weekend, hardcore fan (see visual proof here).

My hubby knows this. He’s read this series, but he’s not into it like I am. At this point, I’ve been reading these books for twenty years and they’ve been grandfathered into our relationship. Technically, I’ve been involved with the books longer than I’ve been involved with him — it doesn’t really matter what his opinion is, I’d still have flown down for JordanCon. Ha!

So. When I walked around the back of the van and saw nothing...? Well, “panicked” would be an understatement.

My bumper sticker — my ridiculously geeky-yet-cool, extremely-rare-and-coveted-official-WoT bumper sticker, GONE?!

I had stuck it to a sheet of magnet before adhering it to the mom-mobile, in accordance to Mr Lannis’ issues with marring the vehicle-we-plan-to-own-for-the-next-ten-years’ resale value (seriously. I rolled my eyes, too).

Someone stole my freaking sticker?!

I raged.

I grumbled and fumed and grunted and growled until my four year old wanted to know why I kept saying, “your father!” that way under my breath. When I replied, “Mommy’s ‘Bela’ sticker is missing,” he blinked, and offered up the holy grail...

“I think Daddy took it off.”

Pardon cowboy?

I dashed to the back of the van, popping the hatch. There, in with the reusable grocery bags and folding lawn chairs, was my sticker!

He’d removed it! When parking in a busy area, where the presence of possible shit-disturbing teens other crazed Wheel of Time fans was likely, he’d had the forethought to rescue my sticker!

This is what I’m talking about. He wouldn’t shed a tear if someone stole Avi-van-dha’s* bumper sticker. He wouldn’t care.

Sure, arguably I would have made his life hell for a while, and he’d probably care about that. But really? If that slap of plastic and magnet had disappeared forever, he wouldn’t’ve blinked twice.

But he knew it meant something to me, so he made sure it couldn’t happen.

This is married romance. He cares about what I care about, not because it’s also important to him, but simply because it’s important to me.

Sure, it’s not a grand gesture, and it may not truly be brag-worthy, but that’s what makes it meaningful.

And I’m still a-braggin’. I love this man.

* Yes, our van has a name — after a character from WoT, naturally. And like all self-respecting geeky fans, I am gloriously proud of it. The Mrs and taxes? Yeah, that’s me and WoT. Yep.

 Occasional poster at The Mrs, I'm Lannis - or Leslie, depending on which circles you're swimming. A while ago I decided that I don't care anymore, hence my general standards for life are lower than The Mrs' (but she still loves me.) [Editor: I do]

I live in a small town with my favourite people: my husband, Mr Lannis, and our two boys, along with two cats and one hamster.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might witness my issues with linear thought, road rage, spending more money on food than books, and potty mouth. Be warned. 

June 24, 2011

Food Waste Friday: Proof and - Oh My! - Poetry

Due to circumstances beyond my control (sort of), my food waste this week is still in my fridge.

Not pretty. But if you have been rolling your eyes lately over my evil fridge finger-pointing, and wanted conclusive evidence of it's malicious intent, here here it is. 

Anybody good you can think of with glowing red eyes? Thought not. Case closed.

And in case this wasn't evidence enough of my food wasting this week (after such a good week last week, with the much-debated forgotten cup of coffee the only waste I had to report), I give you detailed, poorly photographed close ups.

Because I'm generous like that.


 I welcome your judgement and castigation. The floor is now open.

The same circumstances that kept me from cleaning out my fridge (aside from my fear that it will bite me again) are also the reason for the two (TWO) takeout containers posing jauntily in these pictures, and the fact that my house is a wreck right now.

This means that since tomorrow is our Second Hand Smorgasbord and Cheapskate Extravaganza day, the fridge will stay uncleaned, the house will stay a wreck, and the laundry will stay un-laundered. But by golly, we'll have the clothes we need for the summer and fall.

On a completely unrelated note, I wrote a poem to Terry Pratchett.

[awkward pause while everyone re-reads that sentence and tries to fit it in with the reality they're used to]

I don't write poems (not since University days with Lannis, anyway). I certainly don't post poems, and I have to say that I don't really read them much either. I am painfully aware of exactly how weird this is.

Those of you that aren't into weird are excused. No hard feelings. If it wasn't my blog, and I wasn't typing right now, I'd leave too.

In fact, I'll even put my next and last post links here and pretend this is the end. The end. Go away.

* * *


You say you want to die.

And I wonder:

What do you think is going to happen?

What do you know about God and death and The End?

Or The Beginning?

I can speculate.


Ruminate? Maybe I've gotten off track.

Watergate? No, that's not right.

I can guess, I guess,

From how Sam thinks,

Who Carrot is,

And what Death SAYS.

Nuggan and the Duchess are an interesting case study,

But I don't know what you know.

Do you?

June 23, 2011

A Confession. (Sit Down, It's Shocking)

I have a confession. Prepare yourselves.


I haven't baked anything for almost two months.

[sits back, feeling cathartic release]

Gone are the days when - if our meal plan called for a baguette, or sandwich bread  - I could just whip up a few loaves during the day. They frown on that sort of thing at the bank, I'm led to understand.

So this:

Is a thing of the past. For now. So, alas, is this:

Or a thing of a weekend, maybe. I always mean to bake on Saturday or Sunday, and just never actually do it. Good intentions, and all that.

It doesn't mean that we're (gasp!) buying bread though - except when Mr's parents came to town, and bread with every meal was de rigueur. For the most part, the meals we're planning have been breadless, so far.

Except once, when I baked one disaster of a whole wheat hamburger bun recipe out of my bread project book. You'll notice it didn't make it to the Wall of Bread. Not. Good.

I kind of blame the book, actually. You recall that my plan was to bake through the entire book of bread recipes, and to follow them precisely (not my strong suit). Or you might not recall, since the 200 (Non-Contiguous) Days of Bread have turned out to be very non-contiguous indeed. And I'm not loving the recipes further in.

Or maybe the Flatbread with Brie and Caramelized Onions was so good it spoiled me for anything else, and the whole wheat hamburger buns (a whole cup of sugar, people!) were so bad they've put me off.

Whatever. Someday I'll bake again. Maybe this weekend. Maybe as a gift for a certain favourite person that Mr and I get to see in two weeks, and to whom we owe much. Big time owage.

In the meantime, let's bask in the golden, oniony glow of Flatbread with Brie and Caramalized Onions, shall we?


June 22, 2011

My Kids Are In Daycare, So I'm A Bad Parent

No, not the way you think. I'm not wrestling with guilt over being a working mom and sending my kids off to daycare for someone else to raise. I've successfully shoved that conviction into a deep, dark hole of my psyche that rarely gets cleaned out until I can actually do something about the things that are in there.

Like my closets.

What I mean by this particular post is that the people who work at our daycare have their antennae out so far for kids in real crisis that they're making me feel like mine are in crisis.


I'm going to sound over-sensitive, whiny, complaining and - let's face it - ranty for  bit, but bear with me. It may take a few paragraphs to get to, but there's a but. There's a few of them.

End pause.

I'll give an example (who am I kidding, I'll give you a lots of examples):

  • A few weeks after Miss started at daycare, someone pulled me aside when I picked her up one evening and asked if I ever fed her breakfast, because she seemed to eat a lot of morning snack.
  • A month ago I received a note requesting that I send shoes with Jr every day, because they often take walks to the park and for safety reasons he has to stay in the stroller if he's in his sock feet. I send shoes with him every day.
  • Let's not get into the whole "cloth diapers have germs" business again, but when Mr picked Jr up on the day he started barfing, he was made to feel as if we - personally - had intentionally infected the whole infant room with our unsanitary choices.
  • Jr "won" the book in the picture: Healthy Eating for the Whole Family: A Collection of Recipes and Resources for Muskoka Families. They were selling them as a fundraiser, and somehow my infant son entered a raffle and won a copy.

So I look back on these examples and they sound ridiculous. But - since I obviously can't convey the way these incidents and so many others came across - all I can say is that we feel as though our daycare thinks it is their job to coach us in parenting, and that their assumption is that every family that walks through their doors must be in need of intervention.

Here are the buts:

BUT, many of the women that work with Miss and Jr are sweet, kind women who care about their well being and can tell you what they did during the day. I appreciate them, and I'm grateful that we found a place to leave them where we know they'll be safe.

BUT of course they don't know what our family is like, and what our kids eat for breakfast and supper, or if they're loved and listened to and played with every day.

BUT there are families that don't clip their kids nails, don't know how to feed them healthy food, and don't care if they go to bed at midnight every night. And need help, and sometimes need intervention. If our family gets caught up in that net but other families that need it do too, then I can handle it.

I'm a big girl now, and I can take it if someone thinks we're bad parents because I know we're not.

BUT sometimes it stings a little.

Please tell me we're not the only ones who feel this way sometimes.

    June 21, 2011

    Backyard DIY: Let That Garden Grow

    "Let it grow" was about all we had time for this weekend - the first nice, non-rainy, non-freezing weekend in what felt like forever. But instead of back-breaking manual labour, I hung my laundry out to dry.

    And delighted in my peonies blooming (yes, those are bug legs. Eew.):

    Except for the ones that I moved, which developed very promising buds and then stopped. To the point where spiders decided the coast was clear and built a few peony condo units. Very up market.

    I hung over the stuff we planted from seed - still kind of convinced that since we only paid twenty-three dollars for them that we're going to get stiffed.

    Nope. Instead, we're going to get parsley (every year, and probably so much I'll lament of ever using it all), peas (about six of them, since only three seedlings made it. I'm looking at you, cats.), and chives (just because they're blurry, doesn't mean they won't taste good).

    We have already harvested the first carrots of the season. Well, when I say harvested, I mean thinned. The remaining four have some room to spread out now:

    And Miss was delighted to eat the carrots she planted - missshapen, discoloured hunchbacks that they were.

    Oh, and our future tomato sauce, tomato salad and all other things tomato and basil, let's not forget those:

    We'll be the neighbours that chase you down the street, trying to give you more tomatoes. And you'll be the neighbours that whisper to each other "Shhh...let's turn the corner now so they don't see us and try to give us more tomatoes". It will be fun.

    Why did I do nothing more than watch the garden grow last weekend, you ask? I was busy.

    I got invited to a tea party.

    It was awesome.

    June 20, 2011

    Project Grocery: Closer and Closer

    Friends - and foes, if you happen to be reading, which would be weird - I give you the results of Saturday's grocery shopping efforts (and efforts they were):

    I could not get my brain in gear on Friday night (our usual planning night) or Saturday morning. And while we were at the grocery store we figured out what to bring to our friend's house that night (spinach and watermelon salad with mint and toasted, almond-encrusted goat cheese rounds, in case you were wondering).

    This is not me.

    I do not plan the day of.

    Now, as it happens, our friend Adventures in Dinner has chronicled some moments like these, and on Friday posted something delicious about these watermelon, mint, and balsamic vinegar confections she's been known to serve.

    It was clearly on my mind. Too bad I forgot the mint at home. Oh well - lots of leftovers for my lunch this week is not a bad thing.

    In total, we spent $106.49. Not bad for an on-the-run, unplanned-feeling kind of trip. It brought our average down to $125.46 over 26 weeks, and we're eating yummy things like BLTs, Spinach and Lemon Pasta, more Spinach and Quinoa Frittata and Wings (yup. Just plain "Wings". No ingredient list masquerading as a title needed.) The rest of Project Grocery, including why on earth I'm doing it, is here.

    June 17, 2011

    Food Waste Friday: Three Things

    Well, not three things, actually. Not three food waste things, anyway. Three mini-stories, two of which are related to each other, one of which is funny and one of which has something to do with food waste.

    It's like the riddle in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone that I could never figure out.

    Thing One: Food Waste

    Yes, my microwave has wasted more food, although this is only a cup of coffee I reheated on Saturday and found on Sunday. Nothing like the cabbage that got left alone for two days, but I have the need to blame inanimate objects.

    And need to start a random microwave check.

    Clearly my evil fridge has started to lean on my other appliances to join the food wasting party.

    Leftover coffee isn't something I normally count as food waste, but there wasn't anything else to take a picture of, and thing two follows nicely from thing one, so: I wasted some cold, unloved, leftover coffee this week. That is all.

    (Don't forget, Food Waste Friday is graciously hosted by Kristen over at The Frugal Girl)

    Thing Two: Super Mug

    Remember my awesome ReStore Score? When we found five unbeatably cheap matching chairs to replace our unmatching chairs of death and dismemberment? I was so excited about those and the end to any potential for costly litigation that I forgot to tell you about my twenty-five cent mug.

    My super S mug. The exact same mug that I've drank (drunk? drunken?) all of my hot beverages from at my parents' house since I don't know when.

    Well, not exactly the same, since then it would be the same one and there would only be one, you follow?

    Exiting only to me, possibly, but exciting nonetheless.

    Thing Three: Imaginary Cameras

    Miss had a hard time going to sleep last night. She called down for me quite a few times, and by the fifth time I was getting frustrated, so I let her call.

    For six minutes (or thereabouts, it's not like I was standing outside her door with a stopwatch or anything) she called:




    Finally, up the stairs I go, prepared for barf or blood or some pathetic but unlikely to be strictly true story.

    Instead, I open the door and my daughter - who is still lying in bed, still tucked in - lifts her hands up to her face in a box shape and says "Cheese!"

    And that's how I know she's mine.

    June 16, 2011

    Lannis: Bursting That Bubble

    Yesterday, Miss asked to go to bed at six. I fell asleep on the couch at seven and in my bed at eight thirty. Jr - apparently - is good at sharing. Thankfully, Lannis is stepping in today.

    * * *

    Do you ever feel petty, as a parent? When looking at your kids, do you ever think, “serves you right... ha! Glad you’re angry, you deserve it!”

    No? Just me, then? I’m the only one who laughs when my kid does something jerky and is hit in the face by instant karma?

    Perhaps this is better illustrated by an anecdote.


    Yes, bubbles. We go through a lot of bubble mix in this house. We have a plethora of bubble wands. Big, little, square.

     (Seriously, check out the pic. But it doesn’t make square bubbles, it just makes you feel your brain is leaking out of your ears while you explain to the four year old every time you take it out why it DOESN’T make square bubbles, in spite of being, clearly, square. Uh huh. Square bubble wand designer? Yeah, watch your back. I don’t care how freaking funny you think you are, I’m coming for you and it won’t be pretty.).

    Anyhow... we have a lot of bubble wands. This year, we invested in a battery powered wand, sanity included. Up to 800 bubbles in a minute, or so the package claims. I’ve seen it in action, and I wouldn’t wager against it (though I think the makers were kind of counting on no one willing to count the bubbles, but that’s the cynic in me speaking...). So, guess what’s the darling of the collection right now?

    Of course!

    Back to me (silently) being a jerk to my kids when they are (not so silently) being a jerk in general.

    Picture: sunny day, hot, but not mind-numbingly-hot (let’s say 25c), nice breeze, excellent weather to toss the kids in the backyard for a bit and get a little housework done, right?

    So, I grab the bubble mix, fill the bowls. I grab the bag of bubble wands, and my five-year-old is rudely reaching over my hands(!) to grab the coveted battery powered bubble maker. His friends, of course, are left with the rest of the old school collection, and they rifle through without complaint, grabbing the large oval, the cool little puffing frog who blows his own bubbles, the wand that makes baby-sized bubbles, and yes, even the odd-ball square wand.

    Imagine my five-year-old’s shock when he discovers (click, click, click on the button) that the wand has run out of batteries!

    Oh yes, he wailed. Threw back his head, slumped his shoulders, and wailed.

    I loved it. Want to sneak ahead and grab the mightiest wand in the bunch? Not so cool when it’s powerless, is it now?

    Muahahahahahha! (I laughed internally, of course, as I stood with brows raised watching the Oscar-worthy meltdown.)

    Then he stopped long enough to see that his buddies had all the secondarily cool implements, and proceeded to wail some more, until I told him, unsympathetically, to “shut it off.”

    (Which, for non-believers, works every time. It also doubles as a great trick in crowded malls, when your kid is trying to mortify you into submission. Please note, children: Mommy always wins. -- She also occasionally earns free coffee from bystanders who are impressed with her blunt parenting skills. True story. Too bad I drink tea...)

    See, me? If I’m honest, I know I have the ability to be a world-class jerk. I try not to be, especially to my kids, but sometimes? Sometimes they’re jerks, too, and I can’t help but be happy when life teaches them a lesson I had no hand in.


    Occasional poster at The Mrs, I'm Lannis - or Leslie, depending on which circles you're swimming. A while ago I decided that I don't care anymore, hence my general standards for life are lower than The Mrs' (but she still loves me.) [Editor: I do]

    I live in a small town with my favourite people: my husband, Mr Lannis, and our two boys, along with two cats and one hamster.

    If you follow me on Twitter, you might witness my issues with linear thought, road rage, spending more money on food than books, and potty mouth. Be warned. 

    June 15, 2011

    Food! Glorious Food!

    Sorry for the exclamation points, it's 5:43, the coffee's not ready yet, and I'm starving.

    Do you want to hear a joke?

    Q: How many foodies does it take to create edible food I already paid for once? (This is really, really funny. Hilarious even.)

    A: Two and a half.

    Okay, pick yourself up off the floor and have a glass of water. All that laughing leaves you gasping, doesn't it?

    Now go back to the first sentence, replace "exclamation points" and "I'm starving" with "lame joke that's not even funny" and "I just read a funny blog about dumb people in bookstores" and then come back here. I'll wait.

    There. Now it's out of both our systems. On to food. This food, in particular:

    This particular dish - Rotini Gratin - is the brainchild of WilliamB, who you heard me mention at the height of the Blogger commenting storm of badness, and who changed my freezer, fridge and pantry inventory from a list of random ingredients to a list of meals.

    It's just noodles, caramelized onions, buttery toasted bread crumbs and canned tomatoes. But it is warm, and rich and delicious. We made it twice, and I wish I were eating some right now.

    This, not so much. Puff Pastry Chicken Pot Pie was also WilliamB's suggestion, although originally it was meant to be a Tex-Mex version. It was meh, and here's the reason: the chicken was the last from a box of frozen chipotle chicken breasts that my brother passed along to me when he moved. Those chicken breasts sat in my freezer for a disturbingly long time, and I flirted with the idea of throwing them away.

    Instead, I rinsed off as much of the "chipotle" as I could, and Mr chopped it up, mixed it up with frozen and fresh vegetables, topped it with gravy and condensed cream of chicken soup, and the puff pastry that I got on sale and with a coupon a few weeks ago.

    See? Meh.

    Then there was this beautiful thing:

    Mmmmm....Quinoa Frittata. Mozzarella, caramalized onions, quinoa, eggs, and spinach.

    Yes please.

    I'm pretty sure we ate it in maybe seven minutes. And it's So. Easy. Or at least that's what Mr says. What a lazy housewife I've become. (I'm the half in "two and a half", and that's being generous.)

    But all this pantry cooking is what's keeping our grocery bill down recently. And it's giving me hope that it will stay down. We'll see.

    I leave you with this, proof that Miss is a girl after my own heart:

    June 14, 2011

    Cloth Diapers Have Germs: The Sequel

    Yesterday, despite being this close to being buried alive by paperwork at the bank, I spent some time on the phone with our public health unit and a really nice guy named Steve, who is our district Health Inspector, and responsible ensuring that the best practices are followed at Jr's daycare.

    All this phone activity was in response to the uninformative (and uninformed) statement I got from the assistant director of the daycare: "cloth diapers have germs". And yesterday: "cloth diapers aren't sanitary".

    As you may remember from my attempt to make friends at the grocery store, I don't mind complaining. I don't mind getting on the phone, and speaking to receptionists and assistants and public health nurses until I talk to someone who makes decisions and knows why they were made.

    I'm getting better at keeping my temper when things make me mad, and channeling the spirit of my brother in law, who - you may also remember - could probably very easily get a refund on food he'd already eaten, he's that persuasive.

    So imagine me, waiting to hear back from the Public Health Inspector for our district, still puffed up a little with righteous indignation, ready to "keep my temper" but "get answers" like the calm professional I am (stop laughing).

    And disarmed completely by this public official who is a reasonable, well spoken, logical human being who I can relate to. Who chatted with me - in the middle of an inspection, at the end of the day - for about ten minutes about cloth diapers in general, my cloth diapers in specific, his plans to cloth diaper when he and his wife have kids, and - of course - washcloth policy. (One per child, one use only).

    And who is not banning cloth diapers. Ever. Except in the case of an outbreak.

    His concern about cloth diapers is all to do with the fact that they are stored in a dry bag in the changing area after they've been pooped in (or, in Jr's case, royally pooped in), are not wrapped up inside themselves in neat little plastic bundles like disposables are, and are not in a plastic garbage bag with a lid. Their "bacterial load" is manageable in normal situations, but during an outbreak the bacterial load needs to be lessened in any way possible, so Jr's in disposables until (probably) this afternoon.

    End of story.

    Does anybody else find the term "bacterial load" hilarious to the point of gasping? Thought so.

    When in Doubt, Clean

    So you know that last week Jr decided to start a barf party and invite everyone in his daycare room, and you know that this revealed the completely logical conclusion that cloth diapers have germs.

    What you don't know is how I spent my gift of a Friday at home, with only one kid, who spent the day doing his spot on Sleeping Baby imitation. It was a riot.

    What's a gal to do with unexpected time? A gal - remember - who is feeling a little less than confident over her ability to work full time and keep her family from living in absolute squalor at the same time?

    She cleans, obviously. And - if she's me - she takes before and after pictures. Because she knows you want to see just how messy her house can get, and she wants a record somewhere that (some of) her house was clean for a minute once, even if said record is mostly blurry.

    The Kitchen (ugly no matter how you slice it, but better when clean):

    The Dining Rom (yes, it's cat puke, but this time I know what happened to it):

    The Office (did I just shift papers around and call it clean? You be the judge):

    The Downstairs Bathroom (least useful room in the house. So of course that's where all my stuff is):

    The Laundry Room (watch out for those diapers. They have germs, you know.):

    The Living Room (what? It's worse in the after picture, and the carpet's different? That's a long, super-hilarious story starring Jr and poop. And is, incidentally, the reason Mr's asleep on the couch):

    Which all goes to proves a point that Lannis made in an email the other day: